Monday, 22 October 2012

New Skyrim "Dragonborn" DLC

So Dawn Guard and Hearthfire have been out for a few months now with both adding several hours more Skyrim goodness to my spare time. However, due to my excessive playing and no Elder Scrolls game for at least another four years (which I will hate waiting for) DLC is a very good idea for fans. I, as a fan, would pay any amount of money to play more of Skyrim or have more varieties and differences from each of my characters. Enter Dragonborn DLC...

The main idea for this DLC is a hint from Bethesda's file names that you might be able to MOUNT DRAGONS. That's right; mount dragons. Some have said that this would kill the game as the story would not make much sense anymore but just imagine firing spells/arrows off your massive dragon as you torpedo towards an enemy. It might not make much sense anymore but it does sound pretty awesome.

Excitement for past Elder Scrolls' fans comes the idea that there are quest markers put in place that feature places in Morrowind, so a tour back to places like Solstheim, Telvanni, Castle Karstaag, Raven Rock and Miraak Temple could be on the cards. Personally, I'd like to visit Morrowind due to my lack of experience in the region which I would like to reconcile by spending several real-time days there. There's also Morrowind armour being available which would spice up dressing up characters a bit more and bring back some nostalgia for those that remember such things.

I'm certainly looking forward to the Dragonborn DLC and looking at the hints, it could be the best DLC for Skyrim yet. The price tag is still unconfirmed but I wouldn't be surprised if it was 1200-1600 MSP which can be seen as quite steep by a lot of people including me. Time will tell whether it will be worth buying but, as always, I'll be giving this blog updates on how the DLC will eventually pan out. Here's hoping it will be as good as it looks!


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Assassin's Creed: Revelations: A very late review...

For Christmas last year, one of my main presents was Assassin's Creed: Revelations (AC: R). I have always been a massive fan of the series since my obsession with the first Assassin's Creed all those years ago... Anyway, I didn't play it straight away; I had Skyrim to keep me more than occupied despite my tradition of having the first game played on my Xbox 360 after Christmas being an Assassin's Creed game. I eventually got round to playing the game and due to two months or so of playing Skyrim, I just felt underwhelmed by the whole experience... It wasn't as big or as diverse an open world as Skyrim and it felt more like a movie than a game. I played up until Ezio Auditore da Firenze gets to Constantinople for the first time and then gave up to play more Skyrim. So... What brings me back? Assassin's Creed 3. I needed to play all of them to get an idea of what's going on. So, a few days ago I tore myself away from FIFA 13, sat down and played AC: R for the first time in about ten months... What have I been missing?!

Set in Constantinople when Ezio is in his 50/60s, the master assassin's main quest is to find the five Masyaf keys scattered around the city in underground spaces that require an assassin's touch to complete. The challenges over the five keys are varied from 3D platforming puzzles to on-rails chases to just plain-old killing everyone in sight... Which is nice... As usual for an Assassin's Creed game, there's a tonne of stuff to do which will keep you occupied for a few days/weeks/months/years depending on if you get addicted to it, which is likely. There's Sofia quests to do which involves recovering books and you meet the sultans of the Ottoman empire, do their dirty work and get angry at them... Obviously... This is Ezio's last game and it is suitably tear-jerking at his last scene. I won't spoil it for you though; you'll have to play it for yourself :P

The Ezio part of the story takes up about 80-90% of the campaign and for the other parts of the story, you have to complete Ezio's storyline so as to re-live parts of Altair's life and you have to collect Animus data fragments from around Constantinople to play through Desmond's life. This is most likely Altair's last game too and as such, it ties up all the loose ends and answers all the questions that fans such as myself may have had like what happened after Assassin's Creed (1) and did Altair find anymore pieces of Eden. As with the Ezio storyline, the end of this one is equally as gut-wrenching due to the amount of my time played on AC. Desmond's is weird. His story takes place inside the Animus due to a lack of synchronisation from him and his ancestors due to AC: Brotherhood and the end of that story (you really have to play all four to get all the references). It's not as emotional but is equally as interesting as the other two are passionate.

There's also a continuation on from AC: Brotherhood's multiplayer which I've had a few hours on and it is still as fun as Brotherhood's with a larger variety of ways to kill people now but with the same core mechanics that makes the multiplayer as fun and as stressful as last time.

