It’s that time of week for another podcast,
In this weeks slightly musical show we discuss the highs and lows of the VGX Awards, the Vita TV coming to western territories and a guy who paid way too much money for a picture of an Xbox One.
It’s that time of week for another podcast,
In this weeks slightly musical show we discuss the highs and lows of the VGX Awards, the Vita TV coming to western territories and a guy who paid way too much money for a picture of an Xbox One.
With our pre-orders placed back in July and after months of commentating and speculating on our podcast, finally the 29th of November arrived. A date we have hotly anticipated as the moment we got our grubby little mits on Sony’s fourth iteration of their PlayStation console. Having lived with it for a week now I thought it would be fitting to get some words down about the console in general and the gaming experiences I’ve had so far. This first part focuses on the console itself, my first impressions on the games available at launch will be coming next week.
As one would expect, the media has spent a good deal of time comparing the PS4 to the XBox One on every level, its outward appearance being no exception. Visually it seems to combine a retro feel with a contemporary slant quite literally. The surfaces are sleek and clean, for a while at least, the reflective quarter seems to boggle physics by drawing every particle of dust in your living room toward it like a black hole, if you are a clean freak be prepared to run a rag over it regularly. The LED strip that indicates the console’s on status (or if you are really unlucky its error status) makes it all a little sci-fi, this and other little details I really approve of as it really highlights the thought a due care that has gone into every bit of this console and it’s controller.
The DualShock 4.
If you have listened to our podcast you may be aware my initial encounter with the DS4 was a little underwhelming, as was my time with the Xbox One controller. Looking back at Eurogamer I think my experience with it was marred somewhat by the games I played on it. Now that I have a DS4 of my own I can safely say it is a worthy peer to the 360 controller, the ergonomics of the controller’s provide a surprisingly comfortable grip (something Sony in my opinion has never been good with). The thumbstick orientation is great too, no more unnatural stretching or finger bumping, keeping on the thumbsticks the resistance they provide is quite something making movements more accurate than anything to come before. The triggers too have had some major thought put in, they offer more travel and feel more analogue than digital, if this is the case it could be interesting to see how future games may implement them, for example in a shooter using them to fire semi auto with a half press rather than changing firing modes on the D-Pad.
For me the face buttons offer a similar experience to that of it predecessor, which is no bad thing and the D-Pad actually edges that of the DS3, something I didn’t think was possible. My one gripe would be the options and share buttons are a bit of a reach and certainly I haven’t managed to hit them without looking at the pad, I guess practice will overcome that but with a controller like this that makes everything else feel so natural and well placed this is a niggle keeping it from a perfect score.
The touchpad I have used relatively little so can’t comment on, other than to say that it feels sparsely implemented so far and as it stands may turn out to be more of a gimmick than essential feature. However I could be proven wrong here as I was by the controller in general which stands side by side with my beloved 360 as a tour de force in pad design.
The User Interface
A ghost of the PS3 XMB is still evident in the new UI which, unlike the XMB, is a mostly utilitarian affair. Still flowing sideways the dash is split into two primary rows, the upper is where all the functional stuff is like your notifications, settings, party, friends and PS store reside. The row below is where the fun happens, all your games are tiled out in horizontally and admittedly this could get a little messy as your library expands but your 5 most recent are place right up front which, unless you are a gaming butterfly, should minimise that ‘Sony scroll’ as much as possible.
Navigation is much breezier than the PS3, eternal lists are far less evident (bar the aforementioned gaming bar and the settings menu which is a touch long-winded) where you mostly just select, click and in you go. The whole thing is, as you might expect given the beefy internals, extremely snappy and pretty satisfying to move through, offering little to no wait time loading up menus. Design wise, Sony have chosen the very trendy super flat tile look so common in the tech world today, you just have to look at their competitors Microsoft’s console and indeed any mobile OS nowadays to see this aesthetic dominate. I have to say I like it as it gives the dash a crisp appearance.
With social media now infiltrating every part of our modern lives Sony has dished up a more integrated experience in the PS4, right from the outset you can choose to connect with social behemoth Facebook and, if you choose to do so, will pull your profile pic from the site to replace your PSN avatar. The integration runs deeper than that too as the share button (more on this later) will post gameplay videos and images directly to Facebook and indeed Twitter meaning you friends/followers get to share in/be annoyed by your finest gaming moments.
Even the What’s New section mimics Facebook by taking the familiar look of the Timeline and filling it with what you and your friends have been up to on their PlayStations, its great for seeing what people have been playing and checking your friends recent trophies or being satisfied when it posts your Resogun high-score. For a Social Media lover such as myself this is possibly one of my favourite features. I will mention it is not all rosy, some features you may have grown accustomed to on your PS3 are distinctly absent. The ability to play MP3′s, set up media servers or watch 3D blu-rays are all lacking from the PS4 at launch. Sony says they are coming down the pipe which if you are an optimist could be viewed as Sony wanting to get the newer features right, or if you are a cynic a ploy to push their Music and Video Unlimited services. Whichever side you take, if you are one of the few who actually gets the media server to work reliably then it looks like the PS3 will have to remain plugged in for now.
Speaking of the proprietary “Unlimited” media subscriptions the PS4 comes with 30 day trials of each, for kicks I thought I would try to see whether it was actually unlimited. Both myself and my girlfriend tested the Music App by searching some really obscure artists we thought it couldn’t possibly have, to our surprise it found us some music by each artist. However we did hit a limit in a sense, in one instance it find an artist but not the particular song we were looking for. We will take that as a partial win, though I think it proves we are more mainstream than we thought.
One honourable mention and my favourite function on the PS4 is the share button, this feature is what boosts this machine from a just console with upgraded horsepower to something truly next-gen. Provided you have set up your twitch previously then streaming gameplay takes literally 30 seconds to initiate, it can be done on a whim and takes literally no effort. Experiencing a particularly lovely vista in-game? a couple of taps and you have shared the view with your Twitter followers. Just mowed down a ton of enemies or performed a counter-stab in Battlefield 4? Hit the share button and have that moment immortalized and posted to Facebook. Simple. Brilliant.
So far I have been very impressed by the PS4 and can’t wait to see what else Sony has up it’s sleeve, once I can view 3D Blu-ray then myself (and the 23 other people who adopted 3D and use it) will be very happy.
Have you recently picked up a PS4 or next-gen console? Think I have missed something? Share your thoughts in the comments.Thanks.
In this episode we try to maintain an even keel by talking about the rumours surrounding Fallout 4, the GTA Online black friday event and what the players think of it. We also give our indie game of the week to the C&C based fan made shooter Renegade X.
However eremenko and Quim can’t help but show their love for their new toy’s; The PlayStation 4.
We talk about the dashboard experience, the share function, the controller as a standalone piece of kit and in comparison to the benchmark that is the 360 controller. Of course we do talk some of the launch titles too, covering Battlefield 4, Resogun, Contrast, NBA 2K14 and Killzone Shadowfall.
Did you get a next-gen console recently? let us know your thoughts and what games you picked up.
Quantic Dream produced a hell of a game in Beyond Two Souls, in this episode we tell you why we liked it an especially spoilerific way.
If you haven’t played it and you are going to, don’t listen. If you never will then give it a listen, I can’t promise you will be any more enlightened by the end of it.
