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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Bits and Bytes: From N64 to handheld

Hands up who has got a few old consoles dotted around the house? They take up a lot of space - but perish the thought of getting rid of them. So how about this for an idea... take a few tools to it and convert it into a cool-looking handheld.

A few "simple" cuts and solders and within no time, you could be reliving all those classic titles on the move. Just take a look at the photo diary of this guy, who has transformed his hefty N64 into a slightly less hefty N64 portable. It's a pretty good job too and wouldn't look too out of place in your local video game store, would it? GoldenEye anyone?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Sonic 4 Episode 2

I think at this point, there are three regions of thought in regards to Sonic nostalgia. There’s the camp of people that just don’t think about Sonic the Hedgehog in their day-to-day lives; they are the great scientists, artists, leaders and free thinkers of the world. There are the people who actively curse Sega for ruining their childhood memories with images of interspecies relationships, bad camera angles and multiple anthropomorphic creatures not named Sonic in Sonic games. There might be a few scientists, artists, leaders and free thinkers in this group, I’m not entirely certain. And then there are people like me, who are perfectly content. There was that Sonic Generations game from last year, and it was actually a well-rounded, very sound piece of Hedgehog self-celebration. One that allows me to glance at the Sega and think “okay, we’re cool, I forgive you guys a bit for Sonic Unleashed.”

Having Sonic Generations both exist and deserve to exist makes it weird for another Sonic 4 episode to co-exist. You know, a year and a half after Sonic 4: Episode 1 was released to a unanimously piss-poor response. Not the newly released Episode 2 is a lousy game; nooooo they’ve actually went ahead and pieced together something a bit more respectable.

Well, respectable if you’re already into the idea of a blue, big-eyed creature that moves at an accelerated pace from the left side of the screen to the right. If you’re the kind of person that thought those silly Genesis games were pretty dumb, you should just click away from this page. Go be a good sport and buy Rayman Origins instead.

Many of the problems people had with the pilot episode of the Sonic 4 Comedy of Errors is largely corrected. Controls feel more res…well, more responsive for a Sonic game. Sonic still has a bit of his floaty, not-all-the-way agile leaping prowess that one associates with a Mario or a Meat Boy (yup, slab of meat is the leading mascot for a new generation). But Sonic seems to be, for his own lowered standards, more capable of making specific jumps and picking up speed. Blasphemously enough, this version of Sonic doesn’t seem to run as fast as years past; age and arthritis had to catch up at some point. But while certain psychotic fans may cry foul, I at least found it to be a pleasant change in that I could now reasonably react to oncoming obstacles. The days of running really fast and losing all my rings from a cheaply-placed spike trap are gone.

The visuals feel more organic. Sonic, Tails and the all those woodland creatures transformed into adorable robot animals of death now feeling like living beings and not just sprites imposed on a background. The music feels like it would have come out of a Sega Genesis, minus the tinny audio quality of everything that came out of a Sega Genesis.

Also, Tails is back to being the indestructible-yet-helpless force that is largely helpless to whatever it is Sonic needs at that given moment. The only difference is that now wires spread across the nation allow that indestructible-yet-helpless force to be controlled by someone else over the internet. There are new double-team moves, such as a helicopter tactic for jumping, a submarine navigation attack for making the underwater sequences not suck for once in a Sonic game, and a dual-wheel spinning 69 move right out of an old SNL cartoon of certain notoriety. These new abilities add, well, they add something. Whether that something is enough to make this game feel unique is another matter.

Really, the biggest issue with Episode 2 is the same problem that seems to haunt every other Sonic game, in that there isn’t a whole lot to it. I finished the game’s 24 levels in about two and a half hours. This is a $15 dollar game.

So my problem becomes one of value. I can admire a short, pricy experience if I truly got something out of it. Limbo and Journey are clutch examples of games where the emotional resonance of the experience carries on well past their own limited play time.
No one is going to be mistaking this for a Journey or Limbo. Well, I’d like to think so, anyways. The closest thing Sonic 4 has for an emotional hook is 16-bit, blast-processed nostalgia. Nostalgia that has already been considerably mined, excavated and exploited by Sega. And even if you are someone that still has a wealth of goodwill for this long-desecrated franchise, I can’t help but feel your money and time will be better spent on Sonic Generations or even revisiting those Genesis games. Alas, Episode 2 is an inefficient way to spend your time, but at least it isn’t a total waste. If you are desperate to part with your fifteen dollars, you won’t entirely hate yourself for doing so.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bits and Bytes: The breast controller ever

If you weren't tempted by our Bits and Bytes "Controller for the harcore", which we featured a couple of months ago, then we've uncovered a great alternative...

Now, controllers have to be pleasant to grip, right? And the sticks and buttons must be in a right place? Then how about this? We think it would sell well... 

Sure this is only a T-shirt but we're certain that if enough people liked the concept, those Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo techies could make it a reality?

