Non-Fiction Gaming http://www.nonfictiongaming.com News, eSports, Video Games Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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

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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

{rating}

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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KickBeat Special Edition Reviewhttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/kickbeat-special-edition-review/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/kickbeat-special-edition-review/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 22:59:43 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15507 KickBeat sells itself as a cross between a fighting game and a rhythm game. It’s the kind of game I've always wanted to play and thought would go well together.





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Source: http://megagames.com/sites/default/files/game-images/kick-beat-special-edition.jpg

KickBeat sells itself as a cross between a fighting game and a rhythm game. It’s the kind of game I’ve always wanted to play and thought would go well together. Martial arts and dancing are very similar in many ways, requiring both coordination and rhythm, so it seems like a natural fit to add some music to a fight scene.

Unfortunately KickBeat from Zen Studios shoots itself in the foot in a number of ways, so a game with so much potential falls completely flat.

 

They were Kung-Fu fighting

 

KickBeat is a rhythm game wearing the skin of an 80’s or 90’s kung-fu action movie. Your character stands in the centre of the stage, completely surrounded by enemies. They attack in time to the music and the player has to press the prompted button to counter them before being hit in the face. As far as premises for games go, this sounds pretty darned awesome.

Source: http://kickbeat.com/images/screenshots/KickBeat_09.jpg

Double punch!

Mechanically, the game works just fine too. It can tell perfectly well if the timing is bad, good or perfect (as well as a miss), and the button presses match each song’s beat and rhythm quite well. There are also extra points and power ups to collect which help you pass the stages easier and with a higher score which help add a bit of variety to gameplay.

The visuals are also quite nice as well. The characters have a lanky cartoon stylisation, not dissimilar to TimeSplitters 2. The stages have incredibly nice lighting and all the textures and objects look extremely crisp giving everything a neon futuristic look, not unlike something set in Neo-Tokyo.

The story that plays out also uses cool artwork that is a joy to stare at. It uses strong colours and dramatically contrasting lighting to make the visuals pop, like an animated comic book. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out the artists are professional comic book illustrators actually.

Source: http://cdn.destructoid.com//ul/260938-KB1.jpg

Seriously. The art is cool

Unfortunately these are all the positives I could find and they are not enough to hold KickBeat up…

 

Dividing your attention

 

Every single problem with KickBeat boils down to one single word: presentation. From audio, to scripting, to the gameplay, it all falls down when it comes to how it’s presented.

During gameplay there is just far too much happening on screen to truly be able to get into the rhythm of the game. Your character is completely surrounded in every stage, meaning you have to simultaneously watch four directions at once. Most rhythm games choose to focus your eyes in one place (bottom of the screen for Guitar Hero, top of the screen for DDR,etc). Watching four points could have feasibly worked but every enemy circles around you before striking, making it extremely difficult and frustrating to work out what order the attack will come in.

Source: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/O0YopIZEbyQ/maxresdefault.jpg

Errr… I think the back one is coming first?

On top of the cluster of enemies you have to try to focus on, they also come in a variety of colours to signify the rhythm. Yellow enemies attack on the beat, blue come in quick succession on half beats and red attack from two directions at once. This variation in gameplay would be welcome in theory but is loathed in reality as you struggle to take in all the visual information. Not to mention the power ups and score bonuses mean you have to double tap the enemy, further adding to the confusion which is made worse by the fact that at least 60% of the enemies are double taps.

Then there are the backgrounds (especially in the first two sets of songs) which interfere with your perception. It’s hard to identify whether an enemy is red or yellow if the whole stage is already bathed in red lighting. And in what seems to be a suicidal decision, they made the first variation of enemies wear generic black commando gear, which can only be distinguished by looking at their clothes trimming. Why they made it so hard to start with is beyond me.

Source: http://bulk2.destructoid.com/ul/227925-hd.jpg

Spot the difference

KickBeat’s story also seems a bit of a mess. The artwork is great, but it feels like it should be in a post-apocalyptic or cyber-punk thriller story. It looks so dark and dramatic which clashes with the overall tone of the game, or at least gives the KickBeat a darker tone than is appropriate for a rhythm game.

The story could have worked if they played it straight and made an epic (if ridiculous) tale of all the worlds music being stolen. But they throw in the occasional awkward joke or reference to Justin Bieber which I assume is an attempt to lighten the story but just sticks out like a knife in a birthday cake.

