Esperino http://www.esperino.com Thu, 27 Nov 2014 02:13:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Review http://www.esperino.com/borderlands-the-pre-sequel-review http://www.esperino.com/borderlands-the-pre-sequel-review#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 02:13:38 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22242 When Borderlands first burst on to the scene back in 2009, many critics wrote the series off before it was even released. Gearbox Software “loot and shoot” first-person shooter launched at a highly competitive period against the likes of Uncharted 2, Demon’s Souls, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 the following month.

Despite the odds, Borderlands not only survived; but thrived thanks largely to its addictive looting system, tight gameplay controls, and lush cel-shaded graphics.

Naturally Borderlands 2 followed not too long after, but before the series takes a step forward, Gearbox Software along with our very own home-grown 2K Australia will be taking things half a step back with a 1.5 release in the story arc – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!


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Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Windows PC, Linux
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release: (AUS) October 16th, 2014

Taking place on Elpis, the moon of Pandora and set between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, players take control of one of four previously unplayable characters – Nisha, Wilhelm, Claptrap or Athena. The Helios space station is captured by the military group Lost Legion. Under the command of Handsome Jack, it’s up to the new breed of Vault Hunters to reclaim control and defeat Lost Legion in the process.

That’s the generally gist of the story, although expect the same brand of Borderlands humour and style from the previous entries in the series. The Moon’s inhabitants speak with an Australian accent, with plenty of references to Aussie culture sprinkled throughout The Pre-Sequel! Australians will feel right at home, but it does make me question how the rest of the world will react to the healthy dose of Australian influences.

Handsome Jack is a standout in The Pre-Sequel! offering fans a generous look at his descent from good guy to evil madman. With approximately 20+ hours of gameplay, the rich narrative delivers a story that will have you glued from start to finish.

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Despite a satisfying plot, the gameplay has a tendency to fall into fetch quests, as your Vault Hunter wanders back and forth satisfying objectives. It’s a little uninteresting, especially as you trek across broad landscapes which feels barren and secluded at times. The addition of new vehicles such as a moon buggy and the ridiculous fun “Stingray” hover craft takes away some of the tediousness, if only for a little while.

At its core, The Pre-Sequel! is essentially built on the same engine as its predecessor Borderlands 2. For many fans, it’s all very familiar and easy to slip back into. For others, it can feel like a piece of stand-alone DLC that will make you question whether or not The Pre-Sequel! is worth the price tag, so let’s take a look at what’s different and new to the game.

Firstly, the moon environments offer new mechanics and terrains to explore, as low-gravity environments impact your player’s movements and behaviours of choice weaponry. It also impacts your loot, causing your hard earned treasure to drift off into outer space if you don’t collect you rewards quick enough. Frustratingly evil but it does tie-in with the whole outer space theme I guess.

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The zero-gravity environment also means oxygen tanks become a constantly depleting resource which, although fun at first, quickly becomes an annoyance as you fight to keep your Vault Hunter alive and breathing. Perhaps some players won’t mind this element of the game design, but I felt it was an unnecessary chore to constantly monitor, when all I really wanted to do was uncover “phat” loot and kill things in style. On a plus side, there are plenty of options to replenish your O2, from oxygen tanks, generators and vents.

Each of the playable characters have distinctive skill trees, making for uniquely different experiences no matter which character you choose to play as. You may even want to re-visit The Pre-Sequel! just to sample the other skills on offer given how varied and entertaining each one is to play.

When it comes to arsenal, there are loads of options in The Pre-Sequel! Choose from a wide varying range of weapons, including two brand new mechanics to play around with. Laser guns are a blast to use; in a literal sense, suitably fitting nicely within the Borderlands universe as your charges melt enemy faces in the most satisfying way possible.

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The cryogenic element, or freeze effect of temporarily chilling an enemy frozen is a nice extra, especially when your fists make contact and causes them to shatter. The new Grinder machine is a welcome inclusion, transforming two lesser qualities items in a single item of higher rarity. It’s sort of a bake your own weapon, which makes you feel like you’ve salvaged something out of potentially nothing.

