OXCGN’s Project Cars Review


Project Cars is the ultimate racing-simulator for the current generation. It’s racing expectations hit you in the face from the moment you ‘press start’. And it is definitely not a game for everyone.

From the very beginning Project Cars feels like it assumes players come from an automotive background and would know their way around its complex menu’s. The lack of explanation provided in some areas can offer a confusing experience. I’m afraid that many people may form their own opinion on Slightly Mad Studios game before they have even pulled the right trigger to accelerate.

Take Career mode for example, players are immediately given access to the entire range of career modes on offer, from Go-Karting to Formula One, the freedom here is greatly appreciated.

However, many players will be completely lost as to where they want to begin, because Project Cars’ menus can explain things very poorly. The career modes offer no explanation besides a small logo/graphic of the type of race they will be involved in, so hopefully you can decipher them.

Once you think you have it right and press that A button – you’re locked into that Career type. No back button to change your mind.

But the good news is that you can run multiple careers at the same time. The downside is you’ll need to fill out your driver profile details for every time you want to investigate a new career mode. This may get quite tiring if you’re a naive car gamer just looking to find a race with a Nissan GTR.

Did I say Nissan GTR? Sorry, it doesn’t exist in the world of Project Cars. Nor do many other popular brands that you would imagine would exist in racing games of today. No Lamborghini, no Ferrari, no Subaru and no Nissan are just examples off the top of my head.

I feel this is a huge deal breaker for any car enthusiasts wanting to race in a similar car that they own in real life.

One great piece of news for Australia is the Bathurst track is featured here, but don’t expect any Australian cars. I image the latter part just caused you to slide your Forza disc back into your disc tray. By the time you make it into your first race hopefully you’ve left all your Forza knowledge locked up outside. Forget it all. Project Cars is a true test of skill, and by far it is the most unforgiving and raw racing experiences on the current generation consoles so far.

Project Cars is like learning to play an instrument, it’s a frustrating test of willpower until one day when you just pick it up and it just works. Along the way you will get penalised for touching the grass, love tapping other cars and just general loss of control. The game offers an insane level of customisation for your driver preference. From its difficulty, to tuning your car, to even the location of everything on your heads up display. For those true racing-sim fans – paradise. But everyone else, I must ask, how long do you want to be in menu’s compared to actually driving the cars?

There is so much driver preference customisation you may feel disadvantaged by just wanting to come home from a long days work and have a few quick races before dinner.

Forgetting Career mode, I found a much more enjoyable experience simply using the quick race feature found from the home screen. Simply pick any car and any track and off you go. I felt this was a great way to experience all that the game offered and was a much quicker learning process than from career mode.

In the brief time I’ve spent in multiplayer a large portion was waiting for matchmaking to work. Finding a specific game type with a similar class of car was a test of patience.  After waiting for 10+ minutes I finally was placed in a match that was already in progress and lasted 30 seconds before ending.

After that test, I used the quick match option featured from the home screen. Which was not quick at all, but substantially shorter than the earlier 10 minute wait. The result was a race against a completely random collection cars and classes. Was it a race? not really, in fact it was more of a test of who could stay on the track for the longest.

Multiplayer is a testament to the difficulty of this game. Forget the battle to the podium simply trying to reach 1 lap with no major incident is hard, whether your fault or not someone will stack and crash into you. In fact in one match, I had a player stack their car right at the pit lane exit and every player crashed one after another.

If you’re the type of enthusiast who hears the title ‘Project Cars’ and thinks of Dad working on his rusty 69′ Camaro for years until it’s restored to glory. Think again. In fact there is really no vehicle customisation available in the game at all, the cars are all already at ‘race spec’. If that type of project is your thing then walk away right now.

Graphically the cars look fantastic and very realistic, the amount of different camera angles to choose from is appreciated and really suggests they have thought about exactly what this niche group of gamers would want. Slow the car’s down and look at the environments and perhaps they’re a bit blurry but who cares you’re supposed to be going fast!

TL;DR

Project Car’s is a raw racing-simulator experience. And expect just that. This game is for the niche that have been dying for a true  racing simulator. If you can overlook the lack of vehicle-customisation and lack of cars on offer there may be a home here to truly test your skills. If you have the patience and invest the time you will find a considerably strong racing-sim that I’m sure will grow stronger as the months go by.

Project Cars is available now on Xbox One, PS4, and coming soon to Wii U and PC.

Pros:

  • Ultra Realistic Racing
  • Realistic Physics
  • Graphics
  • Niche game many have been wanting

Cons:

  • Ultra Realistic Racing
  • Lack of cars to choose
  • Matchmaking needs improvement.

