Page 1

I S S U E 5 8 / Vo l . 5 April 2014

w w w. g a m e c c a m ag . c o m

inFamous: Second Son South Park:The Stick of Truth Dark Souls 2 and more...

Play Nation PS4: Four months in...

The Saga...

The Final Fantasy MMO heads to Next Gen consoles...

The Journey The Hobbit gets a LEGO treatment

Free Online Mag


Higher Learning

Tips and tricks for changing mobile handsets

The Switch

R evi ews i ncl udi ng Cr uci al , Asus, Log i tech , S t e e lS e r ie s a n d m o r e . . .

Improving Africa’s access to eductaion

Free

Second Skin

Getting close to wearable technology

PS4: four months in...

Play Nation

I S S U E 4 2 / Vo l . 4 April 2014

www.gladgetmag.com

Online Mag


Simplicity in information!

www.gladgetmag.com


Inside 6 From the Editor 8 A LEGO Journey It’s almost time to revisit LEGO Middle Earth...

16 Previews Eight games to look out for

28 The Lazarus Miracle Continues But this time on a new platform...

34 The Soapbox SXSW: games and all...

36 Play Nation What is the state of PS4 in South Africa?

42 Reviews Seven games inverstigated

64 A Year in Games 1987: cabinets were king!

66 Hardware Great toys to get

THIS MONTH’S COVER Traveller’s Tales take on The Hobbit movies... See our feature on page 8.

4

80 Ramjet’s Rantality Respect the roots!

gamecca58


Previews

18

The Crew

20

Tropico 5

21

Demon Gaze

22

Wolfenstein: The New Order

24

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar

25

Vector Thrust

26

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments

27

Raven’s Cry

GAMECCA Vol. 5 Issue 58 April 2014

Editor: Walt Pretorius walt@1337-media.com Writers: Alex Scanlon Charlie Fripp James Francis Lein Baart Nthato Morakabi Rob Edwards Suvesh Arumugam Tauriq Moosa Walt Pretorius Letters: letters@gameccamag.com

Reviews

Competition Entries: competitions@gameccamag.com

44

inFamous: Second Son

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gameccamag.com

48

Dark Souls 2

Design & Photography: 1337 Media cc

52

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@1337-media.com

56

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

58

LEGO: The Movie Videogame

60

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition

62

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Taking fun seriously! All rights reserved. No content may be reproduced, copied or transmitted without the express permission of the publishers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editors and publishers. All Trademarks and Registered Trademarks are the sole property of the respective owners.

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

gamecca58

Copyright Š 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2014

5


September... T

From the Editor

here’s a lot of excitement in the air, although it’s a sort of grudging excitement when all is said and done. The reason for this is that Microsoft have finally announced a (sort of) date for the release of the Xbox One in South Africa. It’s September 2014. That’s pretty much as specific as the information is right now for us and 25 other countries eagerly awaiting the arrival of Microsoft’s new console. That’s five months away (for an early release) or six (if it comes late in the month). Either way, we have some time to save up those hard earned Rands for the device. That said, we don’t know how much it will cost yet, although speculation puts it somewhere between R7 000 and R8 000, depending on what our exchange rate against the US Dollar does in the next few months. As with so many of the lovely toys we buy, the Xbox One will be a fully imported product, so it will be very dependent on

6

by Walt Pretorius

how our currency performs against those of the countries that we bring the unit in from. Speaking of which, the PS4 has seen a price hike of around R500, for the same reasons. That’s the bad news… the good news is that we will have (for the foreseeable future) a steady supply of the in-demand Sony console, meaning that those who have the cash to get one shouldn’t battle too much to find one on-shelf in their favourite store. With E3 2014 just around the corner the year certainly is getting much hotter on the gaming front. Recent revelations have shown that the low number of games available for the PS4 (for example) will be a thing of the past by the end of this year, with a whole bunch of very exciting titles on their way. We know about some of them, of course, and have had release dates confirmed for Wolfenstein (next month), Alien: Isolation (October) and a few others. There is also

gamecca58

a lot of speculation about titles coming, like the rumour that there will be another Assassin’s Creed due this year, among others. What it all boils down to is that, as the launch window for the Xbox One and PS4 swings slowly shut, developers are turning their sights to these new consoles and are gearing up to start delivering a huge amount of titles for them. And what that means for the consumer is that the time to get a next generation console – if you don’t have one already – is fast approaching. Things are still a little quiet, though, with the real treats arriving later in the year. But there are still some great games out there, and we look at a number of them in this issue, as well as peek at what’s coming and have a chat with Ster Kinekor Entertainment CEO Mario dos Santos. There’s a lot to see in this issue, so I will put my waffling aside and let you get on with it. Enjoy! g


a LEGO

Feature

Traveller’s Tales takes on The Hobbit

8

gamecca58


gamecca58

By Walt Pretorius

O journey

9


Feature

10

gamecca58


T

here are a number of books that are perennial classics, tales that never age, no matter how old they are. . One such book is The Hobbit. Written by JRR Tolkien and first published in 1937, this work of fantasy has thrilled children and adults for almost a century, and has never been out of print. It was the beginning of a massive mythology that would spawn The Lord of the Rings as a sequel. Translated into more than forty languages, The Hobbit has received critical acclaim from numerous sectors, including praise from authors like CS Lewis (who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia). Lewis said “The truth is that in this book a number of good things, never before united, have come together: a fund of humour, an understanding of children, and a happy fusion of the scholar’s with the poet’s grasp of mythology... The professor has the air of inventing nothing. He has studied trolls and dragons at first hand and describes them with that fidelity that is worth oceans of glib “originality”. Tolkien’s keen knowledge of Germanic and Norse mythology is said to be at the core of this novel, with Tolkien himself stating that the epic poem Beowulf was among his major influences. It is sited as being an extremely valuable book, not only for its entertainment value, but also for its deep messages and enticing themes. While estimates vary widely because exact numbers are difficult to come by, it is believed that between 35 and 100 million copies of this remarkable book have been sold since 1937. At least one of those copies found its way into the hands of film creator Peter Jackson. After his critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings adaptation, Jackson set his sights on The Hobbit, and has now produced two of the intended three films based on Tolkien’s original work. While purists have voiced some strong opinions about the liberties that Jackson has taken with the original work, The Hobbit films have garnered massive amounts at the box office. These adaptations of the original, which brightened so many lives, are proving to be extremely popular. There is little surprise, then, that a video game based on The Hobbit film series is on the way. The Lord of the Rings saw numerous video game releases, with very mixed results, but the one thing that is for sure is that a successful movie (of the kind in which imagination, special effects and adventure are rampant) will almost always get a video game treatment. And with Warner Bros being the distributors of The Hobbit movies, it is hardly surprising that the first game treatment based on these films should come from one of Warner Bros most successful collaborators: Traveller’s Tales. This veteran developer started making games gamecca58