Loot comes in thick and fast, with plenty of drops to customise and play around with. It actually felt like loot dropped more quickly and more often than previous Borderland titles and I for one am not complaining at their generosity.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is a competent little package and most definitely a welcome addition to the Borderlands franchise. Although let down by a few tedious elements, the new features, new weapons and reworked gameplay adds to the overall enjoyment. Having a hint of Australian flair also doesn’t hurt either. If you enjoy your rewards and killing things, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! could be the fix you need.

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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Civilization: Beyond Earth Review http://www.esperino.com/civilization-beyond-earth-review http://www.esperino.com/civilization-beyond-earth-review#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 02:59:40 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22235 Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is what my younger self has been waiting for. As an impressionable youth, I stumbled upon Alpha Centauri which captivated my mind and stole many hours of my life. I was enamoured with Alpha Centauri and once the credits rolled, Firaxis took a piece of my heart with them.

More than a decade on, Firaxis returns with the spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri in Beyond Earth. Can Beyond Earth weave the same magic?

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Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: Windows PC (Reviewed), OS X, Linux
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Release: (INT) October 24th 2014

The first thing that stands out about Beyond Earth is how much it looks like Civilization V. Almost appearing like an official mod layered on top of Civilization V core mechanics, Beyond Earth may not establish its own identity but at least the foundations its built on is based on a solid 4X turn-based design.

Unlike other Civilization titles in the series, Beyond Earth tackle fiction with the plot taking place in a distant future, looking beyond the stars to extra-terrestrial planets in order to form colonies after Earth has been left uninhabitable following a disaster known as “The Great Mistake”. The single opening cinematic sequence paints a clear picture of the plot and motivation, but sadly the rest will be left to the gameplay and your imagination to flesh out the details.

One of Beyond Earth‘s strengths is the endless possibilities for the developers to get creative and build a Civilization unrestricted by boundaries. It’s what I loved about Alpha Centauri with its free-range creativity, and it’s what I love about Beyond Earth. The customisation option is fair more open than other Civilization titles, as players are given choices over the organisations they align themselves with, their space vessel of choice, as well as what they bring along with them, including who. All these decisions come early on, impacting gameplay and your Beyond Earth experience.

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The familiar hexagonal, tile-based layout returns with energy forming the currency of choice this time around. Units and building construction are the main components, with Science and Culture granting technology and virtue perks. Tech trees are replaced with a tech web with branches and nodes extending far beyond conventional upgrade paths as secondary technologies are also introduced. The technology trees are exciting with plenty of freedom to choose how you play. It’s a shame Virtue doesn’t offer the same level of choices, limiting you to four types of perks. Trading technologies is prohibited, so you won’t be able to experience all the different elements in the one play through, providing plenty of replayable options.

Beyond Earth‘s unique “Affinity” philosophy system shapes the kind of advancement and technologies you’ll have available to you, each with their own unique perks and even architectural designs. ‘Surpremacy’ affinity is technology-centric, ‘Harmony’ taps into genetics and balance with you the planet, while ‘Purity’ is more defensive, shaping the terra firma towards a more Earth-like approach. You’ll want to invest in Affinity given it is a victory condition should you be the first to reach the final special project. Alternatively, you can go with an iron fist approach and conquer all other factions, or take a scientific approach by being the first to establish contact with the alien faction. The varied goals make for intriguing methods of tackling your own Beyond Earth experience.

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With this many layers of customisation, it’s easy to get lost in the richness and depth offered to you, particularly when everything looks and feel so alien compared to traditional Civilization titles. You’ll generally have more than one option to choose from, and deciding which path to follow can be daunting if you don’t do your research beforehand. This approach reminded me of Alpha Centauri and that feeling of discovery as you explore a path and realise many turns later there were better options available. Sometimes knowing too much can detract from the gameplay and in honesty; I enjoy the challenge and surprise, taking the consequences on the chin.

The difficulty curve in Alpha Centauri left me floundering when I didn’t advance my technologies fast enough, which thankfully Beyond Earth‘s curve is much more forgiving. There’s the usual challenges of hostile alien life forms standing in your way, but once you’ve advanced technologies far enough, they pose little to no threat in the later game.

