Category: REVIEWS

SteelSteries Wireless Sensei Laser Gaming Edition review

 

Time stands still for no man.

Unless of course you are using a wireless gaming mouse during any one of the myriad titles that players love to populate as they strut their multiplaying stuff across the digital ether. Then, ‘then!’ its a totally different Percolator of Pilchards.

Then!’ its more a case of gamers the world over, and since time immemorial,  ( well, maybe ‘time since the Eighties‘?), suffering staggered frame rates, delayed actions and reactions and teeth-gnashingly annoying bouts of what seems like ‘buffering‘ that are enough to drive grown men into the arms of the console manufacturers….well, maybe not quite ‘that‘ far?

Because of this drop in performance between wired and wireless mice, gamers have always be savvy to the many issues and pitfalls surrounding the wi-fi versions of this imperative peripheral when attempting to partake in their favoured pastime ‘a la PC’.

The dreaded demonic chuckles of ‘ ‘The Lag Leviathan’ can be heard cackling their way across the airwaves through the headsets of frustrated players around the globe as gamers stutter and splutter their way through dungeons in Diablo, and get sprayed as they pray in the ultra realistic military simulator ARMA III.

But no longer, thanks to the talented types that make up gaming’s coolest collection of gadgets and gizmo’s across at SteelSeries.

Battlefield 4 review

Battlefield 4          GmP Gaming    image  logo 2Communicate or you will die. Put your head up in the wrong place and you will die.
I have been playing Battle Field since the beginning. I only play this game PvP, which means that I have also witnessed an endless string of blatant Call of Duty players get sniped and knocked out of the game early in their attempts to rush in guns blazing. Battle Field 4 is a tactical game that requires thought, planning and most of all; communication. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your headset primed and ready, so that you can unite and interact with the other players. I take this part so seriously I invested in a decent Plantronics wireless headset recently. It was worth it. The voices are clearer during the game, which helps to cut through the surrounding noise and I can also use it for work when I need to be hands free. Finally gaming and my job work in harmony.

A Team Based Game

Battle Field is a team based game with 4 different roles. It is an interactive and destructive environment. On PvP you can have up to 64 people playing, which leads to a less predictable and enjoyable gaming experience.
Fully Interactive Environments

The most appealing feature of this game are the huge maps. You can snipe someone from a mile away and fully interact with the environment. If you want to drive a tank, plane, helicopter, boat or quad bike – you can! One of my favourite maps is Paracel storm. The sirens sound, a tropical storm blows in and you get hit by a typhoon. You can’t see a thing and it’s awesome!

Battlefield 4          GmP Gaming    image 4Overall Better Gaming Experience on PS4

Having recently switched from an Xbox 360 to a PS4 Console I was particularly excited to get Battle Field 4. However, in terms of control there are limitations on PS4 that were a little frustrating. On the Xbox 360 you can change your load while waiting to enter a new game and have access to a large version of the map. However, on PS4 you have to wait until you enter the new game to change your load and there is only a mini map available, which is a little disappointing. Having said that, the gaming experience is still massively improved on the PS4 leading to a better overall gaming experience and these changes could just be an update from BF3 -BF4.

A Tactical Game That Requires Communication

Newbies that are used to Call of Duty, don’t stand a chance with Battle Field 4. It’s a tactical game. If you enjoy a challenge and you are looking for a PvP game that will get your heart racing – then Battle Field is the game for you.

The next game I have my eye on is Thief, which is a massive contrast with most of the game played sneaking around in the shadows. I look forward to reporting back soon!

Titanfall review

Titanfall                 GmP                 image 2The multiplayer event of the year is finally here!  EA and Microsoft come together in a meeting of minds as the developers cross their fingers for a console selling smash hit with ReSpawn Studio’s sci-fi shooter. But will the mecha action title fall foul of the fickle FPS crowd? Or will it power on through to take the top spot away from its Call of Duty rivals? Read on and discover the answers to these questions and more in the latest GmP review.

Starting out on the futuristic battlefields that make up the play zones of Titanfall,  Electronic Arts latest fingers-crossed moment as they once again go head -to-head with Activision in their latest bid to wrestle the FPS Number One spot away from ‘Cawl of Doody‘, and players are immediately reminded of all of the things that they love about their favoured genre: grenades, guns and gadgetry of the death-dealing kind. But when you look a little deeper into the affairs of this now more than familiar military-mayhem market the new additions of the hulking great mechanoid warriors that drop meteor like from the sky at your request bring with them the kind of fast-paced, hands-on action that similar robot wars titles such as FEAR, and even Transformers, have never been able to master.

Titanfall’s over-qualified creators have actually managed to pull off one of the most enjoyable ‘bot-based’ experiences that we have ever had the pleasure to enjoy, and when you consider that there is a lot more invested in the success of this title than the creators would have you believe, then you begin to appreciate the amount of effort that must have been put into turning thirty feet tall war-bots into fast-moving and fluid-functioning battle droids capable of putting up a stiff challenge to the dominance of the very game that West and Zampella created for Activision all those years ago, and that ultimately changed the face of videogaming forever!

The brains behind the behemoth that was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare have taken every ounce of their considerable talent and experience and built what has to be one of the most exciting new concepts of this fledgling generation. Titanfall takes everything that you know and love about military-styled shooters and beefs it up as they pack in more players, more weapons, bigger explosions, bigger enemies and bigger maps than anyone else.

Titanfall                 GmP                 image 1The premise is so simple it’s positively bare-bones:

You are on one side or the other of two opposing and similarly equipped armies…and..erm…” F_I_I_IGHT!

And that’s it! No single player to cloud your senses. No Co-oP Mode for the terminally tiresome who cannot hold their own in a multiplayer game. Just two equally matched forces facing off against each other across a devastated battleground as they leap, sprint, wall-hang and glide across the ruined backdrops before engaging in some of the most engrossing combat you have  ever experienced in an FPS title.

The gameplay itself is eerily familiar but oddly new in some bizarre twist of events as players get to select their soldier and Titan from any one of the preset selections, altering load out, weaponry and available attributes and assets along the way by earning that all-important in-game XP as you complete challenges and objectives in any one of the 15 excellent game modes.

After deciding on your starting selections and tinkering with your brutish war-bot you then get placed on either side of the combat zone and, depending on mode and mission, the murder and mayhem begins!

Gamers who love nothing more than partaking in the multiplayer staple of Domination, for example,  will begin their tour of duty either leaping from a troop transport dropship as they race to defend and capture their designated area’s, or they will fall to the ground seated in any one of their chosen Titan’s, the namesake of the game itself, as these hulking machines which bring the pain to anything and everything in their vastly destructive path.

Titanfall                 GmP                 image 4Whatever mode you plump for matters not, but it does matter in what ‘skin‘ you begin the game. If you are currently sporting a Human appearance then your experience will be all-out, balls-to-the-wall action with all guns blazing and all frags bursting. But if you find yourself at the controls of a Titan then the gameplay, though still startling fast and furious, will be more tactical as you attempt to avoid being turned into shrapnel by your enemies.

Don’t get ReSpawn Studio’s wrong, however, the Titan’s may well be huge, and they may well be powerful, but they aren’t immune or invulnerable to attack from even foot-based troops and bots armed with portable rocket launchers, or who drop onto the cockpits and hang on to the giants limpet-like before prying off the canopy and splattering its pilot all over the upholstery with a few well-aimed bursts of assault rifle fire.

The description of the marriage between Human and Mecha combat, like some kind of homage to the Redneck riot scene from Spielberg’s movie AI, demonstrates the perfect blend of the two vastly differing approaches to gameplay and the way that they blend seamlessly for a multiplayer experience that is not only satisfying, but is unique in its genre and unsurpassed for adrenalin-fuelled excellence.

The excellence, though, is not contained to the combat as ReSpawn Studio’s shows the correct way to build a multiplayer map with some of the very best combat zones ever to be found in any online shooter. With hidden entrances, nooks and crannies and wall-hang spots a-plenty for players to leap and spring from like armour plated gazelles, Titanfall just has everything that you could possibly wish for in an FPS title.

Graphically stunning and running at a buttery smooth 900p 60 frames per second on the Xbox One, and a simply gorgeous 1080p 60fps pn the PC, this game is, quite frankly so far ahead of its rivals that they would need to borrow a sniper rifle and expand the scope to 4 times just to get it  in view.

number-9-pool-ballOf course, not only are EA and ReSpawn hoping that Titanfall is a massive seller for them, but Microsoft are also hoping that this is a ‘system seller‘ that brings more ‘bums on seats’ for the Xbox One. It IS, and it WILL  Titanfall is ‘that good’. But don’t take our word for it, jump across to EA’s online store here and grab your copy of Titanfall and drop into the hottest action in gaming.   Titanfall gets a thoroughly deserved 9 out of 10

Stay with GmP as we bring you some of the fastest and nest online gameplay from EA’s outstanding shooter on our Twitch TV channel.

 

TITLE:                  
FORMAT:                                               Xbox One            [reviewed])
DEVELOPER:                                        ReSpawn Studio’s

PUBLISHER:                                         Electronic Arts


RELEASE DATE:                                    March 13th, 2014
RRP:                                                          £39.99
PEGI RATING:                                        M for Mature


SCORE OUT OF 10:                                9 out of 10

 

 

 

Max : The Curse of Brotherhood review

Max The Curse of Brotherhood                      GmP Gaming   image logo 1The eyes have it!

The latest downloadable title for Microsoft’s Xbox One console comes to the fore today as we take a look at Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Imagining on first glance that this was some kind of spin off platformer from Ubisoft as they stretch their Assassin’s Creed tentacles out in all directions, ( doesn’t it seem that no matter where you look, and on whatever platform and in whatever genre, that there is an Assassin’s Creed title lurking behind the curtain waiting to spring out like a shadowy thief and run off with your wallet ),  Max: TCoB leaps into action from the very get go with its brightly coloured animations and thoughtful level design.

Having tasted the delights that await all Xbox One owners on every available title for the next-gen system , we can honestly say that it is in the fantastical realm in which our intrepid hero Max finds himself cast as he searches longingly for his magically kidnapped brother, Felix, that we have most enjoyed our stay.

Following the usual format in which every new console gets its own shiny new platformer IP upon launch, Max: TCoB sticks to this time-honoured tradition, even though the game itself is more a re-imagining of the original max and the Magic Marker title from the developer,  whilst at the same time shattering it like cut glass into a million fragments by producing a gameplay and graphical experience that knocks spots off its siblings.

One cannot help but to be impressed by the striking visuals on display, even though the cut scenes themselves are few and far between and when they are on screen they are but fleeting episodes. Max: TCoB manages to give off a mesmeric blend of classic retro-styled platform gaming, in the truest sense of the description, with its 2D animations and tried and tested methodology of traps and pitfalls befalling our young starlet along the way. But, at the same time Max: The Curse of Brotherhood manages to also bring a new and vibrant feel to the proceedings with some innovative level design that see’s the camera, at times, giving off an almost 3D outlook, as the player is drawn ever deeper into the sprawling world that the developers at Press Play have created for our enjoyment.

