Esperino Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:57:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NBA 2K15 Review Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:57:24 +0000 Coming off the success of their first soiree into the next-generation marketplace, NBA 2K14 set a high benchmark as arguably the greatest basketball simulator experience ever created. The distinction between the previous-gen and now current-gen consoles was pretty much light and day, leaving many fans to ask the obvious question of Visual Concepts – Where can the 2K franchise go from here?

Although the improvements aren’t as drastic or immediately distinguishable from tip-off, NBA 2K15 adds further refinement to a series that needed very little improvement to captivate its audience.


Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Windows PC
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Basketball Simulation
Release: (INT) October 10th 2014, (AU) October 9th 2014, (NA) October 7th 2014

With the foundations already laid with ridiculous attention to detail and near flawless mechanics, the changes to NBA 2K15 for this iteration can be viewed as minimal, or minor upgrades at best. It’s highly unlikely you’re going to have your mind-blown a second time around this year, as it’s a case of ironing out issues and implementing new features than a complete rebuild like last year’s offering.

Visually NBA 2K15 looks and plays almost identically to its predecessor, which isn’t all that terrible given the quality and polish of NBA 2K14. It seems Visual Concepts have taken the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, retaining much of the flair, atmosphere and effortless gameplay.

Players are as close to life-like without standing right in their face, from their mannerism, expressions, tattoos, and even down to their facial hair. Most of the characters are captured in remarkable detail, with the only complaint coming from questionable behaviours and reactions which can sometimes be completely out of character compared with their real-world counterpart.


The most notable update is the inclusion of a shot meter directly underneath the sneakers of your chosen player. This simple extra makes shot tracking much easier to understand and not as baffling when you don’t sink a bucket. Before, it purely on your ‘feel’ of the release and timing, but having a visual representation of each shot takes away the mystery.

‘MyCareer’ mode has been enhanced and effectively meshed together with the previous ‘My Park’ of last year. Unlike NBA 2K14, your NBA hopeful doesn’t have the same fortune in the rookie draft and instead goes undrafted as you vie for a ten-day contract at a time. This provides a campaign feel, resulting in a cinema quality experience supported by better use of dialogue this time round. Visual Concepts also went as far as employing the voice talents of at least one NBA player from each of the current teams who supports you on your journey to super stardom. It all adds to the immersive quality and for me the standout mode in NBA 2K15.


This year’s offering even allows you to inject your own face right into the game thanks to the all-new facial scanning technology. Instead of tweaking and customising your player in MyCareer mode, you can now scan your face in a matter of 30 seconds, mapping your likeness in a 3D model and transferring it straight into the game. Face scan has its fair share of issues, sometimes in hilariously grotesque results, but if you persist it will get a nice 3D model eventually. I appreciate what Visual Concepts were attempting here, but it definitely needs some work, given how frustrating the process has been for some.

‘My Park’ mode is excellent for a wind down with friends, going three-on-three in friendly matches. ‘My GM’ mode is perfect for control freaks who want to take a franchise by the horns and create their own vision for a perfect team. ‘My Team’ allow you to create your own teams with collectible digital cards, a throwback to an era where basketball cards were all the rage.

Initially, the servers haven’t been all that reliable, however it appears in recent days 2K have ironed out some of these glitches and service disruptions for what amounts to a smoother and trouble free experience online, at least for the most part.


Commentary is provided by TNT’s Shaq and Ernie thanks to some clever pre-game analysis providing where a loading screen use to be. Shaq is intact with his usual off-beat humour, but the omission of Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley is instantly felt, with some jokes coming off a little cheesy at times.

The soundtrack features the handy work of Pharrell Williams, curating what tracks to feature in-game. There’s a good spread of current hits, as well as a blend of hip-hop and iconic tracks from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Afrika Bambaataa. Music is suitably fresh while familiar.

