Category Archives: Gaming

Marvel’s Spider-Man Review

I’ll kick this review off by admitting I am a massive Spiderman fan. Like so many before me, I was suckered in by Peter Parker’s relatability, his clear flaws but his constant desire to do good. A drive to change the world for the better and how persistently he is challenged in his quest, how the character could be me in another life, and how I could be him. Next to other superhero heavyweights like Superman or Batman, Spidey felt intensely, uncomfortably real.

While some media portrayals of the wall-crawler have been, er, less-than-stellar (looking at you, Spiderman 3), and it’s seen more reboots than any franchise should ever see, I had hope for the PlayStation 4’s kick at the ball. Why? Insomniac Games developed it.

Insomniac Games has been with Sony and PlayStation since forever, and given us timeless titles like Spyro the Dragon, and Ratchet and Clank. Those two games were part of so many kids’ childhood, basically the video game equivalent of The Simpsons. Insomniac, then, knows fun. It knows what makes a game tick, how to keep players coming back for more. And, I’m happy to report, Spiderman is another trophy for the cabinet.

The gameplay is fluid, with maybe a dozen loading screens throughout the entire campaign. More if you use the fast travel system but swinging through the city is so addicting you probably won’t bother, aside from getting the trophy. I did experience a few stutters in more demanding scenes, and the odd HUD glitch but nothing worth patching. The story breathes nicely, with pauses in between major parts to let you roam Manhatten as you wish. Heroic music kicks in when you leap off a building and let loose some webbing, while Spidey’s voice actor Yuri Lowenthal was asked to record parts of his dialogue twice to reflect if Spiderman is mid-swing or just lounging on the ground. There are so many little things like this that show how much love and effort Insomniac put into the game, like the fake Twitter feed. Side note, J.K Simmons is not back to reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson. Sure sounds a lot like him, though….

It’s a well known fact that no one has ever been hit by a bullet while doing a pirouette.

Combat is tight, reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham games. Gadgets feel good, being restricted enough to make their usage feel more special, changed via the Ratchet and Clank ‘Quick Select’ wheel.

The breadth of activities throughout the city should keep players busy after the final curtain call. Picking up old Parker backpacks gives you a little glimpse of his life – like finding the final ball game ticket Uncle Ben took him to, or the OG underam webbing – and also work towards unlocking more suits.

The game looks stunning, although not quite as good as something like God of War. There are still moments that have you pausing stopping a robbery or having a breather on top of a skyscraper just to have a look around.

Speed is well represented, with satisfying momentum transfer between each swing and little effects added to a well-timed leap. Plus, if you don’t dive-bomb off Empire State, are you really playing a Spiderman game right?

Little prompts remind you that there is a world beyond the campaign and that you’d be better off, in the long run, taking the time to explore.

“Peter, you disappoint me 100% of the time.”

Speaking of the plot, the writing is brilliant. It ebbs and flows like the comics it is based on, doesn’t lean on humour as a crutch, and by the end, you feel the pain the characters feel. I’m mainly referring to Parker agonising over choices none of us hope to make, emphasised by his ever-present inferiority complex. And those who aren’t a fan of actually making choices in a video game, don’t worry. But I digress, this is a video game review, not a psychological assessment of a sociological phenomenon.

Playing through the story will set you back about eight hours in total – it’s not long. However, the story is somewhat linear. A little variance wouldn’t hurt, like a “choose your path”, ‘Goosebumps’ type of thing. DLC is on the way too, which should beef up the game again. Hopefully they will arrive with patches ironing out framerate drops. I’m playing on the standard PS4 and the game has a tendency to drop below 30fps when more than a two or three things happen at once.

All in, Spiderman is a triumph. Little (and I mean little) glitches and a safe main story aside, it’s no wonder the game has already beaten God of War’s sales record. This is easily the best superhero game yet, and possibly one of PS4’s greatest hits.

All 10 Maplestory 2 Female Starter Outfits

One of the first big differences you’ll find in Maplestory 2 is during character generation. In the original Maplestory the clothes you get as a fresh noob will stay on you for about as long as it took to get to Lith Harbour. In Maplestory 2 however the clothes you choose are cosmetic, meaning you might be wearing them all the way to level 50 over the top of your slowly leveling gear.

This puts a bit more emphasis on this clothing, as it remains useful forever, and isn’t thrown away at the first signs of a bronze helmet or whatever.

If you missed it we also showcased all the default hair options here. All 10 options have three pieces, tops, bottoms, and shoes, all of which can be mixed and matched. They’re all equally adorable so have fun getting your weeb on.

God of War Review, “A Damn Good Game”

Disclaimer: I haven’t finished the game yet. Not for a lack of trying, though. God of War’s 2018 soft reboot is probably one of the longest games I’ve played since The Witcher 3, and, to be honest, that’s super refreshing.