For the casual racing gamers:

6/10

For the racing simulator fans:

8.5/10

OXCGN’s Resident Evil Remaster Review – It’s Still Scary-Awesome.


Thanks, Nintendo.

Before starting this review I must thank Nintendo for playing host to one of the greatest remakes on their Gamecube system 13 years ago.

Resident Evil was simply jaw dropping — its visuals melted your eyes and brought players a sense of realism that had not been experienced before. And even by today’s standards Resident Evil can keep up with the graphic powerhouse games of 2015.

Capcom is to thank for this; by implementing pre-rendered backgrounds they brought a sense of realism that could not otherwise be attained at the time.

Resident Evil subsequently Resident Evil 0 (also on the Gamecube) were some of the last games to truly embrace this graphical style.

A concequence of pre-rendered backgrounds that I am sure Square-Enix is also running into is their tendency to distort when ported to new systems. To combat this the 2015 remaster offers players both the original 4:3 and a stretched 16:9 aspect ratio to choose from.

The latter definitely provides sharper visuals but I think most will stick with 16:9.

RE Remaster 1

The game stays very true to the original with the only major change being to the controls. Capcom have developed a workaround to make the controls more akin to today’s standards. The new control scheme is simple: move the joystick in any direction you want and Jill or Chris will go. It’s a very unusual experience for anyone familiar with the original Resident Evil titles.

The controls work well, however during scene changes players may often frustratingly jerk the character in the wrong direction by accident. Without a doubt the new scheme is welcoming enough for newbies to pick up and play, but the original scheme (if you’re used to it) will always be the superior experience.

The horror experience has definitely mellowed with age; I believe games such as the Dead Space series may have desensitised players to classic horror games like Resident Evil, which offer a slower paced style of horror. Scripted moments throughout the game do offer many scares but I feel that most will come as no surprise to modern gamers.

Resident Evil’s greatest success comes from its ability to build atmosphere. It forgoes fantastical settings for more familiar and personal locations where it can establish a pervading sense of dread. As you venture through the vast Spencer Mansion there is a sense of authenticity, this could be a real place owned by a mysterious billionaire.

Incumbent in any Resident Evil experience are the puzzles and there is a tangible thrill associated with solving puzzles and unveiling the secrets of the mansion.

This game pioneered the survival horror genre so the game often becomes intense, the mixture of limited supplies with restrictions of saves forces players to adopt a survivalist mentality from the very start of the game. This pervasive sense of dread, of pressure, combined with the brooding atmosphere of the mansion is where the fear comes from and it is only heightened at the higher difficulty levels.

RE Remaster 2

I would recommend anyone new to the franchise to have a go exploring the mansion without using your smartphone and an IGN game guide. Resident Evil rewards players for exploration and players who follow the most direct route will miss extra cut scenes and bonus opportunities; not to mention the satisfaction of solving the puzzles. That said if you are finding it too frustrating looking up a solution is forgivable because this is a game worth playing through to its end.

It is worth noting that some key items have had their names changed to a more suggestible title. For example the ‘Herbicide’ is now called ‘Chemical for plants’. Returning players will understand.

Above all Resident Evil offers plenty of gaming goodness for anyone. By offering gamers the choice of multiple characters and difficulties to play through veterans have an incentive to play through the main story again. This is in conjunction with the many bonuses that can be earned if you complete the game under different criteria. All of which now come backed up with a set of achievements to show off as well! (good luck completing the game in under 3 hours).

Resident Evil Remake was a revolutionary remake of a revolutionary game and while this remake of the remake doesn’t break any new ground. It sure as hell cements it as one of the best (and best looking) 13 year old games ever made.

This is a must-play for anyone, particularly those who appreciate a classic game, and classic horror.

This is how we grew up kids.

Pros:

+ Amazing pre-rendered backgrounds.

+ Believable yet scary atmosphere.

+ Rewards for exploring and not following a guide.

Cons:

– Newcomers may not like the difficulty (no hint system in here).

– The ‘door’ loading screens still exists.

– May not be as scary as it once was.

9.5/10

OXCGN’s Need for Speed Rivals Review


nfsrheaderTraditional cops and robbers

Reviewing Need for Speed Rivals was sadly a frustrating experience for me. Repeatedly the game would crash as I completed my final objectives; when I restarted the game I was forced to repeat the objectives and endure the lengthy EA Online log in process over and over again. There is only so much a man can endure.

Based on my research it would seem that most of the community aren’t suffering the same problems. As such, the majority of my review is based more on early impressions of the game and its potential.

