Tag Archives: PS4

Agents of Mayhem Review

It’s strange to complain about a game based on what it’s not trying to do, but it’s almost impossible to avoid with Agents of Mayhem. It’s an absolutely fantastic, entertaining, polished, funny, fairly deep single-player experience. But it should have been a co-op game.

Agents of Mayhem is the latest game from Volition, famous for the Saints Row franchise, and this is evident in every part of Agents of MAyhem. Beyond the obvious links through the colour scheme and icons (and being able to play as Johnny Gat if you pre-ordered), AoM feels like a Saints Row game. The humour is on point, if a little crass, the violence is ridiculously over the top and gameplay trumps realism at every turn, and the missions tend to follow a similar structure. If you played Saints Row IV (and why wouldn’t you have, it’s amazing) you’ll be vaguely familiar with this take on the world, with superhero-esque powers and a massive open world city that serves more as a playground than something that feels alive. Certainly, with regards to the world and much of the game, you can see this has been partly inspried by Crackdown, with collectables shining on rooftops to clamber over and a wealth of ridiculous powers and vehicles to supposedly help you save the town as you ‘accidentally’ mow down innocent civilians in crossfire. This is Saturday-morning style superhero shenanigans at it’s best.

The basic structure of the game sees you choosing a squad of three agents from a pool of twelve to go out into Seoul and kill enemies, defuse bombs, and occasionally take part in a car chase. Down on the ground you can choose between the three agents on the fly and jump into any vehicle or call your own agency vehicle. Of course if you want to free-roam you can, and there’s plenty of collectables about to help boost your abilities and the agency, or you can just cause some mayhem with the tools at your disposal.

The city itself is by far the weakest part of AoM. It feels dead and lifeless, the civilians don’t react naturally and it’s hard to cause GTA-style chaos where your actions seem to have significant effects on the area. There’s no real destruction mechanics and car explode in a very unsatisfying way.

Thankfully the game is saved by just how much fun the mechanics are. Each agent plays differently with a unique main weapon, ability, and ‘Mayhem’ move. Each of these can be swapped out or modified for others back at the base. One uses a bow to get critical hits, one uses a freeze gun, one uses an SMG. Each character suits a different playstyle and you can switch between them at any time using left and right on the d-pad. Like tag-based fighting games when one gets low on health you can switch to another and let them heal up meaning the action never really stops and you get a lot of variety even within a single fight.

The enemies aren’t particularly interesting, but they are challenging and there’s a wealth of different difficulties (the menu seems like the one from Diablo 3) with the idea that you can push yourself to higher difficulties with higher rewards as you level up your agents and unlock more abilities.

The constant loop of missions, upgrades, exploration is unbelievably engaging and it’s wrapped up in some very funny writing and a visual style that is at it’s best when there’s a lot of chaos breaking out around you. If you hated the humour in Saints Row, you won’t be won over by this, but if you enjoy things that are a little more puerile and you enjoy the over-the-top excess of cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the animated X-men series, you’ll feel right at home. It’s hard to get across just how important this is, the game is just plain fun.

Which brings us back to our main complaint about the game. It should have been co-op.

You play the game with a team of three heroes, each hero has a range of abilities that work best in different playstyles and situations, the levels are big and usually quite open, there’s loads of jokes and teasing between the characters. There’s even a per-character progression system. It feels like the game was built for co-op then it was yanked out at some point to save time on production. As it stands, we can easily recommend this game to Saints Row fans. If they brought out an update adding co-op, we would recommend this game to everyone.

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Aven Colony Review (Xbox One)

We love survival colony games. From Settlers to Anno, it’s always been a nice change of pace from the usual hectic first person shooters and tense RTS games. The joy of starting out with an empty field then slowly building up a village, to a town, to a sprawling metropolis than is entirely self sustaining. Aven Colony fits into that category neatly, but sadly doesn’t do anything to push it onwards.

The basics are simple, you begin on an alien planet with colonists from Earth. You very quickly need to establish the basics: Power, Water, Food, Air, Storage, Entertainment. Usually in that order. Over time the game throws new challenges at you like a kind of fungus that grows on your buildings and needs to be scrubbed off by drones, or lightning storms and ‘shard storms’ that are basically just meteorites – but dealing with these is as simple as building a specific building.

As your colony grows there’s a wealth of things to farm and mine, chemicals to produce, and things to research – but essentially they all serve the same function, it’s either food or entertainment. This is symptomatic of the larger problem with Aven Colony, it’s all so bland.

After you’ve created your first proper colony and completed the first real campaign mission, you will have seen nearly everything there is to see. Each map has a new twist on the formula (maybe there’s nowhere to farm so you have to trade, or there overly-aggressive fungus that needs to be beaten back quickly) but the description of the campaign level basically tells you what you need to do. Very quickly you fall into a set building pattern of how to deal with challenges, then you just let it play out.

Difficulty settings are present, but essentially they are just narrowing the margins in which you can be successful. Once you understand how the systems work, the game is exceptionally simple, with very little RNG to mess you up.