GoW has been away since 2013’s ‘Ascension’ title (not including remasters and bundles), which has given Santa Monica Studios five years to build the first new entry to the series for the Playstation 4. That time has clearly been well spent, as you can see in the video below, which shows early footage of the game.

Graphically, this game is a stunner. I suppose that’s something everyone has come to expect now, what with DICE and all. GoW delivers a beautifully immersive experience that’s buoyed by the lack of loading screens – the ‘Single Shot Effect’ – and smooth framerates. I’m playing on the bog-standard PS4 so it’s 1080p running at what looks like 60fps for most of the time.

The reworked combat system isn’t as brutally hack ‘n slash as how I remember the PS2-era games as being, but that doesn’t stop it being mighty satisfying. There’s more of an RPG element now, with various upgrades for the Leviathan axe or your armor available to spend your hard-slaughtered gold on. Oh, and you have a son.

His name is Atreus and it turns out Kratos is a real dick of a dad. Favourite phrases include: “Hrmm.” “I do not know.” “Boy.” “BOY!” “Boy, read that.”

Atreus himself is a bit of an encyclopedia, full of knowledge of the Norse gods and surroundings. Early in the game he mentions not having been sick in a while, probably his [SPOILERS] demigod abilities showing. Remember Kratos is a god himself. Atreus also uses a bow and arrow which comes in handy when you’re getting rolled by a million enemies at once.

Probably the only criticism I can muster is the text. Mother of God, why is it a thing for game developers to choose the smallest font possible? My TV is fairly large, about 45 inches or so, but it’s not exactly niche-large, and I have to get within about two feet to be able to read anything. I get you don’t want words cluttering up the HUD and ruining the immersion, but don’t bother with words at all if the gamer can’t read them. It’s just annoying, and a little amateur.

Anyway. The Norse world in GoW is huge. Like, properly huge. I’ve played for maybe ten hours so far, and I saw something saying “Completion: 12%”. I’ve been chomping through the storyline mainly, with a little bit of exploration on the side, but it looks like I’ve got a long way to go.

God of War, then, is a little bit like an intro to Dark Souls. It’s not as insanely HARD as DS, nor does it have the breadth of character customisation, but it’s not as easy as other similar fantasy RPGs. In between The Witcher and DS, I suppose. It’s a damn good game, is what it is. Go out and play it right now. Then get behind me in the queue to buy God of War 3 Remastered.

All Maplestory 2 Starter Hair Options

Maplestory 2 is finally getting its global English release after spending 3 years in Korea and a little under a year in China. While the first batch of beta invites have been released most fans are still waiting for their invite to come through in the second and third phase. In the meantime, you might want to start thinking about what your character is going to look like so you can hit the ground running. Below we’ve screenshot all the hairstyles available in the Chinese version of MS2.

The great thing about hair in Maplestory 2 is that you have the ability to tweak the hairstyles slightly to give you more control over your looks. Certain ponytails can be dragged and manually positioned, and hair length can be tweaked for the back and front for most cases.

The shots below feature just the 15 available options during character creation and not the plethora of available options at the hairdresser.

The character model outfit shown in the shots below are for the Soul Binder, a class not thought to be available in the initial release of the game. In the next post we’ll share all the face options, and then after that all the initial outfits available.

My Love/Hate Experience with Wasteland 2

“Runs like shit, plays like shit, but shit.. I couldn’t put it down.”

The above is how I described the game to everyone that listened. Not exactly a solid pitch, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I became obsessed and enamoured enough to look past Wasteland 2’s many technical flaws and have since added it to one of my favourite games in recent memory. Wasteland 2 was made by a small studio most of you probably haven’t heard of: ‘inXile Entertainment’- a crowd-funded passion project of theirs that plays a lot what you’d imagine a ‘Fallout/XCOM: Enemy Unknown’ hybrid would

WL2 starts off with the usual spiel of ‘nukes destroyed the world, and we’ve learned nothing from it’. You’re given command of a team of ‘Desert Rangers’, and are tasked with policing the arid wastes. Wastes that are full of religious cults, scumbag raiders, cannibals, waring factions, power-hungry robots and the innocent just trying to get by. After creating very ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ inspired characters you’re let loose, and very quickly discover that the game doesn’t care that you’re a wide-eyed fresh recruit, and don’t know anything

You’re a scrub, and better learn quick. There’s no tutorial, no hand holding – you learn from experience, from experimenting with the game’s mechanics and figuring out what the game will let you get away with. It’s possible to make some character choices and in-game decisions early on that render your playthrough impossible. Is that poor game design? Depends on what kind of gamer you are. You can learn from your mistakes, and try again, or just plain give up.

