Guild Wars 2 Review (PC)

A cat, a polar bear, a plant and Yoda walked into a bar…

Guild Wars 2 is a lot like many other MMOs you have played in the last decade or two. Despite all the hype suggesting it was going to be some kind of revolution, it’s more of a refinement of basic MMO ideas. This doesn’t have to be quite the negative it seems though. This is an MMO that does better than most of its contemporaries in a few key areas, and doesn’t charge a subscription. If you buy Guild Wars 2, that’s it, it’s yours. There is the potential for microtransactions, but I haven’t put a penny into those yet and have found a number of the items from the store for free. So, what’s changed then?

Character creation is very detailed for a game of the genre, and not only do you get the usual choices in class, gender, race, but you also get a set of sliders like in Skyrim to configure your avatar just the way you want. You can also choose the armour colours via a set of dyes (these can be reapplied for free at any time, and you can get new dyes from drops or from the store). There’s even flavour choices like which school you went to and what’s happened in your recent past. These all change dialog in quests, and even entire missions.

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Darksiders 2 Review (PS3)

 Death has never been this fun

Sequels in the video game world are usually a blessing. Most of you are probably familiar with typical reviewer comments like “The guys at Vigil Games took everything that was great about the original, expanded on it, improved or replaced what wasn’t working, and made a kick-ass sequel that’s has surpassed it’s predeccesor in almost every way.”

Well for Darksiders II, that holds true.

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Sleeping Dogs Review (PC)

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Sleeping Dogs is the Hong-Kong based open-world third-person game from developer United Front Games, published by Square Enix. At least that’s what the box says, in reality it was originally developed as a new IP from Activison, then adapted into a new entry into the True Crime series, before Square Enix took over the project and announced it as ‘Sleeping Dogs’. Usually when game development has this kind of checkered history, it sets off alarm bells. Thankfully this time it’s just smoke without fire as Sleeping Dogs is an absolute blast.

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Binary Domain Review (Xbox 360)

The distant future, the distant future

Binary Domain is a third-person cover shooter from Sega that heavily features robots. I’m almost tempted to leave this review there as that statement says everything you need to know about the game. It’s one that conforms to expectations rather than breaks them. Much has been learned from cover-based shooters that have gone before and as a result the game is well polished, but there’s always the feeling that you’re not really seeing anything new. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it hard to get excited about the game.

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Team Fortress 2 – Mann vs. Machine Review (PC)

Shoot the Manns!

Team Fortress 2 has been one of the major flag-bearers for PC gaming. It’s Free-to-Play (check out our article on that here), it runs on a wide variety of machines and looks great, it   has all of the Steam functionality available, and it’s immensely popular. Even people who I would never expect to have gamed have played TF2. A new update has been launched today which contains the horde-mode style ‘Mann vs Machine’.

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Free to play

The best things in life are free… to an extent

Free to play games have been around for a long time. Early ‘Multi-User-Dungeon’ text based MMOs were generally free, and even mainstream titles like Runescape could be played for no up-front cost. Early first person shooters such as Doom and Quake even gave away their entire first act as a kind of demo for the game. More recently, free-to-play has come to mean something new, a new way of monetising games. Is this a good thing?

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Guild Wars 2 – Massively Multiplayer

Guild Wars 2 – PC
Global Release: August 28, 2012
Developer: ArenaNet
Publisher: NCSoft 

I try to play every major MMO that comes out, searching for that ‘one’ that locks me in the same way World of Warcraft did in 2005. I played that game for a long while and didn’t feel the need to play anything else; I wasn’t a ‘hardcore’ raider but I put in a couple of hours each night and enjoyed it immensely. Eventually though I burned out on WoW and have been looking for something else, the next step in MMOs. I’ve seen fantastic concepts turn out to be fairly dull (Aion, City of Heroes), I’ve seen spectacular visuals leading to what turns out to be way too similar to WoW (Rift, SWTOR) and I’ve seen fantastic games be mired by poor server populations (LOTRO, Warhammer Online). Guild Wars 2 is ‘The Next Big Thing’ ™ and although I haven’t played the beta I’m eagerly anticipating the release.

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Dishonored – Stealth Action Excitement

 

Dishonored – PC, PS3, XBOX360
NA Release: Oct. 9, 2012
EU Release: Oct. 12, 2012
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda 

I’ve been a long-time fan of stealth games, (Metal Gear Solid 2 I’ll never forget you and my old PlayStation) but that’s only part of the reason I’m excited about Dishonored coming out this fall. It has a  complete recipe for win that has kept me excited since I heard about it at the beginning of summer.

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What do FPS games need?

I shot a man in Reno, and New York, and future New York, and Los Angeles, and London, and Paris, and Berlin, and Rapture, and Hell, just to watch him die…

First Person Shooters (or FPS) are probably what Joe Public thinks of when you start talking about videogames. Once it was arcade classics, then platformers, but now FPS games are gamers’ ambassador to the ‘others’. But when was the last time you played a single-player first person shooter that you liked? Thinking back I can name very few, which is surprising for what seems to be such a prolific genre.

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