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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.

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There’s So Many! So Many Me Review

 

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Name: So Many Me

Price: $14.99USD through Steam

Developer: Extend Studio

A Steam Key was provided for review purposes.

 

So Many Me is a puzzle platformer that attempts to take the concept of ‘clones’ and apply that concept to a rather interesting platformer. It was inspired by games such as Lemmings (which I’ve never played) and the game’s charming, simple, and just a little bit too difficult for my taste.

The story in this game is the usual affair, and it is constantly self-referencing the overused tropes of the naïve hero, the old, wisened mentor, the sidekicks that crack jokes at every turn, every time a new piece of dialogue came up it put a smile on my face. The basic story is that the protagonist, Filo, suddenly has the ability to have clones, known as ‘me’ follow him around. These ‘me’ can transform into stone, the first of the game’s mechanics. All the ‘me’ have their own personality and name, so they’re all charming in their own way.

Progress through the game is done with these ‘me’s. They can transform into stone at any time, which enables the other ‘me’s to jump on top them, which is very useful for traversing large gaps, reaching higher areas, or preventing a fall into a chasm.

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The stone mechanic in action

After the ‘me’ has been transformed, it can be recalled back into the long line of clones following Filo. However, there can only be as much stone as there are ‘me’s, minus one, due to there needing to be one character to control at all times. Therefore, sometimes ‘me’s will have to be recalled and then quickly transformed again to traverse particularly long or tall areas.

What shakes this mechanic up is the addition of fruit-like objects that enable the ‘me’ to transform into objects other than stone. For example, a red fruit will transform a ‘me’ into a trampoline of sorts, allowing Filo and the team to bounce off to higher ledges, especially if they’re falling from a large height, and a blue fruit allows a ‘me’ to transform into a boxing glove, which will then slowly float up to higher ledges.

The puzzles in this game come from using the transform mechanic to traverse areas. The stone one is rather simple, but the trampoline and boxing glove require a bit more thought. This is heightened through flowers which spread pollen-like gas everywhere, which prevents the clones from transforming. Some areas will enable the flowers to either die or fed, which stops the gas altogether, while others require careful planning of how to transform around the space to navigate the area. I recall one example where I had to fall a great distance, then use the red trampoline to bounce up to an area, as the trampoline bounces Filo up to a similar height.

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That pesky flower!

There are other additions that either aid or hinder Filo, or sometimes even do both! For example, there’s a giant worm-thing that goes around a present path along the level, and can take Filo and his clones to new locations, but will also destroy any transformations. There’s also a teleporter, which can transport Filo and his clones to a corresponding teleporter in the level – this is necessary to solve some puzzles.

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Beam me up, Scotty!

The game features five worlds, with another with what appears to be a set of bonus levels, each with about 7 stages each. Each world takes about an hour to complete, but to be honest, I haven’t even played through all of them, which brings me to my first criticism.

This game is very difficult. Often I would be stuck on a level and not be able to solve it until a day or two later, and now I’m really stuck. I just can’t figure out how to get past this one stage. I’m not the best at puzzlers on a good day, so give me a hard one and I’ll eventually get stuck and give up. If you like puzzles, and difficult logic ones at that, this game would be great for you. I’m just not smart enough to figure it out.

The other problem with this game is that the default keyboard and mouse controls feel a little clunky. The game is played with the arrow keys, with space being used to jump and ‘D’ being used to transform. It felt a little weird, and a tad bit fiddly, as one wrong hit of a button can spell disaster, especially in one of the game’s boss fights. I think I would have preferred it if they reverse the controls, with WASD for movement and the arrow keys for transforming and recalling. I did originally play it with a controller, and that was much better. It felt a lot more fluid, and I reckon that’s the best way to play this game. I had to play it with a keyboard and mouse after ants infested my controller, though.

The game features a boss level at the end of each world (that was the case with what I’ve played) and these require a mixture of platforming finesse and problem-solving skills to successfully complete. Needless to say, these battles are rather difficult.

So, bearing in mind that I didn’t finish the game (I feel that I played enough to give an opinion on it), I really like this game’s art style. I like its presentation. I like its filled-with-tropes story. This game is very charming. What lets it down is how difficult it is and the somewhat clunky keyboard and mouse controls. However, if you have a controller, and like puzzlers, this is definitely the game for you. If you don’t, it’s still a very good game that’s worth checking out, especially if you do ever get that puzzle itch.