 

Sounds like trouble

 

KickBeat also suffers from a lack of variety in music. Most of the songs are some form of metal (I’m not music literate enough to identify the specifics but it includes Papa Roach if that helps) with a couple of electronic dance tracks to spice things up.

While there is nothing wrong with that, the songs start sounding the same when you play them back to back. In fact, besides one Marilyn Manson and Papa Roach song (because I knew both songs), I can’t name a single artist or track whose name I can remember.

It also feels like KickBeat missing a lot of sound effects. Your warrior will perform an elaborate take down during songs but there are no sound effects when the punches and kicks land. Similarly, there is no sound of impact when you character is attacked.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/images/extra/GAMES2/large/kickbeat/kickbeatscr_023-large.jpg

I’m about to split this guys head in half and there is no sound. It’s eerie

When your own attacks connect there is no sound variety either. Regardless of whether you punch their skull, throw them over you or kick them in the stomach, it all used a weak slapping sound effect which can barely be heard over the music. It becomes quite distracting and ruins immersion, basically destroying the illusion of being in a battle.

All these problems with visual and sound presentation meant that I never looked forward to playing KickBeat, and that is never a good sign.

 

Final Verdict: 4/10

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KickBeat had a lot of promise with a solid premise, functional mechanics and crisp visuals. Sadly, it’s confusing visual design, poor usage of sound effects, confused story tone and soundtrack with a limited variety all constantly hinder player enjoyment and make it a frustrating experience.

Fans of rhythm games like Ouendan or One Finger Death Punch might gain some pleasure from the game due to its challenging gameplay spanning four difficulties. Just know that the difficulty does not come from well-paced challenge, but poor design.

 

KickBeat Special Edition is available on Wii U, XBox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita. Also available for download on PC via Steam.

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Pokémon TCG Online iPad Releasehttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/pokemon-tcg-online/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/10/pokemon-tcg-online/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:03:22 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15468 Pokémon TCG Online is available on iPad and iPad mini for free with additional in-game purchases which include booster packs and complete decks.





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Pokémon TCG Online

Pokémon TCG Online

Pokémon TCG Online has finally hit iTunes, this deck builder trading card game has pushed through the development process relatively fast when comparing it to Hearthstone and other trading card game apps.

Pokémon TCG Online is available on iPad and iPad mini for free with additional in-game purchases which include booster packs and complete decks. Ultimately Pokémon TCG Online is a port from the Mac and PC versions released in beta back in 2011. Pokémon TCG has a decently sized community and the transition to the digital platform seems to be met with good reception.

Pokémon TCG Online

Pokémon TCG Online

Gotta catch ‘em all, Pokemon!



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Everyone Games: Some More PAX Australia Panelshttp://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/09/everyone-games-pax-australia-panels/ http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/2014/09/everyone-games-pax-australia-panels/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:52:14 +0000 http://www.nonfictiongaming.com/?p=15447 It doesn't matter if you Crush Candies, Construct Pylons or run around in a Cuirass, there are PAX Australia Panels to suit you. All Gamers are welcome.





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PAX Australia Journey

A month to go until PAX Australia as we say goodbye to September and slide into October. So we thought you’d like a look at some more PAX details.

Back to the PAX Australia Panel Schedule

PAX has always been about creating a safe place for gamers from all walks of life to come together and stand in queues to see awesome nerdy things. Outside of PAX sometimes that inclusive message is lost or ignored, some of the panels this year will be touching on that subject and what we can do to promote a positive community.

Being a gamer is such a wide title now that it encompasses a huge amount of the population. It doesn’t matter if you Crush Candies, Construct Pylons or run around in a Cuirass, anyone has the right to identify as a gamer.

Indeed, we even get documentaries about games like, “Video Games: the Movie” discussing what it means to be a ‘gamer’. All this and more to be on show at PAX Australia 2014.

 

Everyone Games: Creating Inclusive Gaming Communities

PAX Australia Panel Everyone Games

Saturday, November 1st at 1:30pm in the Galah Theatre

Gamers are usually stereotyped as straight white men. But is that really accurate, or are a lot of people being excluded by mainstream gaming culture? Why do spaces like the PAX Diversity Lounge and groups like “Gaymers” exist? Do they provide a real benefit, or do they just segregate a community that should be united by our common interests?

