Non-Fiction Gaming News, eSports, Video Games Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:23:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Music Of The Flame In The Flood Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:23:42 +0000 The Flame in the Flood is bringing more than rouge-lite gameplay to the table with an excellent soundtrack.

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scout and aesop

There a lot of different indie games coming out this year, but one in particular has caught my eye. And this one is backed by several former Irrational Games employees who worked on the Bioshock series.

The Flame in the Flood is a survival game that takes place on a randomly generated river. The game takes place in a post-societal backwaters America. You’ll need to survive the river and the wilds on your cobbled together raft. Crafting tools and finding food are essential for your survival, even though it isn’t likely you’ll survive. The game features several rogue-lite elements, so expect to die a lot. Thankfully you’ll have a faithful dog companion named Aesop who carries all of your items. Before you die you can give all of your items to Aesop and start with those same items when you re-start your next adventure down the river.

But the most intriguing and interesting part of the game is its soundtrack. Given the games setting much of it involves music from the alt-country genre adding an excellent layer of atmosphere to the game. For those of you who are interested the game feature music by The Fearless Kin and a personal favorite of mine, Chuck Ragan, lead singer and guitarist from Hot Water Music. Ragan has even gone so far as to write an original song for the game and its first gameplay trailer. You can go to the The Flame in the Flood’s Kickstarter page to listen for yourself.

All in all The Flame in the Flood is looking to be an impressive game with equally impressive music. The game is still in its funding stages for a few more days, so if the game looks interesting head on over and donate if you so choose. It’s definitely earned my donation.


The Flame in the Flood Kickstarter page

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The Evil Within is The Evil Without Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:54:41 +0000 Tango Softworks promised us a real horror experience with The Evil Within but it falls far short of the mark, making one of 2014's most disappointing games

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My Definition of “True” Survival Horror Must Be Wrong Because The Evil Within Just Isn’t It.

The Evil Within

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox one

Developer: Tango Gameworks

PublisherBethesda Softworks

Price: $59.99 USD on Amazon and GameFanShop


In a year I played Game Party Champions, I thought there would be nothing remotely as terrible. That was, of course, until I finally got my hands on The Evil Within. In our previous coverage of the much-hyped horror title, I’ve floated between excitement and concern.

Unfortunately The Evil Within misses so many of the notes that could have made it memorable and over-emphasises combat. There are two ways to look at this: as a game and as a horror game. If we pretend all the marketing about being “true survival horror” never happened, The Evil Within is just below average.

Otherwise, it’s downright terrible. Quite honestly, this is the most disappointing game of 2014.

The Evil Within mannequin

Almost every horror game seems to love mannequins these days.

As far as gameplay goes, at least the controls all sort of work well together. The player has a choice between sneaking past the zombies and tackling them head on. Except that much of your time is spent in narrow hallways that don’t allow for much in the way of stealth.

Even the early areas that encourage the stealthy approach lead the player towards combat. In order to balance the ammunition restrictions, you can sneak kill enemies from behind. This, combined with the Agony Crossbow’s various bolts, means you could replace the zombies with terrorists and end up with a Splinter Cell game.

The game either refuses to or is incapable of making up its mind when it comes to enemies. One chapter is spent slaughtering huge amounts of basic zombies and the next is dealing with a boss that kills you in one shot. Which, okay, that’s fine. It conforms to the typical pattern of level-boss.

It does, however, undermine the lethality of the bosses and, consequently, detracts from the horror experience. For example, the loading screen often tells you that you should never fight the long-haired beast. At the end of one chapter, you are forced to combat her. It makes the player feel powerful. You stop taking the game’s threats of menace seriously. By the time The Evil Within introduces The Keeper, you just don’t care anymore. It’s too hard to be scared of something you know you can kill.

Much of the game feels trite. Doors at the end of a hallway with red light pouring through windows, disused hospitals, decaying churches. I know that so many horror games rehash the same locales but there is nary an original note in The Evil Within.

You spend a great deal of time trying to find your partners, a doctor, and his patient. Each time you find them, something happens to separate you again. The only way I could keep going was to pretend it was some weird game of tag.


tewrev 1


These random ‘somethings’ that continually separate you from your group usually come through cutscenes. Notably at the start of the game, I was sneaking around and saw a tripwire. Naturally, I stopped. Then a cutscene took over, triggered the tripwire, alerted the enemy, and started a chase through the spike-walled underbelly.

This has no place in a horror game. There’s a reason games such as Amnesia have no cutscenes: everything that happens, happens to you.

Movie sequences such as these diminish the player’s autonomy within the game. If there is no autonomy, there is no responsibility.  There is no doubt about whether or not the spinning blades will hit me because the game needs to progress. When the situations Sebastian finds himself in were through no action of mine, there’s no tension.

