Lava boats, because Sh!t just got real.

24 05 2012

Hey guys, thought I would firstly let you know that my review for Trials: Evolution is live, so check it out here:ย http://scottishgeeks.com/trials-evolution-review/

Now, I have been playing a lot of minecraft on the 360 over the last couple of days with my friend Dan, however, when we found several rooms filled to the brim with lava, I couldn’t help but feel like there should be some better way to get over a pool of lava to grab some of that elusive obsidian, so, I decided that there should be lava boats in this game. Clearly, iron can hold up to those searing heats when it is in the form of a bucket, so why can’t Steve just go ahead and make a giant, man-sized bucket and float around the lava in it? makes perfect sense to me ๐Ÿ˜›

Lastly, as it is my mothers birthday today, I thought I would bring you guys a list of the worst parents in gaming. So, I’m currently working hard and writing that, so watch this space, it should be up here soon ๐Ÿ™‚

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All that news

29 01 2012

Hi there everybody. I come to you today with pretty much no news, apart from maybe I should do more with my saturdays other than work and play games ๐Ÿ˜› So with all that, I’m going to just jump right into things and give you my review of Gears of War 3. Enjoy your read and please comment below ๐Ÿ™‚

Gears of War 3 Review

The Gears of War franchise has established itself on the grounds on great, fast paced, cover based shooting and plenty of ways to paste our enemies across the walls. Gears of war 3 is no different, adding a couple new weapons and modes into the mix, aswell as bringing the lambent into the spotlight of the story, offering us even more types of enemies to get caught on the wrong side of our shotgun.

The story kicks off roughly two years after Jacinto, the last human stronghold was flooded in an attempt to wipe out the locust at the end of Gears of War 2. It would seem that humanity’s plan didn’t work, and the loscust are still the scourge of humanity. The story picks back with Marcus Fenix and his buddies living on a colony cruise ship, and big surprise, it gets invaded by the lambent. At this point, Marcus learns that his father may still be alive, and have important information about the locust. From then on this game is all about finding Marcus’ father, and hoping he has found a way to rid the locust threat once and for all.

The story gives us plenty enough motivation to keep on gunning through the (roughly) 6 hour campaign. Plenty of set piece moments and boss battles keep the pace up and the action high. This is the ending of a trilogy, so expect deaths, on both sides of the battle, and the death scenes were some of the best bits of storytelling the trilogy has seen to date. However, I still found the story to be little more than a reason to just blow things up. This is no reason to fear buying this game, because the rest of the game is really where the game shines through.

Firstly, the addition of an arcade mode to the campaign is a welcome addition. Adding a level of competetive play within the co-op story mode, as all of the players fight together against the locust horde, but at the same time compete for the most kills in an attempt to rack up more points than their buddies. It works great for the most part, however there are times when, if you’re not playing with players you don’t know, there may be moments, like in all games, where selfishness occurs, and opponents will leave you to die. Luckily however, players will respawn 30 after death, so long as one player stays alive, leaving frustration to a minimum.

The multiplayer mode is also now much improved, with dedicated servers working away behind the scenes, the lag is now almost non existent, and matchmaking speeds are hugely improved from the other titles. Not to mention the great new team deathmatch variation, which gives the whole team a pool of respawns to share, meaning that teamwork becomes even more important, if anybody just continues to run into no-mans land and die, then the whole team suffers. This new variation of the classic Gears gameplay is possibly the best so far, and the new best way to play multiplayer in Gears of War 3.

Then there is the new take on horde mode. Horde 2.0 adds fortifications and upgrades to this fantastic mode, and the game that defined the horde mode has now redefined it, making it harder, better and a whole lot more fun than ever before. Not to mention the boss wave on every tenth wave, pitting us against the likes of berserkers and brumaks. This then manages to destroy all your fortifications, and also, all of your plans, sending you and your buddies into panic mode as you scramble around the battlefield trying to wear down those big beasties. With fences, turrets, sentry guns, decoys and silverbacks all at your disposal, there are plenty of ways to keep back the devastating horde invasion. It’s a fresh a wonderful take on the much imitated mode, making it the best around yet again.

