Non-Fiction Gaming http://www.nonfictiongaming.com News, eSports, Video Games Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:06:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 ‘Lost Sea’ Procedurally Generated Strategy Gamehttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/lost-sea-procedurally-generated-strategy-game/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/lost-sea-procedurally-generated-strategy-game/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:06:46 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15620 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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LostSea_01

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.

LostSea_04

 

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.

LostSea_07

“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.

LostSea_16

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 – Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/legend-korra-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/legend-korra-review/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:12:57 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15609 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

Overall

{rating}

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 Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/super-smash-bros-3ds-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/super-smash-bros-3ds-review/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:00:21 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15577 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 (Amazon.com)

 

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

bottom_screen_super_smash_bros_3ds

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.

Overall

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 Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/borderlands-pre-sequel-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/borderlands-pre-sequel-review/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:15:49 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15597 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.

Overall

{rating}

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: Inquisitionhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/new-trailer-dragon-age-inquisition/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/new-trailer-dragon-age-inquisition/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:58:57 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15569 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 Phantasmalhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/hands-phantasmal/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/hands-phantasmal/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:58:43 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15554 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.

 

phan 4

 

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

 Combat

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.

 

phan 3

 

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 eSporthttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/down-to-one-makes-survival-an-esport/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/down-to-one-makes-survival-an-esport/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 06:28:06 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15482 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.

ThirdPerson_Karaborum_AKRock_2pp_Prealpha_Bloom

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.

FirstPerson_Karaborum_AK_1pp_Prealpha_Bloom_Shadow

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.

FirstPerson_Karaborum_AK_1pp_Prealpha_Bloom_Shadow (2)

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 Isolationhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/day-one-alien-isolation/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/day-one-alien-isolation/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 14:03:51 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15528 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 (Amazon.com)

 

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.

Presentation

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.

isol2

 

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

 

Gameplay

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.

 

ai 2

 

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.

 Overall

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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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/middle-earth-shadow-mordor-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/middle-earth-shadow-mordor-review/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:04:16 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15504 Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a fun and entertaining game with only a few issues here and there but overall a solid open world title.





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Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor Title Screen

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

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

Developer: Monolith Productions

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Price: $49.99 (GameFanShop – PC) – $59.99 (Amazon.com)

Shadow Of Mordor

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

 

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review Transcript:

I have always found Orcs to be the peon race of any fictional lore; whether it’s Lord of the Rings or Elder Scrolls, the race just seems to do the bidding for some higher power with greater purpose. In Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, I discovered a new found respect and enjoyment for the Orcish race and become immersed in the hierarchical structure of their political systems, in other words, Orcs are freaking badass.

Fighting my way through hordes of Orcish warriors, captains and Warchiefs, this game really does make you feel as if you’re in Mordor turning the tide of the upcoming war. Developed by WBgames, the guys who brought you the Batman: Arkham series, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a fun and entertaining game with only a few issues here and there but overall a solid open world title.

Being an open world title you almost have to make your own fun when the story finishes. And honestly, I am okay with that until the point when the game becomes repetitious and boring. The hours spent trying to Promote Pug the Humiliator to War chief with infinite power was insane, just so I could have an interesting battle that was on some sort of difficulty scale.

Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor Menu Screen

You play as Talion, a Ranger who fights for revenge and the sweet release of death after the loss of his wife Loreth, and his son Dirhael. After the loss of his loved ones Talion became “possessed” by Celebrimbor, who in Lord of the Rings lore has a massive role in the origins of the saga. Without giving too much away from this game’s story, this title almost feels like filler for anyone who wanted to know about the origins of the Lord of the Rings backstory but was too lazy to pick up the books, like me.

The story itself threw a lot of information at me during the introductory stages of the game, but I could not help but want more of this amazing lore. Throughout the game Celebrimbor unlocks missing memories about who and what he was prior to “possessing” Talion. The slow hand feeding of the story was well paced and made for an enjoyable play through. If you are looking to buy this game and you tend to rush the story to completion, then you will not have much of an experience.

One issue that I had with this title is the lack of story length, the amount of content given is a little lackluster. It took me a solid 15 hours to get through the game at a strolling pace, completing side missions and murdering Orcs for funsies. With day one season pass, we can look forward to forking out bucket loads of money for trickles of story and gameplay for a year or two to come.

Shadow of Mordor Orc

Tumug the Cannibal, Shadow of Mordor

Playing the game on PC the texture quality was pretty good. I did not know what I was expecting when running the game for the first time, but I was very content with the look and feel of the game. The lack of loading time when traveling through the open world added to the overall good experience with the game. The character models were the standout when talking about the graphical fidelity of the title, every Orc looked amazing. Different descriptors would alter the look and battle style of the Orc which made the game fun and made the player keen to explore more of the game.

Music is something that makes the Tolkin universe, so grand, whether it is throat singing from Dwarfs or Elven vocals, we can always expect the Lord of the Rings universe to send our ears up into the heavens. Music changes when you enter combat or different parts of the map, when in combat the sound of Orcish war drums course through your veins which just add to the frantic nature of fighting hordes of Orcs.

The voice acting in this game is spot on. Every character is voiced to a tee with Orcs having the distinct snarly sound as they do in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Troy Baker, who voices more characters in video games than ever conceivable lends his talent to Talion which cannot be faulted.

