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Will Amazon Fire TV burn or fizzle? | Dealspwn Roundtable

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Amazon, Android, Fire TV, Roundtable

Will Amazon Fire TV burn or fizzle? | Dealspwn Roundtable

After months of rumours, Amazon have finally revealed their first major foray into the lounge. Amazon Fire TV is tiny and powerful, a quad-core set top box with 2GB of RAM crammed into a chassis that can snuggle into a one hand, designed to unobtrusively slot beside your existing AV setup. Packing HDMI, optical audio, robust voice commands, second-screen functionality and a range of entertainment services, it's gunning for 'all in one' appeal at a fraction of the cost. Specifically, $99.

Naturally Fire TV will take full advantage of Amazon's streaming entertainment services, alongside the likes of Netflix, Youtube, Vimeo and regional content providers, but the diminutive device also has some serious gaming chops.

A pleasingly chunky controller (sold separately) turns the set top box into a console, with the likes of Double Helix, Portal co-creator Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 producer Clint Hocking all headhunted to develop exclusive games and oversee the ecosystem. Even Notch has pledged to deliver an exclusive version of Minecraft. As an Android-based console with locked-down specs, developers will be able to quickly optimise their existing games for the platform too.

Will Amazon Fire TV burn or fizzle? | Dealspwn Roundtable

Exciting stuff... but can Fire TV successfully go toe-to-toe with the big boys on their own living room turf - and compete with any number of Android tablets that offer HDMI streaming? Is the market big enough for another Android micro-console? Big questions demand big answers, so we've got together for a bit of a virtual chinwag from three different perspectives.

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The Dark Room Arena Spectacularrrrgh: John Robertson's live, interactive adventure game hits the Udderbelly Festival on April 18th, and you should be there

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Adventure Games, Comedy, John Robertson, Shameless plug, Text adventures, The Dark Room

The Dark Room Arena Spectacularrrrgh: John Robertson's live, interactive adventure game hits the Udderbelly Festival on April 18th, and you should be there

I've been spending a goodly number of Mondays recently camped out in the dimly lit basement of a bar lately, watching a manic Australian ridicule the intelligence of his audience for an hour and a half whilst prancing about with an Xbox controller strapped to his chest and pretending to be a floating head.

Any of you who read my interview with the man himself -- one Mr. John Robertson -- last year will know that there's a good reason for this. Robertson is a fan of the classic, text-based adventure games that were b*stard hard and seemed to have no small amount of contempt for the player, and so he designed his own. And then turned it into a live, interactive stageshow, and then a YouTube multi-million hit sensation, and then a stageshow again.

The Dark Room Arena Spectacularrrrgh: John Robertson's live, interactive adventure game hits the Udderbelly Festival on April 18th, and you should be there

Having taken The Dark Room all over the world, he's now doing a residency at the Gem Bar in London with the show every Monday, but is also set to play his biggest show in the UK to date at the London Southbank Udderbelly Festival, where he'll be bringing his live-action videogame to a 400-seater setting inside of a giant, upside-down, purple cow.

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Vlambeer's Rami Ismail Talks Luftrausers Success, Microsoft Failures & Nuclear Throne - Video Interview

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, Interviews, Luftrausers, Microsoft, PS4, Rezzed 2014, Sony, Videos, Vlambeer, Xbox One

Vlambeer's Rami Ismail Talks Luftrausers Success, Microsoft Failures & Nuclear Throne - Video Interview

Vlambeer's Rami Ismail is a bit of a legend, really. When he's not producing the likes of Super Crate Box, Luftrausers and Nuclear Throne, you'll find him championing indie games and speaking out against Microsoft's restrictive policies.

So naturally we had to grab him for an interview at EGX Rezzed.

Over the course of ten minutes, the Vlambeer guru looks back at Luftrausers' success and reception, discusses some high-level tactics and plane builds, explains why Microsoft's indie parity clause is holding them back and looks forward to the upcoming release of Nuclear Throne.

