Fret Ye Not PS4 And PC Owners, Rise Of The Tomb Raider Will Appear In 2016


Square Enix today announced its latest title in the critically acclaimed and award-winning Tomb Raider series, Rise of the Tomb Raider, will be available for Windows 10 and Steam in Early 2016. The game will be a console exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360 for one year after its initial launch, coming to PlayStation 4 in Holiday 2016. Renowned developer Crystal Dynamics is leading development in the latest entry in the iconic series for additional platforms.

In the critically acclaimed Tomb Raider, Lara Croft survived a harrowing experience only to be discredited as part of a cover up. Now, after uncovering an ancient mystery, Lara must explore the most treacherous and remote regions of Siberia to find the secret of immortality before a ruthless organization known as Trinity. Lara must use her wits and survival skills, form new alliances, and ultimately embrace her destiny as the Tomb Raider.

Experience high-octane action moments, conquer beautifully hostile environments, engage in brutal guerrilla combat, and explore awe-inspiring deadly tombs in the evolution of survival action. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara becomes more than a survivor as she embarks on her first great Tomb Raiding expedition.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will premiere first, exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on 10 November 2015.

OXCGN’s Batman: Arkham Knight Review


To say that I had high expectations for Batman: Arkham Knight would be an understatement. The Arkham series is one of my favourite franchises, and after having platinumed both Asylum and City (I would have platinumed Origins as well had there not been online trophies) I felt prepared to take on the Dark Knight’s final chapter. Arkham Knight is one of the prettiest, most enjoyable games to play that has thus far appeared on the next-gen consoles, and offers perhaps the tightest gameplay in a series renowned for exactly that. However, some odd story choices and lack of challenge maps hurt the overall product, as well as a number of audio and visual glitches that hampered my time with the game. I will note that I played the digital version of the game on PS4 which may have affected how the game plays when compared to the game reading from a physical disc – keep that in mind if you are considering downloading from the PlayStation Store. Since the game has been out for a week or so now, I am not going to shy away from spoilers when discussing story content, though I will relegate that section to the end of the review so that those who do not want anything spoiled for them can read my thoughts on the rest of the game. I will clearly mark when spoilers begin. That said, let’s dive in.

The Arkham series is known for it’s tight and fluid gameplay, and that legacy continues in Arkham Knight, with both Combat and Predator sections receiving just enough new kinks to totally change the experience while remaining incredibly familiar to anyone who has played the previous games. New gadgets, such as the ability to order guards to perform a specific action by mimicking the voice of their leader through a voice shifter, really change up the freedom of Predator encounters – though I still found myself relying on silent takedowns more than anything else.

The new fear-takedown mechanic is a massive addition, as you can instantly incapacitate between 3-5 guards (depending on how you have levelled up the skill) which can completely shift the balance of power in a room filled with armed enemies. It can be a bit difficult to activate, and alerts all other guards to your position. However, it balances the immediate threat with this new mechanic by overpowering the others Batman has at his disposal.

Combat is fantastic, with a multitude of new enemy types appearing for the first time in the series which totally change the balance of fights. Medics can revive fallen comrades, and can give other thugs an electric charge which makes them harmful to attack unless taken down in a specific way. Huge, bulking enemies laugh off your attacks, becoming imposing threats on the battlefield which beg to be defeated last, since they can only be attacked while leaving yourself open.

When a number of these new additions appears in a single fight, the combat becomes less about attacking everything until it is unconscious, and more about ‘which order do I need to defeat these guys in’. It’s an awesome addition, and one that left me defeated in a number of combat scenarios despite 3-starring every combat challenge in the previous games.

Yet, there is a third main pillar of gameplay introduced in Knight that doesn’t hold up nearly as well: The Batmobile.

