Esperino http://www.esperino.com Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:34:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Squids Odyssey (Wii U) Review http://www.esperino.com/squids-odyssey-wii-u-review http://www.esperino.com/squids-odyssey-wii-u-review#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:34:07 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21864 The Game Bakers’ Squids series has already carved success on the mobile platform with the original Squids and Squids: Wild West. It seems only natural progression for a title with lush visuals and kooky character design receives a port on to the Nintendo Wii U platform. Tweaked for gaming consoles, Squids Odyssey retains its charm, with a gentle helping of features for first time calamari adventurers.

Squids Odyssey (Wii U) Review

Developer: The Game Bakers
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Wii U (Reviewed), 3DS
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Action-Adventure, Tactical
Release: (EU) May 22nd 2014

Squids Odyssey is a comprehensive compilation including the previously released Squids and Squids: Wild West, tweaked and enhanced for the Wii U gamepad and unique control scheme. Odyssey goes beyond the series with an all-new campaign for fans, the introduction of a new hero and new wearable helmets.

This hybrid RPG, strategy adventure throws together a colourful cast of likeable cephalopod heroes who must save their underwater homes from a mysterious black ooze corrupting the other marine wildlife. To tackle the dangers that lurk beneath, you’ll fling their soft spongy bodies at enemies, similar to a game of billiards. It’s a matter of dragging your finger and letting go on the touch screen to launch a squid, although the stylus and left stick for aiming does improve overall targeting.

Squids Odyssey (Wii U) Review

On face value, the gameplay mechanics are deceptively simple however each squid has a set amount of stamina which is expended with every action, adding a touch of strategy to everything you do. As fun as it is to flick your merry band at everything in their way, the turn-based system makes planning and precision a must for ensuring your team are fighting fit by the end of each battle. Placing your squid at a distance to reduce damage during an enemy phase before launching an all-out assault pays dividends in the long term, particularly towards the more tactically challenging stages at the tail end of the campaign.

Environmental hazards such as spiky obstructions and bottomless holes adds further challenge, as its never a nice feeling to watch one of your hapless squid companions plummet to their watery deaths. The environments can also be used to your advantage, prodding enemies to the bottomless pits with a well-placed nudge.

Adding a touch of complexity to the characters are the four different classes, offering perks and bonuses. Scouts have greater movement capacity, Shooters are equipped for long-range assaults, Troopers can knock back enemies and have AoE (area-of-effect) attacks for crowd control, and Healers… heal. Classes aren’t unique to one particular character so you can mix-and-match your favourite squids to create a team that suits your style. Stat bonuses can be added through the course of play via the in-game Pearls you collect, adding a hint of RPG but nothing overly in-depth. Pearls are a versatile currency that can also be used on restoring stamina and in-game items.

Squids Odyssey (Wii U) Review

In the mobile version, Pearls could be purchased with real-life currency; however that isn’t the case with the Wii U version, thankfully. Pearls are plentiful so you won’t be left wanting; particularly if you’re a completionist looking for all those hidden treasure troves of glistening plunder. Squids Odyssey retains the same Hat system of its predecessor, where equipping a stylish new brim will bestow extra stat modifiers. You can permanently increase a squid’s stat by ‘transferring’ the stat boost from the hat on to the squid; however you won’t be able to transfer it back if you change your mind. It’s a peculiar design choice, offering players flexibility depending on how they want to play the game.

Squids Odyssey is both a standout in both graphics and audio. The art style adopts a charming cartoony look which suits the family friendly nature of the Wii U. Even playing on the smaller GamePad doesn’t detract from the visuals too much. The backgrounds are literally a sea of colour you that resonates with the light-hearted and bouncy tunes you’ll still be humming long after the adventure is over.

Squids Odyssey balances its cutesy visuals with just enough strategy to keep things interesting across the 90+ levels of gameplay. It’s a thoughtfully put together title that does plenty with what is essentially a basic premise at its very core. If you’re looking for an eShop title worth its weight in pearls, it’s hard to go past this revised compilation for the Wii U.

Squids Odyssey (Wii U) Review

If you’re interested to learn more about each of the individual titles, you can read also read our Squids and Squids: Wild West review for mobile devices.