NBA 2K15 is no doubt a strong basketball simulator, and I’d even contend it’s the greatest sports simulator experience on the market to date. Although the changes in this iteration aren’t as revolutionary as the next-gen experience of last year, the overall package remains consistently high as we’ve come to expect from Visual Concepts. Plus, MVP Kevin Durant features as the coveted solo athlete and that’s got to count for something, right?

8.5 – Great. An enjoyable experience, fans and newcomers of the genre will be entertained. Any noticeable flaws are largely outweighed by the positives.

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The Legend of Korra Review Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:35:35 +0000 Fans of Nickelodeon’s sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender rejoiced upon hearing the news that Platinum Games – renowned for titles such as Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising – would be taking on the challenge of a true The Legend of Korra videogame. Licensed games typically have a reputation of failing to meet expectations, and while this may still hold weight with this year’s tie-in, fans will be pleased to know that they can still dive in and experience the power of bending for themselves.


Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Activision
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Windows PC
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Beat ‘em Up
Release: (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 & PlayStation 4) October 21st 2014, (Xbox 360 & Xbox One) October 22nd 2014

The reason for this, despite being far from one of Platinum’s best, is that The Legend of Korra actually plays rather well when it comes to brawling. It’s a fine thing too, given just how combat-heavy this arcade adventure is. Without spoiling too much, you’ll plough through a few of the show’s locales with an increasing amount of bending prowess. The tale opens with the titular heroine losing her bending altogether in a videogame trope that we’ve seen many times before; what this does though, is provide a needed sense of progression and growing empowerment.

Think of Platinum’s main principles when it comes to game design and you’re just about there; Iroh runs the shop where Korra can purchase moves and items, pots and hidden crates can be smashed for currency, well-timed counters often hold the key to victory and other benders serve as the real challenge when it comes to enemy types. So far, so Platinum. New-game plus mode ensures you’ll never feel like your efforts have gone to waste, and powers unlock at the correct pace for a game of this length.


You’re always moving towards greater power, using the in-game currency to unlock new techniques and levelling powers individually based on how much they’re used. To be clear, this game doesn’t hold the complexity of bigger-name titles and nor are you paying for that. At time of writing, this is a four hour brawler with tight combat at £11.99 in the UK. That’s a far cry from the £40 price point that many Platinum games have released at with just a few extra hours on offer. Like it or not, The Legend of Korra is a budget-priced download and the production values are bound to reflect that.

Graphics are simple, voice acting is fine and cutscenes do well to tie the action into the show, even if they are much shorter than they ought to be. There’s no denying the limp story and lack of fan-favourite characters however. Were you hoping for time with Mako, Bolin and Tenzin? Think again, as it’s all about Korra laying waste to the chi-blockers and benders that stand in her way. This is very much a game designed for fans of the show who always wanted to toy with the elements of earth, fire, water and air and look cool doing it – it’s not for those expecting an interactive episode of the show.


Bosses are imposing and will leave you watching for a ‘tell’, even though many of them can be despatched in a similar fashion. What does tend to change is the animation; stunned enemies leave themselves open to a devastating finishing move that will blow them away in an instant, or in the case of boss encounters, tear down their health meter as water whips, huge boulders and fireballs hurl from Korra’s fingertips. Riding her polar bear dog, Naga, between stages provides a handful of endless-runner-style segments that increase in speed as you head towards the finish line. It’s a basic style of gameplay you’d expect from the days of the PSOne (and actually, Crash Bandicoot Warped had something similar) but feels right at home and is thankfully never overdone.

If you haven’t seen Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra then you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s a fun yet mature show dealing with high-stakes themes, likeable characters and a great deal of charm. Non-fans will find themselves a little lost during its references (Harmonic Convergence means nothing to the wider masses), but seeing the show is in no way a necessity when it comes to enjoying the game. With solid combat and flashy elemental moves all selectable on the fly, Korra’s outing is by no means a bad game. It’s not as great as the show however, nor is it as good as we’re used to from such an acclaimed developer. As such, The Legend of Korra will likely be a victim of its hype and high expectations.

7.0 – Good. Entertaining but is held back by a couple of flaws. It will certainly capture its intended audience but it won’t appeal to everyone.

