Remember Me reviewed

Capcom's game has many memorable moments!

7.1 Surround Sound for the masses

Want cinematic sound quality? Then Mad Catz 720+ may be for you

DayZ: a new approach to survival horror

DayZ, a mod for Arma 2, is unlike any other horror game that came before

Best of the worst bad habits in gaming

Megabits of Gaming takes a look at five of its favourite gaming characters who have bad or slightly seedy habits.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mastering Assassin's Creed 3 Mulitplayer (part two)


Andy Hemphill lists the final five tips to keep your blade sharp in Assassin's Creed 3's multiplayer.

Missed part one? Click here.

5: Like sheep
There's nothing more difficult for a pursuer to face than a big group of moving NPCs which are all wearing the same face – one of which is actually an assassin. So, always take an ability that can turn a group of roving NPCs into copycat doubles of your character, and hide amongst them like a wolf in sheep's clothing.Crucially, let go of your controller's sticks when you join the group – let the computer control your movements. Oddly, looking too smooth in your steering around obstacles and other groups while hiding in one can make you stand out, over the jerky movements of the NPCs.


4: Line of sight
The best way to identify your target when they're in hiding in a group of identical doubles is through the line of sight meter and your compass. If your target is hiding in a big group, as you casually saunter over, try to block your line of sight – the light-up of the compass should help to identify which of the seven pretty ladies is actually a minx.

3: What's your poison?
For the best scores, use poison. I like to combine a few of the above ideas to get the highest modifier – such as being in a group, not chasing your target, and – crucially – using your poison blade to get the kill. There's nothing more satisfying than casually stroking the blade over your opponent as they wander past, clueless, then leaving them to fall as you walk away, unnoticed.



2: Crafty devil
Use your upgrade points to improve your abilities first, before you spend the vital XP on buying your favourite character that bright yellow tri-corner hat. Improving the number of NPCs you can turn into doubles with 'morph' or shortening the amount of time it takes for the poison blade to kill a target can make all the difference in a close battle, so spend wisely.

1: Patience is a virtue
Take your time. Unlike the horde of players who run about like their playing Call of Duty (and indeed are probably the age of that game's usual clientele), the best assassins are those who scope out and carefully execute their targets, without ever being seen. Remember that the best scoring kills are those done right – so four really good ones will almost always beat 10 which ended with racing battles over rooftops.

Mastering Assassin's Creed 3 Mulitplayer (part one)


Been playing a lot of Assassin's Creed 3 multiplayer? Fancy some tips for making a killing online? Read on...


10: Ground-pounder
Running around on rooftops lights you up like a Christmas tree on your opponents' screens. Only the worst assassins resort to sprinting around, leaping from rooftop to rooftop and earning kills worth a pittance.Sure, a rooftop escape can be a boon when you're actively being chased, but otherwise, stick to the ground and keep low-key. Simple, but very effective.

9: One shot, one kill
It's always worth carrying a pistol in your ranged weapon slot. Sure, a poison dart can net you a big glut of points, but there's nothing more satisfying than knocking an escaping assassin off a rooftop with a well-placed shot, saving you the trouble of chasing them.

8: Chasebreaker cheese
NPCs never walk through the glowing doors of chasebreakers. If you see a character strolling slowly down the corridor between the two ends of a chasebreaker, it has to be a player-controlled character. Use this to your advantage to escape your pursuer or take out your target with certainty.



7: Prime real-estate
Most of the multiplayer maps tend to have some sort of marketplace, or grassy knoll, or clearing, and oftentimes these crossroads can become a hotbed of running battles. So, why not park your assassin in a group and simply wait – your target is bound to come sprinting through at some point, allowing you to casually stroll over and take them out for a points bonus.

6: Will o' the whisper
Ignore the whispers which signal the approach of an assassin hunting you at your peril – as soon as you hear them, duck into a group and hide. Look for odd movements, or characters abruptly standing still – if you can get the drop on your pursuer a healthy stun bonus can be yours. Also, learn to hear the noise signifying someone aiming at you, be it pistol or poison dart. Obviously, it might be worth running once you do…


For the final five tips, take the jump

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Resident Evil Revelations Review

After the lacklustre reception of Resident Evil 6 and Raccoon City - both of which I actually enjoyed - there were high hopes for Revelations, an HD remake of last year's 3DS game.