The first choice you make frames the rest of the game perfectly. Two settlements are under attack, one is an agricultural centre, the other – a water farm. I went with the ag-centre purely because it was closer to the Ranger’s home base, the citadel. You can only save one, which you’re further reminded of when you hear the panicked screams on your radio of the settlement you didn’t rescue. For me it highlighted that there isn’t always going to be a perfect solution to the problems the game faces you with – it is, after all, the apocalypse. Emerging from the ‘ag-centre’, barely alive, no ammo and half my crew diseased I limped back to base, no longer wide-eyed and naive, but better for it. The game had shown me it’s true nature, and you know what? I loved it, I had survived the game’s first test and was hungry for more.

I played WL2 on console so throughout my time with the game I had to deal with the constant threat of frequent crashes, which I deemed to happen exclusively at the most inconvenient times as if  the game was going out of its way to spite me. After discovering that the chance of the game crashing increased with how many times I loaded a save, I began to see it as an intentional gameplay feature. Live with your choices and the resulting consequences, or pay the price. Fair enough.

Wasteland 2 is that weird person at a party that no-one seems to talk to. They’ve got a strange, anxious look in their eyes, smell kind of funny and don’t pick up on social cues. But you discover once you’ve invested some time, courage and persistence that those faults don’t matter and that they’re surprisingly interesting and deep. Go talk to that person. Just be willing to put up with some eyebrow-raising quirks along the way.

Wipeout Omega Collection, An Assualt On the Senses

Having never played a Wipeout game before I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew it was fast paced and required decent reflexes, but that’s it. What I didn’t expect was the amount of fun I’d have, and how sweaty my poor Playstation controller would get.

Booting up the game greets you with a hyper-modern (almost Mirror’s edge-esque) menu, the rather apt and motivating soundtrack is pumping, encouraging you to get amongst it – really amping you up for the experience. There’s a selection of the three games that come in the collection and after making your choice are thrown into your first race.

The game takes it easy on you initially – a simple antigravity vehicle, almost reminiscent of a Star Wars pod racer or star fighter, that handles well and can take a hefty amount of hits. The speed you’re required to zip, boost, shoot and slide through increases steadily on from that point on, and will definitely test the skills of even the most alert and capable gamer.

What I did not expect was the amount of variety in the game modes available. The events are divided up, including combat runs, races, time trials and a very interesting mode called ‘zone’ where you’re required to survive as long as possible as the game steadily increases in speed – all the while throwing ‘acid-trip’ like visuals at you that increase in severity the longer you survive.

Wipeout OC is an assault on the senses – it’s a stylistically eye-catching, flurry of blur and beat that you only stop playing once your eyes, ears and nerve have had it’s fill. It’s a racer for those who are bored with the typical racer that strives for realism because there is nothing realistic about Wipeout OC, and that’s completely fine with me.

Sonic Mania Details And Special Edition Content for Switch Revealed

The press releases that Sega puts out for Sonic seem to all be obnoxious and tell you hardly anything at all. But we’re doing our best to cobble together what’s going on.

What people want to know is what the fuck is even in Sonic Mania and what’s the point in buying it. Well it’ll be on the Nintendo Switch, which instantly gives it a plus in it’s favour.

The game runs in 60fps and has been enhanced with new mechanics, obstacles, and secrets to uncover.

The new game takes iconic pieces from different games, rejiggers them, and creates a new experience. You can now use fire to burn log bridges and collect rings and power-ups with your three playable characters, Sonic, Knuckles and Tails.

Green Hill Zone Act 2 presents an all-new area exclusive to Sonic Mania, expanding upon the tropical setting of Act 1.

“Green Hill Zone Act 2’s boss is also notably different from the original, but we won’t be spoiling that yet.”

There are a couple new enemy types and Sonic has a new Drop Dash to add to his arsenal.

It sounds like Sega has gone out of its way to make a Sonic game that makes use of peoples nostalgia while at the same time adding a bunch of stuff to freshen the game up a little and keep people guessing. Better this than a gross 3D game. With that said, how many more pixely games can the Switch store handle? It seems like that’s all we’re getting at the moment.

The game will be available on Nintendo Switch this Summer 2017.

Nintendo Announces What’s Going to Go Down at E3

June 13th is fast approaching and Nintendo fans in the forums are feverishly searching for any scraps of what will be shown at E3 (which runs from June 13 to June 15 in Los Angeles.). This comes from the massive hype that the Nintendo Switch has created and it’s thin games library. Many fans are hoping for an announcement of a virtual console, as well as Smash and Pokemon releases.

In a press release Nintendo said they “plan to deliver news about upcoming games all throughout the year”. The headline act for this will be the first-ever opportunity to “play the Super Mario Odyssey, Mario’s upcoming sandbox-style adventure for the Nintendo Switch, as well as other Nintendo Switch games.”

As an aside this will be Mario’s first sandbox-style game since Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.