Source: Nerd-Shirts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Megabit’s Pick of the Games on Demand Sale

When Microsoft announced a week long sale yesterday, in which some On Demand titles would have up to 75% off, fans were sceptical, and the disgruntlement increased when the list of titles was announced. Unsurprisingly, there’s not a Triple A title to be seen (come on, what did these entitled brats expect?) 

Amidst the howls of disappointment, we at Megabits thought we’d offer a voice of reason. Sure, these aren’t the most polished of games, and at least one stands out as an absolute stinker (naming no names but we’re looking at an Atari title).  Nevertheless, some of these rough diamonds are actually well worth a look…

Kameo Elements of Power
A slightly Fable-esque romp full of enjoyable and inventive shapeshifting gameplay, the only complaint you could ever lay at the feet of Kameo was that it was very short for the money. Thanks to the 75% discount, that no longer applies.

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of World War II
Too slow and stodgy to justify a full price investment, Blazing Angels suddenly seems like a bargain at its newly discounted price. It has a powerful, well told story with a broad scope that keeps you absorbed even when the gameplay can’t.

Button bashing hack-and-slash action, mythical villains despatched using QTEs, Ron Perlman voice acting and a convincing representation of the mythical Hyborian age are more than enough to excuse the games unpolished graphics and occasional liberties with the source material (Conan using magic? Robert E Howard would not approve.)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
A squad based cover shooter with tactical elements, a choice between 1st and 3rd person views and multiplayer options. Oh, and it won numerous game of the year awards and has a 90% rating on Metacritic. If you can get past the gun fetishisation and the barely concealed homoeroticism of all things Clancy, then you’ll really enjoy this.

Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands
Don’t quibble at the simplistic combat when you could be enjoying great looks and sound layered over complex, cleverly designed levels. Forgotten Sands is hardly the Prince’s most innovative outing, but it's solid and enjoyable stuff.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Megabits' E3 2012 Highlights part 2

Well, E3 has been and gone and gaming's greatest event has seen some really tasty looking titles emerge... We can't wait for some of them to see the light of day. Here are our picks of some of the most intriguing games that will be swapped for our hard-earned cash in the future.

If you missed the first part of our Top 10 Highlights, take a look after the jump. Otherwise, relax a little a read on...

5) Assassin's Creed 3
The action looks good, the characters look good, the tools look good, you can hunt animals as well as humans, George Washington is in it and the British are (mostly) the bad guys.

Can't wait for this one, it might be able to restore my faith in the series...

4) Dead Space 3
I love the Dead Space series, so the announcement that another game is incoming - and features a co-op campaign, no less - made my day.

Granted, the game might lose some of its tension with someone else along for the ride - but it will sure make it more enjoyable, in my experience, provided you're playing with someone who knows how to handle a plasma cutter. Though this will be difficult if you're playing online, especially on the 10-year-old infested Xbox Live servers...

3) Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Sam Fisher kicking ass and taking names in a more-streamlined, neater title which ticks all the boxes for both action and espionage. I'm in.

Oh, and Spies vs Mercs is back, and about time too! Best multiplayer ever. But, crucially, Michael Ironside is not back. Here's why. I think you'll agree that's an utterly crap excuse.

2) Star Wars: 1313
Sure, it's basically UnchartedWars, looking at the early demo premiered at E3, but Star Wars 1313 could possibly be the best Star Wars game for years - although it's still not Battlefront 3.


Seemingly a cross between Star Wars and the rough-and-tumble action of the Uncharted series, the game has a lot of promise, setting a darker tone than the awful Kinect Star Wars and reminding fans of the series that Lucasarts can make adult Star Wars games, from time to time.

1) Watch Dogs
A new IP! That's a rare enough thing at E3 - an event traditionally swamped by sequels, prequels and three-quels. So, the fact that Watch Dogs is just a damn good idea - and taps into the inherent fear this modern world instills in anyone who has half a brain - is fantastic.

Combining intrigue with technology and conspiracy theories, Watch Dogs ticks all the boxes for the next big blockbuster. Bring it on.

Megabits' E3 2012 Highlights

For those of us who couldn't actually afford to go to LA for the E3 spectacular, I've been following the news from from my armchair in London.

We've finally made our way through all the best news and announcements but here are our Top Ten: E3 2012 Highlights. Enjoy!

10) Next-gen tech
Not a lot to go on here, but Square-Enix's tech demo was certainly shiny enough to grab my attention and hold it for a while.

Yes, new consoles are coming – although I don't think they're needed. The Xbox and PS3 still have years to run, and until we get full VR-rigs, I can't see me swapping them for anything.

9) WiiU
No, I still don't like the Wii. But even I must admit Nintendo's latest console looks clever and immersive - looking forward to seeing more of this

Whiny white plastic is back, baby!