BROFORCE BROtally BROdacious VideBRO Preview | BROfessional Journalism!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action platformer, Bro, Broforce, Free Lives, Games previews, PC, PC games, PS Vita, PS Vita games, PS3, PS3 games, PS4, PS4 games, Rezzed 2014, Videos

BROFORCE BROtally BROdacious VideBRO Preview | BROfessional Journalism!

BROFORCE!

It's all in the name. This cooperative run & gun platformer is utterly outrageous in all the right ways, letting us control awesome homages to classic action movies and throwing us into massively destructible levels in the name of RIDICULOUS ACTION. BROchete? BRO Dredd? Indiana BROnes? Brade? BROdell Walker? The BROminator? They're all there, and more besides, all ready to make stuff explode in the most epic of ways.

As an example, Carl took down a helicopter with a katana. Not unlike a boss.

We'll bring you a more in-depth preview soon, but here's what happened when Carl and I got to grips with BROFORCE at EGX Rezzed. Forget professionalism, because we've got BROfessionalism. Which is just as good, except with 100% more high fives and naked from the waist up.

Flockers Video Preview | Watch Jon Suck At Team 17's Sadistic Wooly Puzzler

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Early Access, Gameplay footage, Games previews, PC, PC games, Puzzle games, puzzler, Rezzed 2014, Team 17

Flockers Video Preview | Watch Jon Suck At Team 17's Sadistic Wooly Puzzler

Sheep have long been familiar companions to any Worms player. Whether an honourable lightsider or dastardly darksider, we're used to deploying armies of explosive livestock who merrily leap into harm's way before sacrificing themselves on the altar of victory. But have you ever stopped to wonder where these flocks of adorable ordinance actually come from?

Now we're set to find out -- and feel incredibly guilty in the process -- courtesy of Flockers. Team 17's newly-announced puzzler is set within the Worm's weapon factory, a gauntlet of industrial machinery, saws and blades, through which we'll guide our wooly mates using a 21st century take on classic Lemmings gameplay. It's tense, hectic, darkly hilarious and tremendously exciting.

You can read more about it in our Flockers hands-on preview... but wouldn't you rather watch the cuddly carnage firsthand? Behold: the entirety of the Rezzed preview build blundered through by yours truly, while Team 17's Bethany Aston valiantly does her best to make up for my extreme incompetence!

Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies Interview | On Tactics, Multiplayer, Homeworld & Warhammer

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies, Expansion Pack, Interviews, PC, PC games, Relic Games, Rezzed 2014, RTS, Sega, Videos

Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies Interview | On Tactics, Multiplayer, Homeworld & Warhammer

Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies was one of the biggest announcements of Rezzed 2014: a standalone multiplayer expansion pack that will act as a new point of entry for the series. The US Forces and Oberkommando West will grant us completely unique gameplay experience set throughout a brand new theatre of war, which slots straight into the existing multiplayer of Relic Entertainment's impressive RTS.

Want to know more? So did we. Luckily Company Of Heroes 2 producer Greg Wilson and game director Quinn Duffy were on hand to answer our many questions about the two armies, maps and new tactical opportunities that commanders will encounter on The Western Front.

Naturally we also had time to quiz them about Homeworld, the next Warhammer game and developing during THQ's implosion. They're fantastic sports, as you'll see in the video below.

Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies Interview | On Tactics, Multiplayer, Homeworld & Warhammer

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Goat Simulator is utterly baaarmy and I can't stop playing it

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Coffee Stain Studios, Goat Simulator, Indie Games, PC games, Videos

Goat Simulator is utterly baaarmy and I can't stop playing it

I had to buy it. £6.18 seems a paltry price for getting stuck into a game that should never really have existed. But the Internet wants what the Internet wants, and after the rapturous reception to the first trailer for Goat Simulator, Coffee Stain Studios realised that this utterly barmy concept had captured the imaginations of a fair few people.