I put off playing this game because of Skyrim. I have had lots of chances in the past to play it again but passed on all of them. I'm glad I finally did play AC: R but I'm also glad that Ezio and Altair's stories have been finished for two reasons; 1. Ezio's had three games and was beginning to get stale. 2. There were so many unanswered questions from Altair's life and 3. AC3 is going to be completely different and I cannot wait to play it. Less than a fortnight left!

Oh, and if you're thinking about buying this game, make sure you buy all of them. It won't cost more than £45 for all 4 and most probably quite a lot less, to be honest. For this post's link under my user name, there's a Let's Play from RoosterTeeth as they play on mulitplayer... It's very funny.


Let's Play Assassin's Creed: Revelations -

Thursday, 11 October 2012

FIFA Freezing

- This is just a quick update to the "review" I posted earlier today -

I've played the Career mode twice. Once for a season with West Ham United and one with Bristol Rovers. Both times during the summer transfer window of the second season, the game freezes on me. And it continues to freeze. No reaction from the controller. Nothing. Looking on the Internet, people are saying they have a similar problem and it is an absolute shame because it is a great game. But, there needs to be a fix or update for it because at the moment, it ruins the experience when you can't play the game you've put so much effort into or if think that the game you're playing will freeze on you, which has happened 100% of the time for me.

Fix it EA.



There is a massive craze for FIFA games amongst my peers. Being 17 years old kind of makes me the prime target for EA and their annual release schedule but I don't mind it. About half of my "friends" on Xbox Live got the game the day it came out... as did I. I've been following the brand for about six years now with my first game on my Xbox 360 being FIFA 09... Good times :')

Throughout the years, there has been a pattern in which one year there's a massive change or "revolution" of how the game is played and the next year is an improvement in which the game is refined or "evolved". This year is an "evolution" year. But don't be put off by that though; it's for the better.

The main new features of this game includes the use of variability of first time touches of the ball, Match Day mode and skill games...

First time touches - Changing this was a good idea; not all players can sponge the power of a shot as easily as Xavi or Messi and, depending on the power, angle, person passing and person receiving, the first time touch can be extremely erratic. I have played as Bristol Rovers, for example, and the way that balls fly everywhere when you try to play a clever pass, unlike division 1 teams, definitely adds to the realism of the game which can only be a good thing, right?

Match Day mode - Attempting to blur the gap between real football and simulated games comes Match Day mode; a game type where you can play current fixtures using current teams that have their ratings adjusted due to how they have been playing in real life. Playing as West Ham United, several players had their ratings adjusted with several defenders having their stats boosted due to a good defencive game the last time they turned out, whereas the injured footballers (Collision, O'Neil etc.) has their overall rating slashed due to a lack of "form" or at least, playing time. I played a few matches using this mode and it does feel good to have beaten the team that last thrashed your favourite side or to add to the victories. In all fairness though, it's not addictive and isn't essential to enjoying the game.

Skill games - Replacing the practise arena comes skill games; the new way that will make you addicted to FIFA for a few hours. Described as "helping beginners improve their game", EA has brought in an assortment of mini challenges that progress from Bronze to Silver to Gold and then to Skill Challenge in which getting Legendary status is what's required. The skill games are based on the basic attributes of players; shooting, short passing, lobbing, penalties etc. And at the point of writing, I have completed all skill games on Gold with one Skill Challenge on Legendary. They are great to waste a bit of time on when you find yet another match tedious but I have completed them quite easily, so maybe more to come? DLC?

In terms of the modes, there's FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), that allows you to relive some nostalgia due to its collector cards format, Seasons, that lets you play a series of games online against real people to progress to higher leagues and, of course, Career mode.

Career mode has always been my first port of call, as it were. When I a new FIFA game, I play about 50 hours on the Career mode before attempting other modes, just so that I can get used to the game. This time, however, I think I will probably spend more time due to an addition of several new features including internationals, different transfers, more interaction with your "team", the press and scouting.

The internationals part lets you play as an international side if you do well during the previous season. I, for example, played a season at West Ham. I won the league and the FA Cup and was offered to come and manage Peru, Bolivia or Chile... I'm not saying you start big but you don't have to give up your domestic side to manage your international team and I heartily recommend it.