8) Dead Island: Riptide
Dead Island was a diamond in the rough, here's hoping that the developers listen to the criticism and come back with a game that A: has a plot, and B: does a better job of matchmaking for its co-op campaign. Looking forward to seeing more from Dead Island: Riptide

Fingers crossed.

Oh, and bring back "Who do you Voodoo, bitch?!"

7) Halo 4
I dismissed Halo 4 out of hand - another shameless cash in to Master Chief's flog-a-dead-donkey game series - but somehow, the demos I saw of Halo 4 captured and help my attention, especially when more footage of the multiplayer came to light.

Plus, I really want to see what happens when Cortana goes 'Rampant'.

6) Dishonored
Looking like a combination of Half Life, Bioshock and Steampunk, I can't wait to see more of this title. Deus Ex Victorian or what!

Love the crazy powers.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Sorcery

If there’s one thing that’s surprised me since Sony’s Move motion controller found its way to the shop shelves, it’s the dearth of wand-wafting games that have been released. I mean, at first sight, it seems tailor made for games featuring magical wands and wizardry. Thankfully, Sony and developer The Workshop have conjured up Sorcery – a much delayed but very welcome addition to the Move catalogue.

Now, it should be noted that firstly, you must have Move to play – it’s your wand, you see. Secondly, you’ll need to make use of a separate pad or Navigation Controller to control your character’s movement.

Sorcery puts you in the shoes of Finn, a sorcerer’s apprentice who’s a bit wet behind the ears but finds himself in possession of his very own wand. Accompanied by his feisty feline sidekick, Erline, the two must master the art of magic and use it to conquer the malevolent plans of the Nightmare Queen, who appears hell bent on taking over the world. It’s up to you to roam the Faerie Kingdoms, hone your wizardry skills and solve a few rudimentary puzzles to defeat the evil Queen. It’s your typical story of good versus evil – but where it differs is its clever use of Move, which marks a new era for the peripheral as the title has been purpose made with it in mind.

This great-looking RPG is steeped in Irish folklore, giving the game a certain look and feel. It strikes me that this is the kind of application of motion control that would have been exactly what Peter Molyneux envisaged when crafting his Fable series on the Xbox 360.

Progression through the fairly short story provides the once na├»ve lad with a plethora of powerful magic based around wind, fire, ice, earth and lightning.  With a simple movement of the controller, spells are cast or potions brewed and imbibed, puzzles solved and evil minions vanquished. Twisting and turning Move allows you to unlock doors as though turning a key, gulp down a revitalising health potion or rebuild broken bridges. Once you’ve gained the ability to cast spells such as whirlwinds and lightning bolts, you really do feel powerful and wizardlike. Within no time you’ll be conjuring up walls of fire and encasing your enemies in blocks of ice. What’s more, you can combine spells and supplement your powers by finding and mixing new ingredients.

A flick of the wrist sees our budding magician beating banshees and trolls with aplomb. The sheer number of enemies that you’ll face, however, may leave you with a slightly sore arm after shooting lightening bolts and casting spells for long periods. Big foes also stand in your way – some of them quite memorable – although they can take an age to defeat. And it’s at these moments you realise there’s a certain amount of monotony to the gameplay. Move and shoot, move and shoot. Rinse and repeat. The paths and objectives are linear and offer little by way of exploration too. But the landscapes sure are colourful and a joy to look at so the journey isn’t an unpleasant one.

It’s clearly a title aimed at a younger audience, with simple puzzles acting only to break up the near constant combat. The voice acting for the main characters is top notch and there’s a humorous quality to the dialogue, which adds somewhat to its charm.

As is so often the case with this new-fangled technology, getting Move to do exactly what you want it to is occasionally tricky. Directing your magic can be troublesome, especially when you’re trying to shoot magic round corners or at an angle.  The camera can also be frustrating, with your vision inadvertently obscured and often leading to lost health as bad guys home in on you.

Another minor – but fairly obvious – gripe is the likelihood of suffering a few aches and pains the next day after a gaming session. Motion control is a very clever phenomenon but waving your arms about over a sustained period does take its toll – and sadly, there’s no way of playing Sorcery without Move. Maybe that’s the positive side of the game being fairly short lived?

Showcased at E3 2010, Sorcery has been a long time coming. Was it worth the wait? It’s all fairly one dimensional and replayability is questionable after a brief campaign but it’s great to show off the abilities of the Move controller. It’s certainly not a reason to rush out and buy Move but if you’ve already got one in your drawer, it’s well worth picking up a copy – particularly for the younger audience.

Reviewed on PS3
  • This review was first published on Check out more news, reviews and articles after the jump.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bits and Bytes: The Mario metro

Some of us at Megabits have a particular affinity for Toronto in Canada, seeing as we used to call downtown our home a few years back. So when we found something that combined one of our all-time favourite cities with gaming, we had to feature it in our regular Bits and Bytes column.