Not only were these games heaped with scorn but they divided fans of the series and highlighted just how far removed they were from the cult PlayStation original and unsurpassed Resident Evil 4. Neither felt like a true Resi game - for all the graphical improvements, control tweaks and new characters, locations and game modes, they left the majority of the gaming public cold. Fortunately, Capcom was listening and the new Revelations is not rotten like the undead that star in it. Far from it. This is arguably the best instalment for years.




I'd never played the 3DS version so came to Revelations fresh. This new edition not only boasts HD visuals but also crams in more lighting effects and sounds than the handheld version. Then there's the inclusion of an extra hard Infernal difficulty mode and the new Wall Blister beast to confront. For  the first time in years, this really does feel like a genuine Resident Evil title, capturing what made the first few games in the series so enjoyable. Saying that, it's still not particularly scary, the camera angles are irritating and the zombies are still bullet sponges... but that's kind of what we've come to expect from this long-running series, isn't it?

Revelations takes place between Resident Evil 4  and  Resident Evil 5, and continues the story of the T-Abyss infection and terrorist organisation, Il Veltro. Series stalwarts Chris and Jill make yet another return to our screens, along with a couple of other characters, Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat.

As you'd expect for a modern Resident Evil game, these two are the usual useless AI sidekicks who join you for the ride. To be fair, they're not nearly as inept as Sheva of Resident Evil 5 fame but nonetheless, they'll drive you mad with their inaccurate shooting and inane chatter.

  
They say that worse things happen at sea - and that's never been more true given the events taking place on the abandoned cruise liner, the Queen Zenobia. This is where all the action starts with Jill in search of Chris after he goes missing during a mission. Unsurprisingly, all is not as it seems onboard. You'd certainly feel hard done by if you've paid through the nose for a relaxing break on this ship...

Admittedly, Revelations is a tense affair with plenty of thrills and spills. There were several moments where I leapt in surprise when something burst onto the screen in front of me - although I'm not really talking Dead Space moments here. All the enemies you face are pretty tame and bordering on laughable caricatures - from giant sea slugs to rabid, half eaten dogs and lurching ooze creatures.

Personally, I think the ship concept is fantastically well employed - a really chilling environment, with its dark corners, eerie creaks and narrow corridors. And remember, don't trust the vents... and never linger by a door! Otherwise, the other locations fail to really hit the mark and you can't help but think you've seen them all before.

As with previous games, the controls are pretty standard and easy to pick up. Accurately shooting and manoeuvring, however, is as frustrating as ever. You'd have thought our heroes would have learnt how to run away from these creatures by now, right? Instead you'll find yourself colliding with obstacles as you try to avoid being eaten and saunter away from their salivating jaws at a snail's pace.

 

Ultimately, dealing with ammo scarcity is once again the name of the game and all too often you'll find yourself relying on the dodge move to avoid some slathering beastie. Guns and ammo are hard to come by, which makes the fact that zombies are impervious to fewer than ten direct hits fairly frustrating.

You've got a new scanner gizmo this time round too, which you can flash about the place in search of hidden objects such as those magical green herbs and ammo. It's a pretty nifty device mind, also able to uncover handprints and clues that will aid you in your mission. Oh, and there are a couple of basic puzzles to solve along the way.

Despite Revelations' HD facelift, I really don't think it looks nearly as good as Resident Evil 6 - and in fact looks fairly bland in places. And once again, the positioning of your character and the poor camera angles take a bit of getting used to, often obscuring your vision and making the game a lot trickier than it needs to be.

Overall, despite these gripes, Revelations is a great game and makes amends for the last few titles that have borne the Resident Evil name. Admittedly there are no real surprises on this shiny disc: you'll find the usual complex and occasionally unfathomable plot, plenty of twists and turns, untrustworthy characters, as well as loads of infected creatures baying for your blood.


When you're done with the standard campaign, you can turn your hand to the Raid mode, playing either online co-op or solo and seeing how long you can survive. With upgrades galore, new weapons and characters, I imagine this is where many gamers will keep coming back for more.