A lot of what the game makes you do feels asinine. At one stage, you and your partner get involved in an honest-to-God firefight with a group of zombies. Other stages of the game have their own foibles. “Hold A to disarm traps” was the instruction given in the second chapter. How Sebastian decided to ‘disarm’ the trap was by walking into the wire and blowing himself up.

When it comes down to it, the art design is decent. It does look like you’re stuck in a constant state of flux between Silent Hill‘s normal and underworlds. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but does get a little old after a while. The zombies are sufficiently gruesome and there is a ton of blood on everything.

The Keeper’s killing animation is wonderful. His land mines with barbed wire are a delight as well. One of the few times of tension in the game are when you’re being chased by the long-haired spider woman beast.


Don't fight her...except for now. You have to fight her now.

Don’t fight her…except for now. You have to fight her now.


The Evil Within tries to tell an intriguing story but it tips its hand too early and shoves blatant metaphors down your throat. All the broken mirrors and such. Between these symbols, cutscenes, and general personality of the characters, there’s not much to like about them. If I wasn’t looking for reasons to be scared, hoping some horror would show its face, I’d be skipping every possible cutscene. This would be forgivable if there was something compelling to keep the audience interested. But The Evil Within is lacking here too.

Look, if you find zombies scary and killing them fun, The Evil Within is probably the game for you. It’s highly reliant on the gore to unnerve players. This doesn’t work for me but maybe it will for others. I’m still trying to work out why the female police officer came to the emergency call in heels.

The Evil Within is available now. Do you think it lives up to the hype?

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‘Lost Sea’ Procedurally Generated Strategy Game Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:06:46 +0000 Lost Sea is a B-movie strategy-action game set inside a procedurally generated Bermuda Triangle, scheduled for a 2015 release on PlayStation 4

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Lost Sea is a B-movie strategy-action game set inside a procedurally generated Bermuda Triangle, scheduled for a 2015 release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The game was announced via the PlayStation Blog earlier this week. With screenshots and a teaser trailer available for now, Eastasiasoft will be at PAX Australia with a playable version of the game.



Lost Sea puts the player on a randomly generated archipelago after a shipwreck. Your crew of survivors need to repair the ship by finding upgrades while exploring the island in order to get home.

Lost Sea is set inside a cartoon B-movie universe, where an otherwise normal individual (You!) is transformed into an intrepid hero after a routine flight over the Atlantic Ocean ends in disaster, leaving you stranded on a mysterious archipelago located deep inside the Bermuda Triangle,” Eastasiasoft designer Aidan Price explained.

Some of the features include:

  • A procedurally generated archipelago with millions of unique island combinations.
  • Sophisticated critter AI that reacts to each other, independent of the players actions.
  • A varied cast of stranded to recruit, each with their own stats and abilities.
  • Ship Upgrade options that offer the player discrete choices on how they want to play.
  • Rare totem parts to find and combine into powerful support towers.


“The world of Lost Sea is a dangerous and unforgiving place. Every island is filled with strange landmarks, a wide variety of deadly and exotic creatures, and powerful relics that can be used to your advantage. Often you’ll need to use your wits, as well as your machete, to escape dire situations and any member of your crew unlucky enough to get taken out or left behind won’t be coming back.”

More island survival action like The Forest but with what feels like a more stylized look.


You’ll need to keep your health up while balancing the scarce resources–staying alive is of course at odds with exploring the island for ways to upgrade your ship.

Eastasiasoft has recently began a Greenlight campaign to bring the game to Steam similarly to ‘Down to One‘.

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The Legend of Korra – Review Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:12:57 +0000 The Legend of Korra was made for fanboys of the series and with a whole 5 hours of gameplay I really can not recommend this to anyone, fanboys or otherwise.

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Legend of Korra Review

Legend of Korra Review

The Legend of Korra Review

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, MAC, PS4, Xbox one

Developer: Platinum Games

Publisher: Activision

Price: $14.99 USD on Steam and GameFanShop

Perception Check is a video review series joining Non-Fiction Gaming, see more of Australian Casual Gamer’s videos on Youtube.

The Legend of Korra Transcript:

I’ve never wanted a game to end as much I had The Legend of Korra, and luckily I did not have to wait very long at all. Lets take the avatar’s journey to save humanity from their own selfish and destructive ways, but first, let’s strip all of your elemental powers and leave you with hand to hand combat for the first hour of the game. Elemental combat was the marketing hook for me to have a look at this game and sadly it under performs in a major way.

As someone who does not watch the anime on a regular basis, I was looking forward to be taken in by this great looking story and lore, but all of these preconceptions were shattered within the first hour of game play.