Sadly the game isn’t immersive enough to be a fun distraction when you just want to relax. Everything looks incredibly generic and is quite low-res on Xbox One. You can occasionally see colonists milling about but they don’t really do anything other than walk from building to building. There’s no life or spontaneity in anything that happens – you’re just slowly expanding a collection of by-the-book sci-fi pods in a colourful, but forgettable landscape.

It’s a shame that the game is quite dull when it gets so much right. The controls, often a bugbear in strategy games on console, are spot-on. Whoever has designed the interface is a genius as everything is immediately accessible and not once did I feel using a gamepad was getting in the way of what I wanted to do. The quest system too is quite good, giving you a range of different challenges that don’t distract you from your overall goal, but let you try something different for a few moments like growing a load of a certain crop, processing it, and trading it. Even the voice acting is a step above other games in the genre on console – but however satisfied you can be with the mechanics of the game, there’s just no heart to it and nothing unique to keep it fun.

If you’re desperately looking for a colony-builder on console, Aven Colony is a fine game, just go in aware that’s uninspired and unlikely to last you more than a mildly entertaining evening.

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Injustice 2 Review (Xbox One)

Last year Street Fighter V came out and many of us (including me) were shocked at just how little content it offered. This was a game created almost purely for the hardcore tournament goers, no single player to speak of, no progression, just a roster of character and a solid offline multiplayer and slightly shaky online. For people who are really into fighting games, that might be all they need, but for the millions of casual fighting games fans around, it felt far too sparse. Enter Injustice 2, possibly the most generous fighting game I’ve ever seen.

For starters, Injustice 2 is a direct sequel to the first game. While the roster has changed (lots of heroes have been taken away including Zatara, Lex Luthor, Doomsday, etc) the campaign follows on directly from the first game and the fighting systems are all intact. You still build up a super meter that can be used to augment attacks, bet on a wager, or unleash your super-move; you can still hit people off the stage into a new one; you can still interact with all kinds of things in each area (if you want, all of this is customisable).Anyone familiar with how the first one played will be instantly at home, but there are some new toys for anyone who was put off by the simplicity of the first game.

Now that super meter can be used for something much more technical than just adding damage to your moves. You can now use a bar of it to do a counter mid-combo to make sure you always have a chance to break free. This is a combo-heavy game and the ability to do an air-counter when you’re juggled into the air is an absolute godsend as some characters can destroy you as soon as they bounce you up. This new feature seems to make the game a lot fairer and even online all of my games have been incredibly close, with far fewer whitewashes just because someone gets control early on.

Of course all of this doesn’t mean much if you’re just here for the fancy fighting and characters you know, and that’s where the campaign really shines. It might be cheesy and over-the-top, but it manages to fairly intelligently weave in every major character (except the pre-order exclusive Darkseid) into a plot that sees many of the DC heroes facing off against Braniac and a collection of the villains. If you haven’t played Injustice the roster might be confusing, with Superman now a villain in prison and Harley Quinn on Batman’s side, but with a couple of YouTube videos you can catch up quickly and enjoy the ride.

The campaign is a series of fights with cut-scenes in between and the occasional choice of which character you’d like to fight as. The cut-scenes are fantastic with some spectacular set-pieces and outstanding facial animation. The characters sometimes look a little odd, but the animation on characters such as Gorilla Grodd and Braniac sets a new bar for in-engine scenes.

Speaking of the characters, no-one can accuse the developers of playing it safe. Alongside series stalwarts like the Justice League, the Joker, and Bane, we’ve now got a group of new additions from characters made popular by recent TV shows (Supergirl, Captain Cold, Firestorm, Gorilla Grodd), classics of the comics who aren’t given enough screen time (Swamp Thing, Darkseid), and some strange characters who I’d never heard of before (Cheetah and Atrocitus). The roster is incredibly diverse with no two characters playing the same. There’s no group of ‘heavies’ anymore, each character has their own quirks and ways of holding control, from Grodd’s incredible rushing potential to Deadshot’s extreme zoning.

All the characters also have a tonne of dialogue with specific lines for every single match up, often with references to the comics or films. Some of the designs are perhaps less convincing this time around, with the Joker being more inspired by Leto’s Suicide Squad version moreso than other popular takes on the character, and Green Arrow oddly going for the classic comic version rather than the TV show. Still, there’s always the potential for new skins and I sincerely hope (I can’t believe I’m saying this) there’s a bunch of DLC packs for skins in the near future.

To top off the progression system there’s a huge number of collectables that serve as gear on your characters. If both players agree this gear can be used in multiplayer, boosting stats as well as having a visual impact. If you like the stats of one piece (and there are hundreds of different items) but not the look, you can even transmogrify everything to keep the look and shaders you want, but with the bonuses you need. The idea of having stat-enhancing gear sounds terrifying, but so far online it doesn’t seem to have too much of an impact as most of the boosts are relatively minor or only activate until very specific conditions, like never jumping, or being in a certain part of your health bar.

