Monday, 29 April 2019

Dead or Alive 6 ★★★☆☆


I’ve never been one to take sides and call out one beat ‘em up over another, I just like fighting games and play as many of them as possible. I find they all have particular things they do better or worse than their rivals. Mortal Kombat has its brutal violence. Tekken has punishing juggles and arcade-perfect gameplay. Virtua Fighter pretends to be good, but really it’s just floaty and slow and hasn’t shown its head in 15 years. Street Fighter has fans with lightning hands, for the lengthy combo chains required to win at high-level play and Dead or Alive has boo... Multi-tiered and highly interactive level design and a counter system that’s hard to master but will help you win against even the best of players.


Sadly DoA6, like every game just mentioned, is a slight victim to the DLC plague with two of the characters locked off behind various pre-order bonuses and paywalls. All other current DLC is purely cosmetic, just character costumes, so I can happily ignore that. The game itself includes a bunch of costumes for each character to unlock in-game but doing so was a complete ballache until a recent patched helped speed that process up. So yay for patches. 

Most of the modes you’d expect to be here make an appearance with some bizarre exceptions for the series. Story Mode will take you about two hours to play through as each new segment unlocks and plays out in some Tarantino-esque, out of sequence, haphazardly told a bunch of events. Quest Mode is a set of quick challenges and objectives propositioned by the new character and crazy scientist, Nico, trying to collect information on all the fighters. These require you to finish fights meeting certain criteria and simultaneously teach gameplay elements and strategies. Arcade, survival and time attack are pretty self-explanatory. 

Training mode is really in depth, to the point of I don't understand half of the info it's possible to display on screen. You’re given frame analysis for attacks and reactions in real time, this will be really helpful to those that know how to use it correctly. Taking us to Online mode, which as of right now is Ranked Matches only. Having no lobby so I can fight against my friends is my main big complaint about the game. I don’t think any other fight has launched without this ability - just one missing an arcade mode...  *cough* Street Fighter 5 *cough* - The lobby system is supposedly coming later in March but why it was missing in the first place is anyone's guess and only goes to hurting the game’s launch. The next glaring omission is the lack of Tag Battles, which have been a series staple since DoA2.

Dead or Alive 6 sees 27 fighters enter the tournament. Two of which are the previously mentioned DLC characters, two new faces and twenty-three of which are returning characters. The new updated character models are definitely a step up from their last outing, 7 years ago. The dirt and damage modelling has also been improved with clothes getting shredded and torn as the fight draws out. Most of the gameplay is predominantly the same but with the inclusion of this gen's favourite fighting game mechanic, the special meter, allowing for some powerful finishers or some interrupting counter moves, to change the tide of the battle.


As aforementioned, the level designs of Dead or Alive are what make this game stand out from its competitors. Most stages contain many hazards and destructible elements to smash your opponent into, though or off of. A few of the new levels have bystanders stood watching as you kick the crap out of each other and will throw you back into the fight if you get too close to them. That said, many of the DoA6 stages feel less inspired and not quite as many multi-tiered as previous entries in the series, some are straight up lifted from previous games with a few new additions and hazards added. I’m yet to find a level with seemingly endless cliffs to punch someone off or a multi-walled dojo to keep kicking someone though; until you eventually go through the buildings exterior and land in the courtyard below.

I hope DoA6 can fix its few issues, as I do really enjoy the games combat mechanics, I don’t hold out much hope for a Tag Mode but an online lobby will help with the games acceptability to the masses quite a bit. Add an extra point to the score once the lobby is in there.

★★★☆☆
Bry Wyatt



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Sunday, 28 April 2019

Devil May Cry 5 ★★★★★


As we’re nearing the end of this console cycle, we're starting to see game engines other than Unreal, which has been by far the most dominantly used engine of the generation, pulling off some of the best looking games to date. Once again Capcom show us that the RE engine, originally constructed for Resident Evil 7, is more versatile than originally perceived. Resident Evil 7 was an excellent showpiece for the engine. The recent remake of Resident Evil 2 is my favourite game of the year, so far, and shows just how a remake/reimaging should be done. Hitting every nostalgia beat, whilst making enough changes to keep it fresh for those of us that picked it up twenty years ago. The engine showed it was capable of more than just horror in first person... It could make zombies terrifying again, in third person as well. Then Devil May Cry 5 comes along two months later to show it has no problem doing fast-paced, hack and slash, action games without dropping any of its graphical prowess whilst still targeting 60 frames. 