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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Ar Nosurge Limited Edition Available for Preorder at NIS America http://www.esperino.com/ar-nosurge-limited-edition-available-for-preorder-at-nis-america http://www.esperino.com/ar-nosurge-limited-edition-available-for-preorder-at-nis-america#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 23:54:31 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21885 Ar Nosurge Limited Edition has been added to the NIS America online store for pre-order.

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The Limited Edition Includes:

  • Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star for PS3
  • Full color, 36 page hardcover art book
  • Original soundtrack with jewel case
  • Ar nosurge poster (16″x23″)
  • Collector’s box

After the release of Ciel nosurge in April 2012, Gust introduced a new gaming genre: the 7-dimensional RPG. Now the series director, Akira Tsuchiya, continues his opus with a new, deep and robust world. A world where songs are magic, and emotions are strong enough to form bonds. Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is a story of love, emotional bonds and the frailty of existence.

Ar Nosurge Limited Edition is priced at $64.99 USD and will be available on September 23rd, 2014 exclusive to the PlayStation 3. Pre-orders can be placed via the link here.

It isn’t currently available on the NIS America European store just yet, but hopefully it’ll surface for us european and PAL territory customers in the coming weeks ahead. Keep checking the NIS America europe store if you want to be in the know when it does appear.

There’s still plenty of stock on the NIS America store, probably since some of us are hindered by our territorial dwelling.

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LEGO Batmobile Tumbler Bonus with LEGO Batman 3 Pre-order http://www.esperino.com/lego-batmobile-tumbler-bonus-with-lego-batman-3-pre-order http://www.esperino.com/lego-batmobile-tumbler-bonus-with-lego-batman-3-pre-order#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 23:24:46 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21882 Well here’s a pre-order bonus for the LEGO fanatics. Place an order early for the upcoming LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham at EB Games in Australia and you’ll score yourself a Batmobile Tumbler LEGO set.

LEGO Batman 3 Batmobile Tumbler Set Pre-order Bonus

The LEO Batmobile tumbler is stylized on the more rough-n-tumble design seen in the more recent Batman movies. The set is more of a mini-set so don’t expect a highly detailed design, but it does roll around and is free after all.

You can claim your Batmobile Tumbler by ordering LEGO Batman 3 on any of the available platforms (PC, 3DS, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4), with prices starting from $49.95 AUD. Next-gen, or rather new generation consoles are the most expensive of the lot, coming in at $89.95 AUD for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 release.

To place an order online via EB Games, hit the link here. LEGO Batman 3 will be available in 2014, although a release date is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

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Destiny Ghost & Limited Edition Coming to Australia http://www.esperino.com/destiny-ghost-limited-edition-coming-to-australia http://www.esperino.com/destiny-ghost-limited-edition-coming-to-australia#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 22:41:43 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21877 Destiny Ghost Edition and Destiny Limited Edition will be available in Australia via JB Hi-Fi and EB Games.

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The premo Destiny: The Ghost Edition contains:

  • Limited Edition SteelBook Case and Game Disc
  • Ghost Replica: This is your motion-sensing Ghost, featuring lights and audio from the game. May it lead you through the Darkness.
  • Letter of Introduction: These worlds were once ours. If you accept your destiny, you will be asked to do the impossible.
  • Golden Age Relics, which include an antique Patch, Sticker, and two Chrome slides of the Traveler
  • Guardian Folio, containing:
    • “Arms and Armament” Field Guide: Many believe the weapons and armour featured in this record are a myth. You will learn the truth.
    • Postcards from the Golden Age: Our worlds have been claimed by our enemies. Now, it’s time to take them back.
    • Antique Star Chart: Explore the wild frontiers of our solar system. Discover all that we have lost.
  • Collector’s Edition Digital Content: The City has also provided you with a cache of items to start you on your journey, including:
    • A Unique Ghost Casing
    • An Exclusive Player Emblem
    • An Exclusive Player Ship Variant
    • The Destiny Expansion Pass includes Destiny Expansion I: The Dark Below and Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves. In The Dark Below, you’ll discover an ancient tomb has been unsealed. Beneath the surface of the Moon, a dark god has answered centuries of prayer, and a dark army has risen. Explore the true depths of the Hellmouth. Stop the Dark Hive ritual and survive.