The TBoD boys are once again babbling about the latest gaming news in a week that has seen the most press covered launch since Atlantis’ final trip to ISS other topics include; GTA online and it’s first batch of DLC content, exciting news about a PS4/vita bundle heading to the UK, trouble across the board in server-town with Dice’s ultimate FPS BF4, TLoU, Bioshock Inf and the other usual suspects line up for another award ceremony, the Dice summit set to put the gaming world to rights, Telltales new Game …. of Thrones?
As always if you think we rock or suck let us know in the comments, the facebook and the twitter.
Stay tuned for more content this week as Quim and ‘menko are all set to join the next gen by Friday.
Hello! I’m Dave, I’m pretty new to TBoD. I took a leap out of the shadows (and work frankly) to go to the #XboxOneTour that was on last week in Dublin, Ireland. I managed to play the Xbox One and it’s biggest titles. This is how I got on.
Xbox Ireland kindly had the event in a proper theatre, this one in fact – The Ambassador. With the upstairs filled with FIFA 14 and Killer Instinct and the downstairs with the rest. Silly me thought it was a free bar but hey, Heineken at least do have Xbox green bottles!
Whisper quiet while being in a plastic case, the Xbox One really didn’t struggle with a stuffy room and no real ventilation to speak of. In terms of accessibility of ports, it doesn’t fare as well of any of the 360 designs with only one port accessible on the side of the console. You won’t want to be plugging your XB1 controller directly into this console. The bind button is an odd inclusion due to Kinect being able to pair controllers, maybe this is a sign of a kinect-free bundle in the future?
The console itself really does remind me of a VCR but only in size, it’s really meant to disappear into the background. In the future, with Kinect, voice control, wireless accessories and digital game downloads this may be the first console you really won’t have to touch. You probably won’t want to touch it either; it is a total fingerprint and dust magnet.
For a controller that’s had ‘reportedly’ $100 million spent on it, I struggle to see where. The battery pack never bothered me on a 360 controller, and truth be told I never went back to a 360 controller after the event so I can’t say how big a difference it makes but it is certainly a more comfortable controller, mostly down to the soft and grippy finish it now has.
While everything still feels ‘just right’, the only big improvement I noticed is the triggers. There is a recurring and noticeable theme emerging with the Xbox One and that is logical decisions that seem unimpressive on paper but are just huge game changing things when you experience them. These triggers (when used properly by games) can really immerse you, driving around a track and being able to tell when you’re losing grip, when you’re hitting grass just by the feeling in each trigger is truly amazing and trumps any other Xbox One or PS4 controller feature I’ve had a chance to use. However, this wasn’t noticeable in any other game I played, another sign of potential to come I think.
Quick pro-tip, no more wired only controllers! Just plug a micro USB lead from your Xbox One into your controller and you’re good to go!
I’ve only had a brief hands on with the Xbox One’s Kinect and it wasn’t used in a navigational capacity so I can’t comment on that functionality just yet. However, I can say from playing Kinect Sports Adventures that they are accurate enough. I’m not totally sold on them though, as it struggled to cope with 4 people playing Just Dance 2014, mixing up our characters and generally not working well. I won’t pass judgment though because it was in extreme circumstances, I’m sure it performs better at home.
The last game I got to use Kinect with was Battlefield 4, and it was very gimmicky. Although the ‘peek’ motion did work, it takes too long to kick into when you’re playing a 60 frames per second FPS. It doesn’t feel natural so I doubt that will be used too much. It does show that Kinect is being taken more seriously by game developers. Looking back to the first gen Kinect, you can see it will be used more, and maybe will finally fulfill it’s potential first shown in the Project Natal videos.
The ‘Xbox One Interface’ or whatever Microsoft are calling it today (one rep referred to it as ‘Xbox Metro’ which even I knew was incorrect) is actually fantastic. While I haven’t’ had much time to play with it (I was told to not do that by reps) it switches insanely fast. Not that much different from the Xbox 360 dash but far far more streamlined. Pins look like they will finally be useful, and there is less advertising. Coming from advertising person, I oddly find it refreshing, you’re paying £40 a year for a service, ads shouldn’t be plentiful like they were on the Xbox 360.
I’m only really going to talk about the most important games of the show in-depth. Here is a quick rundown of the games that didn’t stand out for me. Just Dance 4 is fun but clunky with more than 2 players. Kinect Sports was dull by the end of three laps. Lococycle reminded me of a weird and badly made Spy Hunter. Peggle 2 was AMAZING (but still… Peggle). Zoo Tycoon was adorable but sadly sat mostly unplayed for the entire evening. I didn’t play Fifa 14.
BF4 is possibly the only multi-platform game I’ve played that has had a very noticeable benefit from moving to next-gen. 60 FPS (frames per second that is, not 60 First Person Shooters because that would be ridiculous) really does make a difference.
However, my only gripe is that the map we had at the demo was far too small to work with BF4’s controls (which are typically much more long-range), a lot of people were messing around with their sensitivity settings. This isn’t something you’d want to be doing during a limited time demo. The sound in BF4 really stands out too, most notably when my friend who came with me to the Xbox One Tour event laughing as I recoiled from an explosion. That’s immersion folks!
Call of Duty Ghosts with shinier graphics.
Probably the demo with the most issues, Dead Rising 3 struggled to impress though a flawed demo. The demo itself had no objective bar kill zombies, which I found led to 10 minutes of aimlessly getting killed. The game does have a great sense of panic with the standout moment being seeing about 300 zombies in front of me, darting onto a truck and then killing them all with a combo of an RC chopper with knives for blades.
Its fun, but I couldn’t justify buying it for full price based on that demo. I do have to note that my friend experienced a crash during the demo so it might have been running on old code.
The standout game of the show, Forza joined BF4 in really being the only games that felt.. worthy almost, of a next-gen title. The graphics, frame rate and the aforementioned impulse triggers really do come together to make a special gaming experience. It reminds me of the first game I played on the PS1, Gran Turismo. Just less Jeremy Clarkson for Forza 6 and I’ll be happy!
Pretty much the most confusing game of the show, Ryse was equal parts beautiful and engaging and disappointing. After 5 minutes, the spectacle, graphics and controls all wore off leaving a pretty repetitive game underneath.
Very very surprising, I went into it thinking KI would be a dull F2P (Free to Play) beat-em-up because F2P isn’t fondly referred to by a lot of people. After playing it, I’m a convert, even though it had shocking graphics (as in, if it were 360 I’d be asking questions) the gameplay is quick, responsive and everything you could ask for in a Friday night after the pub game.
To sum it up, this was my Xbox One pre-order before the #XboxOneTour
After the #XboxOneTour it is now:
The Xbox is full of logical decisions that really do make you wonder “Why haven’t they done this before?” such as impulse triggers, snapping (I got IE up and it was surprisingly good) and probably tons more I haven’t had a chance to play with. These include features such as voice, the One Guide and more.
Ultimately, the Xbox One is a university graduate. It has worked hard during the original Xbox days to build a solid foundation. It had a fair few problems during it’s teenage years (RROD for one) and is now just about finished college, ready to step into the big world of work.