It's fitting that the game releases today of all days, but Goat Simulator is far from an April Fools' gag. Instead what you get for your ten dollars is a playpen of anarchy -- a little sandbox of destructible environments, oddball challenges, and daft achievements to unlock. It's deliciously open to modding, and I can't wait to see what people come up with in the weeks ahead. It's another YouTube darling, like Surgeon Simulator and Octodad before it, though without the purposefully botched controls.

It's a game that lets you become a jetpack-clad goat wreaking havoc on a small town, and that's amazing. There's a review coming shortly. No, really -- that's not an April Fools' gag either.

Full Bore: Part Two - Into Hard Earth Preview | Boaring, Not Boring

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Full Bore, Games previews, Indie Games, Nkiyu Games, Videos, Whole Hog Games

Full Bore: Part Two - Into Hard Earth Preview | Boaring, Not Boring

At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Full Bore has more in common with the likes of Terraria and Steamworld Dig than anything else. After all, here's another platform-heavy game with blocky pixels inviting you to explore labyrinthine, subterranean caverns and clear out rocks. But you'd be wrong. Full Bore flatters to deceive as a traditional platformer -- it doesn't even have a jump button -- and the focus here is firmly on puzzle solving rather than exploration or crafting. In many ways, Full Bore comes across as a Metroidvania title, with tusks.

Full Bore: Part One - The First Dig released last year, showcasing an open, non-linear environment that saw players tackling an array of block puzzles that became increasingly more fiendish. Full Bore isn't a game that sees you progressing in terms of capabilities as you move throughout the game, but rather lays everything out early on and then challenges your grasp of the game's various mechanisms with puzzles that become more intricate and fiendish.

Full Bore: Part Two - Into Hard Earth Preview | Boaring, Not Boring

The joy of the open nature of the game means that there's actually little frustration to be found in Full Bore. Rather early on you discover that you're actually part of a mining operation, and the vaults been blown wide open, scattering valuable gems and precious stones across the mine. This provides a nice little conceit for having you collect precious stones in certain puzzle rooms, but often you'll find that rooms have more than one entrance, and you'll have to go off and do a bit of exploring in order to collect everything.

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Meet The Flockers: Hands-On With Team 17's Sadistic Worms Tie-In

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Early Access, Games previews, PC, PC games, Puzzle games, puzzler, Rezzed 2014, Team 17, Videos

Meet The Flockers: Hands-On With Team 17's Sadistic Worms Tie-In

Platforms: PC

Developer: Team 17

Publisher: Team 17

Sheep have long been familiar companions to any Worms player. Whether an honourable lightsider or dastardly darksider, we're used to deploying armies of explosive livestock who merrily leap into harm's way before sacrificing themselves on the altar of victory. But have you ever stopped to wonder where these flocks of adorable ordinance actually come from?

Now we're set to find out -- and feel incredibly guilty in the process -- courtesy of Flockers.

Team 17's newly-announced puzzler is set within the Worms' weapon factory: a nightmarish realm of grinding machinery, industrial mills, saws, blades and conveyor belts, all forming a giant and intricately designed mechanised hell. Entire herds of sheep are bound for the depths of the facility, destined to be stuffed full of high explosives and shipped off to the front lines... and it's up to us to save as many as possible from their grisly fate. What follows is a blood-soaked and thoroughly sadistic take on classic Lemmings gameplay, liberally flavoured with lashings of anarchic British humour and classic Worms references.

Meet The Flockers: Hands-On With Team 17's Sadistic Worms Tie-In

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Alien: Isolation Hands-On Preview | Monstrous Potential, But With A Great Big "If"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, PC, PC games, PS3, PS3 games, PS4, PS4 games, Rezzed 2014, Sega, Stealth Games, Survival Horror Games, The Creative Assembly, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 games, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Alien: Isolation Hands-On Preview | Monstrous Potential, But With A Great Big "If"

Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 (tested) | Xbox 360 | Xbox One

Developer: The Creative Assembly

Publisher: SEGA

I'm going to die in a locker.