11


Feature

12

gamecca58


back in 1991, but the 2005 release of LEGO: Star Wars would later become a defining moment for the company. In the subsequent nine years, more than 20 games tied into the LEGO franchise have been released, tying up with numerous big screen hits – including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and the LEGO Movie. These games have proved wildly popular with old and young gamers alike. They seem to be doing so well, in fact, that Traveller’s Tales have not released a non-LEGO game since 2011, and only one non-LEGO game since 2009. The Warner Bros tie in and great success of The Hobbit movies make the creation of LEGO: The Hobbit (due for release this month) a nobrainer for Traveller’s Tales. Their tried and tested formulas, as well as their steady roll-out of modifications to that formula, have proven successful in the past, and applying those ideas to a high adventure tale like The Hobbit will likely result in a game that fans of the LEGO games and The Hobbit movies will enjoy. The gentle lampooning of the films that has also formed part of the series will not hurt, either. The game is based on the first two The Hobbit movies - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. In the game, players will be able to explore a stylised version of Middle Earth, using characters like Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and their dwarf companions (Thorin, Fíli, Kíli, Óin, Glóin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori and Ori) to solve numerous puzzles, complete quests, do battle against foul enemies, mine for gems and, of course, build LEGO structures. Various characters will have special abilities, allowing for replayability of levels set in places like Bag End, Mirkwood and Rivendell. “We are thrilled to depict the characters and environments of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth in LEGO form with the LEGO: The Hobbit videogame,” said Managing Director, TT Games, Tom Stone. “Our family-friendly take on these thrilling adventures will have kids and parents playing and laughing together as they build and explore in LEGO Middle-earth.” We’re certain that this second LEGO video game release of 2014 will thrill fans of the franchise, and delight fans of the movies. LEGO: The Hobbit will be released for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U and 3DS, as well as PC and Mac, a little later this month. It’s time to visit LEGO Middle Earth again. develop depended on his karma, as the game called it. Even the ending was affected by this, and saw Cole either wiping out humanity to save conduits (the few people capable of developing powers), or sacrificing himself and those like him to preserve the lives of ordinary beings. Despite some criticism levelled at the pacing of the story and the lack of a moral grey area between good and evil options, Infamous 2 was brought to life by a cast of magnificently written, multi-faceted gamecca58

13


Feature

14

gamecca58


characters. Likewise the gameplay saw an equal upgrade, allowing players to revel in newfound abilities that turned Cole into either an avatar of chaos or the pinnacle of precision death. More options for travel, greater melee abilities and a wider selection of powers all contributed to a game that was every inch a worthy successor to the first. With the release of Infamous: Second Son just around the corner, excitement is growing in the gaming community for a sequel that looks to be proudly following in the footsteps of its predecessors. Second Son will allow players to take control of Delsin Rowe (voiced by the tremendously talented Troy Baker), a graffiti-artist living in a world that fears the very existence of conduits. Set seven years after the good ending of Infamous 2, for the first time the game will be played out in a real-world location, namely Seattle. Indeed, realism seems to be the driving force behind the plot of Second Son, with director Nate Fox asserting, “We’re absolutely trying to make a realistic game that talks about the world in which we live right now”. While this might appear to be a ludicrous statement at first, the few trailers that have been released have shown moments rich in human emotion and depth, with an authenticity that appears to equal games like The Last of Us. Once again morality will be central to the story, and Sucker Punch has promised that the narrative will adapt to the choices you make. While fears that the options may once again be too binary are valid, Second Son looks to be a far more mature offering than before. This wouldn’t be an Infamous game though if powers weren’t a central component, and it appears that players are likely to be spoiled for choice here. While initial footage implied that Delsin would have control over smoke and ash, the developers have since made it known that Delsin can actually absorb powers from other conduits, meaning that gamers could be given potentially a vast array of abilities to play with. Only two powers have been revealed thus far, the second being neon-based, but already it seems playstyles will vary dramatically between the two, with smoke giving Delsin the ability to wreck utter havoc while neon will be used for precision shots and traversal. Sucker Punch productions have been rather cagey about details regarding Infamous: Second Son. Given the importance that the plot has always played in the franchise though, this should come as little surprise as nothing ruins a narrative like spoilers. While trailers and screenshots are always a questionable source of information, this PS4 exclusive certainly looks to be shaping up to be a massive hit in the market. Whether Second Son can actually stay true to form and once again merge gameplay and story into one cohesive whole remains to be seen, but absolutely everything about the game seems to be screaming that this is not a title you are going to want to miss. g gamecca58

15


Previews Highlights 18 The Crew Ubisoft takes on driving... 20 Tropico 5 The return of El Presidente! 22 Wolfenstein: The New Order An alternate history shooter. 27 Raven’s Cry Hope for pirate fans...

A

nd so we begin the second quarter of 2014, which brings with it a number of new games, including some really big names. But it’s still a little quiet (particularly because the quarter ends with that big game-release stopper, E3). That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any games out there. There are, in truth some great ones, and highly anticipated titles at that. We have a few of them on display right here... g

16

gamecca58


NO ONE CAN STOP DEATH

NO ONE CAN STOP DEATH

25/ 03 / 2014

© 2014 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reaper of Souls is a trademark. Diablo and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

© 2014 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reaper of Souls is a trademark. Diablo and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

18/12/2013 11:29

D3ROS_1PAGE_AD_LAUNCH_EN.indd 1

25/ 03 / 2014

diablo3.com/reaper


The Crew

The Open Road Form a crew, rule the road

by Charlie Fripp

E

through Street, Dirt and Performance racing. For the setting, racers will be able to drive from coast to coast in North America, which should take them about 90-mintues. For the single-player campaign, drivers should get settled in for roughly 20 hours of driving, which will include infiltrating criminal groups and police chases. The world of street racing can be a daunting arena, but luckily gamers won’t have to tackle everything by themselves. There are a great number of missions available to complete, and these can be done alone, with friends, or with online co-op matchmaking. “Join a living, breathing world of car enthusiasts, where you always have someone next to you, ready to take on

Preview

xcept for a select few, many driving games have been trying really hard to carve out their own niche in the genre. The most popular racing titles are arguably the Forza franchise for serious Xbox drivers, and the Need For Speed franchise for arcadelike racers on a multitude of platforms. And every now and again a different title comes along in the hopes of kicking up dust in the faces of their rivals. The Crew is no different, and while it borrows a number of aspects from previously released titles, it is aiming to set itself apart from the rest. Developed by Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections, The Crew is a racing title set in an open world environment with a number of different modes, ranging