There is also the extremely clever use of tools, props and atmosphere which all marry their own individual qualities into a bubbling and broiling broth of brilliance as the game moves along at a sparkling, but never breakneck, pace. The timing and the urgency of the ‘life or death’ events, which face Max in every chapter,  are perfectly sprinkled with liberal precision throughout the game’s story, and never once are they spooned in like a massive dollop of ice cream in the middle of a three course meal that causes an immediate explosion of pleasure, but ultimately results in a whopping bout of indigestion and gastric discomfort.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves a little. Le’s first describe the events which lead to our hero’s current family calamity, shall we?

Max The Curse of Brotherhood                      GmP Gaming   image 1The game’s story is set against the back drop of two young brothers in the midst of a pre-pubescent sibling rivalry as older brother Max is greeted with the sight of the younger Felix destroying his bedroom and toys after a hard day’s work at school. In a fit of anger Max wishes his brother would disappear, and like the plot from any number of Vice Versa styled travesties featuring A-listers whose career’s are on the nosedive, Max watches as a magical portal opens up and swallows his younger brother before he can reach out and save him. Only thing for it then?  Let’s get on into this glowing doorway and rescue the little b-b-b ‘brother’.

From here on in players are plunged into the world of the evil genius who has dominion of this realm, the mad, bad and dangerous to know ‘ Mustacho ‘, and it is a sizzling combination of enjoyable environmental puzzles and brain teasers that will have you smiling and grimacing in teeth-gnashing frustration in equal measures.

Max once again has his legendary ‘Magic Marker’ firmly in place, however, thanks to a mysterious Old Woman, who appears to Max only in the form of a disembodied voice, the young explorer soon discovers that his ‘Pen of Destiny’ has new-found powers of construction and destruction thanks to some magical properties bestowed upon it at regular intervals.

Naturally Press Play do not want players becoming ‘all powerful’ in the game’s opening chapter, and so the marker pen is only granted one power at a time, building to take full advantage of the all of the new-found attributes as the game progresses. First on the agenda come the ‘branches’ which will allow Max to safely traverse the perilous environments which can easily see our hero falling to his doom at any given moment.

However, unlike the original title from Press Play, this latest Max game does not allow the marker to draw whatever it wants when it wants, and instead only allows players to create given objects and items at set points an positions along the course of the game. This makes for far more challenging gameplay as the developer is now able to set ever more difficult puzzles and tasks.

Max The Curse of Brotherhood                      GmP Gaming   image 2Make no mistake, this is not some forgiving yawn-fest that will have you breezing through to earn a quick 1000 achievement points to add to you growing collection, far from it. Max: TCoB is testy affair that will try even the most patient of souls, and then come back and poke at them with a stick until they fly off in a fit of rage.

Next comes the ability to build towering earth pillars, topped nicely with a grassy knoll for Max to safely cling to and stand on as he raises himself up to reach whatever outcropping is just out of reach at the levels opening. Then subsequently there are water based powers which allow Max to be jetted across the level as the jets of water power him up and across to new positions.

There are also the fire and hanging vines to take into account, and ultimately there are those parts of the game’s story in which players will be able to mix and match any number of Max’s newly discovered powers so that they better compliment each other and therefore better assist Max to achieve his goal of rescuing his younger brother from the evil Mustacho’s clutches.

Excellent level design see’s players tasked with everything from chase scenes, where you will be fleeing from giant ape-like creatures across a myriad of varying environments, right through to raft building with branches to navigate monster strewn waterways, swinging on jungle vines like some kind of ten year-old Tarzan and firing of fireballs of death like a short-round Sith apprentice.

The controls work very well, and even though there have been a few voices of dissent in the gaming press that have claimed that the controller is not the best option for managing the tasks at hand with the powers given, this is , in fact, a somewhat ridiculous statement given the fact the game is designed to be difficult and tough on the trial and error type format without being so easy to dominate that you basically just ruin end to end in a matter of minutes.

The controls work perfectly well, and if anything the detractors claiming them to be a hindrance should harken back to days when games such as this had nothing more than ‘up, down, left, right jump’ to control the gameplay with. No, wait, that is exactly what Max The Curse of Brotherhood has!  See our point?

So, then, after a trying time of it being chased down and hunted by hulking great gorilla-like monsters, and ripping the hidden ‘eyes’ of Mustacho’s CCTV that litter the game zones, we end up at the infuriating boss fight, but eventually we are successful in our endeavour, and you will be too. But that is the objective.

number-9-pool-ballMax The Curse of Brotherhood is a fun filled romp through some very enjoyable graphics and highly entertaining gameplay. A great example of what platforming can be when a little care and a lot of dedication is ploughed into the development. All told a lot of game for not a lot of money, and one that we can only wholeheartedly recommend.  By far and away the best title to launch on the Xbox One thus far.             9 out of 10

TITLE:                                                   Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
FORMAT:                                              Xbox One              [reviewed]
DEVELOPER:                                         Press Play
PUBLISHER:                                        Microsoft Game Studio’s

 

RELEASE DATE:                                     20 December 2013    
RRP:                                                           £14.99
 

  SCORE OUT OF 10:                             9 out of 10

 

 

 

 

 

Call of Duty Ghosts review Xbox One Version

Call of Duty Ghosts             GmP Gaming        image 3With the next generation of videogame consoles now fully underway we turn our attention to the Mother of All shooter titles, Call of Duty, and ask the questions posed by readers if this really is a current gen game on a next-gen platform? Will Infinity Ward step in to save the franchise, or is Call of Duty just a ‘Ghost’ of it former self? Let’s find out together as we review Activision’s powerhouse FPS title.

Let’s get one thing right from the off shall we? Then, perhaps, we’ll understand each other a little better?  We kinda like Call of Duty. So, with that sentiment ringing in your ears understand us when we say that we will not be jumping on the negativity band wagon, nor will we be taking large chunks out of the game for not being ‘original’, or that it is ‘just another shooter like its predecessor’.  Call of Duty is, and always has been, a first person military shooter, if this offends you, or if you think that because it still is a military based shooter that it hasn’t progressed enough to be worthy of your mediocre praise, then this is not going to be the review for you. Battlefield 4 will be along shortly….or maybe even Killzone Shadowfall if you’re really bored?

So, for the rest of you, the guys and girls who just like to get online and mix it up in the fastest playing shooter title with the most addictive gameplay, let’s begin shall we?

Back following its latest annual change of hands we now have Infinity Ward at the helm of the Good Ship Call of Duty, and boy! Does it ever show! Ghosts explodes back onto your TV screen with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer and all of the usual visual and interactive delights of a Hollywood blockbuster. Looking like the bastard lovechild of a Michael Bay movie and an Andy McNab novel, after its parents had unprotected sex during a drunken encounter at E3, Call of Duty Ghosts is back with more bang for your buck than any other FPS title on the market.

The storyline, this time around at any rate, see’s players stepping into the sneakers of a teenage boy as his father and brother are out exploring the woods around their home. Sounds like one of those perfect ‘Father/Son’ moments that you never had with your Dad. All is going smoothly until a series of ‘tremors’ rocks the vicinity. Rightly puzzled our three family members head towards home for safety, but not before a massive explosion rocks their world. Whatever it is, and Dad seems to know more than he is letting on, as he frantically screams at his two boys to get home whilst at the same time shaking his fist at the sky like some kind of extra from Beowulf yelling: ” Its Odin, I tells ya!

Okay, well, maybe not the ‘I tells ya’? We may have ad-libbed a little there, but you get the general idea, yes?

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   3From here on in everything is pretty much as you would expect from a Call of Duty title, in that we have all of the usual suspects of whistles, bangs, explosions and missiles by the proverbial bucketful. With the  ‘enemy’ this time being made up of a United States of South America, as the Southern Hemisphere countries of the American continent unite under a single banner to form the new ‘Federation’, ( insert scary music here ). The scene is set, then, for the upcoming tale of a country brought to its knee’s by a shadowy foreign power, and with its military being scattered to the four winds they now rely on the skills of the elite few men and women, ( yes! you read that right! ‘women’ are part of the Call of Duty line up for the first time in the franchises history ).of the secretive ‘Ghost’ squadron as the tables are turned on the former super power US as they are attacked from within by their own weapons, following some ingenious hacking by some cyber types and action-boffins. Ghosts offers up a mesmeric tale of terror and battling against the odds. The question of whether or not the mission will be a success requires only one more thing to tip the balance in favour of the ‘Good Guys’, and that, dear GmP reader…..is you!

Make no mistake about it, although the franchise may now be clocking on in years, Call of Duty still enters into the FPS arena with a spring in its step more representative of a younger man, and let’s be honest here, what it does…it always does very well, and far better than the competition.

The single player may have come in for a little bit of flak from the world’s gaming media, often being labelled as ‘last gen’, but ‘last gen’ in comparison to what, exactly?  There is no doubt about it that when you see Call of Duty: Ghosts being played on the Xbox One then it is a far superior version than even its well established Xbox360 sibling, ( and head and shoulders above the PlayStation 3 edition ), but if the truth be told of the quality of the gameplay and the handling of the features the Call of Duty has never looked better, across any of the available platforms.

Speaking of the available features, Call of Duty Ghosts is positively littered with new additions to the single, co-op and multiplayer formats. One cannot even begin to mention the solo outing without first embarking on a glowing testimonial of ‘Riley’, the now infamous Call of Duty attack hound.

RileyNamed after the much renowned ‘Ghost’ character from the Modern Warfare storyline, Riley is the German Shepherd ‘Ghost-est with the most-est’. Packed with pixels and polygons that grant this canine character  some truly lifelike attributes, this is one pooch that you wouldn’t want to bump into down a darkened alley after a few rounds of sherbet’s at your local boozer. Riley is anything but a token sideshow and, thanks to a veritable arsenal of tech and weaponry all strapped to his Kevlar combat harness, he is a definite attribute to his duo of Human partners.

Players are able to take control of the K-9 unit at various points along the way as the game’ storyline progresses, and they will soon discover that having their four-legged friend at their beck and call to smash through windows and savage the Hell out of enemy soldiers inside buildings is a definite bonus.

Riley is also available for an excellent slant on a staple of any FPS title, in that Infinity Ward have allowed the player to take the reins, so to speak, of the dog itself as you sneak through a stealth level deciding to bypass or kill targets along the way as you see fit. This new take on an old favourite works very well indeed, and if anything only serves to leave the player begging for more of the same in later levels. Alas, however, such segues into the stealth ninja doggy are few and far between.

