Sunday, 30 June 2013

Moved to a website!

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Last Of Us DLC: Whose Story Could It Follow?

Some spoilers for The Last Of Us will be featured in this article. Please finish the game and come back when if don’t want anything to be spoiled! 

The Last Of Us has now been released for PlayStation 3 and, like me, many people, have finished the game. While this is in itself a sad prospect, the full emotional blow of the game’s ending is softened by the knowledge that there will be downloadable content. Story-based downloadable content. HUZZAH! Naughty Dog’s story in the main game has been emotional and pure genius, so I cannot wait for the next part of The Last Of Us’ narrative. In the typical style, the downloadable content will probably be kept under wraps until closer to release, which is also unknown. What we can do is speculate with mild spoilerific (yes, that is a word) discussion. What do we think will be featured in the story-driven DLC?
Joel and Ellie - After all of that work that Naughty Dog have put in to make Joel and Ellie look good and for the system that makes the duo-based gameplay work so well, would they really drop it so soon? I don’t think so. Almost all of our thoughts turn to the couple dynamic, so dropping this feature would almost be impossible. There are some possibilities for the main protagonists. Naughty Dog could bring the two characters to one of the cities in the game that we didn’t see them pass through. Concept art for the game featured areas that didn’t make it into the finished product (below) and they could have been cut completely for DLC purposes.

While this would happen in the same sort of time during which the game takes place, the developer could also bring to the table a sort of epilogue. While it would be hard to follow on from THAT ending, if anyone can it would be Naughty Dog. Could we see Ellie and Joel trying to earn their keep in Tommy’s society by undertaking tasks such as gathering food and supplies? Quite possibly. This also offers up the opportunity to expand the character’s abilities such as more items to craft or to find in the environment.
Tommy and Joel - Following on from the idea that Joel and Ellie must earn their keep, could we see Joel and his brother Tommy go out together to pursue enemies like Tess and Joel did in the first section of the game? A second more interesting idea is that we could see the two brothers surviving before the main part of the game begins, after Sarah dies. How did Tommy join the Fireflies? What really happened between them that they didn’t keep in touch? How did they get to Boston’s quarantine zone? Unanswered questions like these could be prime material to explore. These two characters, being brothers who have had a rocky relationship with one another, could set the developer up for even more emotional pull (If my heart can take any more after the Giraffe scene).
Marlene and Ellie - On the opposite side of the spectrum is focusing on Ellie before the outbreak and before her infection. The death of her mother is spelled out to us, which is why Ellie is so close to Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies. Ellie trusts her completely and doesn’t want to travel without her when we first meet her in Boston, and that would be an interesting dynamic. What effect did Ellie’s mom have on Marlene and even Ellie herself? It would be interesting to see how those events shaped the Ellie we met in the main story.
Even without Ellie present, Naughty Dog could weave the story of how Marlene reached the Fireflies and got to where she was before the fateful hospital finale. This would run simultaneously to the main story’s timeline and we could see her reach some of the same landmarks that we saw Joel and Ellie explore in a different way, and through different eyes.
Bill and Frank - Bill was one of my favorite characters in The Last Of Us. While giving us a badass introduction (cutting a zombie’s head off style introduction) he gave the sometimes somber tone a much needed break. The banter that flowed between him and Ellie was brilliant. We found a more sad side toward the end of his game time when Joel found a note from his partner Frank. Bills seemed to care about him a lot and as it turns out, Frank hated his guts. This sort of emotion could fit well within the realms of The Last Of Us’ tone and story. We could be shown them together and subsequently find out what finally made Frank try to escape and to take the engine. Anyone else think this would work?


Henry and Sam – The sad story of the two brothers we encountered while crossing the country. They were in the same situation as Joel and Ellie and quickly became good friends after some small troubles involving running off. Just as Naughty Dog allowed us to warm to the two characters, they were taken away from us in a heart wrenching sequence where the Sam turned. While they were more of a fleeting alliance, they were interesting characters and were given too small a part in our story. We could see them trying to survive up until the point where Joel and Ellie run into them, and playing as the brothers would give for a great lead up to their untimely demise and make it even more sad to see them go again.
David – Now this would possibly be a more dark choice for a DLC side story. David is the man that captures Ellie in the Winter section of the game. Not only is he a cannibal, it is also hinted (according to the Wiki and some of the parts of the game) that he is a pedophile. It is not entirely clear whether this is how he has become a a result of the harsh and unforgiving nature of a broken world or if he was like this before the outbreak. If it was the former, it would be interesting to see how this person reacted to the fall of society and how his experiences compared to those of Joel and others.
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Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Biggest Problem With The Last Of Us

There are some major spoilers regarding The Last Of Us in this article.


Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The Last Of Us is a game with many, many positive points in favor of it being one of the best games of all time. The sheer emotion that you feel when you watch the animations and hear the voice acting play out in front of you in both the cutscenes and sometimes in the gameplay is something that I have not felt in a game for a long time.  Just like with Uncharted, Naughty Dog created a truly amazing game that is rivaled in its story by very few. With this comes a large problem after the completion of the game.
As soon as I had completed the main story on Hard mode, I wanted to start it again on Survivor or New Game+, which I did. Booting up the game a second time, I did not feel in any way as attached to the game as I had been before. There was none of the magic and gloss that I found to make the game amazing. After the first playthrough, when you have seen all there is to see of the main story, to replay the game means that there is no more wanting to see what was next. This is obviously not an isolated incident, but the way in which The Last Of Us was marketed to us, building up the hype till we got the game and played through with a certain amount of curiosity, was what makes this stand out from other games.
If you have played the game through the first time, I would guess that some people would agree with me that it is not like other games. The characters really enthrall and many lots of the artifacts and scavenged supplies are fun to find and are unique. The second time is when it gets more like a game. I played through the first time searching for the right equipment and if I happened to find a collectible along my travels, great! When playing the second time I found myself more inclined to search for the collectibles and that was because it was the only thing that was unknown to me anymore. Gone was the sheer terror I felt when Ellie ran away, with me thinking the worst, only to be confronted by that giraffe which was a touching moment to say the least. There was pure indifference. Gone is the emotional pressure that you feel when Joel lies right to Ellie’s face in the last cutscene.
One of the worst parts of this experience was the realization that this was just a game. On a second playthrough you are less invested and less excited to see what is next, you already know. The combat is no longer fun and the stealth is no longer tense. You know what is round every corner and what is happening as Naughty Dog’s closely crafted masterpiece has already hit you at all of the right notes. I thought about the ending, of Joel’s selfish choice of saving Ellie over the possibility of saving EVERYONE, and I also thought about how the game made me feel at various points (such as the Firefly lab, the disappointment when they are no longer using the facility is overwhelming and, while it is a small section in a large game, the fact that it pulled at my emotions was the interesting part) long after I finished.
The disappointment in knowing that the second playthrough will never render me the same feelings that I did through the first is a problem that is not Naughty Dog’s fault. They have crafted a perfectly pitched story and left me wanting more.

Watch Dogs Multiplayer Video Leaked

Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s ambitious open world game for current and next generation platforms has been shrouded in secrecy since the announcement at E3 2012. Only a handful of presentations have been showcasing some of the game’s best features but one part of the game that is completely mysterious is the multiplayer segments of the game.
We have already been told that other players can help you using the second screen features that the next generation consoles use however there has been allusions to things much larger and complex than we have seen. During the demos, occasionally another players name will appear and will attempt to hack the main character. While you can counter hack the person in the demo and stop them from gaining access, the excitement that this potential brings is massive. A video has been leaked which shows one way the multiplayer mode works. It could be one of many features or it could be the only mode that is available.

The video above shows the player being hacked by a separate player somewhere in close proximity. Your task is to find the hacker, creating a line of sight with them so that you can identify them as being a hacker, and eliminate them or get them to run fa enough away from you that they can no longer hack your character’s phone. After the chase in the video, the tables are turned and you must try to hack another player, following them until you are close enough to hack their phone. Once the hack has started, you need to hide for a long enough period of time until you have finished a download which “expands your hacking network.”
There seems to be a large area to play with in the multiplayer, which seems promising. Could the whole city be included? This would be very exciting.
Watch Dogs is being released for PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One and 360, PC and the Wii U.

Nintendo: Should They Go The Way Of The Segasaur?

