Category: Xbox One

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