There’s a lot of content here, but it is the most expensive option available, priced at $199.95 AUD for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. EB Games quickly sold out, however you can also pre-order via JB Hi-Fi online via the link here.

EB Games will be offering the Destiny Limited Edition which includes the following:

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  • Limited Edition SteelBook Case and Game Disc
  • Guardian Folio, containing:
    • “Arms and Armament” Field Guide: Many believe the weapons and armour featured in this record are a myth. You will learn the truth.
    • Postcards from the Golden Age: Our worlds have been claimed by our enemies. Now, it’s time to take them back.
    • Antique Star Chart: Explore the wild frontiers of our solar system. Discover all that we have lost.
  • Collector’s Edition Digital Content: The City has provided you with a cache of items to start you on your journey, including:
    • A Unique Ghost Casing
    • An Exclusive Player Emblem
    • An Exclusive Player Ship Variant
    • Includes the Destiny Expansion Pass*

The Destiny Limited Edition is exclusive to EB Games and is priced at $129.95 AUD for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You can order your copy here.

JB Hi-Fi and EB Games will also be offering the Vanguard Armoury DLC Pack, a day one exclusive, early access, as well as an exclusive Vanguard player emblem for customers that pre-order the standard edition on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4.

Vanguard DLC Armoury

The pack contains:

  • Exodus Blue Competitive Multiplayer Map^
  • Dust Palace Strike^
  • Exclusive Weapons, Ships & Gear^
  • ^Timed exclusive until at least Spring 2015

The Vanguard Armoury Pack is available with the standard edition priced at $79 AUD via JB Hi-Fi online, and also with the Destiny Limited Edition for $129.95 AUD through EB Games.

Purchasing your copy of Destiny at any of the major retailers in Australia will also grant you access to the Destiny Beta program. Destiny is due out on September 9th, 2014.

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Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call Collector’s Edition Available in Australia http://www.esperino.com/final-fantasy-theatrhythm-curtain-call-collectors-edition-available-in-australia http://www.esperino.com/final-fantasy-theatrhythm-curtain-call-collectors-edition-available-in-australia#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:24:13 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21874 EB Games in Australia have listed Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call Collector’s Edition (bit of a mouthful) for Australia.

Previously announced for the Square Enix store, Australian fans were unable to pre-order it online due to region restrictions, but thankfully the fine folk at Square Enix saw the injustice and will be bringing it to Australia through retail giant EB Games.

Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call Collector's Edition Aus

The Collector’s Edition includes:

  • 20-Track The Best of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call CD
  • 5-Track Remix CD
  • 3DS Collector’s Pouch
  • 5 Premium CollectaCards from the game (enter the code on the card to get it in-game)

The Collector’s Edition is priced at $109.95 AUD and is available for pre-order via EB Games here. It isn’t marked as an EB Games exclusive, however despite searching through various Australia retailers, I haven’t been able to find it for sale anywhere else so it would be best to pre-order it ASAP.

[UPDATE]: The Collector’s Edition is now sold out!

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If you prefer, a standard copy of Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call is also available, which comes with a bonus 5-track Collector’s Edition CD for pre-order customers. This bonus is not available with the Collector’s Edition since, you know, it’s already included inside the collector’s box. The standard edition will set you back $59.95 AUD and can be pre-ordered online here.

Final Fantasy Theatrhythm Curtain Call is scheduled for release in Australia on September 18th, 2014 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.

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Atelier Rorona Plus Review http://www.esperino.com/atelier-rorona-plus-review http://www.esperino.com/atelier-rorona-plus-review#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 21:12:56 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21866 Atelier Rorona receives a shiny remake with Atelier Rorona Plus, re-designed to fix the flaws fans have complained about since the original was released back in 2010. Rorona was; and still remains an exceptional title in the Atelier series, but it had it fair share of issues. Four years on, Rorona Plus scrubs up nicely thanks to some love and care by developer Gust, who has also ported the J-RPG to the PS Vita for the first time.