No Pursuit Tech was used to make the game crash
No Pursuit Tech was used to make the game crash

OXCGN’s Xbox One Impressions


X1newsOur writers give their thoughts on Microsoft’s next gen console

The wait is finally over.

The next generation of video gaming is upon us here in Australia, with Microsoft’s Xbox One the first to reach our shores here on the 22nd of November, 8 years to the day of the release of the Xbox 360.

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve gotten our grubby hands on the Xbox One, and like many of you out there, we’ve formed our own opinions on Microsoft’s latest effort.

Therefore, we here at OXCGN have managed to pry ourselves away from our new consoles in order to bring readers our quick impressions of the Xbox One.

Xbox One
Xbox One

Click to read our staff member’s full impressions on the One

OXCGN’s Sonic Lost World 3DS Review


SonicLWHead

OXCGN’s Sonic Lost World 3DS Review

Same Blue Blur, Different Console.

by Rocco Rinaldo

©2013 Rocco Rinaldo

Coming at you in the wake of Yvan’s WiiU review here is my review of the 3DS version of Sonic Lost World, will Sonic fare better on the 3DS than he did on the WiiU? Click through to find out.

Sonic Lost World is the first Sonic game I have ever had in my possession; it is a franchise I have always been aware of but was never really interested in, probably because every game seemed to have that same first level. It also seems to be a franchise that is now the source of ire for long time fans, rather than joy. In my mind it rivals Mario when it comes to the nostalgia market, but unlike Mario who has managed to produce enough games with sufficient changes to warrant a reinvestment in the series, Sonic seems to have lost his way more often than not.

Read more about Sonic’s latest adventure!

Call of Music! Critical Hit releases Call of Duty Music Video


CritHead

Call of Music!

Critical Hit releases Call of Duty Music Video

by Daniel Geikowski

©2013 Daniel Geikowski

CriticalHit_COD_banner_NEWWe brought you news about Critical Hit a few weeks ago regarding their Angry Birds cover, and now to coincide with the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, the guys have released Battle for New York from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Critical Hit are also celebrating the release of their debut album, aptly named Critical Hit: Volume One, which is now available for purchase.

You can check out their latest video right here.

More Critical Hits Here!

OXCGN @ EB Games Expo 2013: Nintendo


OXCGN @ EB Games Expo 2013

The Nintendo Booth @ EB Games Espo

by Yvan Zivkovic

©2013 Yvan Zivkovic

2013-10-05 19.43.58

Looking at some of the bigger booths this year, starting with Nintendo. The first thing you would have noticed if you were there, is that the booth is much smaller than last years. Admittedly they were on the edge of releasing a new console to the market, the Wii U.

This time, it was mostly about that games, first party games, to be exact. The only real presence of a non-Nintendo game was the 3DS version of Sonic Lost World.

Nintendo definitely played it down with their booth this year, but they seemed to make it a little more as of late, with their lack of presence to Tokyo Game Show for several years, missing out on gameson in 2012, and not even having a presentation for E3 2013, Nintendo are making it clear that they are less interested in game shows and putting more of a focus on Nintendo Direct.

A bit of it might have to do with certain Australian retailers playing down Nintendo’s presence on their shelves, clearly out existing Nintendo stock. EB themselves prioritising unreleased consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4 before a currently released console like the Wii U.

Regardless, Nintendo were right at the entrance of EB Expo 2013, and here’s a run down of what was available to play:

 

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

DKCTF

Preview: Hands-On
Impression: Nothing new, but still entertaining.
Thoughts:  It’s not all that surprising to see Donkey Kong return to the home console, and finding it’s home on the Wii U, given the success of Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii and the 3DS.

I have to say, it’s great to see DK on Nintendo’s HD console, everything looks so sharp and crisp, as you’d expect, it’s just a shame it’s taken the Big N so long to do what Sony and Microsoft have been doing for years, but it still doesn’t disappoint.

This time, DK, Diddy and Dixie Kong take on viking-like animals, who invade Donkey Kong Island.

Much like the previous DK game, it mimics the style and gameplay of the old SNES games made by RARE when they were still under the Nintendo umbrella. Retro Studios are working on this title again and I’m sure will pull out another great game in the series.

DK learns to swim again, but he can’t hold his breath for long, as Retro Studios have implemented a mechanic, much like one used in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, where DK will eventually need an air bubble to continue breathing underwater.

Also borrowing from another franchise, the DK crew can also pluck things from the ground, to reveal other hidden gems scattered around the game, much like the Western version of Super Mario Brothers 2.

Originally planned to be released in November, Nintendo recently stated DKCTF is set to come out in early 2014.

