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Jonathan Lester

The Morning Papers | Redmond Departs, O'Connor Spins

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
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The Morning Papers

The Morning Papers | Redmond Departs, O'Connor Spins

Good morning! Today brings us the news that veteran producer Jade Redmond has left Ubisoft after a decade stint working on Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell and Watch Dogs. We wish her well and look forward to seeing what she's moving on to.

On the subject of veteran producers, 343 Industries' Frank O' Connor is still trying to convince us that a 20GB day-one patch is acceptable for the Halo: Master Chief Collection. It isn't. Here are your headlines.

In Case You Missed It...

The Morning Papers | Redmond Departs, O'Connor Spins

 

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Review | Kinect Semaphore Hero

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Games reviews, Kinect games, Music games, Rhythm games, Xbox 360 games, Xbox One Games

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Review | Kinect Semaphore Hero

Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed) | Xbox 360

Developer: Harmonix

Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios

I genuinely love my Kinect sensor and the musical legends at Harmonix, but I think they might have missed the point here.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band make you feel like a rock god, whether you're shredding on a plastic guitar, smashing the drums, laying down a bass line or howling into a microphone. Rocksmith literally teaches you how to play a six-string, much like Dance Central teaches you a selection of hilarious dance moves. Child Of Eden makes you feel like a transcendent electric death machine. You're only stood in front of a telly with a plastic peripheral or Kinect sensor, but the physical movements feel empowering and rewarding in and of themselves.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Review | Kinect Semaphore Hero

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is supposed to turn you into the Sorcerer's Apprentice and grant you dominion over music itself... but playing it feels like directing traffic at a busy intersection. Or attempting to guide a light aircraft in to land in your living room. You're just waving your arms about in time to music, more like a weather reporter in front of a greenscreen than a magical orchestra conductor.

It's a shame, because Disney Fantasia is otherwise one of the most fascinating and unique projects ever developed for the Kinect sensor, letting you create crazy remixes out of classic and current music.

Click here to read more...

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review | One Giant Butt Slam For Mankind

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
2K Australia, 2K Games, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Games reviews, PC games, PS3 games, Xbox 360 games

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review | One Giant Butt Slam For Mankind

Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)

Developer: 2K Australia

Publisher: 2K Games

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is ridiculously good fun. I really can't stress that enough.

This awkwardly titled segue might appear to be a lazy off-year cash grab, but it actually delivers the most fundamental mechanical update the series has ever received. Low-gravity combat. We're still shooting and looting, but now we're soaring merrily through the air (or vacuum!), using a nuanced double jump to gain extra height or boost our way around sprawling three-dimensional stages.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review | One Giant Butt Slam For Mankind

It's awesome, and unlocks a host of exciting new encounters as we take on airborne foes in the air, rain down firepower onto smart squads of jetpack troopers or employ an epic Butt Slam attack to smash down into enemy formations; cracking their faceplates and watching them asphyxiate to a wub wub soundtrack. On top of that, insanely powerful laser cannons and freeze-shattering Cryo weapons slot perfectly into the Borderlands experience, giving us more ways to brutalise anyone stupid enough to stand against us. Now that I'm used to The Pre-Sequel's very Australian humour and voice cast, I don't think I can go back.

It's so much fun, in fact, that while I'm playing I can ignore all of its many, many, many flaws.

Click here to read more...

Anarchy Reigns just £2.78 on Xbox 360 at Amazon (plus delivery?)

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Anarchy Reigns, Platinum Games, Xbox 360 games

Anarchy Reigns just £2.78 on Xbox 360 at Amazon (plus delivery?)

Anarchy ReignsAmazon | £2.78
Xbox 360 Price ComparisonReview

Anarchy Reigns is amazing. It's one of the most ridiculously brilliant online multiplayer ever released, hailing from the developers of Bayonetta and God Hand, but SEGA royally screwed the pooch by staggering the release date, leaving the player base fragmented and very sparse.

£2.78 is an absolute steal, but remember that Amazon charge delivery on orders under £10 unless you have Amazon Prime. Worth adding onto an existing order, perhaps, or getting from a mate who subscribes for the Instant Video. Thanks to Wishwash182 @ HUKD!