Take a look at the artwork below, which transforms the Toronto subway into a map from Super Mario 3. We think it's awesome... and if you think so too, head over to Dave's Geeky Ideas and place an order for your very own version that you can hang on your wall.

It's well worth checking out the rest of Dave's site too - there's some great stuff on there.

Megabits Of News: Weekly Roundup (w/e 15 Jun)

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to...

Portable Street Fighter X Tekken
Street Fighter X Tekken will be available to play anywhere you want, after Capcom announced the game will be released on the iPhone in the summer. You can play with Ryu on the train, Heihachi Mishima in the park, Anna Williams in the bathroom … er, well, you get my drift.

Stallone to hit the small screen
According Joystiq, there's a listing on Australia's Classification site for “The Expendables 2”, - which will be hitting our cinemas soon - meaning it's to become a video game. We are hoping for Sly and co to bring the muscles, the big guns and the gore for this one.

Bullet time in you hands
CVG reports that handheld gamers will have their hands full as Max Payne is coming to Android. Rockstar has said Max Payne has been optimised for Android devices so shooting baddies and kicking butt has never looked so good … albeit on a small screen.

Space is the limit for Angry Birds
Those catapulting birds show no stopping as sales of Angry Birds Space have surpassed 100m downloads since March, says MCV. Rovio looks to be on to a winner.

Just can't get enough Fruit Ninja
I know what you're thinking... you play Fruit Ninja on iPhone, iPad, or Android all the time, but you still aren't getting enough of it in your life. Fear no more as studio Half Brick has licensed companies to begin producing consumer products for the franchise. Expect t-shirts, toys mugs and phone covers for your favourite app.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Doctor Who - The Eternity Clock

I'm no ‘Whovian’. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched the series, but I often get repelled by some of the more outlandish plotlines, or Dr Who’s easy way with the inherent rules of space and time – Stephen Hawking won’t be happy. That said, I am a sucker for a puzzle game, and luckily The Eternity Clock ticks that box.

Putting the gamer in the shiny shoes of the latest Doctor – played by current BBC actor Matt Smith – and his female side-kick/lover/wife/companion Dr River Song – The Eternity Clock starts out the way of all Doctor Who episodes – utterly confusing.

The TARDIS is flipping end-over-end in some sort of timestorm, and the Doctor finds himself flung into the Bank of England in the present day. Beforelong he discovers a plot by old-time opponents the Cybermen, alongside other famous monsters including the Daleks and the Silurians, and finds himself taking on the mysterious Eternity Clock.

The plot’s actually not bad, and with the voice-actors from the BBC show reprising their roles, the snappy dialogue is sure to bring a smile to any fan’s face.

The majority of the game features the Doctor and River running around a variety of times, spaces and planets, unraveling the mystery of the Eternity Clock through solving puzzles, platforming, teamwork and clever quips.

As a singleplayer game The Eternity Clock can be a little boring, with one player having to do all the work, alongside a fairly dumb AI controlling the Doctor or River – but get another player on the split-screen or online and the title comes to life – this is a game designed to be played with friends.
The puzzles the game throws at you between bouts of out-running armies of Cybermen are a mixed bunch, with several difficulty levels available for both hardcore gamers and the game’s target audience – kids.

Some test your reflexes and mental arithmetic, others your patience and outside-the-box thinking.
The action scenes are the weaker aspect of the game, however, and aren’t helped by the clunky controls.

They’re also not helped by the 3D-background, 2D viewpoint style of the game, which is often a little jarring to the eye, and can result in the Doctor and River trying to zap enemies while flinging their arms arms around like Stretch Armstrong.
The graphics are also pretty shoddy, with rough textures abundant, despite some of the clever platforming challenges the game serves up. The game’s characters also don’t move their mouths when talking, and run like they’re trying to hurdle a Mini Cooper with every step. The Doctor is also astonishingly spry for a centuries-old alien, acting more like the Prince of Persia than a Timelord.
That said, the voice acting and scriptwriting is excellent, and had me chuckling throughout the whole game. This is one for a bigtime Who fan or a young gamer – there’s no hardcore challenge to be had here.

Reviewed on PS3

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: Dragon's Dogma

It’s a rare thing indeed for a completely new IP to see the light of day - and particularly one so ambitious - but Capcom has taken no prisoners with the arrival of Dragon's Dogma.

For those of us feeling somewhat deflated now we’ve scoured every inch of Skyrim, had our fill of Fus Ro Dah-ing and heard countless tales of arrows to the knee, Dragon’s Dogma proves a welcome addition to the rapidly populating catalogue of RPGs for our consoles.

Capcom has high hopes for its new franchise and Dragon’s Dogma certainly offers plenty of potential for expansion and follow ups. Brought to us by the guys behind Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry 4, it combines the facets of games such as Skyrim and the thoroughly unforgiving Dead Souls. Dragon’s Dogma is huge, engrossing and tough - albeit a little rough around the edges.