It was all going so well. My exploration of an abandoned laboratory was proceeding swimmingly until the motion tracker blared into life, catching me out in the open with nowhere to run. The Alien is coming. It's close. I can't fight it. I can't outrun it. But a winking green light on the other side of the hallway promised a safe haven: a locker big enough to hide in, only a short sprint away.

Alien: Isolation Hands-On Preview | Monstrous Potential, But With A Great Big "If"

And now I'm going to die. Following my footsteps, the Xenomorph stalks past the locker grille, and for a split-second I think I'm safe as I peer through the slats. No such luck. It wheels and thrusts its eyeless muzzle up against the door, all fangs and slime. I shrink back from the grille, willing myself to sink into the darkness and hold my breath -- both in the game and in real life. Please, please, please just walk away! After what felt like an eternity, the chitinous horror finally sloped back down the hall and I let out a sigh of desperate relief. I've survived... but the Alien is still out there. Waiting. Hunting me.

If The Creative Assembly can sustain this fear throughout the campaign, Alien Isolation could well become the best and most chilling survival horror game we've seen in some time, not to mention an outstanding tie-in. That's a seriously big "if," mind, and the uncomfortable question hanging over what is otherwise a very impressive debut.

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Game Night | Misadventures in Titanfall - Pacific Rim Edition #2

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Game Night, PC games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Remember how we sucked at Capture the Flag? No longer, as we save the best til last. Yes, that's right, friends, Romans, countrymen, Pilots, and Mechs...we kind of rock out with our 40mm cannons out in the second part of our Titanfall Game Night.

Hats off once again to the Prof.

You can catch up with Part One here.

Game Night | Misadventures in Titanfall - Pacific Rim Edition #1

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Game Night, PC games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Game Night | Misadventures in Titanfall - Pacific Rim Edition #1

Oh man, getting this thing to finally render and upload without calamitous crashes, YouTube processing fuckery, glitching sound, freezing video and more has been an ordeal and a half, but we can finally bring you the Game Night we recorded last week.

Sadly, the in-game audio got splinched with half of the commentary we were recording at irregular intervals, so in the end we cut it completely to preserve the full commentary recording. So no bullet sounds or explosions, I'm afraid. But we've stuck the Pacific Rim soundtrack in there for good measure, and it does make things rather more epic.

Then again that main theme could rouse the dead.

Huge props and mega-thanks to Profsaurus for joining us for the evening. You have my sword...

This one's for you.

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #11 - The sound of suffering

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #11 - The sound of suffering
The Old Dragonslayer may have been more troublesome than expected, but Carl has a plan - a scheme so brilliant it couldn't possibly fail - an 80's style action montage to get more souls and level up. Does the musical interlude work? Does Carl manage to take down the Old Dragonslayer? Should Carl be allowed near a microphone again? All these questions and more are answered in the conclusion of our Dark Souls II series.

If you want to learn more about Carl's feelings on Dark Souls II, you can read his review here.

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carmageddon: Reincarnation, Driving games, Games previews, PC games, Stainless Games, Videos

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

Max is back! Yes, one of the original video game nasties is making a comeback and how we've missed its cathartic delights! Carmageddon: Reincarnation emerges onto Steam later this week, and you can pre-order the Early Access for $29.99, helping to shape the game's development into alpha, beta, and beyond.

It's in pre-alpha right now, and there's not a lot to the game at present, so it's looking like it still has some way to go. There's only one mode at the time of writing and two tracks, but there are six cars from which to choose -- all of them classics.

I have to say, that whilst the game might be pretty unfinished at the moment, the unmistakeable Carmageddon feel is certainly present. It's difficult to get a feel for the handling and the damage modelling in this pre-alpha state, but everything runs the way you'd expect, though the option of remapping some of the keys would be nice. Steering with the arrow keys and having the powerup default set to Enter is not great.