But it isn’t just your new-found puppy that has all the good gadgets and guns, not by a long chalk. Everything from abseiling, sorry ‘rappelling’, down the side of exploding skyscrapers to swimming with realistic fishies has been given a far glossier touch by the collective of developers all pulling together to make Call of Duty Ghosts the far prettier spectacle that it so very much is. Especially in comparison to earlier offerings in the series.

Players are also treated to a new armoury full of updated AK’s, MTAR’s and sniper rifles with all of the present day firearms being given a gloss of fresh paint and some snazzy new attachments to bring them screaming into the next generation of firearms.

Naturally with the new weapons come new issues, such as the far more realistic recoils, pulling to the side with the faster firing sub machine guns and assault rifles, as well as the noticeable weight difference when carrying say, a pistol to a heavy belt fed or box fed machine gun. Gone are the days of merely point and shoot as players must now learn to compensate for life threatening weave and bob as you blast away with your weapon of choice. It is in these kinds of details that Infinity Ward have given Call of Duty a far greater sense of realism.

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   4This sense of added accuracy when it comes to everything from the way that the weapons handle to the damage dealt and taken does not end there either, the environment now comes in for greater attention, also, thanks to the new engine adopted by Infinity Ward. This now allows the player to experience a far deeper sense of immersion into the game’s storyline as they dodge falling chunks of masonry from shattered citadels and church’s. Players now get treated to a much more believable sense of urgency in moments of high drama as they strive to avoid being crushed, drowned, blown up or decapitated by falling tree’s, crumbling skyscrapers and flaming vehicles being tossed around the battlefield like confetti thanks to some truly impressive physics all supplied by that aforementioned new Infinity Ward engine.

Although still not as long as some people may wish for, the staff here at GmP included in that sentiment, Ghosts does supply an excellent outing for the single player mode, and should you wish to return to the event with the difficulty level set a notch higher each time, then there are four returns available to you, but be warned: The learning curve when you increase the settings from even Recruit to Hardened will give even the most competent shooter player a run for his money.

One totally new addition to the series is the competent ‘Extinction’ mode, where players will take on waves of re-spawning alien beasts as they attempt to battle their way through the screeching hordes hoping to destroy the monsters’ nests before they rip your character to pieces.

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   Extinction 1Obviously a move to try to satisfy the unquenchable thirst for Zombies built up by their counterparts at Treyarch, Infinity Ward are definitely onto a winner with Extinction, although quite why the two studio’s could not have just come together in a meeting of minds to bring the Call of Duty faithful the mode that they really all wanted is, quite frankly, beyond us? But, nevertheless, Extinction will still satisfy that itch and reach the parts other shooters cannot.

Co-oP is back for more of the same, and if you haven’t played through any Call of Duty title with a friend or loved one in tow then shame on you! Co-oP is one of the most endearing and positive aspects to any title, but in Call of Duty it is a definite reason to keep on returning time and time again to the main storyline’s missions. Whether you want to try to beat your last scores and times, or whether you just want to get together with a few pals and settle in for some manic mayhem of the military kind, then Call of Duty Ghosts has the perfect mode for you.

Another shining new feather in the Call of Duty cap is ‘Clan Wars’, the mobile app that has set the forums alight with its bonus content, additional attributes and even achievement earning features. Players are able to create, manage and compete with their own clans all thanks to the new Smartphone/Tablet app, ( available here ), and all for the added price of ‘nothing!’. Brilliant!

Another ‘brilliant’ inclusion into the gameplay mode list of lovelies is the gentle introduction to the games’ multiplayer with the training grounds that are ‘Squads’.  This is as to tutorial as L plates are to learner drivers: compulsory and necessary. If you are a total novice, or if you are familiar with the format of Call of Duty online but just feel that you would like to get to grips with the new weapons and maps before you throw yourself headlong into the chaos that is multiplayer warfare, then Squads is the place for you.

Fully customizable load-outs and weapons, as well as being able to populate the opposing teams with both friends and extremely competent AI combatants, Squads will be the place where a lot of players cut their teeth before they get down to main course of the full multiplayer mode. But do not underestimate the computer assisted opposition, as you will do so at your own peril.

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   2One excellent advantage to stopping off at the all-new Squads section of the game is that this is where Activision and Infinity ward allow players to build their own personalized personae from the ground up in the ‘Create a Character’ feature. A definite tick in the plus box, Create a Character means that players can earn XP, sample and try out a variety of new weapons and attachments, as well as earning enough points for snazzy *uniform upgrades, ( * NB: although do be advised that you only get a ‘preview’ of what the new uniform and its colour will look like, and the game itself will auto-select the appropriate outfit for whichever map you are about to play ).

The bonuses to be earned in Squads do not finish up with mere aesthetics, however. Players may also transport their character with them wherever they go, as they travel to friends, for example, they will be to sign in on any Xbox360 and/or Xbox One, and the newly crafted character, complete with attributes, skills and arsenal,  will be automatically taken across with you. This works exactly the same for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

However, if you are one of the legion of avid Nintendo gamers playing Ghosts on your Wii U, then you will be able to command and control your Clan Wars crew, as well as customize your created character, from the comfort of the excellently taken advantage of Gamepad. Which, in effect, takes over fully the features of the Smartglass-cum-App Store application.

This seamless transition of data from one platform to the next across the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live is not the only silky smooth switch made by Infinity Ward when it comes to Call of Duty Ghosts, though.  As those players who have had the benefit of spending any time on the Xbox One version will attest too. The brighter, more detailed environments of the next generation edition of Xbox One’s Ghosts is clearly superior to the PlayStation 4, but that’s more a fault on the part of Sony’s own network rather than on the transference of  gameplay and data made by the developer. Nowhere is that more blatantly obvious than when players see Call of Duty Ghosts being enjoyed in its natural habitat of Xbox Live as it silkily plays through at a constant 60 frames per second with consummate ease.

Speaking of silky smooth….

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   5Moving on to the multiplayer and here we come to the mode that most of you out there will be spending your time with.  Now with the added bonus of having Activision hosted dedicated servers Call of Duty Ghosts steams into the FPS action with all the ferocity of a pouncing tiger! But if you were expecting things to have gone back to the good old days of the run and gun masterpiece that was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, as promised by Infinity Ward yet again, then you may have to change your initial thoughts.

Back for more explosive online action Ghosts kicks off proceedings with an all-new layout, points systems, weaponry, uniforms, create a character and load-out menu. It does not disappoint. Players can opt for their own Squads character, or they may choose from any one of the available preset selections including, for the first time, female avatars.

Once you have selected your gender, kit and choice of uniform then it is on to your first major decision of your online career: weaponry.

Infinity Ward have been nothing if not inventive when it comes to beefing up the arsenal of players who are being asked to imagine available weaponry that may only be but a few short years away from genuine production. With that in mind, then, how hard it must have been to stay within the realms of the realistic and not venture off into the science fiction is truly an understatement, indeed.  It may appear a trifling matter to design a few weapons of the future based upon todays current technology, but to then add the attachments, performance, handling and range whilst all at the same time making the rifles and guns appear believable, and not look like they come straight out of a Babylon 5 episode, is quite something else.

All of the weapons, Primary, Secondary , with the exception of the optional secondary launchers, come with their own particular gadgets and gizmo’s to enhance the feel and performance of the chosen death-dealer. Everything from armour-piercing rounds and extra magazines right through to the more tactically advantageous items such as the Variable Scope and the Handgrip are on offer to players once they have performed the mandatory requirements and collected enough ‘Squad Points’.

Squad Points can be earned via challenges, of which players are tasked with things such as killing with particular weapons or performing streak kills and capturing objectives, and also from within Squads itself, albeit at a far slower rate due to the combat taking place between AI Bots and Humans.

Although a great many game types are on offer to those players selecting the Standard, or ‘Core’, gameplay option, there are somewhat limited choices for those of you looking for the more challenging action to be found in the games Hardcore mode. Indeed, there were only a meagre three options until the recent inclusion of Domination to the Hardcore line up.

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image  camping 1This does, somewhat, explain the rather disturbing lack of attention paid to the more genuine gamer, when it comes to the online segments of Call of Duty, as well as other similar FPS titles.  The men in suits that make the decisions could really care less about the ‘real gamers’, and so instead pander to the masses, often permitting even the most loathed parts of the gameplay which allows the ‘non gamer’ to simply camp down surrounded by everything from radars, booby traps, mines, IED’s, attack dogs and so much more, as they select those same predictable ‘one shot kill’ weapons of the sniper rifle, over powered pistols and shotguns as well as then adding the most game enhancing of perks as they sit back and build up enough points to let the killstreak rewards then take over and play the game out for them.

This ‘dumbing down’ of the Call of Duty franchise has left the ‘real gamer’ with little doubt that their days are numbered in the series, and so because of this Call of Duty has seen a gradual movement of players shifting away from Ghosts and Black Ops II, and into the arms of titles such as Arma III, Battlefield 4 and even older titles such as S.T.AL.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat and Red Orchestra,  for example. Hell, even Left 4 Dead has seen its player numbers rocket.

But, as we have seen in the past this will not affect the way that Call of Duty as a multiplayer game panders to its non-gamer masses as, at the end of the day, they are the ones in the majority and they are the ones buying all of the DLC, Season Passes and other such additional content as the infamous reticule and weapon skin packs.

Of course, some may argue that labelling the large proportion of these players as ‘non gamers’ is somewhat ‘elitist’ in its approach, however, we can only sympathise with the sentiment. How many times have you looked into a players gamer card and compared games only to discover that they have only ever played Call of Duty, and not even bothered to manage the solo campaign on its simplest setting.  As we say, ‘non gamer’ is about as perfect a moniker for these ‘players’ as it gets.

So, then., with that what does the future hold for Call of Duty? Well, only time will tell, but what Activision fails to realise is that even those players who were the last gen’s ‘non gamers’ and ‘campers’ have themselves ‘grown up’, so to speak, and with that they are actually looking for more challenging gameplay, as opposed to merely hiding in any one of the purpose-built corners surrounded by claymores and bouncing betties for the duration of hostilities. With that, they themselves, the one-time ‘non gamers‘ are now also looking for genuine gun-on-gun action, of the kind that made Modern Warfare and the Call of Duty franchise synonymous with having  the best online shooter action.

call of duty ghosts                         GmP Gaming     image   7Aside from the teeth-gnashingly frustrating time that the corner-hugging campers deliver in Activision and Infinity Ward’s seminal shooter series, Call of Duty Ghosts is still, nevertheless, ‘the’ FPS title of the year once again.  Maybe there was a new engine built from the ground up for the Xbox One and the next-gen introduction of the world’s favourite shooter, and maybe there wasn’t? Whatever you choose to believe the facts do remain the same that Call of Duty is still the ‘go to guy’ for first person shooter players around the globe.