AI War complete collection only £2.70 at GamersGate

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
AI War, Arcen Games, PC games, Strategy games

AI War complete collection only £2.70 at GamersGate

AI War: All Of It | GamersGate | £2.70 (RRP: £12.99)

If you're spoiling for some incredibly tough space strategy action with the scale of an old-school 4X title, AI War is pretty much your dream game. Arcen Games delivered an absolute corker that has massively grown over the last few years with numerous DLC packs and sweeping expansions. It can all be yours for £2.70 from GamersGate, who'll also flog you the DLC separately at a massive discount if you already bought it in a bundle.

Be advised, though, I'm not kidding about AI War being hard. In fact, I didn't feel capable of reviewing it, because I sucked so badly at it.

Minecraft only £9.99 on PS4 at The Game Collection's Rakuten store

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Minecraft, Mojang, PS4 games

Minecraft only £9.99 on PS4 at The Game Collection's Rakuten store

Minecraft (PS4) | The Game Collection (via Rakuten) | £9.99 (save £2 vs Base)
Voucher Code: LAUNCHFIVE

The Game Collection ran a £9.99 flash sale for the PS4 version of Minecraft last week, a serious saving, but are still sneakily retailing at the same price via their Rakuten store listing. You'll need to use voucher code LAUNCHFIVE though.

I... don't need to explain what Minecraft is, do I? Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package just £7.98 on PS3 & Xbox 360 at Zavvi

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PS3 games, Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package, Xbox 360 games

Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package just £7.98 on PS3 & Xbox 360 at Zavvi

Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package | Zavvi | £7.98
Saints Row: The Third Review

An absolute blast from the recent past. Saints Row: The Third is a crazy adrenaline-fuelled sandbox that pushes fun factor to the absolute maximum, and is still well worth checking out. For all you last-gen holdouts enjoying all the big savings without shelling out for new hardware, the Full Package is available for a paltry £7.98 from Zavvi as a PS3 Essential or Xbox One Classic title. Thanks to badger2609 @ HUKD!

Save on Devolver Digital games on The Humble Store until 18:00

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Devolver Digital, PC games

Save on Devolver Digital games on The Humble Store until 18:00

Better late than never. There's still time to take advantage of the tail end of The Humble Bundle's weekend sale, which slashes some weird and wonderful games published by Devolver Digital down to size.

Personally speaking, and with links to our reviews, I'd recommend grabbing crazy Pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend for £3.49, glorious madcap shooter Serious Sam 3 for £2.99 (and the previous games, with the exception of Serious Sam 2!), elegant roguelike shooter Heavy Bullets for under a fiver and Cosmic DJ for £1.99.

Either way, the deals end at 18:00 BST today.

The Morning Papers | Call Of Rudi

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
The Morning Papers

Good morning! I trust you had a relaxing weekend. Here are your headlines.

In Case You Missed It...

Why Far Cry 4 is set to own 2014 | Brendan's confident that it will live up to the hype.

This Week's Releases | Witches, Wangs and Warriors

Game Buzz | We weigh in on the issues that matter.

PSA: Play 10 games for free on Steam this weekend!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

PSA: Play 10 games for free on Steam this weekend!

What's better than being able to freely download and play a game for an entire weekend, then paying a tiny discounted price to own it forever if you enjoy it?

Being able to freely download and play TEN games! I suppose that it's ten times better if you want to get technical. Steam are now running ten simultaneous free weekends, allowing you to download all of the full versions and play them as much as you like until the early hours of Monday morning, while also offering serious discounts. There's no way you'll be able to play all of them, but there's something here for everyone.

Your best bet is to browse over to the splash page and see what takes your fancy, but for completion's sake, here are the ten games in question along with their discounted prices, links and reviews where possible.

Let us know what you're playing!

