Sleeping Dogs Definitive Limited Edition Revealed Early


Thank to an early listing by Amazon, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition: Limited Edition was spotted where the acclaimed open world action-adventure will be rebuilt for the PS4 and Xbox One which will come with all the previously released DLC valued at US$85. With the success that Square Enix had with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, they could bring great visuals for the people who haven’t played before or want to play it again. Square Enix has not announced anything still but with Gamescom being around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was going to be announced then.

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When you preorder, you get the benefit of receiving the limited edition artbook packaging which gives you an insider’s look at 28 pages of concept art that inspired the game’s visual direction and art style. According to the listing you will need to wait till October 14, when it releases on the Xbox One and PS4 for US$59.99. If you haven’t played Sleeping Dogs before on the Xbox 360 and PS3, you can read OXCGN’s review on it.

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Shut Up and Take my Money! My Love/Hate Relationship with HD Remakes


Just take it already

When I was younger I had a vastly different relationship with videogames.

I chose the games I wanted for my birthdays and Christmas based on what my friends and cousins had. I didn’t read many gaming magazines or if I did, I would borrow them from the library months or years after they were relevant. Even when I began working in my teens, the combination of high game prices and a low amount of time meant that I still didn’t managed to collect many of the great titles of the PS2/GameCube Era. It was probably only at the end of high school when I bought a Wii that I began to actively and regularly buy games. By this stage the PS3/360 era was kicking off and again high prices meant that I wouldn’t be able to join that arms race till a few years later.

Now at the dawn of the PS4/XBONE era I find myself buying FFX HD to play on my Vita, I see Okami HD on the PSN Store and the ICO/Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection sitting on my shelf and I feel conflicted. One part of me is happy that I can now play the games that I missed out on, games that I probably wouldn’t have fully understood at the time and games that I probably would have lost interest in when they got complicated or were no longer the flavour of the month among my friends. The other part of me is sad that these HD remakes are all that remains of the great gaming franchises that used to revolutionise with every game rather than disappoint.

This is the paradox of HD remakes; On the one hand they let fans old and new experience great games. On the other hand, HD remakes are a monument to the former glory of some of the great gaming publishers.

This leads me to the question of why? Why are we getting HD remakes instead of great new games? Where are we heading and what is the silver lining in all of this?

It is my belief that the prominence of HD remakes has become less about preserving the history of gaming and more about making money for large studios that have been producing sub-par games or not producing games at all. Recent history has revealed this HD trend to be a Sony dominated enterprise. With more HD remakes than any other platform the PS3 is a nostalgic game fan’s best friend. Rivaled only by the Wii U with its slow yet interesting role out of virtual console games the PS3 and Vita have seen many classics given new life. However the disturbing trend is that we are being given these HD remakes instead of new games worth buying.

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Square Enix is leading the pack with HD remakes of both Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X released in the past year and only mere trailers to show of Kingdom Hearts 3 and FFXV; games it has had in development of almost a decade. Further its recent entries in the Final Fantasy series have been less than spectacular. Square Enix’s actions make me question the direction the company is taking, it can clearly make great games Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Bravely Default and Tomb Raider are all recent examples but are the costs of doing business so high that the company must rely on making old IP profitable again so as to bank roll new games?

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This seems to be the case with Sony Santa Monica, the company behind God of War, which has recently succumb to layoffs in the wake of the under performing God of War: Ascension. Sony Santa Monica has re-released every title in the God of War series for the PS3 and Vita and I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before they are re-re-released on the PS4. They have made great games but has their eye towards making lightening strike again and again on the same franchise left them without any creative breathing room? These games aren’t FIFA or Madden, remaking them every year with minor tweaks just doesn’t work and pumping out HD remakes to distract from the sub-par new iterations just makes it worse.

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So what does the future hold? I think the answer is different depending on your system of choice. For those who play on the PC none of this is a concern, the community will always find a way to bring the games of yesteryear back from the dead. For console gamers the future is a little darker, with backwards compatibility disappearing HD remakes and re-releases are going to be the norm especially when they can convert a popular game and cash in again. We can see that the Last of Us is already slated for a next gen release a mere year since its PS3 debut and we can only speculate as to when and if GTAV will appear on the XBONE and PS4 after making billions on the PS3/360.