The sheer weight of new additions to not only the graphics, but also the gameplay, features, modes and even the very character models themselves should mean that Call of Duty Ghosts has been scoring even higher in the reviews than its predecessor, Black Ops II, did? Shouldn’t it?

Well, if you have been reading some of the short and sweet ditties from any one of the host of websites and publications who have been giving Ghosts a somewhat frosty reception, then ‘no’, would have to be the reply.

Quite why and how some of these publications, from apparently reputable journalists, have come to their conclusions and awarded Call of Duty Ghosts the scores that they did is, quite frankly, beyond us?  These are the same publications and journo’s that positively applauded Black Ops II, and then when they get all of the improvements and all of the upgrades, as well as a good deal many more, not to mention a veritable feast of extra features and modes, then they score the next game in the series ‘down’? Just seems a little odd to us, is all. Yes, we may have our own personal online gripes with Ghosts, but at the heart of this review is the fact of the matter that what call of Duty does do, they still do better than anyone else out there. That is just a fact.

So, with the facts being delivered like a round to the chest from a high-powered sniper rifle all we have to do now is give you our own conclusions and final scoring for Call of Duty Ghosts. Given the tough task that both Treyarch and  Infinity Ward have on their hands to deliver to the ever-growing, ever-demanding Call of Duty community a new and stunning title every twelve months, then we have to say that what we believe that IW have achieved is nothing short of remarkable. To be constantly improving, tinkering and updating their basic franchise package, but in such a way as to not totally alienate their entire customer base, is nothing short of miraculous, to say the least.

The fact that in one year alone Infinity Ward have managed to update and reinvent their title is a testament to the dedication that these men and women who make up the development teams, have to themselves, their fans and their ‘baby’: the game itself.

Quite what the naysaying detractors and the biro carrying boo-brigade expect from a title that has somehow managed to stay a constant one step ahead of the competition for some considerable years now, is beyond us here at GmP? But, we have to say that we think that the developer has done a stellar job of bringing Call of Duty into the next generation.

Looking far sharper, and with so much detail at times you almost forget that they are not actually ‘your’ hands clutching your spiffy new rifle, Call of Duty Ghosts has brought with it, this year, a whole wealth of content and features that any other game would absolutely kill for! Not content with merely wiping the floor with the competition on consoles, they have also given both the PC and the mobile gamers something to craw about with an excellent app addition which allows players not only to keep a tab on their profile, and mark their progress throughout the game, but the Call of Duty  app also grants payers access to a new world of wonders with the simply excellent: Clan Wars. ( and another bonus on the mobile is Xbox Smartglass and Call of Duty Elite ) On top of that comes the sheer spectacular quality of the game running on PC, as most of our readers can already attest too.

number-8-pool-ballAll in all Call of Duty Ghosts still does more than most, and better than everyone. It is still the number one shooter title, and it still has the largest online console community for any title in any genre. ( even FIFA doesn’t topple this FPS juggernaut ). So, if it’s multiplaying magnificence with the fastest fighting format in the shooter genre that you are after, then Call of Duty Ghosts just has to be the game for you.  Building on the success of last years Black Ops II with a wealth of features, new additions and enhanced graphics we give Call of Duty Ghosts a whopping 8 out of lovely 10.

 

 

 

Developer(s) Infinity Ward

Publisher(s) Activision Square-Enix (Japan)
Writer(s) Stephen Gaghan
Composer(s) David Buckley
Series Call of Duty
Engine IW Engine Havok
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4 Wii U Xbox 360 Xbox One
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U & Xbox 360  November 5, 2013[ November 14, 2013 December 14, 2013 PlayStation 4  November 15, 2013 November 29, 2013 February 22, 2014 Xbox One  November 22, 2013
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Optical disc, download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryse: Son of Rome Review

Ryse Son of Rome           GmP Gaming     image 1Microsoft take gamers on a gladiatorial revenge match in their launch day title Ryse: Son of Rome. But will this former Kinect title ‘rise’ to the occasion? Or will it be a case of a thumbs firmly down from Nero for the all-action hack and slash title? Let’s find out in the GmP review of Ryse: Son of Rome.

If Microsoft were looking for someone to take hold of the launch day flag and carry t into the battle for the hearts and minds of gamers as we begin a new generation of Xbox consoles then they hit the nail firmly on the head when they entrusted their Xbox One launch title to the hands of the talented Crytek types, the ingenious developers behind the luscious Crysis franchise that leaves gamers drooling in anticipation at the end of each press conference.

Ryse: Son of Rome may not set the videogaming world alight for originality or innovation, but what it will do is highlight Microsoft’s commitment to gamers that they will be pulling out all of the stops in the coming generation to deliver some of the most entertaining and impressive titles they could hope for.

In stark comparison to what Sony did with their own launch title, Killzone Shadowfall, Microsoft opted to hand gamers what they all claim to desire more than anything else when they are in the market for a new console, and that is a thoroughly enjoyable title with excellent visuals and captivating gameplay that centres around an engrossing storyline. Sony should take note: just because a game is pretty, does not necessarily make it the entertaining and fun to play.

After an opening full of pitched battles as we get tossed to the lions, so to speak, against a massive Barbarian horde hellbent on sacking Rome and taking her spoils for themselves, we are told, in retrospect, of the events that have led our hero Marius to his current predicament, and also that of Rome’s itself.

Ryse Son of Rome           GmP Gaming     image  2We join Marius Tybus, a young man following in his fathers footsteps as he enlists into the 2nd Legion during the reign of the Emperor Nero. All is well in the world of our hero, until one fateful day when a lethal attack is perpetrated against his family by assailants unknown. Naturally there is more than a hint of intrigue and subterfuge thrown into the pot for those players who manage to spot the motif emblazoned on the hilt of the weapons that kill young Marius’s parents, but more on that when you get to enjoy this title for yourselves.

Beautifully crafted with some truly inspired and highly impressive visuals Ryse shows off at least some of what the all-new box One is more than capable of, but unlike its Sony counterpart it doesn’t end there. Mixing it up with some engaging gameplay and exemplary use of the Kinect’s new precision and outstanding voice control, Ryse: Son of Rome does a sterling job at bringing a great game to the new console owners so that they may not just get to enjoy all that the Xbox One has to offer on launch day, but they may also indulge in their favourite pastime of actually getting down to some stellar hack and slash action.

Against the backdrop of a lovingly created Roman Empire players will earn that all important XP needed to further upgrade and enhance their character so that he may better bring the pain to his numberous enemies, both of the Barbarian and Roman back-stabbing variety.

The core gameplay itself is, at heart, a true hack and slash title, and Ryse should make no apologies for this, as it works supremely well. A far cry from the short, ‘meh’-fest that many other reviewers have claimed the game to be, Ryse will keep players more than adequately entertained for many an hour to come and more besides. There is a steady learning curve to the proceedings that can be further compounded by the numerous difficulty settings, which will have a definite impact on the length of time iot takes you to complete the game from start to finish.  ( Any fool can play any game on its easiest setting and then claim that it only took them 6 hours to complete. We at GmP only complete the game on the hardest settings, so when we tell you it is a tough test for any seasoned gamer to complete this title in anything under 10 hours then believe us )

Ryse Son of Rome           GmP Gaming     image 3Of course, we cannot mention the upgrade system without the spectre of the microtransaction rearing its ugly head, and for the second launch title in a row, ( Forza Motorsport 5 being the first ), here we see the nickel and dime process being implanted into the gameplay of Ryse also. Never one to condone this practice we were dismayed to discover the presence of the pay-as-you-play process in Ryse, but we have to give credit to the game where it is due as this is not a Planetside 2 type ‘Pay-to-Win’ scenario, more so players can opt to buy the gold to make the upgrades should they choose to do so. If you would rather earn everything, as we did, ‘in game’, then feel free to lop of limbs and ears to your heart’s content as you power your way to your next XP bonanza.

Another feature that you have to mention when reviewing Ryse: Son of Rome has to be the mightily improved Kinect 2.0. Although, again, an option, we chose to play with the Kinect switched on, to discover just how much of a benefit to all of the latest launches from Microsoft their newly improved baby actually is, and like with the rest of the games we have reviewed of the past 7 days we have to say that although not an imperative, the new Kinect works so smoothly and so well that it definitely does become a positive attribute and a solid asset, even, to your gameplay once you get used to issuing commands, as opposed to pressing buttons, during your gameplay.

Ryse may not have been the earth shattering force that some may have been expecting for the launch of Microsoft’s new console, but one thing is assured, and that is that Son of Rome is a far more enjoyable experience than a great many other reviewers would have you believe. Graphically impressive with some truly expansive scenic panorama’s, Ryse: Son of Rome has one thing by the bucketful, that is missing from every one if its rivals titles, and that is entertainment value in the gameplay. Give it whirl, we are more than sure that you will be ordering your men into Testudo’s and hacking the head’s off marauding Barbarians before you can say ” Ave Cesar! ”    Ryse: Son of Rome scores a truly justified  7 out of 10

 

number-7-pool-ballDeveloper:                                     Crytek

Publisher:                                      Microsoft

Version Tested:                            Xbox One Exclusive Title

Pegi Rating:                                  M for Mature

Price:                                             £43.75                ( Gameseek )

Score:                                             7 out of 10

 

 

 

 

Killzone Shadowfall review

Killzone Shadowfall                                        GmP Gaming        image 3Guerrilla Games try to inject a little more pomp and a lot more circumstance into their first person shooter franchise with their latest title in the Killzone series. But will Shadowfall be a bullseye or a glaring misfire? Read on to discover all in the GamesMediaPro review of Sony’s flagship FPS title.

Bless their little cotton socks, the hardware manufacturer’s and developers, all trying to convince the cash paying public that they ‘need’ to purchase any one of the duo of upcoming next generation videogame consoles, from the much maligned Xbox One to the Playstation 4, have all been touting their own exclusive titles as the main selling points as to just why gamers should opt for their system as opposed to their arch rivals’.

Take Sony, for example. They have been spouting on about Killzone: Shadowfall as some kind of mouth-wateringly gorgeous witchcraft and wizardry, of which the likes have not been seen since the days of Merlin, and with such technological inroads being made that they were hard pressed to keep this title under wraps until the next next generation.

Sold yet?

Well, for those GmP readers out there not wearing Sony-branded blinkers it would seem that you were not fooled in the slightest by the ‘laser blue’ lighting effects and the ‘same old, same old’ storyline of the teaser trailer from the now infamous Sony ( deliberately delayed ) E3 2013 conference.  You were right in being sceptical.

