Need for Speed Payback, PS4 Review

You wait years for some serious racers, then three come along at once. Only to get grit sprayed in their grills by the latest in the arcade style hi-speed hi-jinks crashathon Need for Speed franchise instalment.

NFS has been divisive at times, but has mostly done a good job at delivering entertainment. The franchise has been around for a very long time and the reveal of a new instalment can often reduce serious gamers to jelly when they see shiny screens and screeching tyres.

Now in Payback its time to get your Fast and Furious on, joining the underworld of high speed car crime in an alternate Nevada alike (aka Fortune Valley) landscape. The game is billed as delivering blockbuster moments interspersed with hi-octane thrills, this happens by cutting in plenty of well designed cutscene moments. Often triggered at a narrative point or when something exceptionally cool happens around you.

It works at the outset, hopping between three main characters and one supporting role its good to see how their story starts to flesh out, a story of revenge by the way as they fight their way to the top of a massive race in the hope of bringing down mysterious antagonist The House. the narrative may be a little clumsy, but the cutscenes dovetail well with the action and pull the scripted sequence along.

For a while you may be convinced that the failings of NFS: The Run have been left behind in a ditch, for a while you may think this instalment will have legs, for a while. Continue reading

WWE 2K18 Review (Xbox One)

Here we are with another annual 2K release. This time round it is the mighty wrestlers of the WWE, or WWF, as I fondly remember it, and to be honest I haven’t followed the show since it was known as WWF so the cover Superstar, Seth Rollins, is a bit of an unknown to me.

But have no fear, all the good old favourites are all there, at a cost. Yep time to be nickel and dimed again with extra purchases. Sigh…

So off the bat you get a fair selection of modern Superstars but if ,like me, you are more of a fan of the golden age of wrestling then you will need to unlock your favourites with virtual currency.

Now this currency can be earned in game  at a fairly slow rate so getting enough to unlock all the 80’s Superstars can be a lengthy process. You do start with some currency so make the most of it. I realise that most games are now going down this god awful path of paying to unlock content but at $100 a game I expect to be able to access what I want, when I want.

I am very quickly going off games that have me grinding or paying just to access features I want included.

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Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (DLC), PS4 Review

I reviewed Horizon Zero Dawn back at the start of the year and even though 2017 has seen some of the best games in years being released, HZD is still currently sitting in my GOTY slot. I have sunk 50-60 hours into it, as well as being a good way into a fresh New Game+ run through. It has been a loooooong wait for November to roll around and some DLC. But finally I can sink my teeth into the one and only HZD content expansion, The Frozen Wilds.

Thankfully Guerilla games have delivered in spades. A large edition to the game world targeted at level 30+ characters has dropped, and the developers have snuck in some cool new weapons and lore. Unfortunately, the much anticipated new skill tree has failed to impress me, essentially the shining up of some ‘quality of life’ changes, that could have easily been done as a ‘patch’, have been given their own skill tree. Sadly the skills are far from revolutionary when it comes to moment to moment gameplay.

That all said, the quality of the world created, its characters and the gameplay mechanics were all sublime in Zero Dawn and its pleasing to say, Guerilla haven’t gone and ballsed it up.

Check out the full Video Review below. (Remember to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’) 😉

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, PS4 Review

“They don’t advertise for Nazi Killers in a newspaper, but that’s what I was ex BJ, ex soldier, ex Nazi Killer…”, okay, my dodgy gravelly voiceover aside it’s Wolfenstein Time!

Three years ago Wolfenstein: The New Order was a huge breath of fresh air, an old school style shooter with big brass balls. It was fully loaded with gore and ridiculous weapons, didn’t take itself too seriously and finished on something of a cliffhanger.

Our review went along with: Far and away the best Wolfenstein yet, far and away the most enjoyable single player shooter since the PS4.

Having had a further dalliance with BJ in the shorter top-up adventure The Old Blood, we were taken back to an earlier part of the story that built on some of the strengths of The New Order.