The Xbox shows real flashes of brilliance, smart thinking and potential, except that potential is yet to be demonstrated fully. Hopefully over the next few years the Xbox finally combines set-top boxes, apps, games into one and really delivers on the promise of a ‘Home Computer’ envisioned a long time ago by Microsoft. From what I’ve tried, the Xbox One really is just a better version of the 360 at the moment. For me, on day one? That’s good enough.
Another week, another TBoD podcast. Our new permanent line up stretch their vocal chords talking about;
The DRM debate that has escalated due to Sonys new ToS,
a touch of class from MS in the console war,
Crinbot and eremenkos excitement over a potential new Fallout game,
all the excitement and troubles of the PS4 launch,
and in our “we called the dog … ” section we highlight “Obduction” the new title from the creators of “Myst” and “Riven” which has smashed it’s kickstarter goal.
Its that time of week again where we regurgitate news stories and say what we really think, if indeed we think anything at all.
We cover the spectrum (not the ZX) in this episode, from the reception of CoD Ghosts to the BF4 bugs, from WoW Weddings to Expansions, from Bioshock Infinite DLC to the fall of Blockbuster Video. We also look back at some console TV adverts from years past as well the new photos released teasing the new Mass Effect.
Stick with us because we also have a bit of a chat about a horror game that learns the best way to scare you and some Jane Austen video games! You won’t hear that on any other podcast, trust us.
Happy Friday ladies and gentlemen. For this week’s post, we’ve been indulging our darker sides. Everyone loves a good bad guy and we’re no different. Rudimentary creates of blood and flesh; let me present some of our favourite video game bad guys!
Darth Malak – KotoR
No bad-guy list would be complete without at least one Sith Lord, of which Darth Malak is arguably the epitome. His appearance is as dark as they come thanks to his imposing height, the tattoos adorning his shaven head, and his prosthetic jaw covering the horrific ruin of the original sustained whilst fighting Revan. These features enhance his dark persona and go some way to demonstrating the burning dark energy at his core. Once a Jedi Knight, his path to the dark side was started when disobeying a Jedi Council edict during the Mandalorian wars along with his friend and mentor Revan. After betraying Revan and taking the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, Malak continued to wage war against the Republic and Jedi, destroying the Jedi Temple on Dantooine, and the planet of Taris.
His end, however, raised questions about his character. After in intense lightsabre duel with Revan the two spoke in one of the greatest death scenes of all time:
Malak: “Im… impossible. I… I cannot be beaten. I am the Dark Lord of the Sith.”
Revan: “This is the way of the Dark Side, Malak – all things end in death”.
Malak: “Still… still spouting the wisdom of the Jedi, I see. Maybe there is more truth in their code than I ever believed. I… I cannot help but wonder, Revan. What would have happened had our positions been reversed? What if fate had decreed I would be captured by the Jedi? Could I have returned to the Light, as you did? If you had not led me down the dark path in the first place, what destiny would I have found?”
Revan: “I am sorry I started you on this path. But you chose to continue down it.”
Malak: “I suppose… I suppose you speak the truth. I alone must accept responsibility for my fate. I wanted to be Master of the Sith and ruler of the galaxy. But that destiny was not mine, Revan. It might have been yours, perhaps… but never mine. And in the end, as the darkness takes me… I am nothing.”
Loghain Mac Tir – Dragon Age Origins
In my gaming life, no other video game character evokes as much hatred, scorn, and ill-will in me as Loghain. In the Human Noble Origin story, Arl Rendon Howe, acting under the direct orders of Loghain, lays siege to House Cousland and murders Teyrn and Teyrin Cousland, as well as their daughter-in-law and grandchild. Not long after, Loghain betrays King Cailan in the battle of Ostagar. Later in the game, after being bested by the Warden, Loghain attempts to join the band of misfits in their quest to unite Ferelden, I think you can probably guess what I did…
Dr Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog
The evil persona of Dr. Robotnik, which was borne from one of Ivor Kintobor’s many scientific experiments, was the very first console villain. An evil so odious that his very shape matches that of the rotten egg he has become. His badness knows no bounds and he will stop at nothing to destroy Sonic, steal the Chaos emeralds for himself and take control of the planet Mobius.
Sephiroph – Final Fantasy VII
The best baddies often start life as heroes and Sephiroph is the ultimate example of that. The most well-known and admired of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER, Sephiroph was the idol of many young boys and the inspiration behind Cloud’s decision to join up with the private militia of Midgar’s most wealthy and influential corporations. Once he learns the manner of his conception and the experimental creation which made him the ultimate super soldier , Sephiroph loses his mind and will stop at nothing to return the planet to what he believes is its rightful state…. devoid of all human life.
Ganondorf – The Legend of Zelda
Ganondorf is Link’s greatest enemy and he will be forced to defeat him time and time again throughout lifetimes and universes. Ganondorf has been a blight on the kingdom of Hyrule. His towering stature is enough to send lesser heroes fleeing to the hills but Link will never shirk his responsibility and will forever stand against Ganondorf’s constant attempts to steal the tri-force and the power it contains. Usually a pretty one-dimensional enemy, Ganondorf’s motives are often unclear but he’s the type of enemy where you don’t need to be told that only badness can befall if he is successful in his schemes.
Albert Wesker – Resident Evil
Wesker ….. just the name is enough to anger fans of the Resi series. Former head of the S.T.A.R.S unit Wesker was once Jill and Chris’ superior. During the operation at the mansion in the Arklay mansion, Wesker reveals his true colours and it turns out he has been working for the Umbrella corporation the whole time. His scheming almost gets the entire bravo team killed and more importantly, he forced poor Barry Burton to help him hide his secret from his friends. A purely evil bastard Wesker will do anything in his pursuit of power. Luckily during Chris’ final battle with the Tyrant Wesker is killed ….. or is he?
Solomun Grundy - Batman: Arkham City
The epitome of menace, Solomon Grundy’s outward appearance is as huge as it is grotesque. Grundy, originally known as Cyrus Gold, came into being after being tortured to death multiple times and brought back to life in a Lazarus Pit by Ra’s Al Ghul. Driven insane and having forgotten his past he finally escapes, only to be captured by a circus and given his name. This giant was a really tough nut to crack in Arkham City and his story is one of the darker tales in the Batman mythos, definitely a bad guy that has stuck in my mind in recent years.
David - The Last of Us
For me David is an extremely memorable “bad guy”for two reasons, his sinister nature as a character and the circumstances that this man was borne from. At first sight the acts that David and his group committed in The Last of Us were both shocking and barbaric. However when you consider the reasons behind his decision to lead his group down such a monstrous path, decisions driven by desperation, David becomes possibly the most complex villain to grace a video game. With that said it takes a certain mindset to commit these acts and David must have had that killer instinct buried deep inside, something you can immediately see in his eyes and the quiet menace in his voice (Nolan North does a great job). Gameplay wise, the battle between Ellie and David was one of the most intense experiences I had this year, all this makes David a must as one of my best bad guys.
This week we are joined by Crinbot on a more permanent basis to talk all about the things that Games Media have been getting hot under the collar for.
We look discuss the announcement of Season 2 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, a game eremenko and I are really looking forward to.
We lament the ever seemingly rushed launches of each next-gen console and the fact that Titanfall will not be coming to the PS4.