Killzone: Shadowfall, though a great deal chunkier around the midriff care of a somewhat meatier diet of story telling and digital eye candy, has, unfortunately, fallen foul of that age-old problem of ‘believing your own hype’.  A competent shooter at the best of times Killzone was always going to struggle in the ‘shadow’, ( no pun intended ), of a genre defining Halo 4 that set the reviews tables alight with an outgoing 7th Generation showing that was, arguably, the prettiest and most playable version of the series to date. Add to that pressurized pounding the promise of a next-gen Xbox One Halo that has, reportedly, the ‘Promised Land’ of a staggering 60 frames per second of solo, local and online gameplay and you can begin to see a pattern forming already that Killzone: Shadowfall was never going to break free from.

The plot to Shadowfall was typical Killzone fodder with the Helghast once again being portrayed as the bad guys of the piece, even though the Vektan forces have, in effect, bullied and battered this race to the point of genocide, and what we get is another lukewarm telling of a Helghan people who, somehow, miraculously managed to survive the last, or should we say ‘latest’, ‘final’ onslaught and, somehow, managed to re-populate their entire species with some rampant copulation of record-breaking proportions that see’s the decimated race of gas-masked goons rising from the ashes and once again becoming a multi-million strong force of militant minions in only around a fortnight.

Killzone Shadowfall                                        GmP Gaming        image 1But, moving on, as I am sure the writers wish us too, and without too much scrutiny of the time frames involved, we actually are informed that it is, in fact, 30 years post apocalypse and that a handful of Helghan survivors ‘did’ actually manage to scramble from the ruins of their once vibrant planet only to be greeted with a new terror: Vektan’s who have now become Liberals and decided that they are sorry for their most recent act of inhumanity against their people. By this we mean that the Vektan’s now want to make amends for the near total annihilation of their species by building them some hi-rise hovels and becoming their new slumlords. Welcome to the future, Helghans, and your new life in the beautiful cardboard city of a cyber Tower Hamlets.

Still, could be worse. They could have been forced to play Killzone: Shadowfall online as some sort of sick and twisted penance.

So, after thirty years of living under the heel of their Vektan landlords, the simmering under current amongst the Helghan tenants finally boiles over and tensions rise higher than Sony’s expectations for Guerrilla Games’ beleaguered shooter series. Well, maybe not quite ‘that’ high.

Cue the now eye-roll inducing obligatory Sony exclusive cut-scenes that seem to litter every one of their console specific titles like some kind of floating digital detritus, and what do we have? Well, to be perfectly honest with you all what you have is yet another lack lustre attempt at toppling the Microsoft powerhouse sci-fi shooter franchise Halo from its much-coveted Number One spot.  Ho-hum, indeed.

So, then, ever onward we trot in the tale of yet another war-mongering saga that leaves the player in little doubt that we, as Human beings, are made much in the same mould as our Helghan and Vektan counterparts, in that we seem to be on some predetermined path to self-destruction and the total annihilation of anything that gets in our path because, well, that’s just what we do…isn’t it?

Much, then, like their Human cousins, both parties in Killzone: Shadowfall seem Hell-bent on blasting everything and everyone back to the aforementioned Hell, before they have it done to them by their opposite numbers. Why, you may ask? Why, indeed, But the answer is as plain as the breathing apparatus on a Helghan’s face, and it’s quite simply ‘because they can’.

Unfortunately this, ‘because they can’, sentiment is the mainstay of the entire games’ plotline, and because of this you soon find that you have a distinctly metallic taste in your mouth when you consider the point of playing as either one of the given sci-fi saga’s people’s, much in the way of a weeping dental abscess that delivers that coppery and zinc taste to the back of your mouth after a serious infection.

Killzone Shadowfall                                        GmP Gaming        image 4The fact that neither one of the armies on display offers up even the remotest scrap of decency or moral superiority, and more often than not always opt for the most antagonistic and outright loathsome of the options available to them, makes for dire and grim playtime indeed when it comes to wading through the fetid filth that is the games’ storyline. You just don’t care about any of the characters enough because of their downright effluent smelling personalities, as well as their blatant ‘one-upmanship’ of motives as they go ‘tit for tat’ throughout the entire single player campaign. If the Helghans kill a family of four, then the Vekatns simply have to murder an extra sibling in their obligatory retaliatory strike. If the Vektans pollute the drinking water of an entire Helghan city and kill of the entire population of said urban environment, then the reaction by the embittered victims is not to seek solace and remembrance of a futile conflict that is aimlessly costing the lives of millions of innocents, oh no!  All the Helghan’s want to do is dump 3000 gallons of toxic waste into the Vektan drinking water supply and ‘off’ their entire Race in one fell swoop.  The storyline in Shadowfall is ‘such that it instantly renders all of the playable, and even the vast majority of the accompanying NPC’s, as puerile, predictable and thoroughly unpleasant.

And then things really start to take a turn for the worst.

Graphically ‘solid’, but this says nothing considering the promises played out in previous trailers from Sony and Guerrilla Games, Killzone: Shadowfall wades into the fray of yet more pointless combat by once again painting everything in drab and overcast colours, but at the same time strangely thinking that everyone will somehow think that this is okay and ‘next gen’ by the developer merely giving every reflective surface a ghostly blue-ish tinge. They are wrong.

What this graphical faux pas does do, in fact, is highlight the blatant lack of innovative design by making the gameplay look like a Manga styled Japanese anime cartoon as opposed to a title delivering actual gameplay that demonstrates the kind of cutting edge technological marvel worthy of a gamer spending over £500 of their hard-earned cash to enjoy.

Did we say ‘enjoy? Apologies, we meant to say ‘endure’.

The glaring contrast between graphics and gameplay is nowhere more evident than in the games single player campaign as you are treated to some of the most inept enemy AI, complete with head-scratching teammates who makes some of the most confusing decisions to either charge headlong into the battle like suicide bombers, or in a complete turn around they will just stand idly by as the entire Helghan army descends upon your position as they thumb through a particularly engrossing article by Gloria Hunniford in this months Woman’s Own magazine.

Pretty pictures do not a game make, it is in the core mechanics of the actual gameplay that decides whether or not a title is a hit or a miss, and with Killzone Shadowfall there isn’t even a batsman at the wicket to receive the ball from the bowler.

But the flaws do not end there. Not by a long chalk.

Killzone Shadowfall                                        GmP Gaming        image 2Killzone Shadowfall also ‘falls’ victim to a lack lustre character design that renders anyone you come into contact with instantly forgettable or utterly unpalatable, usually a combination of both in equal measure. The checkpoint system is painful, at best, often setting players back through entire chapters before tasking them with repeating the same predictable orders of advance, capture and/or kill.

There is another major problem with combat in that there is absolutely no aim assist whatsoever. Well, for you at least as it would seem that should even the most minute area of your character be visible to the Helghan troopers then regardless of distance, cover, obstacles or weapon they currently have to hand, the opposite numbered ‘space nazis’ will blast you from here all the way back to the next far distant checkpoint. Frustrating? To say the least!

Of course, that’s not to say its all doom and gloom for Shadowfall….after all, it is pretty.

Take the few segments of the game where you are swinging from a rope attached to a helicopter as you a flown around the city whilst all the time desperately trying to cling to the line or drop to your grisly doom. Now that! ‘That’ is a great section of gameplay that shows the player just what the PlayStation 4 is capable of doing, and at least gives hope for the future of the system.

But, again it does raise the point that Killzone Shadowfall is little more than an extended tech demo. A kind of E3 demonstration that Guerrilla Games fleshed out and allowed the customer to take home with them to show off just what the Ps4 can really do when the developer bothers. Whether or not the PlayStation 4 will be woefully underused, as its outgoing sibling the Ps3 can attest too, remains to be seen. But if the truth be told there was little justification from Sony for the huge power and promise of the PlayStation 3, ending up instead more akin to a Netflix playing Blu-Ray movie centre that just happens to also pay a couple of great games once every couple of years. The same fate seems to already have been pre-destined for this latest Sony system.

It’s not even that Killzone Shadowfall with its silky smooth 60fps multiplayer has something to offer in the way of longevity, even with the promise of free maps for the online modes promised from the developers, as there is just not the community there to support any kind of decent fight.

Players are still sat around waiting for lobbies to be populated, and even when the matches do finally kick in they have all the atmosphere of a tumbleweed blowing ghost town thanks to Sony’s unfathomable decision to make it party chat only?

The player classes are still the same three predictable sniper, run and gunner and support soldiers with everything having to be earned in the way of attachments and upgrades, as opposed to earning XP and purchasing the piece of kit that you actually wanted. Again , though, there will also be the undoubted dumbing down of the multiplayer, as both Call of Duty and Battlefield 4 have both done, to attract the less talented players to the fray. With that, then, you will find that everyone takes the ‘scout’ class, hides in corners with cloak and invisibility shield whilst at the same time blasting away with a one shot kill weapon that renders the whole online part of the game futile in the first place.

But it is still very, very pretty!

All told then Killzone Shadowfall is pretty much a last gen first-person shooter, much in the mould of every other FPS game you have ever played, only it has a new slap of next gen paint. If that is enough for you to merely coo at the beauty of inept opposition AI soldiers, or marvel like a slack-jawed loon at crumbling buildings and stare in child-like wonderment at drop ships spewing leather clad Nazi’s from them like some kind of futuristic SS birthing machine, then good for you! Knock yourself out.  ( and coincidentally you also could try knocking out the Helghans as the melee combat makes things much easier than the rifles and weapons ).

If, however, on the other hand you had the crazy notion floating in that noodle of yours that the next generation hardware would bring about truly inspired gameplay that would leave you breathless at its pacing and interaction then prepare for some disappoint of the galactic kind. Killzone Shadowfall is not going to be to your liking.

Falling short in every single department from storyline to dialogue, gameplay to level design Killzone Shadowfal is quite possibly the prettiest launch title of this, or any other generation, but is also very likely to be one of the most frustratingly boring romps through a cookie cutter sci-fi shooter that you will have ever likely endured. With its one plus standing proudly in the face of its many faults it is for this reason that we give Killzone Shadowfall a well deserved 5 out of 10.

 

number 5 pool ballDeveloper:                        Guerrilla Games

Publisher:                          Sony Computer Entertainment

Version Tested:               PlayStation 4 Exclusive Title

Pegi Rating:                     18 ( M for Mature )

Price:                                 £49.50                         ( Gameseek )

Score:                                 5 out of 10

 

 

 

Deadpool review

Deadpool               GmP Gaming   image logo 1Sling your web Spiderman and go sharpen your claws elsewhere Wolverine, Deadpool smashes into view with all the finesse as any of the crass anti-hero’s one liners in this comic book caper turned videogame. But is this to be just another case of a hastily developed movie cross over cash-cow, or has Deadpool got what it takes to turn itself into a main starring role from best supporting actor? Let’s discover all in the latest GamesMediaPro review.

