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ARK: Survival Of The Fittest – Early Access First Impressions

ARK: Survival Of The Fittest – Early Access First Impressions

I’m sure many of you have already played ARK: Survival Evolved the largely popular open world survival game with dinosaurs taming abilities. Well either way you’re in for a treat with ARK: Survival of the Fittest as it includes almost everything from the main game but in a much shorter more confined time frame. If there’s one thing that I don’t like about these new wave of survival games, it’s that it always seems to take forever to establish yourself on a server and get to the good part of the game where you’re defensible and not being picked on by every player you come across. ARK: SotF immediately blows that out the water with game tending to last between 45 minutes to 2 hours, yet still contain most of the good parts of these longer survival games.

If you have ever seen the film Battle Royale (or The Hunger Games) you will have a good idea of what to expect here. Every player essentially starts with nothing, but can craft weapons and armour and tame dinosaurs just like in the main ARK game. It’s then a battle between all the players on the server to take each other out until there is only one left (or one team left, depending on the game type). The video below should give you a better idea of what to expect.

ARK: Survival of the Fittest is free-to-play and has only just made it’s way to Early Access on Steam a few days ago so expect there to be plenty of updates and changes before the game is fully released.

Clandestine – Early Access Preview

Clandestine – Early Access Preview

Clandestine is a stealth action game currently in the Early Access program on Steam. It’s developers Logic Artists aim to bring the genre back to it’s routes by doing away with the all too common feeling that your character is some kind of all powerful hero with every possible resource at their disposal to get the job done. Instead Clandestine is best played in co-op with one player taking on the roll of the spy and one the hacker.

The spy is the operative on the field doing the dirty work. Dispatching guards, picking up intel and traversing the maps like a stealthy ninja with a gun. While the hacker has no on field activities and instead has the job of supporting the spy using their various different cyber skill for things like unlocking security doors and disabling cameras.

I’ve put together a short video below that better explains the overall gameplay in Clandestine and what I feel are the good and bad points about the game.

So as you can see from the above footage, while Clandestine looks promising there are still a few changes that need to be implemented before the games full release. Remember this game is currently in Steam’s Early Access program that means many changes could be made before the official release.

Clandestine‘s release date hasn’t been set yet but if you like what you see and want to buy into the early access version on Steam, you can do so here.

Assassin’s Creed Unity Trailer Explores Revlutionary Paris

Assassin’s Creed Unity Trailer Explores Revlutionary Paris

The latest Assassin’s Creed Unity trailer shows an open world Paris with much more to offer than any of the previous games. Among new activities you can now complete co-op heist missions with friends, embark on fleshed out side quests such as murder mysteries and treasure hunt in the streets and on the rooftops of 18th century Paris.

For me the Assassin’s Creed series has been calling for something such as a co-op mode to freshen up the similar gameplay from release to release. An improved combat system, interesting setting, redesigned graphics engine and improved climbing system also reinvigorate my interests in a series I once loved.

Part 1 and 2 of the video series can be found here and here.

Assassin’s Creed Unity launches on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on November 14th 2014.

Dead Space 3 – The Verdict

Dead Space 3 – The Verdict

Someone once said that in space no one can hear you scream. It is possible however, to hear the shriek of your mum as she discovers just how much you’ve spent on microtransactions. At the very least your scrapbot will have its own personality now, which is more than most people can claim.

I feel strange for saying this about a game known for its survival horror background but Dead Space 3 is a lot of fun, especially during the intense and largely scripted moments that almost act as boss battles. But is fun really what I wanted and expected from the third installment in the series? Well no, not really. Dead Space 3‘s opening scenes cut a distinctly different atmosphere than that of its predecessors. Instead of dark, blood covered corridors and cramped conditions you traverse through the steam punk style streets of Earth, decapitating Unitologists and ducking for cover behind objects in the street. The last thing we need is another cover based, third person shooter and followers of the series might well be getting worried at this early stage in the game.

So has Dead Space 3 become an action game? Not entirely. Yes, there are action elements in the game that weren’t there previously. Things like the cover system, customisable weapons and wide open spaces for beasts of a gigantic nature all influence the direction this adventure in the series has taken. But at its heart Dead Space 3 is still the same survival horror game, just with a little polish added to keep things from getting stale and repetitive. The amount of production that has been poured into the fine details of the game has gone a long way to making sure that this is the case. The eerie lighting effects, deafening audio and brilliant voice acting all add to the sense of tension and dread that die-hard fans of the series will be craving.

Thankfully (for some) Isaac’s Earthly adventures are fairly short-lived, and It’s not long before he finds himself whisked away into a dark corner of the universe in search of marker technology. It’s at this stage that you progress into the familiar gameplay of creeping around corners and closely watching every vent you pass for explosive necromorph appearances. It’s also at this stage that I began to notice the effect the difficulty setting I chose was having on my experience.