18

gamecca58

g a m e c c a r ev i ew • i s s u e 1 7 • N ove m b e r 2 0 1 0


new challenges with or against you. Seamlessly jump in and out of each other’s games at any time, joining forces to overcome the toughest challenges: take down a rival faction driver on Las Vegas Strip, escape the police patrols across downtown Chicago, or confront an opponent crew on Florida’s beachfront highways. Make new encounters, cooperate with your friends, and beat their achievements when they’re gone. Build your crew of four drivers and take them on a thrilling ride through the entire USA,” Ubisoft states on the game’s official webpage. As for the name, since the multiplayer and the single player runs concurrently, gamers will be able to form crews to race together or against ghost records. The title

is heavily invested in multiplayer, and Julian Gerighty, The Crew’s creative director, has called the game “a role-playing title with large-scale multiplayer elements”. The racing title borrows the concept from Need For Speed’s The Run, which saw players trying to outrun the cops while competing in a coast-to-coast race across America. The game received mixed reviews, but was generally well received by racing enthusiasts. Taking into account that it is Ubisoft developing the title and not EA Games, racers should have no problem with evading capture while causing mass offload damage, or leaving tyre tracks on the asphalt. It is a great concept, and here is hoping that Ubisoft can successfully pull it off. g

AT A GLANCE: Racing

Another take on the open-world racing genre; it should be fun Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Ivory Tower Ubisoft Megarom

Q3 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

19


Tropico 5

Keep it in the Family

There’s no such thing as “bad governance” by Lein Baart

20

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Management

Tropico 5 is a game that looks set to provide fans with exactly what they want Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Haemimont Games Kalypso Media Silver Screen

ETA

Q2 2014

Platforms

Preview

A

mong the various city builders out there, few series have managed to capture an air of frivolity while still retaining a serious strategic element in the same manner as the Tropico series. As the ruler of a small Caribbean nation, it’s always been your job as El Presidenté to stay in power, no matter the means. Long-time fans of the series will be pleased to hear that Tropico 5 appears to have lost none of its tongue-in-cheek charm, with a brilliant trailer, a parody of the Great Dictator, setting the stage for the return of everyone’s favourite banana republic. Haemimont Games have clearly listened to its consumers though, and unlike Tropico 4, the fifth iteration looks set to bring substantial changes to the game’s traditional formula. There’s a host of new features in Tropico 5, but by far the biggest will be the Eras. For the first time players will be able to take their fledgling nation from early colonial times through to the modern age, and Haemimont have promised that each era will require a significant change in thinking and strategy. Tropico 5 will also include a dynasty system, where family members of El Presidenté can take vital positions in government, as well as research and the renovation of old buildings. Another first for the franchise will be the introduction of multiplayer, in which up to four gamers can either choose to compete or cooperate. Tropico 5 looks set to provide more than enough reasons for fans to get excited about, and even those just looking for something more cerebral than the standard bullet-fest that populates the market nowadays should give serious consideration to the game. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS


Demon Gaze

Unleash the Demons! A dungeon crawler with a first person twist.

by Nthato Morakabi

A

AT A GLANCE: RPG

As truth lies veiled behind forgotten memories, a young man with the Demon Gaze scours dungeons in search of treasure, unravelling mysteries and sealing demons. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Experience Inc. NIS America Ster-Kinekor

Apr 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

21

Preview

s creatures of the dark crawl through the twisted confines of deep labyrinths and scour the cursed land known as Misrid, a forgotten tale waits to be told. Featuring lost memories and a young man in possession of a mysterious eye known as the Demon Gaze, this Evil Eye grants whoever is in possession of it the power to capture the souls of defeated demons and utilize the creatures’ abilities for themselves. Demon Gaze is a dungeon RPG title that looks to capture the beauty, art style and essence of dungeon role playing games with a new twist that will see players explore the demon infested labyrinths in first person view. Players will be in control of the main protagonist, Oz, owner of the Evil Eye, exploring the various dungeons and revealing more of the story as they play. Players will be able to create secondary characters to help Oz along in his quest, with up to seven character classes to choose from, as well as five character races. Skill and strategy will be at the fore of the intense battles that will see players seek to subdue and control the demons they will face. Players can expect amazing 2D artwork detailing the world of Misrid and its 6 regions, as well as the towns where characters will return to after looting dungeons of both their treasures and demons. The towns are also where players will be able to rest and converse with various in-game characters, as well as strengthen their characters in preparation for their next mission. With a unique playing (?) style and visual aesthetics that are typical of a traditional JRPG, this title looks set to capture the hearts of RPG players. g


Wolfenstein: The New Order

Rewriting History The Nazis are back for more blood

by Charlie Fripp

T

proprietary game engine id Tech 5. While remaining a FPS, The New Order will be a single-player-only title, which might not sit well with a number of gamers. But where the title will be sticking to its roots is the fact that it will continue to have a health system in which the player’s health is divided into separate sections that regenerate. Most FPS titles these days shy away from a dedicated health bar, and rather opt for visual cues on damage. Just as with the previous title, the plot takes place in an alternate history world – one in which the Nazis won World War II and turned everything on its head. Players will have the seemingly impossible task of

Preview

he Wolfenstein franchise has been with gamers for many years, and a vast majority of them grew up with the first major 16-bit title released in 1992. Developed by Id Software, Wolfenstein 3D was seen by many as being the front runner to the hugely popular First Person Shooter genre, which was also dominated by Doom. Id Software has been involved in every Wolfenstein title since, but for the first time in the franchise’s history, Wolfenstein: The New Order will be made without them, although they won’t be completely shut out of the picture, as current developer MachineGames will be making use of id Software’s

22

gamecca58

g a m e c c a r ev i ew • i s s u e 1 7 • N ove m b e r 2 0 1 0


launching a counter-offensive against the Nazi powers. “Europe, 1960. The war is over. And the Nazis are triumphant victors. Using unrelenting force and brutal intimidation, the Nazis have brought even the most powerful nations to their knees. The Nazi regime now rules the globe with an iron fist. Only you dare stand up against an unstoppable army of Nazi robots and hulking Super Soldiers. Only you can stop Deathshead. Only you can rewrite history,” MachineGames explained. Gamers will be familiar with the main character, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, as he was also the protagonist in the previous Wolfenstein title. But this

time around, he has been locked up in an asylum for 14 years, and after escaping awakes to a world in turmoil. Save for a handful of titles, the franchise has always been well received, with some interesting takes on history and some exciting twists in the plot. From the screenshots and the trailers that have already been released, it’s fair to say that gamers can very much look forward to another exciting instalment. The New Order should be jam-packed with action, and fans should be able to get a lot of excitement out of it. And who knows, with MachineGames at the helm without Id Software’s involvement it might just turn out to be one of the best Wolfenstein titles to date. g

AT A GLANCE: FPS

MachineGames is taking the helm, which could be a good thing for the franchise. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

MachineGames Bethesda Softworks Ster Kinekor

May 2013

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

23


Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar

Forging an Emperor The indie RTS goes big

by Lein Baart

24

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Real time strategy

With the early access beta already showing great signs, Hegemony Rome is shaping up to be a fantastic addition to the genre Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Longbow Games Kasedo Games Silver Screen