So is there a silver lining in all of this? The answer is complex; it is a question of balancing enjoyment with disdain, I will probably always go out and buy HD remakes of games that I’ve wanted to play but didn’t have the time for, I will enjoy my time with these HD remakes and the reduced price makes it a good value proposition. I will however also cringe at how long it has taken for FFXV or The Last Guardian to come out, these games seemingly stuck in development limbo now supposedly to be released on the PS4. I will also question why Capcom hasn’t released another Okami game when it has re-released the title twice on the Wii and PS3 and other studios somehow manage to find funds to produce a new Armoured Core or Dead or Alive every other year.

The average consumer is being given a choice between the shiny and shallow latest AAA title and a classic, most will make the wrong choice and complain when they are trading in the AAA a few weeks later but the choice allows for education and education breeds change.

The Publishers will profit whether we buy their latest AAA disaster or a HD remake and lets face everyone isn’t suddenly going to give up on games so the money will keep coming in. My only hope is that publishers will realise that HD remakes are popular because their new games are uninteresting and gamers are searching for former glory not cheap nostalgia.

Thus enjoyment versus disdain becomes our rhetoric as we constantly remind ourselves how great some companies used to be rather than enjoy their new titles. If anything publishers need to start afresh either by losing the long running franchise names or starting from scratch, it worked with Tomb Raider and it’s working with Bravely Default, they should keep the HD remakes for preserving history rather than distracting us from the present.

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OXCGN’s Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Review


TR-DEAn engaging tale of one’s will to survive

We reviewed Tomb Raider back in March of 2013 where our 2IC Daniel, gave Crystal Dynamics reboot of this famous heroine high praise, not only for the successful nature of the games updated mechanics but the way that Lara Croft’s origin story is portrayed.

We see Lara Croft, a young archaeologist thrown into a savage environment where she must use every skill she has learned in her young career to survive. Seeing as I never played the reboot last year, I felt it was necessary to experience this game with a fresh perspective alongside the updated visuals.

I’ve read so much about peoples praise and upon the opening cut-scene, I can see why it was regarded as one of the best games of last year. Whilst many would sit back and compare the games art style and cinematic experience to that of the Uncharted series, one thing that makes Tomb Raider stand out is how Lara constantly evolves throughout the game.

Down the rabbit hole she goes
Down the rabbit hole she goes

Continue reading OXCGN’s Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Review

Why I’m Excited for Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition


It’s a HD port but I’m keen

I never got the chance to play Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider, for the pure fact that there were way too many games to play and I had too little time to enjoy them. Now with the release of the Xbox One and the PS4, Crystal Dynamics saw fit to update Tomb Raider for the next-gen console and add a few little extras into the mix as well.

I must say I’m impressed with how gorgeous the game world looks when everything works in conjunction with each other. Lara Croft herself has been updated with a lot more polygons to not only look, but move in a more realistic fashion.

The environment itself has been re-worked to accompany Lara’s new look, and together they create an experience that can definitely be appreciated.

Burn, baby, burn!
Burn, baby, burn!

What makes this HD port enticing to someone like myself are all the improvements the team made. Lara now has realistic hair physics which means that her hair and individual strands will sway according to the direction she’s running and the wind speed. This also accounts for her walkie talking that resides on her belt, as Lara moves the walkie talkie will sway again, according to her movement.

The environment will react to Lara, with shrubs swaying as Lara pushes them away from her. Rain now impacts visibility and again just like Lara’s hair, moves to the wind the rain with also change direction depending on the current wind.

When panning the camera up you’ll notice that the rain will splash on the screen impacting your visibility for a few short seconds as it dries off. It’s not groundbreaking but does add to the immersion when playing.

The draw distance as well in Tomb Raider for next-gen console is impressive. You’ll find yourself at times just panning the camera behind Lara to take in the gorgeous view in the distance.

A major feature however in this HD port is that of the fire.

In many games fire just acts as a catalyst for bad things to happens and that’s about it they never really escalate beyond that. In Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition whilst the fire is still a catalyst for bad things, it’s actually something that is acknowledged by Lara.

As Lara gets closer to any type of heat source large enough to be a threat she’ll cough, stagger and most importantly raise her arms in front of the face for the pure fact to lessen the heat and chances of her face burning.

It’s animations like this in which developers Crystal Dynamics can add to a game, that’ll make my experience that much more immerse and enjoyable. It’s why I’ve been holding out for next-gen versions of most games because whilst yes, graphically they’ll be better developers can add nice little touches into the game like they have here in Tomb Raider.

Apart from all this Crystal Dynamics have included the usual next-gen features which should be present in many games. Subsurface scattering technology to capture physically accurate lighting within the world.

When Lara stands in front of a barrel with fire protruding from within you’ll see her shadow move according to the direction the flames.

