The TBoD Podcast – 28 – Eurogamer Queue Expo 2013

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.

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Cos we want to

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.

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He’s the greatest… he’s fantastic

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Gilly Man

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Zero

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A lovely Lara

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Judge those Zeds

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A great Link

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TF 2 heavy and Sephiroph

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Some sinister nurses

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Red Ranger on crutches

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Guild Wars 2

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AC Tifa Lockheart

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A Sith and Ewok and Nate Drake

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A battle scarred Lara Croft

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Dead Risings Frank West

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Dancing cosplayers

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Cat Woman

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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.

eremenko

The TBoD Podcast – GTA V Reaction Special

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.

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The TBod Podcast – 27 – Not Big in Japan

What is up listeners/readers/humans

We have another reasonably well versed episode for you this week where we chat about:-

Adverts brought out by both Sony and Microsoft for their respective consoles.

The leaked Xbox One beta dashboard video (which has since been pulled)

The new raft of PS Vita products, Vita TV and  the new slimmer Vita, which are making their way to Japan, as well as the Japanese launch date of the PS4 on their home turf.

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!

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It’s the Sandbox Jim …. but not as we know it..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

-eremenko

The TBoD Podcast – 26 – Right in the Googles.

Bonjour Baggers.

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.

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Heroes in a Half-Assed Shell.

Dude, you paid 15 bucks for this game?  NYAH NYAH

Dude, you paid 15 bucks for this game? NYAH NYAH

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.

Uh….Cowabunga?

TBoD Podcast – 25 – GTA V PAX a Punch

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.

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