Atelier Rorona Plus Review

Developer: Gust
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation 3 (Reviewed), PlayStation Vita
Players: Single-Player
Genre: Role-Playing
Release: (JP) November 21st 2013, (NA) June 24th 2014, (EU) July 2nd 2014

Atelier Rorona: The Apprentice of Arland paved the way forward for follow-up title Atelier Totori and to a lesser extent, Atelier Meruru. As the first in the pseudo-trilogy, Rorona has aged gracefully with the times but nevertheless shows signs with the years.

Although Rorona Plus retains the main story elements from the original, it does introduce new additions and overhauls, most notably the completely redone 3D character models, environments, levels and playable characters. Part of the complaints by fans stemmed from the look of the character models not suiting their respective character age group, and Gust appear to have taken this feedback to hear giving Rorona and friends a much more mature appearance in line with their voice acting counterparts. The enhanced visuals tie more closely with Totori and Meruru character models, providing a refreshingly vibrant feel.

Even the environments are far more crisp and immersive, which you’ll want to take your time to explore even if you have played the original game. To make travel easier, the maps have been enhanced and simplified, in order to make travelling between locations a little less painful. Drawing inspiration from the newer Atelier titles, Rorona Plus adds new updates without taking away the essence of what made Rorona so much fun to play the first time round.

Atelier Rorona Plus Review

For original fans of Rorona, new chapters have been included featuring Totori and Meruru from the Arland sequels, introducing new content and new illustrations not seen before in the Arland series. It’s thoroughly engaging and aims to better connect the three adventures together into one well-constructed trilogy, at least until Totori Plus and Meruru Plus are released. Even having a saved file from certain Atelier titles offer in-game rewards. It isn’t going to blow your mind, but it’s a nice salute to fans that do enjoy the Atelier series.

Asides from all the existing content, new playable characters, bosses and costumes ensures there’s something new and different to explore even for the hardened of Atelier fans. It won’t offer a completely new gaming experience, but something familiar yet comfortable, like a pair of much loved jeans.

Part of what makes an Atelier title is the crafting and synthesizing system which has also seen an overall improvement. The amount of craftable items have been further expanded while the synthesis mechanics which many complained as being overly difficult to grasp in the original Rorona has been finely-honed for a more streamlined approach. The assignments are also less intimidating, and are far easier to manage and keep a track of. Completing main missions reward currency that can be exchanged for items and materials, again adding an alternative to how you acquire certain items.

Atelier Rorona Plus Review

The introduction of a new restructured battle system now incorporates advanced battle features and skill executions between the playable characters in your party. Although turn-based, it’s feels fast paced in its approach making for lively gameplay. Much like other features in Rorona Plus, the battle mechanics leans towards Totori and Meruru which is certainly a welcome update.

Replayability is definitely high given the more than 30 different endings to explore. The ending you’ll achieve is dependent on the interactions with the other characters, as well as the missions you complete throughout your playthrough providing incentive to forge relationships and tweak the missions you choose each time to visit the world of Arland. Rorona Plus will take approximately 20-30 hours to complete depending on how in-depth you want to go, and to achieve all the endings could easily double the playtime.

One of the new features that I feel has potential is the Time Capsule system where players can bury items in Rorona, and collect them via Atelier Meruru and Totori on your PlayStation 3. The cross content system will also carry over to the PS Vita versions of Atelier Meruru Plus and Atelier Totori Plus when the game does land on our shores. I find the idea interesting and unique, as well as providing a little bonus for those that intend on purchasing the entire Plus titles in the series. The cross save feature makes your save files transferrable between your PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.

Atelier Rorona Plus Review

I remember my first time playing Rorona and how lovely the visuals and audio were back then, very much in line with all things accustomed with the J-RPG genre. Far beyond your typical everyday port, Gust has taken a fine tooth comb with Rorona Plus to revive the title, while refreshing it in the process. Remakes are generally frowned upon by many gamers but Gust haven’t taken a lazy approach with Rorona Plus, resulting in a title well worth exploring for the first time, or re-visiting like a cherished childhood memory.