To get all this gear you unlock loot boxes, which are liberally given out through the campaign, levelling characters, levelling your profile, or possibly my favourite thing about the game, the Multiverse. The Multiverse gives you loads of sets of challenges that rotate on timers, from hourly, to daily, to weekly. If you finish a challenge (with interesting mutations like being able to call in Constantine to help, or both players being able to heal by collecting pickups) you get gear and box and xp rewards, and can face off with other players on leaderboards. This means there’s constantly more things to do and if you just fancy a quick fight without the pressure of fighting online, there’s always plenty for you to do.

Of course there’s even more to this game that I haven’t really mentioned. There’s a guild system, there’s progression challenges, different difficulties, a whole season of DLC coming and built-in tournament options. It’s basically everything you could ever want in a fighting game, with gorgeous graphics, a fantastic roster, and engaging mechanics. If you’re into DC, or fighting games, this is an essential purchase.

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Titanfall 2 Review (Xbox One)

We’ve been excited about Titanfall 2 for a long time purely because it’s a sequel to one of our favourite multiplayer FPS games of all time. That being said, we were worried. We’d been on holiday over the beta so had missed out on that, and with Battlefield 1 being released a couple of weeks ago (and being excellent) and Call of Duty coming out a week later, we thought it might get buried, forgotten, and ignored like so many brilliant games that were released at the wrong time. Thankfully Titanfall 2 is being to shine through it’s unfortunate (or incompetent on the part of EA) release window and has actually managed to drag us away from Battlefield. Titanfall 2 is everything we wanted and so much more.

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The multiplayeris very similar to the first game in nearly all the right ways. You still fight over control points, or kill AI opponents, or capture flags, or kill enemy players in order to get points. As you gain points yu also gain percentages towards your Titan meter. At a specific point on this meter you unlock a boost like a Smart Pistol (no longer a normal equippable weapon) or a turret or mines. Once the meter reaches 100%, you can call down your Titan. The Titans make exactly the same sounds and visual impact on the game as they did before and I genuinely can’t see what Respawn could have done to improve it. Screaming from the sky in a fireball of cloud and steel they smash into the ground and await your instructions or get ready to help you climb in. Jumping into your Titan is incredibly empowering. You go from an agile but flimsy weakling darting around the battlefield to a 30ft tall death machine. Obviously as the game goes on other players will get theirs too and it quickly separates into a war of two fronts with pilots duking it out in the buildings and on objectives while Titans do their best to gain map control and prevent the pilots from going around their business. When it works and your team manages to keep a few titans while destroying all of your opponents’, it feels amazing. Suddenly you can lock down the map and quash any resistance.

Of course Respawn didn’t want that to be the end of a round so now pilots have even more abilities designed to help them get around and avoid the Titans’ attacks. There’s a grappling hook that lets you clamber up ledges and onto Titans quickly, a phase shift that lets you shift out of real space for a while and then reappear at another point, and even a decoy that will run ahead of you and hopefully confuse the opponents into shooting the wrong way. Games of Titanfall never get boring and there’s always something to do or a problem to solve, within short spaces of times it’s amazing how quickly you transition between different tactics and strategies alongside a team you’re not even speaking to, from armoured warfare to guerilla defenses to free-running sprints across the map. Even when you lsoe a game the desperate sprint to the (now much more fragile) escape dropship feels exciting and meaningful.

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In terms of what’s new for Multiplayer, there’s now six Titans instead of three, but you can no longer select the weapon for them. There’s still a 40mm cannon attached to Tone who plays the most like the old Titans, but then there’s some interesting new takes on the machines like Scorch who can set down petrol bombs ready to ignite large areas, or Ronin who can dart around and phase shift then lay waste to enemies with a giant sword. It might not be practical or realistic, but it looks amazing.

The weakest part of the multiplayer offering is definitely the maps. Although the layouts are quite interesting and work well, visually they’re very dull and nowhere near as good as those found in the base game. Thankfully Respawn have said that all future maps will be free, so perhaps they can change things up with DLC, but at the moment every map essentially feels like a series of boxy buildings. One has caves and a crashed ship, and one is in a giant building, but the rest are all pretty forgettable. We’re also a little annoyed by the lack of viewable stats, but it’s understandable that Respawn didn’t want people working to improve their K/D ratio at the expense of the rest of their team as happens so often in Call of Duty and Battlefield. At least having some basic stats like kill streaks and win percentage would be really useful.

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Now the most surprising thing about the game package is the single player. The original Titanfall didn’t even have a single player – it was purely multiplayer combat, but Respawn decided to do more than just dabble with a campaign and have created a short but incredibly impressive story that doesn’t just help to explain what’s going on in the Titanfall universe, but actually makes you care about the characters. The level design is top notch with each mission introducing you to a new mechanic or tool that feels natural to use in the situations you are presented with. Interestingly there’s plenty of platforming involves in the campaign and trying to find some hidden helmets that serve as collectibles is actually one of the most entertaining things we’ve done in a game this year. The free-running puzzles involves have been far more engaging then the entirety of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

Overall Titanfall 2 is an absolute no brainer for anyone who enjoyed the first game. If you’re new to the series this is a refreshing and entertaining take on the FPS genre and easily up there in terms of quality against the big hitters. We only hope it survives well enough against BF1 and COD to warrant a Titanfall 3.