For those games not up to speed on their superhero’s, or getting the lowdown on the latest anime, then lets just explain the personae behind the blockbuster as we announce ‘Deadpool’ to the uninitiated. If you have seen the Hugh Jackman movie marvel that is ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ then no doubt you will already have come across the man behind the mask, and may even recognise him from his original moniker of ‘Weapon X’?  If you haven’t seen any of the X-Men spin-off’s, or read the myriad of accompanying comic book’s, then nothing but a short history of the motor mouth character will suffice.

Wade Wilson was the wise-cracking wag who, as portrayed by Ryan Reynolds in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie anyway, was a duel katana wielding sociopath with a tongue that spat obscenities almost as fast as his blades could slice an enemy into Sushi. Part of the original strike team put together by US army Major William Stryker who is looking into the possibility of utilising the varied talents of mutants, before ultimately having the misguided notion of extracting the DNA from each of the most desirable specimens, such as Logan’s ability to regenerate, the now you see me, now you don’t teleportation talent of John ‘Kestrel’ Wraith, as well as a dazzling array of lethal attributes from the entire team assembled by the shadowy Stryker.

It is because of Stryker’s almost dogged pursuance of the ‘ultimate soldier’ that he begins to use the harvested DNA from captured mutants in the vain attempt at encasing all of the combined powers in one ‘vessel’.  Naturally the road to success is littered with the corpses of failed experiments, and it is not until the regenerative abilities of Logan/Wolverine are added to the ‘genetic soup’ that the misguided major is able to finally harness the all of the assembled mutated DNA at the tenth attempt, hence the original title for Wade’s character: Weapon ‘X’.  This blending of the blood is what grants Deadpool not only the donor mutants powers, but that his benefactors have also passed along to him their mother tongues making Deadpool multilingual in not just English but Spanish, German and even Japanese.

Deadpool               GmP Gaming   image 2Running alongside the ” Merc with a Mouth’s ” amazing skills come his honed harbingers of doom: The twinset of deadly katana’s with which our reluctant hero brings the pain to friend and foe alike, depending entirely, of course, upon just who is picking up his pay cheque for that particular job? But it’s not just with his duel wielded swords that Deadpool comes equipped, as the masked merc also comes with an attractive arsenal of available weaponry. ‘Our hero’ is able to take advantage of spectacularly accurate firearms handling, supplied in an endless display of varying ordnance by his magical satchel of infinite ammo, as well being second to none with  his feet and fists.

Of course, this background is mainly depictive of the comic book version of Deadpool and, as with other super hero and anime characters from other cartoons and movies, when taken across to the videogame format there is inevitably some of the process lost in translation, if you will. However, that being said, the developers at High Moon Studio’s have done a sterling job at bringing Deadpool to life in a digital world that see’s our motor mouth action hero sticking firmly to the facts and looking more like his comic book counterpart than a great deal of his caped kin.

With that we join up with our crass crusader as he enjoys a relaxing period of R&R in his hometown hovel…erm,  rather lets just call it his ‘apartment’. In a brief introduction to not only Deadpool’s juvenile humour bur also the control format which will form the basis of your entire play through, gamers will get to take the ‘Caped Calamity’ around his ‘nerve centre’ in a brief whistle-stop tour of button presses and command prompts as the developer gives you some comic moments to help you get through this videogaming staple.

So, snigger-fest completed we now move on to the opening mission in this ‘Tart with a Heart’ tale of the Motormouth Superhero as he takes on Dr Sinister in his quest to get High Moon Studio’s to make a game of his exploits. Art imitating art imitating videogames, then?  Or something a little more deep and transcending, although let’s be honest here, this is Deadpool, so lets just ease up on the ‘deep and meaningful’, shall we? Instead why don’t we just run with what the character and the developer really love about this game, and themselves, and that is…well, ‘themselves’.

Deadpool               GmP Gaming   image 3Shameless name-dropping, blatant product placement gone postal, and outright bare-faced cheek are the order of the day, and if this was any other character but Deadpool then, no doubt, we would be ripping the masked megalomaniac a new one. But this ‘is’ Deadpool, and because it is him both he, and High Moon Studio’s manage to pull of the self adulation and adoration with some aplomb.

Gameplay-wise, because lets face it Deadpool isn’t exactly setting the bar for hack and slash styled beat’em up’s of the future, but what it does do, it still does very well. Fast, slick and highly acrobatic, the action in Deadpool comes at players thick and fast once the initial tutorial section has been mastered. Equipped with an absolute arsenal of armaments that range from the standard issue sword right through to the more murderous, and somehow strangely satisfying pistols, Deadpool is more than capable of standing up to even the more powerful of foes as he slices and dices his way through the hugely entertaining storyline.

One thing that has to be mentioned is the tongue-in-cheek humour that permeates from every frame in this laugh out loud title that is packed with wall-to-wall nods to fellow superheroes such as Wolverine, Batman and many more besides. The question does remain, however, if Deadpool is, in fact, a title that is suitable for younger children, and given its dubious references to drug-taking, sexual innuendo and over-the-top comic book brutality one has to say, ‘probably not’. Although, that’s not to say that Deadpool is strictly an ‘Adults Only’ affair should your teenage son or daughter have a hankering for some full on mayhem with cheeky wit as an optional side dish.

Ground-breaking it may not be, but Deadpool is still one of the best action titles from the entire sub-genre of superhero fighting games, and one that should not be overlooked by any fan’s and devotee’s of the animated sub-culture. Deadpool is a sterling example of just what can actually be achieved if developers do not try to rush out a related movie-cum-videogame-cum-crossover title just to cash in on a related flick currently wow’ing audiences at the box office. Here’s hoping that is a lesson that is learned by the myriad of other studio’s currently tinkering with their own caped crusader homage.

number-7-pool-ballAll told Deadpool is a solid hack and slash title with a good measure of action styled beat’em up gameplay thrown into the melting pot to spice up the proceedings.  The graphics are more than adequate, and the gameplay keeps the madcap storyline of narcissistic overtones running smoother than the costumed ones hooded ‘dome’. One-liners litter the tale like confetti, and Deadpool is all the more entertaining because of it. A fantastic romp and one that will, hopefully, rightfully earn the developer a sequel for this crazy crime fighter/  Deadpool scores a truly worthy 7 out of 10.

 

Developer:                  High Moon Studio’s

Publisher:                   Activision

Version Tested:         Xbox360

Pegi Rating:               M for Mature

Price:                           Gameseek                     £35.70   ( Xbox360 )                 £30.70           ( PS3 )

Rating:                         7 out of 10

Grand Theft Auto V review

GTA V            GmP Gaming                 coverart 1It’s finally here. Turn off the cat, unplug the dog, put the wife and kids out and attach intravenous fluids and a catheter…you may be staying for some time. Grand Theft Auto is back. And much like the humour in another controversial cartoon caper its ‘bigger, longer and most definitely uncut’.

Regardless of what you think of the ‘Marmite’ that is Rockstar Games open-world title, the fact of the matter is that no other videogame in the history of the entertainment industry has ever caused such outright loathing and hatred, whilst at the same time producing such elated sensations of joyful lust and admiration. On the one hand you have the fan’s of the GTA franchise: pro-‘right to play’, and dogged in their defence of the all-action title. But, there are also those encamped on the opposite side of the battle lines of no man’s land that vehemently despise everything that this series has come to represent. Where do GmP stand on the subject? Which camp do we plant our flag in? Read on, good GmP gamers, and decide for yourselves at the end of this in-depth review.

Never one to shy away from publicity, be it negative or positive, Grand Theft Auto V launched amidst a blaze of hype and high-expectations on September 17th, 2013 to a flurry of the now somewhat predictable knee-jerk reactions from the more morally  ‘superior’ types around the globe, who, rather oddly, still feel that it is perfectly fine for teenagers to murder and maim in the name of corporate entities looking after shareholders and private individuals interests, just as long as they don’t earn points doing so in a videogame.  So, it’s  all well and good for your children to trot off to war for oil, gold, diamonds or religion, and pretty much anything else that the ruling elite currently have their heart set on, just as long as they don’t do it in cyberspace with avatars. How very decent of them.

Of course, the haters don’t stop there. Citing everything and anything in their bitter insults regarding Rockstar’s latest game, up to and including misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, anti-establishment anarchism, the Black Death, the Spanish Inquisition, Rabies, Chicken Pox and even quickscopers and campers in Call of Duty, or so it would seem. Such is the level of ridiculous abuse heaped upon the GTA franchise, as a whole,  by the bigoted legions of conservative ‘Holier Than Thou’ types and bleeding-heart liberals from Tyneside to Timbuktu.

It may come as no surprise, then, that whenever a new release Grand Theft Auto title hits the shelves that there is, oddly enough, an influx of ‘news reports’ making headlines around the World that all indicate the sudden upsurge in ‘copy cat’ styled videogame inspired crime waves. In England alone there were no less than four ‘headlines’ in as many days all about gaming related criminal activities. The fact that this is utter and complete nonsense, however, has never got in the way of a good story to your everyday run-of-the-mill tabloid hack., and so with that in mind the ‘furore’ around GTA V will continue to ire Guardian and Daily Mail readers right across Middle England until such time as a new ‘immigration crisis’ distracts their attention back to the natural enemies.

GTA V                  GmP Gaming    image 15Meanwhile, back in the world of the sane, GTA V continues to run rampant across both the Xbox360 and PlayStation 3 formats, especially as of October 2nd, 2013 when the online portion, ( the reason why this review was delayed until today for publication ), was launched. So, ever onward then in this review of the videogaming industry’s latest and greatest open-world extravaganza, ( minus personal opinions regarding morality ).

Irrespective of your position in relation to to the hype surrounding Grand Theft Auto V, one thing has to be universally accepted by any gamer who has spent any time at all racing or running around the highways and byways of Los Santos, Blaine County, and that is that Rockstar Games have created a truly remarkable piece of interactive epicness.

The sheer magnitude of the undertaking is, quite frankly, more than likely to be lost on anyone other than more ‘in the know’ gamer with a rudimentary understanding of just what it takes to build a ‘world’ with such vast rich environments packed to the proverbial gunwale’s with diversity and content.  No small thing, in its own right, is the incomprehensible scale of this latest GTA venture with its highly detailed and painstakingly created graphical presentation, where players can literally just stand in open-mouthed amazement at this mammoth realm with its living colour vibrancy.  We can think of no other title, from any developer up to and including Rockstar Games themselves, who have managed to create a world so intensively and comprehensively realistic.

Rockstar have always been the trendsetters as opposed to the ‘dedicated followers of fashion’ like many of their rival studio’s, and Grand Theft Auto V, even on the recently launched current generation hardware,  has proven that, once again, this band of dedicated developers are just a cut above the rest when it comes to the open world environments.