Again minute details all working together to implement realism. Higher resolution texture for the environment and character models alike. There are no stones left un-turned in this port and I’m glad I’ll get to experience the new Tomb Raider with much more fidelity when its released at the end of this month.

The only problem that I see with this HD port is that consumers who have already purchased the current version available, they do not see the justification in paying full price for the same game with a few updates.

Down the rabbit hole she goes
Down the rabbit hole she goes

OXCGN’s Buyers Guide to Christmas!


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OXCGN’s Buyers Guide to Christmas!

Our team pick their top 5 buys this Cristmas

by OXCGN Staff

With Christmas fast approaching and shopping centers now having entered late trading hours, now is the best time to pick up any last minute gifts for friends or family that you may have missed. Since the Christmas period usually means quiet time on all fronts, we thought we’d have our staff pick 5 titles or peripherals and compile a list of what you could purchase for someone this Christmas.

If you are struggling to find the perfect present for a friend, family member or even yourself, hopefully this quick guide can give you some idea for those who are hard to purchase presents for.

What will you put under someone's tree?
What will you put under someone’s tree?

Continue reading OXCGN’s Buyers Guide to Christmas!

Why R18+ is Not the Answer, a Case Study Involving Saints Row IV


R18+ Saints Row IV HeaderWhy R18+ is Not the Answer, a Case Study Involving Saints Row IV

Follow the whole debacle down the rabbit hole

by Rocco Rinaldo

©2013 Rocco Rinaldo

saints_row_4-wide(Ed: Welcome our newest contributor Rocco Rinaldo, who joins as our opinionated writer. First up, he looks at Australia’s newly implemented R18+ classification and the news surrounding Saints Row IV over the last few months building up to its release)

When the Australian Classification Board (ACB) refused to classify Saints Row IV, debate surrounding censorship, appropriateness and the false hope of the R18+ classification in Australia sparked up again.

Here are my 2 cents.

If you thought the R18+ classification would automatically let you play any game created no matter how obscene or graphic, you were wrong and you should feel bad.

Deep Silver screwed up by choosing cheap laughs over a considered approach to mature content, underestimating the importance of incorporating adult material in a relevant and context specific way.

Click here to delve deeper into the R18+

OXCGN’s Exclusive Deadfall Adventures Interview


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OXCGN’s Exclusive Deadfall Adventures Interview

“Please don’t expect it to copy Uncharted”

by David Hilton and Nicholas Laborde

© 2013 David Hilton

Deadfall_screenshot_1_oxcgnWhen I first saw the Deadfall Adventures trailer I breathed a little sigh of joy.

No space marine.  No modern soldier.  No blown up warehouses.

Here was what looked like a First Person Indiana Jones game; a game with a sense of adventure instead of dread for the fate of the world.

We jumped at the chance to discover more about the game and see what the developers were going to be striving for.

Deadfall_screenshot_2_oxcgnArthur Falkowski is the producer at The Farm 51, the Polish studio behind Necrovision and Painkiller: Pain and Damnation.

Reinhard Pollice is the Business & Product Development Director at Swedish publisher Nordic Games.

We asked them to elaborate on what we saw in the video.

Deadfall Adventures here

OXCGN’s Tomb Raider Review


REVIEW_Tomb Raider

OXCGN’s Tomb Raider Review

A Survivor is Reborn

by Daniel Geikowski

©2013 Daniel Geikowski

PS2CoverSheet108Rebooting a game is risky business.

On one hand, a game is usually rebooted due to a decline in popularity of a franchise, where a fresh start and new perspective is required. Therefore, various changes and mechanics are implemented, sometimes with characters being overhauled in order to generate new interest in the series.

On the other hand however, altering much of the core themes, characters or mechanics can have disastrous effects. Developers risk damaging their product even further and possibly losing the last remnants of an audience they were so desperate to retain.

Time is also a factor on the popularity of a franchise. As time goes on, and more entries are released, it is only a matter of time before fans begin to lose interest due to stale or overused mechanics, bland characters, and cliched storylines.

The latest entry into the franchise, simply titled Tomb Raider, aims to reboot the ailing series, detailing the beginnings of the young Lara Croft.

And it succeeds.

Developer Crystal Dynamics, along with publisher Square Enix, have injected the once popular Tomb Raider series with new life.

Tomb Raider successfully reappropriates the franchise for a new generation of gamers thanks to updated mechanics, along with two very important things: a believable main character and a well-told story.

See if Lara’s new adventure is for you…