Reviewed on the Xbox 360


  • This review was first published on Gamingbolt.com. Check out more news, reviews and articles after the jump.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Xbox One is a Day One purchase... but the PS4 can wait

It's exciting all this next gen nonsense, isn't it? We all wait with baited breath for details about the Xbox One and PS4, finally sit through the reveal shows and then the world is flooded with a torrent of fanboyism, hatred and envy.

I'm an advocate of Sony but must admit that all the people jumping on the PS4 bandwagon have surprised me a little these past few weeks. Granted, Microsoft has been guilty of fanning the proverbial flames with its dumbass DRM PR strategy and the misjudged promotion of its shiny new console as an entertainment hub. Turns out gamers don't want an expensive machine that offers services we already use everyday through our smart phones and televisions. Who'd have thought, eh?

And the latest twist is the tail is Micro$oft caving in to all the criticism and mockery and renouncing its lofty ambitions for a digital future. Must admit, I'm a little disappointed about the change of heart; access to your entire games library wherever you are and the Family Sharing facility sounded like a real trump card in the console war. Ah well, my preorder is already placed and I'm still psyched about it. Here's why:


Kinect is mandatory
This point is guaranteed to divide the masses but I actually think this will be a good thing! And before the haters start, there's a privacy feature to stop Microsoft snooping 24/7 - and if you're uber paranoid about being watched, why not just switch your Xbone off at the mains when you're done gaming... (or you can now just disconnect your internet connection if you're that bothered). Anyways, the fact that everyone will own the souped up motion controller means it might finally be able to reach its full potential; developers will be able to invest time and money into harnessing its power in the knowledge that everyone has access to one. Conversely, PS4 owners will be buying controllers with integrated sensors that can't be fully used unless they own the optional EyeToy camera. How many software houses are going to work that into their games if the user base is so small? The first Kinect was clever but mediocre, whereas this new version can capture six players at once, work in a smaller play area and even see you in the dark!

The controller is king
This is clearly personal preference but the Xbox controller is arguably one of the best ever. It's comfortable to hold during even the longest gaming sessions, nicely weighted, and all the buttons and triggers are nicely positioned... could it get any better? Hell yeah. There are a raft of improvements in the new version - 40+ improvements in fact - including impulse triggers, tweaked analogue sticks and a better D-Pad.

Innovation
Moving forward not standing still. That's what many of us came away with after Microsoft's May reveal. Not only was this a machine capable of better-looking graphics and had a bit more grunt under the hood, but there were plenty of other notable features. A Blu-Ray player is included, Kinect is significantly enhanced, the controller improved and more servers have been set aside for Xbox Live. The cloud means game worlds can be dynamic and constantly updated, and that a lot of that boring old processing can be done remotely and in the background, giving your Xbox some extra capacity to do more important calculations and technical stuff. Although it's now canned, the DRM meant that discs weren't needed after the initial install and all your games could be played on another Xbox. Not only that but the (also defunct) Family Share feature would have slashed costs for households and allowed you to nominate 10 "family members" to access your library. It shows, at least, that Microsoft is trying to innovate and drag us into the digital era. Some of its plans could have been thought out more so as not to screw over us consumers quite so much - but in principle, the ideas were quite interesting. Hopefully, some of these functions will come back eventually (the fact a simple patch is all that's required to switch them off means that they may eventually be reintroduced when the plans are ironed out a bit).

HDMI in
This is a pretty cool feature despite the naysayers. Connecting your satellite receiver and having an integrated box, with voice and gesture control sounds kind of good to me. And screen in screen will be a boon too - watching the televised football while hacking zombies to death would be great.Major Nelson even suggested your 360 could be plugged in too - making use of the interface and providing instant backwards compatibility, kind of.

Xbox Live still trumps PS+
PlayStation Plus is now mandatory to play online so the whole argument about the exorbitant cost of Live has been watered down somewhat. Of course, you get free games and other benefits with PS+ but at least Microsoft is starting to introduce that too now (albeit with older titles right now) with Fable III, Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed II the first ones available. Add in the promise of all those thousands of servers, the cloud and all the other things that make Live such a successful online system and it's just another reason to snap up the Xbone. Oh, and all your achievements, gamerscore and profile details carry over too! Addiction guaranteed for another few years at least - beats the hell out of those Sony Trophies!