 

GOG Oktoberfest sale discounts Retroism & Enlight titles

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

GOG Oktoberfest sale discounts Retroism & Enlight titles

GOG's weekend sale is now live, offering major savings on a slew of niche games published and developed by Retroism and Enlight Software. It's an odd selection, including some ancient Sid Meier titles like Pirates Gold, Colonisation and Covert Action (£1.48 apiece) alongside the Seven Kingdoms and Capitalism series. Bizarre, shonky yet strangely compelling cyberpunk adventure BloodNet is also up for grabs at £1.48, while the mech-on-mech showdown Slave Zero is well worth a look for genre fans.

As always, hit up the splash page and see what takes your fancy.

Top Ten | Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Survival Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, PC games, PS3 games, Survival Guide, Xbox 360 games

Top Ten | Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Survival Guide

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out today in the UK, and our full review will be going live very soon. It's a fun and famililar burst of shooting and looting, meaning that our Borderlands 2 survival guide is still packed with plenty of relevant tips, but the low-gravity setting, ace bouncy combat, new enemies and brand new characters mean that even Vault Hunting veterans can potentially be caught unawares.

Never fear, because I'm here with a few useful, practical and sometimes completely esoteric survival tips that are as spoiler-free as humanely possible! Ten, in fact, though I don't really see much point in ordering them this time.

Master The Double Jump...

Top Ten | Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Survival Guide

Double-jumping is all the rage these days. Taking a look back at the platformers of yesteryear, Titanfall did the business and now everyone else is falling over themselves to follow suit.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, however, takes a totally unique approach to double-jumping. In a low-grav situation, you'll gain extra height if you hit the button without touching the stick, but holding a direction turns it into a powerful lateral boost instead (depending on your momentum at the time). You'll need a few hours to fully get used to it, as the additional altitude can be used to pour devastating firepower down on foes or engage aerial foes in the air.

Conversely, the boost provides a major speed increase, the ability to circle strafe in the air or the extra oomph you need to make it to a distant platform. Or even pulling back from a botched jump and ensuring you return to the platform rather than falling into the abyss. Practice makes perfect.

Click here to read more...

Planetary Annihilation £9.19 on Bundle Stars, save £13 (or don't)

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games, Planetary Annhilation, RTS, Uber Entertainment

Planetary Annihilation £9.19 on Bundle Stars, save £13 (or don't)

Planetary Annihilation | Bundle Stars | £9.19 (save RRP: £22.99)
Planetary Annihilation Hands-On Preview

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's a difference between a great deal and a great game. This is a great deal, netting you a Steam code for Planetary Annihilation at a major saving.

The game, though, feels unfinished despite leaving early access. Planetary Annihilation was very promising in preview and is fantastic fun when you're wielding huge robot armies and smashing moons into each other, but the lack of tutorials, multiple factions and a more digestible UI can make this insane RTS an overwhelming and frustrating experience for newcomers. I doubt I'll have time for a full review,  but I personally wish that Uber had spent more time rounding what feels like a fun yet incomplete product into a full package.

The Humble Vancouver Bundle is very Canadian and very good value

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

The Humble Vancouver Bundle is very Canadian and very good value

The Humble Weekly Bundle is now live and distinctly Canadian, taking aim at developers and studios based in the Vancouver area.

Beat 64p to get Shank and the first two Penny Arcade Adventures (well worth doing, though Robert Boyd's later Penny Arcade Games are vastly superior), while also getting unfunny wasted opportunity Deathspank: The Baconing and Boximals Bounce.

Beat £3.73 to also receive Shank 2 and PvZ GOTY. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

ZombiU only £5.95 at The Game Collection on Wii U

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Survival Horror Games, Wii U games, ZombiU

ZombiU only £5.95 at The Game Collection on Wii U

ZombiU | Game Collection | £5.95
Price ComparisonReview

How cheap does ZombiU have to get before you buy this criminally-overlooked horror masterpiece?! It annoys me that Ubisoft were brave enough to create one of the most tough, faithful and terrifying survival horror games of the last decade, yet the final product was slapped down for having clunky melee combat, high difficulty and other essential survival horror elements. Ugh.