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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Destiny Alpha Preview http://www.esperino.com/destiny-alpha-preview http://www.esperino.com/destiny-alpha-preview#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 03:23:50 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21848 This past weekend, I was lucky enough to sample Bungie’s Destiny and it was a delectable taste at what’s to come this early September.

Bungie are no strangers to producing high quality titles. The development team behind the Halo franchise worked on the first Halo: Combat Evolved, right on through to Halo: Reach before departing ways with their decade long association with Halo in order to tackle something completely fresh and new. Since then, they’ve been diligently working on Destiny, an MMO-FPS-RPG. The string of acronym represents a first-person shooter incorporating massive, multiplayer online components and action role-playing.

Destiny Alpha Preview

It’s a tall order not many development studios would be willing to venture, but Bungie aren’t the first to incorporate multi-genres into a single gaming experience. Borderlands played with the notion of role-playing and first-person shooting to much critical acclaim. Defiance combined third-person role-playing with MMO to a degree of success. What Destiny does exceeding well is balance all of its genres into a sublime experience, where all the elements are represented in fairly even distribution.

Before continuing, I should note my weekend space odyssey was with the Destiny Alpha build on the PlayStation 4 and despite not being a fully-fledged experience, there’s enough of the gameplay mechanics to access in this preview build to construct an informed opinion. Certain content remains off-limits for the time being, however these details should surface closer to launch.

You may have heard Bungie refer to Destiny‘s meta-universe as ‘alive’, with dynamic events to create unique, evolved gameplay. This is best seen in the social interactions between other players where your campaign experience overlaps with other players on their own missions. It’s very MMO-esque, but also adopts a proponent of Defiance, although perhaps executed far more cleanly.

Destiny Alpha Preview

Bungie were smart enough to remove the cash-grabbing monthly subscription to encourage players to adopt the virtual world, as there are no additional outlay costs in the long run. Traditional MMORPGs tend to rope you in and tight you down for the long haul, yet Destiny didn’t feel quite as constricting despite drawing influences from the multiplayer genre.

If you were to mash together the likes of Mass Effect with the stylisized action of Halo, this would be the resulting product in terms of plot and action. Set seven hundred years in the future, humans have spread their wings and colonized planets with the Solar System, ushering in the Golden Age, a period of prosperity. All good things must come to an end with “the Collapse”, shutting down The Golden Age and pushing mankind to the brink of annihilation.

Only a small colony of survivors remain in Earth isolated to the Tower, thankfully saved by the celestial beings known as “the Travellers”. That’s where you come in. As a Guardian of the City, one of the last defenders of the human race, it’s your job to crush all alien threats and reclaim civilization for humanity.

Destiny Alpha Preview

Select between one of three races – Human, Awoken (Elven resemblance), or Exo (essentially Cyborgs) and one of three classes – Warlock, Titan and Hunter before embarking on this mammoth adventure.

Each class plays a specific and obvious role, borrowing heavily from the World of Warcraft book of class lore. Races at this stage offers no additional perk but it could be too early to judge given this is only Destiny Alpha build.

Alpha opens up several Earth missions to experience, culminating with large scale battles and multiplayer integration. You can go it alone in solo quests, however there’s safety in numbers and forming a fire team certainly helps with larger ‘strike missions’, drawing heavy comparison to an MMO dungeon raid.

If you prefer to go head-to-head, the Crucible is Destiny‘s answer to multiplayer arena-style battles with death-match and Capture the Flag modes, however the alpha only allowed access to Control, a 6-vs-6 capture and hold game mode. Winning games here rewards reputation and currency to purchase awesome loot and high level gear back at the Tower, so it’s worth investing a little time here not only from a competitive standpoint.

Destiny Alpha Preview

With only a level cap of eight in the alpha build, you’ll quickly find yourself spending a great deal of time at the Crucible once you’ve maxed out your character. Progress is non-transferable from the alpha so best not to get heavily invested at this stage.

Visually a breath-taking experience, Destiny plays to its strengths and churns out highly detailed character models and environments with smooth frame-rates. You’ll find yourself lost and glancing at the screen more than once, particularly while exploring the Tower or wandering the battlefield.

Destiny as a complete package can be difficult to write about, given there is so much packed in to immerse you. The alpha experience is only a small portion of your Guardian’s journey, but it showcases how involved the game can become even from a low level starting point.

