Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for PS4 Recalled in Australia


Earlier today, QV Software has informed Australian retailers to pull copies of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for PlayStation 4 from their shelves due to a manufacturing issue, which has caused the incorrectly classified version of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected to be released in Australia.

Major gaming retailers in Australia, both EB Games and JB Hi-Fi have removed all listing of the PS4 game from their corresponding websites.

Customers are encouraged to return their PlayStation 4 copies of Saints Row IV: Re-Elected to their place of purchase for a full refund. Retailers are being sent correctly classified copies of the game as replacements and will arrive soon.

OXCGN’s Super Awesome Sunset Overdrive Review


Sunset Overdrive is the first foray for Insomniac Games in creating a fresh new IP, exclusively for the Xbox One. Said to be the “rock and roll end times”, Sunset Overdrive borrows heavily from titles such as Dead Rising, inFamous and an old favourite of mine, Jet Set Radio Future.

Combining the antics of all these titles, Sunset City is ripe with collectibles to find and enemies to blow up in as many crazy ways as possible.

Upon starting, players are thrown right into the shit, standing on a train trying to get home when the OD (People who drink too much Overcharge) are causing havoc all around him. Acting as a tutorial, players learn the basic mechanics of the game. Vaulting over walls, bouncing on top of cars and parasols for boosted jumps and grinding alongside railings to amply traverse the game world. When the player finally reaches his apartment, a Herker (Large OD enemy) decides to try and make him mince meat but is distracted by an unnamed character we are yet to be introduced to.

Here the player obtains their first weapon “The Flaming Compensator” which resembles male genitalia, it’s a shotgun that also ignites enemies on fire when hit. Players can shoot enemies whilst running, grinding or under-grinding (Underneath railing) or jumping in the air.

Once the Herker leaves, the character barricades himself in his apartment then we’re taken back in time to the FizzCo Pre-Launch party for their latest energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT, which causes anyone who drinks it to become OD. Fast forward 17 days into the future, the character is safely secured within the comfort of his own home, it’s here you’re given the chance to change what your character looks like.

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Boom!

In the apocalypse vanity is almost as important as survival it seems, as you can dress your character in any way you want. Players can equip various layers of clothing on their character from singlets, hats, tattoos, pants and underwear to name a few, as well as the body type and gender. Clothes can either be bought with money you earn from missions, breaking ATM’s or unlocked by obtaining a certain point goal in various challenges. Banking up to $300,000 + for my character, spending money on clothes was quite possibly the least of my worries.

It seems like a useless currency and buying a White Fang Mask that costs $35,000 doesn’t give you much of an advantage over your enemies apart from making you look like a total bad-ass. It’s a shame when every single collectible within Sunset City has a much larger purpose to your character and money just buys clothes.

Collecting stinky shoes from power lines, toilet paper from poles, destroying security cameras, collecting Fizzie balloons and obtaining FizzCo neon signs all go towards buying Amps. Amps are the way a player can enhance their Hero, Melee attacks and Epic. Whilst some are a mere cosmetic options, others do encourage the player to portray a certain level of skill to activate, in a somewhat very accessible game. Various Ampa will cause enemies to become frozen on the spot, others will change an enemy into a TNTeddy and cause damage in a small area.

Some Amps can be bought from Floyd the games mixologist and used instantaneously, however others that you obtain as you progress through the story need to be made via a Night Defense mission and there are some extremely good ones that are well worth the trouble. This requires the player to places traps around their fort with traps unlocking through side quests or story missions, turning a valve and surviving the onslaught of OD.  It’s during these missions that the game truly utilizes Amps, Overdrives, and the crazy weaponry you have available to you. I had a complaint at the start of the game where I wasn’t happy with the amount of enemies it would throw at me, but that gets address the more you progress where the game becomes relentless.

Using multiple crowd control weapons when only a dozen enemies would be on screen at a time, it was a problem but not anymore. When you equip Amps they can only be activated via raising your Style Meter, which is located at the top right hand corner of the HUD. Performing outrageous grind kills, bounce kills or shooting with style will raise the meter. At Style Lvl 1 the player will unlock their Hero amp, Lvl 2 unlocks melee amps and weapon amps (As long as a weapon is Level 2 they can be equipped with Amps), and Lvl 3 unlock your Epic amps and activates all other amps simultaneously.

The Style Meter is nothing new, however as you progress further into the game and obtain better amps there is nothing more epic than igniting a bunch of enemies with lightning rains down from the sky at random, whilst an announcer comments of everything you do. Players will also unlock new moves when compleing certain missions such as an air and water dashing and double jumps which are the games more advanced combo moves.

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Tanks for the style there, FizzCo Tank Bot!

Much like Amps, Overdrives work to enhance the players abilities whether it’s the amount of damage they can do to a certain enemy type or the amount of Style that is generated during combat. Overdrives are unlocked and upgraded by obtaining badges, which can be rewarded for killing x amount of enemies, x distance grinded, or a certain number of times you’ve bounced on a car. There’s no real way to track these in the menu hub, but they are consistently rewarded to the player the more they play. When you unlock enough Overdrives you can only have a maximum of 6 equipped, so depending on what you want to spend your badges on be wise, as the higher level Overdrives cost multiple badges to unlock and upgrade.

