Our second lot of gameplay from the Titanfall Beta; this time Alex takes you through the tight alleyways and streets of Angel City, playing on the Domination-like game mode, Hardpoint.
Game mode: Hardpoint
Map: Angel City
Alex shows off the map Fracture from the Titanfall Beta on Xbox One.
Game type: Attrition
Another year, another Madden. Its become a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. Going out and buying the new Madden game in November seemed kind of odd to me, but holding out for the next-gen iteration of American football seemed the way to go, and thankfully, the wait paid off.
Zoo tycoon is another game in the Tycoon collection, with this one being based on a realism simulator controlled by the Kinect. I remember playing the original Zoo Tycoons on the PC and they were a quirky simulation game. I bought it purely because there’s not a ton of games for the Xbox One yet and I really didn’t want to buy Call of Duty, FIFA or Forza 5 because I want Xbox One exclusives, otherwise what’s the point in spending £500 on a new console.
I have never really been a fan of any Tennis games: particularly new ones: but Topspin 4 really wins me over.
Being released early in 2011 Topspin features completely new gameplay and tournament modes.
In this game you are able to completely customize your player to your heart’s content ( upgradable cloths, racquet, and other tennis equipment) and you can also customize the way you hit certain tennis shots. You are also able to choose from a huge number of tennis coaches who give you certain challenges based on your skill level. Being on the court playing against pros really feels like you are a professional yourself which is a great feeling. In the start of the game you start as a rookie competing in the amateur tour until you are offered a spot in the pro tour. Right from the beginning of this game I felt right at home because the controls are easy to use and the game does a great job of gently sliding you into the gameplay.
There are plenty of tutorials available if you need to learn the ropes, and they certainly helped me. Basically, you need to be aware of timing and positioning. Returning to the centre after hitting a serve, avoiding the middle ground and knowing when to approach the net. You don’t need to be an expert to make these decisions, skill and understanding comes naturally with play and soon enough you’ll be battling it out in thirty shot rallies. Controlling your player is very straight forward, and each face button applies to a specific type of shot (lobs, slices, etc.). You can alter the style of these shots by playing with control or with power, and that’s determined by how long you hold the button. But if you’d prefer not to have a giant blister on your thumb, try to avoid abusing those power shots. The shoulder buttons add even more variety with your stance, but you can get away without using them if you’re a casual Tennis fan. It’s a shame that 2K hasn’t employed the EA tactic of mapping the controls on to the right analogue stick, as it would have been an interesting experiment to try out. Top Spin 4 still feels perfectly fine without it, but it would have been a nice option to have.
Not only does it feel right, Top Spin 4 also looks the part. As I mentioned earlier, the presentation is top class, and this is complemented by superb in-game visuals. The animation really stands out; The graphics are crisp, the character movement and personalities are very good, and the gameplay is fantastic meaning that you get a spectacular sporting experience every time you turn this game on.
Players move naturally and their behaviour is incredibly realistic. It’s all about the details. Example; your opponent hits the net and you end up losing a point, he or she will then gesture an apology. That’s exactly what happens in a real game of Tennis, and these moments really do improve the overall quality of Top Spin 4. As the match continues, players will grow tired and beads of sweat can be seen running down their foreheads. The official players look like their real-life counterparts too (terrible hair styles included). To accompany all of this, Top Spin 4 has some of the most impressive courts that we’ve ever seen in a Tennis game. It really is quite astonishing in places. Some of the venues can be a little absurd and far-fetched, especially in Dubai, but once again the attention to detail shines through. Footprints are visible on the clay courts of France, and rough patches are scattered around the green lawns of England. Top Spin 4 ticks all of the boxes, and we haven’t even discussed the multiplayer yet. This game however does have some bad points meaning that there are some frustrating parts. There are only two licensed music tracks in this game meaning the music is very repetitive. Also the controls for on the court are sometimes confusing meaning that you sometimes run in the wrong direction. But apart from some minor setbacks this game is hard to fault.