Living harmoniously with the other factions seems less emphasized this time around. There is the added benefit of trading with ‘favors’, essentially IOU’s if they have little you’re interested in at the time, but could potentially cash in later when they do have something of value. The problem is these occasions can be sporadic without many goods you’ll desire, leaving you very little need to interact or negotiate with your warring neighbours. Satellites add a new layer of focus, where you can deploy orbital buffs and defences to keep your enemies at bay. The concept sounds exciting but in practice isn’t all that interesting as you’ll find the satellites are mostly there just to keep the other factions from occupying the air space.

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The end game in Beyond Earth can feel sadly abrupt, with little story or congratulatory celebration for what is an epic journey. Once you satisfy a victory condition, you’ll be thrown back at the main menu leaving you scratching your head and wonder what else there is to do. There’s no end game report card for you to relive your glory, or highlight what you did, or didn’t do well. For a game like Beyond Earth, the meat of it appears to be in the gameplay and if you were looking for a satisfying conclusion to your space odyssey that ties everything up in a neat bow, you’re not going to find it here.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth introduces some unique mechanics that add freshness to the turn-based experience. Re-used designs and mechanics may feel detracting for some, but the fundamental gameplay and intriguing tech web creates plenty of different play throughs each time. With plenty of content to re-visit and an addictive ‘just one more turn’ gameplay, you’ll definitely want to explore outer space again and again. If you love 4X turn-based games, you really can’t go past this fine example.

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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SingStar Ultimate Party Review http://www.esperino.com/singstar-ultimate-party-review http://www.esperino.com/singstar-ultimate-party-review#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 01:20:14 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22231 I love karaoke and I love SingStar. I’m terrible at the game but when I heard SingStar Ultimate Party was coming to PlayStation 4, I was a little chuffed to say the least. SingStar Ultimate Party is visually competent compared to its many iteration on the PlayStation 3, but it does lack some key features to take it into a whole new stratosphere.

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Developer: SCE London Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Players: Single-Player, Co-Op, Multi-Player
Genre: Karaoke
Release: (AUS) October 29th, 2014

SingStar Ultimate Party gameplay-wise, plays pretty much the same as its predecessors and why shouldn’t it? It’s a familiar system that has worked perfectly for years so thankfully the developers saw fit to keep things as they were. As the track plays, the lyrics pop up on screen as you try to match your pitch with the onscreen indicators. It’s easy to understand and remains the benchmark for all other karaoke titles.

Probably the biggest change and update is the ability to play SingStar Ultimate Party via a compatible smartphone. By downloading the free SingStar Mic app, your phone transforms into a handy microphone that functions remarkably well as a singing device. Singing into your phone feels a little strange at first, but after you get over the initial awkwardness, you’ll be busting out the tunes like a natural in no time. If you’ve retained your SingStar wired and wireless microphones, you can still continue to use them with Ultimate Party which for me, is preferred for that rock star feel. There’s nothing quite like having the feel of a microphone in your hand.

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If you have a strong library of purchased songs on your PlayStation 3, you may not have access to them on PlayStation 4, at least just yet. Due to licensing agreements with some SingStar Music Licensing partners, some of the content may not be available via SingStore on PlayStation 4 and as such, you won’t have the rights to access them. Not all songs have this restriction and you should find some tracks available to re-download for your PlayStation 4 if you have purchased them in the past. This is unfortunate so you may want to pick up a PlayStation 3 version if you have a rather large back-catalogue.

The PlayStation 4 version is further hindered from the lack of disc-swapping capabilities, something the PlayStation 3 titles utilized well, as far back as PlayStation 2 titles. Unfortunately being the first SingStar title for the PlayStation 4, there’s a lack of compatible disc-based content to play around with, that you will need to secure tracks from the SingStore if you want to expand your track library on a next-generation console.