To purchase weapons within the game world, players can find Overcharge cans scattered through Sunset City or via the games story missions. Each new faction you encounter within the game allows you to buy newer weapons from Two Hat Jack, who is always located at every single weapon point. Overcharge cans aren’t as easy to rack up in quantity, with some higher costing weapons requiring me to play for a few more hours before I could obtain them. Some are beter than other so it’s best to wtch each weapons tutorial before deciding which to buy.

‘The Dude’ which (The Big Lebowski reference) is a good weapon if you want to kill multiple enemies at once. The downside to this weapon is that it takes a few seconds to charge up and only fires straight, meaning that any enemies on your left or right wont be affected by the guns trajectory. Meaning that unless you really want this gun, it most likely isn’t a good choice to spend your overcharge on when you can buy a automatic weapon that shoots out exploding fireworks.

Like some of the weapons available to you, the games humour at times can be tiresome. Sunset Overdrive is an extremely meta-game and it’s is definitely self aware. It knows it’s a video game and it knows that it’s over the top. Character animations during cut-scenes are extremely wooden and sound like they are reading directly from a script. It’s hard to grow any form of real investment to any character in Sunset City. Most missions will require you to save someones life, and it really just feels like a chore to progress the story.

The further you progress into the game the better the humour becomes, however it’s still too dry and only makes you chuckle or smile at best.

There are a lot of references to other forms of work, with respawn animations by far the best inclusion in Sunset Overdrive. Whilst you go through them quite quickly, it’s always a treat seeing your character come back to life the same a Terminator is first introduced in Terminator 1 or 2. Enjoy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they use a Phone Booth to teleport through time? That’s here too. My only gripe with respawn animations is that death has absolutely zero meaning in this game apart from being able to show you these. If you die when doing a mission you’ll either respawn exactly where you left off with no loss in money, overcharge or items.

During some missions you’ll respawn at a checkpoint but apart from that there’s no real need to be careful in this game since there’s no penalty. It’s meant to be extremely accessible to any gamer and that’s evident with the aim assist when shooting as well as the fact that you never have to reload any guns. I just wonder why they included the player being able to die when the novelty of re-spawning wears thin.

These are the games only real faults though alongside it being very polished. Never did I find myself caught in large scale battles where the framerate would drop, and I could see very little clipping or textures issues throughout the city. With so much happening at any given time I was surprised at how smoothly it ran, going for 900p with a much more stable framerate over 1080p was definitely a good decision by Insomniac. On my 60″ SONY Bravia I cannot fault the game, despite some character models looking a little wonky from the waist down and some pieces of clothing being way too big.

It’s hard to say this game isn’t worth purchasing, when you can enjoy the mayhem it incurs without investing in the lackluster story.

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Explosions in style

Chaos Squad is the games only form of multiplyer that is accessed via photobooth type outlets in the city. Players walk up to these hubs, select a portion of the city they wish to search for, and the game will instantly try to find a maximum of 8 players and thrust them into Chaos Squad all whilst you’re still roaming around the city. This multiplayer game type is basically made up of 5 different challenges players can vote for and upon succession can build up points and a chaos rating. When all 5 challenges are completed, the final stage is determined via the the previous 5 challenges. Depending on the amount of chaos accumulated, this stage can either be very easy or extremely difficult.

Again, this horde type game mode makes great use of all the games abilities, from Amps, Overdrives and Traps. Through future DLC, Night Defense can definitely enhance the 15-20 hour overall length of the game, so long as the variety with traps and enemies is built upon, Sunset Overdrive will give players multiple hours of enjoyment. I just do hope that Insomniac Games includes a free roam co-op option much like Destiny has where you can encounter other players and do random quests without needing to do Chaos Squad.

Mo' money, mo' guns
Mo’ money, mo’ guns

Pros:

+ Over the top, quirky and accessible

+ Plethora of ridiculous gun to keep the game fresh

+ Multiple collectibles with dozens of easter eggs scattered throughout the city

Cons:

– Characters during cutscenes are wooden and sound like they’re reading from a script

– Dry humor does get tiresome after a while

– Story is a means to an end, with no investment in characters needed.

– No cutsom game soundtrack as in game music gets annoying

TL;DR

Sunset Overdrive is exactly what Insomniac Games envisioned when starting this project and shopping it around years ago. Its a fresh over the top, third person open world shooter than blends the best of various games to create something quirky and unique . Whether or not you’re into this type of game, there’s no denying that Sunset Overdrive is easy to get stuck into for hours on end without actually progressing through the story.

For completionists there’s a lot to do and for the casual gamer they can get stuck into it easily. For the dedicated though, they may not seem interested for the lack of a real goal and those who currently don’t own a next generation console, this may not be the game that pushes you in favour of grabbing one now.

8/10

Review conducted via a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive Day One Edition provided by Microsoft.

Saints Row Expansion Gat Out of Hell Announced at PAX


Saints Row IV Developer Volition has revealed an announcement trailer for a standalone expansion called Gat out of Hell at their PAX panel yesterday.