Finally, there is the all new beast mode. Beast mode is essentially a horde mode, which puts you in the shoes of the locust, letting you play the part of wretches and tickers, all the way up to bloodmounts and berserkers. This mode can be fantastic fun, giving us even more variation in gameplay, and who would have ever thought that playing kamikaze as a little ticker would ever be so much fun. Unfortunately the downside to this is that it really doesn’t last long enough, with only 12 rounds before the end, the fun ends almost as soon as it begins, with many players only unlocking the higher tier locust to play as right before it finishes, it leads to many wishing they had a bit longer to play around with all those bid baddies we’ve been crushing all these years.

Now with all these modes to play through, plus the ability to play through all of them with at least 3 other players at once, it’s easy to see why there is plenty of bang for your buck here in Gears of War 3. Plus, with an experience and unlock system that runs through the whole game, rewarding you with character and weapon skins, executions and mutators (e.g. infinite ammo and big head mode), there is plenty of reason to see it all here, and give everything a go, and many reasons to keep coming back for more.

That doesn’t mean however that there aren’t disappointments. Although there are many changes to the modes, trying to find the changes made to the core gameplay starts to become a little bit more difficult. Yeah, alright, they have the new mantle kick, allowing you to kick enemies into a stagger if they are in the way of you mantling over a wall, and yeah, they have a couple new weapons like the digger, and sawn-off shotgun. However, other than that, it feels pretty much like playing a very extensive Gears of War 2 DLC pack at times within the game.

You may have noticed however that graphically, this game has certainly had a nice bump up, this game is beautiful, and once again finds itselfย  being one of the most fantastic looking games of the year. Running at a smooth frame rate that never lets up, even when there are dozens of locust baring down on you. In fact, the whole presentation of the game is nothing but stellar, with a great soundtrack, wonderful, varied environments and an overall polish to the whole game, it’s clear to say that plenty of time and effort has been put into making this the best sounding and looking game of the trilogy so far. Also take note that the sound of a mans head being trampled into the ground has never been so satisfyingly crunchy.

So while not having a bunch of brand new content, there is still no denying the awesomeness that is Gears of War 3. With really tight and focused gameplay, some of the finer moments in the story so far and plenty of modes to play, this is definitely Gears at its finest.





Skyward Sword Review

19 01 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the Wii’s one last big hurrah before it gets overshadowed by the impending launch of the WiiU in 2012, and let me tell you right now, this is one hell of a swan song and the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of possibly the finest gaming franchise of all time.

Skyward Sword actually takes place before any of the other games in the series, and tells the origins of the master sword, and the story behind it. This results in the world of Hyrule being transformed once again, this time, bringing a big chunk of the landscape into the sky, and it just so happens that, on this island in the sky is where our heroes, Link and Zelda call home.

Like most other Zelda games, we start the game as a humble little boy called Link, who is living a normal life, until a drastic event occurs, throwing our hero into the role he was destined for. This, however is where the similarities end. From the very start of the game, there is an emphasis on the relationship between Zelda and Link, telling the story of two childhood friends whose relationship is blossoming from the moment the game begins. Nintendo boldly went where they have never gone before with Zelda this time round, and I never want to go back. Despite a lack of voice acting, the amount emotion conveyed through the characters is unbelievable, leaving me genuinely caring for Zelda and Link’s relationship, after those few short hours they spend together at the very beginning of the game. It’s not just the main characters that will leave and impression on you either, every one of the characters in Skyloft, the games main (and only) town, makes a lasting impression on you, regardless of how little a role (if any) they actually play in the story. This is a testament to the sheer charisma that this game squeezes out of every orifice, everything you encounter in the game will feel like it has a purpose, and Nintendo have found a way to keep the wonderment going throughout the entire game.

The gaming couple of the year

They have completely nailed the story too, it follows a simple premise, save Zelda, and even though you are saving the entirety of Hyrule in the process, it feels like a positive side-effect of saving what you really care about. The aforementioned relationship that is formed between you and Zelda is enough to drive you emotionally through the game, and leaves you genuinely wanting to go ‘save the princess’. Nintendo have cleverly played to this in small ways throughout the game, for example, you are constantly aiming towards wherever Zelda may be heading next, there is no ‘save Hyrule’ to be seen, your one and only thought is you must save the girl you care so much about. However, the story is still fascinating, leading into tales of demons, goddesses and sacred swords, if rescuing Zelda is not enough to keep you going (firstly, you should feel ashamed), then the story will more than likely entice you through its twists and turns to the point of no return.