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Five Tips for starting out in No Man’s Sky

So we’ve been around the galaxy and back, all the way to the centre! So we know a few things about what’s going on in No Man’s Sky. That being said, a lot changed in patch v1.03 so in this collection of tips and tricks we’re going to stick with what we know that might help you out in No Man’s Sky.

1. Only take what you need

No Man’s Sky is going to be a nightmare for the kleptomaniac RPG players that love to pick up everything they see just in case they need it later (only to never use it in case they need it even later). Although the inventory upgrades are great, so you can now hold much more in each slot of your inventory, there’s so many different things you’ll pick up, it’s not practical to keep grabbing everything. It’s always handy to have a stack of plutonium, heredium, carbon, and iron, but anything else should only be considered if you’re saving up to make something right now, or if you think it can fetch a pretty penny. Things like gold are always valuable, and seemingly not that rare, so it might be worth grabbing a stack of that. To help you find things, plutonium is found as big bright red crystals poking out of the ground, and is very common, but important because it helps lets you recharge your thrusters to take off and your life support, so it’s handy to have a stash just in case you land on some desolate wasteland, and keep it topped up. Heredium is harder to find, and appears as big blackish blue square pillars on the landscape, but is used to make loads of different things. Early on you need a tonne of it, and even later you need it to build warp cells. Carbon and iron are everywhere, with carbon making up all the lifeforms and iron making up most of the rocks, but it’s important to take some with you when you head back into space in case someone on a space station needs it. It’s surprisingly hard to find rocks and plant matter on a space station! Thamium9 is super important too, powering your pulse engines, but it’s in nearly every asteroid, and loads of red plants on the surface, so it’s always easy to find more if you ever run out.

2. Line up your upgrades

All of your upgrades in your exo-suit, ship and multi-tool belong to a certain type. If you have upgrades of a similar type (so beam next to beam, warp drive, next to warp drive upgrade) they get a not-insignificant boost to their power. This is useful when you’re looking at new multitools and ships, as you not only want to the most slots possible, but you also want to make sure the existing immovable features like hyperdrives are in good places where you can connect other things to them. Plan ahead for your exo-suit, it’s a good idea to have a column dedicated to life support, one for shields, one for jetpack, and so on.

3. Focus on multi-tool upgrades first

There’s no point getting ship upgrades early because you’ll change your ship fairly quickly and you can’t swap over upgrades to a new ship. Your exo-suit is very limited in capacity at the very start so you really want to save that space for minerals until you’ve got a few more slots. You’re multi-tool on the other hand is a great thing to upgrade. Get the scanners as quickly as you can so you can find things, then also be sure to get some weapon upgrades and grenades. Grenades can often end a fight with wildlife in a single shot and they also let you dig out anything that might be buried by the terrain. The upgrades are also super cheap!

4. Get to an Atlas station quickly

While it’s tempting to dawdle on all the amazing planets you see, and that’s a big part of the game, making a beeline to the first Atlas station should be a priority. Once you’ve visited one then you will be find a space anomaly in the next solar system and there you will get an Atlas pass recipe. When you get your Atlas pass you can enter a lot of locked doors and open locked containers, making much more of all of your exploring. You should be able to get there in about five jumps from the start, so it takes a bit of scavenging first, but after that jumping will become a breeze and the galaxy really opens up to you. Plus it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a videogame.

5. Don’t be afraid to fight the sentinels

When the sentinels are breathing down your neck, it’s tempting to panic, but they’re surprisingly respectful if you hold your ground. Your laser is better than theirs so if there’s only one or two, take them out and it might just deactivate the alert and let you off scot-free. If you try to get in your ship and fly off to space sentinel ships will spawn around you and chase you down, and they’re a slightly bigger headache than their planetary brethren. If you really need to go on the run while you’re on a planet, get into a building. They won’t follow you and often it’ll get rid of the alert too. Don’t try to jump in a cave as you’ll often find yourself trapped in a dark room with sentinels and possibly angry wildlife all ripping you to shreds. Then when you die you’ll have to jump back into that same cave to get your stuff. Good luck with that.

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Review (PS4) Spoiler Free

Uncharted 4 is a beautiful game, but it isn’t quite the masterpiece that it tries so hard to me. For long-time series fans, in our minds the order goes something like UC2>UC4>UC3>UC1. The series has always been great, with every entry being at the very least incredibly entertaining, but unfortunately the series has always had some significant problems that they never quite managed to solve.

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In terms of plot it’s helpful to have played the previous games but by no means essential. Naughty Dog are experts when it comes to presenting characters and while the supporting cast are significant because of their roles in the other entries, really you find out everything you need to know quite early within the game. One nice thing about Thief’s End is that although there are plenty of documents and notes, the story is told through the narrative, action and dialogue. The extra pieces of text really just flesh out the stories that Drake himself is researching. If you read everything you find on every collectible, you’ll have a much better idea of the pseudo-history that brings life to the setting, but to follow the main plot you don’t need any of that at all. The dialogue itself is absolutely fantastic, some of the best in a series that has been consistently outstanding in every entry. Every little interaction is funny, tense, or profound. Very quickly you begin to care for the main characters and a combination of great scripts and incredible motion capture and voice work brings every little worry and moment of joy they have to life. There really aren’t any other games that have the kind of spark that Naughty Dog can capture, with even Rockstar’s finest work being very hit or miss in comparison. The overall story arc is a little ho-hum in terms of treading old ground, and the characters even mention this repeatedly. This is a problem we’ve seen before in parody games, where the game makes you do something dumb, then comments on how dumb it is as if that is some great satire. Unfortunately when the game makes you do something tiresome, frustrating, or predictable, it doesn’t matter how much it pokes fun at itself, you still had to do those things. There’s a couple of sequences in particular that are guilty of this and although they don’t ruin the pacing, they could easily have been left on the cutting room floor and brought the game down to less than 10 hours and we really think it would have been better for it.