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Of course Ultimate Party alone is packed with 30-tracks, including plenty of modern hits such as Lego House (Ed Sheeran), Counting Stars (One Republic), Burn (Ellie Goulding), and what should be a huge favourite for many, Demi Lovato’s rendition of Frozen‘s Let It Go. The track list is balanced out with a few classics such as Hello (Lionel Ritchie), No Scrubs (TLC), and Love Me Again (John Newman) among others.

Strangely, some modes are absent from Ultimate Party. Gone are Pass the Mic, Party Mode and Online Battle. There is a Difficult Mode, except there is only one to choose from. This change makes Ultimate Party feels stripped back compared with its earlier counterparts that offered a greater variety of gameplay choices. Perhaps this updates will be coming in later titles but for now, you’ll be limited in your gameplay options.

If you own a PlayStation Camera, Ultimate Party will capture some of your best cringe-worthy efforts which you can re-visit or share with your friends, although I’m not sure you’d want to. It adds a good laugh for parties and handles better than the older versions with PlayStation Eye.

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SingStar Ultimate Party is an excellent stepping stone into next-generation, but the removal of key game modes and lack of compatibility with pre-purchased songs takes it down a few pegs. Once the licensing issues are sorted out and hopefully the game modes are re-instated, the SingStar franchise will be able to flourish and expand ever further. Good effort, but definitely room for improvement. Thank the heavens Let It Go made it onto the disc. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to unleash my inner Elsa.

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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Destiny Trial Free Download Starts Today http://www.esperino.com/destiny-trial-free-download-starts-today http://www.esperino.com/destiny-trial-free-download-starts-today#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:56:48 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22228 Destiny will be available as a free downloadable trial for new Guardians starting from today.

Available on all systems (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation and PlayStation 4), players will be able to sample the game along with the already millions of players to “Become Legend”.

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The trial grants access to character creation and progression, as well as story mission content, co-operative and social activities. I assume that would mean voice chat, Tower access and Strike Playlists.

The Destiny trial will run until January 16th, 2015 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One trial has an end date that is still yet to be determined.

More details and FAQs available at http://www.destinythegame.com/free-trial

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Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Midnight Launches at EB Games Australia http://www.esperino.com/pokemon-omega-ruby-and-alpha-sapphire-midnight-launches-at-eb-games-australia http://www.esperino.com/pokemon-omega-ruby-and-alpha-sapphire-midnight-launches-at-eb-games-australia#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:09:25 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22224 EB Games in Australia will be running a range of midnight launches across the country for the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, as well as the New 3DS and New 3DS XL consoles.

More than 300 EB Games locations will be taking part in midnight and breakfast launches, with a full list of participating venues via http://www.events.ebgames.com.au.

6 major midnight launch sites will include

  • EB Swanston Street in Melbourne
  • EB Albert Street in Queensland
  • EB Liverpool in New South Wales
  • EB Tea Tree Plaza in South Australia
  • EB Canberra Centre in the Australian Capital Territory.

EB Hay St in Western Australia will also be holding a major breakfast launch from 8AM on Friday November 21st.

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Each of these major launch location will also be giving away a New Nintendo 3DS XL on the day, so you may want to schedule in some time to head down if you live in the area.

For the first time in EB Event history, preorder customers attending the major launches have their chance to grab an all-new event collectible item. All six major launch locations will have a limited number of gym trainer badges with different designs exclusive to their state*. These are strictly while stocks last so pick up your order early to claim yours. This is strictly one per customer as well.

Pokémon trainers at EB Swanston St, the home of the Nintendo Experience will have balloon twisters, caricatures, cake pops and gelato for attendees.

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Outside of Japan, Australia and New Zealand will be the only countries in the world to get their hands on the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL in 2014 with America and Europe due for release in early 2015.

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Receive a Destiny EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow with Expansion Pass & The Dark Below Expansion http://www.esperino.com/receive-a-destiny-ev-30-tumbler-sparrow-with-expansion-pass-the-dark-below-expansion http://www.esperino.com/receive-a-destiny-ev-30-tumbler-sparrow-with-expansion-pass-the-dark-below-expansion#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:05:57 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22221 Guardians that purchase and redeem the Destiny Expansion Pass or Destiny Expansion I: The Dark Below by January 16, 2015 will receive the EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow.