The games look great
Who can argue that the E3 conference didn't contain a decent selection of great new games? The likes of Dead Rising 3, Ryse, Forza 5, Quantum Break and Halo (all exclusives) look awesome. And I really liked the look of Insomniac's mental new shooter and of course, Respawn's TitanFall. It's personal choice sure but few of the PS4 titles really grabbed me - graphically they looked great but Sony's exclusives didn't show such a great leap forward from current gen titles for me.

 
The next few months will sure be interesting. Expect many more announcements, arguments and controversy. Right now, this far exceeds the vitriol seen in those halcyon days of the 8-bit rivalry between the Master System and NES, or the head to head bewteen the Megadrive and SNES a while later. 

Xbox and PlayStation owners can rest assured, however, that whichever system they opt for, this generation is shaping up nicely. For me, it's the Xbone that's going to be first out the box - purely because its promise and potential seems far greater. The PS4 can wait.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Counting the cost of the PS4 and Xbox One

E3 finally revealed the prices of Sony and Microsoft's next gen consoles - with many declaring the latest battle in the console war already over. The Xbox One comes in a little steeper - which has only fanned the flames of the haters already up in arms about the DRM and online connectivity issues. With prices at £429, €499 and $499, it's clearly a big investment - something which Sony has cleverly countered by undercutting it significantly. The super sleek PS4 comes in at a slightly less eyewatering £349, €399 and $399 depending on region. 

So Sony wins the console war, right?

Not so fast. As you no doubt know, the Xbox One comes packaged with Kinect - largely explaining the price difference... conversely, Sony's slanty new console doesn't come with the updated version of its camera,the EyeToy. Knock off £80 for Kinect (still considerably less than the launch price of the original a few years back) and the console prices are equal. 

I'm not a motion control fanboy but the new Kinect gizmo looks pretty awesome - and a huge improvement on its predecessor. In fact, I'm actually quite psyched about its launch. Imagine the potential of something that is so accurate, and so flexible, and the possibilities for upcoming games are huge. It's also a strategic move by Microsoft to ensure one of these cameras is in every box. That means developers can target addons, services and gameplay that every single user can enjoy. 


 
Not so with the PS4. Leaving the EyeToy optional will be an interesting move and probably mean it will fall by the wayside down the line. Will people really choose to buy one rather than a game (it will retail for around $50-60 apparently)? And what really takes the biscuit is the fact that the new dual shock controllers will include a motion sensor - bumping up the price of the peripheral for everyone but being useless unless you own the camera. That will surely grate a little?

Factor in the fact that online gaming is no longer a free service either, requiring a PlayStation Plus subscription and the price differential between the two systems closes up further still.

Yes, Xbox One is expensive... but the PS4 isn't dramatically cheaper. Factor in these other issues too and it's perhaps not as clear cut as you'd think. The war will rage on!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Megabits' pick of E3 stories

Too busy to watch the live E3 coverage flowing from LA? Here are our top ten news snippets you need to know.

10) OUYA!
Independent console Ouya faced some unwanted attention from the LAPD, after the Entertainment Software Association called the cops on their small stall outside the expo centre.
Ouya fought back, like David and Goliath, and somehow managed to avoid laughing their arses off at the Segway Police.

9) Nintendo kept it quiet
With the WiiU flopping like a fish out of water, Nintendo keep things on the down-low at E3 this year, announcing very little except a line up for its doomed console:

    Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
    Batman: Arkham Origins
    Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
    Deux Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut
    Disney Infinity
    Just Dance 2014
    Rayman Legends
    Scribblenauts: Unmasked
    Disney’s Planes
    Shin Megami Tensei IV
    Skylanders Swap Force
    Splinter Cell: Blacklist
    Sonic: Lost World
    Watch Dogs

That’s all folks!