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Could Indie Games Save the PS Vita? Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:09:15 +0000 The Playstation Vita is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best handheld consoles that ever existed. Its build quality, screen, controls and specs are completely unparalleled. It has the ability to bring current-gen console-quality gaming to the mobile platform without even straining itself. So why does a console like this require saving?


Primarily, it’s because there simply aren’t enough games for it. Sony executive Fergal Gara explains that the reason for this is because “games on tablets and phones have changed the marketplace, and people can’t carry too many things around at one time.”

True enough, the emergence of the mobile platform has changed the way games are being played. Software developer Gaming Realms, an affiliate of entertainment hub Total Gold, says that the growth in market of mobile gaming comes from the increased adoption of smartphones by consumers, which accounts for 17% of mobile usage and 50% of smartphone app usage.

When Vita launched, there was also a reasonable but largely unattractive selection followed by a considerable gap. However, piles of indie games are now increasingly filling the gaps, which may actually result in the console seeing something of a resurgence in use by existing owners, if not potentially more sales. This is good for Sony, because it’s caused them not only to save their console, but also to finally open their doors to the indie development community.


Sound Shapes is one such title – a platformer where the levels are built in a visual sequencer, so each collected item adds to the background music (though it’s so involved that “background” seems like a misnomer), to the point where you’re finishing a level at a crescendo of noise and harmony and you’re beginning to wonder why exactly all games need Uncharted-level graphics. The Vita is capable of those, obviously, but it’s the clean, sharp Sound Scape videos and its brilliantly-used soundtrack that put it in equal standing next to major studio releases.

The amazing thing about indie games is that, because they’re made independently and thus don’t need to bow to any marketing department or studio input (up until a point, obviously – there are indie developers with departments’ worth of staff), they tend to go off into the “weird” more often than not. Lone Survivor is a pixel-art tribute to Silent Hill that has you wandering through dark corridors and hiding from or firing bullets into a series of horrifying enemies.


While there are some games that will do horror, there are no major studio releases risking 2D short of Rayman Origins, and that was a proven concept only because it wasn’t pixel art. The Vita has rapidly transformed from something sold on the capabilities of its high-quality 3D graphics to a machine that now runs games that are of all shapes and sizes.

The size is a bonus, of course – many indie games are smaller than the hulking, multiple-gig size of the average triple-A title – and fitting more of them onto Sony’s pricey memory cards can never be seen as a negative thing. But regardless of how many times you’ll have to re-mortgage your house to pay for extra Vita storage space, having a lot of indie games out there helps the gaming industry, and convinces Sony that the console isn’t a lost cause.

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Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed Review Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:34:00 +0000 To call Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed different would be an understatement. A street brawler at heart, Akiba’s Trip wacky take on Japanese culture and fan service is not going to bode well with everyone. It’s an accomplished title let down by a questionable design direction.


Developer: Acquire
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PS Vita (Reviewed), PlayStation 3
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Action Beat ‘em Up
Release: (JP)November 7th 2013, (NA) August 12th 2014, (EU) October 10th 2014

Firstly Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is actually the sequel to the original Akiba’s Trip, a title that was never localized for release outside of Japan. The series has done well within Japan resulting in NIS America testing the waters with the most current title in the series thus far.

As the title suggests, you’ll need to strip down your enemies to their undergarments, providing plenty of eye candy for gamers looking for a bit of skin action. The stripping is not completely lewd, only down to panties and glorified breast shots, although the even distribution of both male and female characters keeps it from falling into sexism territory.


The plot for Undead & Undressed is just as ridiculous as its premise. Set in Tokyo’s electronic district of Akihabara, an outbreak of powerful enemies known as Synthisters are roaming the streets, sucking up social energy from the unsuspecting patrons of the area. Sort of vampiric in nature, Synthisters are susceptible to sunlight, hence the justification to remove their clothing and exposing them to direct sunlight.