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Over all, I think the way the Batmobile handles is totally awesome. Zipping through the dark, dank streets of Gotham in a jet black car-tank is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, but Rocksteady seemed to be a little overexcited by the car’s inclusion. There are an absurd amount of tank battle missions in the game, with most (if not all) of the large scale boss fights being some variation on Batmobile vs. Drone Tanks. It’s a shame, considering how good the boss fights have traditionally been in the previous games in the series, that they were done away with in this game. There are a few supervillains that appear who would have lent themselves to awesome one-on-one fist fights, but instead are relegated to stealth-tank fights (which barely makes sense in the first place). It’s a huge missed opportunity – both in that it forces the Batmobile on you and doesn’t capitalize on the strengths of the villains.

The PC version of Arkham Knight has received a lot of flack over the last week, with it launching in an almost unplayable state, and while the PS4 version is definitely head and shoulders above the PC version, I still managed to run into some problems. While soaring around the city, my audio would cut out unexpectedly for about a second, before coming back – not the end of the world, but frustrating. Then, during big tank battles with a lot of explosions and particles my frame rate would drop – again, frustrating considering how often tank battles would appear, but certainly not game breaking.

The biggest problem I ran into was a key character model simply not appearing in a scene it was supposed to be in. For a moment, I thought ‘is Batman going insane? Is he talking to nobody?’, but when a second character began responding to the invisible person I realized it was actually a bug. It has only happened once, and was only active for one scene (a pretty important and emotionally resonant scene, mind you), and afterward the character was visible and able to be interacted with, but it’s just a shame a little more polish time wasn’t taken as it could have completely transformed the game into something far better.

While we are still talking about gameplay, let’s discuss the amount of content that is in the game. The main story is pretty lengthy, and does some awesome things with Gotham City – over the course of the game you will see the skyline of Gotham change multiple times, which is an incredible feat considering the size of the map. There are, in total, 14 side quests – most of which require multiple steps, though some require only one interaction, and others may require over 10.

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Are the side quests as good as in previous games? Not really. There are a few stand outs, the quest to catch a serial killer at large probably being the best one in my opinion, but most of them feel like open-world filler. I would have preferred less ‘destroy the mines around Gotham’ style missions, and more ‘investigate this crime scene and track down the killer’ style quests. But to me, the most glaring omission is the overall lack of challenge map content. Asylum, City and Origins all launched with more challenge content than the last, yet Knight has launched with the least amount of the entire series. While I feel that there was potentially too much content in Origins, I think City had the most balanced amount of content you could realistically get through. Not only that, but each challenge could be undertaken by any unlocked character – also not true in Knight. Some characters can’t even be used in the challenge maps, despite being in the main game, which is incredibly strange and, in my opinion, a really stupid oversight.

Challenge Maps have been confirmed to be in the Season Pass, but really, it’s pretty unacceptable to be expected to pay extra to play as characters that appear in the main game. Red Hood and Harley Quinn, I would understand, as they are already DLC characters, but why aren’t there any challenges for Robin or Catwoman?The music in the game is incredible, as it has been in the preceding titles. The satisfying instrumental score that serves as the backdrop to the game’s predator encounters is beautifully realized, and always kicks in and fades out at the right moments. Audio glitches aside, the game sounds great, with many hilarious lines of dialogue from random thugs and some truly great voice acting by some of the main characters – I still think the Riddler is one of the best voiced characters in video games.And now, we come to the story. For those of you who still wish to remain unspoiled, feel free to scroll down past the text below: I’ll leave spoilers out of the final paragraph where I’ll post up my final thoughts. For those of you who have finished the game, or just don’t care, read on.

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SPOILERS BELOW

I think, when compared to Arkham City, Knight’s story stands out in some ways as far better, and in some ways as far worse. The fact that it is centered mainly on 3 villains, with the occasional appearance by another being a short diversion, or serving to more fully flesh out those main 3, is a welcome change as it allows you to really focus your efforts on defeating these enemies and makes the main narrative thread far easier to follow.