8) Old series, new games
Quietly sneaking in at the back were Call of Duty Dog. Whoops…sorry… Ghosts.
Also in attendance were Splinter Cell: Blacklist – now with the much-missed Spies vs Mercs multiplayer firmly on the disk, and a new Halo – little of this was actually seen however.



7) Watch Dogs is looking ace
E3 2012 surprise winner Watch Dogs put in another strong showing, with some astonishing gameplay. I’m certainly very excited for this one, and I hope developer Ubisoft don’t screw it up at the last minute, or with silly gameplay decisions. Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s no matchmaking multiplayer… I’m looking at you.



6) Final Fantasy XV
There’s a new Final Fantasy! And it’s not another clone of the abysmal Final Fantasy 13! (Although there is one of those in the works… again.) XV looks pretty good, though I will miss the old style active time battle format perfected in Final Fantasy 7.



5) The Xbox One (Xbone)
It’s big, it’s black, it’s powerful – and Microsoft have fumbled the ball time and time again.
The future of the console hangs on whether Microsoft remember that they only make money if their products sell, and slapping your customers in the face with restrictions and always online nonsense is not the way to do it.



4) The PS4
I’ll let this video explain:



3) Battlefield 4 is just…stupid
In a hugely scripted but nevertheless entertaining stage demo, DICE showed off the sheer, terrifying depth of Battlefield 4. Far less than being the re-skin of Battlefield 3 I expected, this one is going to be huge, judging by what DICE had to show us.



2) Sony kicked Microsoft in the nuts
In an opening blow which will surely go down in the annals of the console wars, Sony casually strolled out in their conference and repeatedly kicked Microsoft right in the goolies, promising no always-online, no online check-in and as much game sharing as you want. Smooth moves. Well played Sony, well played – but will the corporation actually stick to its guns? Time will tell.



1) Battlefront Returns
Finally…





Check out Andy Hemphill's blog, which you can find after the jump

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3: Stop bullying Kinect... It's not its fault it's different

As the dust settles on Microsoft's E3 event, media outlets and gamers alike are seemingly aghast at the price announcement. Certainly it places the Xbox One in the realms of a premium bit of kit and every bit as much of an investment as the PS3 when it launched. Many critics point directly to the new look Kinect as the culprit - the elephant in the room that they suggest is single highhandedly responsible for the high price point.


Ever since Kinect's inception in June 2009, there have been so-called hardcore gamers baying for blood. At the heart of all that vitriol, their central argument is the behemoth that is Microsoft is dumbing down their beloved console by daring to suggest that families, youngsters or a  'casual' audience might dare to enjoy gaming too.

Even now, several years since its launch, Kinect - the peripheral formerly known as Natal - gets its fair share of criticism. Much of it may be justified... we all know about the accuracy issues, lag and weak games lineup.

Granted it was a big beast to have sitting atop your TV, and the room space required was a little limiting. And not to mention the fact it cost a small fortune - almost as much as the console itself! There are also issues with its sensitivity, lag and how can be successfully integrated into mainstream games...

But take a step back good people and consider this - it's a damn clever bit of kit and has huge potential. So much so that Microsoft has placed it firmly at the centre of its new console and painstakingly addressed each and every one of the issues that dogged the original.

Why do we always hate things that try something new? Why are we so scared of change? If you're a Kinect hater, it shouldn't detract from your love of gaming - why would it?

The newer version needs a smaller playspace, can pick up more players at once, identifies you and signs you in, boasts better voice control... it can even see you in the dark and calculate your heart rate for God's sake! Sure, it's always got to be on - a little worrying even for the less privacy conscious among us - and nothing will function without it but why such uproar?

I say calm down and stop the complaining. The majority of hardware systems have their teething problems and duff games - but you've got to admit that the capabilities of this new gizmo are pretty astounding.

This would be a very boring world without change and innovation. Think how boring it would be if popular games were just rehashed and repackaged each year (oh, wait!). And where would we be without innovations like the NES Power Glove, eh?

Hardware is just as important as a new gaming franchise... the chances are it won't live up to expectations at first but those problems will no doubt be ironed out pretty fast. Chill out people and embrace the motion-controlled future! Kinect is here to stay.

Rant over.