Playing as a protagonist named Nanashi (although you can change the name and gender); our hapless hero is lured to a job with the promise of rare collectible figurines as compensation for an undefined role. Sounds perfectly normal. Captured and transformed into a Synthister by the seedy Magaimono organization, Nanashi is saved by the mysterious Shizuku who explains the Synthisters situation.

Along with a mixed bag of freedom fighters, Nanashi and his crew set about ridding Akihabara of the Synthister sinister menace by stripping off their clothes and transforming them back to normal. See, I told you the plot was ridiculous.


There’s an intriguing story of corporations up to no good, but this effectively serves as a distraction and motivation to the countless tearing of clothing and partial nudity going on. That would be all fine and good if the combat mechanics and gameplay involved weren’t so tedious and cumbersome.

You can target three areas of clothing to ‘weaken’, before stripping them from your victim. Multiple combos’ deals damage to the various articles – from hats, to shirts, and finally the pants region. Once you’ve stripped them down to their underwear, you’re generally presented with a gratuitous shot before your enemy runs away, most likely caused by embarrassment.

Nanashi’s clothing can also be damaged in battle to add some tension to the combat, but the curious design decision whereby your clothing can be insta-repaired with a hold of button takes away any form of urgency or threat.


Stripping clothes away from a boss has a greater payout with a detailed view of their hand-drawn anime figures. The obvious sexual innuendos are danced around with the dialogue in typical fashion, some more cringe-inducing than others.

Sadly the combat gets old fast, coupled together with the odd technical speed down issues and a frustrating amount of loading screens makes for a weak gaming experience that is neither terrible, nor much fun to play. The odd battle items dropped by beaten foes adds a little variety, as does the assortment of clothing and accessories to earn which provides a reason to keep pushing forward. These combat items can be upgraded as well, which adds a sense of achievement to the experience.

Undead & Undressed tries to promote a relationship system, where you can choose to buddy up with a member of your freedom fighters, forming a bond that influences your gameplay experience from a character development and story point-of-view. I found this semi enjoyable, although it felt misplaced for a street brawler title to me.

I did appreciate the recreation of the Akihabara district, with supposedly 130 different stores in-game crafted from their real-life counterparts. You can earn spending money via the main story, as well as side mission fetch quests to satisfy all your consumer needs. Once you’ve beaten the game, which isn’t all that long mind you, a New Game Plus mode becomes available, presumably so you can forge new relationships with other characters.


Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed feels like it exists purely for the undressing, which I could forgive if the combat system and gameplay were a little more competent and enjoyable to play. Games like Senran Kagura Burst proves titles with sexualized themes, well-constructed mechanics and gameplay can be achieved which further compounds my disappointment in Akiba’s Trip. Decent game however needs a bit more work on its gameplay more than anything.

7.0 – Good. Entertaining but is held back by a couple of flaws. It will certainly capture its intended audience but it won’t appeal to everyone.

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Ubisoft’s PAX Australia Lineup Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:23:59 +0000 If you’re heading down to PAX Australia this year, you’ll be happy to learn Ubisoft have unveiled their line-up for the Melbourne-based expo.


PAX Australia is set to run from October 31st through to November 2nd, and will feature some of this year’s biggest upcoming titles for fans to get immersed in at stand 1330 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Ubisoft titles on show include:

  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Assassin’s Creed Rogue
  • Far Cry 4
  • Just Dance 2015
  • The Crew
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division

Attendees will also have the opportunity to see a behind closed doors demo of Tom Clancy’s The Division in the Ubisoft Theatre.

This year Ubisoft will also be bringing two senior members of their development team to PAX. Alex Hutchinson, Creative Director Far Cry 4, and Michael Hampden, Lead Game Designer Assassin’s Creed Rogue, will both be showcasing new sections of their games for fans in the region at the Ubisoft Theatre on the booth.

They will also be sharing their industry knowledge and expertise during two panels on the Sunday. Michael Hampden will be taking part in two panels; ‘The Customised Is Always Right: Pre-gen vs custom characters’ at the Galah theatre on Friday at 4.30pm and the ‘Importance of Diverse Skillsets when Making Games’ panel at the Wombat theatre on Sunday at 2pm.