The news about the differences between the consoles achieving native 1080p has added yet more fuel to the fire in this already hot console war. We voice our opinions and read out a few from some of our followers on Twitter.
Occulus Rift is something we are really enamoured with and it was recently revealed it is coming to both PC/Mac as well as Android devices, something that got us throwing heart signs up all over the place.
We salute a developer who is not willing to bow to pressure and change their game just because of a little controversy
And its official, Mario Save Lives!
Let us know your thoughts on any of this or the other points discussed on the cast,
Salutations Werewolves and Mummies,
Here is our final and most fiendish podcast for the week…
The TBoD crew are joined by Spacca Attacker to talk about horror games from the past and present.
But have they bitten off more than they can chew?
Friends, Romans and Teabaggers!
It is our 2nd Birthday as a blog and we are all pretty happy about that! So we thought as a thankyou to all of who have read/listened/watched our content at any point over this period we are bringing you a 2nd very special podcast this week. We sincerely hope you enjoy it. Please leave us a comment on any thoughts you might have.
On the agenda is a discussion around gaming and its current growth as an industry and a mainstream pastime.
We analyse the statistics around the number of gamers who are female and the possibility a fairer representation of women in video games.
Inspired by an opinion piece on IGN, we round out this show giving discussing whether or not video games could go down in history in the same manner as literature or films.
Sounds very high brow but don’t be scared, rest assured the dick jokes will return next week.
Or you can subscribe on iTunes by clicking here.
This week we are bringing you a trio of podcasts, kicking of the week is our regularly scheduled programming, with guest host Crinbot.
We also chat the latest about the heavy hitting shooters inbound, Battlefield 4 and CoD Ghosts. Plus we prattle on about loads of other stuff too.
And for those interested in buying a full size Warthog, get in touch with @peterbcooper
Coming off the back of a “game of the year” winning title with a new series of games is always a tough ask for any developer, and Telltale games were always going to have an uphill struggle after the rollercoaster success that met the studios acclaimed series of “Walking Dead” games. The follow-up in this case is “The Wolf among Us” based in Bill Willingham’s “Fable” graphic novels. So does it leave me howling with joy or is it all huff and no puff? (See what I did there? Clever).
From the outset it’s pretty clear that the mechanics are almost identical to those in previous titles, this isn’t a problem more of a “ain’t broken don’t fix it” kinda deal really. The controls may be a little clunky and the combat somewhat awkward but that just lends a little more difficulty to a genre that would otherwise amount to no more than a walk in the park with puzzles. That is no criticism of this type of game, I know of many much simpler titles out there whereas here at least you are forced to think both in and out of the box, in fact some of the decisions you make may come back in a myriad of ways to bite you in the arse very brutally at times.
Mirror, Mirror oh so wonky, what the fuck’s up with that flying monkey?
Graphically there have been some improvements from the studios previous titles but nothing completely awe-inspiring, sure the skins look nicer and the comic book style is further emphasized here but the character skeletons and the whole engine really seems to be pretty much identical to that used in TWD. This may not be a big issue though as the primary appeal here comes from the characters and the world they inhabit, flashy graphics are nice but they are not a necessity to tell a good story and this skewed fairy tale is shaping up to be a great one.
Obviously with both the Back to the Future and The Walking Dead titles Telltale were creating games in a worlds that were already pretty well-known and loved by many and this will have stood them in good stead from the off. While Fables is a pretty popular graphic novel it cannot be claimed that it has anywhere near the notoriety of those that came before, even so the story of “The Wolf Among Us” is apparently to be considered canon by the writer himself, so in creating the game the devs had a new challenge in keeping an interesting story whilst not alienating those who have read the comics. I don’t want to spoil even a moment of the experience of this first part in five so I won’t mention any specifics of the story here but I do want to touch upon the characters, primarily to compare them with the two heroes in TWD. Lee and Clem no doubt stole the hearts of all who played through their adventure together and to begin with I wondered whether I could feel the same way about the twisted versions of these classic fairy tale heroes and villains, however my fears were allayed almost immediately. Bigby, former antagonist of pigs and red hooded girls turned sheriff of fable town is immediately likable as the dark anti-hero, a film noir style investigator struggling with his inner demon. Trying with limited success to make up for his dark past by helping those in need in the present seems to be his main concern, but given his tendencies he is clearly not afraid to get his hands dirty in his line of work. The supporting cast around him are all as brilliantly realised and portrayed and the setting for the story is a sinister one which only adds to the overall feeling of hopelessness and foreboding.
Things are getting hairy ….. oh dear.
It isn’t long before the shit hits the fan and, just like a bear’s porridge, the plot begins to thicken, so compelling is the world that this small morsel has left me salivating for part two and cannot wait to devour the entirety of Bill Willingham’s series, without doubt another happy ending is written here for Telltale.
Hello wannabe futuristic city hackers,
Another week and another raft of stories in the gaming industry, some good and some bad.
On this podcast we discuss a few next-gen stories: -
The delay of both Watch Dogs and Drive Club and how that affects next-gen launch in general as well how one outlet is cancelling bundles that included these games.
Microsoft’s further push into TV Programming with show on street soccer.
Also we comb through the latest Q&A with Dave Dunn of Bungie.
Recently we at TBOD towers have been playing an insane amount of GTA V. Alas there are times when we simply cannot be attached to our consoles and thus cannot become lost in the world of Los Santos, during these moments it is absolutely vital that we keep our thumbs exercised and I’ve been doing so with a couple of real quality titles on my mobile.
I don’t usually like tower defense games but Ironhide studios “KingdomRush” was one of the best in the genre in terms of flash efforts, the mobile port was excellent and the new to android sequel “Frontiers” is an absolute delight.
It’s pretty much your traditional build, kill, earn, build, upgrade format but with a slight twist in that you can deploy soldiers from your barracks to block the path of your unyielding attackers. The theme of the game is taken pretty much straight out of fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft, fully equipped with Dwarven explosives experts, Elven archers, stout Paladins and crafty Wizards fighting for the side of good against waves of Goblins, Orcs, Lizardmen, Undead, Giants and overgrown insect pests.
What makes the “Rush” franchise so engaging is it’s upgrade system, not only do you have the opportunity to upgrade your towers as you go but each round see’s you acquire stars which you can use to bolster your troops abilities permanently. There are also hero characters available, these heroes can level up and improve their abilities through a basic talent tree upgrade system, one gripe I have is that despite having paid for the game there are still micro transaction to unlock further hero characters. It’s a massive pain but I can understand the dev’s desire to do so and can’t think of another example where IAP is handled so un-obtrusively.
This sequel improves drastically on the original in many ways that wont be immediately obvious, this isn’t a bad thing as the format of the first title was pretty much perfect but as you go through the levels you unlock extra tower upgrades, all of which are intelligently designed and oh so satisfying to use.
The second title I have spent some time with this week on my Android is a reworking of an all time favourite of mine, manage your planes, trains and automobiles in the triumphant return of “Transport Tycoon“.