Additional activities at the annual show include a Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 video presentation announcing new details for Nintendo Switch games launching this year, the return of Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3, and tournaments for the ARMS and Splatoon 2 games livestreamed from the show floor.

“Our various E3 activities will showcase the next steps for Nintendo Switch, from a summer of social competitive gaming to a holiday season highlighted by a milestone Mario adventure,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO, Nintendo of America. “With Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3, fans at home can watch in-depth gameplay of Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS games launching this year.”

Nintendo’s E3 activities kick off Tuesday, June 13, at 9 a.m. PT with its Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017 video presentation. Available to view live at e3.nintendo.com, this presentation will offer more details about Super Mario Odyssey and other Nintendo Switch games, with a focus on games launching in 2017.

Immediately following Nintendo Spotlight: E3 2017, Nintendo is once again bringing back Nintendo Treehouse: Live at E3, a livestreamed showcase of upcoming games for Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Gameplay for all the featured games will be streamed from the E3 show floor June 13 to June 15 via e3.nintendo.com, as well as on Nintendo’s channels on YouTube and Twitch. In addition to gameplay, the livestream will include behind-the-scenes info and commentary from game developers and members of the Nintendo Treehouse.

In other news Shantae is coming to the Switch! Get hyped!

 

How To Make Your Country Look Way Better at Overwatch Than It Really is

Blizzard’s Overwatch has to be no doubt one of the biggest games of 2016. Near the end of the year they tentatively gave a world cup a go. Competitors hailing from more than 50 countries, including Australia, clashed in online regional qualifiers, and a global audience watched as South Korea became the world champions. Admittedly it didn’t have the structure to compete with DOTA and LoL but this year they’re stepping things up.

The competition is currently in it’s national placement stage. If you play competitive mode you have the direct ability to change your countries placement. The SR of the top 100 players in your country affect its ranking, and only the top 32 countries will make it into the World Cup. At the moment New Zealand is placed 33rd with an SR of 3793. This is ten below the United Arab Emirates. So if a couple of our top 100 guys would hurry up and get a jiggle on we might have a chance! The countdown is on and there are less than 25 days more to go. You can check our rankings here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-p5V4nQU5k

As a bit of fun I decided to get the top 33 teams and break down their skill rating by population size. We’re the smallest country on the last by a million people or so. But that doesn’t give us a good excuse. Finland and Norway are barely bigger than us and they still outrank us by miles. However, New Zealand is like an ant, everything an ant does is amazing in comparison of size. If we were just as good at this one thing we’re mediocre at proportionally, then we’d be amazing. It’s just a trick of finding the right stat to put us on top.

If you split the numbers by SR per million, we’re at the top with a skill rating of 793.33. China, who’s ranked second in the world would have a rating of 3.28 per head of capita.

rank Country Skill Rating Population SR per Million
33 New Zealand 3793 4,781,140 793.33
14 Norway 4153 5,258,317 789.80
8 Finland 4261 5,502,640 774.36
10 Denmark 4224 5,748,769 734.77
22 Singapore 3979 5,607,300 709.61
21 Hong Kong 4015 7,374,900 544.41
30 Switzerland 3863 8,391,973 460.32
24 Israel 3961 8,667,710 456.98
31 Austria 3836 8,773,686 437.22
4 Sweden 4346 10,033,000 433.17
32 United Arab Emirates 3803 9,856,000 385.86
29 Portugal 3896 10,341,330 376.74
25 Belgium 3948 11,353,461 347.74
15 Netherlands 4147 17,000,000 243.94
16 Chinese Taipei 4105 23,544,189 174.35
13 Australia 4156 24,405,500 170.29
7 Canada 4274 36,493,300 117.12
17 Poland 4092 38,439,000 106.45
27 Argentina 3945 43,850,000 89.97
1 South Korea 4531 51,446,201 88.07
19 Spain 4069 46,812,000 86.92
20 Italy 4068 60,589,940 67.14
5 United Kingdom 4284 65,110,000 65.80
6 France 4279 66,996,000 63.87
23 Thailand 3977 68,298,000 58.23
9 Germany 4253 82,800,000 51.36
26 Turkey 3948 79,814,871 49.46
28 Vietnam 3945 92,700,000 42.56
12 Japan 4184 126,760,000 33.01
11 Russia 4218 146,804,372 28.73
18 Brazil 4087 207,287,000 19.72
3 Usa 4500 324,740,000 13.86
2 China 4531 1,382,320,000 3.28

This only all works of course if you snip it at the top 33. Iceland, ranked 48th with its SR of 3541 and population of 338,450 has an SR of 10,462.40 per million. Impossible I know, but it’s fun to play with bad maths and then break it.

Back to what matters though, unless New Zealand gets its Skill Rating up 10 points in the next month, we’re screwed no matter what our population size is.