DMC's opening few stages are far wider than any of the claustrophobic environments seen during the Resident Evil games and with some boss enemies larger than an average house. That said, the camera can become an issue within some of the tighter segments of the game, getting caught up on geometry and trapped in corners. The detail in the level design and on characters clothing and faces are some of the best I've seen, and the extensive destructibility of the objects in the environment makes for some great action scenes as bookcases and books smash to pieces and fill up the room. After about mission 8 though, the level design becomes far less inspired and more or less starts to look the same, over and over, with only the odd exception. Most of it is the same hell tunnels and caves.

The opening 10 minutes of the game are more Devil May Cry than the entire 2013 DMC “reboot”, so we can all forget about that one now. DMC5 is far closer to DMC3 in the way it plays, looks and feels; with the odd elements of DMC4 showing their head. Dante, the white-haired John Wick of demon hunters, plays very similar to his outings in DMC3 and 4. He acquires a tonne of weapons and sidearms, that are all changeable on the fly, as well as his four different fight styles from DMC3 making a return; (Trickster, Gunslinger, Swordmaster and Royalguard) allowing for boundless combo potential as these are mixed up and chained together by someone with some Street Fighter levels of command input reflexes. 

Nero, Who's now out for revenge after having his arm ripped off, is still very much the same from DMC4 with his big change being that he's lost his demon arm and has replaced it with some very capable prosthetic ones, called Devil Breakers. Each different arm has a subtle variation of moves to add to Nero’s combat arsenal and change up his combos. V, somehow a more emo Kylo Ren, is the new mysterious poetry-loving guy of the group and comes with the biggest change in terms of play style. Whereas Nero and Dante are very much up close and personal, V stands off keeping his distance and commands three demons to do the fighting for him. Shadow, his black panther, does the up-close fighting and mostly excels fighting ground-based enemies. His demonic eagle thing, named Griffon, takes care of anything aerial with some decent ground attacks to boot. 

And lastly Nightmare, a big golem that V can summon once his Demon Trigger meter has been charged enough. I found the V sections of the game to be the more boring of the levels and just wanting to get back to being Dante or Nero. Standing back and mashing buttons never came off as very fun. An auto assist option is available from the start, that even the game recommends not using, which basically makes chain combos, for all characters, much easier with fewer button inputs and simplified commands.


The story plays out by jumping back and forth in the timeline. All of the game’s missions and cutscenes start with a date and time and load in with a timeline chart, so you don't end up too lost of when events are happening. This plays out particularly well as many of the levels are parallel to one another, showing what each character was up to at any given time. This is where the online crossover mechanic come in. During a lot of the stages any time another character is in a scene or in the distance fighting,  it's likely another real player in control. Mostly they're on their own path and don't interact with your own gameplay, aside from the odd occasion, but this is quite cool to see and wasn't something I was expecting. The game is possibly one of the shorter of the Devil May Cry titles, but the intention is to go back and redo levels with the other characters adding much to the replayability.

If you're a fan of the originals or just after a new hack and slash adventure because you've already played God of War to death, I couldn't recommend this more. Now I need a new Ninja Gaiden and DMC6.

★★★★★
Bry Wyatt



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Saturday, 27 April 2019

Soul Calibur 6 ★★★☆☆


Welcome to the stage of history... retold. Because Namco has now changed the game's lore more times than they've changed the name of the series and assumed someone was paying close enough attention to the story, that they might pick up on the plot holes of a demonic sentient sword and its goody goody twin (that was probably the school snitch).


Soul Calibur 6 feels like it was built for people who like to play alone. The game is full of single player content, which is good because right now the online doesn't work quite right. Hopefully, all the issues will be fixed soonish but currently it has problems finding matches and horrible input delay (which is also present in offline modes). This likely won't bother anyone after a casual match, with friends, but is quite noticeable when trying to time a block/parry at the last second; when you now have to somehow predict your opponent's move before they even know they're about to do it. Aside from the standard Arcade Mode, there's an additional Story mode called Soul Chronicle's which starts in 1584 and plays out over 8 years of the game's timeline, with a main focus on Kilik. Kilik's story takes around an hour to get through and then you have the remaining twenty-ish character’s stories to play out. Using a rather cool timeline menu, you get to see where all the events of these eight years overlap and characters come in to play. 