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The Sparrow is a legendary vehicle, with added abilities for riders to drive fast, take flight and perform mid-air tricks.

Check out a trailer for the flaming decal Sparrow below:

If you’ve already purchased and redeemed your Expansion Pass, the EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow will be waiting for you at the in-game Postmaster. Those that are purchasing just The Dark Below Expansion will have to wait until December 10th, 2014 to claim their new ride.

The EV-30 Tumbler will also be available for use with other characters connected to your account. Simply head over to the Special Orders vendor (next to the Postmaster) to purchase additional EV-30 Tumblers for 50 Glimmer each.

Have you received a EV-30 Tumbler yet?

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The Evil Within Review http://www.esperino.com/the-evil-within-review http://www.esperino.com/the-evil-within-review#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:17:15 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22207 The Evil Within breathes fresh life into the survival horror genre. With Shinji Makami (of Resident Evil 4 fame) at the helm of Tango Gameworks, the air of expectation is unavoidable. Thankfully The Evil Within delivers a genuinely frightening experience horror purists have been crying out for. It may even leave some players simply crying.

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Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Survival-Horror
Release: (NA) October 14th 2014, (EU) October 14th 2014, (AUS) October 16th 2014

Playing as Sebastian Castellanos, a veteran police detective investigating a murder homicide at the Beacon Mental Hospital, things take a violent and sinister twist as his partners are killed by a mysterious being out of this world. After being knocked unconscious, Sebastian awakens in the nightmarish Krimsong City with warping landscapes occupied by monstrous creatures. Sebastian will need to fend against the evil and hopefully make his way back to reality. Clearly this is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill murder case.

The term survival horror is often used, but rarely done with justice. The Evil Within manages to balance the survival aspect, leaving players feeling vulnerable, producing some truly tense gaming moments. Supplies are extremely limited and ingenuity is needed to survive from the many threats littered in the environment. Knowing when to run and when to stand your ground is the difference between progressing beyond a hurdle, and being massacred on your way to another bloody “try again” sequence.

There’s plenty of death in The Evil Within, most of which involves Sebastian’s untimely demise; but what separates the game from other horror survival adventures are the deaths don’t feel cheap and are often justified. I found myself willing to return time and time again to face the challenges ahead, and that sense of satisfaction for having cleverly cheated death or overcoming an obstacle that seemed impossible provided immense gratification.

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The transforming game world provides a non-linear gaming experience, with your direct actions and choices shaping your immediate location, while opening new paths and areas to explore. The events are often scripted, but being able to craft how you tackle The Evil Within is completely up to you. Spanning fifteen chapters of borderline insanity, the environments are as diverse as the creatures that inhabit them.

My only real gripe with The Evil Within‘s story is its conclusion and rather unfulfilling end. After dodging and weaving your way through a web of intricate mind games, it felt strangely unsatisfying. In fairness, I’m not sure how I would have ended the game myself given the rich experience during the lead up.

Gameplay is controlled in a third-person view as pioneered by Shinji Makami in Resident Evil 4, and clearly it’s still the ultimate choice for combat and exploration. Being able to see threats approaching from the sides of your character, as well as your close-proximity environment has always been a favourite of mine, which the game does exceptionally well; even if it doesn’t really pave any new ground or territory for the genre.

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The available weaponry is fairly substantial, including shotguns, revolvers, rifles, grenades and knives for close-quarter combat. The Agony Crossbow, a projectile-based weapon fires a range of unique bolts with added abilities such as freezing, blinding and electrocution among others. The limited ammunition available will make you question when to use each of these weapons, as much as you’d like to fire off a few shots into a persistent pursuer’s face. Mechanical components can be scavenged in order to fashion more bolts for your Agony Crossbow, or if you feel extremely tactical you can also lay down a series of bombs for a well-planned trap or two.