Super Mario 3D World

Super-Mario-3D-World-2

Preview: Hands-On
Impression: Polished
Thoughts: It’s no surprise to see another Mario game for the Wii U, this time titled ‘Super Mario 3D World, borrowing from the gameplay of the great 3DS title, Super Mario 3D Land.

So what separates this from Super Mario 3D Land? Cats.

Yes, cats.

Mario has traded in his Tanooki suit for a cat suit (no, not THAT kind of cat suit). This time, Mario is a lot more agile, being able to climb walls, platforms, and even get that little bit extra higher on the flagpole if you’ve made a poorly timed jump.

But that’s not the only thing new this time round. They’ve borrowed one element from New Super Mario Bros., 4 player Co-Op. Luigi, Peach and Toad tag along for the adventure.

Much like DKC Tropic Freeze, Mario looks great in HD, sure, Nintendo have stuck with the typical art style that your Mario games normally have, but everything is so sharp, crisp and polished.

Super Mario 3D World ships to US shores on the 22nd of November, 29th in Europe, and a late release in Australia, the 30th of November.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

zelda-wind-waker-nintendo-unveils-the-legend-of-hd-for-wii-u-183248

Preview: Hands-On
Impression: Tri-(Force)ffic
Thoughts:There is much to really say that hasn’t already been said about Wind Waker. For it’s 10 year anniversary, Nintendo have rereleased the highly rated GameCube game in HD for the Wii U.

Everything you know and love from Wind Waker is there, but with a few extras for the Wii U version. Scattered around the world, you’ll find bottles with messages from other players, whether it be illustrations or hints for the game.

You also use the touch screen on the Wii U to select which weapon or item you want to use.

All in all, it’s a great Zelda game, brought back to life for the Wii U.

Wind Waker HD is available now.

Mario Kart 8

WiiU_MarioKart8_scrn08_E3resized

Preview: Hands-Off (Mostly)
Impression: Lookin’ Sharp
Thoughts: Nintendo have never been great with names for Mario games, and this Mario Kart game is no exception.

Mario Kart 8 was briefly shown off but it’s still early stages. Few characters and tracks were available and it was only allowed to be played by a selective few.

Visually, it’s great. The level of detail on the tracks, karts and characters is fantastic.

Like most new Mario Kart games, one gimmick has to be introduced, this time it’s anti-gravity, where you can drive other surfaces other than the track, and while in anti-gravity, you can drive into other players to get a small speed boost.

Also, as a small novelty, the touch screen on the Wii U game pad works as a horn for the corresponding character, each character having their own unique horn.

Release date for Mario Kart 8 is TBC 2014, although rumours point to a April release date.

So what’s missing?

So Nintendo definitely brought some heavy hitters to the game for EB Expo, but some clear contenders were missing:

Some great first party titles from Nintendo in the next year or so, which Nintendo seem to be relying on, as fewer 3rd party developers supporting Nintendo’s Wii U console, the big N are relying on their heavy hitters to put them back on top!

©2013 Yvan Zivkovic

OXCGN @ EB Games Expo 2013: Day Three Snapshots


EBXHead

OXCGN @ EB Games Expo 2013

Day Three Snapshots

by Daniel Geikowski

©2013 Daniel Geikowski

The final day of the EB Games Expo saw OXCGN get a look at some titles they might have missed over the weekend.

It was a day to relax and take in the whole spectacle. Walk around, chat to gamers about their favourite experience so far, and go back for a second round of what games we enjoyed the most.

When OXCGN wasn’t lining up for their 37th round of Titanfall, we got a look at these upcoming games.

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

YaibaOXCGN Staff: Daniel Geikowski

Preview: Hands-On

Impression: Hectic

Thoughts: I didn’t really know what to expect from Tecmo Koei’s Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, other than assuming it would have some hack-and-slash, combo-chaining gameplay.

Were my expectations blown out of the way.

Not only does Yaiba provide this type of gameplay, but it turns everything up to 11.

Yaiba exists in the same Ninja Gaiden universe as the previous titles, with players taking on the role of the ninja Yaiba.

The beginning sees Yaiba and series protagonist Ryu Hayabusa doing battle, in which Ryu slices apart the brazen Ninja, killing him.

Yaiba is then rebuilt with cybernetic parts from a mysterious organisation, who then goes on a quest for revenge, all the while dealing with a zombie infestation.

Ninja Gaiden Z is a more adult take on the series, with Yaiba himself full of profanites and violent tendencies.

The atmosphere follows suit too.

Continue reading OXCGN @ EB Games Expo 2013: Day Three Snapshots