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

On the track it's business as usual, with three ways to win: come first in the race, smash all of your opponents to bits, or run over every pedestrian in the level. As you'll see in the video, I had an absolute blast. But don't mess with the police, seriously; they will be the death of you if you give them half a chance.

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Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Facebook, Oculus, Oculus Rift, Tech, Virtual Reality, VR, VR headsets

Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

Yesterday, a cash-rich Silicon Valley leviathan paved the way for the acquisition of a plucky startup. As surprising as Facebook's pending purchase of Oculus might have seemed last night, that's all that really happened. As announced last night, is set to be bought by Facebook for approximately $2 billion USD, with the transaction due to take place sometime later this year in Q2 2014.

First up, the official quotes. Here's what Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe had to say about the coming acquisition:

“Mobile is the platform of today," said Zuckerberg, "and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Iribe. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

And the internet went crazy.

Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

The Oculus Rift as a gaming device has enormous potential, and I've waxed lyrical about how awesomely immersive an experience the device can offer. But for VR to be a mainstream success, it needs to look beyond games and that is hardly a new concept. Look at the media hubs that our consoles have become, the connected experiences offered by the tiny computers each of us carries in our pockets. There are reactions to this news declaring the gaming applications for the Rift dead in the water as a result of this news, but they rather sound like nonsensical tantrums fuelled by anti-Facebook hate. The key to all of this is independence -- how much leeway will Oculus be given to continue as they have done, albeit with greater financial security, resources, and opportunities?

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HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dark Souls, HD remake, Metroid Prime, PS4 games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted, Wii U games, Xbox One Games

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

HD remasters and re-releases are big business, and in the wake of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition earlier this year, and the Final Fantasy X/X-2 re-release a few days ago, I've been thinking about some of the other games from the past fifteen years that would make for no-brainer re-releases on current, new-gen platforms like the Xbox One, the PS4, and the Wii U.

Sometimes, it's all too easy to attribute a re-release to a cashgrab, and the line shifts depending on who's drawn it, and how much the person in question values a game. Convenience is often one of the greatest reasons for picking up a game again on a new platform, particularly if it's a beloved title. But there are also certain practical improvements that we all look for when it comes to these revamps, from graphical improvements -- resolutions, textures, framerate, AA -- to additional content, smoother handling, new features, and making the most of the opportunities afforded by new tech.

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

In the case of the Xbox One and PS4, that means gameplay broadcasting and sharing services. On the Wii U, that extends even further to the unique capabilities of the GamePad and a greater focus on online multiplayer.

With that in mind, here are a few of my own personal picks for games I'd love to see make the jump from previous generations to the current one.

Metroid Prime Trilogy

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

This is a no-brainer. Metroid Prime still, somehow, looks absolutely outstanding, and both the first game and Echoes received a bit of spit and polish for the Collection that released on the Wii. Not only is it the best and bravest move Nintendo have made with one of their precious properties, but the explortory nature of the gameplay would lend itself brilliantly to incorporating the Game Pad. Scanning alien planets, pinpointing enemy weaknesses, plus you could use the motion control to steer the Morphball, and if Nintendo fancied adding in a spot of extra gameplay, you could get a nice little Commander-esque mode going on with the Game Pad in competitive multiplayer.

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Reaper Of Souls Is Good & Pricey... But Diablo III's Free Updates Are Worth Reinstalling For

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action RPG, Blizzard, PC, PC games

Reaper Of Souls Is Good & Pricey... But Diablo III's Free Updates Are Worth Reinstalling For

I reinstalled Diablo III the other day... and I'd suggest you do the same if you have the time.

It's my job, of course. Blizzard pinged us a code for the long-anticipated expansion, Reaper Of Souls, which launched last night with nary an Error 37 in sight. Offering a new class (the brilliantly cathartic Crusader), a new act with Blizzard's first attempt at procedural urban environments, some great new bosses and a massive adventure mode for item hunters, the new content is matched my a seriously hefty price tag. Naturally I reinstalled Diablo III well ahead of time to make sure that I could take several classes straight into Westmarch to test their tasty new level 70 skills - and our full review will be ready soon. Spoiler alert: it's pretty decent.