This panel is an open introduction to these issues, and will explore what we can ALL do, as gamers, to create more vibrant and inclusive communities.

Panelists include:

  • Ethan Lesh [Founder, Melbourne Gaymers]
  • Alice Clarke [Diversity Lounge Co-Curator, PAX]
  • Joshua Meadows [Co-Organiser, Sydney Gaymers]
  • Jayden Williams [Writer, MMGN]
  • Ashley Zeldin [Independent Developer, Adorkable Games/IGDA Los Angeles]

Women in Video Games: Improving Things for Everyone’

PAX Australia Panel Women in Video Games

Saturday, November 1st at 5:00pm in the Kookaburra Theatre

Most areas of video games currently seem to have a problem with gender equality. Whether it’s the small percentage of women on development teams, few games with complex female characters, harassment of female industry members and gamers, or the general level of ignorance and intolerance.

What can we do to make this better? “We”, the average community member, blogger, site owner, developer, community manager, gamer. as they look to what are the things we can do, large or small, to move towards some solutions?

Panelists:

  • Join Rebecca Fernandez (IGDA Sydney),
  • Mary King (Digital Marketing Consultant),
  • Nicole Stark (Disparity Games),
  • James Dominguez (Fairfax Media),
  • Tara Brannigan (PikPok)
  • Leigh Harris (Flat Earth Games)

 

Video Games: The Movie (Making of The Film)

video games the movie

Friday, October 31st at 6:00pm in the Galah Theatre

Come look behind the scenes of the 3 year-long process of independent filmmaking that brought “Video Games: The Movie” to life. With behind the scenes clips featuring Sean Astin, Zach Braff, Wil Wheaton as well as many game industry icons like Nolan Bushnell, Cliff Bleszinski, David Perry and more.

Video Games: The Movie, a feature-length documentary, aims to educate & entertain audiences about how video games are made, marketed, and consumed by looking back at gaming history and culture through the eyes of game developers, publishers, and consumers.

The film is not just another film about the games industry, but attempts something much more ambitious; the question of what it means to be a ‘gamer’, a game maker, and where games are headed. Storytelling and the art of the video game medium are also explored in this first of its kind film about the video game industry & the global culture it has created.

Director Jeremy Snead hosts a variety of people from the film as they discuss not only the independent spirit that made the film possible, but where the game industry is headed in the future.

Panelists:

Jeremy Snead [President, Mediajuice Studios]

Queering Video Games: LGBT Representation and Why It Matters

PAX Australia Panel Gaymers LGBT

Friday, October 31st at 3:00pm in the Galah Theatre

How can video games explore queer themes and stories? Why is it even a problem if they don’t? What impact does the lacklustre depiction of LGBT characters have on gamers? Most importantly, what steps are developers taking to improve that representation in games?

Join a panel of experienced queer developers – ranging from indie to AAA – for an inside look at gay games, LGBT content in mainstream titles, and the challenges of making games that represent the diversity of the people who play them.

Panelists include:

  • James Dominguez [Games Writer, Fairfax Media]
  • Jeffrey Yohalem [Lead Writer, Ubisoft Montreal]
  • Liam Esler [Writer/Scripter, Beamdog]
  • Luke Miller [Indie Developer, Up Multimedia]
  • Michelle Osborne [Lecturer, SAE Institute]

 

Live Action Gaming: The Very Real World of Real World Gaming

PAX Australia Panel Live Action Gaming

Saturday, November 1st at 5:00pm in the Fruitbat Theatre

As technology evolves to immerse us as much as possible in virtual worlds we explore the benefits of actual reality as a platform for gaming.

We will be discussing mediums such as Escape Rooms, LARP and Laser Skirmish, how these are being advanced with new technology and also what the future holds for “LAG”ing.

Panelists include:

  • Lee Weller [Game Designer, Tech Assault]
  • Ross Koger [Founder, Box Wars]
  • Phil Krins [Director, Sword Craft]
  • Drew Hobbs [Gameplay Writer/Director, IRL Shooter]
  • Scott Vandonkelaar [Director, Zero Latency]
  • Matthew Lee [Co-Founder, Enigma Room Sydney]

 

You’ll need to check out our PAX Australia survival guide if you’re planning on avoiding the pitfalls of a convention weekend.

Some PAX tickets are still available through the official website.

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