A One Year Anniversary Post

It’s been over one year since this site was started, and I’m really happy with how it is today.

I mean, last year, the site was a scary, black with white writing place that had no idea where it was going. Today, it’s a friendly place with a somewhat clear direction.

Last year was great. Even starting late into the year couldn’t stop the start of the yearly awards, most of which still haven’t been reviewed. But this year is going to be bigger and better. Mobile Week 2014 is pretty much set, with 8 different games from several genres being reviewed, from October 20th to the 27th. Furthermore, there’s going to be even more reviews, because there hasn’t really been enough. And although it keeps being said, there’s going to be editorials. Eventually.

But still, if you want to leave some feedback or just talk about games, just leave a comment. The comment section has no teeth and therefore cannot bite.

Here’s to the new year!

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Gamesland News: Pikachu Assault, Microsoft & Mojang, and More!

First of all, it’s been over a year since this website began! I’ll have some sort of celebratory post tomorrow, but for now, the news:

News

- The Oculus Rift Retail Version will cost between $200 – $400 and have several upgrades over the current development kit, including resolution and refresh rate. At present, there is no release date for the consumer version.

- In Japan, Batman: Arkham Knight has been confirmed to be a PS4 exclusive.

- Microsoft is rumoured to be buying Mojang (creators of Minecraft) for $2 Billion, and after that it is rumoured that the creator of Minecraft,  Markus “Notch” Persson will leave the company.

- Shigeru Miyamoto is making a short film about the game Pikmin, and the movie is titled Pikmin Short Movie. It will be aired at the Tokyo International Film Festival, then at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi for free, with tickets won in a raffle.

Payday 2 is receiving Hotline Miami DLC.

- Finally, a man wearing a Pokémon hat (specifically, a Pikachu), and holding a Pikachu plush toy jumped the White House fence and ran across the lawn before being apprehended by the Secret Service. President Obama was attending a 9/11 memorial while the event occurred.

That’s all the news for this week, but tune in next Friday (19/09/14) for more news from the land of gaming!

Gamesland News: Intel, Minecraft, Samsung, and More!

The latest news from the gaming world, condensed into one post with an easy-to-read format.

News

- Intel announced an 8-Core CPU, although nothing has really been optimised for it, so its kind of pointless…for now.

- The next Dragon Slash game is going to be a real-time hack-and-slash

- The next Little Big Planet game is going to be a ‘free-to-play, platform-survival game’, also known as an endless runner. It’s coming to Android, iOS, and the PS Vita in October.

Minecraft was released for the Xbox One and PS4, and it’s a $5 upgrade from the previous console versions (but only to the respective consoles). The PS Vita release is coming “soon”.

- The movie for Shadow of the Colossus is still happening, with the people working on the film announced. Although there’s no cast yet.

- Finally, Samsung announced their VR headset, called “Gear VR”. The headset will work with the new “Note 4″ (which slips into the front of the device and acts as the screen) and has several games already announced, including a first-person Temple Run that looks very scary.

Questions? Feedback?

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (12/09/14) for more news from the land of gaming!

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Gamesland News: Twitch, Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon, and More!

The latest news from the gaming world, in one, easy to read format.

News

- Mojang announced that there would not be a Minecon in 2014.

- There was a series of attacks on gaming sites, notably WOW, LOL, and the PSN that was done by a group of hackers. There was also a security scare when it was reported that there was a bomb on the President of Sony America’s plane.

- In a move no-one saw coming, due to reports that Google was going to buy the service, online streaming service Twitch was bought by AMazon for $1 Billion Dollars.

- A new pokémon game, called Pokken Tournament was announced, and it is a pokémon fighting game developed by the team behind long-running series Tekken. So far, it’s only been confirmed as an arcade release in Japan, with no news for an international release, or even a Japanese console release.

- EA has started to reprint copies of Skate 3, which has become an internet phenomenon due to its amount of glitches that were showcased by YouTubers such as PewDiePie, and retailers simply couldn’t keep up with demand for the 2010 game.

- Famous TV show Doctor Who is coming to Minecraft (Xbox 360) in the form of familiar skin packs and worlds DLC.

- An indie dev had the police called on them after their landlord saw the plans for one of the games, which is based around nuclear warfare and had world maps with targets on it.

- An 8 Terabyte hard drive has been invented, but isn’t available for consumers just yet, although give it a couple of years and they’ll probably be mainstream.

- An internet prank had a S.W.A.T team called on a twitch streamer. The streamer was reported to have killed several people, and all the schools in the nearby area were closed and the S.W.A.T team tried to apprehend the innocent streamer. No-one was hurt, although these jokes seem to be going too far.