Now we return to the boots of William J. Blazkowicz, finding how exactly how he escaped the nuclear explosion at the end of New Order, and more importantly what happened to the world in the weeks after. Queue The New Colossus, pump up the music and fill those shotguns troopers.

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Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo Switch

Well, Mario is back with his fully fledged Switch appearance. Hot on the heels of battling Rabbids and power sliding Mario Karts the fan favourite returns once again to save Peach from the clutches of Bowser. It’s a good time to be a Switch owner, because this game deserves the plaudits and superlatives that it is leaving in its wake.

Nintendo have nailed it, pure, sweet and simple – this is the title that every Switch owner will play.

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Rogue Trooper Redux, (PS4 Review)

There was a time in life, like many of my generation when you hung out for Saturday and the latest copy of 2000AD to hit the shelves.

For years the wild sci-fi characters and irreverent stories where mainstay conversation starters around the school yard. Everybody (mostly) knows Judge Dredd thanks to Hollywood, but the comic had many stablemates for Joe that drew their own legions of fans.

Strontium Dog, Hammerstein and the ABC Warriors, Slaine, Nemesis the Warlock, Halo Jones and her robo-dog Toby, not forgetting ACE Garp. Those stories and many more were etched into history week by week, while Marvel and DC ran amok with costumed characters 2000AD delivered a hefty dose of darkness.

For me, one of the favourites and one of my all time eternal heroes was Rogue Trooper, the renegade Genetic infantryman.

Briefly, Rogue was a lone wolf character – the survivor of a botched incursion into the infamous Quartz Zone where his comrades were decimated. Rogue took it on himself to seek out the mysterious traitor that sent his men to their deaths, while fighting his way through an onslaught of enemies.

It was boys own stuff, especially when he was backed up by his three mates Helm, Gunnar and Bagman. All reduced to Bio-Chips inserted into slots on his equipment and they were fortunately quite aptly named for their roles. Being reduced to a chip was a second chance for a G.I., their subplot was to get back to the labs on Milicom (read home base) and get themselves rebuilt.

That’s the gist in a nutshell, along with a couple of minor game spoilers.

Oh, yeah, the game.

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Forza Motorsport 7 Review (Xbox One)

Wow! Number seven already.

It only seems like yesterday I was enjoying the pleasure of the first Forza Motorsport release on the original Xbox. Skip forward almost three hardware generations, three spin off titles in the form of the Horizon series, and here we are Forza Motorsport 7.

Conduit for the announcement of the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS and one of the flagship release titles for the Xbox One X due out in November. Nothing like aiming high. But based on the standards set by its predecessors why not. The Forza stable is definitely entrenched as the premier racing title on Xbox.  OK,so right off the bat let us hit up the elephant in the room. Loot Crates. Every game seems to have them in some form these days with the developers trying to squeeze every cent out of the gamer via micro transactions. So games are purely cosmetic while others can let you pay your way to the top.

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EB EXPO 2017 – Liveblog

Observations from this year’s EB Games Expo.

11.10

Last day of the annual visit to EB Expo, kicked off in style with a quick early access and walk around the empty hall. A nice run of stands that suit the venue better than last year in Sydney. Most notable is the impressive Nintendo stand which mirrors their success this year with the Switch launch and solid catalogue of games.

11.16

Hands on with Super Mario Oddessy:

We beat the queue and got hands on with Mario on an empty stand, from ten minutes of demo it’s really obvious that this is a Switch killer-app. Throwing Mario into a multitude of Kingdoms, free roaming and full of activities.

The visuals are spot on and there is plenty of depth to get lost in, not forgetting the couch co-op where one player is Mario and the other is his ever useful hat. It’s fun, family friendly and will be under a lot of Xmas trees.

 

11.50

The Playstation stand was as usual filled with lots to do. VR furore may have taken a step back this year, but new titles like Inpatient were on offer and more importantly Gran Turismo. Yes, GT in VR, which incidentally blows away the Driveclub VR competition, even though I’m a fan of that.