Legend of Korra Review

Make Aang Proud

The game starts with more of a tutorial on how to use the four elements in a combat environment, this was nice to get a feel of how the game will work and the different types of enemies you would face throughout the game. I was very wrong; soon after the tutorial all of your elemental powers are gone and you’re left with a brawler with very limited depth and combos.

The lack of explanation towards the gameplay was shocking. Unaware of the changes of the combat styles was frustrating to say the least, trying to complete the game with the slow and clunky earthen style of bending was boring and lacked variety.

The lack of story was mostly at fault, I honestly do not mind a game with average controls and action, but when the story is sub-par and lacking depth, nothing draws the player back in for more.

The only reason I finished this game was to see if it actually got better towards the end, unfortunately that was not the case. No explanations were given throughout the whole game on who certain people are which made for a pretty crappy experience all round.

A Bad Mix of Elements

Repetitive gameplay is to blame for the bad time that was had. The formula for The Legend of Korra must have been something as follows:

  1. Take a popular franchise
  2. Make it extremely frustrating for anyone who doesn’t know anything about the franchise
  3. Take away the elemental powers for a good part of the game until they “deserve it”
  4. Make the last boss fight impossible
    • Make good camera control optional
  5. Insert random Temple Run game play style when you feel like it
  6. Millions of units sold
Legend of Korra Review

Legend of Korra Review

The completely random addition of the Temple Run-like gameplay was just weird. It really had no place in the entirety of the game, it honestly felt like content filler for a game that only has MAX 5 hour of gameplay.

Camera control, don’t get me started on the dreadful camera control, the horrible controls forced me into using a Xbox controller due to having to position the camera during a fight.  Playing with a keyboard and mouse is near impossible, this is just bad optimization and not enough foresight to know that if you cannot get something as simple as a camera right, people won’t like your game.

The saving grace of this game would have the be the graphic style, I actually enjoyed the art style through the title, the style was quite similar to the Naruto Shippuden series. The anime cut scenes were nicely done, which added the little depth to the story as they could. I would have liked more of these cut scenes to  add that little more depth and story to the game, but the game stuck me with the boring 5 hours that I got.

Legend of Korra Review

Legend of Korra Review



Unfortunately, I was looking forward to this title, mostly due to wanting to get into the series and watching the anime. The lack of story and progression into “the real game” was quite slow and pretty crap to be honest.

The game was made for fanboys of the series and with a whole 5 hours of game play I really can not recommend this to anyone, fanboys or otherwise.

The Legend of Korra is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and Mac

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Super Smash Bros 3DS Review Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:00:21 +0000 Smash Bros 3DS is exactly what you’d expect it would be if it were released in handheld form: The control scheme translates perfectly.

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Have you ever waited for a train? Or in a line at the post office or perhaps the back seat of a car and thought to yourself: “I wish I could Falcon Punch that [insert noun here]”? Well now you can!* (as long as you have a pocket or bag to keep your 3DS in)

Smash Bros 3DS is exactly what you’d expect it would be if it were released in handheld form: The control scheme translates perfectly, the 3D function adds depth to level design, the roster is huge, there are game modes aplenty and setting up an online match to start dishing cans of whoop-ass is a very quick and painless process.

Super Smash Bros 3DS

Super Smash Bros 3DS

Platforms: 3DS

Developer: Bandai Namco games

Publisher: Nintendo

Price: $59.99 (Play-Asia) – $55.99 (


Upon powering on the game and button-mashing your way to the menu screen, you’ll notice the immediate design similarities lifted from the previous series. The menu retains the large, colourful buttons we’ve become accustomed to and the lack of a mandatory system setup/tutorial means that you’ll be smashing things within seconds.

Right here however is where one of my very few concerns with the game is realised – the menu layout is actually rather confusing. I expected that like previous generations, there would be a multiplayer mode and a solo mode from the main menu; however online play has now taken precedent over solo matches and is named “Group Play”, which in my mind translates to ‘local multiplayer’ ala Melee/Brawl, and modes such as “Classic and All Star” are somewhat hidden in their own little area.

This is a rather first-world problem to have, however Smash Bros 3DS spoils the player for choice when it comes to game modes and in doing so navigating the menu’s can be somewhat frustrating when you know what you want but have no idea where to find it.

Controlling your environment


The control scheme translates like a dream – picking up your 3DS will at first feel strange when compared to your sticky, GCN controller, but from the word go you can sit back and let the muscle memory kick in. The circle pad, while not an ideal substitute for the control stick, is still a great bit of hardware and the a,b,x,y buttons mimic their GCN/Wii counterparts to a tee.

The shoulder buttons don’t provide that beautiful, moulded finish but are positioned and responsive enough that shielding/dodging is just as efficient. Smash Bros 3DS provides the player with the ability to customise the control scheme by mapping actions to different buttons (the default layout replicating the standard console versions) which for me was a great, intuitive feature because I habitually tap L-trigger to shield, which by default is the throw command on the 3DS.