The difference in transfers is not massive but it didn't need to be, anyway. The only real difference is the clubs won't let their star players go without some serious dosh laid out in front of them which can actually lead you to look elsewhere at lesser teams or future stars. This year you can also add players to a bid to secure a new player by offering them as part of the deal which is good for when your money is tight and nobody wants to buy that player anyway.

This FIFA also includes a considerable amount of more interaction and reaction from your players. During the transfer part, you have to say how the player will be used in the squad (crucial 1st team player all the way down to reserve team player) and if you don't keep your promises then the player will get really pissy with you. I bought two strikers due an injury problem. The two that were injured came back from injury. The two that I bought were in form and I enjoyed playing with them and so didn't change the strikers back. The two previously injured attackers got incredibly pissed off and demanded that they be transferred during the transfer period due to a lack of games. I can imagine that's what a real manager's life must be like and if so; I pity you managers because it is very frustrating.

The press is different this time in that rumours spread like wildfire and they seem to have an opinion on anything and everything you as the manager does. A player not scored in the last five games? Must be on the way out. A player refusing a contract? Disloyal. Refusing to take another job? Saint. Very much like real life, most of it is crap. Tread carefully.

Scouting is actually very similar to last year but I wanted to include it as I find it a great way of finding a new generation of stars. Definitely use it at the start of your career if you're planning long term.

The reviews for FIFA 13 are great. The game is, of course, great. If you like football/soccer then it's very, very good with only one negative of a career save that doesn't work due to freezing but it seems like an isolated incident so buy it anyway. Oh, and below my username is some more propaganda for you if you have some free time.



FIFA 13 propaganda -

Monday, 24 September 2012

Looking Back...:The Last Stand

I'm not a massive fan of computer gaming. Browser-based gaming has never been part of my gaming routine and has ceased to enthral me despite purchases of newer and better computers on my part with faster Internet connections, also. But, just like if you're not too keen on The Beatles, you have to respect it/them for their impact of their avenue of media. The Beatles revolutionised the way music turned out by creating (a) new genre(s). Browser gaming changed the way we spend/waste our time at school/work... And I respect it for that.

I first heard about The Last Stand (TLS) when I was shown it when I was round a friend's house.Having spent the night there for a sleepover, we were both tired and bloody bored, too. Having played a couple of games on his Xbox 360, he moved onto his computer and surfed the net for a bit. He then showed me TLS and I loved it. I don't know whether it was the fact that I was 11 or that I liked a bit of violence at the time but killing zombies appealed to me immediately and immensely.

The game is a third person shooter where you are behind "cover" and you have to kill zombies to stop them from reaching you and eating your brains (once the cover is destroyed then it's usually over as the zombies quickly descend upon you). The rest of the game is spent finding survivors to help you kill the zombies or looking for weapons. You can have up to seven survivors, including yourself, with the seventh survivor always brandishing a hunting rifle which can take out a zombie in one shot, so my advice would be to gather survivors as quickly as possible in your daylight hours so as to quickly obtain this asset.

In terms of weapons, there isn't a massive variety for your wall but it's big enough so as to keep you satisfied. There's standard pistols then it moves onto shotguns then machine guns with quirky weapons such as the chainsaw adding a little bit of "ommph".

To be honest, it's one of only a few browser games which I play occasionally. I have always adored it and my love affair has continued with The Last Stand 2 being released and 3 having its trailer on YouTube. It's free. The link's below. Have a go. :)


The Last Stand -

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Grand Theft Auto IV: A very late review... UPDATE

*As seen via other posts, I have "reviewed" GTA 4 despite only playing about six hours on it at the time. This post is an update for the review using the opinion I have gathered through rigorous playing*

I've played about 60% of story now and I have to say that it's top-notch stuff. The plots come thick and fast not depending on which person you choose to help/get employment from. And it's an interesting, grabbing story that makes you want to plow through it and see out Niko's adventure in Liberty City. A highlight was robbing a bank with the McRearys with the action, emotion and adrenaline of being chased by the cops, and other things besides, it makes you see through Niko's eyes... I even got to the point, after a six hour gaming session on this game, that I started thinking in Niko Bellic's voice. I'm not knocking it, the Russian accent is up there as one of the best, but it's alarming to think how attached you get to a fictional character.