ETA

TBA 2014

Platforms

Preview

I

ndie games are a dime a dozen nowadays, and while RPG’s and platformers have seen their fair share of innovation, the RTS genre seems to be somewhat neglected considering the abundance of titles available. That’s not to say the offerings that have come out are below par however, and of all the indie developers struggling to make a name for themselves, Longbow Games has certainly begun to put their name on the map. Following in the footsteps of their previous release, Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar will once again see gamers transported back to antiquity to take charge of famous campaigns in history. As the name implies, this time round you will impersonate Julius Caesar in his ten year conquest of Gaul, a war that saw him elevated to the rank of emperor. Given the setting and genre, comparisons to Total War: Rome 2 are inevitable, though this may not be as fair as it would seem. For starters, Hegemony will play entirely in real time, using a blend of grand strategy and real time tactics. Of particular interest here is the fact that the entire game plays out on a single map, with views moving from Caesar’s strategy map through to individual provinces and finally to a more traditional RTS view. The game will also feature a host of new buildings and improvements, allowing you to administer your captured territories while preparing to crush the might and will of the barbarian hordes. Combine this with four new campaigns and a sandbox mode with a dozen playable factions, and Hegemony Rome is looking to be a fantastic title for strategy fans to sink their teeth into. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS


Vector Thrust

Who Needs Real? The sky is not the limit, it’s just the beginning.

by Nthato Morakabi

A

AT A GLANCE: Simulation

Take to the skies and experience the rush of the flight and the thrill of the fight in this cellshaded combat flight simulator. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Time Symmetry Time Symmetry TBC

Q2 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

25

Preview

s many indie titles make their way into the gaming scene through various platforms such as Steam’s Green Light, and funding comes in through sites like Kickstarter, it is no wonder that we see many upcoming titles arriving from self-publishing companies. Vector Thrust is such a game, falling under the banner of Desura, which is a community driven digital distribution service, allowing indie game developers to both make and distribute their PC games on a community-based platform. The title will set itself apart from other simulators with its cell-shaded art style, breaking away from the “realism” that most simulators place their focus on. Vector Thrust is all about taking your seat within the cockpits of various fighter jets and taking to the skies to experience the rush of the flight and the thrill of the fight. A host of aircraft and Ace Squadrons will be available for use, some unlocking as players progress through the game modes. A diversity of game modes will be available to play, from quick action orientated missions to immersive story based campaigns. Tactical, intelligent AI looks to offer players dynamic gameplay in an ever changing battlefield, making sure that each battle is never the same in each play through. Players will also have the option to modify or even implement new content for almost any aspect within the game, from maps to weapons to vehicles. New skins will be available for download through skin packs that offer fighter jet simulator fans the option to take to the skies in their favourite jets. Fans of the Ace Combat series will appreciate what Vector Thrust aims to achieve in this uniquestyled combat flight simulator. g


Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments

Examine the Clues Sherlock Holmes is once again bringing criminals to book

by Charlie Fripp

26

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Adventure

By using Unreal 3, it might just be a step up from previous titles Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Frogwares Focus Home Interactive Apex Interactive

ETA

Q2 2014

Platforms

Preview

T

he world’s most famous fictitious detective is once again roaming the streets of London and its suburbs in the 19th century – hot on the trail of solving the mystery and catching the culprit responsible. The detective of course is none other than Sherlock Holmes, and together with his trusty side-kick and partner, Dr. Watson, no criminal is safe. The upcoming Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, is a continuation of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, which is being developed by Frogwares. The previous game, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, wasn’t received very well, but they are hoping to change perceptions this time around. Playing on the title of Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, it makes use of some elements incorporated by Dostoyevsky, such as making a moral choice by absolving or condemning the captured criminal. What sets this Sherlock Holmes title apart from previous games is that this is the first one in the series that will be using the Unreal Engine 3, and draws inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, as well as the 1984 television series. The original CSI detective will spend most of the game walking through crime scenes and examining clues. An element that will be familiar to returning players is the Deduction Board that Holmes uses to deduce theories and culprits. But the biggest addition to the new title is the introduction of Sherlock Vision. “Use your talents to unearth clues that would be invisible to the untrained eye, and be aware of the slightest sound.” One can’t help but wonder if they borrowed it from Batman Arkham City. g

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS


Raven’s Cry

A Dark Pirate Tale. Recapturing the sinister beauty of the 17th Century Caribbean.

by Nthato Morakabi

T

AT A GLANCE: Action-Adventure

When the entirety of young Christopher Raven’s village is massacred by ruthless pirates and his hand lost in the attack, only vengeance gives him purpose. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca58

Reality Pump Studios TopWare Interactive Apex Interactive

May 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

27

Preview

he thick fog could only conceal the impending peril for so long, as the indiscernible shadows drifting along the tumultuous Caribbean waters revealed themselves to be… pirates. Unfortunately for the populace that inhabited the misty island of Inez Sound, these were no ordinary pirates, but rather the notoriously bloodthirsty armada known as the Devil’s Tines. A merciless rampage through the village saw all the residents of Inez Sound decimated, save for the young Christopher Raven. The young boy, discarded and maimed, clutching his remaining hand, burned with a deep loathing for the men responsible for the massacre of his people and fuelled by that hatred, vengeance spurred him forward, putting his life on the line… as well as his soul. Raven’s Cry seeks to bring the 17th Century Caribbean to life with stunning visuals, intricate detail and the recapturing of the sinister beauty and historically accurate architecture of the intriguing era of pirates. The title will set course through three major cities, from the squalid pirate sanctuary known as Port Royal and the graceful streets of Havana to an Aztec city obscured by the jungles of the Spanish Main. This third person action-adventure title will propel players into the pirate infested waters on a quest for vengeance that will either see them as righteous seekers of justice, or reprobate avengers. Tactical melee combat and adrenaline-charged duels to the death will have players hack, slash and shoot their way through the gripping storyline that weaves both historical and in-game events together seamlessly. Players will also be able to utilize supernatural combat abilities to take down a memorable cast of villains, sure to make this upcoming title worth more than just a passing glance. g


The Lazarus M Continues Feature

But this time on a new platform‌

28

gamecca58


by Lein Baart

Miracle

T

he console market isn’t exactly known for its plethora of MMORPG offerings. Given the dominance World of Warcraft still maintains, and therefore the slew of titles that have chosen to compete through imitation, this isn’t really surprising, what with the 50 hotbars and 500 skill buttons most MMO gamers have plastered across their screens. gamecca58