I have spent way more time than I would care to admit with “Open TTD” and have loved every minute of it, when I was younger I was really into “Railroad tycoon” and “Sim City“, OTTD provided me with even more ways to interact with my city and meticulously plan train routes and station placement. I know it may sound boring to some of you but hey …. I don’t grief any of you for loving “My Little Pony” do I? Each to their own when it comes to entertainment eh?
So you can pick up an OTTD port on Android, but that’s all it is … a port. As impressive and achievement as that is it’s still somewhat buggy and the touch screen controls are pretty much non-existent. As such a genuine touch screen version is a welcome addition to the Play and iOS library. Add to this the cooperation of the original games developer Chris Sawyer and surely we must be onto a winner? In short yes, the game feels every bit as immersive as it’s PC counterpart which is an impressive feat. The interface has been simplified somewhat but just enough so that it is manageable on a four-inch screen you never feel like your missing out on anything. The game-play is almost identical to what you would expect from a tycoon game and despite the edited touch screen controls being a little tricky to get to grips with you will soon be joining towns with all the efficiency of the Japanese rail system.
I may be somewhat biased due to my love of this classic game but I cannot fault this port, it has a bunch of great challenges to complete and even the ability to play a sandbox mode. If you love city sims, strategy games or if you just have a penchant for playing with trains then this title is a must have.
To sum up, it’s really nice to see some titles coming to mobile that clearly have a lot of heart and soul poured into them and it’s refreshing that they aren’t hampered by ridiculously over the top price tags (*ahem* Square-enix) or riddled with in game adds (everything ftp on the Play store) hopefully this will usher in a new era of games that are priced well and play amazingly.
While we are on the subject of Mobile games with pure class…. please, please, please go check out Nicoll Hunt of I fight Bears debut title “Fist of Awesome” , I had a brief love affair with it at eurogamer and am off to go play it to death right now as it’s just come out for both Android and iOS. Review to follow.
Our thirtieth episode and Quim turns thirty! Coincidence? I think not!
Today we discuss GTAV Online, Beyond Two Souls and the Battlefield 4 Beta and how it’s knackered on the PC.
We also discuss an indie game looking for funding called Beyond Eyes and other verbal diarrhea.
Like most people, I was anticipating September 17th with moderate (read uncontrolled) levels of salivation. The glimpses of gameplay released showed a beautiful landscape, painted with complex, diverse, and interesting characters. Add into the mix the cutting satire we are now accustomed to, all new mission types, a plethora of drivable/flyable/pilotable vehicles, and we have the makings of something very, very special.
Initially, I wasn’t disappointed. The introduction and prologue provided an excellent starting point, setting the tone of the game, whilst intelligently and rationally explaining the new control features. Granted, following the prologue, there was the obligatory forced driving mission to start off the game proper; this time though, it was a dash through some of the more affluent areas of Los Santos in a choice of one of the two of the nicest cars in the game. Once that was finished with, we met the first two characters, Lemar, and one of three main protagonists, Franklyn. Two small-time hustlers, both ambitious, albeit it in different ways. At first it felt a little formulaic; ok, so here are two young, black guys from the ‘hood, a ‘dogg’ here, a ‘homie’ there (just think of a stereotype and it was most likely there). Throughout the opening stories however, we were shown a different side to Franklyn, a side of youth which is not often publicised in general media, that of a conscientious, honest, and good man. Subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) we are shown Franklyn’s more complex character, something I have been yearning for in games. Too often, characters are shown to be one-dimensional products of their environment with no depth, hidden or otherwise. It becomes apparent that Franklyn isn’t just some small-time hustler content with selling a few wraps, no, Franklyn is so much more. This can be demonstrated by the way he car-jacks. I know, it sounds ridiculous but he carefully pulls the driver out of the car; no violence, no screaming. Compare this to Trevor’s method and I’m sure you’ll agree that this was intentional from Rockstar.
This theme is continued as we meet the other characters in the game, and is not merely confined to the main 3. Yes, they have the most depth, but Rockstar didn’t stop there, they added this philosophy to all characters you meet in the game. Be it Devin Weston, the ruthless, smarmy billionaire, who somehow manages to be both despicable and admirable at the same time; Simeon Yetarian, the eccentric crook who prays on the manners and insecurities of prospective customers (just look at how he plays Jimmy in his first scene); or even Dave Norton, the average FBI agent who made a bargain with Michael, and now must deal with the consequential shit-storm. The characters are deep, well thoughtfully realised, and very believable.
This attention to detail in characters has been applied to the story too. The introduction of each character and the story around how they came to know each other is well thought-out and convincing. At no point did it feel contrived or forced, which truly is a great achievement considering the aforementioned complexity of them all individually. I actually started to invest myself in the characters, which is usually a symptom of good literature, not video games. Moreover, the difference in opinion between me and my gamer friends was quite extraordinary and goes a long way to attest to character-realism within the game (listen here to our reaction special)
In this circle-jerk of detail and depth, it would be unforgivable of me to overlook the graphics and feel of the game, and in this humble writer’s opinion, it has to be one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever seen. Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of sunsets, and I was astounded by what I saw; the colours, the contrasts, the clouds, all of it. Another noticeable feature is the water; I can’t see how water can be made to look more real; it’s truly incredible. From the waves, to the foam they create and the way the water splashes against the rocks, Rockstar have surpassed themselves, along with many other developers.
So from the opening few hours of gameplay, I was thoroughly impressed. One thing struck me however; after 25 hours or so, I noticed the game completion percentage was quite high. I put this down to the fact that I hadn’t just blasted through the main story, and had taken time to look around, sample some of the leisure activities available, and get a feel for Los Santos in general. More on that later…
After the initial ‘wow-look-at-all-this-stuff-it-looks-amazing’ glow had subsided, the story developed and grew; the missions became more in-depth and exciting. Unlike one of the main failings in GTA IV, the missions are rich, diverse, and most importantly, congruous. The side missions, rather than distracting you, immerse you further in the lives of these characters. Be it the dysfunctional family life of Michael, or the maniacal maelstrom that is Trevor, we understand the characters better, without the missions becoming abstract or arbitrary.
Then it all came to a rather abrupt end.
In some ways, I can understand it; better finish on a high than to string it out for another 10 – 15 stilted hours and end with tame, laboured (anti)climax. I also reasoned that the additional content would be interesting enough to keep me going until online was released (little did I know about the problems we’d suffer from with that however). Ultimately though, it was disappointing that a game filled with such satisfying intricacy came to a thoroughly predictable and somewhat unremarkable conclusion; no twists, no turns, no ‘holy shit!’ moment; just ‘that’s all folks!’.
After the interminable credits (honestly, they must have been 20 minutes long), I settled back into my chair to embark on the quest for 100% completion with my pockets greased with cash (see, only a little spoiler!), and I must say, I was thoroughly unimpressed. I had all but exhausted the Strangers and Freaks missions, the random world events became boring and sparse, and worst of all, the collection missions were an absolute abomination; find 30 pieces of nuclear waste which are scattered along the sea bed; collect 30 submarine parts for a not-so-grieving widow…are you serious?! What is the attraction with collection missions other than to string out game time? Who honestly enjoys this bullshit? Not me, that’s for certain.
Before I get too negative, I need to say that I do genuinely love this game. The looks, the stories, the characters, the freedom, it’s all top-notch. My problem is that it’s too short, and that the additional content is artificial and boring.