The 3DS compliments this type of gameplay perfectly. Is your mum breaking your balls to load the dishwasher? Just snap the lid shut and when you’re free simply flip it open and resume right where you left off. To its credit, the 3DS has increased the enjoyment of portable gaming across a slew of games due to this very awesome feature, however in a game such as Smash 3DS where sometimes you just get that itch to jump in and get a few stock in, it really shines.

Physically however the 3DS wasn’t designed with comfort in mind – I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into Pokemon on my 3DSXL and due to the more simplistic and turn based approach of that type of game, comfort was never really compromised. Smash 3DS requires (mostly) your fingers to sit on the triggers and your thumbs poised around the circle pad and a/b/x/y buttons at all times so lengthy periods of smashing can lead to terrible hand cramps and mandatory breaks to shake it off.

Furthermore, if you’re like me and prone to angry fits of rage-smashing, your body will expel your fury in the form of sweat. Sweaty thumbs + circle pad doesn’t mix for a great experience. Smash Bros 3DS is a game that demands some degree of mastery over the control of your character. Techniques like short hopping, or the simple difference between tap and hold attacks are compromised when your thumb feels like it’s been dipped in butter and can prove fatal.

She’s hot, but that voice though..

Super Smash Bros 3DS

The game looks absolutely beautiful on the 3DS, the ‘cel shaded’ look that some assumed from preview screenshots is far from the case. The models are rendered in 3D and the black outline can actually be manipulated in weight or removed completely. If corners were cut to increase performance on the handheld, I can’t imagine what was thrown by the wayside.

Compared to other 3DS titles, Smash looks and run superbly, marred only by the fact that even on the 3DS XL the screen real estate is too small to truly appreciate the frantic, bat-shit craziness that is a Smash free-for-all. In saying that I’ve also touched on the second irk I have with this game – Smash fans (and new entrants will too) understand that winning a match requires more than focusing solely on what your character is doing, but also watching your opponent, level interactions, items and adjusting your play style accordingly.

This can be quite a lot to keep a track of on a relatively small screen and on more than one occasion I have unintentionally lost a stock because I thought I was ledge-grabbing (hanging from a ledge. Falling from this ledge means death), when I was actually hanging (some characters can ‘stick’ to walls ala Mario’s wall jump) to the wall, only to fall to my death as I am watching the rest of the action. This is another nit-pick, but when you’re in the midst of things, errors like this, whilst caused by my own idiocy are sometimes the straw that throws the 3DS at the wall.

Alongside the visuals is the always vast and satisfying collection of tunes, some lifted straight from respective Nintendo titles and other original tracks composed specifically for Smash3DS. The 3DS doesn’t come packed with the world’s greatest speakers, but as with any 3DS title, do yourself a favour a whack a set of headphones in to truly appreciate the score.

The stages on which these battles take place are designed intricately and come with a brand new mode called ‘infinity’. With a simple tap of a button before selecting a stage, you can remove stage elements to create a more ‘ competition friendly’ match.

PRO TIP: For the uninitiated: The Smash community’s version of “Come at me, bro!” is a more elaborate: “3 stock, no items, FD me, bro!” This stems from the standard competition fare of a 3 stock (lives) match on the games’ final stage (Final Destination) with all items disabled to allow players to duke it out, unperturbed by nuisances such as a time limit, level interferences or you know, legendary Perkhermans.

A strange omission from the 3DS version is the multitude of levels Smashers have become accustomed too. Previous titles throw new, old and custom levels for players to beat up on each other on, however the 3DS comes equipped with comparatively fewer. After playing the game for a solid fortnight I can’t assume there will be any further level unlocks, so in the absence of possible DLC players may be left with only a handful of stages they really enjoy playing.

I don’t like other people in my game.

The solo modes of old make a comeback and with some nice improvements too. Classic mode now takes the player on a journey through 1v1 matches, metal matches, 3v1, giant matches and of course the multi man melee before thrusting you into the clutches of the game boss. However this time around, you will have a choice of difficulties, represented by coloured paths, before each battle. Green is Easy, Blue is Medium and Red is Hard.

The spoils of war are relative to the difficulty selected; for instance the Red path will reward the player with many coins, possible trophies and of course much bragging rights, where as the easier paths will produce only a percentage or no rewards at all. This system works quite well as it can be paired with the initial difficultly setting of classic mode which spans from 1.0 – 9.0 in .25 increments.

This way an advanced player can still play on a harder difficultly setting, but fine tune individual matches to their liking. Then of course at the end of the road is the master-mind behind all the funny business, but I won’t spoil that for you. However completing the game at higher difficulties may have unexpected and sometimes very, very frustrating consequences.

