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November 21, 2017

Star Wars Battlefront 2 - Review

EA are back in the world of Star Wars in their second game, since they got the exclusive rights and this time the game offers some substantial offline content, as well as a wealth of online, but is it enough to bring balance to the force?

The game is easily split between online content and offline and the offline is perhaps the biggest addition to the series, as it now offers a single player campaign, in addition to the trials. For the story, you take control of Iden Versio, the commander of Inferno Squadron, think Imperial Special Forces, someone who has grown up in the up Empire and believes in them. Her father is an Admiral in charge of his own Star Destroyer and her friends/colleagues also grew up and went through the academy with her, the story is really a family affair. The game starts out with Iden captured aboard a Rebel ship, but she planned it, as they received an encoded message about the trap that was waiting above the Forest Moon of Endor and when the Rebels defeat the Empire and blow up the second Death Star, things start to fall apart for Iden and her squad.

As you progress through the roughly 6-hour story, it jumps around to different characters and viewpoints, which that is fun, it also lessens the impact on Iden, purely because we get less time with her. But sadly, more time may not have helped, Iden and the rest of the Empire members are all arrogant from the outset, they believe in their superiority, but as the second mission delivers them a crushing defeat, it removes any potential reason for them to be. The problem is further highlighted when things change against Inferno Squadron and some of the members are betrayed, but again, at this point you will have only spent maybe 3 hours with them and 10 minutes in cutscenes, so it is really hard to care about their feelings, when you have no attachments to them as characters. The biggest problem is purely that the story was promoted, from the very rooftops as one specific thing, only for a little way into the game, it does a complete 180 and ends up as something else.

The gameplay on offer changes from on foot to in ships through complex space battles, it will help you learn all about the games online modes as well, which is nice, but the gameplay is basic. A lot of the work you do is move from one point to another, take out the wave of enemies that storm that space and then move to the next, the opening mission is by far the most interesting as the opening moments, have you sneaking around the Rebel ship and this is done in 3rd person mode, which makes sense as you don’t want to be seen and you also lack a gun. Every other mission though will force you into 3rd person to begin with, letting you make the choice to stay there or got to 1st person, the problem is there are some missions, where you play other characters that lock you to third person, which is just strange. Over the course of the story, the characters never really find time to become worth caring about and it jumps around so much in time, that it can be hard to keep track of things, but the biggest issue I have with it, the game simply ends, leaving a massive cliffhanger and no idea when it will be resolved.

Once you start playing with other people though, the game will provide you with a range of different options to enjoy, some are better than others, but still worth your time. The game offers a mode called Arcade, where you can take part in some prebuilt modes, with a friend or solo and aim to get scores, it’s a fun mode, but on your own, it runs dry quickly. The online multiplayer is fun, but of course, there are issues there as well, thankfully, the core of the gameplay is not impacted with the issues.

As you progress through matches, you will earn points, the better you play, the more points you earn and once you have enough points you can unlock a special character or hero for that game. They are four classes that you can pick from, Assault, Heavy, Officer and Specialist, each class has a pro and con for choosing them, so as you play more you will find one class calls to you the most. As you discover your class of choice, you can level them up using the games Star Cards system, so your Heavy may have a different result in battle when compared to your teammates Heavy. Of course, once you upgrade to a hero character, things will change again, so being used to moving slow as a Heavy and dealing lots of damage will have you rethinking when you select Darth Maul, as he moves a lot faster and nimbler than most others. When you see a hero character on your team run past, they can easily sway the side of a battle to your favour, so while it takes a while to unlock them, it does provide a reason to want to. Even when you take part in space battles, blasting ties out of the sky in your X-Wing, you can earn points to unlock a hero ship, like the Millennium Falcon or Slave 1, so playing with a group of players that will support you, is something you will want to do.