29


Feature

30

gamecca58


Recent times have seen a shift though, and as more and more RPG’s migrate across the platforms in the guise of action RPG’s, slowly the market has begun to move away from the arcane and esoteric interfaces of the past. Thus MMO’s have finally opened up to the console, and with the likes of The Elder Scrolls Online and Destiny, to name a few, hitting the shelves this year, console gamers will finally be able to share in the joy that is having a 13 year old prepubescent scream that he slept with your mother. Final Fantasy 14 was a title that had many gamers slavering with anticipation. Having previously produced the most successful console MMO to date in the form of Final Fantasy 11, expectations were running high that Square Enix would once again redefine the console market with its latest offering, a sentiment spurred on by the immense hype that surrounded the game. It was not to be however. Released in 2010 for the PC, with a promised console launch soon to follow, FF14 quickly proved to be a dismal failure. An interesting class mechanic aside, which allowed players to level up multiple classes simultaneously, FF14 was quickly buried by a host of bugs ranging from performance issues to clunky, unusable interfaces. Such was the backlash from the community that producer Hiromichi Tanaka, the producer of Final Fantasy 11, was removed from the project altogether, and Naoki Yoshida was brought on board to manage the disaster the game had become. It would prove to be too little too late though, with a glut of patches that only served to contain the damage. It was finally decided by Square Enix, amidst multiple apologies to gamers, that the only option left was a complete reboot, and thus began Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. It was a difficult development process, given the huge knock in the gaming community’s confidence regarding the MMO. Square Enix, to their credit, were quick to own up to their mistakes, with Yoshida asserting the company had been “conceited” in the original development phase. Indeed, Yoshida went so far as to state, “There were many problems, but they were all caused by the general idea that ‘we’re okay, it’s the FF brand, we made FF11 work.’ That was the feeling not just with the FF14 team, but with Square Enix in general.” Problems with development were only compounded by the fact the development team were essentially creating content for two games, as regular patches were released to bring the original title in line with the reboot. This eventually culminated in the FF14 servers being shut down in November 2012 after an epic finale that would set the stage for the game to come. The release for Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn in August last year was a very different story to that of its predecessor. Launched on the PC and PS3, A Realm Reborn received almost universal acclaim from both reviewers and gamers alike, and indeed was so popular that at one point Square Enix were forced to suspend digital sales of the title in order to cope with the demand. New interfaces, improved server infrastructure and a revamped graphics engine all culminated in a title that proved worthy of its inheritance, and utterly reversed the misery gamecca58

31


Feature

32

gamecca58


Square Enix had inflicted upon themselves three years before. Set five years after the end of the original game, A Realm Reborn once again threw players into the world of Eorzea, a land beset by the ravages of Bahamut, a dragon that had brought about the beginning of the Seventh Umbral Era. It was a game that aimed to learn from the mistakes of the past, and as such it focussed not so much on innovation as solid core mechanics, all the while capturing the traditional essence of a Final Fantasy game. Virtually every aspect of the original release saw an update or an improvement, and the implementation of an open-ended class system along with mechanics such as FATE (Full Active Time Event) brought back to life a world that at one point seemed truly dead. Now, with A Realm Reborn set to launch on the PS4, console gamers are once again about to be treated to all the delights MMORPG’s have to offer. As expected, the PS4 version will include all the existing content of the game, while adding more than a few features itself. The most obvious change over the PS3 will likely be the graphics, with A Realm Reborn set to deliver a visual feast that should compare to all but the most monstrous of computers. The control scheme will likewise see an update. Besides mouse and keyboard compatibility, the game will take advantage of the new features of the Dualshock 4, allowing players to use the touchpad as mouse, and will even include an ingame keyboard for gamers to type with. By far the most interesting expansion to the gameplay though will be remote play through the PS Vita. While the graphical capabilities of the handheld should see the game lose some of its visual flair, the Vita will play with a custom UI that will give gamers full access to the title, provided the PS4 is connected to the internet and is running the game. It’s questionable whether this option will be suited for long bouts of play, though the Vita should provide the perfect opportunity for players to do more menial tasks such as crafting. More good news abounds though, as those players that bought one of the previous versions of A Realm Reborn can transfer their characters to the PS4 release, with one subscription being charged for all the versions. Live streaming will also be available to players, with Yoshida stating that the team wants to promote player-driven content. One cannot deny that Yoshida and Square Enix have performed the seemingly impossible in the resurrection of a title that at one point seemed doomed to certain failure. Even without the PS4 release, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn has more than surpassed expectations, and with a current player base of over 1.8 million users, it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. The latest incarnation of what can now truly be called a mammoth title should only serve to up the ante, and for those lucky enough to have gotten a PS4 already, A Realm Reborn should truly be a title worth the investment. g gamecca58

33


The SXSW Game Awards The Soapbox

by Suvesh Arumugam

I

was lucky enough to be in Austin, Texas this year for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference. A big part of the interactive component of the conference has been the SXSW Gaming Expo, and this year I was able to attend the inaugural SXSW Gaming Awards, hosted by iJustine, the Internet’s favorite hottie, and the YouTube comedy duo of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla (better known as SMOSH). Before any awards were handed out, there was plenty of slapstick and humour. By my count, Hecox was hit in the groin no less than three times throughout the night. Much of the evening was dedicated to organizer Matthew Crump, who passed away tragically weeks before from a sudden heart attack. After being a lead gaming developer in the industry for almost twenty years, with big titles like Metal Gear Solid HD and

34

Spiderman 2 amongst his credits, Crump had been with the SXSW team for just under 2 years. During that time, the development and launch of the SXSW Gaming Awards had been his brain-child, and it was both touching and tragic that he was unable to watch it blossom in front of a packed Austin crowd at the Long Centre. Many of the winners accepted their awards in his honor, and there was also a portion of the programme dedicated to his memory. Winners were chosen by public vote online, which started back in late February earlier in the year. Another unique feature was the inclusion of a Gamer’s Voice Award for indie game developers and a Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award. It was no surprise to me (or the strong contingent of fans in the audience) that “The Last of Us” came away with the most awards, and by the end of the evening it was no surprise

when they walked away with the SXSW Game of the Year award. Naughty Dog’s most successful title outside of the Uncharted series won in Game Narrative and Sound and Music excellence. Some other notable winners were Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons for Gameplay, Nino Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for Animation, as well as Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag for their excellent marketing and dazzling trailers. Another notable winner was Super Mario 3D World for Best Multiplayer, although the Nintendo camp was also the subject of a parody by Smosh’s Honest Game trailers on their YouTube Channel. But it was all good fun when Mario and Luigi arrived in costume to collect their award (and so did a few others). While the games and the winners were the focus of the evening, the highlight for most was undoubtedly the

gamecca58

intermission performance by Cirque Du Soleil, with their unique brand of originality, exuberance and excellence. Starting with dancers and their version of circus clowns, the feature performances of an acrobatic contortionist Olga Penhieko and several other amazing trampoline performances that balanced humour and highflying acrobatics. After the show most of the presenters, game developers and characters were mingling with their fans, chatting about everything from how they got there to where they were going next. For me, it was great to see that while these games deliver such awesome and slick experiences to us fans, the teams behind them are just a group of motivated geeks, as down to earth as the boy or girl next door. A very successful first year all in all, and I’ll be looking forward to many more years of this awesome gaming event! g


FEATURED

PRODUCT

R9 280X

R9 270X R9 260X

ASUS Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X DirectCU II series graphics cards

TIME TO LEVEL UP

It’s always exciting when new graphics cards launch — and all the more so when those cards herald from a renowned innovator like ASUS. With the new R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X models, the ASUS technical wizards have truly excelled themselves. Overclock and Tweak with Ease Enjoy Faster, Quieter and Cooler Play R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X are How do ASUS engineers push Radeon R9 and R7 GPUs so much further? By fitting the R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X graphics cards with DirectCU II cooling technology — something no other manufacturer can do because DirectCU II is an ASUS exclusive.

