Today The Reticule’s (not at) E3 Speculate-athon comes to an end as I take a look at Bioware’s sacrifices to the great gods of hype. With the possible exception of Robot Chicken Reggie at Nintendo Direct, Bioware’s trailers, demos and interviews stoked my excitement glands to the point where I’m considering actually investing in a PC capable of playing their games.
I was leisurely enjoying a day off on Friday when I saw the trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which sparked my interest thanks to the stunning footage of Kevin ‘Frank Underwood’ Spacey sharing some fine words on war and politics. The video is captured from the Xbox One version of a game coming out this November, and it looks quite stunning. The title implies a new beginning for the series following the drag of the Modern Warfare sequence. I’m not expecting a world changing game at this stage of things, but it could be good.
Check out the trailer below and then read on for Our Week in Games. …
This weekend saw one of the long-standing rumours of the games industry proven right. The infamous E.T game for the Atari 2600 was long thought to have been buried in a New Mexico landfill. As part of an Xbox documentary on the game a team went to New Mexio with Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb handling the first copy of the game that was recovered. Who said the games industry didn’t have a history?
With that, we bring you Our Week in Games. …
The first I heard of Scourge: Outbreak was upon reading an email sent to me by a friend containing the official trailer for the game. It showed characters leaping around with acrobatic skills and using a number of powers to take down enemies in style. This in turn lead me onto the official website which showed promise of unique co-op action and gave some decent back story to support the pending release. Unfortunately the end product does not deliver on the ambitions of developers Tragnarion Studios.
Instead what we have ended up with is a game that delivers generic gameplay elements borrowed from heavyweight games such as Mass Effect and Gears of War, tagged onto a barely existing and unfinished story with poor voice acting, script writing and a general lack of polish. This is apparent from the first few minutes of gameplay as you are guided through a tutorial attempting to explain the games controls. It all starts getting a little overwhelming around the time you are talked through squad commands like revive, attack and move position, all of which are controlled via exactly the same button.
The problems escalate from here onwards with the first noticeable gripe being the strength of the enemies and the almost useless AI. Even on normal difficulty the enemies seem to take tens of bullets to the face in order to kill, which is problematic when faced with groups pushing on your position. This is not helped by the fact that your allies AI seems a bit dim often standing out in plain veiw, shooting into space, hiding in cover when no enemies are around, failing to follow you to your position or running into walls. In fact the only thing they seem proficient at is reviving, even shielding themselves in order to do so. I wont lie in saying that this has actually pulled me through a couple of the trickier sections of the game where multiple revives have been needed in order to advance.
This leads me onto use of my own special abilities and weapons. These two special abilities, powered by your Ambrosia suit consist of shield and attack and differ slightly depending on which character you chose at the start of the game. The character I played as, Shade, had a Static Shield and Shockwave as his abilities and rarely did I find myself using these. Shield was useful when reviving, but as the AI seemed to be faster at me than this I found it was better just to hunker down behind cover and use my guns rather than risk getting close to the bullet sponge enemies and risk a Shockwave attack. The guns themselves well, I never used to understand what people meant when they said that guns in a game felt weak, now I do. It feels as if I’m firing inaccurate pea shooters, especially mounted guns which you would expect to sound and feel very powerful. Pickups come in standard forms, shotgun, assault rifle, pistol etc. Each of these have their own modifications to accuracy and damage which can be alternated throughout the levels.
In all honesty I could go on at length about the flaws in this game. The poor script and voice acting, unfinished story, the fact that multiplayer matchmaking is broken, overpowered enemies, poor visuals and animations, stereotypical characters (Mass I’m looking at you), lack of innovation and use of generic terms to name just a few, but I will save you the time by instead saying that yes this game has its problems and a bucket full of them for that matter, but there is one saving grace, the challenge it provides. If you are the kind of person that loves third person shooters, even the kind that have been reproduced to death, then this might perhaps possibly just be for you… maybe.