Still not done with single player content, Libra of Soul (yup, just Soul. Singular and awkward to read out loud) plays like a visual novel with RPG elements and combat. You start out by creating a character from the games rather decent character creator. If you have the time, patience and imagination it's possible to create some really cool things. Libra has you wondering a basic world map, levelling up and earning gold for new weapons with better stats. I'm glad it's back after being missing from the last couple of entries, but I was a bit disappointed that this mode didn't grab me the same way Conquest Mode, Mission's Mode, or Weapon Master Mode, from the earlier titles did. I ended up skipping past the bad story to just get to the fights, but at that point, I may as well just have been playing Arcade mode.

The series has always balanced the “easy to pick up and play but hard to master” thing fairly well and six is no exception. The pace of the game seems to have been picked up somewhat and a ton of new mechanics have been implemented. While they look nice and flashy, I'm not really a fan of the added Critical Edge attacks. An ultra move, as made popular by Street Fighter and recently added into Tekken (7). These change fight situations with the implied opportunity for a comeback, when in reality it becomes more strategic to get your ass handed to you and then execute your Critical Edge, with a simple press of one button. While these have been toned down a lot since the beta, a few of them still feel very unbalanced and will become mildly frustrating to newcomers who aren't aware of the timing required to avoid them. The next new mechanic is called Reversal Edge and one stolen from DC's Injustice, where you play a visual version of rock, paper and scissors for who gets to attack (Square beats circle, circle beats triangle and triangle beats square).


It's rather weird Namco are trying to reboot the game's storyline, as it's always best not to think too much about Soul Calibur, otherwise, it all falls apart anyway. There're characters that wouldn't exist within the same centuries, lizard men, sentient mannequins, Taki's iconic spandex ninja suit wouldn't exist for another 400 years, a pirate that died when the game was still called Soul Edge, a German Berserk fan that turns into a Tyrant from Resident Evil and a fire skeleton from another dimension. Using their broken timeline they've always managed to acquire interesting guest characters. SC2 had Link or Spawn, depending on what console you were playing on) and SC4 had Yoga and Darts Video. Soul Calibur 6 get Geralt, from the Witcher series, and he fits the game surprisingly well. There are notable absences in the roster, but it wouldn't be a current gen game without some controversial DLC packed on top. The first character announced is 2B, from NieR Automata. I'd take a guess we'll also see some older fan favourites such as Rock and Hwang, from Soul Blade (but that's purely speculation). If Namco is listening, I'd buy another port of Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur 2 HD.

★★★☆☆
Bry Wyatt


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Friday, 26 April 2019

Apex Legends ★★★★☆


Apex Legends is the latest free-to-play battle royale game to hit the market, coming out early in February with no marketing or prior announcements. Originally intended to be a sequel in the Titanfall series, Apex has dropped the giant mechs in favour of team-based combat on the ground, and it’s surprisingly good considering the stealth release.


Blackout, PUBG, and Fortnite have secured a majority of the market, but Apex is already carving out a piece of the pie with 25m players worldwide. I decided to give it a try on the second day, dropping into a hectic world where half of my teammates didn’t know how to aim properly, and the other half seemed to already have mastery of the game. Aside from a brief tutorial, there’s nothing stopping anyone with an internet connection, Gold/PS+ and a console from hopping on, so my first few games involved running around like a headless chicken while following more experienced teammates. It was taking a while to adjust, so I convinced a couple of friends to join in, downloading it in time for day three. 

Apex improves on the battle-royale formula in a number of incremental ways. The Jumpmaster is a randomly selected player who decides where the team goes, so you don’t have to worry about wayward members being left behind. The characters compliment each other in a number of ways, and there’s no real OP trio as of yet. Communication is simplified with the use of different tags for enemies and locations with the quick tap of a button, so it’s easier to show where you’re being shot at from. (Or at least, it should be in theory.)

