Friday, 29 August 2014

Hardware Review: HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset

There's something to be said for the simple approach and it's often that same approach that's often eschewed in favour of extra doo-dads and poppler-danglers.

Kingston's HyperX Cloud gaming headset takes the simple approach and still offers some great sound and recording capabilities. Though it's somewhat over-packaged, you'll spend more time removing the outer box then opening the heavy interior box than it takes to get the HyperX Cloud working. Plug in the headphone jack (and mic if you need to record something or communicate a multiplayer games) and it works.

For this review, I used the HyperX Cloud with my laptop.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Taking a Peak at Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox (PC)

visiting a village
The very first computer RPG that I ever played was Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. My dad and I would take our party into the maze and map our way around there while fighting all sorts of monsters and hoping we didn't accidentally step onto a teleporter. Good times were had, and the game imbued me at an early age with a taste for role-playing games presented from a first person perspective. From there, I went on to search out other such games like this, eventually absorbing myself in the likes of The Bard's Tale, Might and Magic, and Eye of the Beholder. So, when I found out about Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox, an RPG of similar ilk currently in development, I knew that I had to check it out.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Review: EA Sports UFC (PS4)

It seems like every time a console cycle starts, there's always a title or two that shows off the graphical powerhouse of the next gen consoles.

On the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 it was Fight Night; for PlayStation 4 it is UFC. It just happens to be a "coincidence" that both Fight Night and UFC are published by Electronic Arts.

UFC is a drop dead gorgeous game. Little details like sweat, muscle and tattoos look photorealistic. Even the instant replays show off the games graphical prowess. Seeing every muscle react to an opponent being punched in slow motion shows what these next generation (now, current gen) consoles are capable of.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: Divinity: Original Sin (PC)

Battling undead

Over the last decade, there's been a shift in a lot of RPGs toward more stripped down, cinematic affairs. A lot of the meat and potatoes of the genre were removed in favor of a more streamlined experience. Some folks really warmed up to this. Others did not, though, instead longing for days of old when we had huge, open worlds to explore a la Ultima, or complex tactical combat like Baldur's Gate. This is where the deluge of Kickstarter projects swept in with games that would hark back to those days. One such title promising these experiences was Divinity: Original Sin, and now that it's out it has very handily delivered with a huge world to explore, interesting characters to meet, satisfying combat, and it looks pretty darn good to boot.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Subscriptions for Everyone!

Recently, Electronic Arts has begun rolling out its EA Access program where, for a monthly fee, people will be able to play a bunch of their games, both new and old. The service is extremely limited at the moment, only being on the Xbox One after Sony turned it down, but it is making waves as some folks fear that, should it take off, the program could set a nasty precedent whereby other major publishers feel emboldened to erect their own little walled gardens for their IPs as well. Where once it was just a matter of going to a shop, or online digital distributor to get a game, suddenly things could become a lot more complicated, as people have to register multiple accounts with different services while being nickle and dimed on multiple subscriptions to play the games that they're interested in.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Tired, Bastardized Practice of Exclusivity

Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity has ruffled
some feathers.
Last week, Microsoft and Square-Enix made some waves when it was announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be a timed exclusive for the Xbox One. Many a gamer cried fowl, and it's been a parade of interviews ever since by various executives and developers to paint a narrative that this is somehow a good thing.

Traditionally, when I think about exclusivity, it's more to do with a developer or publisher deciding to put a game on a specific platform because they see something special in the system whereby it makes more sense to either make it the only one it shows up on, or at least the lead platform. Be it market dominance, player-base idiosyncrasies, or specifics to the hardware, in these circumstance at least the people making the game are looking at a set of variables and choosing on their own to make a game for that system based on its merits. What we're seeing here with the whole Rise of the Tomb Raider kerfuffle reeks far more of a return to the bad old days of money hatting.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Review: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (360)

World Cup Soccer – the most important month for futbol fans every 4 years, or as we celebrate in North America: as good as reasons as any to go drink at 11 am and not look like you have a "problem." With half of my family coming to Canada this generation, and the other half having lived here in excess of 400 years… the World Cup gets a differing amount of care depending upon whom you are talking to. Needless to say, I cheer for my Dad's country because cheering for Mom's and my homeland would have been a tremendous waste of time in this tournament.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Futzing Around in Final Fantasy XIV

Playing as Summoner in Brayflox Longpost.

Once I walked away from World of Warcraft, I figured I was done with MMORPGs, but recently that hasn't been the case.  I've poured an absurd amount of time into Final Fantasy XIV, a game that in quite a lot of ways is very similar to WoW.  Battle mechanics and the whole hot key controls setup are very reminiscent of Blizzard's MMO, yet the game squeezes in all of the Final Fantasy-ness that one would expect from a game to bear the name.  What I'm left with is something that has totally consumed me.

Review: The Last Tinker: City of Colors (PC)

If games could be disassembled and broken down into their “ingredients” The Last Tinker: City of Colors would form neat stylistic piles of Viva Pinata, Little Big Planet, and platforming action and sensibility of Banjo-Kazooie. That doesn't prevent The Last Tinker to convey a charm all it's own – it's often cheery and light-hearted even if though the storyline's main message is a Sesame Street take on BioShock Infinite's racist underbelly and there's an ominous tone throughout (if you think about it too hard).

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Preview: Skylanders Trap Team (Multiplatform)

skylanders trap team
Just like all those times when Joker breaks everyone out of Arkham Asylum, Skylanders: Trap Team features a dramatic prison breakout thanks to the perpetually evil, Chaos, which plunges Skyland into a diabolical hell of violence, drugs, corruption, and organized crime. (I may be slightly overstating this.) Only this time, once the crazy guys are captured, they work for Batman.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Review: EA Sports UFC (Xbox One)

It's been a few years since my last crack at a UFC game, the original Undisputed made by THQ. There have not been many revolutionary new changes to MMA since then, besides the popularity increase of the sport, of course. Any time you switch companies, you are obviously going to switch engines and likely design philosophies. I was a little disappointed to hear that the Fight Night Boxing team was going on hiatus to work on this franchise – I've always enjoyed that franchise and will look forward to it's return down the road.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Preview: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare *Hands-On*

Last week, Activision held a press event to unveil Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer in San Francisco. Activision flew us out to get a first glimpse at the game's multiplayer, prior to it's "official" unveiling at Gamescom. The Developers talked about the new features in multiplayer and gave us some hands-on time with the game.