This main story thread is certainly the most ambitious Rocksteady has attempted, particularly the areas where Gotham is bathed in fear gas, and you view it from both above and below the noxious cloud. This moment is amazing, as it shows you how serious Scarecrow is in his mission, when compared to the villains of the previous games who never really achieved anything quite as horrible. I found the ending that, essentially, all the mental and physical issues that Batman had been struggling through the entire game suddenly don’t matter and he can just will his way through them to be pretty disappointing. I’d just spent 20 hours watching Batman, little by little, eroded away in front of me, so for him to just decide that everything he feared no longer scared him was a bit of a cop out.

Moving on, the moment Barbara Gordon was killed off had a huge amount of emotional weight. Seeing Batman kneeling down before her corpse was striking, and set the tone for what I thought was to be a far more brutal game going forward. Instead, the story backpedals on this move a few hours later, showing that even in a self-contained comic book universe main characters will never die: Except for Joker, of course.

I can’t stress how great it was that Joker didn’t get magically revived somehow, though the concept that his blood is somehow infecting a few people – Batman included – slowly turning them into him is one of the goofier things I’ve ever seen. Some cool scenes came out of it, but ultimately it was a pretty stupid idea.

Where I believe the game has it’s biggest story misstep, however, is with the side quests. Considering there are so many opportunities to tell interesting stories about the other villains of Gotham who have apparently joined forces against the Batman (I can’t remember a single moment where this alliance was important or noticeable in the game), it is disappointing how the majority of these side missions play out. Most of them have to be unlocked organically across the city as you play, a great idea in theory that gets bogged down with you, realizing how hard it is to find a single building with a flaming bat atop it, or a random murder victim crucified on the side of a different one.

Penguin and Two Face have pretty meaty side quests, with one focusing on combat and the other stealth, but for some reason these super villains never collaborate. Why couldn’t there have been one side quest, where each stage jumps from combat to predator, and you are hunting down the united criminals and dealing with their combined forces? Instead, you get to hear them have a few lines of dialogue together after you’ve already brought them both to the GCPD, which essentially amounts too saying ‘I never should have trusted you’ to one another for the rest of time. A wasted opportunity, yes, but that is nothing compared to how disappointing Hush is.

In City, Hush was easily the most interesting part of the entire game: A maniacal serial killer who has stolen Bruce Wayne’s face in order to enact some kind of revenge against him? Awesome. Waiting years to find out what kind of huge plan he had in store was excruciating, and that it turned out to be ‘walk into Wayne Enterprises, beat up the CEO and take him hostage while trying to rob them’ is just… what? For someone who, in the comics, was a criminal mastermind to have a one part quest where you literally talk to him, and hit a single QTE was a terrible choice by Rocksteady, in my opinion.

One last thing: The Arkham Knight’s identity is telegraphed for hours before the reveal, which was a let down for me. I think Jason Todd is an awesome character, and would have been fine with the Knight being him, if only he didn’t take off his mask and then whine for the entirety of his ‘boss fight’, only to change his mind and not want to kill Batman anymore after an entire game where that is all he will talk about. Comic-book logic, I guess, but there are so many ways this character could have been handled better.

END OF SPOILERS

In the end, I really want to like Arkham Knight more than I do. It brings a lot of new things to the Arkhamverse, which is great, even when some of them don’t work 100% of the time. The overuse of tank battles in lieu of actual fist fights is frustrating, especially considering how polished the combat and predator sections of the game are. The lack of challenge maps sting right now, and I think it’s unfair to ask people to pay extra for something that has been a series staple until now.

However, there is a lot to like in this game, and after a few patches it’ll probably be even better. The combat is tight, soaring through Gotham feels fantastic, and hunting down criminals from atop a gargoyle is still one of my favourite things to do. It’s just a shame that between those parts there are many, many tank missions.

7/10

Note: Arkham Knight was reviewed based on a PSN code supplied by Warner Brothers

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. 

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.