E3 has been an exciting one this year. New games and consoles were paraded in full, flexing their imagination and uniqueness to the gaming industry masses. That was describing Sony and Microsoft. The other giant in gaming is Nintendo and where were they? Hiding on their Nintendo Direct presentation with nothing to show that was unique or imaginative. Could Nintendo go the way of Sega, who descended into making purely games for other consoles rather than create their own? Quite possibly.
Here’s the story, Nintendo’s Wii U has been troubled since its announcement. There has been a confusion in what the console actually offers over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 while Nintendo seems unable to give a real plus point themselves. VGchartz has the total global sales of Nintendo’s Wii U at only 3.12 million and while that number may be off by a slight amount, there is no doubt in anyone’s book that the console is struggling, much like Sony’s PlayStation Vita. There is a difference with the Vita as the handheld will soon have a larger purpose, being used as a sort of second screen for its bigger brother the PlayStation 4. Quite in contrast, the Wii U seems to be doomed to continue with no real purpose further than to churn out identical Mario games and multi-platform games with gimmicky touch features. Which leads us nicely into the games.
Especially difficult to pinpoint is Nintendo’s focus on games. E3 brought us news on the exclusive Bayonetta 2, hardly a killer game for the system, and games that will likely be better and sell better on other platforms such as Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Batman: Arkham Origins. While it seems that Wii U has the most exclusives on paper, the reality is far from promising. Mario Kart 8, Wii Fit U, Wii Party U, Super Mario 3D World, New Super Luigi U, Game & Wario, Yarn Yoshi and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Breeze are far from different from anything we have seen before. Nintendo are floundering, kept alive by the nostalgia of their biggest franchises. Seriously, Call of Duty makes no changes to gameplay, only adding in new guns every time while Nintendo releases identical Mario and Mario variants every year with only different suits setting each one apart. Who gets slaughtered by the media and which continues to be loved by everyone and their mother? I don’t need to tell you the answer to that do I?
Sega dropped out of the console business after poor sales and hefty competition from other sectors of the industry. This is something Nintendo are facing right this very second with their Wii U. Let me interject something, I am not talking about the 3DS as despite the poor start, the console pulled back and is doing wonderfully, the difference here is that the competition in the home console market is getting bigger and better by the week. Could Nintendo pull a Sega and start creating their biggest titles for other companies? I know it is a difficult idea to come to terms with, but if successful, the Japanese company could start seeing some really nice numbers.
Nintendo own some of the biggest selling games in the world. Pokemon, Mario, Zelda and others all sell extremely well in the past and only time will tell whether they will sell systems alone. Nintendo would ship many more copies of each games were they available for other platforms such as the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. One particular area that Nintendo would be wise to expand into is the mobile market with Android and Apple waiting. This way, the games that many know and love but are not enough to force them to buy whole hardware for it.
What do you think? Would Nintendo be wise to expand into other consoles and leave their home console division behind them?

E3 2013: PlayStation 4 Price Is Official

Finally, we know the price of the next generation console from Sony. It severely undercuts Microsoft.
At E3 2013, Sony announced that their PlayStation 4 console will debut at a price of $399/£349. This compares against the Xbox One as being $100 below the price of Microsoft’s console, which will really hurt the console manufacturer even more as Sony already took a shot at them when announcing that there will be no DRM implemented in the console.
There is no concrete date for release as of yet, but a Holiday 2013 is all we are going to get for now it seems. Don’t expect it too far apart from Microsoft’s November release date for the Xbox One.
Is this a better price for your next generation needs? Let us know in the comments below!

E3 2013: Destiny First Gameplay

Sony has revealed the very first gameplay footage of Destiny, Bungie’s new game.
Playing on a PlayStation 4, Sony showed off first images from the game including combat and certain special features including a Ghost which flies around lighting up areas and fixing things. The Ghost did however bring attention to the players, meaning that enemies had to be dealt with ending in a boss battle which, after being defeated, left a tonne of cool loot.
The gameplay showcased the MMO aspect of the game with the main player meeting up with friends and allies along the path and helped each other fight off the enemies. Towards the end of the gameplay, a “public event” was triggered which brought together many different players to defeat larger numbers of enemies of larger sizes. This particularly looked exciting. Look forward to a preview on Leviathyn in the coming days.
A short trailer was also released:
PlayStation have also entered into an exclusive partnership with Bungie.