Neither of my friends had bothered to pay attention to the tutorial, so I was forced to talk them through what the tags meant, and how they worked. One flat out refused to continue playing because of the complexity involved with pressing R1, while the other failed to grasp the concept, although he probably wasn’t listening in the first place. If you hadn’t guessed, we struggled for a few hours, barely making it to the top 10 once or twice. A dedicated team is ideal if you want a chance at being the kill leader, which comes with bragging rights and your name lit up throughout the match. Sadly, even my two useless friends were more help than the average teammate you’ll find online, but the player base is getting better as the game slowly begins to mature.


Gunplay is fast and fluid, with 20 weapons found dotted around the map and dropped in via supply drops during games. Movement feels weighty and the guns do a fair amount of damage, so it’s less frustrating than facing level 2/3 armour in Blackout. The map is compact compared to everything else, so there’s always a good chance that you’ll see an enemy team as you move into the next circle. It looks and feels great, and the shooting is as tight as you’d expect from Respawn Entertainment, who made the classic Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

It really depends on what you’re looking for from your battle royale game. If you’re sick of Fortnite and PUBG, and team-based action sounds compelling, there’s a good chance that Apex Legends could be right up your street. 

★★★★☆
James Millin-Ashmore

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Thursday, 25 April 2019

Anthem ★★☆☆☆


After the lukewarm reception to ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ a few years ago, a lot of Bioware fans were pinning there hope on ‘Anthem’, a multiplayer/RPG hybrid looter shooter. From when it was originally shown years ago there was a lot of promise in the game and also a lot of hope from RPG fans around the world that it would be able to compete with the likes of ‘Destiny’ and ‘The Division’.
I’m going to start by saying that on a purely graphics side the game is utterly beautiful, whether you’re flying around in the open world or walking through your main hub, a gorgeously rendered city. This really is something that ‘Anthem’ does well, and the main characters you interact with are also very well done, with amazing attention to detail and great facial animations (unlike ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’). Sure, the world is pretty, but what’s the point of a beautiful game without anything to actually do within it?


‘Anthem’ has a main story campaign which will take you between 15 and 20 hours to complete and it includes some exciting missions, however, these are intertwined with some awful trials which just seemed to me like padded outside content with no real purpose. I got the feeling they were shoehorned in purely to increase the length of the main game, which isn’t particularly inspiring. These types of games are supposed to shine with this extra content once the main story is completed, but sadly ‘Anthem’ lacks in this respect.

There is no raid at launch and only a few strongholds (known as strikes in the ‘Destiny’ series) which are all repeatable, but after a few hours of doing the same grind and with a roadmap of content for the next 90 days just released by Bioware showcasing little to be playing the game for, I am still a little concerned about what I will be doing in the next few months.

The gameplay, however, can be quite exhilarating – your character is human but plays the majority of the game locked up inside a Javelin, a highly capable suit that can exhibit incredible feats of athleticism and fly around like Iron Man. You have a vast array of weapons and abilities which are all interchangeable based on the loot drops from fallen enemies and caches within the world. This brings about a whole other issue though – for some reason, the developers decided it would be a good idea to only allow gear/ability changes whilst in the main hub, which is infuriating and leads to a myriad of loading screens (which I assumed we were trying to move away from, but obviously not everyone follows this line of thought).

I think the problem is that ‘Anthem’ feels like it should have come out about four years ago. The developers haven’t learnt from the mistakes that games like ‘Destiny’ and ‘The Division’ made, even though these are being rectified by their own developers in the latest releases. This leads it to fall short of its competitors and makes it feel like a lesser version of them.


I’m hoping that in time there will be updates and content releases from Bioware that will be able to fix these gameplay issues, and hopefully ‘Anthem’ will eventually become the full package we were all expecting. At launch, there just haven’t been enough for us to play with and despite being given a glimpse of something that could be incredible, it just doesn’t feel like a finished product. 

★★☆☆☆
Hannah Read



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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Captain Marvel ★★★★☆


The latest Marvel superhero to get the silver screen treatment is the Captain (Brie Larson*) herself. She lands in 1995 with her memories in disarray, looking for answers to multiple questions while fighting an intergalactic terrorist threat on behalf of the Kree Starforce.

*Larson courted controversy in the build-up to the release of Captain Marvel, calling for more diversity from film critics. It’s a fair cause, somewhat ruined by the phrase; “I don’t want to hear what a white man has to say..” It got people in their feelings and led to numerous 0-star reviews online before the movie came out.