The graphics are stunning. We haven’t seen anything this impressive on consoles, surpassing even Quantum Break, The Order, and The Witcher. Not only are the models and textures supremely detailed, but there’s so many little nuances to the way things move and the way things fall apart that you find yourself sucked into whatever you’re doing, no matter how outlandish it seems. Beams you stand on flex with weight, characters are conscious of what they’re doing with their guns when they sit down, characters clamber around or over each other instead of clipping through. Ok so there’s some clipping into scenery here and there but 95% of the time, it works every time. Many of the vistas are spectacular, although the settings aren’t quite as interesting as the last two entries in the series. There’s a lot of similar colour palettes and familiar looking-caves, but it’s hard to fault this when they’re so vividly decorated and crafted. There’s a photo mode built into the game and we can imagine many players spending hours just with that trying to capture the majesty of some of the views and environments. The fact this all holds up without a hitch in the 30fps frame rate even when there’s explosion and buildings collapsing is remarkable.

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The gameplay is definitely improved from previous games, with much better combat mechanics and no real bullet sponge enemies. Enemies can nearly always be brought down with a single shot to the head and even the most armoured foes can have their armour stripped away in a fashion that makes sense. Fights are scrappy and enemies are quick to flank, even if they’re not quite as clever as they seemed in the earlier videos. They will surround you and use grenades to flush you out, and most cover is destructible so it’s important to keep moving. We died plenty throughout the game but thankfully checkpoints are exceptionally generous, often occurring in the middle of firefights and before every big jump.

The climbing is probably the single biggest improvement to the game. You can control it much as you did before, but now you can also use the analog sticks to move your arms around to grasp out for handholds. If you find one you naturally shift over to it without pressing a button. It’s very convincing and the fact that there’s multiple routes up in nearly every situation makes the whole mechanic much more realistic. You also have a new tool to play with, a grappling hook that can be used to swing across gaps or abseil down cliffs. Of course it uses some ridiculous physics, but it’s so much fun and rarely frustrating so we can forgive the magic it uses to grab on to things then detach while you’re in mid air. It’s also used for some clever new puzzles where you must manually loop it around things and hook it onto itself to drag things around. This sounds very simple but the first time you do it is a revelation after years of playing games that do that kind of thing for you.

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The multiplayer is very similar to what you’d expect from previous Naughty Dog multiplayer modes. It’s less innovative that Last of Us but is definitely entertaining and has a progression system based around coins that is incredibly generous, to the point where you can buy pretty much everything you want (skins, mostly) within not too many games. The game runs at a smooth 60fps in multiplayer which feels a little odd but is definitely appreciated, and the maps are all a lot of fun to play and very detailed. Our one gripe is that the special weapons in multiplayer are slightly overpowered and not that much fun to come up against, but that’ll probably change as we get better with the game.

Overall this is an easy game to recommend. We do think it’s too long and there’s plenty of repetitive content that could (and should) have been cut out, but when the game is good it’s really like nothing else. If you’ve been a fan of Uncharted before, this is a no-brainer and right up there with the best in the series. If you’ve been put off by Uncharted 3, we still think this is well worth your time and money to experience what might be the best adventure game on consoles.

Verdict 9.

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Gridom – A tool to find other gamers

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As interconnected and social as gaming is right now, it can often feel pretty lonely. If you’re playing through a co-op game like Borderlands by yourself it feels like half a game, but as you get older your friends have other commitments, they might not have the same game, or they might not even game at all anymore. You could set your game to public and let anyone in, but most of the time they won’t be using a mic, they won’t be wanting to do the same thing as you and there’s a decent chance they’ll be actively trying to troll you rather than enjoy the game alongside you. So what can you do? Sign up to Gridom.

Gridom is a website that allows you to sign up and create or search for game lobbies for a selection of games. It takes seconds to set up a lobby, select your platform and region and describe what you want to do. Then anyone can see what it is you want to do, whether you have a mic or not and then join if they’re interested. This takes you to a sleek chat lobby that lets you iron out the finer details. Choose the difficulty, decide who’s hosting, work out how you’re going to chat by sharing Teamspeak or Skype details. While you’re waiting for people to join your lobby you can still go look around for others without leaving and once you’re full, you just start up your game, get everyone in and then click on the shield icon to let the website know that you’re done. This closes the lobby down so people aren’t having to join dead games.