My disappointment with the game was tempered by the promises made during the online gameplay trailers and thus far, I’ve not been let down. I’ve spent around 10 hours doing missions, races, parachute jumps, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can now only hope that the ongoing content release keeps up pace with our collective appetites. After all the launch problems GTA Online suffered, it looks like Rockstar need to pull multiple rabbits out of multiple hats for some time.
The next-gen is almost upon us and as a gamer the upcoming console goodness has been increasingly occupying my mind, so much so that even during trivial matters such as work, my cogs are constantly whirring at an ever-increasing rate to fathom out which console to go for. I have both the XBox One and the PlayStation 4 pre-ordered and the time has come to choose a side, and I need help. But before I throw this to the arena for you to give your opinions I thought a background on my increasingly tumultuous thought process may be in order.
It all started way back in February when the Haus of Shuh revealed their plans for the next iteration in Sony’s prestigious gaming history and I, like many of you, was impressed by what they flaunted on stage. The opening vista of Killzone: Shadowfall, the support of indies and pretty epic hardware that console gamers have been drooling over. I recently bought a PS3 and have to say I do think it’s a pretty great platform (bar the controller, more on that later) however for my sins I am an Xbox player by and large, choosing to do pretty much all my gaming on Microsoft’s current console, with much of that time passed having played Halo, I love Halo. For me in general though the XBox 360 is just better, it’s more social, has a better controller, an easier GUI etc etc. So with Sony being first out of the gate with their reveal I was eager to see if Microsoft could come out with the goods.
My wait would end three months later, with bated breath I sat patiently watching the countdown tick away, then rather impatiently waited through Major Nelson’s pre show babble and finally it began. I would see what I would be playing on for the next seven years. It’s on! Look at all those awesome….sports…..and T…V….shows…yaay. To say the least I was a little confused by the whole reveal, and the following statements both conflicting and unpalatable, always online, can’t share games etc all of it left me a little glum. Microsoft butchered my expectations and as the month went on and as the bungles continued they literally gutted those expectations in front of me and cooked up the sweet meats and served them as a TV dinner, so along with the rest of the internet I pulled the napkin out of my collar pushed back in my chair and walked out of the Xbox diner.
So off I went along with the rest of the internet over to the food truck Sony had parked up just outside and realised the food from here looked a lot better. Games by the baker’s dozen, full on support and open publishing for indie developers, all told the social aspects of the platform had been greatly improved and the hardware on paper even trumped that of the Xbox One. The one niggle I had was with the PlayStation controller, in fairness to the DualShock 3 it isn’t the worst controller in the world but in my opinion it’s not far off, it is small and flimsy and those thumbsticks might aswell not be attached the amount of good they do. Conversely the 360 controller is a tour de force in-game input and frankly made me happy to hold it. However reading reports about the DualShock 4 being worlds apart from its pigmy predecessor and claims it was even better than Microsoft’s current gen offering I thought “Screw it, this is my next-gen console” and the pre-order went in.
Happy in my choice I was more than ok to watch the news unfold for both consoles, particularly in Camp Redmond which each week seemed to be in the press for one thing or another, good or bad. It seemed to be one gaf after another for a time with their mixed up messaging and overly corporate double speak. A day came (about a week later) when Microsoft finally heard the raging mob on Twitter and reversed their always online policy, however I was still scorned from what I perceived as their initial attempt to shaft me. Of course that wasn’t the only U-turn, they changed their policies on pre-owned games, lending games to friends, including a headset and then being able to turn off the “always on” Kinect. Essentially what Microsoft did was bring everything in line with Sony’s stance in the most crucial areas.
Regardless of what you think the reasoning behind these changes were, whether it to please gamers or to maximise profits, which lets face both companies are trying to do on both counts, to me it seemed that all my objections were gone and the XBox One became a product I would quite like to have for the first time. But was it worth choosing over the PS4? Well just to be sure another pre-order went down, you know, just in case, then cancel it later when I was sure.
Then came Eurogamer 2013, the day I could hold a PS4 controller and finally be sure I had chosen the right platform for the next few years. So after queueing to get into the Sony area I finally held the controller and to my chagrin it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Now admittedly my first experience was marred by the fact that Blacklight Retribution was an early build and I was unable to invert the Y axis but I did spend about 40 minutes actual game time with the controller so got a decent idea what I would be playing on for the next few years. Now don’t get me wrong the DualShock 4 is by far and a way worlds better than the DS3, the thumbsticks are solid and a lot more response and in fact the whole build in fact feels a bit more premium, however, having heard it was more ergonomic I would have to disagree to some extent, sure it is shaped to fit in my hands more comfortably compared to the last iteration, but to me it still suffered from causing my grip to be a touch too narrow which for me if I were to game for a few hours on end could become a problem. I think this is down to Sony’s insistence in keeping to their “iconic” controller shape. Sorry Sony but that retro controller shape is not applicable these days so move on for the sake of my hands.
The Xbox One controller however was bloody lovely, mainly because its pretty much the same as the 360. Also Titanfall, a console exclusive (maybe), was next level awesome. Also Xbox is an ecosystem I am invested in with a gamerscore and large friends list that would be have to be basically left behind. But on the other hand the Xbone’s features, whilst cool, I wont really use that much, like the Kinect, or wont be available for some time after launch, like video sharing to YouTube. It is a good product in my eyes but feels rushed and unfinished in some areas. Also I don’t think I am the target audience for the One, sure I love Halo, I mean it cemented my love for video games as a grown up, but I don’t play Fifa/Madden or Call of Duty or watch much TV and that’s where Microsoft have their gaze fixed. They have cast their net wide but it seems the catch of the day isn’t me.
So that puts me back at square one. Do I go with the PS4 – a product which has the raw power and variety of gaming experiences but to me is a little lacking in having a truly great controller, whose launch exclusives don’t grab me and lets face don’t have the proven chops for a seamless online matchmaking experience, or do I go for the Xbox One, home of Halo, a brand I am invested with solid input and online infrastructure but which seems to a degree to exclude me from its demographic from the outset.
If you made it through this read then thank you and if you have an opinion on what I should choose answers on a postcard please, or in the comments below. Any advise will be taken kindly. Thanks again.
-The Quim Ninja
We’re back from our stint in the capital at Eurogamer expo and feeling a little worse for wear. Hopefully this isn’t immediately obvious as we discuss some of the latest gaming news including;
Valves latest announcements,
Battlefield 4′s Beta launch,
Quims console conundrum,
GTA onlines teething problems and what little of it we have played,
If you enjoy the show leave a comment or rate the post, any reviews on iTunes would also be greatly appreciated.
This week took a jaunt to The Big Smoke for this years Eurogamer. We got to experience some of the latest and greatest next-gen queues, and at the end of those queues we got to play some sweet games. This podcast is about those games, and queues.
The games we got to play were: -
On PS4: - Blacklight Retribution, Octodad Dadliest Catch, Driveclub, Knack, Resogun,
On Xbox One: – Battlefield 4, Titanfall, Dying Light.
On PC/Occulus Rift HD: – Dream, Surgeon Simulator (Rift), Skipping Stones.
On iOS/Android: – Fist of Awesome, Framed.