Alex Hutchinson will be taking part in the ‘Stealth Gaming’ panel at the Dropbear theatre on Sunday at 4.30pm.

If you’re heading down, be sure you don’t miss out on these special events and hands-on experiences.

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Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star Review Mon, 20 Oct 2014 02:33:25 +0000 Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is Gust’s latest offering in the Ar tonelico series. A prequel to Ar tonelico and a brand new start in a new series of games dubbed Surge Concerto, Ar nosurge has plenty to offer with its sci-fi twist on the traditional J-RPG formula.


Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: Sony PlayStation 3 (Reviewed)
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Release: (EU) September 26th 2014, (JP) March 6th 2014, (NA) September 23rd 2014

As mentioned, the story is set prior to Ar tonelico, but after the events of Ciel nosurge, a Japanese-exclusive title that never saw a localised release. As such, having played Ar tonelico or familiarising yourself with Ciel nosurge will help with your ability to grasp the rich story of Ar nosurge. It’s still very much playable without any prior knowledge or history, but you’ll need to keep your attention switched on, particularly during the early segments.

Set on the fictitious planet of Ra Ciela, humans and spiritual beings known as Genoms co-existed before the planet went into a decline, as humans travelled to nearby galaxies in search of new planets to inhabit. After a hostile encounter with the Sharl, an alien life-form capable of utilising “song magic”, the people of Orei are abducted. Fast-forward thousands of years into the future and the emergence of the Ancient Ones, people with the ability to wield the same song magic powers of the Sharl.


The plot is far more complex than initial impressions, particularly as Ar nosurge plays out via two character pairings: Delta and Cas, and Earthes and Ion. Starting out as amnesiac Delta and Cas pairing, the duo are tasked with hunting down the lost song Ciel N Protecta, stolen and being used to cause havoc in Felion. Later in the game, control switches to Ion who is set free from her sealed world by her helper Earthes before their paths converge with Delta and Cas as each pair searches to uncover the truth behind the world they reside.

As far as story goes, Ar nosurge can feel packed in by the sheer amount of detail it hurls at you all at once, before leaving you to your own devices to unravel the plot on your own. At times it can feel overwhelming and you may find yourself lost with the themes of humanity, “human bonds” and matters pertaining to the heart. It’s fantasy meets philosophy so be prepared, as this is a game for a mature audience who wants 50+ hours of thought provoking ideology and space-adventuring, with a decent combat system thrown in.


Battles play out with two characters under your direct control – the male protagonist doing the combat while your chosen heroine sings a Song Magic. Enemies come in multiple waves, with you’ll be fending off as the Song Magic charges. It sort of reminded me of a tank and DPS setup from an MMORPG, yet a far more active approach that created some tense moments during battles. You can choose between four attacks, each mapped to a face button or activate items, Friend Skills and Song Magic as you see fit.

Clearing out enemies effectively boosts your Harmo Level much more quickly, which in turn increases your Burst Gauge and strength of the Song Magic enchantment. If your heroine is knocked out, it’s game over so you’ll have to protect her until all enemies are defeated, time runs out, or you retreat when things get too tough to handle. The Ar series “Diving” and “Genometrics” system also makes a welcome return, particularly useful for those wanting more character insight.

All four characters are extremely likeable and the character development and relationship building between each other makes them intriguing enough that I genuinely wanted to learn more about their motivation and thought processes. Of course topics border on mundane discussions as well, from toilet paper to more interesting world affairs, but this only helped to inject personality into an otherwise predictable anime archetype.


The clever mechanic allowing players to switch between each couple makes for unique gameplay that goes beyond the substitution of protagonists for the sake of just doing so. Each duo explores their own worlds, while interacting with the other pair to help them progress through the story. It’s a practical take on multiple characters that feels more inventive than contrived.