There are also a number of game modes that you can play through in this game as well. They range from great fun multiplayer modes, through to arcade single player events. 2K have also added some fantastic new challenges to the single player career experience, seeing you compete for sponsors, challenge up and coming beginners who think they have what it takes, or relax and participate in a two week Yoga course.
The multiplayer gameplay in Topspin 4 is fantastic and fun seeing you compete against friends in either singles or doubles matches where all of your skills are tested. I spent hours playing matches against a friend just for the fun of it.
All in all this is a fantastic Tennis game (the best to date) that really shines through. The graphics, gameplay and animations are very well done however there are a few problems, lack of music, poor controls.
Last week FIFA 14 scored first place in the UK sales charts and knocked Grand Theft Auto V into second place, in spite of the fact that FIFA 14′s sales were not as high as FIFA 13′s.
The 1st of October saw Grand Theft Auto V’s long-awaited online mode launch, which immediately crashed upon opening to the public. Since the launch players have had limited access to the online multiplayer, and Rockstar has issued multiple statements reassuring the fans that they expected such an event. After the weekend the connection issues are somewhat resolved.
In spite of the online launch, which looked as if it would give GTA 5 the advantage in this week’s charts, FIFA 14 still holds the top spot, with GTA sitting comfortably in second place.
New additions to the chart include F1 2013 jumping straight to third, and NBA 2K14 sliding in at seventh (both released October 4th).
UK Chart as of week ending 5th October
1. FIFA 14 (Same)
2. Grand Theft Auto V (Same)
3. F1 2013
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
5. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Down from 3)
6. Disney Infinity (Same)
7. NBA 2K14
8. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Down from 7)
9. Just Dance 2014
10. Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (Down from 4)
As you all well know, the current generation of consoles is quickly approaching an end. In this generation, we’ve seen massive uprisings of genres such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and – for the football fan – FIFA. Whilst FIFA 14 – the final FIFA game to release first on the current-gen consoles – does nothing to revolutionize the series, EA Sports have done a fantastic job in fine tuning all of the major features which have been added to the series over the last few years, as well as giving it an all-important makeover as far as presentation off the pitch is concerned.
Creative Assembly’s next grand strategy title has finally arrived, and is the best strategy game I’ve ever played to date. It lives up to its name in every possible way and is a shining example of what the RTS genre is all about. Everything we love about Total War games is here, managing empires, raising and battling armies, a diplomacy system that actually works, and strikingly good historical accuracy.
Rome II’s scope itself is a behemoth to behold and tasks players from the beginning with leading their faction into being the world’s next superpower, either through military action, economical means, or diplomacy. There are so many different routes for players to go down that the game should keep players preoccupied for weeks to come. 45 hours in to one of my campaigns and I had only 5 of 7 ultimate goals done. The game is huge!
The core mission for Rome II remains the same in where players will conquer their way across a huge map one turn at a time, all while managing your ever growing empire and keeping public dis-rest at a low so people don’t rebel. The game sprawls from ancient England all the way to Egypt and beyond, making for the biggest Total War campaign map yet.
And every culture in between has its own unique tech tree to customize, units to recruit, and buildings to construct. Roman Legions will clash with other units in a disciplined, systematical fashion while the howling barbarians to the north descend upon their foe in an overwhelmingly frightening action.
Rome II’s campaign map is constructed a little differently as well this time around, opting for a new province system which has one large walled capital surrounded by one to three smaller, non fortified settlements that can be captured independently. Capturing an entire province allows for the player to issue an edict there which can be anything from increased food production & public order, to an increased cultural conversion rate or more income from taxes.
Unifying provinces will also make it a lot easier to micromanage your empire as players will only have to click on one city to open the building project screen for a slew of others.
The one change I loved the most about Rome II is its new army system. At first, I didn’t think I’d like it, but in the end, I turned out to love it. Armies can now only exist under the leadership of a general, and you can only have so many generals under your command in correspondence to your empire’s size.
While that may sound problematic, the garrison system in Rome II is extremely well done and now provides players with an adequate amount of troops to defend their cities from attack against foreign invaders and rebellions, eliminating the need for an army to be garrisoned there.