All star mode is back, along with Sandbag and a couple of new modes too. Unfortunately Target Smash didn’t make the cut this time around and this upsets me because both Sandbag and Bombs, whilst proving to be great fun in their own rights, don’t test the players agility and manoeuvrability with a character in the way that Target Smash did. Instead Sandbag and Bombs are essentially the same means to different ends. Of course the other way to view it is that Smash the Targets has been incorporated (somewhat) into the new Smash Run mode.(Elaborate on these?)

Smash Run is the biggest game mode addition to the franchise and can be seen as a game all of its own.

I <3 other people in my game.

Online mode was very laggy and proved to be fucking frustrating.

Mii 3DS

You can now import your Ninty Mii character to wreak havoc upon unsuspecting Nintendo mascots and Wario. Fuck Wario. Upon doing this you can select one of 3 ‘classes’ or styles of play: Brawler, Ranged, or the (other guy?). From here you can customise further as playing through modes in Smash will unlock equipment and clothing which effect the stats of your character; these including Strength, Defense and Speed. It’s all very JRPG but without any of the long hair or mob grinding.

This personalisation is a very welcome addition to the franchise – not only providing an new character, but one that is customisable depending on your preferred style of play. The strange thing with Mii customisation though, is the lack of aesthetic changes, outside of the predefined Equipment you can find while playing Smash Run.

Ninty accepted that the players ability to customise their avatar to look like them in a game is a real selling point, as proven by Pokemon X/Y, yet they left this feature out of Smash 3DS. All the other components were included: coin collection, the ability to purchase trophy’s, so why not purchase clothing?

You’re not Mew2King

No, I’m not a pro player nor do I aspire to be and so I’m not going to rant about the omission of wave dashing or [other mechanics which made Melee better than Brawl]. However I love the series and have thoroughly since N64, and since that time I know the hours of entertainment that can be had with a group of friends or on your own.

I’m one of the masses, one of the long-time fans who speculated over the roster, balancing, who would be nerfed and why Sakurai completed a game at least a year before he decided to release it. (Okay, that last point is purely my opinion).

If you’ve never played an entry to the Smash universe then try your hand at Smash 3DS, the fundamentals remain unchanged and to this day still blow my mind as to how such a simple button scheme can be translated into one of the most complex, technical fighters of the last decade.

PRO TIP: Control Sick: Move/Crouch/Jump. A: Attack. B: Special. Trigger: Shield/Throw.


This game won’t convert those who never liked Smash to begin with because in essence, it is much the same. But if you’re a fan of the series, any one of its predecessors, then I guarantee you’ll get a kick out of this portable blockbuster. I’ll see you on FD. 3v3 me, bitch.

*You won’t literally be falcon punching things

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:15:49 +0000 Borderlands: The pre-sequel is a nice addition to the franchise after the disappointing release of Borderlands Legends. AusCasualGamer's video review series.

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Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, MAC

Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia

Publisher: 2K Games

Price: $59.99 – $69.99 On Steam and Other Retailers

Perception Check is a video review series joining Non-Fiction Gaming, see more of Australian Casual Gamer’s videos on Youtube.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review Transcript:

Borderlands: The pre-sequel is a nice addition to the franchise after the disappointing release of Borderlands Legends, the developers have really adopted the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The game takes you, the vault hunter, to Pandora’s moon Elpis where you meet up with Handsome Jack before the events of the previous titles.

When first hearing that the game would be a prequel I was a little apprehensive and sceptical about how the game would keep the interest, knowing how the story progresses, but the writing team has done a great job in engaging the audience.

The foundation of the game is still very similar to the previous games; choose one vault hunter out of four characters and start your first person shooter role-playing game adventure. Making this game worth playing for people who have “done it all before” would have been the challenging part with the third release of a borderlands title but placing the story in outer space was quite genius.

Low gravity combat is extremely fun throughout this whole title and does not get overly repetitive at all; I feel as if this low gravity combat should be the selling point of the game along with the back story of known characters like Lilith, Roland and Handsome Jack… and I guess Claptrap.

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands Pre-sequel

The gameplay is almost identical to past borderlands titles. The plethora of guns and gun types has always made for a great experience. Getting phat loot always makes you play for that little bit longer than what you should have. When finding new guns you will spend a good 5 minutes adapting your new play style with the weapon. A new addition to the character load out is the Ozpack (or oxygen apparatus), the stats and different abilities gained from the new gear is very noticeable and plays a critical part in the strategy of your encounters.

With the added low gravity game play, you can be put in situations where platforming is necessary to complete the task at hand. I did not enjoy that too much, but it never hindered the overall enjoyment of the title. Using jumping platforms to reach long distances along with your double jump made for some spectacular views but overall did not enhance the experience of the title.