Activision and Warner were present on stand, so CoD was on offer and we got to have some time hands on with the new Lego games. The next chapter of Lego Marvel Superheroes being the big draw card there, for all the titles they pump out the Marvel ones are way out ahead.

Being Human looks cool and the next Playlink games were on hand, but I had an age restricted plus one, so we gave it a pass.

13.05

After a quick and perhaps nasty snack it was time to hand out at Ubisoft.

Another strong stand, following their usual circular design. Assuming from above it matches the Ubisoft swirl logo.

The games:

FarCry5 – looking fantastic on a bank of PS4 Pros. More free roaming FPS action, set in a fictional US state and with a narrative not overly far from the world today it feels great and will certainly be a must have in atet post-Christmas wasteland.

Crew2 – More vehicles, better graphics and lots to do. The Crew was fun, the Crew2 expands on that.  In the wake of all the serious racers hit around now, its good to see a plain old vanilla arcade racer still has a place.

Assassin’s Creed Origins – Backed up by a wealth of historical detail the AC series has me back on board with this one. Having missed a couple of years I’m keen to get to grips with this. Running in Xbox 4K it looks very pretty indeed, apart from that the gameplay is unmistakable and offers up the excellent ‘tourist mode’ for people that just want to experience the knowledge that Ubi have accrued.

Another dancing title – well, let’s leave it there…

13.52

Hands on with Skyrim for the Switch.

Yes, its an old game that nearly everybody has played, but the Switch makes it attractive again by adding flexibility. Allowing you to play on etc mini screen or big screen, being able to take Skyrim wherever you go and being able to use a multitude of control methods, the most immersive being the twin joy con method where you can block and attack independently. That said, the rumble feature works wonders when you get down to some serious lock picking.

Certainly worth etc pick up, even if its while we wait for the VR version.

13.59

The Xbox stand covered a decent amount of space which was mostly split between Forza and Shadow of War.

Both titles look fantastic, the weather effects in Forza alone are worth the asking price and as for Shadow of Mordor – it’s more of the same only bigger, deeper and better. People that love the first game can’t go back after this.

Across the stand Player Unknown Battlegrounds made an appearance, as did Cuphead, Age of Empires and a smattering of Minecraft. No surprises there.

14.33

Retro Baby.

This Expo had a lot less floorspace compare to Olympic Park, which made it cosy and brought a few of the outdoor areas into the main floor.

One of which being the Retro Zone, stocked by Weird and Retro. This was a slice of gaming heaven with machines ranging from Space Invaders on an Atari 2600 through to Rouge Squadron on etc Gamecube. Spanning a lifetime of games each screen brought a memory back to life and I got to introduce Rufus to the joy of Dreamcast Soulcalibur and C64 Basic. Nothing like a bit of rose tinted joy amongst the megabits of today.

15.08

Overall this year’s Expo was smaller, but there was plenty to do. Stands had more presence and the venue felt fully used over the voids that Olympic Park offers.

As for showing there were lots of great new titles on offer, most of which will be in homes over the next 2 months. Around etc place everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves and there were a few sizeable queues for limited demos on exciting exclusives.

As ever the EB Store made a decent appearance, while not really feeling like a bargain hunt, it is always worth a trawl. We picked up a few Minecraft torches at a reduced price and there were still a good pile of SNES mini consoles stacked up behind the counter when we left.

This was a good show, it didn’t try to do too much and gave the consumers what they wanted. Although decent Cosplay was  bit thin on the ground today, maybe Sydney people just do it better.

The good news is that this year, I’m looking forward to next year a lot more.

NBA 2K18 Review (Xbox One)

So here we are, the latest instalment of the almighty NBA 2K series, and this years cover star is Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics. More importantly Steve Adams is as prominent as anyone in game, especially if you follow the Oklahoma City Thunder as your team.

As usual fans of NBA 2K will already be all over this and enjoying the premier basketball title available today. As for new comers to gaming or basketball games prepare to be overwhelmed with options, game modes, terminology and shoes.

Overwhelmed in a good way that is.

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