And the best part is that this doesn’t cut into your upkeep, meaning you can focus only on your armies when it comes to expenses and not the safety of your settlements, which is handled by how big it is and what kind of buildings you have constructed there. I almost never had to bring in an army to help out with the defense of city except for only a handful of times that I can probably count on two hands.
90% of the time I could make due and defend my territories with the garrisoned army. It may require a little strategy on your part to emerge the victor, but heck, that’s what the game is all about!
The diplomacy system is another great feature in Rome II, and for me, it’s the first game to actually have a working alliance system. If you’re attacked or go to war with another faction, allies will actually send armies over to help you, defend your cities, and even put down rebellions if one arises and they’re nearby. It actually pays off to make friends in Rome II!
You can even make non aggression pacts with other nations, meaning neither of you will attack each other so long as the pact stands. And at times, they’ll assist you in the fighting if they think it protects their interests as well (for instance a foreign nation invades the province bordering between you and them).
And this makes declaring war on other factions all the more difficult since you’ll want to check in on who they’re allied with, trading with, who they have pacts with, etc. Because you definitely don’t want to start a war with someone who will have four armies suddenly pop up from allies ready to support them because most likely, you aren’t going to win that fight.
As far as battles go in Rome II, there isn’t many new things to talk about here besides that it’s a blast like always and the presentation is second to none. The one new feature I noticed here were the combined naval and land battles everyone’s already been buzzing about, which were fun, but nothing super special. They only really came in handy when you were besieging a city and could sneak into the settlement via the port, or maybe land troops at another gate more quickly to spread out the battlefield.
Many of the multiplayer features are back with Rome II as well, minus the avatar system that Shogun 2 had where you could level them up and receive bonus’s for different things. With Rome II, you can challenge other players to a battle, or do a campaign with them either head to head or via coop.
Total War: Rome II is Creative Assembly’s best Total War entry yet. Despite the few bugs I’ve found here and there, the massive scope of the game and near flawless AI system has left me in awe and jittery for what lies next (expansions?).
It’s been a while since Blizzard has developed any games for anything besides the PC, but its return to consoles with Diablo III is a smashing success. The game, although already released on PC, is one of the best games I’ve played this console generation and is by far the best dungeon crawler on the market right now for the PlayStation 3.
As much as I loved the PC version, the PS3 counterpart is by far the superior game thanks to a new control scheme that abstains from the series’ traditional point-and-click interface that has become a staple to past Diablo games in favor of more direct control over your character’s movement via the left analog stick, the right stick utilized for dodging.
The result is a more dynamic and engaging combat experience than its PC cousin, making for a more action-packed game that I was able to get lost in. I could play the game for hours on end and never grow bored since I felt like I was actually apart of it all. Back-flipping away from charging foes was a very handy tool to have at my disposal, and so was the ability to stun groups of enemies and then smash them all to bits with one powerful blow.
And despite the more friendly control scheme that accompanied the console version, all of the tactical depth Diablo fans have come to love is still there, along with the extensive character build options and the endless supply of loot that will draw you back into dungeons again and again.
Even the slight inventory redesign fared well. It uses a radial menu system for viewing and selecting your equipment that is extremely easy to navigate and work your way through to get done whatever it is you set out to do. The only flaw being the comparing items function which is a little more time consuming than it is on the PC version, but it was nothing too drastic that hindered my experience with the game.
All in all, Blizzard’s designed the best looking, most functional inventory system I’ve seen in a console game, one I actually didn’t dread jumping into to sort through all of my armor, weapons, junk, etc. Or even to sell items I didn’t need, or comparing and equipping new weapons and armor I had recently acquired. The best tweak to the system is that all items now take up only one inventory slot, which allowed for a lot less return trips back to town to sell your loot, saving huge chunks of time for me.
Excluded from the game was the online auction house system and Battle.net accounts, meaning players could either play the game offline or log-in to their PSN accounts if they wanted to play some coop with randomized players or those on their friend-lists. But perhaps one the best featured in the game is the ability to play coop locally with up to three friends on the couch.