Highly-conductive copper cooling pipes are put in direct contact with the GPU so heat is dissipated with extreme efficiency. Compared with reference designs, ASUS R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X with DirectCU II allow the new Radeon GPUs to run up to 20% cooler and three times quieter. For you as a gamer, this means ultra-stable play with very low noise. R9 280X goes one step further, with an exclusive 10mm heat-pipe that transports 40% more heat away from its R9 GPU. What’s more, the surface area of ASUS engineers also put lots of work into ensuring R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X will serve you long into the future, dust-proofing the cooling fans to significantly reduced the build-up of debris — so your ASUS graphics card performs at its best for much longer. As well, R9 280X is fitted with an exclusive ASUS CoolTech technology — a cool name for an exceedingly cool fan. This innovative cooler’s hybrid blade and bearing design, with inner radial blower and outer flower-shaped blades, delivers multi-directional airflow to accelerate heat

www.asus.com/za

Capacitors, chokes and MOSFETS

Finally, fans of ASUS graphics cards will be well aware of GPU Tweak — our fantastic tool that lets you control GPU and video-memory clock speeds and voltages, cooling-fan speeds and power consumption. It’s all controlled with a easy-to-use interface, so you no longer need to be an expert to overclock. You can even use the GPU Tweak Streaming feature to share on-screen action and messages live over the internet to let others can watch as you play! It’s time for graphics cards that deliver more. It’s time for ASUS R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X. Accessible and intuitive graphics tuning for everyone 3DMark 11 (Performance) ASUS Radeon

Reference Radeon

P8439 P8091 P3483

P3308

ASUS R9 280X DC2 Memory: 3GB GDDR5 GPU boost clock: 1070MHz

www.facebook.com/ASUSza www.facebook.com/ASUSza

equipped with exclusive with ASUS DIGI+ voltage regulation and Super Alloy Power technology. Solid-state capacitors, concrete-core chokes and hardened MOSFETs and DIGI+ VRM’s multi-phase power and digital voltage regulation ensure graphics card stability and clean power, even during the most intense gaming sessions. This great technology even reduces power noise by as much as 30%

P6821 P6370

ASUS R9 270X DC2 Memory: 2GB GDDR5 GPU boost clock: 1120MHz

ASUS R7 260X DC2 Memory: 2GB GDDR5 GPU boost clock: 1188MHz


Play Natio Several months in, and PS4 is doing great‌

by Walt Pretorius

Feature

X

36

gamecca58


y on gamecca58

37


Feature

L

ater this year – September, to be exact – the South African video gaming market will shift once again. Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One will release in 26 new territories at that time, with South Africa being one of those countries. Needless to say, fans of the Xbox platform are excited and relieved to finally have a more-or-less date for the new Microsoft console’s release. At the time, though, the PlayStation Four will have almost a year’s lead on the Xbox One in South Africa. And South Africa has traditionally been a very strong space for the Sony console. After its release on the 13th of December last year, South Africans have been clamouring for the PS4. Securing enough stock to meet the demand was almost impossible for local distributors Ster Kinekor, as global stock shortages

38

forced Sony to concentrate on bigger markets. But a recent announcement by Ster Kinekor stated that a steady supply of PS4 units would be entering the country for the foreseeable future and that, despite a price hike, the PS4 would be readily available for those that still need to get their hands on the latest Sony console. We spoke to Mario dos Santos, the CEO of Ster Kinekor Entertainment, to get his take on the current situation, what the rest of the year promises, and the entrance of a new competitor into the South African market in September of this year. GM: It’s been a few months since the launch of the PlayStation 4 in South Africa… how are things going?

gamecca58


MdS: It’s been an overwhelming success, actually… which comes with its own problems as well. Getting the right level of inventory, what’s needed, has been tough. The focus has been on servicing the major markets; it’s a very competitive landscape, so Sony has been focussing their attention on those markets. So it’s been pretty tough to secure units for our market. But we’ve done well relative to territories that we benchmark ourselves against, like Greece and Turkey. Pretty much everything that has touched retail has sold through, but now we are going into more of a free supply period for the foreseeable future.

in excess of 30 000 brought into the South African market. And they’ve been flying. We know from a fanatic perspective that the first thirty or forty thousand would be quite an easy sell, so we don’t want to take too much credit. After this it will become a little more challenging.

GM: Can you share any details on how many units have been brought into South Africa? MdS: I can’t give exact figures, but there have been

GM: Does that count for peripherals as well? MdS: There is a short supply of DualShock 4’s, but from our side we managed to secure sufficient numbers.

GM: So, you mentioned that we will now have a steady supply of units… will that continue for the foreseeable future? MdS: Yes, we will be in a free-supply situation, certainly for the next few months.

gamecca58

39


We couldn’t just order the volumes that we wanted, but we certainly feel that we have enough to meet the demand. We’re in a good space in that regard.

Feature

GM: At the same time that the supply improvement was announced, there was also a price hike announced… MdS: Unfortunately, yes. We saw the exchange rate move a large degree in the last six months. There’s not much that can be done about that, because it is a fully imported product. There is very little that you can do from a local perspective to keep the price down. GM: Shifting topics slightly, we now have a confirmed month for the release of the Xbox One here in South Africa… what thoughts do

40

you have on that? MdS: We’re looking forward to it. It’s somebody else making a noise about gaming. We saw that the PS4 gave a spike to the market, so the additional share of voice helps. Up until now it’s been us that have had to do the shouting. So it’s a positive thing and from a Ster Kinekor perspective we do other publishers; we also distribute their content on the Xbox One format, so it’ only going to help us. We’re excited about it… the sooner the better. GM: What do you think the rest of the year will hold? MdS: From discussions that we’ve had with publishers we’re seeing a lot of focus on the PS4. They’re seeing, from a development perspective, that timelines are far

gamecca58


shorter than the previous format, so they’re positive that there will be a fair bit of content in that pace. To be fair, there are some big franchises coming, and hopefully some of the new IPs will do well too. Hopefully things like Watch_Dogs will bring new people into the gaming space. Wolfenstein should be fabulous. So, yeah, there’s certainly going to be enough content to get people into the next generation of gaming this year. GM: What has the local response to PS+ been like since the launch of the PS4? MdS: There has been an unprecedented increase, thanks to the required online gaming perspective. But the positive feedback has been good. It’s always been a difficult message to communicate, in terms of what you get from the service. We’ve tried different things

through PR and messages in the press, but it’s the kind of thing that needs to tangibly show the consumer its benefits. But if you follow some of the forums of the guys on it, the response has been overwhelming. It’s been particularly positive. GM: Last prediction request; we’ve seen PS4 perform favourably against the Xbox One in markets where both are available. Do you think we’ll see a similar situation here? MdS: It’s difficult to say. From our side we’re certainly hoping so. The Xbox 360 had almost a year lead on the PS3 in South Africa, which took some time for us to work through and eventually get the lead back. But we’re confident that we’ll do well, based on the install base of the previous generation. g

gamecca58

41


Reviews Highlights 44 inFamous: Second Son Power hungry in Seattle... 48 Dark Souls 2 Prepare to die... repeatedly 52 South Park: The Stick of Truth Rude, crude and lewd! 56 Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes A new approach