- A New 3DS was announced at Nintendo’s Nintendo Direct, and it will feature new back-triggers, 3D viewable from most angles, revamped colour-schemes (that mimic the SNES), face plates (not for the XL version), and a second analogue stick called the C-Stick (like the Gamecube) that functions like a second C-Stick. The console has several other features, including a faster CPU and micro-SD card slots, and also has games confirmed to work with the added functionality: Super Smash Bros is one example, and a port of Xenoblade Chronicles was announced for the system. It’s releasing in Japan in October, although it has been confirmed that there will no international release before the end of the year.

Questions? Queries? Feedback?

- Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

That’s all the news for this week, but tune in next Friday (6/9/14) for more news from the Land of Gaming!

It’s the 80s – Hotline Miami Review

Name: Hotline Miami

Available on: PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS Vita

Reviewed on: PS Vita

 

Hotline Miami is one of those games where there’s little-to-no story, the controls are fairly basic, and the graphics aren’t realistic – but it manages to be more fun that perhaps most games that feature even just one of those mechanics.

Hotline Miami is a very violent game. Not violent as in ‘a bit of blood here and there’, violent as in you’ll be punching people’s heads off, shooting people, choking people, and even drilling holes in people. This game, while not realistic in many ways, is not for the faint of heart.

Hotline Miami is a top-down beat-em-up type game that progresses through a set of linear missions, which must be unlocked in order.

One day, the unnamed playable character wakes up in a basement, where after a quick tutorial in how to kill people through a variety of methods, the character walks upstairs to a room with three masked men who promptly launch into a cryptic set of messages, before the actual game begins. Each mission plays out with the character receiving a phone call, driving to a location, and killing a whole bunch of henchmen. Each level takes place in a building with many floors, so the character will make their way up each floor until they eventually kill every man in the building. After the character accomplishes this, they walk all the way through the floors of the building, past all the piles of bodies of the men he’s killed, reaches the entrance, hops in his car, and then goes an completes a mundane task, like buying groceries, renting a movie, or going to the local disco to get his groove on – this is (presumably) the 80s after all. These tasks help reiterate how strange the whole set of events is, and even allows some sort of story progression (which is very minimal and I never really followed what was happening – or even why it was happening).

Gameplay is very simple – there is one ‘action’ button that will make you use whatever you’re holding: fists will punch, baseball bats will swing, and guns will fire, all with the press of this one button – it’s very easy to use, especially since the only other controls are moving and controlling the cursor. Whenever you kill or knock out an enemy, they drop their weapon. This is useful for many reasons, namely because the character can only carry one weapon at a time – so if you run out of ammo and need a melee weapon, or you have a melee weapon and want a gun, you’ll need to find whatever enemy has the weapon you’re after. Additionally, the AI in this game will react in many ways to different weapons: if they hear gunshots, they’ll come running. If they see you through a window holding a knife, they’ll shoot you/run at you. This can be used to an advantage to quickly exterminate all the enemies on a floor – a tactic of mine was a gunshot followed by picking up the knife and holding down the ‘action’ button to melee very fast, and then moving close to the door and killing all the enemies very quickly.

It’s little additions like these that make the game that much more stylised and interesting to play through. The other addition that makes the game unique on every playthrough (I played the campaign twice) is the feature of one hit kills for not just you, but your enemies as well (save for the few bosses). Once you die, you start from the start of the floor you were killed on – so sometimes I’d get through almost the entire floor of enemies and then die at the hands of the last one. There are little moments like these in Hotline Miami that just make the game that much more intense, and if you survive, rewarding.

The game also has several collectables; which are masks and puzzle pieces. Masks are masks that your character wears to do their job, all of which save for the starting mask add a perk to the game – one allows you to start with a knife, one gives you another life (but only if you get hit by a gunshot) and another allows for even more gore. There’s a mix of cosmetic masks (like the gore one) and gameplay ones (such as the knife one), which is good. Most masks are unlocked simply through progressing the story, but there are others that must be specifically found in a particular level. The other collectable, puzzle pieces, are found throughout all the levels, and are represented by a small purple square. Collecting these will give a letter, which is used to spell out a sentence. This is used in one of Hotline Miami’s two endings: either the standard one with little info (but still finishing the story) or the ‘complete’ ending, which gives a lot more information (but still doesn’t really make the story any clearer).