Anyway, rant over. We've seen it £1 cheaper during a previous Game Collection flash sale, but they're back with a great price nonetheless. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

Get an Xbox One, The Evil Within, Alien Isolation, Wolfenstein, Forza 5 & Dead Rising 3 for £399.85 at ShopTo!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Get an Xbox One, The Evil Within, Alien Isolation, Wolfenstein, Forza 5 & Dead Rising 3 for £399.85 at ShopTo!

The early bird catches the worm, but the late and tardy birds reap magnificent savings. ShopTo are currently selling and Xbox One console with The Evil Within, Alien Isolation, Wolfenstein, Forza 5 & Dead Rising 3 for £399.85, which is £30 less than the solus console itself cost just one year ago!

Madness, especially seeing that all but one of these games scored an 8/10 (because we haven't reviewed The Evil Within yet!). Thanks to partyblast @ HUKD!

The Morning Papers | Enter The Nexus

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
The Morning Papers

The Morning Papers | Enter The Nexus

Good morning!

The big news today is that Google and Asus are making an Android micro-console... because... no, I have absolutely no idea either. At least the odd circular casing can double up as a hockey puck. Here are your headlines.

In Case You Missed It...

The Morning Papers | Enter The Nexus

 

White Xbox One with Sunset Overdrive only £309.97 at GameStop

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Xbox One

White Xbox One with Sunset Overdrive only £309.97 at GameStop

The Xbox One keeps getting cheaper as Microsoft's aggressive price cuts and willingness to abandon Kinect sends prices tumbling. GameStop's latest deal sees the White Xbox One, controller and Sunset Overdrive slashed down to £309.97, which is a seriously smart bargain as things stand.

Alternatively, ShopTo will throw in CoD: Advanced Warfare for an extra £40, if you're interested. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

Get a Wii U Basic Console with Super Smash Bros & Nintendo Land for £179.99 at Zavvi

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Nintendo, Wii U

Get a Wii U Basic Console with Super Smash Bros & Nintendo Land for £179.99 at Zavvi

Zavvi are currently selling a basic white Wii U console with Super Smash Bros and Nintendo Land for £179.99, which is cheap as chips, at least if you're willing to rely on an external hard drive to compensate for a paltry 8GB of onboard storage.

I also don't think that SSB supports WiiMote and Nunchuck controls, so bear in mind that you might also need to shell out for extra GameCube controllers/adaptor or Pro controllers to maximise your multiplayer. Thanks to goonertillidie @ HUKD!

PREVIEW | Duskers delivers isolation, terror & Sci-Fi survival via remote control

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Duskers, Games previews, Indie Games, Misfits Attic, PC games, Strategy games, Survival games, Survival Horror Games, Tim Keenan

PREVIEW | Duskers delivers isolation, terror & Sci-Fi survival via remote control

Castaway meets Space Hulk, BigTrak & MS-DOS

People tell me that cutting-edge graphical tech is absolutely crucial for attaining that most hallowed of made-up buzzwords: immersion. I understand that point of view and the logic behind it, but also contend that it's complete and total bollocks.

See, for the last few weeks I've been compulsively glued to a primitive early alpha that uses the bare minimum to ground you in an evocative lonely Sci-Fi universe, by making your computer monitor look like a different computer monitor.

PREVIEW | Duskers delivers isolation, terror & Sci-Fi survival via remote control

Duskers casts you as a astronaut castaway in the depths of space, running out of rations and going half-mad from isolation, desperately eking out the last of your days by salvaging any usable supplies from derelict space hulks. You'll use your precious supplies just to travel between them, meaning that you have to find food or die of starvation, but in a unique twist you'll never personally leave your ship.

Without a viable space suit, you'll instead rely on a handful of remote-controlled drones that become your only means of exploring the wrecks, your eyes, ears and hands, and also your only friends in an otherwise hostile and empty universe. As such, both you and the astronaut stare at the same arcane control interface -- your computer monitor and keyboard -- connecting and immersing you in the game world in a unique and deeply chilling way.

After all, your drones aren't alone out there... and without them you're as good as dead.

PREVIEW | Duskers delivers isolation, terror & Sci-Fi survival via remote control

Click here to read more...