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands: The pre-sequel is almost a direct clone of the previous games, it is always nice to get a new game in a franchise that you quite enjoy, but that soon wears off once innovation starts to slow down or completely stop. Borderlands has not quite it the point where new releases are not exciting, but in saying that, the next release needs to pack quite the punch to continue its success.

The graphics look as good as ever. With new character models and enemy types; it is fun to explore all the new additions to a great franchise and then fill it full of holes.

New environmental effects look quite detailed whether it be lava or frozen lakes of methane. The eye of Helios is ever looming in the sky of Elpis, and occasionally sending down a destructive laser beam which wipes out everything in its path; it looks fantastic to say the least.

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Borderlands Pre-sequel

Customizing your character model is still a function thought-out the game which adds some interesting additions to the vanity of your vault hunter or their vehicle. It is quite enjoyable to Matchmake with another person and check out how they look and show off your own epic vanity items.

The voice acting I would say has to be the weakest link of Borderlands: The pre-sequel. The main characters have nailed their scripts and style, but every other character just doesn’t seem to get it right.

I tended to squirm in my seat when I would head a bad Australian outback accent or old Australian lingo put into the script for the hell of it. It did not suit the theme of the game and overall made it quite difficult to listen to the dialogue that you could not skip.



I can definitely recommend this game to anyone who likes the Borderlands franchise or even to people who just like to shoot stuff. Aside from the voice acting in some parts and the future inevitability of the franchise become stale, it is an awesome time to be had and you should pick this one up.


Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is currently available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Playstation Vita.

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The New Trailer For Dragon Age: Inquisition Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:58:57 +0000 Bioware and EA have launched their new trailer for the latest in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Following on from Dragon Age II...

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Dragon Age Inquisition

The Hero of Thedas

Bioware and EA have launched their new trailer for the latest in the Dragon Age series, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Following on from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, Dragon Age: Inquisition will take place in the land of Thedas.

Dragons take wing to the skies causing terror in the kingdom and Mages have rebelled against the oppressive Templars in an attempt at freedom. Like the previous games it will come to you, as The Hero of Thedas it will be up to you to make the choices as the leader of The Inquisition.

Demons plague the world and terrorize the people of Thedas. The faithful cling to their belief in the Inquisitor, who must lead a team of legendary warriors into battle and bring the conflict to an end before it’s too late. Every war has its heroes. What kind of leader will you be?

Dragon Age: Inquisition is set for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. 18th November in North America, 20th November for Australia and 21st November for New Zealand and Europe.

GameFanShop are currently taking pre-orders for $59.99 (PC), Amazon is accepting $59.96 across all platforms for North America.


 What are your thoughts on Dragon Age: Inquisition so far?

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Hands on with Phantasmal Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:58:43 +0000 The inspirations that Eyemobi have drawn from other horror games are evident in Phantasmal. Think Amnesia meets Daylight; and it works better than you'd imagine.

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We Got Our Hands on Indie Horror Title Phantasmal and We’re So Glad We Did

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that indie developer Eyemobi had turned to Kickstarter to help finance the final touches to their horror title Phantasmal. At the time all our information came from PewDiePie’s playthrough.

Now, however, Eyemobi were nice enough to furnish us with a pre-alpha demo. Like I said when reviewing The Forest, it’s important to realise that this is an alpha demo. It’s going to be rough around the edges so there’s still time for anything to change.


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Conceptually, Phantasmal Competes With the Best


The inspirations that Eyemobi have drawn from other horror games are evident in Phantasmal. It has first-person gameplay in a procedurally-generated maze. Think Amnesia meets Daylightand it works better than you’d imagine. The player has to navigate a series of locations to find the exit portals. Dying places you back at square one.

One of the greatest success of the game is the inclusion of a sanity system – something seen in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. In Amnesia, the sanity meter is a reflection of the protagonist’s fear of the dark. Its function is to provide a drawback to hiding in the darkness and force players into the light, where they are more vulnerable to attack.

Its effects persist until you solve a puzzle or complete a portion of the game. Phantasmal‘s iteration of sanity is much more successful. If you spend too long around a monster, it causes extreme blurring and, as far as I could tell, intermittent high-pitched screeches. Away from monsters, the distortions dissipate quickly.

Therefore it acts as a disincentive to directly engage the enemies. The effects are severe but temporary and I really enjoy this use of the sanity system.


If you want to use the gun, you have to be quick


Speaking of combat, its inclusion was a risky gambit from Eyemobi. This is one of the divisive arguments surrounding this genre: some believe the lack of combat cultivates the feeling of helplessness, whereas being able to defend oneself creates a new dynamic in the game and allows for more freedom in designing enemies and their interactions with the player.