Head and shoulders above the competition in everything from gameplay to graphics, storyline to character creation, GTA V has stepped into the ring carrying the belt of the heavyweight champion of the world before the first round bell has even sounded, but is this game the knockout blow to its rivals that many have already proclaimed it to be, or is it just more of the same, but with added razzamatazz and a new soundtrack for the grand entrance….well, to be fair, it is probably a little of one, and a huge hulking great chunk of another.

Grand Theft Auto V ‘is’ worthy of the high praise and adulation that many other websites, cyberzines and publications are already proclaiming it to be, but there are more than a couple of issues that we experienced with Rockstar’s masterpiece.

GTA V                  GmP Gaming    image 14First off we have to admit that we thoroughly enjoyed every moment that we spent inside the world of Los Santos, in any one of the three main characters of Franklin, Michael or the psychotic Trevor. But if some of you out there are having one of those Matrix-style ‘black cat’ moments of Deja Vu, then we have to say that we wholeheartedly have to agree with you on that one.

As players set out on their GTA V saga the game opens with  retrospective look back at the life of one of the games prime anti-hero’s: ‘Michael’, as players get to grips with the opening tutorial mission. In a nice touch Rockstar has granted the player a back story insight into the former criminal career of Michael as he takes part in a robbery with two friends. This allows players to get to grips quickly with the game’s control set up right from the word go, whilst at the same time shedding some light on the former lifestyle choice of one of GTA V’s interactive trio of playable characters.

All is going swimmingly at first, with players getting to learn the subtleties of the targeting system, weapons handling and movement and mantelling, thanks to the introductory levels’ fast pace and balls out action. However, just when you feel that you have the controls mastered, and just when you see light at the end of the tunnel along comes Officer Dibble to take a giant leak on your current bonfire and throw your best laid plans right out of the nearest window.

So, one quick bank robbery gone wrong later and you suddenly find yourself in a death or glory shoot out with the local rozzers before tearing off headlong down the nearest highway in a recently *ahem* ‘borrowed’ vehicle from a passing member of the public. Cue much gunfire, screeching of tyres and one spectacular car crash later our ‘hero’, Michael, now finds himself out on foot and having to once again fight for his life, and the life of his injured partner in crime, as he defends his position from a rapidly encroaching flurry of fuzz. Naturally everything goes more than a little ‘Pete Tong’ and Michael is left solo looking for an escape route….cue the music, roll the titles…Grand Theft Auto is back, baby!

From these chaotic beginnings comes the greatest game of this entire generation, but let’s call a spade a spade here….its not just GTA that is back, but ‘Matrix Cat’ is also putting in more than the odd cameo or three.

Right from the off we are once again greeted with the said same mechanics of combat that were so finicky and sluggish during the last outing for the highly acclaimed series. The only difference this time around is that instead of fine tuning the control system to compensate for the reported sluggish feel of Grand Theft Auto 4, Rockstar have simply slid the slider to the other end of the scale with the result that your character now tends to run around  in circles or jump around like a jitterbug before ultimately settling on the direction that you intended for him to take in the first place.

GTA V-PS3                              GmP Gaming  Bundle  6On more than one occasion whilst simply trying to turn Michael to the left or right we were left with looks of bewilderment on our faces as he did a Rick Astley hip-shake before taking to his heels with PC Plod hot on said pedicured appendages. Of course, we put that down to merely getting to grips with the games’ new control format, but it has to be said that it never left us even when we had finished the solo campaign and idly sat twiddling our thumbs s we awaited the launch of todays GTA Online service. ( that issue, in itself, will be addressed later in the review ).

Next up we come to the games’ main storyline, that sprawling mission of massive magnificence that stretches out before the new player like a very stretchy thing. Why we had to return to, pretty much, the same damn street and near enough the same indentikit house as we lived in during our time inhabiting the body of ‘ CJ ‘ during the last outing to Los Santos with Rockstar North’s epic GTA San Andreas is, frankly, beyond us?

But whilst we are on the subject we will also ask why it was deemed necessary to alter the introduction so that we did not begin the game as Michael, but rather as Franklin, ( think CJ but with added ‘flava’ and a few more ‘bitch’s’ and ‘muthafucka’s’ in his vocabulary and you’ll get the picture ), this is something else that, we here at GmP, feel was something of a step backward as opposed to the more progressive move such as the one taken in GTA 4 with the new character and interesting plot change delivered up by the introduction of East-Euro War immigrant Niko Belic.

Franklin may well be a fun character to play, but in truth he offers up nothing new to the franchise, and instead comes across as little more than a crowd pleaser for the ‘would be’s and wannebee’s’ who litter online services chanting and chirruping stereotypical ‘urbanite’ curse words before invariably ending their rant with the predictabley tired ‘Bitch’ slogan. Franklin sums up this same feeling of ” here we go again ” whenever he opens his mouth to banter with friends or even chat with strangers. If anything it just gives the impression that Rockstar had run out of idea’s when it came to delivering up a criminal.

With that we then come to the two other main players of the piece: Trevor and Michael, who, to be perfectly honest with you, look more like Kane and Lynch on a diet of pasta and meatballs and spaghetti sauce ‘justa like Mamma used to make’. But unlike  the two Square Enix rogues, however, Rockstar have split up the talents of the terrible twosome, and instead allowed players to select either one, ( once they have been unlocked during the games main storyline ).

GTA V-PS3                              GmP Gaming  Bundle  2Michael, much like Franklin and Trevor, ticks all of the stereotypical boxes of the perceived misconceptions of an Italian-American ‘hood’. Everything from the way the guy walks and talks right down to the way he dresses comes straight out of the Soprano’s Big Book of Bad Men. But, then again, that is not to say that it doesn’t work, we just feel that rather than have yet another return to the land of the ghetto gangsta’ that Rockstar could well have just stayed with Michael as a solo story and the game would not have suffered a single blip for it. Of course, there is the added bonus of the games new ‘drop in/drop out’ mechanic which allows players to literally ‘Quantum Leap’ from one body to the next, often at the most inopportune moments. ( or opportune, depending on which way you want to look at it? ).

The all-new ‘leap’ feature has been much-lauded by the world’s gaming press, and rightfully so, it does bring a new dimension of interactivity and freedom to the gameplay, and it does add some truly golden moments of comedic brilliance. But, again, this is something that we feel could have worked just as well between Franklin and Trevor without the need to return to 2004 with gangsta-boy Franklin.  For shizzle.

Putting aside our gripes with the games move back to the land of the Los Santos gangbangers, we come now to the undoubted high point of any Grand Theft Auto title: the  gameplay.

Once again Rockstar have made their game a veritable treasure trove of bonus missions, extra content, mini-games, side missions, co-op quests and online multiplayer mayhem. The diversity of the tasks and available activities for each of the three main characters ranges wildly from taking part in drug wars and gangland slayings right through to the more modern day mundane of visiting psychiatrists to vent your emasculated frustration at your wife’s covert couplings with her tennis coach, as well as letting off steam about your brood of ingrate offspring that walk around in a state of constant teenage angst whilst all the while having their hands out for ever-increasing demands on your wallet.

Again, however, we do feel that in amongst this cracking collection of commotions and available mini-missions that there is a distinct lack of anything more than the mere titillating. Yes, there may well be a great deal to do, but leaping into a pair of whites and giving mid-life fist pumps because we won a point in a tennis match was not what we imagined  we would be doing when we anticipated the gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V.

Naturally, though, the predictable cookie-cutter races are there once again to satisfy the ‘boy racers’ of the world, but all in all the controls are not exactly your best friend when playing through any one of the night-time street wars, so much so that a F1 2013-esque ‘Rewind’ has been installed into the format, but instead of being able to scroll back to the moment just prior to your latest RTA, players are instead able to slow down time so that they may better control their erratic vehicle as you plough through stop signs and pedestrians with reckless abandonment.

GTA V-PS3                              GmP Gaming  Bundle  4Next we come to the games’ combat, and boy is there a lot of it! Players can put the smack down all around town, if that is their wont, and when it comes to doling out the beatings GTA V is not one to be found wanting by any stretch of the imagination. The new combat mechanics have been fine tweaked, but again thanks to the ‘flighty’ controls it does happen on more than one occasion that instead of attacking a target that you plant a haymaker right on the kisser of some random who just happens to be strolling by. Either that or you do a complete ‘air punch’ and end up spinning around like a dog chasing its tail as you flail wildly in all directions searching for your quarry.

Of course, the hand to hand combat segments pale into insignificance once you get your hands on your first ‘gat’, but again, when you do manage to whip out your weapon like some kind of digital Dirty Harry you will quickly notice the shadow of a passing Matrix cat off in the distance.  So, then, what’s the problem this time? Well, we will tell you shall we?

For those of you out there unfamiliar with Rockstar’s method of targeting in their GTA titles, and let’s face it, it is pretty much the same format right throughout their entire library, then all we have to say is that we hope you all have perfect 20-20 vision because the targeting reticule is so minute that more often than not you will just be squeezing off the trigger in a blind panic ‘spray and pray’ action, as opposed to genuinely aiming down the sights.

Just why Rockstar have not taken the time to correct this is just one more thing that is beyond us, as it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most annoying things in the entire gameplay. ( for us, at least ). The reticule that players must use as an aiming aid is little more than a tiny black dot that ‘apparently’ turns red when it is locked onto a target,. We say ‘apparently’ because the ‘dot’ is just so small that to spot the damned thing against anything other than a white or highly visible background is a painful affair that will undoubtedly leave players with that all too familiar rage quit sensation tingling down their spine.

In one of the game’s opening missions, and indeed the first mission for players as Michael, you are tasked with recovering your son and yacht from the evil clutches of a gang of thieves, who are currently making good their escape with said maritime model and morbid moaning progeny, down one of the cities many highways. During the ensuing chase scene Michael must control his car as well as target the ‘bad guys’ on the speeding trailer that is transporting his stolen vessel. All of this must take place within a set time frame and their must be no injuries to either Michael’s’ annoying son or newly acquired partner in crime, Franklin. Good luck with that.

If there is ‘genuinely’ someone out there who managed to accomplish this mission on their first, or even second or third outing, without either killing Michael in a head on collision with another speeding vehicle coming in the opposite direction, or murdering their own son with an inaccurate burst of automatic fire from their pistol, or better still, if they managed to avoid killing Franklin in any one of the myriad of teeth-gnashingly frustrating ways: such as the one that befell our foul-mouthed gangsta when he tumbled from the bonnet of our car and under the wheels of a following tanker truck, then all we can say is this:  you are a liar, sir!