Shadow of Mordor Orc

Kothug Quick-Blades, Shadow of Mordor

The Nemesis system is fantastic. After fighting your way through a few lower level Orcs you are pointed in the direction of this hierarchical system where an Orc military structure is presented to you. Gathering intelligence is key in forming strategies on how to best these higher level Orcs in battle and ultimately having lasting effects on the end bosses. After the story is complete, this Nemesis system IS the game. The challenge system focuses solely on killing Chiefs in record time and within different conditions.

This game honestly plays like a Batman game; you are given ability points to unlock different skills and traits very similar to Batman: Arkham series. If you are impressed by the gameplay and feel of the Batman Arkham series I honestly suggest that you pick up this title because you will not be disappointed with the free flowing combo and the nemesis system for the Orcs.

Overall 8.5/10

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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a great game. Even though everything is reminiscent of a Batman Arkham title the overall feel and style of the game is Lord of the Rings and does a pretty good job of owning everything about the genre.

 

Spoiler!

There is one massive issue I had with Shadow of Mordor and that was with the last boss fight. After epic battles with Orcs and different Black Hand bosses you are pitted against the last boss with great anticipation of an awesome battle to come, and then it happens, a ridiculous Quick Time event.

I am not sure whether this was laziness on behalf of the developers or a shortage of time, but it was such a let down to end such a fantastic game with a Quick Time event.

 

Middle Earth: Shadow of mordor is currently available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.

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FIFA 15 Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/fifa-15-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/fifa-15-review/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:06:36 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15496 FIFA 15 includes a whole host of new features, as well as some fan favourites that have returned for EA Sports’ most recent football simulation.





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The closest you can get to being Lionel Messi, without actually being Lionel Messi.

FIFA 15
FIFA is back and includes a whole host of new features, as well as some fan favourites that have returned for EA Sports’ most recent football simulation.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Wii

Developer: EA Canada

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Price: £42.00 (Amazon.co.uk) – $59.96 (Amazon.com)

 

What I Think

I’ve played every game since FIFA 06 so I’m nine years in and I can safely say that FIFA 15 is the most realistic football game that I’ve played, though it’s far from perfect. The most notable changes are the visuals and the impact engine.

Playing on the PlayStation 4 I instantly noticed that players look almost life-like, weather affects playing conditions on the pitch, and even the stadiums are more vibrant, though they can be a little over-exaggerated; for instance a low-league team having 50,000 supporters. Speaking of stadiums however, a deal has resulted in all 20 Barclays Premier League stadiums being included in the game.

These are all subtle changes which could sum the game up perfectly, although it is up to you if a yearly subscription to EA is worth it, as many people simply see the games as a seasonal roster update with slightly crisper looking grass.

 

Features & Improvements

FIFA 15 is a notable progression on its’ predecessor though. The controls are a lot smoother making movement feel good, and players react realistically to goals, missed shots, tackles and fouls. Also lesser skilled players like myself will be happy to know that Defenders and Goalkeepers have been improved and are now considered ‘next-gen’ with their own behaviour and abilities, and will react to certain situations as the match unfolds. Don’t worry they’re not overpowered they just respond better than before, but you’ll probably still be scoring 40 yard screamers.

The most notable game mode that FIFA 15 has to offer is the ever popular Ultimate Team, recognised among various EA Sports games as letting you build your dream squad. One of my criticisms of this however, is that if you don’t plan on parting with more money prepare to play endless matches to get the players you want, as they go for quite a lot on the in-game transfer market.

Other modes include Pro Clubs, where you can get your friends together and play as a team, Online Friendlies, where you can play your friends directly, and Tournament Mode which enables you to set up custom tournaments.

FIFA 15

Same Old FIFA

There are some things that just haven’t changed, and that the game does badly. Starting off with what has followed FIFA 15, the menu. It seems like I’m nit-picking here but the menu is quite complicated (although it looks cool) with some game modes on ‘home’ appearing also on ‘play’ and so on. Also weird issues like lag and some game modes not working properly have been reported as they were in the previous title, though I haven’t come across many problems yet. Finally a returning concern of mine is EA’s Ultimate Team ‘pay to win’ ideology which basically means if you pump enough money into the game you will beat the people who don’t.

The newest issue that has arisen is with the player impact engine – which I actually like. These new animations have appeared to mess with refereeing as I seem to get red carded for perfectly fine tackles nearly every game, and this has never been the case before.

Overall

Overall FIFA 15 is a decent football game considering that it has next to no competition and nothing really to compare it to, with the likes of PES dying out in recent years. It is still one of the best games to play on the sofa with your mates, which is why I’m happy that they have included Tournament Mode this year as it helps to decide who the true Messi of your friend group is, in a fun way.

FIFA 15 Game Modes:

      • Match Day Exhibition – Play offline with friends or AI
      • Ultimate Team
      • Online Seasons
      • Online Friendlies
      • Co-op Seasons – 2v2 matches (New)
      • Practice Arena
      • Pro Clubs
      • Tournament Mode (Returning to FIFA 15)
      • Skill Games
      • Match Day Live – follow your favourite teams
      • EA Sports Football Club
      • Ultimate Team App for Android and IPhone (New)

So what do you think about the latest FIFA? Like it? Hate it? Think that it’s the same as it has always been? Leave a comment!

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