Early on you are given a gun and a broom. Phantasmal does a lot of work with just these two weapons. Because of the sanity effects, the gun quickly becomes ineffective; and rationing bullets adds another level of decision-making. I’m usually on the side of not having combat in a horror game but the counterbalance of sanity in Phantasmal is a strong argument for its inclusion.

The choice to allow the player to beat down a monster with a broom means that they need to rethink the monsters’ application. Because the sanity system blurs the monster’s appearance until it’s almost unrecognisable, the peak of fear needs to come before the fight.

Currently, the monsters are too subtle. I didn’t know a monster was charging me from behind but the sanity blur made it impossible to appreciate the anxiety – because it wasn’t there.

Phantasmal needs to emphasise being detected by the standard enemies and allow for the exaggerated scare that comes from it. So much could be achieved simply by adding a ReDead-esque scream and hasty, resonating footfalls.

I know I sang Alien: Isolation‘s praises for the subtlety of the Xenomorph but that works because of the pressure it puts on you during its patrols. Phantasmal is largely reliant on detection, similar to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, to frighten players – even more so because detection is not necessarily death.


There’s Always Room for Rooms


For as much as Phantasmal does right, there are a few major issues that I would like to see addressed before it releases. The largest of these is general pacing. Naturally how fast one progresses through the game is dependent on how lucky the player is at finding the portals. Though many of the areas aren’t big enough to keep you guessing for too long.

Overall the game feels too condensed. Players aren’t given enough time to truly appreciate the masterful work Eyemobi have put into Phantasmal‘s atmosphere. Nor does it allow the game to fully explore the rationing element of consumables and choke you out of ammunition.

I feel as though either the levels need to be larger or the monsters need to be more aggressive. To prevent making the enemies as common as those in Dead Space, I’m most definitely in favour of the former.


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It is apparent that Eyemobi have studied the games that have come before Phantasmal. The world has been finely crafted and it works. It’s a bit rough around the edges but I love what Eyemobi have done. The problem of not having enough time to enjoy it is a pervasive one, however. I feel like I’ve watched a great film that ended all too soon. Once it’s polished up and I can stop walking through cupboards of all sorts, it’ll be a very impressive experience to behold.

Procedurally-generated horror games are often more easy to jump into than story-based campaigns. Mostly because there is no lengthy tutorial. The main action of the game begins when you press start. For this reason, they’re often better to share with friends. Being able to jump in and out makes it much less awkward than someone hating Amnesia because it’s been 30 minutes without anything happening.

Once the graphics have been tidied up and the usual alpha bugs have been tweaked, Phantasmal will be a genuinely great horror game. If Eyemobi manage to solve the problems with the game being too condensed and emphasise their antagonists, I will have found a new game to introduce people to horror.

Phantasmal is currently available for pre-order through Eye Mobi’s official website.

I can safely say that any horror buff in Melbourne for PAX Australia should check out Phantasmal at the indie booth.

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Down To One Makes Survival an eSport Sun, 12 Oct 2014 06:28:06 +0000 Down To One brings competition into the survival genre. Players start out with nothing, and in a Battle-Royale style deathmatch, use anything they can find.

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Down To One brings competition into the survival genre. Players start out with nothing, and in a Battle-Royale style deathmatch, use anything they can find to eliminate other competitors, and finish each round as the last man standing.


The idea is that players will be able to interact with anything & everything in the environment to take down their opponents and claim victory.

With a focus on eSports & competitive gaming, Down To One will fill a ‘survival game’ void in competitive shooters.

Using a heavily modified Unity Technology 4.5 engine, Down to One can support up to 42 players in a round. Currently on show are full-body characters, first-person shadows and a bunch of other ‘techy’ features behind the scenes.


Down To One is being developed by Australian developer Gadget Games, In an interview with GameCloud, Lead developer Alex Blaikie outlines the core team.

At Gadget Games, everyone on the team is an eSports fanatic. Our UI designer, Rob, is a Twitch admin, our lead level designer, Blake, is a professional Battlefield 4 player, and Matt, our video editor, has been making videos for some of “LoLs” top competitive players for almost 3 years.

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The game is currently on Steam Greenlight, with the plan to launch an early access build later this year. Gadget Games showed off an early build of Down To One at the Perth Games Festival this weekend.

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Day One With Alien Isolation Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:03:51 +0000 We finally get our hands on the much-hyped Alien Isolation. Doesn't seem worth the wait if you want a horror experience but this is the Alien game we wanted

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Creative Assembly’s “True” Alien Title Lives Up to its Hype From the Outset.


Alien: Isolation

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360

Developer: Creative Assembly

Publisher: SEGA

Price: $49.99 (GameFanShop – PC) – $59.99 (


Alien Isolation has been hyped by almost everyone for the better part of this year and its release finally let gamers jump into the world of the cult film. For what it’s worth, Isolation is a great game. It’s tense, dramatic, and poignantly explores the movie’s themes.