Star Cars are how you level up your characters and sadly, the system is a joke, there is no other way to describe it, as you play through matches, you earn credits, collect enough credits and you can purchase a loot crate. You could, at the start at least, use real world money to purchase crates, helping you unlock more items, the problem is the items are a mix of interesting and utterly pointless. Some Star Cards would grant you the ability to reduce the time it took for your health to recharge, or increase the range of the explosion from a thermal detonator, actual usable functions, the problem is that you would usually be granted with emotes or parts instead. Parts you can use to upgrade a Star Card you already have, but earning either credits to buy or parts to craft takes a lot of time and results in a wait and see approach to things. If you want to have Luke Skywalker as a permanent hero to your collection, it takes a lot of credits, but saving for him, means that you can’t spend any credits on the loot create, which might help you out in the short team. The system has all the parts of a high end casino table, but without any of the charm, those that did use real world money to get credits will have quickly found that getting an emote or part of a card is not worth the money spent, given that EA have pulled the ability to buy credits in game, before the game released to everyone, shows just how broken it was.

Star Wars Battlefront II though, does shine in its visuals, the game offers an incredible range of visuals, some of which will take players to all new locations. Revisiting locations like Hoth is still fun, but its new worlds like Vardos and Pillio that will draw you in, Vardos especially as it is a fully occupied Imperial planet. The locations all look stunning, there is a ton of variety on offer, so chances are if you like a planet or location from the Star Wars saga, it will be here for you. Weapons and ships all look great as well, taking the stick of a Tie Fighter as you fly around the wreckage of a ruined Star Destroyer is a great site, but its nothing all that new. There are a lot of times however where the game would stutter terribly, dropping frames and providing super low res character models as it struggled to load up elements and while never game breaking, it’s a shame that they exist at all. Audio wise, the biggest issue is the music, yes I know that the John Williams scores are wonderful, the problem is, there are times in the campaign and occasionally in the multiplayer, where the music that is being played, does not match the tone of the on screen action. The performance work for all the new characters is great, the classics is hit and miss, Luke and Leia are the worst, with Han and Lando sounding pretty spot on.

Star Wars Battlefront II is an ok game, the much touted campaign is ok, but the promise of a story from the side of the Imperials is a joke, because as soon as it could, it dropped it for another boring and generic story, that we have seen before. Multiplayer is a lot of fun, as long as you ignore the entire loot crate system, the problem there though is that some people are not going to and those that embrace the dark side of Battlefront II’s multiplayer are going to have a significant advantage over those that stay in the light.

Review copy provided by Electronic Arts

Gear.Club Unlimited releases its launch trailer today

Eden Games and Microid have released the launch trailer for Gear.Club Unlimited, which is coming to Nintendo Switch in Australia on December 1st, check it out.

As you can see in the trailer, the game supports all the different play styles of the Switch, as well as a variety of controller options, so you will be able to find your prefered way of playing easily. The game is out in North America today, thus the date on the trailer, but it is not out here again, til December 1st. 

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is coming to the West in 2018

Sega has announced that the next entry in the Valkyria Chronicles series, called Valkyria Chronicles 4 is coming to the west in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Celebrating this, the studio has released a developer diary, which talks about what the team are hoping to create for the next entry in this popular series.

The continent of Europa is engulfed in the flames of the Second Europan War between the Atlantic Federation and the Autocratic Eastern Imperial Alliance. Although the Federation struggles valiantly against the Empire's forces, the relentless imperial military machine threatens to consume them. With victory slipping away, the Federation executes Operation Northern Cross: a last-ditch attempt to capture the imperial capital and end the war.

Commander Claude Wallace and his loyal childhood friends in Squad E are sent to fight for the desperate operation's success, but they will have to endure harsh bone-chilling elements, waves of imperial soldiers, and the terrifying Valkyria... and unravel a grave truth that will shake them to the core.

Apart from that video, those story details and screens, the only other items we have are some character art, but its good art, so thats ok. More details are expected in the new year, until then though, enjoy the art.

November 17, 2017

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Switch - Review

From the day the Switch was announced, Skyrim was teased as for the platform, but it was not confirmed until the big reveal, but it was only recently that they started talking about it, so now that it is here, is it any good?