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We spoke to the creators of Gridom and it’s reassuring how much they care about the finer details in this project. Yes you have to register but that’s by design. There’s no sinister data tracking or advertising, instead it gives them to capacity to avoid toxic behaviour, something that has been pushing people away from gaming communities for the last five years or so. If you’re giving yourself a bad name amongst the community, you could be banned. Hopefully this will lead to a faith that if you find a group on Gridom, you’re going to be able to have a good game with them.

At the moment there’s 28 games that can be searched for, but not all of them are the most obvious choices. There is Call of Duty, Halo and Destiny. But then there’s also Terraria, Hearthstone and The Golf Club. New games will be added and rotated through consistently but there’ll always be a wide variety to cater to different tastes. There’s no elitism present, no pretension of being purely for ‘pro’ players. Everyone is welcome, on any platform for any type of multiplayer game. If you’re a casual Smash Bros player who needs a sparring partner, you can find someone. If you just want to mess around with unlimited poke balls, you can do that too.

We’re excited about the potential for Gridom, but as with most communities, it’s only going to thrive once the word is out. So help out and tell your friends!

See you on Gridom.

You can join Gridom at www.Gridom.com

 

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PS4 Sells 2.1 Million Worldwide

Overnight, Sony Computer Entertainment have announced that the Playstation 4 has sold 2.1 Million units around the world.

The awesome milestone was shared in a post on the official PlayStation Blog by Sony Computer Entertainment president and group CEO Andrew House.

“PS4′s North American debut on November 15th was PlayStation’s largest ever, with more than one million gamers picking up a PS4 in just 24 hours,” he said. ”Now, with PS4′s global launch expanding to a total of 32 countries worldwide, including Europe and Latin America, I’m proud to announce that more than 2.1 million PS4s have been sold.”

House also thanked fans for their support of the Playstation ecosystem.

“I want to personally thank PlayStation fans, both old and new, for your vote of confidence. The best part: the PS4 journey has just begun. In addition to an incredible lineup of PS4 games from the best developers in the world, we will continue to introduce valuable new features and services to PS4 in the months and years ahead. While PS4′s capabilities will continue to evolve, our commitment to gamers and breakthrough entertainment remains steadfast. We believe that video games represent the pinnacle of artistry and entertainment, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that PlayStation remains the best place to play.”

The launch of the race for leading the next gen positions Sony ahead of its nearest competitor, Microsoft. Days after the Xbox One’s launch across Europe and North America, the corporation announced it had sold one million units in under 24 hours.

When the PS4 became available in Europe, last Friday, it became the fastest selling console in the countries history, pushing 250,000 units in the past weekend, beating the long-surviving eight year sales record held by the original PSP, which moved 185,000 units in its three days of sale.

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No PS4 Preordered? Adsa Has Your Back

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Have you been stupid and not preordered a brand spanking new PS4 for launch day this Friday. Well, firstly slap yourself on the wrist for being naughty. Secondly, grab that aged camping chair from the loft and head down to your nearest Asda store.

Turns out, 155 stores in the supermarket chain will be selling Playstation 4s on a first come, first serve basis on launch day. If you are sick of me talking, just skip to see if your local shop is in the lucky few.

Asda will be selling just a PS4 for £349 machine, a PS4 with Knack for £379, and a PS4 with Call of Duty Ghosts for £385. 142 of the 155 Asda stores (via MCV) will be opening their doors at midnight and are limiting sales to one Playstation per customer.

PS4 launched in North America on November 15 ahead of this Friday’s European and Latin American PS4 release date of November 29.