I only really have two gripes with this game, and funnily enough they’re almost contradictory: one regards how easy the game is, and the other how hard it is. My first issue is how overpowered some of the weapons are: the knife especially. I found that I was able to pretty much use just knife to kill everyone on a floor, and once I got the mask that let me start with a knife, that was the only mask I used. My other issue is that some parts of the game are incredibly difficult – the difficulty scaling in this game is crazy, it’ll be flowing at one point and then be incredibly difficult the next – I had to use a walkthrough to figure out how to do some parts, and at other parts I only survived thanks to a fluke. Fortunately, there’s only really three parts in the whole game that I remember as being incredibly difficult, and once you realise how to complete them they become so much easier.

Length-wise, there’s about 20 story missions here, and none of them take that long to complete – it’d be possible to finish the game in one sitting of about 3 hours I reckon, but otherwise it doesn’t take that long to complete. There is replay value in the masks and the puzzle pieces/complete ending though.

While there are a few issues regarding the difficult of the game, that doesn’t change how much pure, simple fun Hotline Miami is. It’s simple, intense, and just absolute brilliant.

Positive

  • Great Fun
  • Simple Art Style
  • Simple Gameplay
  • Great Design Elements (such as the one-hit kills)
  • Replay Value (masks and puzzle pieces)

8.5.fw

Negative

  • Weak Storyline
  • A Few Overpowered Weapons
  • A Few Very Difficult Sections
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Gamesland News: For the last two weeks

The latest news from the gaming world, all in one, easy-to-read post.

News

- If you don’t feel like spending money on superheros in Disney Infinity‘s 2.0 playset (starring superheroes), Disney has announced a separate version which will feature Stitch (Lilo and Stitch) and Merida (Pixar’s Brave), although they will not feature in a playset – this version will only come with toybox access.

- The Best Game award at Gamescom this year went to Evolve.

- The Pokémon World Championships were held last week, with the winner, Sejun Park, using a Pachirisu, a pokémon not known for its use in the competitive field.

Payday 2 developer, Overkill software, have announced that they’re working on a new, co-op, Walking Dead game.

DayZ is officially coming to the PS4

- Some new themed Monopoly boards have been announced: A Legend of Zelda one as well as a Kanto-themed Pokémon board.

- And finally, after the sad news that Robin Williams, actor for many famous films, died, many fans insisted that the avid gamer be remembered through sprites in some of his favourite games, World of Warcraft and The Legend of Zelda. Recently, sprites were found in World of Warcraft under the name “Robin the Entertainer”, and Nintendo responded to the petition about putting Williams in the newest Zelda (Robin Williams was also the man who named his daughter Zelda). While Williams may not see his tribute in these games (should they be implemented), at least he would live on in the universes that he loved.

Questions? Queries? Feedback?

Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

That’s all the news for now, but come back next Friday (29/08/14) for more news from the Land of Gaming.

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Gamesland News: Gamestop, Developers, Twitch, and More

Another week, another week of gaming news. Gamesland News features the latest news in one, easy-to-read format.

News

- US Game Retailer Gamestop now fingerprints people who trade in games, as an added security measure in case the traders stole the games.

- 2 Naughty Dog developers, more specifically their lead game designer (Jacob Minkoff) and narrative design lead (Taylor Kurosaki), have left the studio to work for Infinity Ward, developers of the Call of Duty franchise. Minkoff will be undertaking the role of design director, while Kurosaki will become a narrative director.

- Critically acclaimed FPS Bioshock is coming to iOS, but that’s the only detail. There’s no evidence to suggest that it will be an FPS, but it has been confirmed that it will be a one-time purchase with no micro-transactions.

- Artist Juli Adams is suing toy company Hartz. The brief version is that Hartz approached Adams to create a range of toys, which she called ‘Angry Birds’, back in the mid-2000s. Hartz then created the ‘Angry Birds’ trademark, and then ditched Adams, entered a partnership with Rovio, who developed the Angry Birds mobile franchise, then based their toys around the game sprites. The catch is that Adams was promised that the ownership would not be transferred, so now she is suing Hartz, but not Rovio.

- The other Assassin’s Creed game this year, for PS3 and Xbox 360 only, is called Assassin’s Creed Rogue, in which you get to play as the bad guys of the series, the Templars.

Resident Evil is being remade in HD for PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a release date of early 2015.

- Streaming service Twitch has started implementing YouTube-like crackdowns on music in videos, although the service is still in its early stages. At the moment, any music that is flagged will mute the video for 30 minutes, although Twitch has said that a better system is in the works. At the moment, there is also no way to appeal, but this will be a feature in the new system. Perhaps all this has to do with the reports of Google finalising the payment of US $1 billion dollars for twitch?

- Casey Hudson, project director on games such as Knights of the Old Republic, and the entire Mass Effect series, has left Bioware.

Questions? Queries?

- Leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (15/08/14) for more news from the Land of Gaming.