Ar nosurge brings with it some interesting features, such as the controversial purification ceremony where you strip down to your bathers in a hot spring, and engage in deep conversation with your partner. Not only does it present eye candy for the player, it unlocks conversations and stat boosts as the characters reflect on the events they’ve experienced. It blatantly borrows from the relationship simulator genre, providing its own J-RPG touch to the formula.

With an emphasis on Song Magic for battle sequences, the music is obviously top notch with a score that ties together the sci-fi futuristic theme with a distinctively Japanese flavour. Tracks are fairly catchy with some nice vocal ballads through into the mix, although whether I’d dub them memorable is a whole other topic for discussion. Graphically, Ar nosurge looks and plays well enough, although with the PlayStation 3 quickly aging, some may not be as forgiving to the animation sequences on show here.


Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is certainly unique and plays to the beat of its own drum. There are features here that you won’t find anywhere else. J-RPG fans would get the most out of this adventure, but those not in love with rich stories and fantastical themes designed to impact you after the game is done may want to find their fill elsewhere.

7.5 – Good. Entertaining but is held back by a couple of flaws. It will certainly capture its intended audience but it won’t appeal to everyone.

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Wasteland 2 Review Thu, 16 Oct 2014 00:51:12 +0000 When you think Kickstarter success stories in video games, Wasteland 2 would rank among the top of the pile. Funded back in 2012 and racking in almost three million dollars, Wasteland 2 is a true test of whether Kickstarter funding can be worthwhile or not, and it’s going to divide opinions.


Developer: inXile Entertainment
Publisher: inXile Entertainment
Platform: Steam PC (reviewed)
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Release: September 19th 2014 (PC)

After the success of the original Wasteland back in 1988 (the very first post-apocalyptic computer RPG ever created), Interplay Entertainment followed it up with Fallout, the spiritual successor to Wasteland. Since then, Fallout has gone on to establish its own identity from a squad-based, tactical RPG to a First-Person Shooter RPG while the Wasteland series remained dormant for the last 25 years.

With the rights to the Wasteland franchise back in the hands of inXile Entertainment and a successful Kickstarter netting a handsome stack of coin, the team have spent the last two and a half odd years crafting a sequel fans have been crying out for.


The thing to remember about Wasteland 2 is the experience it delivers rather than the technical achievements of say, a triple A title. Graphically Wasteland 2 is hardly flashy. With a post-nuke theme there isn’t much colour to pretty up the derelict surroundings, yet the immersive quality lacking in modern gaming flourishes in true classic, gaming fashion. The visuals are as close to old-school PC role-playing as you can get, torn out of another period altogether with a distinctive charm about it.

Assets are pixelated and at times feel almost homebrew-esque, which adds to the appeal. The feeling is almost as if the bulk of the budget went to the story-telling, or if Wasteland 2 is paying homage to the mid-90’s. It lacks the polish of a big budget game and I can almost guarantee you’ll stumble upon a few bugs inadvertently, but never a big enough glitch to break the game. Fallout had its fair share of problems and anomalies, and although these issues were also unintentional, I found myself forgiving Wasteland 2 for these missteps when you take into account the massive amount of playable content available.

Wasteland 2 is a slow-paced affair, and will take a good while before you’re absorbed into the landscape and when I say a good while, I mean a few solid hours of gaming. Much like a seed sprouting to life, you’ll need to nurture your rag tag group for a decent 20+ hours before things start to payoff in both gameplay and story-telling. It’s a love letter to the fans of yesteryear, catering specifically to a niche group of gamers and not many others should you ‘fallout’ of its target audience.


Once you’ve customised and tweaked your team of Desert Rangers, you’ll set out across the wide barren landscape, restoring order to a society in ruin as its residents run rampant in a state of lawlessness. You’ll encounter colourful characters along your journey, making choices with consequences that the developers claims provides a unique gameplay experience compared with anyone and everyone else. That is true in some sense as characters that perish will remain permanently dead. That being said, there’s a litter of characters eagerly waiting to join your troupe should a position become available.

