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Football Manager 2013 – The Verdict

Football Manager 2013 – The Verdict

Football Manager 2013 is, as the cliché goes, a tale of two halves. The first half is the traditional full-fat version of the game filled with team talks, copious amounts of media interaction and extensive scouting capabilities. The second half is a lightweight ‘Classic’ mode where the teams come out wearing a totally different strip and don’t have to worry about their manager pissing them off with poorly judged team talks and receive support from various challenges. In short, this years edition of Sports Interactive’s long running management sim offers and experience suitable to a much wider audience than ever before.

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Euro Truck Simulator 2 – The Verdict

Euro Truck Simulator 2 – The Verdict

When I talk about what I am currently playing to my friends at work I often get some strange looks when I talk about what obscure game I am in the middle of. Over the past couple of weeks these looks have come about from Euro Truck Simulator 2, a game which I am not afraid to say I have actually been really quite enjoying. It isn’t the kind of game that would ever attain the famed Red Mist rating here on The Reticule, at the end of the day it is just too niche to be considered a must buy for the majority of gamers. But it is a quite splendid title.

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Hotline Miami – The Verdict

Hotline Miami – The Verdict

The synth beat kicks in as I kick open the door, narrowly missing the thug stood by the toilet, I swing my fist and he flies into the wall, a swift kick to his face and his head explodes into a geyser of red, I pick up his hammer and I’m into the next room, I swing once and a man explodes, but I’m gone before he hits the ground, as I charge on through to the hall I throw the hammer now, knocking a thug over, so I lean down to paint the floor with his brains and pick up his shotgun, bursting into the room next door and letting loose four of my six shots, the room’s decor transformed from garish to grisly in the blink of an eye, the beat still pulses, and I’m yet to exhale, but a sentence only lasts for so long before it needs a full stop.

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Far Cry 3 Hands On Report – Part Two

Far Cry 3 Hands On Report – Part Two

In Part One of my Far Cry 3 hands on report I talked a little bit about climbing a radio tower and assaulting a mercenary outpost with the help of a hang glider and jet ski. The second part of my report picks up after I have ensured the outpost is cleared.

The mission from the notice board asked me to eliminate a mercenary leader in a nearby camp with a melee or knife takedown. So far, while I had tried to assault the outpost quietly I ended up having to go in guns blazing; this mission would be my first chance of trying out some of the stealth mechanics.

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Far Cry 3 Hands On Report – Part One

Far Cry 3 Hands On Report – Part One

During the Eurogamer Expo I was able to check out the Far Cry 3 demo a couple of times, the demo was PC based and looked amazing. This is the first part of my hands on report.

When I played a little bit of Far Cry 3 during my first day at the Expo I came away with mixed feelings, it seemed to have a lot of potential with the open world and RPG style elements, but that it wasn’t harnessing what it could do properly. That however was a by-product of a limited play test. On the last day of the Expo I had an extended 40 minute session with the game and fell in love with the open world environment. There weren’t any story missions to direct me, just the freedom of the island.

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What Does ‘Next-Gen’ Gaming Mean To You?

What Does ‘Next-Gen’ Gaming Mean To You?

‘Next-Gen’ is a term that’s being thrown around quite loosely at the moment. We already know details about the Wii U, but what about Sony and Microsoft, third-party accessories and PC’s that seem to advance in spec every day. Everything from next-gen consoles, to next-gen graphics and next-gen gaming accessories are hot topics of discussion and speculation right now. But forget hype, advertisement and what developers are saying. What does next-gen really mean to the gamers of this generation? What advancements and improvements would they like to see in the next instalment of consoles and PC’s to hit the market? These are the very questions I asked myself, my friends and the writers and followers of The Reticule. In the following paragraphs you will find all the opinions of this generation of gamers and their hopes and dreams of what the ‘next-gen’ will hold.

PC’s Mostly Always Have It Better – Bring Modding To Consoles

As a mostly console gamer I look to my PC gaming friends and sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself. There are a number of things that I just wish I had access to that aren’t available on consoles. Being able to upgrade parts of my gaming platform almost at will, cheaper games, better graphics, more precise controls and a more open platform are just some of the benefits. For me the biggest one has to be the ability to mod games. One of my favourite games of the past while has been Skyrim. I’ve gladly sunk over a hundred hours into this game and while I have access to added content via paid DLC, it’s not anywhere near the scale of content available to PC gamers. One look on the Steam Workshop shows there are thousands of free user made mods such as ThirteenOranges brilliant series of quest lines and in-game items. This trend of user-created content is very popular and is certainly not limited to Skyrim or indeed to Steam.

Below is an example of just some of the content that console gamers are missing out on.

What I would love to see in the next generation of gaming is a way to bring that creativity and freedom to consoles. With the current generation of consoles increasingly heading in the direction of being multimedia focused, surely it would be possible to set up an application that could securely download mods over the internet. People would of course encounter restrictions such as download limits and the fact that the mods would probably need to be developed on a PC first anyway. It seems as if it would be easy enough to implement but whether Microsoft and Sony would be willing to allow access to an area where they could potentially stop making as much profit is a totally different question. I believe in times to come that PC gamers will be making even further leaps ahead of their console brethren and that sooner or later something will have to be done to allow consoles to continue, at least in their current form. Quite frankly Sony and Microsoft would be mod not to allow it to happen…

Virtual Reality – Because Stabbing Someone Online Just Doesn’t Feel Real Enough

Martin and Stephen over on Facebook both agree that virtual reality headsets are the way forward for the next generation. While in its relative infancy in terms of the video gaming industry, virtual reality is not a new concept and has been dreamed about in films and books for many years. Back in 1994 the Forte VFX-1 virtual headset was released on the market for £400. Sadly it seemed to be before its time and never reached its full potential, lacking the availability of reasonably priced hardware able to run the headset. Flash forward to 2012 and VR gaming is back with a bang. The most popular example of this is the Kickstarter funded Oculus Rift developed entirely for use with video games and due for release next year. The Oculus Rift promises “to raise gaming to the next level” and offers 110° vision for total immersion in your gameplay. Developers from companies like Epic Games and Valve have been so impressed when testing the Oculus Rift that they instantly backed its development.