Destiny Alpha Preview

Keep in mind being an alpha experience, Destiny can feel a little thin and sterile, but I can overlook this as Bungie are no strangers to quality. Destiny is still very much in its early infancy stages but so far it’s been a promising sci-fi entry, which is largely missing from next-gen (suppose you could call it new-gen these days) consoles.

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Watch Dogs Review http://www.esperino.com/watch-dog-review http://www.esperino.com/watch-dog-review#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 04:17:37 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21839 Watch Dogs is the most anticipated game of the year, breaking pre-order sales records following a string of delays which left fans with an insatiable appetite for the open world hacking adventure. With so much potential to build upon the genre, Watch Dogs does a commendable job but falls painfully short of being a genre-defining title.

Watch Dogs Review

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Action-Adventure, Open-World
Release: (INT) May 27th 2014

Taking control of vigilante hacker extraordinaire Aiden Pearce, his world is shattered as his life of petty criminal activity is transformed into a quest for vengeance, following the death of his niece Lena in a tragic accident. Hell-bent on delivering his own brand of justice, Aiden descends into the criminal underworld employing hacks and brute force to enact revenge on those responsible. The main plot drives the narrative forward, with a colourful cast of supporting characters adding life and personality to the concrete megaplex world of Chicago.

The interconnected city of Chicago is a standout, the microcosm infrastructure built with painstaking detail. The gorgeous visuals and open world layout creates the illusion of a massive playground where you can, and will often get lost in for hours. The central ctOS (central Operating System) mainframe connects just about everything in this virtual world, detailing personal information and connecting together just about every piece of equipment with electrical wiring, which Aiden is able to infiltrate to do his bidding.

Watch Dogs Review

Hacking is the dominate hook of Watch Dogs and Ubisoft Montreal have managed to integrate it into facets beyond your imagination, from profiling individuals, eavesdropping in on conversations, criminal detection and the delicious ability to manipulate devices such as taking command of surveillance cameras or switching traffic lights on and off. With so many ways to tackle any given situation, you’re left to your own devices on how best to handle the task in front of you. Sure, you can go for the easy approach and resort to all-out action, but it’s nowhere near as gratifying as carefully employing gadgets to say, knock out a guard via the conveniently located fuse box positioned right near his torso.

When everything goes to plan, Watch Dogs is deeply satisfying, yet knowing there is always an ‘out’ should you need it does takes away from the level of danger as you can always whip out a shotgun and unload a few rounds to get out of a sticky situation.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the combat and arsenal available transforms Chicago into an adrenaline-filled amusement park with special attention paid to the high-speed car chases and combat mechanics that play out fluidly without too many niggles. The driving mechanics are loads of fun as Aiden is able to hijack just about any vehicle in the game, from a sports car to a dumpster truck, weaving through traffic like nobody’s business before moving on to other activities.

Watch Dogs Review

It’s hard not to draw comparison to the Grand Theft Auto juggernaut when reviewing an open-world title, yet Watch Dogs manages to differentiate itself from Rockstar’s staple franchise without ever feeling like a direct clone, and in some cases outperforms GTA in some regard. It’s a little more intelligent in its approach and the blend of pseudo-stealth only adds to the appeal of Watch Dogs.

Side missions offers plenty of diversion and activities off the beaten track, from vigilante hacking missions to mini-games involving cash run courses to test out your parkour skills, or the expected infiltrate and snooping missions. There’s rarely a dull moment in Watch Dogs with its seemingly unlimited range of activities to do. Yes, it’s rather voyeuristic but strangely amusing to hear their dark, dirty laundry being aired without their knowledge.

The more interesting side activities include an almost augmented reality experience, such as the Invasion mode where Aiden tackles a swarm of digital bugs. The virtual reality nature of it is sort of trippy and you can almost imagine what a Nintendo 3DS might feel like unrestricted from the handheld console.