To get the most out of Wasteland 2, it helps to accept situations as they happen, rather than saving and reloading often to alter decisions made or non-ideal outcomes. Remember, Wasteland 2 is designed to be played in a fashion akin to PC gaming from years gone by and you’ll have a deeper appreciation of the game if you can break free from a completionist mindset. Not only that, but saving and reloading time and again makes the slow going even more so which is best avoided if possible.

Of course a steady pace isn’t necessarily terrible in this instance as the payout Wasteland 2 offers is the satisfaction from a long-term investment. Pumping hours upon hours and days back on end into the Wasteland 2, developing your characters and fleshing out the huge dialogue, backstory and events is all part of the Wasteland appeal. I’m still not completely done with my first play through which is testament to the level of writing and my willingness to re-visit the game to explore the content that I still haven’t reached.


You may find yourself questioning design choices as the game progresses, particularly going through the same motions repeatedly on end. At some point the fatigue of seeing the same re-used assets begun to wear me down, but that nostalgia gave me a flashback to my early days of PC gaming making Wasteland 2 special; and dare I say, even refreshing compared with all of today’s over-the-top and over produced games on the market.

Wasteland 2 isn’t perfect by any means but it doesn’t need to be. inXile Entertainment have poured their heart and soul into the development and it shows. Wasteland 2 strength lies in its RPG heritage and expansive world unrestricted by linear gaming so common in so many titles on the market today. It will require a great deal of patience and acceptance to extract the most out of, but the experience and enjoyment provided for the price tag is well worth any monetary value.

8.0 – Great. An enjoyable experience, fans and newcomers of the genre will be entertained. Any noticeable flaws are largely outweighed by the positives.

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Xbox One Assassin’s Creed: Unity Bundle Announced Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:27:35 +0000 Microsoft have revealed a Xbox One Assassin’s Creed: Unity bundle for release worldwide on November 2nd, 2014.

The bundle will be available through a variety of different retailers in most countries (excluding Japan).


Priced at US$399 without-Kinect or US$499 with Kinect in North America.

In Australia, the bundle will be available November 1st and will be priced at AU$499 without-Kinect and AU$599 with Kinect.

Both Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag included in the bundle will be downloadable copies only, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity won’t be available until November 11th, 2014 however can be pre-downloaded ahead of time.

A trailer for the new bundle can be viewed below.

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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution Review Tue, 14 Oct 2014 03:07:13 +0000 Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. Jam-packed with more characters, story, special jutsu and new features, this title feels more like a continuation than a proper revolution as the name may suggest. As the fifth title (and possibly last title) for last gen consoles, Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is a welcome inclusion to the long-running franchise.


Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 (Reviewed), Windows PC
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Fighting
Release: (EU) September 12th 2014, (JP) September 11th 2014, (NA) September 16th 2014

Based heavily on the Naruto Shippuden anime series, Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution adaptation borrows faithfully from the anime and manga series, recreating much of the story canon with very little points of difference. There’s an additional 50 minutes worth of animated cut scenes for fans to enjoy, not to mention three side stories offering a rather clever look at the origins of the Akatsuki organisation, insight into Shisui Uchiha and Kushina Uzumaki in her younger days. There are potential spoilers in Revolution, so keep that in mind if you’re yet to watch the more recent events of the anime. Learning about the Akatsuki’s origin may be worth the price of admission for dedicated fans.

Boasting a roster off 118 playable characters with input from series creator Masashi Kishimoto, Revolution is hands down the most complete Naruto title I’ve played to date. Plenty of familiar faces return, as does a few series favourites, plus one all-new character in the form of Mecha-Naruto – a robot version of Naruto never seen before in the Naruto universe. Existing characters have been tweaked with more customisation options including new costumes, new techniques, and even new ways to tackle the gameplay mechanics.


Mecha-Naruto is an odd inclusion to say the least, although he does come with his own story mode that plays out more like filler material that actual story plot to satisfy fans. The character is outlandish and feels left-field compared to what the legion of Naruto maniacs may be accustomed to seeing from the series.