We are so freshly returned from this years Eurogamer expo that I can still taste the feverish excitement of thousands of passionate gamers fresh in my mouth.
We just wanted to take a moment to thank all the amazing cosplayers who stopped and took time out of their hectic gaming schedule to allow us a quick pic. These are some of the most dedicated fans out there and their skill with a needle and thread should be well respected. On with the pictures.
He’s the greatest… he’s fantastic
A lovely Lara
Judge those Zeds
A great Link
TF 2 heavy and Sephiroph
Some sinister nurses
Red Ranger on crutches
Guild Wars 2
AC Tifa Lockheart
A Sith and Ewok and Nate Drake
A battle scarred Lara Croft
Dead Risings Frank West
Vergil from Devil May Cry in female form
Thanks again to all you great sports. If any of these are you let us know in the comments below. We always love to see well put together cosplays and hope you all enjoy the remainder of the expo.
Greetings Bonnie’s and Clyde’s,
This week we are joined by a couple of low life thugs and swindlers to talk about the biggest game since, well, anything. We talk generally about how awesome GTA V is in the first half. After the interlude we continue to talk awesome but with spoilers. So if you are less than 30% in then be careful we don’t ruin it for you. Fair Warning.
Best enjoyed on a stolen iPod.
What is up listeners/readers/humans
We have another reasonably well versed episode for you this week where we chat about:-
The leaked Xbox One beta dashboard video (which has since been pulled)
Eremenko’s love for samurai’s
Some GTA goodness, especially how bloody expensive that game was to make!
And also a very weird and hilarious video featuring a modded Left 4 Dead 2!
All this whilst watching Match of the Day!
Leave us some feedback in the comments, cheers!
Video games have always struggled to strike the right balance between the size of the game world and the detail poured into said world, this dilemma is something that has become easier and easier to dodge as our gaming machines have become more and more powerful. Creating a living breathing world is an incredible achievement and those few who manage it are revered like Gods in the gaming world and much like it’s immortal counterpart this idea seems to never die.
For me this idea of exploring a world at your own will began with early RPG titles. While not necessarily “Open world” games, titles like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Breath of Fire gave gamers an early opportunity to navigate an entire world in the however they wished and while some of these games may have changed tactics in recent iterations other developers have taken the idea and made it their own.
Grand Theft Auto (1997) though simple in it’s execution was huge in scope and allowed players to travel through three large cities however they felt necessary. Many others have challenged Rockstars crown as the Kings of the open world title but the Edinburgh based production house remain firmly planted upon their very own iron throne. This isn’t to say that one of to days most admired titles has had it all it’s own way, nor is true to say they haven’t taken a few hints along the way.
The Humble beginnings of a world beater
Shenmue (1999) is widely regarded to be the first title to be set in a completely open 3d city which featured a “living” populace offering players un-rivaled freedom to interact with the world around them. This was a huge step in the video game world and Segas contribution cannot be ignored although it may have been somewhat overshadowed by what was to come.
Is this the real life …. or is this just fantasy
Rockstar as ever unwilling to relinquish their grip on the open world genre would soon after release GTA III, the first game in the series to feature a fully 3d sandbox city in which the player was free to cause as much mayhem as they wished, it was an insane achievement. Sega did not want to give up the fight though and they struck back with their own crime based open world title Yakuza and all the while PC gamers were gifted with The Elder Scrolls series which is undoubtedly the most important game in the “open world first person” sub-genre.
All of these titles featured impressively sized game worlds be it a city, county/state, island and in some cases even a country but in 2004 Blizzard came and stole all the accolades by creating a game that encompassed an entire world to be explored by you and millions of others in the most acclaimed MMORPG of them all. What WoW did affected and continues to effect everything that came and will come, despite recent drops in revenue this game will forever be regarded as a gift and a curse by gamers across the world. Then there’s the small matter of a little game you may of heard of called Minecraft the founder of the proceduraly generated unlimited world, MC once again changed our perspective of just how much of a sandbox a game can be and it’s popularity continues to soar, this kind of dynamic world and changing environment could be seen the epitome of the genre.
This place is your life now!
Most games these days don’t shy away from creating an experience that can be shared with a friend, even games that are traditionally a solo experience are beginning to see the value in multiplayer, after all a game like any other form of entertainment is at it’s best when you are sharing it with a friend or two .. or more. Forthcoming titles such as Destiny, The Division and The Crew have shifted ideals from being about multi-player or open world and instead look to focus on creating a persistent shared world which can be occupied by thousands upon thousands of players. This idea is one still very much in it’s infancy but it’s something that we all as gamers are becoming more and more intrigued by with every passing day. Combining the elements of open world play with the full on living world experience is a salivating concept for everyone. Add in to that the ability to meet strangers along the way, those who may wish to join you or those who definitely wish to kill you (and steal your beans) and you have a frighteningly appealing genre that might just mean the end of the real world for good.
Is the MMO the ultimate gaming Destiny?
All that said “Sandbox” games can be something of an enigma and it seems difficult to achieve balance between a compelling story and complete freedom, many games have tried and many have failed, sometimes you don’t need a story as proved by the hugely popular Arma II mod DayZ but other times it’s simply the most important part. Some of the most critically acclaimed games of recent years buck the trend for open world and are much stronger titles for being more linear. Bioshock, The Walking Dead, Half Life 2, Dishonored, Portal, Heavy Rain and The Last of Us have all been nominated for and taken home many awards globally. This shows that there is still life in games that are more focused on creating a story than simulating a world these smaller more narrative driven titles offer the player something deeper than a world to play in and will often invoke a stronger emotional attachment than their larger counterparts but it may just be that they are more difficult to develop.
Get ready to be punched in the feels
Creating a living world is one thing but creating a believable story is something else entirely and something that can often be neglected in games which are more focused on adrenaline fueled action and competitive multi-player. The art of weaving a tale is as old as time and I for one don’t think it’s ready to rest it’s weary head just yet.
It’s true to say that video games are always evolving and always looking for that next big idea, how do you guys feel the gaming world will evolve next? Are open worlds or deep stories more important to you? Do you value a short game over a seemingly un-ending one or would you prefer that your favourite game could last forever? Let me know in the comments below and as always thanks for your time.
Welcome to a super bumper jumper edition of The TBoD Podcast. We go loooonnngg!
In this episode loads of stuff, here is some of it: -
All this and a heap more. Please leave us some words in the comments, preferably in a coherent sentence, thanks.
Step One before reading this blog: watch this video. Get turtle’d up.
Recently Activision, and developer Red Fly Studio released the latest offering to the Ninja Turtles gaming crowd: TMNT Out of Shadows. Unlike previous releases while Ubisoft had the licensing for the series, this game is not a remake, or port of the classic ninja turtle games – but an entirely new game. And seeming how I’ve been moving at a turtle’s pace as far as my posts here on TBOD go…this felt appropriate.
Still drawing heavily on the series’ roots as a co-op brawler, Out of Shadows still offers that hack and kick goodness we’re all used to, but adds a rather hefty spectrum of combos, counters, special weapons, and an upgrade and level system that rivals most RPG’s out there. Each turtle has his own level progression tree, and series of up-gradable abilities that encourage replay.