Signposting and handholding is not part of its remit here and you’ll find yourself wandering the vast environments not knowing precisely where you’re headed most of the time… or what’s waiting round the corner. But it’s that sense of freedom that makes Dragon’s Dogma so magical and appealing.

The plot goes something like this: the titular dragon unexpectedly attacks your sleepy seaside hometown of Cassardis and things don’t end well. While many of your peers scarper, fearing for their lives, you grab a blade and do your best to down the beast. It doesn't end well and the winged one emerges victorious, skewering and then swallowing your heart in the process. Oddly, you don't die but awake some time later to become one of the "Arisen". Rather than just counting your blessings and getting on with life as best you can without a heart, our protagonist takes it upon him or herself to track down that pesky dragon and retrieve it!  Cue plenty of exploration and combat as your roam the vast realm, coming across all kinds of fantastical creatures along the way.

Within minutes of leaving the menu screen you get a good idea of the kind of adventures you’ll be enjoying during your playthrough. You’re certainly thrown in at the deep end, and before long you'll have seen off the mystical Griffin, downed an Ogre and dispatched a huge three-headed Hydra. By this time you'll have spent some time on the comprehensive character customisation screen, adapting your appearance, physical attributes and skills. Do you fancy being a warrior, strider or a mage? Chiselled chin or stumpy legs – it’s entirely up to you. Capcom proudly states that every decision has an effect on gameplay too, so careful thought is required even at the start of the game.

Soon after, you’ll also have assembled a group of like-minded warriors to assist you in your various quests. Three companions will assist you in your escapades, one permanently and two others who can be switched. It’s a clever mechanic, primarily because these sidekicks – or pawns – are borrowed from other players through an online portal called the Rift. What this means in practise is these hired pawns may already have passed through the part of the game you’re playing – and will therefore have the required skills or be able to offer advice to pass through safely. In turn, your pawns will also be borrowed and benefit from learning news skills and abilities in someone else’s game.

That’s not to say they’re the brightest people in the world… pawns are notoriously annoying. It’s their inane chatter that starts to grate after a while, all the constant repetition and pointless comments. What’s more, their “helpful” dialogue pops up onscreen, which is very distracting and eats into your already crammed display. This can be turned off but it’s irritating nonetheless. On the plus side, they are handy to have in a battle and do their bit to assist you in combat.

And the combat is hugely satisfying... especially as you can leap onto even the biggest of enemies to see them off. Grab an ogre's leg to slow his movement or scale a Hydra's neck to get some head shots in. It's well animated and adds another tactical element to each confrontation. Inspired.

Sure, there are flaws, such as the occasionally irksome camera angles, slightly ropey textures and the backtracking mentioned in the review above. Nevertheless, Capcom has set the groundwork for a fantastic franchise in Dragon’s Dogma – one that it will no doubt aim to capitalise on and develop for some time to come. All in all, it’s highly recommended for RPG lovers as well as newbies to the genre who are willing to invest the time. And who doesn’t like slaying Goblins and Cyclops?

Reviewed on Xbox 360
  • This review was first published on Check out more news, reviews and articles after the jump.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Offspring Fling

Haven't you had, at one point or another, a moment where you wish you could throw away stuff -or people- around the room? Well, Kyle Pulver, an indie game developer, has come up with the perfect game for you. Well, not really. It won't make your stress-o-meter go lower, but at least you can toss your offspring around and make them bounce against walls. That's something, right? Right.

Offspring Fling! is a strange game. Addictive, but strange. The story is simple. You're the mother of some adorable, Kirby-like creatures, and everything's fine and dandy, until a giant dinosaur decides to ruin your peace and hell breaks loose. Your children get dispersed around the forest, and it's your job to take them back, and to make that dinosaur pay. I might have made the game sound too serious. It's actually really, really cute (check out the demo after the jump).

And that's one of the highlights of this game. It's actually a combination of cartoonish, adorable characters with some cheerful music. Which is great, by the way. It really shows a lot of effort by the composer, Alec Holowka. About the gameplay, it's something similar to Super Meat Boy, that insanely-hard game who everyone loves. Your objective is to solve different baby-throwing puzzles while you avoid dangerous threats such as wasps, baby-dinosaurs, or water. If one of your precious cuddly fluffballs dies, you'll have to start again.

The controls are simple, and so is the game. It gets progressively harder with each level, and some of those puzzles will have you throwing your kids against the walls just for anger. Then again, the game has a few flaws. First of all, even though it has one hundred levels, the game won't last more than 6 hours if you're an average gamer. Also, the difficulty of this title lays within the time limit. Let me explain.