Unfortunately, as a horror experience, it falls very far short of the mark.


I really like the way that the game is presented. It’s a treat to see such dedication to the lo-fi atmosphere of the original film and have it rendered so well. Detailing the world in this way helps get the theme of desolation and scarcity across because basically all we see is technology.

Being surrounded by hi-fi technology would upset the player’s experience as it would make the idea of having access to nothing unbelievable. This really is the core element of Alien Isolation as it is the primary fuel for the spiral of helplessness in the face of the Xenomorph.



There is, however, something jittery about the first few cut-scenes that made me feel quite nauseous. This may have been a fault with my game or Playstation but nonetheless it was there. Moving the camera in the early playable sections also had a similar effect. It felt too loose as if Amanda’s neck was held on by elastic. It becomes forgivable quite quickly (read: shortly after you leave the Torrens).

Character design is where much of Alien Isolation shines. The Xenomorph itself is swift and predicting its movements is difficult – in stark contrast to dealing with human (or slightly human) pursuers. Much of the scenery is designed in such a way that a quick glance may mislead you into thinking the Xenomorph is on another balcony. Or you see it leap into a ceiling vent.

My favourite element of the Xenomorph, however, is the subtlety with which it kills you. Many horror games relish the bombastic sound effects while an enemy pummels you. In Alien Isolation, this is only the case if you happen to look the right way. I peered over a small wall to see if the Xenomorph was patrolling the area up ahead only to hear a small noise and have Amanda look at the spiked tail protruding through her chest.


“You Are Becoming Hysterical”

The best thing, by far, about Alien Isolation is the Working Joe. These enemies are the game’s answer to Ash: the synthetic from the original movie. Basically crash test dummies with ominous glowing eyes, the Working Joe is presented without warning and puts you on the back foot immediately.

As administrative assistants, Working Joes are responsible for warning Amanda away from restricted areas. When hostile, they repeat these neutral phrases in a calm voice while throttling you against a wall. The above quote, “you are becoming hysterical,” is what one Working Joe says to Hughes (some guy) in the first reveal of their hostility.

Working Joes are simply perfect and are already beginning to outshine the Xenomorph, which is both worrying and interesting.

ai working joe



Some time ago, I wrote about Alien Isolation and how I worried it would fall into many of the same pitfalls as Outlast. For better or worse, I think I was right. The gameplay feels very similar to Outlast. The movements of the camera, the control scheme, the movement of the character.

These are all elements that make me feel like I am playing Outlast - or at least a spiritual sister of it. The bad part of this is strategic counterplay against enemies is also reminiscent of Outlast. By this, I mean that certain battles (including the first major encounter with the Xenomorph) operate in the same confined space / patrol paradigm that caused the stop-start issues within Outlast and this can create some problems for players.

Isolation offers a few more ways to play around these situations. I get the sense the Creative Assembly want you to lure Working Joes and other survivors out of their areas and circumvent them with…well…vents. Although it doesn’t help in situations with the Xenomorph, it provides a nice workaround to the problems I feared would be present.


On the whole, it feels very much like a more open-world Outlast. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Much of what ruined Outlast for me was the confined, guided tour of the asylum in combination with the few enemies, heavy patrol system.

The world of Isolation is much more open and available to explore – especially as you get access to better technology.


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The famous motion tracker (to be picky, this is the motion tracker from Aliens, not Alien) also makes an appearance. I love this. I absolutely love this addition.

It gives players a tool to ensure their security while competing with a force they can’t combat. Much in the same way the Wii U Gamepad was used in ZombiU, the motion tracker gives the game the ability to be a bit more mean in its placement and use of enemies.

Fortunately, Alien Isolation doesn’t treat the motion tracker as an excuse to dump innumerable enemies behind you for no reason. The motion tracker also gives rise to probably the best use of the light bar on the Playstation 4 controller I’ve seen. I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the start but I remember it turning green when I got the tracker.

When the pulses of the tracker catch a target, however, the light blinks white. I’ve had ghost pings like this when not holding the scanner up. It’s a great feature and its implementation is top-notch.


When it comes down to it, Alien Isolation being pegged as a horror game was a mistake. As a horror game, it disappointed me. Sure it’s tense and the sections in which you’re avoiding the Xenomorph can be nerve-wracking.

It’ll scare anyone who’s not that familiar with the genre – I think I’ve played too many horror games and I’ve developed a resistance. As an Alien game, on the other hand, it’s almost unrivalled. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’d be like to be in the Alien film, this is the game you want to play.


It may not be scary but Alien Isolation is so good I think we can finally forgive Colonial Marines.

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