  • ABERDEEN BEACH (Not open at midnight)
  • AINTREE
  • ANDOVER
  • ANTRIM
  • ASHINGTON LINTONVILLE TER
  • ASHTON
  • AYR (NEW)
  • BARNSLEY
  • BARROW
  • BEDMINSTER
  • BENTON
  • BLACKPOOL
  • BLACKWOOD
  • BLYTH
  • BODMIN
  • BOLDON
  • BOOTLE
  • BOSTON
  • BOURNEMOUTH
  • BRADFORD
  • BRIDGE OF DEE
  • BRIDGEND (Not open at midnight)
  • BURNDEN PARK
  • CARDIFF
  • CARLISLE
  • CHATHAM
  • CHESSER
  • CLAPHAM JUNCTION
  • CLYDEBANK
  • COLERAINE (Not open at midnight)
  • COLNE
  • CORBY
  • COVENTRY
  • CREWE (Not open at midnight)
  • CUMBERNAULD
  • CWMBRAN
  • DERBY
  • DONCASTER
  • DONNINGTON WOOD
  • DUMBARTON
  • DUNFERMLINE
  • DUNSTABLE (Not open at midnight)
  • DYCE (Not open at midnight)
  • EASTGATE
  • EASTLANDS
  • EASTLEIGH
  • EDINBURGH
  • ELGIN, GB
  • ELLESMERE PORT (NEW)
  • ENNISKILLEN (NEW)
  • FALMOUTH
  • FAREHAM
  • FARNBOROUGH
  • FELTHAM
  • FERRING (Not open at midnight)
  • FLEETWOOD
  • GALASHIELS
  • GATESHEAD (NEW)
  • GLASSHOUGHTON
  • GLENROTHES (NEW)
  • GLOUCESTER
  • GOSFORTH
  • GOVAN
  • GRANGEMOUTH
  • GRAVESEND
  • GREAT BRIDGE
  • GRIMSBY
  • HALIFAX
  • HAMILTON
  • HARTLEPOOL
  • HAVANT
  • HEREFORD
  • HIGH WYCOMBE
  • HORWICH
  • HUDDERSFIELD
  • HULL MOUNT PLEASANT (Not open at midnight)
  • HULME (Not open at midnight)
  • HUNTS CROSS
  • HUYTON
  • HYDE
  • HYSON GREEN (Not open at midnight)
  • IPSWICH
  • KEIGHLEY
  • KILLINGBECK
  • KINGSWOOD
  • KIRKCALDY
  • LANCASTER
  • LANGLEY MILL
  • LECKWITH ROAD
  • LEICESTER
  • LEIGH
  • LEITH
  • LINCOLN
  • LISCARD (Not open at midnight)
  • LIVINGSTON
  • LONGWELL GREEN
  • LOWER EARLEY
  • MARINA (BRIGHTON)
  • MILTON KEYNES (NEW)
  • MILTON OF CRAIGIE
  • MINWORTH
  • NORWICH
  • NUNEATON
  • OADBY
  • PATCHWAY
  • PENTWYN
  • PERTH
  • PETERLEE (NEW)
  • PILSWORTH
  • POOLE
  • PORTLETHEN
  • PORTSMOUTH (Not open at midnight)
  • PRESTON FULWOOD
  • PUDSEY
  • QUEENSFERRY
  • QUESLET
  • RAWTENSTALL
  • ROBROYSTON
  • ROCHDALE
  • ROEHAMPTON
  • SEFTON
  • SHEFFIELD
  • SHEFFIELD CHAUCER ROAD
  • SINFIN
  • SLOUGH
  • SOUTH SHIELDS
  • ST MATTHEWS
  • ST.AUSTELL
  • STAFFORD
  • STANLEY
  • STEVENAGE
  • STOCKPORT (Not open at midnight)
  • STOCKTON
  • STRABANE
  • SUNDERLAND
  • SUTTON ASHFIELD
  • SWANLEY
  • SWANSEA (NEW)
  • SWINDON HAYDON
  • TAMWORTH, GB
  • TAUNTON
  • THURMASTON
  • TORYGLEN
  • TRAFFORD PARK
  • WAKEFIELD DURKAR
  • WASHINGTON
  • WATFORD
  • WEMBLEY
  • WEST BRIDGFORD
  • WESTBROOK
  • WESTON-SUPER-MARE
  • WIGAN (NEW)
  • WOLSTANTON
  • WREXHAM
  • YORK (NEW)

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Playstation 4 Hands-On Preview

The fourth Playstation, we don’t have four hands. 

This weekend we’re taking a more general look at the consoles based on what we know so far and our experiences playing with them at Gamescom. For the sake of transparency, we are buying both consoles at launch with our own money (we don’t get them free) but have preferred the Xbox 360 this past generation largely due to the controller and lack of ridiculously long patch times.

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The Playstation 4 has been revealed across the year with very few surprises, and that has worked well for them in the hearts and minds of many gamers. It’s based on PC x86 architecture meaning the problems that faced the cell processors are a thing of the past, it’s not got any different kinds of DRM that we know about, it doesn’t ship with any crazy peripherals. It is a true sequel to the Playstation 3, providing more power with increased media capabilities and a few new features such as the Twitch.tv intergration that gamers will be demanding and expecting this generation. We know the release date, November 29th in Europe, and we know the price, £349.99 or £29.99 in a recently-announced bundle where you get Killzone, two controllers and the Playstation Camera bundled in for the price of the basic Xbox One bundle that comes with Kinect, Fifa and a single controller. We’ve got pre-orders down for both consoles but after spending a lot of time with the console at Gamescom, what do we think about our future purchase?

First of all in terms of hardware, the PS4 looks positively tiny compared to the Xbox One. At Gamescom they had every PS4 in a weird set up with the top side facing you and angled bits of plastic covering the front and back, meaning you could never get a good look at the console. It was only later when we stopped by a few private showings of games that we could get a closer look at it. In terms of aesthetics it’s very business-like and clearly aimed at an older market than the Wii U, going for sharp edges and matt finishes rather than gloss and curves. The disc slot blend into the seam that runs around the perimeter of the console and the only thing distinctive about the design is the odd slant that stops it from being a rectangular box. It’s not massively appealing and definitely not as exciting as the Xbox One, but then again the Xbox has to make a visual statement because it’s so large, the PS4 seems designed to blend in to your home entertainment system without standing out.

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The back of the console features much the same ports as you’d expect to find, with no HDMI in or dedicated port for the camera – that appears to just run on the USB port. There is no power brick, just a lead running to a plug meaning the PS4 will take up even less space in your home.