Watch Dogs Review

Online multiplayer opens up the gameplay and open-world, yet fails to break free from Watch Dogs firm grasp. There are online races where obstacles can be set up to trip up your opponents and the hacking and tailing modes provides challenging gameplay. The difficulty of this mode detracts from its potential, as once you initiate an incursion on your target, they are immediately alerted and what should be a stealth mode ends up descending into a game of cat and mouse.

Visually, Watch Dogs is suitably gorgeous for a next-generation title, however discrepancies between the end product and when it was initially revealed has drawn criticism amongst the gaming community. Personally playing Watch Dogs on PlayStation 4, I have very few complaints for what is a highly polished offering that does plenty of rights and very few wrongs. My main criticism, if any is how much more they could have potentially extracted from the game as the illusionary world of Chicago is a place I would love to devote more time towards.

The team at Ubisoft Montreal have managed to craft Watch Dogs into something they can be proud of. Open-world gameplay has been around for a long time and despite Watch Dogs being unable to re-define the genre, it establishes itself as a creative offering with a rich world every bit as immersive as you can imagine. It is well worth the price of admission and will offer you hours upon hours of gameplay which you can tackle at your own leisure. One of this year’s recommended buys in my book.

Watch Dogs Review

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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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition + Bonus Content http://www.esperino.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-collectors-edition-bonus-content http://www.esperino.com/the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-collectors-edition-bonus-content#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 02:59:52 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21836 CD Projekt RED provided a look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt during their livestream, as well as announcing the Collector’s Edition and a few other surprise extras.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be available in a standard edition and a collector’s edition. Despite being a standard edition, CD Projekt RED is including the following extras for a feature-rich experience.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Standard Edition

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Standard Edition contents:

  • An exclusive CD with the official soundtrack
  • The official, developer-created “Witcher Universe – The Compendium”
  • A beautiful, detailed map of the in-game world
  • A set of unique stickers
  • A stylish, protective sleeve

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Standard Edition

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition comes with all the contents from the standard edition, as well as:

  • A giant, 33x24x26 cm (10”), 100% hand painted, Polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin
  • An exquisite, collector-grade Witcher medallion
  • A one-of-a-kind SteelBook box
  • A two-hundred-page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game
  • Huge outer and inner Collector’s Boxes you can store your Witcher merchandise in

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector’s Edition will be available in North America, Europe, and Australasia. EB Games has exclusive rights to the Collector’s Edition in Australia and New Zealand.

The Collector’s Edition is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, priced at $219.95AUD for consoles and $199.95AUD for PC. Pre-orders can be placed here.

If you pre-order The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt standard edition, you’ll also receive a pre-order bonus steelbook at no extra cost. The steelbook is the same as the one packaged in the collector’s edition, so you won’t get the bonus if you purchase the collector’s edition in this instance.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Standard Edition

The promotion is available through EB Games and JB Hi-Fi with prices starting from $89.95.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Standard Edition

JB Hi-Fi have also put together a Prima Guide Bundle for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, consisting of a standard copy and a Prima guide for $109AUD.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is scheduled for release globally on February 24th, 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call Collector’s Edition Exclusive to Square Enix Store http://www.esperino.com/theatrhythm-final-fantasy-curtain-call-collectors-edition-exclusive-to-square-enix-store http://www.esperino.com/theatrhythm-final-fantasy-curtain-call-collectors-edition-exclusive-to-square-enix-store#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 02:11:52 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=21826 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call Collector’s Edition will be exclusively available through the Square Enix store in North America and Europe.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call Collector’s Edition

The Collector’s Edition release comes with:

  • 20-Track The Best of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call CD
  • 5-Track Remix CD
  • 3DS Collector’s Pouch
  • 5 Premium CollectaCards from the game (enter the code on the card to get it in-game)

The North American release is limited to 5,000 units and features a different box art to the European version. A limited edition version is also available which includes a five-track music CD pre-order bonus.

The Collector’s Edition is only available via Square Enix’s online store, priced at £44.99 GBP / € 54.99 EUR / $69.99 USD.

Pre-orders can be placed here via the EU store or NA store. Australians won’t be able to pre-order it unfortunately due to region restrictions and availability in Europe is limited to certain countries only.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call launches on September 19th, 2014 in Europe and on September 16th, 2014 in North America.

Thanks, GameInformer!

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