For beating a level, you'll earn a flower. The flower can be blue, if you simply pass the level, gold, if you beat it in a par time, or white if you can actually beat the developer's time. Obviously, if you simply try to get all the blue flowers, the game can be beaten in less than three hours. The golden ones are harder, but still achievable. The white ones... Well. I got three of them! All the flowers are kept in a garden level, which keeps getting prettier.

The only real problem I have with this game is the lack of content. It does have a level editor, but... It just feels a bit empty. There are no unlockables, no kind of incentive for you to keep playing.

Honestly, the feeling of knowing your kids are safe is satisfying for a while, but towards the end, you end up wishing there was more to this game. Sadly, there isn't. If you're curious about it, you can try it for free on Newgrounds, or on It'll most likely feel like a brief wave of fresh air for most gamers out there, who are too busy with Diablo III to remember there are other games out there!

Reviewed on PC

By Carles Soler

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Interview: Dragon's Dogma

Capcom’s new action role-playing game, Dragon’s Dogma, was developed by the same staff members that had worked on Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Breath of Fire, and the game's large open-world environments have drawn comparisons to Capcom's own Monster Hunter series as well as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In addition to the large open world, Dragon's Dogma also features a large city environment with over 200 NPCs who will move about according to their own time schedules. The player will be able to communicate with the residents in full voice.

The game features a persistent world with a day-night cycle; this affects the gameplay during the night, when the game takes on a more survival horror feel reminiscent of Capcom's Resident Evil series. In addition, the game's art style and character movements have been compared to Dark Souls, the hack-and-slash combat elements have been compared to Devil May Cry and Dark Souls, some of the fantasy elements have been compared to Breath of Fire, and the combat and party systems have been compared to Monster Hunter.

Capcom Director Hideaki Itsuno also cited the influence of other Eastern RPGs such as Dragon Quest and Western RPGs such as Fable and Oblivion. Itsuno later explained that they have "seen a great deal of open-world action RPGs over the years," but that "there's never been one that really put everything together in the action parts. We figured that if there hasn't been a game made by people who understand how action works, then we ought to do it ourselves. We wanted a game where the player is thrown into the world and needs to figure out how to stay alive via nothing but his own controller."

The game is being designed to be playable even by those who are not too skilled at action games. These types of players can recruit strong NPCs and let them do the fighting during combat as they watch over the battlefield. Players can look forward to up to 30 hours of main quest play and up to an additional 70 hours or more of side quests.

During the press conference at Capcom's Captivate event in 2011, Itsuno said that Dragon's Dogma is a game he had been dreaming about making since his school days. He was able to realise it now due to advancing technology, and has been directing a staff of around 150 people at Capcom Japan for the past two years development time (three years including conceptual phases). Istuno said: “We're trying to make a new genre: We're using our action heritage and putting that into an action RPG."

Capcom Director Hideaki Itsuno took us on a tour of the battle scene and explains what sets it apart...

How big was the development team?
More than 150 people from Capcom, and more than 300 people if we include our partner companies, are involved in the production of Dragon’s Dogma. Many of the team members from Capcom have previously worked for games such as RE5, Lost Planet 2, Monster Hunter and Devil May Cry 4.

How much customisation is there? 
Players can customise their player character, as well as “Pawns” who will be traversing the world as the player’s party members, in different ways: gender, age, body type, length of arms/legs, facial features, hairstyle, scars, posture, femininity/masculinity, and even cosmetics. Furthermore, the results of your customisation actually affect the performance of each character’s actions within the game. There are 9 unique classes in this game for players to choose from. There are a plethora of different weapons and equipment that players can choose from, or layer together, to really give their characters a unique look. You can also collect up to 20 kinds of skills from over 200 special actions based on each class or weapon. All these elements together will create an almost limitless amount of customization options for all players to enjoy.

What is the style of combat?
We’ve created a highly strategic battle system that is based on intuitive button presses and a variety of attack possibilities, and each element contributes to a very satisfying gaming experience. Players who are not entirely comfortable with the action elements can focus on optimising their Pawns and their class abilities, and researching the weaknesses of the enemies before taking them on. Levelling up and raising your Pawns will also give you an edge in combat.

What is the "pawn" system?
A party is comprised of four members: one main hero, who you control, one main Pawn, who will be your partner throughout the game, and two other Pawns, who you can obtain from the online network and belong to other players. You can also upload your main Pawn to the online server and let other players borrow him/her as well. Players can lend and borrow main Pawns, and go on adventures with a variety of teammates. Pawns that a player borrows will have knowledge on past enemies and quests that they have been on, and provide useful tips along the way. In addition, Pawns that you lend out will return with new knowledge and loot from their travels. You can also return Pawns to their owners with presents and messages, so we hope that players will utilise the Pawn system to communicate with each other across the globe. We kind of see it as having your kids going on a trip with some family friends! In order to borrow Pawns that are at a higher level than the player has attained, currency called Rift Crystals will be needed. Players will receive Rift Crystals by lending their Pawns out to other players. In order to facilitate players’ Pawns being rented more often and gaining those all important Rift Crystals we implemented the ability for players to share or advertise their Pawns’ information on Facebook and Twitter. The essence of the Pawn system is the communication it brings between the various players who interact with each other.