The game is a blast to pick up and play with a few friends and is easy enough for them to simply pick up a controller and start hacking away. The only drawback is that they need to create a new character if they haven’t made one already, which starts them back at level one. You will all share loot drops as well, and when someone brings up the inventory system to sift through their goodies, it will pause the game for everyone since you all share the same screen. But the ability to drop items for your friends to pick up if you don’t need them is handy feature as well to be able to spread loot around, or give your friend a nice armor or damage boost if they need one.
The Bureau has finally arrived after numerous setbacks that led many to suspect the game to be cancelled just a year ago. Despite the challenging development cycle, 2K Games managed to get their re-imagined XCOM on the market in time for the fall, just beating out the oncoming storm of the next generation of consoles in November.
It’s hard to get a grasp for what kind of game The Bureau wants to be though, which made for a rather challenging and sometimes annoying play-through of the game, which took about 15 hours to complete if you only attempt the main story missions and avoid doing the handful of extra content the game has to offer. Is it a shooter like they claim or is it an RPG from all the forced RPG-like elements 2K threw into the game to add variety?
For example, the game utilizes an RPG-like conversation system similar in style to that of Mass Effect’s, where players can choose from a variety of different responses during a conversation and delve a little deeper into the game’s story by asking questions, or even change the outcome of what happens next. But more often than not, the conversation detours led to useless information that ended up being just a waste of time to listen to, rendering much of the system useless as I eventually just gave up on digging a little further into the story because there wasn’t much more for characters to tell me.
The Bureau is set in 1962 and tells the story of William Carter, a CIA special agent working with XCOM. After a series of unfortunate events following the sudden invasion of an unknown alien species, Carter is tasked with saving the human race from extinction, all while trying to keep the entire operation a secret. 2K did a great job with trying to bring alive the game’s 60s era setting alive with The Bureau, from the technology used by the military, to the architecture of buildings and the music you’ll often hear playing back at base.
Players will play the game from a third-person perspective, versus that of first-person, which the game originally set out to do at the beginning of its development. On missions, players can select and customize the loadout of two additional agents, each with their own unique capabilities which are organized into classes (Commando, Engineer, Support, and Recon), which will come in handy as you progress through the game and the AI becomes increasingly harder to deal with.
Carter can’t assume control of the other agents accompanying him, but he can issue out orders by entering “Battle Focus Mode”, which significantly slows down time and gives players the chance to order their agents to move to strategic positions on the battlefield, attack specific targets, revive downed players, and activate their class-specific abilities. Players can also customize their support agents outfits, the weapons they’ll be using, what equipment they’ll carry, and even what abilities they’ll be able to use through the game’s skill tree system.
During every mission, Carter and his agent will earn experience from kills and completing objectives, and when you and your agents earn enough XP, you’ll level up, and from there you’ll have so many points to spend in a skill tree. Players can apply their points to increase their health bar, or select from a multitude of special attacks to learn that can be used in battle, which include everything from the ability to turn enemies against each other to being able to lift your enemies up and freeze them in time, giving you and your agents time to harm them while they’re helpless to defend themselves.
And just as in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, if your soldiers die in battle, they will suffer a permanent death and won’t return for future missions. Thankfully, Carter and his companions can revive each other within a set amount of time, but depending on what difficulty you’re playing on, revived agents may not be battle-ready when saved and in some cases, you may not be able to call upon replacement agents either.
But the one thing nagging at me in the back of my head about The Bureau is the complete lack of re-playability the game has once you’ve beaten it. While back at XCOM headquarters, players can choose from a variety of missions to embark on. They can choose to complete side-missions or continue on with the story. But after each story missions, previous side-missions will disappear forever and can’t be replayed. And once you’ve completed the entirety of the main story, the game ends. You won’t be able to go back and play previous side-missions you may have missed or skipped over, meaning you’ll have to completely start over if you want to play anything from the game again.
Another pet-peeve of mine from the game is how clunky the game feels when you’re in the thick of the action. Sprinting feels extremely awkward to do and aiming just doesn’t feel very fluid, the whole action just seems forced. The game’s cover system can be a major hassle too when you’re trying to dodge incoming grenades or getting up to run away from a flanking enemy and will keep you locked on to whatever you’re hiding behind.