After all its new additions, Dead Space 3 is still as brilliantly scary as ever.
After all its new additions, Dead Space 3 is still as brilliantly scary as ever.

Having not played a Dead Space game before, I opted to go with normal difficulty hoping that it would provide somewhat of a challenge but nothing too strenuous. While the enemies of normal difficulty still provide a challenge for a relative beginner, the fact that every single one drops a health pack, ammo or an item that can be sold takes away from the survival portion of the game. While getting used to the tactics of how to properly deal with each enemy can take a bit of time, being stocked up on twenty health packs means survival is not a problem in the slightest. This in turn seems to make the dark corridors a little less ominous and the waves of enemies a little less formidable. For anyone who has experience with shooters or past Dead Space games, I recommend a harder difficulty if you want to keep a true sense of fear and foreboding in your playthrough.

Aside from the obvious graphical update and the addition of more action styled elements in the gameplay, Dead Space 3 has undergone a number of major changes. Most notable are the changes to the weapons and inventory systems and enemy drops, which have become more complex than previously. Where before enemies used to drop credits with which you could buy upgrades and weapons, they now drop a variety of materials and everything you need can be crafted at a workbench. The sheer number of weapons craftable from these materials seems almost endless. From double grenade launchers, to plasma pistols with acid spewing attachments, to a shotgun and assault rifle combo. Providing you scavenge for the correct materials, the choice is yours to make and trying out different mixtures of weapons and picking your favourite is half the fun of the early stages of the game.

Another major addition in Dead Space 3 is the ability to play the campaign with a friend. Co-op may seem like another strange addition for a game meant to send a chill down your spine, but generally it has been handled quite well. If you want, you can drop in on your friends game, or vice versa and begin the exclusive co-op missions, taking the place of Carver as you discover more about his dark past. These missions along with the optional side missions in the single player, uncover some of the more interesting fragments of the back story, like how others in the areas you travel met their demise at the hands of necromorphs and worse.

With little story behind the new characters, it's hard to tell if they're really friend or foe.
With little story behind the new characters, it’s hard to tell if they’re really friend or foe.

They also uncover stashes of materials, upgrade circuits and weapon blueprints that will make a huge difference in the higher difficulties. The only disappointment is, that without a co-op partner you are unable to explore the story of John Carver and his character becomes very bit-part in the main plot alone. He shows face rarely and while his comments and actions feel like they should have meaning and understanding behind them, instead they often end up making little sense.

Finishing off any story arc, let alone that of a trilogy of games with a strong following, is a hard task. I think it’s fair to say that however you do it there will always be someone who is unhappy in certain respects and for me there was one main problem. The ending of Dead Space 3 seemed somewhat underwhelming, the big reveal in the story didn’t seem all that revelational and left me feeling a little flat. Gameplay wise it was great and ended up being a little Final Fantasy end boss, which actually worked really well but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

In conclusion, while Dead Space 3 may have introduced some action gameplay mechanics such as the open areas of Tau Volantis, or the duck and cover system, at its core it’s still as scary and gruesome as it has always been. The controversial microtransactions and DLC are unneeded and not pushed in your face, and while the storyline is not best handled it is not by any means terrible and is still a good addition to the series.

Verdict – Headshot

Platforms Available – PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Platform Reviewed – Xbox 360

Review based on a copy supplied by EA.

Please check this post for more on our scoring policy.

Assassin’s Creed 3 Multiplayer Trailer Introduces Co-Op Gaming And Variable Weather

Assassin’s Creed 3 Multiplayer Trailer Introduces Co-Op Gaming And Variable Weather

Ubisoft’s upcoming release, Assassin’s Creed 3, now has its very own multiplayer trailer explaining many of the details you should expect upon release in just under two weeks time. The trailer shows the ins and outs of everything from location of the maps, to character classes and abilities available to you on the battlefield. It also gives us the first information on the new co-op game types named Wolf Pack and Domination.

The narrator goes on to say:

In wolf pack enemies found throughout the map must be killed and eliminated before time runs out, or you yourself will perish. In Domination however, teams work together to capture territories and defend them from their enemies in order to claim victory over the land.

The trailer also makes it clear that each map location will vary in appearance as the weather changes. One scene shows what the same map looks like with three different types of weather conditions.

Multiplayer was a surprise success and enjoyment for me and many others in Assassin’s Creed 2. It really looks as if Ubisoft have gone all out to build on that success and improve and refine the multiplayer as much as they can this time around.

Assassin’s Creed 3 is due for release on October 31st for PS3 and Xbox 360, November 23rd for PC and November 30th for Wii U.

More co-op with new RAGE trailer

More co-op with new RAGE trailer

I may not be the biggest fan of co-operative gaming, but gosh darn it don’t trailers for co-op moments just look so damn good. Take this one for RAGE, that upcoming beast of a game from iD. It is all action and doesn’t give two shits what anyone thinks about it. Now I just need to conquer my co-op issues so I can enjoy moments like that myself.