How vast is the open-world environment?
In terms of game time, if players start from the centre of the world it will be tough for them to reach their destinations while the sun is still out. A round trip could take an entire day, in-game. We’ve set it so that players really get a sense of exploring a huge, diverse environment. If you are planning to go for a long stroll, it’s best to be prepared.

From where did you draw inspiration? 
Definitely the DMC series! As well, the arcade version of Dungeons & Dragons, Oblivion, Fable 2, and the Dragon Quest series also provided a lot of inspiration for Dragon’s Dogma.

Must players be good at RPG/action gaming?
Players who enjoy RPGs can utilise their knowledge of those games to minimise any difficulties they have with the action elements. Conversely, players who are good at action gaming can use those skills to compensate for any lack of RPG knowledge they may have. For those players who are good at both RPGs and action gaming, this game is definitely for you!

What inspired the cross over?
Ever since middle school I have always dreamed about the possibilities of a game that seamlessly merges the strategic elements of an RPG with the raw combat of an action game. Lately I have enjoyed playing a number of different RPGs, but I do feel that they are lacking in action elements. With Dragon’s Dogma we were able to make a brand new game from scratch, so it was a chance to make my dreams come true as well.

Will this spur a new genre of gaming?
I do feel like RPGs with action elements will increase as a result. I also hope more games start to incorporate network communication that supports player interaction.

What was the greatest challenge in development? 
There were a lot of challenges with developing this game; almost too many to count! Capcom, and even other Japanese developers, had never really tried to make an open world action RPG before, so that in itself was a huge undertaking. Implementing action elements in the battle system, creating the online network, producing Capcom’s first real character customisation system, making sure the enemy AI was of the highest quality, the list goes on and on. Perhaps the biggest challenge was trying to explain to everyone all of the features we were trying to put into the game! Even though we had all these great ideas, making sure that these ideas were being communicated clearly to everyone was really tough.

What elements are you most proud of?
I believe that we have been able to provide a true feeling of adventure and exploration, through the innovative blending of RPG and action elements in Dragon’s Dogma. I can say for sure that players will never find themselves with nothing to do in the game, so I hope everyone will try it out!

  • Michael Gordon is editor of Charged Middle East magazine, a leading Dubai-based gadgets and games title that provides news, reviews and features on the latest home and consumer electronics. For more about the magazine, visit its Facebook page after the jump. Check out this article and many more in the June issue.

Friday, June 08, 2012

The most expensive DLC ever

We've bemoaned the cost of DLC on this very site on many occasions but we're staggered by just how expensive it's getting! Shrewd developers use the downloadable maps, missions and game modes to squeeze even more money from our wallets - and often it's worth the outlay...

But we at Megabits can't help but think things have gone a little too far with this content we recently tried to download for Prototype 2. Yeah, you saw that right - it wants us to part with over 4 billion Microsoft Points!!!

Mmm, if 2400 points is £20.40/$30.00... you do the math.At that price I hope Heller is at least able to turn invisible!

Not to worry though, this glitch was only temporary... and it's made us appreciate how reasonably priced DLC actually is!

Bits and Bytes: Ultimate gaming table

When we saw this coffee table we thought it was rather cool and then moved on. But then we went back and read the description and thought it was more than cool... This coffee table is more than just a piece of furniture it is a real life working controller. Very impressive. Can't help wondering how easy it is to use though. And how big must the television be???

Take the jump to to find out more

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Review: Ghost Recon Future Soldier

Many developers have fallen prey to what I call COD-itis – an intense compulsion to follow in the footsteps of Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward and abandon tact in a rush to create balls-out action, with little thought for the fineries of first-person shooters. So, when I saw the trailers for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, I was somewhat perplexed by the onus on explosions, sprinting and heavy, loud gunfire in a series traditionally known for careful, quiet, planned action. Thankfully, the trailer was wrong.

Sure, Future Soldier has a selection of big-budget action moments, like chasing down a transport aircraft in a jeep, or skydiving into Russia, but the meat of the game remains in careful, co-ordinated movement, teamwork and high-tech gadgetry.

Future Soldier’s singleplayer campaign puts you in the enhanced combat rig of Staff Sergeant John Kozak, a surly soldier who specialises in tech, and acts as his four-man Ghost unit’s engineer. Equipped with the latest in high-tech military weapons and gadgets, the four men of ‘Hunter’ squad execute missions behind enemy lines, changing the course of events for the benefits of Uncle Sam.