Combat runs at a cracking pace and in my mind is easily the best aspect of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series. The single-player story mode still feels basic and simply a means to reaching cut scenes, which is fine for fans of the franchise but those unfamiliar with Naruto will struggle to comprehend the endless parade of characters and dialogue exchange. Cell-shaded graphics capture the feel of the anime and the character models look like they’ve been ripped right out of the manga, driving home that authentic experience.

My complaint regarding anti-aliasing and rendering problems from Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 appears to have been rectified, as I didn’t experience the same complications from a year ago. Even during team battles, gameplay didn’t feel sluggish, flowing effortlessly.


Despite the developers claiming to have revamped the gameplay and combat modes, on face value Revolution feels largely the same as the previous title. There are a few minor tweaks in order to balance the characters so no one particular ninja feels overpowered this time round. Ultimate Jutsu, Awakening and Drive mode adds a degree of customisation to your chosen ninja during battles. Ultimate Jutsu allows you to use special moves, Awakening mode grants a power boost while Drive mode lets you tap into your support characters more often.

New Guard Break and Counterattack mechanics helps to disrupt the flow whether you’re dishing out or on the receiving end of a brutal beat down. Guard Break does as its name implies, breaking an opponent’s guard, leaving them momentarily vulnerable. Counterattack throws the advantage back in your favour, briefly disabling the use of the support line-up.

Once again, all the characters have a staple move set – a standard jump, run, chakra charge and kunai hurling actions, and then there are layers of attacks, combos and special jutsu moves on top of that to add variety to the mix. I appreciate that CyberConnect2 remains faithful to the move repertoire, making it a treat to watch jutsu’s being executed in animated sequences resembling something pulled straight out of the anime.


It is also worth pointing out that if you have a saved file from Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, you’ll also have access to the Shinobi Customize feature, whereby you can change the appearance of your ninja with accessories.

An all-new Ninja World Tournament provides a refreshing take on the single player experience, as up to four Ninjas duel it out against one another to see who can collect the most Battle orbs. Orbs are dropped by beating on your opponent throughout the battle and the winner is determined by the largest orb count at the end. It is disappointing that you can only control one Ninja in Ninja World Tournament, with the remaining three characters controlled by the AI. Having a co-operative play mode would have better suited this mode in my opinion.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution takes the series up another level, albeit not a massive leap forward as fans may have hoped for. There’s little denying Revolution is a comprehensive title, however is better suited for fans of Naruto rather than newcomers who will struggle to grasp anything between the battle mechanics. Overall a faithful romp through the Naruto universe once more.

8.5 – Great. An enjoyable experience, fans and newcomers of the genre will be entertained. Any noticeable flaws are largely outweighed by the positives.

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Shiny Gengar Event Starts Tomorrow at EB Games in Australia [UPDATE] Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:30:02 +0000 Shiny Gengar digital distribution event starts October 15th in Australia via EB Games.


The event will run from October 15th, 2014 through to the November 6th November 5th, 2014 in-store.

To claim your Shiny Gengar, you will need a copy of Pokemon X or Pokemon Y along with your Nintendo 3DS. Take it into a participating EB Games store within Australia to claim your new shiny Pokemon via Wi-Fi distribution.

[UPDATE]: It appears to be available via code distribution, much like previous Magmar and Electabuzz distribution event. The Gengar distribution will also be available through Target, Big W and JB Hi-Fi. More details via Nintendo Australia Facebook here:

Although not heavily publicized, the event features on the Pokemon calendar for Australia, as well as a reddit post emerging on the Pokemon subreddit.

Not sure why I’ve yet to hear anything from Nintendo Australia directly about the digital distribution, but best to ask at your local EB Games to find out if they are distributing the rare and highly sough after shiny Pokemon.

No word yet on Diance and her availability in Australia & New Zealand just yet, but better one free Pokemon than none at all. Nintendo Australia also appears to be teasing Diance as a future distribution, however no date mentioned as yet.

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