Although melee combat doesn’t require ammo, it isn’t the most effective answer to your problems, best served as providing distance rather than head-on confrontation. Stealth can be used to sneak up on enemies, but unfortunately creating opportunities to strike from behind are few and far in-between. Coupled this with what appears to be overly sensitive AIs and it’s a mean task to say the least. On top of this, incapacitated enemies will revive if not set alight with matches, but again these are in limited supply.

First aid resource is predictable scarce, as are the vials of green gel used to upgrade Sebastian’s abilities leaving you in quite the predicament. Do you improve your shotgun, or give yourself a bit more speed for unexpected getaways? The challenge of juggling your resources combines beautifully for heart-pounding situations that is guaranteed to get the adrenaline flowing.

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My biggest issue with The Evil Within is the lack of intriguing personalities to really invest myself into. Sure, I feel for Sebastian’s predicament but he never drew me in enough to make each death suffered really matter. I’m not sure if it’s a case of being desensitized to all the constant bloodshed or a lack of character development, but for whatever reason Sebastian didn’t resonate with me on the same level as Leon Kennedy did in Resident Evil 4.

The toughness of the game is a strength and weakness depending on your play style with scarce checkpoints available, but I encourage you to endeavour through The Evil Within as it is a nightmare world worth exploring… as strange as that sounds. It’s terrifyingly brilliant with its inventive and thoughtful approach that really delivers on the scares if you’re into that kind of thing.

9.0 – Excellent. Fun, enjoyable, engaging, and memorable but is missing that little something that will make it exceptionable. People will fondly talk about this for generations to come.

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Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition Review http://www.esperino.com/sleeping-dogs-definitive-edition-review http://www.esperino.com/sleeping-dogs-definitive-edition-review#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 04:09:39 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22200 Sleeping Dogs was a revelation when it launched back in 2012. Beginning life as True Crimes: Hong Kong, the game was rebranded to Sleeping Dogs and resurrected by Square Enix after being abandoned by Activision.

A sleeper hit in a sense, gamers were pleasantly surprised with its open-world and tight combat system. For those that missed out the first time, Square Enix has released Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition for a new generation of consoles.


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Developer: United Front Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Sony PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Open World Adventure
Release: (EU) October 10th 2014

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a revitalized compilation featuring updated visuals for the full game, plus all previously released downloadable content so far. As someone that played through the entire Sleeping Dogs without ever endeavoring into DLC territory, it may not be appealing to re-purchase what is inherently the same game again for another platform.

Sleeping Dogs takes place in Hong Kong, a sand-box recreation where players adopt the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop infiltrating the seedy underworld of the organized criminal triads. Joining up with the Sun On Yee, you’ll need to balance your loyalty between what’s right and wrong, with the line becoming increasingly blurred at times. The rich narrative constantly tethering on the edge is one of the game’s most compelling elements, building plenty of intrigue as you seek to unravel the truth.

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As a low-ranking initiate, Wei Shen progresses up the echelons of Sun On Yee through a series of mission-based gameplay in the same vein as the Grand Theft Auto series. The initial missions start out generally linear in approach, but quickly branches in side missions and sub plots leaving the player to their own devices on how to tackle their own Hong Kong adventures. There’s plenty to see and do with four distinct districts to explore, relationships to forge, and plenty of collectibles, new moves, vehicles and more to unlock.

The dance between being a cop and being a loyal subordinate opens up a world of varied missions and quests to complete. One second Wei will be tapping into surveillance cameras to organize an undercover sting, and the next be running pick up and drop off jobs for the Sun On Yee. The variety of missions is a welcome inclusion, although some may wish for even more options given the offering available with titles such as Grand Theft Auto V.

Combat largely consists of hand-to-hand combat given the no gun policies of Hong Kong; however you do have access to an assortment of melee weapons and projectile weapons from time to time. Despite what appears to be a restriction to arsenal on first impression, the combat mechanics are loads of fun to perform, playing out like a martial arts movie at times.

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Grapple techniques, combination punches, roundhouse kicks and environmental finisher moves can all be learnt and expanded upon, not to mention the high-speed car chase combat system that adopts its own version of Max Payne “Bullet Time”. Attacking random NPCs will land you in trouble and occasionally a trip to jail, so you’ll have to be careful on whom you decide to beat up in downtown Hong Kong. Interestingly the lack of a morale system means there is little repercussion for unlawful behavior other than a dip in your cash and a bruised ego.