After the space faring antics of Saints Row IV, many fans asked what we could do next… the answer? Shoot The Devil in the face. Play as either Johnny Gat or Kinzie Kensington as you tear apart Hell in a quest to save the leader of the Saints’ soul. Historical icons, old friends, older enemies, a talking gun, a full length musical number, and a whole lot of other shenanigans all await you in the open world standalone expansion playground that is Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell.

Gat Out of Hell will also include co-op as you explore the pits of hell with the usual crazy shenanigans.

Volition also announced a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One port of Saints Row IV dubbed Saints Row IV: Re-Elected that will launch alongside Gat out of HellSaints Row IV originally released for the PS3, PC and 360 in 2013.

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell will be available from January 27, 2015 on PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Saints Row Gat out of Hell

Australian Cinemtatic Studio Plastic Wax on Saints Row IV


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Australian Cinemtatic Studio Plastic Wax on Saints Row IV

Good to see local talent on a global scale

by Arthur Kotsopoulos

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

5058274_300It was revealed earlier today that Australian cinematic studio Plastic Wax a studio that’s worked on plenty of other gaming brandswere responsible for the cutscenes during the course of Saints Row IV’s single player campaign.

The games in the Plastic Wax portfolio include Bioshock, Civilization V, Fallout, Neverwinter and many more.

Plastic Wax EVP Dane Maddams explains;

“Plastic Wax was fortunate enough to work with the always incredibly talented Volition and Deep Silver teams, we (Plastic Wax) handled full body and hand-keyed animation for 46 minutes of cutscene material, the project took around seven months to complete. Being tied so closely to the content we had an early sneak peek at the game prior to release, and believe me, the fans are in for an incredible ride.”

Volition’s Animation Director Zach Lowery adds,

“Working with the talented team at Plastic Wax on Saints Row IV was a true pleasure. We tried hard to make sure that there wasn’t a feeling of separation and at the end of the day, it truly felt like Plastic Wax was a natural extension of our internal team.”

“The final product speaks for itself, and I’m very proud of what our teams accomplished together.”

Saints Row IV has also sold more than a million units since its release in its first week. Let’s see if that number hits 2 million when it’s finally released in Australia this week.

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

Ex-Relic, BioWare, Riot, Volition devs form Hinterland Studio


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Ex-Relic, BioWare, Riot, Volition devs form Hinterland Studio

The Long Dark

by Arthur Kotsopoulos

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

The_Long_Dark_logo-smallIn the wake of SONY’s Pre-TGS conference announcing a slimmer PS Vita with multiple colours and Konami announcing a Los Angeles based studio which will contribute to future Metal Gear Solid games another studio has opened up.

Hinterland Studio, an independent developer with games industry veteran Raphael van Lierop at the helm. In light of this new announcement they also announced the name of the first title they’re working on, The Long Dark.

The team of established games veterans working on this game have a collective of 40 triple-A games under their belts.

As per the press release: The Long Dark is a first-person post-disaster survival simulation, set in the aftermath of a geomagnetic super storm that has destroyed North America’s technology infrastructure.

In the first season of this episodic series, players experience this grim new reality through the eyes of bush pilot William Mackenzie, isolated with other survivors in the Northern wilderness as a result of the event. Gameplay emphasizes exploration to gather resources and knowledge about the world, while mastering a deep survival simulation to overcome the myriad natural and man-made hazards of the new frontier.

Players will also face difficult moral choices that will affect the outcome of gameplay, story, and ultimately, the course of humanity’s recovery.

Read the full press release here!

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 Saints Row IV Review


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OXCGN’s Saints Row IV Review

The Crackdown sequel we’ve always wanted

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

saints_row_oxcgn1In 2006, Volition under THQ gave us a GTA clone called Saints Row. And, in effect, that’s really all it was: a GTA clone capturing the open world market in a world before next-gen GTA.

I fell in love. It had a relatively serious story which was engaging, and the customization factor of the Saints diversified the game. Saints Row 2 continued this storytelling, and Saints Row: The Third abandoned this in favor of a more over-the-top, comedic storyline.

Each had their own place, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with every single one of them. Saints Row IV, though, is the epitome of what the series has been building up to. Bringing super powers and other assorted shenanigans into the mix, I can’t shake this feeling of the game being the long lost sequel to Crackdown.

And I’m perfectly content with that.

Saints Row IV review here

THQ Pays Saints Row Tribute in Final Moments


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THQ Pays Saints Row Tribute in Final Moments

Pour one for the homies

by Nicholas Laborde

©2013 Nicholas Laborde

saints row the third screenshots oxcgn #20Through this generation, we’ve seen many developers come and go.

Over the past few years, THQ has been in financial trouble, and declared bankruptcy recently.

A few days ago, their franchises were auctioned off to the highest bidders.

It’s a sad day for the gaming community, as the body of THQ was thrown to the vultures and picked clean.

Even in the midst of losing their jobs, the employees of THQ kept their spirits up.

Today was the company’s last day of operation, and in its final moments, they paid tribute to Saints Row.

See the final moments here