 

Positive

  • Cute graphics
  • Funny story
  • Costumes
  • Good use of game concept (clones and transformation)

8.fw

Negative

  • Somewhat fiddly and clunky keyboard/mouse controls (controller’s fine though)
  • A difficult game

Gamesland News: Movies, Rentals, Superheroes and More

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

News

- Award-Winning game The Last of Us is soon going to be a motion picture, after it’s stage adaption this week. The film will be produced by Sam Raimi and is being written by the game’s director, Neil Druckmann.

- An almost-2 minutes worth of a Deadpool movie was leaked this week, although nothing else was really stated about the film – all that was leaked was the video.

- Images from the new Hitman film were revealed, and surprisingly, it looks faithful to the source material! The actual trailer was shown at comic-con, and has not been released openly to the public yet.

- The Humble Bundle currently has a bundle of Square Enix games, most of which seem pretty decent. In addition to this, some of their games are up to 75% off in the humble store, so check it out if you’re interested.

- EA announced a streaming service called EA Access which publishes 4 games each month, available for users to download, for a fee. The program is currently only on Xbox One, and features Battlefield 4Fifa 14Madden 25, and Peggle 2. The monthly fee is US$4.99 and the yearly fee is US$29.99.

Guardians of the Galaxy skins are now available for Minecraft on the XBox 360.

- Playstation Now, Sony’s new streaming service for games, is currently in a live beta in the United States. Apparently the four-hour pricing will decrease within the next few weeks.

Questions? Queries?

Leave them in the comments in I’ll try to reply!

 

That’s all the news for this week, but come back next Friday (08/08/14)

Oh Dear.

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I’m not sure how clear the picture is, but the small black dot above the ‘X’ button is a dead ant.

Yes, an ant.

Yesterday, I discovered several ants on the desk where this controller, my laptop/tablet hybrid, and my USB keyboard and mouse are. I had no idea what they were after. There is no food on my desk, but at other times the ants have gone into my hybrid’s keyboard, eaten rubbers in the house, and occasionally one or two just roam around the desk. AFter inspecting the few rubbers on my desk, and looking at the two keyboards, I saw a lot of ants under the controller I’d just picked up. Upon closer inspection, and to my horror, I discovered a lot of ants swarming inside the controller.

I took it outside, and while some ants would occasionally move out through one of the buttons, I needed to get them out quick. I got a screwdriver and undid the screws on the back of the controller, and separated the back and the front.

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The L2 and R2 buttons came off, as did L1 and L2, but I figured this was normal, and that they would only connect with both halves. After getting an insect spray, an spraying around the controller (and once carelessly spraying the controller’s motherboard) all the ants (save for the one dead one in the first picture) were out. Now I just had to put it back together. After putting the L and R buttons back in place and rescrewing the controller, I opened antimicro (mapping software for controllers, which is handy for use with PS3 controllers or games with poor or no native gamepad support) and slowly worked my way through buttons, to make sure nothing (such as wires) had been eaten by the ants. Everything worked…except L2 and R2.

I left it there and checked the controller once again in the morning (it probably wasn’t the smartest idea leaving it out with rain as well, but I don’t think it got wet) and compared it to the other one (the only reason I bought this cheap, 3rd party PS3 controller was because it was part of a “two for” deal) and found that the wires that connected the L2 and R2 buttons to the motherboard had snapped off.

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In the picture above, that piece of board with the ‘2’ on it sits behind the R2 button, and the wires next to it (the clear-ish ones) are supposed to connect to the two dots below the ‘2’. The thing is, they were soldered on, and snapped off when I pulled the back casing off. While I could attempt to fix it, it’s probably cheaper and easier for me to buy a new controller. And I’ve learnt my lesson. This time, I’m buying a wired Xbox 360 controller. I’m so over mapping my own stuff.

As for how many ants were in the controller, this is a wide picture:

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Clicking on the picture for a bigger version should work, and all the tiny black objects on the table are actually ants. I think there had to have been at least 50 in there.

So, if you’re looking for some creative ideas for your old, broken controller, take out all the electronics, seal up the buttons with something son the ants can’t escape, and create your very own ant farm.