The camera is unfortunately quite ugly and doesn’t fit with the style of the console or the controller at all, they all seem like three distinct designs with nothing other than the colour to tie them together. There’s also a ‘headset’ in the box that is simply a single earpiece with a microphone along the cable. We haven’t tried this out yet but it doesn’t seem like it would lead to great audio quality but who knows, Sony might have managed to do something amazing with it. From appearances alone it looks cheap and will be quickly replaced with a proper bluetooth or USB headset.

The controller is quite a departure from the Dualshock 3. The two level analog sticks still feature but the whole controller is wider with more comfortable grips and triggers making it a little easier for those of us with bigger hands to hold. The triggers themselves are much improved over the Dualshock 3’s, with a more rounded back allowing your finger to get a good grip while you pull them. On the face of the controller there’s a touchscreen which also clicks in and can be used for a variety of different things. In Assassin’s Creed IV it allows you to do your taunt, in other games it’s used to swipe through the inventory. You can’t use it without taking a hand off another part of the controller but it’ll be interesting to see how much use developers can get out of it. Our only real problem with the Dualshock 4 is the light bar. A bright glowing light on the top of the controller changes colour and is illuminated with such intensity you can easily see the reflect when in a slightly dark room. We were told by a number of developers as far as they know you cannot turn it off (this includes Killzone, Knack and Blacklight) because it is used to track where the controller is. But it can’t do that if you don’t have the camera, and the camera doesn’t come with the PS4, so lots of people are going to have these bright annoying lights for no reason at all. In Killzone it was used as a health bar, turning from green to pinkish-red as you took damage. This strikes us as a gimmick, it’s not hard to tell your health status in FPS games and it’s rarely obtrusive, you actually have to look down at the controller to notice it. It doesn’t replace the reddening of the screen, but it feels like a useless addition. For people who sit opposite a glossy TV screen, this light will be a real problem and hopefully Sony will allow users to disable it at will before too long. The idea of swapping sides depending on who has which controller is neat, but how often does that problem occur compared to the inconvenience of constantly having a brightly coloured light reflecting in your screen at all times?

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The launch lineup is sadly disappointing for the PS4, to the point where we’re not sure what we’ll be picking up on launch day. Knack looked awful and there was no other way to describe it. Countless people who got to play were disappointed in the hour or so we were in the Sony booth, due to an abundance of clipping, unstable framerates and bland textures. Yes it’s great that Knack is made up of loads of little parts but they don’t interact with the environment, when you attack enemies you go straight through them. The level shown was tedious and the gameplay seemed completely uninspired. It’s a shame that one of the more unique games of the next-gen launches has turned out this way, but perhaps this was an early build and things have tightened up before November, I’d wait for reviews before getting it though.

Killzone looked fine but not as spectacular as the E3 demo. The gameplay is very much typical of the Crysis/Far Cry style of FPS, with a lot of movement options backed up with some heavy weaponry. The use of a drone and grappling hook was cool but got boring in the ten or so minutes we got to watch someone play the game. We didn’t get a chance to try out the multiplayer but we heard it was fantastic so this will be our launch title of choice despite what appears to be a ho-hum single player.

Driveclub was poor with mediocre graphics and possibly accurate but quite dull handling. The social aspects of it could be more interesting and there will be a free version available with Playstation Plus, but the game was much less exciting than the PS3-based Gran Turismo 6 and paled in comparison to Forza over on the Xbox booth. There was no real sense of speed, the cars looked flat and the scenery was bleak and depressing. This is a soulless game that will hopefully have a few hidden tricks up its sleeve.

Sony have been working hard to publicise their indie line-up and this is where some of the real gems will be. Games like Hotline Miami 2 and The Witness will undoubtedly be fun experiences, but they’re hardly what you buy a powerhouse of a system to play. There’s more good games on their way for the PS4 including the spectacular Infamous: Second Son and the interesting sounding ‘The Order’, but as far as exclusives go the launch line-up is quite weak. If you’re only getting one console though, there’ll be a wealth of multiplatform titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Watchdogs and Assassin’s Creed to keep you happy so there’s no need to panic just yet. In our situation where many of those games will be bought on our PC and then the consoles are left for their exclusives, Sony aren’t offering much to choose from.

Our favourite feature of the PS4 is the share button. The Xbox One might have something similar but the PS4’s is right there on the front of the controller and while we don’t know all the details yet, the partnership with Twitch and promise of longer game recordings can only be a good thing. The UI that was shown off for this at E3 promised some kind of Miiverse style functionality which can only be a good thing. The ability to pause your game and see where your friends are up to or messages from gamers around the world can be a whole lot of fun on the Wii U, and with recorded game clips and live streaming the PS4’s strength could easily be its community and dedication to making things like this easy to use.

Overall we were disappointed with Sony’s showing at Gamescom. Killzone and Infamous weren’t playable on the show floor, Watchdogs and Need for Speed were actually running on PCs hooked up to PS4 controllers (even for the Watchdogs demonstration in Sony’s own booth!), the controller light is a pain that will be hard to ignore and the new IP launch titles were ultimately dull and uninspired. We’ve no doubt that Sony are along the right track with a lot of concepts for the PS4, but in terms of the launch it’s hard to get excited about what they’re currently offering, perhaps there’s still some surprises to come?

 

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