If you have not played Skyrim on another platform, you are the Dragonborn, someone born with the ability to absorb the soul of a dragon and just as you are set to be executed, a dragon attacks and you flee. How you approach the game from that point is up to you, though sticking to the main quest line for a few hours is ideal, the game still lets you decide in what direction you want to travel. If you pick a random direction on the map and head off, you will discover something interesting to see or do and changing course yet again, will continue to reward you with things to do. The main quest, which will only take a small portion of time to complete is fun, with a very cool final battle, but doing your own thing is what I suggest.

As for the game, if you have played it before, you will feel right at home here, the game plays the same as it has since its initial release back in 2011 and that is a good thing. Each of the triggers is linked to a hand, so you can duel wield any number of weapon and spell combinations, should you desire, or you can just equip the biggest weapon that you can find and go to town on whatever enemy you discover. When not in combat, you can explore the world, speak to anyone and everyone, pick up tasks for the Companions, learn how to be a thief with the Thieves Guild or attempt to quench your bloodlust with the Dark Brotherhood, each of the three groups has their own complete story to discover and people to meet and is worthy of your time.

What Skyrim on Switch does offer is the chance to take the game anywhere, something that you will want to do, as the world demands to be explored. The game supports all the three play styles, docked the game looks great, Tabletop works if you wanted to test out the motion controls and handheld for everywhere else. In the tv mode, or docked, the game ran quite well, there are times when you will notice objects popping in, sometimes it’s a tree or a rock nearby, but there were times when I noticed items would be there and rather than cross fading to their bettering looking self, they would pop out and the better one would pop in. Tabletop and Handheld modes have the same issues, but they also suffer from another one, the game world at night is too dark for the screen, at least in any sort of natural lit situation. I spent more time playing the game in handheld and would have to wait for daylight if I attempted to play the game in any sort of well-lit up space, it was just too dark other wise and of course, in some of the darker tombs, that mattered little as they were always dark.

The game offers up motion controls and while they work, I can’t imagine anyone playing with them for more than 10 minutes, just for the sake of testing the novelty of them. It also offers up full amiibo support, well at least the figures, I don’t own any of the cards, scanning any of the Zelda amiibo and by that I mean any amiibo that features a character from Zelda, will give you a chance to unlock the Master Sword, Hylian Shield or Champions’ Tunic from Breath of the Wild. Each of the items is basic, ie the Master Sword does not shoot out laser beam if your health is full, but it is fun to run around the world with that sword and shield combination. If you don’t own any amiibo or they are packed away, you can obtain the items in game as well, so not worries there, however any other amiibo you scan will reward you with a chest that is filled with some items, ranging from a few gold coins to items for potions, I never got anything special in the chests, which is a bummer. It is even more of a bummer when you consider that the game does not offer any mod support, something that the special editions were given last year on console.

Visual the game looks slightly under last year’s Special Editions, at least in terms of overall visual quality, the game still looks incredible, but if you compare them side by side you will see some pretty big differences. The games biggest change from there, is that the lighting is nowhere near as potent, while it still works, the lack of light rays and such is a bummer, but when you wander through the wood and a fog rolls in, the light still looks great. The buildings, trees, characters and everything else all look great, but there was a noticeable amount of clipping, objects through people and people through other people.

The game sounds great, while playing in tv mode is the way to go, when using the Switch’s inbuilt speakers, it sounds just fine. I did have to go in and lower the default music volume though, it would always overpower any other audio when it kicked in and seeing as it does that quite often, it did become annoying. The voice work holds up, though you can still hear people from quite a distance, if you happen to trigger their talkative nature.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim for Nintendo Switch is a great port of a fantastic game, all of the DLC is included, so there is even more value in the game now than before. The lack of mods is a shame, but having a more vanilla experience is better overall, plus with amiibo support, you can get some items when you need them. Motion controls don’t add anything to the experience in any sort of meaningful way, nor do they detract from the game, if the pop in issues were corrected to be consistent, or eliminated altogether, that would be much appreciated.