The antagonist of the game, Ghirahim, is a cocky, creepy and wonderful character. You’ll be wanting to slash your way through him from the moment you meet him, and unlike other games, the game gives you the opportunity. For the first time ever, you get to fight the antagonist on more than one occasion, at several points in the game. I love this approach, as it gives you a closer connection to Ghirahim, and makes you want to foil his plans all that much more, it also relieves some of the anger I always have for enemies in games, in which they encounter you several times, and never attempt to stop you until the end of the game. I also found myself loving your companion, Fi, who is charming in her own almost robotic way, try to think of Fi as Zelda’s answer (albeit a less funny answer) to portal’s GLaDOS, in the sense that the humour comes from the lack of understanding of human emotion.

You're doing it wrong!

Skyward Sword is the first Zelda to truly embrace motion controls, and after playing it, I find myself wondering how I have ever played a Zelda game without them. Utilizing the Wii motionplus add-on, Skyward Sword offers precision controls throughout, and lets us play around with Link’s sword. Using 1:1 control, we finally get unhindered control over the mighty master sword. This automatically makes the game better in more ways than I ever considered. The combat is now fluid, precise and can be rather challenging if you don’t pay attention to where you are waggling. Every slice, stab and spin you make is mirrored perfectly and can be the difference between life and death, as enemies now block and parry your attacks, and if you make a wrong move, prepare to pay for it, especially in the boss fights, which are easily some of the best bosses I have encountered ever (not even in just Zelda games).

One monumental change that has been made to the game is the layout of the world itself. Gone are the barren plains that have haunted previous games, and in place of them are concise areas of land, containing more puzzles, enemies and challenges than ever before outside of a dungeon in Zelda, so much so that the areas themselves feel like mini-dungeons. They act as training grounds for the real challenges that lay ahead in the beautifully crafted dungeons. These too have received a bit of a shrink in terms of size, taking less time than a dungeon in your typical Zelda game. However, they also contain some of the cleverest design ever seen in a Zelda game, with the clear, shining example being the areas which switch between two-time zones on the fly through the use of time crystals, that cause a small area around the crystal to revert to how they were in the past, which results in enemies being spawned from skeletons, puzzles being activated and even landscape to be changed.

Oddly enough, despite everything I just said, Skyward Sword manages to be one of the biggest Zelda games to date, replacing empty spaces with areas so perfectly crafted it scares me slightly. This game could easily last a person 50 hours when taking into account all of the hidden treasures, heart pieces and side quests, and I haven’t even started on the upgrade system yet. Also, to make things even better, the game adds a new game plus type feature into the mix, which makes the game more difficult if you play it through a second time. They have also added in a time trail mode where you can attempt a marathon of all the bosses in the game in one go and see how fast you can do it.

Now, we all realise that the Wii has been showing its age over the last couple of years, however, the art style of Skyward Sword is exquisite, and almost like a moving painting. I love it so much that I could easily see myself comparing it to the likes of uncharted 3 and more for the best looking game of the year. Simply put, the all around presentation of the game is something which I thought was impossible to achieve on the Wii. Stunning graphics, amazing set-pieces and not to mention a beautiful soundtrack (as always) that was performed perfectly by a full orchestra for the first time in a Zelda game.

Easily the best looking Wii game to date

The truth is, words cannot really do justice how amazing this game plays, feels and looks. This review has barely even scratched the surface of what this game has to offer. Not to mention the feeling this game gives you when you are playing it. If all games were this good, then the world would be a better place.For every tiny blemish, there are 100 moments of spectacle that nothing can take away from. If there was an award for ‘best everything’ this game would win it, without a doubt in my mind. This game is a love letter to all that is Zelda, and proves anybody who felt it was an aging title wrong. If all games series can last 25 years and still be this fresh, fun and rejuvenating as this game was to me, then I can’t wait for the next 25 years of games yet to come. Many people still believe Ocarina of Time to be the greatest game of all time, and if Skyward Sword hasn’t stolen the crown, then it has at very least come astonishingly close, and proved the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of gaming brilliance.