W

e’re slowly seeing more and more next (or is that current?) generation console titles being released. And with the September release of Xbox One here in South Africa, gamers will have tons of stuff to do on their new consoles by Christmas. In the meantime, there are some great new games available, and we investigate them in the following pages‌ g

42

gamecca58


inFamous: Second Son

Power Hungry Taking the fight to the streets of Seattle

by Walt Pretorius

W

from his sudden development of Conduit powers, Delsin travels to Seattle to try and set things right. The game hits a lot of great notes in its premise; a draconian organisation has labelled Conduits as “bioterrorists” and is rounding them up, and it is up to Delsin to fight for the freedom of not only the Akomish, but also that of his newly-discovered supernatural-power-wielding brethren. And, as has always been the case in inFamous games, he can choose to tread the path of good or evil. This is where Second Son makes its first misstep. The morality system doesn’t seem to have a massive impact on the overall experience, at least not in the ways it could have. Sure, Delsin develops different powers on the different paths (prompting the opportunity for at least one more playthrough) and the population of Seattle react differently to him according to his choices, either cheering him as a hero

Review

hen the PlayStation 4 was first announced, the third instalment of inFamous was to be one of the platform’s premier launch titles. Excited fans of the franchise aside, the game would be the kind of release that would not only provide the player with a great experience, but would also showcase the new Sony console’s impressive power. And inFamous: Second Son has managed to live up to many of those expectations, providing the player with an impressive and immersive game set in a massive playground. But while developers Sucker Punch were concentrating on aiming for technical brilliance, it seems that their focus on other important aspects of the title waned just a little. Second Son introduces the player to Delsin Rowe, a young Native American with a rebellious streak. After his tribe (the Akomish) end up in a bit of trouble stemming

44

gamecca58


or maligning him as a villain. But aside from a few changes in cut scenes and a different ending, the morality system of the game doesn’t seem to have a massive impact. In addition, the choices are generally rather black and white, while previous inFamous games actually had the player wringing their hands over tough decisions. It seems as though this system is a little tacked on, even though it does form an important part of the experience. Delsin will ultimately develop four powers, with Smoke and Neon being the ones that were revealed before the game’s release. The four different power sets (and we won’t spoil the list here) each allow for various attacks and special abilities, which are purchased using a rather neat and easy to navigate skill tree system. Using resources gathered up in the city, the player can easily max out all powers, if they are thorough.

Among these powers are traversal methods, which make moving around Seattle quite easy. Initially, Delsin needs to rely on parkour-style climbing skills, but before long the player will be running super-fast (even up walls), dashing all over the place and soaring above the beautifully virtual version of Seattle. And it really is impressive. The city is lively and vibrant, with distinctive districts to explore and a large population to save or terrorise. The real stars of the show here are the lighting and special effects. Puddles show believable reflections. Explosions emit thick, choking smoke. Slanting sun rays cast long shadows and play across glass and concrete surfaces. In this way, Second Son becomes a visual feast, presenting the player with visuals that are, quite often, jaw-dropping. Injected into this detailed, complex and impressive

gamecca58

45


major players in the title, are simply not given enough attention by the narrative. In addition, the plot is rather predictable and lacks a lot of depth… a seriously blown opportunity at elevating Second Son to even higher heights. While the main missions drive the story along, there is a lot for players to do around Seattle. The main missions tend to be protracted affairs, but only completing them will mean that the player cannot improve Delsin’s arsenal of powers. To do this, and to free the city of the influence of the antagonistic Department of United Protection, the player will need to undertake what Second Son offers as “side quests”; destroying DUP equipment and interfering with their operations. Each district will have audio logs to collect, drones to hunt, undercover operatives to put a stop to and graffiti to create. Doing so removes the DUP influence, and gives Delsin access to blast cores, which can be spent to

Review

setting are characters that are beautifully animated and modelled. There is a ton of detail introduced with each character, allowing the good standard of voice acting to be supported by characters that are believable and convincing. Small details – like skin deformation accompanying facial expressions – add to the visual magic that makes up Second Son’s presentation, and the voice acting by the likes of Troy Baker (who provides Delsin’s dialogue) combines with this to create a cast of memorable characters. Sadly the script writing doesn’t really support this. While Delsin has interesting relationships with characters like his brother, the characters feel sort-of flat for the most part. They are fairly stereotypical and predictable. And other characters are simply not explored enough – characters like Fetch and Eugene, who could have been

46

gamecca58


improve his abilities. Although Second Son does have a few weaker points, it is still a great game. It features a fluid play-style that allows players to tackle problems in numerous ways. The four powers, for example, allow for varied approaches to even main missions, and there are very few times when the player will feel like they are being directed in specific directions. The setting allows for a ton of exploration and goofing off, with lots to see or do. Perhaps the biggest difference here is the fact that, unlike the previous two inFamous titles, Second Son feels more real. The move towards this realism may be a little jarring for fans initially, but it won’t be long before the immersive game dynamics and stunning presentation suck them entirely into Delsin Rowe’s crazy world. Turning peaceful city streets into super-powered battlegrounds is easy and fun, and the

level of mayhem caused is entirely up to the player. Even switching between power sets is simple, allowing for a fluid and organic feel that enhances the experience, allowing the player to make the experience their own – even if it feels like some of their decisions don’t carry enough weight. Most of all, Second Son stands as a testament to the PlayStation 4’s awesome power. If a game like this can be created so early in the console’s lifespan, the mind boggles at what may be possible in future. It is a powerful experience, even if its message isn’t all that impactful, and it serves as a great piece of interactive entertainment. Although it would have been great if some of the rougher edges had been knocked off, inFamous: Second Son is still a great way to experience what the PS4 is capable of, and it provides the player with a thrilling, sometimes even tense, video gaming experience. g

AT A GLANCE: Action adventure

Although it misses a few beats, Second Son is a thoroughly enjoyable game, and a great way to experience what the PS4 is capable of. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Sucker Punch SCEE Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