While the Oculus Rift may be the most popular example of things to come, it’s not the only VR headset in development. Sony have been developing their own headset for use with films and gaming. While this headset offers a 3D virtual experience it also replicates 5.1 surround sound using headphones built onto the headset. When released, Sony’s headset will be compatible with current Blue-Ray players and can even hook up for use with the PS3.

However, the most interesting headset I’ve laid eyes on so far has to be Sensics ‘Smart Goggles’. This VR headset allows for 360° head tracking and all in full 3D. So when using this headset the illusion of looking at a large screen in front of your eyes would be completely erased. It’s also powered by Android allowing for full compatibility with not just consoles and PC’s, but smart phones and tablets too. The headset will also have use as a standalone, using augmented reality to change the world around you.

Valve, possibly as a direct result of their financial backing of the Oculus Rift, have also shown possible interest in developing their own VR headset. It was revealed in April that they had been conducting in-house R&D for “wearable computers”, but whether that means something other than a VR headset is anyone’s guess. With all the competition for Virtual Reality headsets it seems as if they are bound to feature heavily at some point in the lifetime of the next generation of gaming. My concern is that most gamers (yeah, I asked a few) including myself, don’t seem to be bothered about the current 3D technology available to them. Is VR just an advanced 3D, or is it the immersive push that’s really needed?

Below is a video of three members of the Totally Rad Show (aka, the annoying intro show) getting some hands on time with Sony’s 3D VR headset.

Bite-Sized gaming, PC Power and Multiplayer With Two Hundred People

While I was happy to receive a ton of feedback from everyone on their thoughts about next-gen, to be able to include every idea would turn this article into somewhat of a book. This section is a run down of some great ideas submitted from social media and the minds of our very own writers.

Our very own Jordan Harling, who happens to be writing his dissertation on a similar subject later this year, had a lot of input. Ranging from next-gen consoles to where real gaming innovation will come from, here’s what he had to say.

“AAA games will continue being derivative on all consoles and on the PC, few advances will be made but it’ll just be bigger, prettier and boomier. We’ll get one or two games that break the norm however, the major innovations will again come through the indie industry, which hopefully will be nurtured by major publishers. Something like the 20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight thing would be grand, where the indie companies will be funded but retain creative control of the product. Until a major overhaul of publishing rights happens that won’t be a possibility though.

I believe that tablet and mobile games will slowly become more prominent but will mature into their own segment of the industry, ones that don’t try to compete with consoles and PC gaming. They’ll perfect the art of bite-size gaming and some reputable companies will start producing genuinely high-quality games exclusive to mobiles and tablets. Rayman: Jungle Run looks like an early example of this.”

Another of our great minds Nick Wheeler says, “With a continual improvement in broadband speeds, I’d love for consoles to mature into machines capable of running the two hundred plus player games I’m used to on the PC. Games like Battlefield 3 seem absurdly constrained on Xbox when compared to their PC counterparts. In short, I just want everyone to experience gaming at its finest, whether that be on PC or console. If that means transforming the console under your TV into just another PC, then so be it.”

Over on Tumblr, Doablog thinks that next-gen will be all about PC power advancing way above that of any console. With vastly upgraded graphics cards and CPU’s PC’s will again be the more impressive machine to play games on.

Grid 2 – Hands On

Grid 2 – Hands On

I had no idea what it was going to be like playing a modern racing game with a wheel and pedals until I hit Grid 2 at the Eurogamer Expo. The last time I did was in an ancient beat up SEGA Rally Arcade unit that was gathering dust in my University Students Union. So playing Codemasters’ next big racer with a full wheel and pedal setup was like walking on Mars to me, I didn’t have a clue how things were going to work.

To be honest, it didn’t really work; I spent more time smashing my Ford Mustang into pieces on various trees and rocks than actually driving smoothly on the road in the point-to-point race I was in. This was just one of the demo booths available for Grid 2, the other was a traditional two-lap race with a bunch of AI opponents and an Xbox 360 controller.

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Dust 514 Beta Impressions

Dust 514 Beta Impressions

I have had the pleasure of taking part in the beta for Dust 514 over the past couple of weeks, the PlayStation 3 shooter which is tied in with the EVE Online universe and which will one day see co-operation between players from both titles. It is a very exciting idea, but one that is clearly going to take a while to come to completion. The beta for Dust is very much that, an early version of the game which is undergoing many changes and updates as it progresses. As such, these are just some early impressions of a still relatively low-level grunt.

The idea behind Dust is brilliant in that whatever happens in Eve impacts on Dust as they share the same universe. I can only assume this means that all the Alliances and Corps found in the PC title will eventually be found in Dust, and that the economies of both will be interlinked with chaos in one game causing chaos in the other. If everything works out, developers CCP could be onto a major winner. Though I do wonder what will happen when the PlayStation 4 eventually gets announced and released, will Dust just transfer over there leaving the PS3 version behind? These are questions for another time though.

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