As a white guy, her quote puts me in a somewhat awkward position. I enjoyed the film, ( I expect most others will too) and I don’t see any problem with her agenda. On the other hand, if I did think the film was a steaming turd, her provocative statement is a great defence against any criticism I could muster.

Samuel L Jackson reprises his role as Nick Fury, and it’s set so long ago that he still has hair, doesn’t know about the existence of aliens, and moves surprisingly well for a man who is going to be 71 in December. Fury provides support throughout, while Jude Law heads up the supporting cast as the Captain’s mentor Yon-Rogg. Annette Bening plays Kree leader Supreme Intelligence, taking the form of the person admired the most by the viewer. 

The majority of the film takes place on Earth, although lower stakes don’t necessarily make for a boring movie. As you might expect, the titular character takes up the majority of the focus, as she slowly begins to remember that she’s Carol Danvers, a former crack pilot in the Air Force. Amnesia isn’t the freshest narrative device and it leads down a familiar path. We know what Carol is capable of, so she’s the one playing catch up while fighting average mooks that even the weakest Avenger would handle easily. Shapeshifting enemies are another device we’ve all seen before, but it works well enough as the main character gets up to speed with her ridiculous power levels. It doesn’t help when you’re a god in comparison to everyone around you, but she has to be to have a chance against in the upcoming war with Thanos.

Aside from a few cringe moments, there’s enough Marvel magic to keep the average viewer interested throughout the latest origin story, and it’s always going to succeed because it’s a bridge between the two Infinity War films. Captain Marvel is vaguely reminiscent of the original Thor, with an OP hero struggling to understand her powers on an Alien world. Unlike Thor, she doesn’t bother with romance, which is actually pretty refreshing. The lack of a love interest means there are fewer filler scenes and more time for cracking jokes and moving the story along. Carol begins to remember her past life on Earth, and she realises her true potential by the time the film builds to a satisfying climax.


CGI continues to improve with each film, and the reported $150m budget was well spent recreating 1995 faithfully. From Blockbuster Video to outdated tech, it’s full of nostalgic hits for anyone old enough to remember the turn of the millennium. It might only be a stopgap before she goes on to meet Thanos with the rest of the surviving Avengers, but Captain Marvel’s origin story is worth watching.


★★★★☆
James Millin-Ashmore



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Monday, 15 April 2019

WIN EEN Nintendo Switch + 2 Games! Blijf lezen!


Yes, je leest het goed!

Wil je een Nintendo Switch winnen met twee games?

Wij geven jou de kans om deze geweldige Nintendo-goodies te winnen! Laat een productrecensie op webuy.com achter voor maandag 22 April. De winnaar wordt willekeurig gekozen uit alle gepubliceerde beoordelingen en gecontacteerd om hun prijs binnen 28 dagen na de sluitingsdatum te ontvangen.



Om een beoordeling achter te laten, ga je naar webuy.com en zoek je naar het product dat je wilt beoordelen. Nadat je je product hebt geselecteerd, kan je je beoordeling achterlaten door op de knop 'schrijf recensie' te klikken. Deze bevindt zich net onder de producttitel (als deze al door anderen is beoordeeld) of onderaan de pagina (als je het geluk hebt om er als eerste mee aan de slag te gaan!).


VOORWAARDEN
Je recensie moet worden goedgekeurd door het moderatieteam van BazaarVoice *. Productbeoordelingen zullen niet goedgekeurd worden als:
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Het is belangrijk dat je beoordeling betrekking heeft op het product in kwestie, niet op de service of de status van het product (daarvoor zijn er andere kanalen). Als je een film wilt beoordelen, bijvoorbeeld 'American History X', moet je de betreffende film bespreken (bijv. "De film is te langzaam", "de film is te gewelddadig", "de film heeft een geweldige script, vergezeld van een goede directie en een uitstekende uitvoering door Edward Norton, ten zeerste aanbevolen ", enz.). Als je in de beoordeling niet verwijst naar het product in kwestie, maar naar de staat waarin het is aangekomen of de tijd die het heeft geduurd om aan te komen, dan wordt die beoordeling niet opgenomen voor de trekking. En zoals altijd is de beslissing van CeX definitief voor alle wedstrijd aangelegenheden.
Succes!


* BazaarVoice is een online review bedrijf.



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