Two Player Co-Op Shooter Enter The Gungeon is Ridiculously Fun


Last night during the first and last PC Gamer Show, Enter the Gungeon devs announced and revealed that one of their latest top down shooter titles coming to the PS4 and PC later on in the year and that it would feature co-op. Apart from being absolutely bonkers, thislooks like another indie game I’ll be downloading on my ever growing PS4 games list. Some new co-op screens were released earlier today along with a new trailer showcasing the fun.

From the press release:

Adorable gunslingin’ developers at Dodge Roll Games and the Val-Kilmer-look-alikes at Devolver Digital revealed the incredible co-op feature for the upcoming PC and PlayStation 4 game Enter the Gungeon at E3 2015. Making its debut at last night’s PC Gaming Show at E3, the two player co-op mode allows the primary gunslinger a ‘gun cultist’ back up player to help quell the many disciples of the Cult of the Undead who will stop at nothing to preserve the very treasure you seek – the one gun in the world that can kill the past, absolving you of your deep regrets, wrong doings and bad decisions.

This bullet fortress hell game will have players traverse hand crafted death chambers with enemies set to kill anyone who enters.

You can learn more about the game at www.enterthegungeon.com or on Twitter, of check it out on Steam.

Shenmue III Hits Target Of $2 Million In Less Than 12 Hours


Yu Suzuki, the creator of the Shenmue series, unveiled the long awaited final chapter to the franchise, Shenmue III. The last game in the franchise, Shenmue II was released for the Dreamcast in Japan & Europe in late 2001, and then re-released for the original Xbox in March 2003.

Shenmue III Concept

In less than 12 hours, Shenmue III reached it’s $2 million USD Kickstarter goal, still having 31 days to go.

The first Shenmue (produced by SEGA in 1999) had a budget of $70 million USD and was in the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records for the most expensive video game made at that time.

Shenmue III is planned to be developed for PC and PS4, other platforms have not yet been decided. SEGA are not involved with the development process of Shenmue, however they have given Yu Suzuki the rights to the franchise, however SEGA still own the property rights to the first two games, so a HD remake of those games is not yet an option.

More Details Revealed On Fallout 4 And Fallout Shelter Announced


Bethesda’s E3 Showcase was promising that we would see more on Fallout 4 and they did not fail to deliver. They showed that you can do whatever you want in a massive open world with hundreds of locations, characters, and quests. From a Power Armored soldier to the charismatic smooth talker, you can choose from hundreds of Perks and develop your own playstyle with the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. character system.

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With the all-new next generation graphics and lighting engine, the world of Fallout has been brought to life like never before. From the blasted forests of the Commonwealth to the ruins of Boston, every location is packed with dynamic detail.

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At the same time you have a choice of first or third person combat which can also be slowed down with the new dynamic Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S) that lets you choose your attacks and enjoy cinematic carnage. You can collect, upgrade, and build thousands of items in the most advanced crafting system ever. Weapons, armor, chemicals, and food are just the beginning, you can even build and manage entire settlements.

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Fallout 4 will be hitting our shelves this year on November 10th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. As much as we all knew there was the standard edition of the game, Bethesda talked about the history of the Pip-Boy which lead to revealing the Pip-Boy Collectors Edition which includes a wearable Pip-Boy which will feature a compartment for your smartphone which can be used to interface with the game via an app that will be released on launch.

The Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition is exclusive to EB Games Australia in Australia and is priced at AU$189.95 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

They have also announced the iOS release of Fallout Shelter, the first mobile game set in the celebrated Fallout universe from Bethesda. Fallout Shelter is a post-nuclear strategy and simulation experience that puts you in control of a state-of-the-art underground Vault. Build the perfect Vault from a variety of rooms, oversee your very own thriving community of Vault Dwellers, and protect them from the dangers of the Wasteland. Vault-Tec has provided the tools, but the rest is up to you.

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Fallout Shelter is available now for FREE for iPhone and iPad. To download Fallout Shelter and begin building your Vault today visit the App Store.

Now sit back and enjoy the lengthy gameplay video they have shown for Fallout 4.

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