Review copy provided by Bethesda

Dynasty Warriors 9 is out this coming February

Koei Tecmo has announced that Dynasty Warriors 9 will be releasing on February 13th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC via Steam.

Koei Tecmo also announced an exciting bundle of bonus content available to fans who pre-order Dynasty Warriors 9, comprised of seven costumes for fan-favourite characters. These include an imposing Beijing Opera-Style Costume for Zhao Yun, and six individualized costumes for Guan Yinping, Diaochan, Sun Shangxiang, Lu Lingqi, Wang Yi, and Wang Yuanji, inspired by traditional Chinese undergarment styles!

Offering a first look at this exclusive bonus content and showcasing more returning characters, features and a brand new entry into the Dynasty Warriors roster, Xin Xianying, the publisher has released a batch of brand new assets, screenshots and costume designs!

Skyrim is out now for Switch and PSVR

Happy Skyrim Day, Bethesda have announced that as of today, The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is now available for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation VR.

Skyrim on Nintendo Switch includes the complete award-winning game and all-new gameplay features, including motion controls for combat and lockpicking, and outfits and gear from The Legend of Zelda, including additional loot unlocked from compatible The Legend of Zelda amiibo. Players can take down enemies with the Master Sword, protect themselves with the Hylian Shield or look heroic in the Champion’s Tunic.

Those who have a PlayStation 4 and want to really immerse themselves in the world of Skyrim, can do with the PlayStation VR release. If you already own the hardware, you can pick up the game on its own, or for those what need to get everything, you can do that with the PlayStation VR The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR Bundle.

ARMS springs a new update on everyone

With the release of ARMS, Nintendo have kept updating the game with new content and balance fixes and this week they did it again, as we have a new character, new stage and some fixes for the game.

The new fighter Misango joins the roster of characters and he comes with a new stage, Temple Grounds and three new arms.

The new figheter Misango is a skilled fighter who is devoted, to this homeland and the power of Misanga. When he fights, the power of Misanga is shown in the form of the little woven sprites that join beside him and he has joined the fight to prove that Misanga is the best fighting technique.

The new stage, Temple Grouns is an ancient temple, deep in the woods and was built in honour of the Misanga and its great powers. Amidst the gentle sloping grounds, the majestic pillars speak to the history of this location. One thing is clear – many a fight has gone down on these legendary sparring grounds!

New trailer revealed for Attack on Titan 2

Koei Tecmo have released a new trailer for the upcoming Attack on Titan 2 game, which is coming to multiple platforms in 2018, check it out.

The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch in March of 2018

Middle-earth Shadow of War adds free content to the game

Warner Bros has announced that Middle-earth Shadow of War is getting a bunch of free content drops over the coming weeks, that range from new missions to enchanced features.

• Endless Siege – Defend your fortresses against Sauron’s forces as the Dark Lord tries to reclaim Mordor in the Endless Siege. (Available 21st Nov)

• Rebellion – Crush the rebel Ologs and Uruks in your forces as they seek to undermine the Bright Lord. (Available 21st Nov)

• Enhanced Photo Mode – Capture every battle and siege and apply new filters, frames and textures with the Enhanced Photo Mode update. (Available 21st Nov)

• Online Fight Pits – Challenge another player’s Orc follower, Overlord vs. Overlord, to a fight to the death in the arena to earn powerful rewards and upgrades. (Available 5th Dec)

• Brutal Difficulty – A new higher difficulty level even more challenging than Nemesis with no last chances. (Available 12th Dec)

The free content will be out starting November 21st, but those who want the complete experience will have to purchase the Season Pass, which will include the Slaughter Tribe Nemesis Expansion, Outlaw Tribe Nemesis Expansion, the Blade of Galadriel Story and the Desolation of Mordor Story Expansion. Each of the content drops can be bought on their own or if you get the season pass, you will save some serious money.

For those seek visual confirmation of the plans, you can enjoy this handy infographic, to get all the details.

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