If you feel like unwinding a little, you can get friendly with the local hostess for a massage and even extra-curricular activities, or head down to the karaoke bar to belt out a few choice tunes in a pseudo mini-game that is surprisingly more fun than it sounds.

In comparison between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 version, the changes aren’t all that evident given the core mechanics appears to be mostly untouched. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the level of polish of the original Sleeping Dogs. There is some nice use of the PlayStation 4 touchpad for interaction; however I’m not too sure if any additional mechanics were incorporated to the Xbox One release. It’s hard to notice anything different with the visuals, unless you’re running a side by side comparison between the last gen and this release.

Voice-acting is delightfully top notch with the likes of Emma Stone lending her talents to bring the rich characters of Sleeping Dogs to life. The combination of English and Cantonese dialogue was a treat, particularly if you can understand both languages and appreciate the slang terms. It’s fairly rare to find a game this immersive and I found myself literally lost in Hong Kong for hours on end, living the life of a hardened triad wannabe.

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The extra DLC is a nice inclusion with approximately 20 extra bits of add-ons, consisting of new outfits, new cars and a few extra story missions that are most definitely welcome. “The Nightmare in North Point” has a halloween-esque feel as vampires run rampant across town. The “Zodiac Tournament” adds extra fighting locations for you to participate in, while “The Year of the Snake” is arguably the best extra with six extra story missions to explore, further expanding gameplay well beyond the 30 hours of original gameplay time.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a brilliant title, although those that have already played the original may have difficulty justifying purchasing the game a second time round unless you’re a hardcore fan of United Front Games’ open-world adventure.

For those that haven’t experienced Sleeping Dogs, this is excellent value for money that provides, dare I say, a definitive gaming experience in a convenient single package.

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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PlayStation TV Now Available in Australia http://www.esperino.com/playstation-tv-now-available-in-australia http://www.esperino.com/playstation-tv-now-available-in-australia#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 02:27:14 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22197 PlayStation TV is now out in Australia, selling nationwide with a price tag of AU$149.95.

So what is PlayStation TV? It’s a micro console that allows users to experience various game content and PlayStation 4 remote play in their home via a separate TV. Really handy device if you want to play in another room without having to disconnect and reconnect your PlayStation 4 when someone else in the household wants to use the TV.

PlayStation TV Front View

You will require an internet connection to access this feature, as well as utilize your PS Vita games via PlayStation TV. There’s even the added benefit of access to PS Now (when it launches). If you missed out on the heyday of the PlayStation Portable, you can also access a range of titles from the library at affordable prices, as well as a nice selection of PS One titles.

PlayStation TV Image

Look out for the PlayStation TV at all major retailers starting from today.

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition Announced for Europe and Australasia http://www.esperino.com/the-legend-of-zelda-majoras-mask-3d-special-edition-announced-for-europe-and-australasia http://www.esperino.com/the-legend-of-zelda-majoras-mask-3d-special-edition-announced-for-europe-and-australasia#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 05:59:57 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22194 During Nintendo Direct feed, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition was announced for Europe and Australia.

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Launching in the autumn of 2015 here in Australia, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D returns Link’s engrossing, spooky quest through the mysterious world of Termina to the Nintendo 3DS with enhanced 3D graphics and added features. It’s really no surprise given the success of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

MAJMAS4

Launching at the same time will be a special edition version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, including:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D game
  • Specially-designed Steelbook
  • Majora’s Mask pin badge
  • Double-sided poster – showcasing the game’s iconic art style

The Special Edition will come bundled together in a limited edition packaging and is reportedly being produced in limited quantities.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition is currently available for pre-order via Nintendo UK and GAME UK, priced at £44.99 GBP. The bundle will also be available in Australia, although pricing and retailer availability is yet to be revealed at this stage.

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Will you be purchasing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition?

Check out the Nintendo Direct below for The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D announcement:

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