The singleplayer campaign takes Hunter from the desert to the jungle to the arctic wastelands of Russia, as you work to track down a rogue organisation with dreams of world domination (surprise surprise), however, whatever the mission, in the words of the Ghosts themselves: ‘We were never even there’.

The game’s focus on stealth is apparent from the off. Kozak and co have access to the cross-com – a communication interface which allows the user to control US-friendly airstrikes and offensive drones (including the awesome Warhound – a mortar/missile armed four-legged metal monster) and allows your fireteam to co-ordinate attacks on the fly. The team also has a type of active stealth, which makes the team practically invisible, and a number of drone scanners, sensor grenades, EMP units and fancy rifles with thousands of possible weapon options to hang off them.

The overall impression of the game’s singleplayer is, therefore, one of being a badass. Your enemies, be they Arab militia or the Russian Army’s specialist Bodark “Wolf” unit, usually have tech below your level, and so sneaking past them invisibly, setting up a sync-shot – whereby your cross com helps you co-ordinate a four-way takedown on four enemies at once – makes you feel badass.   

However (and thankfully), Kozak isn’t bulletproof, so the wise gamer is forced to plan his or her approach to the enemy beforehand, rather than running in like a fool. To do this, Kozak can use a nifty aerial drone to mark targets for his team to take down, allowing you to act more as a battlefield commander than a commando, or use sensor grenades to dig the enemy out from where they’re hiding.

And, although I was slightly nervous about having three AI-controlled team members on my squad, the AI is clever enough to sneak around undetected, taking out enemies you mark up and saving your arse in a pinch. It does sometimes get stuck on the scenery however, and will sometimes get lost in the woods, or somehow manage to take out a marked target through three feet of concrete...

Of course, if you’d prefer to play with your friends, the game also supports four-player online co-op. If you get fed up of the singleplayer (which probably won’t happen fast, as there’s a good 8–10 hours of campaign here), the game offers a variety of multiplayer modes.

There’s the obligatory horde mode – Guerilla – which tasks up to four online players with defending a building against escalating waves of enemies. There’s also a selection of competitive modes, which play like a cross between Ghost Recon and Battlefield’s selectable classes – such as a sniper with active camo, or an assault trooper with sensor grenades.

Graphically the game is good looking from a distance, but shows its rough edges up close and during cutscenes.

While the writers went to a decent length to flesh out the characters of your fellow Ghosts, the low textures, abysmal lip-synch and clunky animation let the game down, and cheapen some of the more meaningful moments somewhat. Apart from that the graphics hold up well, especially when you ‘go hot’ and start gunning the enemy down, sprinting from cover to cover, shaky-cam going when you’re suppressed or under fire. The sounds and score are excellent, however – even the voice acting – and explosions and gunfire sound great when turned up.

Overall, while Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is a little rough around the edges, the game more than holds up, with a decent singleplayer campaign and what will be a good multiplayer – once Ubisoft fix the servers. Whether you’re a long-time Ghost Recon fan or new to the series, this one is worth a look.

Reviewed on Xbox 360

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Bits and Bytes: It's a Mario... in LEGO

Did you ever think LEGO was a children's toy? Well if you did then think again. This Lego model is definitely not child's play.

We were impressed when we saw the picture of this creation but even more gobsmacked when we saw exactly how much preparation went into creating this masterpiece.

Go on, steal a small child's Lego bricks and see what you can come up with.

To see how this was made using a cool 3D scanner, follow the link.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Megabits of News: Weekly Roundup (w/e 1 Jun)

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to...

Dead exciting news...
Be ready scare your pants off again as EA has officially confirmed that a third instalment of the Dead Space series will hit our shelves. The dark, silent and deadly vacuum of space has never been so entertaining. See VG247 for more.

In a galaxy far far away… Star Wars returns
Joystiq says that Lucasarts has officially announced it will develop Star Wars 1313, a new addition to the intergalactic franchise. From its first images and developer’s description, Star Wars1313, a third-person action game, looks very promising. Players will get to play a bounty hunter seeking members of the criminal underground on the planet of Coruscant. Interestingly, LucasArts says the game will be more dark and mature. Blasters at the ready.

Ratchet & Clank back again
Galaxy heroes Ratchet & Clank will soon be gracing us with their gadgets in new title, Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault. Insomniac said Full Frontal Assault will feature on the PlayStation Network and will be a shorter, more compact game, similar to Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty.

Tomb Raider given official release date
The new Tomb Raider title has been given an official release date of 5 March 2013, says CVG. It was originally scheduled for launch in 2012 but it seems Lara Croft fans will have to keep it in their pants for a little longer – of course I am talking about players’ wallets.

The Gears of War keep turning
People in the UK on Monday will be cheering, waving flags and setting up street parties in celebration on Monday – not to celebrate the British Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, oh no. MCV suggests that's when the new Gears of War title will be officially unveiled. It truly will be a brilliant day.