However, the last time I mentioned Reaper Of Souls on-site, readers suggested that we took another look at Blizzard's controversial dungeon crawler due to some utterly enormous patches. Update 2.0 revamped Diablo III in numerous key areas earlier this month, rebuilding its progression, loot, difficulty settings and the core gameplay experience in fundamental ways. Some early critics even appear to be giving Reaper Of Souls credit for things that are actually included as totally free updates.

The net result being that Diablo III is now a vastly superior game even if you don't spend a single extra penny. And definitely worth another look.

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Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blackpowder Games, Indie Games, PC games, Videos

Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

Betrayer is a bit of an odd game. Arriving from some of the creative team who spearheaded the likes of F.E.A.R. and No One Lives Forever, it plonks you down in a monochrome representation of the New World with no real information about where you are or what it is that you're supposed to be doing, and lets you figure out pretty much everything for yourself.

It looks fantastic -- the black and white aesthetic setting an eerie tone -- and Betrayer's striking visuals are nicely complimented with environmental sound design that really pops, but the progression is a little stilted, and it'll be interested to see how (and if) the game kicks on from text snippets to something a little more grandiose.

Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

It's a game that presents you with an ever-increasing number of questions early on, and you'll have to wait for the review in a day or two to see if they get answered. In the meantime, however, here's a little taster of the game's opening scenes.

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Titanfall IMC Campaign #9 – Jon & Matt Protect Their Robot Buddies

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Titanfall IMC Campaign #9 – Jon & Matt Protect Their Robot Buddies

This is it! The final chapter. The Militia are trying to shut down the Spectre production lines, and we have to stop them. Not that it really matters if we win or lose. Soemtimes I feel like the Titanfall campaign is an enormous comment on the linearity of game narratives and how, ultimately, our choices don't really matter even when it feels like we have choices, as if the game were some kind of mech-fuelled Stanley Parable.

But then I slap myself in the face and realise that I'm overthinking it, that the campaign makes about as much sense as condom machine in the Vatican, and that I have no idea who the hell Blisk and Graves and Barker and any of these named incidental characters who I don't give a monkeys about actually are.

Still, it's a been a fun ride.

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Graphics, Graphics vs. Gameplay, inFamous: Second Son, PC games, PS4 games, Titanfall, Xbox One Games

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

"Looks aren't important." It's the old adage that gets trotted out every once in a while when a game comes along that's beautiful to look at, but perhaps drops the ball in terms of gameplay mechanics or a forced, mediocre script, or design that's limp and sweaty and uninspired. It's the cry of critics and fans styling themselves as a sort of would-be industry intelligensia, playing down the crude concerns of those only interested in the whizz and wonder of blockbusters and spectacle. I'm often a little flippant about it on this very site, and the graphical side of things sometimes get a bad rap. The suggestion is that good gameplay can meaningfully enhance a game with poor graphics, but shining production values can't save a game that's mediocre at its core.

That may be true on paper, but then why do we go so absolutely nuts over games with good graphics? Are we idiots? And I say "we" because I'm a just as much of a sucker for a pretty game as the next person up. We can chat some jumped-up waffle about how graphics don't really matter, and that is true to a certain extent, one only has to look back at some of the timeless classics of our industry, but times change, technology moves on, and with new possibilities come new expectations.

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

It's the vistas that have brought me to think on this topics lately. There have been so many moment in inFamous: Second Son where I've found myself pausing for a moment on top of a skyscraper and swooning over the draw distance and the pinsharp detail. We've come such a long way since the infamous N64 fog days, and these graphical evolutions help to create a greater sense of connection to the virtual worlds we inhabit. As technology has advanced quicker, as PC capabilities continue to break boundaries faster than ever before, so our expectations have rocketed. Immersion has become the grail in terms of gaming experiences.

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