An update of the game play includes that the buttons become second nature and do not feel unresponsive after playing it for such a long time. I am better at driving despite not being in complete control of the vehicle at all times... Yet the variety of cars is something that should definitely be commended (pick up trucks, family saloons, fire engines, police cars, ambulances, lorries, rubbish truck, convertibles, muscle cars and, obviously my favourites, sports cars) with the option to steal pretty much any vehicle... with a bit of an aversion due to the police liking to chase you for a few minutes if they see you committing the crime, leading to bumps, scrapes and (in extreme circumstances) the vehicle blowing up and killing anyone in a ten metre radius.

The array of weapons at my disposal soon increased after my last "review" and I had fun with automatic and semi-automatic machine guns, grenades, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and, of course, my trusty pistol. Due to it's accuracy, the pistol has always been my favourite since I first compared it to other guns. It's also easy to find ammunition with most of the police officers using the same make of pistol (luckily enough). I still listen to Liberty Rock Radio with their classics but I may use other stations if I forget to change it to LRR when I commit grand theft auto.

The criticisms that I wrote in the last "review" were somewhat harsh to GTA IV; "the camera angles when driving are always too far or too near... A middle ground would be nice. You can die really easily which sucks at the start when you have to pay to get healed up. It's a bit unrealistic when you date girls and they say it's been an OK date despite the fact that you've totalled her car... Also, when I try to cross a bridge there's always a police barricade there and they always kill me as I go past... Is that normal for the start of the game?"

There are retorts to each one with driving getting easier due to the amount of time spent cruising around in vehicles plus the use of pressing B giving a cinematic look to driving. You can indeed die easily at the start of the game, but as it progresses you learn to buy/obtain body armour... Not to mention that the cover system allows you to not get shot as much *face palm*. The date/totalling car part is still true... But hey, it makes it a  bit easier to "hook up", as someone like me wouldn't say. And the police barricades are usually only there so that you unlock islands as the story progresses yet there are make-shift police barricades that are used in an attempt to stop you/slow you down during police chases, however these are not permanent.

And now for a final conclusion; 10/10 definitely. I couldn't rate it highly enough and even if I could, it probably wouldn't be enough. On a par with Skyrim too. And that's the highest honour I can bestow upon GTA IV.


Monday, 3 September 2012

Cool YouTube Users: officialxboxmag

I bought my first Xbox 360 magazine when I was first interested in Guitar Hero: World Tour. I bought the magazine with the glossy cover and Guitar Hero on the front despite the fact that it wasn't "official". I was, indeed, susceptible to anything that looked good so at the time I bought games depending on their trailers or cover art or what a friend owned. Then, about a year and a half after my first purchase, a member of my family offered to buy my magazine for me. Not knowing which one I usually purchased, they bought the Official Xbox Magazine (OXM) as it was the most expensive of the solely Xbox 360 magazines. Having read the magazine and used its disc, I was certain that I could only buy this magazine in the future months to come... And I still do.

As with most businesses/brands, they have their own Facebook and Twitter pages along with a very extensive website which is run by some top people (as is most of the things they do :S). The most recent of their uses of popular "social" websites is their use of YouTube.

Despite not having a lot of time to do YouTube videos (they have to work for their actual jobs), there is a large variety of videos that make up their uploaded videos section.In the last month or two it has, admittedly, been a lot about Minecraft due to the immense popularity of it on XBLA. However, even one game can bring about a diverse selection of different videos from an introduction, to gameplay to OXM Land which is basically their world and they let 100 people onto it to build whatever they want... The results are quite staggering and impressive.

That's not to say that it's just Minecraft. Their most popular videos have come from Matt Lees (AKA OXMJamSponge or "the guy with the weird hair-do") and his ability to make any game sound quite exciting. An example of this is Dragon's Dogma. Not an extremely successful game, by any means of imagination, but Matt has made introductions to different types of systems found in the video game including the Pawn system, level system and the different classes, though he's only shown us a few in his videos. :'(.

The most recent video of interest is a Star Wars 1313 gameplay video, with Matt asking someone from the development team about LucasArts' CGI effects team (which recently worked on The Avengers) while showing off the latest of gameplay shown by the developers. It looks really good, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it be for the next generation of consoles. However, it's Matt being there that consoles any worries about it and I'm sure it will be great whichever generation it comes out in.

I've been subscribed for about seven months and I always look forward to seeing an OXM video pop up in the subscriber's box... Maybe you should too.


Star Wars 1313 -
Dragon's Dogma -
Minecraft introduction -