Now, being the TMNT fan that I am, I instantly gobbled this up as soon as it hit, and dove right in. As a kid I would read the original black and white comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, watched the cartoon(s), and had just about every action figure. At first glorious glance it was obvious that Red Fly had put some serious fan service into the look, and feel of this game.
The Turtle’s underground lair is essentially your in-game UI menu, and each selection will tour you to different areas such as the dojo, to throw-down against Donnie’s robot Foot Soldiers solo, or as a team. Learn combos, and get much needed practice to succeed at the rather difficult campaign. I’ll touch on combat later, but the game uses an attack/counter formula similar to the Batman: Arkham series, but one that is much faster-paced.
Other areas within the Turtle HQ include, A concept art gallery, The main campaign selection map, and the one that made me nerd-squeal: Donatello’s workshop, where you can purchase and upgrade cool weapon mods, and other inventions by the notorious tech-tinkering turtle.
The coolest addition to HQ which fans of the classic games will love, is an old-school arcade machine where you can play out mini versions of the campaign levels in side scrolling beat ‘em up bliss. Each mission for the classic style game is unlocked via campaign.
The combat system for TMNT Out of Shadows, is to put it “lightly” a gong show. It’s fun, and rather challenging – but the games wonky camera (which you constantly fight with to prevent extreme close-up angles when it collides with walls.) makes for some rage-quit inducing moments sometimes.
In a nutshell the core combat function is rich, and offers some great animations, and the ability to call out team KO’s and other attacks that really show the brothers true calling, which is kicking the shit out of thugs and ninjas in tandem.
For the first time ever, the player is now able to take control of each turtle on the fly – using the D-Pad. This makes for some very cool opportunities to practice each turtles unique combat style, speed, as well as how to utilize team attacks to your advantage. Early on, you’ll learn that the Dojo I mentioned earlier is your best friend as training is important to get a feel for each character before braving the unforgiving campaign.
The health-system is a tad on the stagnant side, offering hidden, and sparse pizza boxes which serve as single use med-packs that you can keep in a mini-inventory along with throwing stars, and any power-weapon you might have purchased from the workshop. Pizza can be used to either replentish your health meter, or can be cashed in to revive a turtle if they are KO’d.
Due to the sparse nature of health, it creates a frustrating situation where it’s virtually impossible to keep each turtle “healthy” nor recall which of them has a pizza in their inventory. When you revive a turtle, they respawn with little to no health, thus wasting the precious pie entirely. I recommend taking the selfish route, especially when you are being swarmed with enemies. There is one particular moment I was stuck at for some time as a shit load of robots systematically killed each turtle that I was not controlling, leaving me alone against the raving horde of mechanical teeth and claws. Online co-op can help you get through a difficult situation however – so all is not lost.
The game’s story is based on the Nickelodeon series, which is not a far cry from the animated series I grew up with, so there’s plenty of familiarity with characters like Baxter Stockman & his robots, the foot, etc. All I can say, is that it’s a ninja turtle storyline, and it works pretty well and will give fans some real nostalgic nerdgasms, But don’t come here looking for a grandiose dramatic epic. It’s designed to reawaken your inner 8 year old…and it does it’s job well.
Well enough until the clunky camera shits on your parade when fighting in narrow spaces, or areas with lots of background geometry to literally trip-up and catch the mischievous camera, which seems on a quest to make you want to seriously kick a baby seal in the face. (Hey, I’m Canadian.) My best words of Splinter-esque wisdom would be:
“A warrior, will face many dangers, and enemies. But if his soul is pure. His presence a shadow, and his ability to rotate the camera quickly before being suckered by a Foot Soldier is true… He shall succeed.”
At first acquaintance TMNT Out Of Shadows is a fun and great offering to the series, that offers plenty of good ol’ gaming nostalgia, with a heaping helping of new school features.
After about an hour, you’ll likely light your XBOX on fire out of rage – but soon enough run out to get a new console so you can let this game give you heavy doses of joy and pure livid anguish again, and again in no time.
We are back again to drop back on a few things in the realm of games.
This week we talk about two games that caught our eye at PAX Prime (full round up coming next week): – Those being the monochromatic adventure Betrayer and the highly capable Telltale Games’ A Wolf Among Us
We examine why the freshly announced Nintendo 2DS is much better than many make out.
Then in a special section we discuss some of the latest news for GTA V and why we are getting so hyped about it.
If you like the look (or sound) of any of what we discuss today leave a comment, thanks.
Greetings consumers of interactive media, here are bringing you Episode 24 of The TBoD Podcast and it’s a doozie.
Before diving into the show proper we show our disapproval toward Connor White, Co-Founder of the AGL and his blatant cheating in the Halo Global Championship.
We then talk about the numerous announcements from Xbox camp since our last show, including the Project Spark beta and Steve Ballmer’s retirement.
We cover Sony’s explanation for their several verbal salvos at Microsoft and the cross-platform party chat they plan on implementing.
We also preach on Batman, Beyond Two Souls and Dice and Destiny.
Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think, we will be sure to give you a shout out next show.
It seems the only gaming I get to actually do as of late is during those snatched moments on my iPhone and when I buy a game I want to get my money’s worth. Futuridium Ep definitely makes you work for it.
On their site the developers of Futuridium describe the game as a “retro fast paced shoot’em up with a modern twist” and to be “insanely fast, [with an] insanely hard difficulty level” and boy are they right. I’m not going to lie, if like me you think you can breeze through this game, think again. The difficulty curve on this space em up is steep enough to make you pass out from the G-force, but if you persevere the reward is a definite draw to play on.
The art style of Futuridium for reason makes wonder if this is the creation of some unholy carnal act between the movie Tron and the PS1 classic Wipeout, all polygons and sharp edges. It’s pretty pleasing to look at with its Technicolor palette and could never be described as dull. Not the most graphically refined which I think was the intention this title as just enough polish to make it nostalgic rather than dated.
The touch based control scheme took me a bit of time to adjust to, unintentionally banking into the dreadnoughts below numerous times, I think this partly may be down the to the responsiveness of the touchscreen being a little lacking. However once you have had a couple of test flights so to speak then the challenge really begins – The premise is to fly your ship and shoot the blue cubes, when all are destroyed then you unlock the core and away you go to the next level. All the while you energy is sapping down only to refill at the end of each level, so efficient gun play is essential. Continues are given dependant on your score, but if used your score is wiped and you continue from where you left off with nothing to show, great if you just want to see what the next level looks like but if you are looking to set a high score this game is unforgiving with your shortcomings.
The soundtrack itself should be quite pleasing to fans of glitch hop and electro, jazz flute fans less so, regardless the soundtrack goes really well with game play and if you want to listen to the tracks sans space flight the option is there in the menu. Another nice little feature not really seen on the iOS store that can also be found within the menu is the ability to gift the game friends who co-exist in the Apple ecosystem, if you can’t persuade your friends to buy and you think they must play then buy it for them! I do think a slight trick was missed here would be if the game was multiplayer, then this kind of gifting would mean more but still, nice nonetheless.
Overall if you can get used the ever so slightly awkward controls and the punishing progression mechanic then this should keep the hardcore gamer and the masochist in you both entertained. Its available on iOS now for £1.49 or your currency equivalent. Insert coin and get blasting.