GTA V-PS3                              GmP Gaming  Bundle  9Yes’, GTA V may well be an open-world marvel, and ‘yes’, GTA V may well be the most mesmerizing game we have had the thoroughly enjoyable pleasure of playing through this entire generation, but let’s not sprinkle glitter on a turd and call it a gold-plated iPhone, shall we? There ‘are’ issues, of that there is no doubt. But, and it is a Jennifer Lopez sized ‘butt’ with more ‘jelly in the trunk’ than a ram raider who has just sped away from the scene of his latest assault on a Rowntree’s factory, the reason that GTA V still scores so many ‘Perfect 10′s’ and high-ranking review percentages across the board, in comparison to other open-world games who commit similar errors in format, is a simple one:  Grand Theft Auto does so much other stuff so well that you simply gloss over and forgive the glaring issues that you may have with small niggles during your time spent playing it.  There is a lesson to be learned here by so many other developers.

Rockstar have managed to create a franchise where even the mediocre is heralded as ground-breaking: let’s face it, the mini-games are not ‘that’ innovative nor or they anything particularly new., and God bless’em for it. So they may have used a few area’s from previous titles and re-skinned them for GTA V? So what!  So they may have revisited previous story lines and even characters and locations in their crafting of this foray into a fantastical realm? So What!  So the game may have a few niggles with the handling and the targeting? So what!!  These are all small prices to pay for what is quite simply put the greatest game ever created to date, without exception.

There is even the glaringly shoddy detail of the fact that we couldn’t even review the game in its entirety because the multiplayer section of the game was not even ready for launch day, ( and we still do not understand how so many of the ‘so-called’ big websites managed to publish their own reviews when they could not have played the game through in all its modes ). Something that, lets be totally honest here, if this was a game like, say, Call of Duty would be absolutely berated by the world’s gaming press. The same said journalists who are positively gushing over Grand Theft Auto V would have held down a game like Ghosts and put its own Glock to the back of its neck whilst they put it our of its misery with a well placed Coup De Grace. But, because its GTA V? Oh no, this is something that is utterly acceptable, so much so that everyone from Gamespot to IGN, Videogamer.com to Now Gamer merely overlooked this omission from the format and instead concentrated on just how ‘awesome’ everything looked.

But, here’s the kicker….they were right to do so!

Grand Theft Auto V is a game that you ‘should’ take full advantage of during the first weeks following its launch as you soak up all that this masterclass of videogame design and development has to offer for you in the solo campaign. The multiplayer, correctly, is viewed as little more than an added bonus for those people looking to continue their unbridled admiration for this masterful title.

Grand Theft Auto Online has now launched, and it has again exceeded all expectations, ( if that is even possible considering that this is a game that has now netted the developer well in excess of a truly staggering £1 billion ). With a community that is as hardcore as any on the planet GTA Online looks all set to be the surprise multiplayer smash hit of the year, and certainly has created a headache for the aforementioned Call of Duty and titles of its ilk such as Battlefield 4, as these games must now look to up their game considerably if they are to tempt away the many millions of players spending hour after gaming hour enjoying this multiplayer marvel.

When you add to all of this the added bonuses of the ever encroaching PC and next-gen versions, ( you just ‘know’ they are a-coming ), then it has to be said that whoever it was at Bioware this week who made the ridiculous claim that AAA budgets for the next-gen were unlikely, must now be feeling like an utter twunt as Rockstar Games once again break the mould and dictate the future for the videogame industry.  GTA V is ‘the’ benchmark title from which all future titles should take their business model, and from which all development teams should learn.  If you want your games to sell, and sell well, then make them enjoyable to play. It really is that simple.

GmP Editor ChoiceGrand Theft Auto V is the perfect example of this. When every other title is looking to trim the fat of their solo section as they chase that ever elusive multiplayer moolah,  Rockstar, once again,  show them all that the way to a gamers wallets is through their hearts as they deliver a true single player master piece that just happens to have a bonus mode that is multiplayer Heaven. Gamers are tired of being ‘told’ what they want and what is going to be the best for them in the future. Rockstar did the complete opposite and actually listened to their fans and to the videogaming community as a whole,and gave us all what we love over everything else, and that is a single player game that will make us feel like it was £45 well spent.  For that reason alone GTA V should get a glowing review score, but when you add on to that the simply fantastic online and the outstanding core gameplay all wrapped up in one perfect package…well, what other score could we possibly have given it?      10 out of 10    Editors Choice

 

Developer:                ROCKSTAR NORTH

Publisher:                 ROCKSTAR GAMES

Version Tested:        Xbox360

Rating:                       M ( mature )

Rating:                       10 out of 10

Price:                          £42.75

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farming Simulator ( 2013 ) review

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 1Giant Software return to the rural life with their latest Farming Simulator title. But is this to be another bumper harvest, or can we expect some premium manure? Let’s find out as we take to the tractor in the latest GmP review.

For those readers out there who think that videogames are little more than all action first person shooters or generic sci-fi romps through darkened stricken spaceships full of blade-handed bad guys or flesh-eating monsters then may we advise them to raise their heads from the latest flavour of the month Youtube commentator and maybe turn their attention to the more social side of the videogaming community as a whole.  There are literally a whole wealth of alternative’s out there for gamers to enjoy without having to sit through yet another science fiction schlock horror, or, Heaven help us, one more overtly jealous Call of Duty clone trying to emulate the shooters online success.

One such option is the sedate pacing and the simulator genius of Giant Software’s Farming Simulator series of titles. Launched in 2011 this third outing for the in-depth take on the highs and lows of  rural life takes players through the entire range of emotions that befall real-life farmers and small holders every day of the year. Players must get their hands dirty performing even the most mundane of tasks from ploughing, seeding and planting and, ultimately, the harvesting of crops, right through to taking stock to market, selling, bartering and the buying and selling of not just agricultural machinery and parts, but also the hiring and firing of farmhands too. One thing is certain in the life of a farmer, be they digital or flesh and bone, and that is that no-one can say that there is never anything to do.

The game itself is a high quality mix of solid graphics and a well-balanced control system stretched across an immense amount of in-game play time. Expect no less than ‘days’ being logged when you enter into your Farming Simulator career, as opposed to those meagre hours being offered up by those titles who seem to be getting shorter and shorter with every passing year, Farming Simulator bucks that trend and just keeps on having more and more added to its repertoire.

You begin your chosen path by taking control of a modest small-holding located at the centre of your world’s play area. For such humble beginnings there is a just the right amount of tools, machinery and livestock required for you to get your farm up and running. Of course, Giant Software have been canny in their introduction to the pastoral way of life by making the opening harvest an instructional that acts as a refresher course for those familiar with the series, but also as a Tutorial Mode for those novices and newcomers to the Farming Simulator franchise.

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 2With that players will be tasked with getting to grips with machinery and vehicles such as the tractor and combine harvester, as well as learning how to add different attachments to the vehicles to better cope with the varied tasks necessary for everyday farm life.

But as any farmer worth his/her salt will tell you there is a lot more than just machinery and maize to deal with if you want to be competitive in todays agricultural markets. There are the livestock to consider most of all. Will you specialize in beef? What about our equine friends? Or poultry? And will you have the necessary funds and feed to keep your stock healthy and happy so that they stay productive and prudent expenditures?

The format for your free roaming farmer is one of open world opulence and wanderlust as you are permitted to quite literally go where you please in search of required tasks and mini-games. But, be warned: There is a staggering amount to do in this rural realm, and Giant Software live up to their name by inputting a wealth of objectives into their latest title.

So, then, off you trot to your small holding; dungarees’ freshly pressed and work boots newly polished as you get to grips with your opening chores in the games rather excellent Career Mode. With little more than a few fields to til, and a handful of hens to cluck over you will soon discover that you have to plough, see, harvest and then sell your crops in the local market before building up enough wealth to expand your little empire.

To merely dismiss this as ‘all you have to do’ in Farming Simulator is much akin to saying that ‘all you have to do in Call of Duty is fire a gun’. There is so much more to this game than merely sticking a wheat sheaf in your mouth and muttering ‘innum’ to passing ‘townies’.  Farming Simulator is a far cry from many people’s idea of what it takes to work the land, and nothing like the image you have in your head when you consider a videogame based around the subject.

Modern day farming has moved on a great deal from smock covered yokels in straw hats, and nowhere is this more plainly evident than in Farming Simulator. Players have a wealth of tools, machinery and vehicles at their disposal to better assist with their empirical assault on the agricultural world. There is even the opportunity to employ AI-controlled ‘farm hands’ as an alternative labour saving and time/cost efficient method of allowing the player to multitask and complete several objectives at the same time. This is actually an imperative tactic relatively quite early on in the game, as players soon discover that managing and maintaining an ever-expanding small holding is a hectic and punishing schedule.

Farming Simulator 2013           GmP Gaming    image 3So,back to the action we go and it’s another early morning start for our cyber ‘Farmer Palmer’ as we begin to increase the size of our holding with land purchases, expansion and extensions of the outhouses and barns, as well as upgrading the current vehicles from any one of the available 100 that developer Giant Software have put on offer for your perusal.

One complaint with the vehicles, however, has to be addressed and that is the dashboard and ‘clocks’ that should offer up all manner of the expected data players would hope to find in a real-world version of the motorized transport at hand. Unfortunately, and in a game that prides itself on being a ‘simulator’, this is ere the ‘sim’-ilarities end as the digital vehicles have no such indications of speed, rev counter, fuel gauge and the like. A shame, really, in a game that, even though not the most graphically powerful title, still does offer up a realism that is somewhat lacking in other simulator titles.

One nice addition to the updated Farming Simulator format has to be the PDA which permits players to access a wealth of information at a mere touch. Everything that the modern-day small holder could ever hope to find is contained within its technological ‘brain’, with the player able to check on stock prices, shares, weather forecast, financial statements and accounts, machinery and repair status and a whole lot more besides. The PDA could well be the saving grace for the ‘blip’ that is the lack of detailing in the vehicles, such is the ease of use and the near unlimited access to all of the relevant information you require.

Rather surprisingly Farming Simulator is not just a single player affair as developer Giant Software branch out with an online community that allows players to assist each other, for financial compensation naturally, with many necessary jobs and tasks around each others acreage. But we offer fair warning to those ‘trolls’ looking to bring mayhem to the serene world of the more sedate multiplayer experience. Just as the PC version of Farming Simulator has its own fiercely loyal set of fans, so to do the console, ( and even the handheld ), versions.

number-7-pool-ballTo summarise, then, is to genuinely have our eyes opened to the fact that there is still far more choice out there to the gamer fed up to the back teeth with bombs and bullets, aliens and lasers. Farming Simulator is surprisingly entertaining, and extremely in-depth, I its approach to the modern world of agriculture. The graphics are capable without being too detailed, the gameplay may well not be blistering, and nor will any of the vehicles be challenging the hot lap at Monza in F1 2013, but nevertheless it is still very much an engaging affair that has its rightful devotee’s and legions of admiring followers.     7 out of 10

 

Developer:                      Giant Software

Publisher:                       Focus Home Interactive

Version Tested;              Xbox360

Rating:                             7 out of 10