Nightmare mode is the pinnacle of challenge and unfortunately frustration and even completing it on normal is daunting enough. Super tough enemies mean retrying areas multiple times whilst juggling between reviving your team and dealing with enemies rushing your position. Over the four levels of Scourge: Outbreak there are also a few boss battles of note that require you to actually use tactics and think about how you play the game instead of blasting your way through room after room and never looking back. Getting to these battles may well see you kick your TV in anger and for a lot of people that very fact will not be worth picking this game up.
Verdict – Off Target
Platforms Available – PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Platform Reviewed – Xbox 360
Review based on a copy provided by Tragnarion Studios
Please check this post for more on our scoring policy.
Mass Effect has arguably been one of the most influential franchises of the last few years. Combining an intergalactic soap-opera with intergalactic-shooting-people-in-the-face, it managed to tick everyone’s boxes, and aside from the reaction to its ending, the majority of fans were sorry to see it come to a conclusion.
Chris is off this week putting the world to rights. As a result, I get the honour of ushering in yet another week of gaming here at Reticule towers. This week, I’ve been healing the sick in Surgeon Simulator 2013, Edcrab’s confusingly travelled back in time to the dystopian future of the original Deus Ex, and Kevin’s been exploring pastures new and old in Path of Exile and Mass Effect.
Welcome to the second part of Our Year in Games series which is momentarily replacing the regular Our Week in Games feature until the new year. Last week we talked about some retro gaming, football management and adventuring in Skyrim. Hit the jump to see what else has been part of Our Year in Games. …
Welcome to The Reticule’s definitive roundup of gaming releases throughout December 2012. All release dates stated are for the EU, across all currently available platforms. Keep this page bookmarked for easy access, as we will link all previews and reviews when we post them on the site.
Still catching up with this months games? November’s release schedule can be found here.
Guardians of Middle Earth
A shadow grows over Middle-earth as the greatest armies of the Third Age prepare for the coming battle. Take up arms in the clash over Middle-earth with the most powerful heroes from the greatest fantasy epic of all time. Form memorable and unlikely alliances with and against friends as the wildly popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre comes to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
Battlefield 3: Aftermath
PC, Xbox 360
Set amongst the shattered districts, streets and surrounding villages of a post-earthquake Tehran, Battlefield 3™: Aftermath depicts a continuing struggle for supremacy and survival amongst the devastation. With operational capacity severely compromised the opposing forces must adapt and engage in vertical and horizontal urban combat amongst the dust and rubble with cracks and fissures in the terrain providing unexpected cover and paths to objectives. Additional support comes in the form of heavily modified troop transports and civilian vehicles specially adapted to deliver deadly force to the enemy.
Guardians of Middle Earth
Mass Effect 3 Trilogy
Shadow of the Game
Time of Fury
Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Agricultural Simulator 2013
Nickelodeon Dance 2
Wii, Xbox 360
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
The Paper Mario: Sticker Star game is a flat-out epic new adventure, starring the Mushroom Kingdom’s most famous hero in an elaborate papercraft world. With the land positively packed full of stickers, Mario™ will collect and use them to fight off baddies, uncover secrets, and more. Fans of the Paper Mario series will discover all new gameplay elements new to the franchise, while newer players will enjoy a craftastic new twist on their favorite Nintendo hero.
HAWKEN is a free-to-play, online, multiplayer, mech-based first-person shooter that puts you in the pilot seat of a giant robotic war machine. Customize and upgrade your mechs the way you want, then join your friends on the battlefield to rain destruction across HAWKEN‘s beautiful and immersive alien landscapes.
Iron Sky: Invasion
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D
The first choice for me was one of great importance. It could mean the difference between life and death, the destruction of a whole civilisation or the lives of my crew members. At least that’s how important it felt. The decision of course was whether I wanted to keep the original Shepard on the front cover of my Mass Effect 3 box or flip over to the rather sleek looking reversible FemShep cover on the other side. I may come across a bit of stick for this but I changed to the FemShep cover, I didn’t think I would but until I saw it with my own eyes I had all but dismissed how anyone could even look at her. And that’s the essence of Mass Effect really. You may have watched your friend play or seen video footage of the game but until you play and make the decisions for yourself and deal with the consequences in your own way you will never really have experienced what the game is all about and it will hold no personal meaning to you. …