89 47


Dark Souls 2

Welcome to your Death The price of wisdom

by Lein Baart

J

it took the gaming community by massive surprise. The spiritual successor to the moderately successful Demon Souls, From Software’s masterpiece seemed to be everything modern gaming was not, a brutal unapologetic throwback that never once held your hand through its countless hours of agonised joy. Not once were you ever spoon-fed, not once did it give you cheap thrills of victory. It was a game that rewarded perseverance through challenge, and because of this it achieved a cult status seldom seen in these times. It was for this reason though, as the release date for Dark Souls 2 drew closer and the whispers of capitulation grew louder, many began to fear that From Software would cave to the expectations of the industry, and the difficulty that had become the hallmark of the series would be lost in favour of accessibility. Rest assured, Dark Souls 2 is every inch

Review

aggedly you draw breath, as the final moans of the vanquished fade away along with their corpses. How many times have you trod these halls, these arteries of a forsaken monument to a past barely remembered? It doesn’t matter. Drangleic is a world of the present drowned by the memories of the forgotten, and no matter how many times you’ve succumbed to the claws and swords and snarls of those around you, things never seem to change. They say that death is a transition, a transformation of being. You’ve discovered otherwise. It’s a place of echoes and knowledge gained through a perilous price. Drangleic is a world filled with death, and there is so much more you still need to learn. Grimly you grip your sword with rotting hands, ready to march towards your next lesson. When Dark Souls first launched in 2011 on the PS3

48

gamecca58


a worthy successor. Ostensibly set in the same world as its predecessor, Dark Souls 2 once again sees players take up the role of an undead desperately trying to cling to his sanity. Stumbling from a limbo world with the taunting cackles of three hags following you, gamers are once again thrown into a land filled with death and shattered hopes. The setting this time though is Drangleic, a decaying kingdom that at once feels both eerily familiar and wholly alien to the corroded realm of Lordran. It’s a feeling that extends throughout the entire game actually. Subtle but distinct changes abound in Dark Souls 2, and many of them are apparent in the setting alone. While the plot is revealed in the same manner, through pieced together conversations and carefully hidden landmarks, Drangleic is a kingdom in its final throes of death, where rot and

decline are juxtaposed against the glories of ages past. Marjula, the first town you find and the closest thing to home a walking corpse can have, is a clear example of this; a sun-bathed hamlet on the cliffs that nevertheless manages to feel haunted and abandoned. The varied and vast locations you visit after this will do nothing to shake this feeling off, and the dark mood that Dark Souls 2 sets is both rich and enrapturing. There are core changes to the gameplay as well. Dark Souls 2 is far more open in the beginning stages than the original, a fact that can leave you near paralysed with uncertainty. Almost no direction is given as to what the correct path is, and as in almost everything about the game, trial-and-error will prove to be your greatest teacher. This indecision isn’t helped by the fact that players can travel between lit bonfires right from the

gamecca58

49


until you learn the nuances of every opponent, and in this trial by fire, expect to be burned more times than you can count. The highlights will always belong to the boss battles however, and in this Dark Souls 2 doesn’t disappoint. There are a huge number of them to be fought, and while a few tend towards the generic, these epic encounters will leave you yelling with exultation as you watch your foe finally fall to the ground. Make no mistake, you will die many, many times in the trying, but each death will leave you a little wiser to the battle than before, and the euphoria gained when victory is finally achieved is nearly incomprehensible. While past players will be no stranger to this, From Software have seen fit to try your soul even further than before, most noticeably through the fact that every death will leave you with fewer total health points than

Review

start, meaning that almost every discovered area can be revisited at whim, and you will find yourself frequently travelling to Marjula and back, as this is the only location at which you can level up. The meat of the game though will always lie in its combat, and it’s here that Dark Souls 2 sees next to no deviation from the format. Fans of the franchise are likely to de disappointed by the tutorial area, which truly aims to introduce the game to newcomers, with no gargantuan, horror-inducing demon in sight. This frail veneer of clemency is soon pitilessly ripped away however, and within the hour dying and respawning will become a bleakly familiar companion. Even basic enemies are a lethal threat, and before long the sight of an unlit bonfire will have you weeping with joy. This is a game that will punish you, over and over again,

50

gamecca58


before, until you return to human form through the use of a human effigy. To compound this, the game provides only one estus flask to begin with, though more may be acquired later, and enemies will stop respawning after you have killed them a certain number of times, meaning that dungeon runs become easier but soul farming is far more perilous. Online interaction has also seen a change. Many of the basic mechanics are still present, with ghosts of other gamer’s playthroughs still flickering in and out of sight, providing both companionship and warning of imminent threat, and scrawled messages still litter the floors. Summoning has been altered however, and being hollow no longer provides protection against invasions from players. Likewise, you can only summon and be summoned for a limited amount of time now, which varies

according to the material used to write your signature, and voice chat is now possible for the first time. Covenants still play a central role in PvP, and you will find the possibilities much expanded upon depending on which covenant you choose. Dark Souls 2 is not a game for the weak-willed or easily angered. It’s an experience that few other games can provide, a relentless challenge that never once lets up. With its simple but superbly implemented controls and brilliant level design though, the level of difficulty is always based upon the skills you’ve accumulated and the knowledge you’ve paid for in blood, and never once should you feel that your death was cheaply gained. Persevere through the innumerable moments of suffering you will face, and the reward gained will be utterly unlike anything you’ve experienced before. g

AT A GLANCE: Action RPG

Reviewed on:

A brilliant addition to the franchise, Darks Souls 2 is everything fans should expect from the series

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

From Software Bandai Namco Games Megarom

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

91 51


South Park: The Stick of Truth

Stick of Vulgarity But would fans want it any other way?

by Charlie Fripp

W

by Obsidian Entertainment, in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios and THQ. Players assume the role of a new kid in the South Park neighbourhood, and are tasked with helping Cartman and his band of role-playing misfits to reclaim the Stick of Truth from a group of ‘elves’ (which are other kids role playing, of course). It’s the first time in the franchise’s history that gamers encounter South Park in a free-roaming, roleplaying setting. After being recruited by Cartman, and given rudimentary weapons to start out with, the plot starts to take shape. Oh, and as a side note: no matter what name players enter for their custom-created character, Cartman will always refer to them as a variation of “Douchebag”. But given South Park’s reputation, does The Stick of

Review

ay back in 1995, two incredibly evil minds formulated the diabolical plan to create one of the most offensive television shows around. What started out as two short films quickly gained notoriety and teenagers around the globe started to take notice. And so the phenomenon that is South Park was born. 247 episodes over 17 seasons later, South Park has a cult-like following – so much so that the show has been extended numerous times, and is scheduled to be aired on Comedy Central until at least 2016. While South Park: The Stick of Truth isn’t Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle’s first video game, it was probably the most anticipated. Players take on a completely different role in this game developed

52

gamecca58


Truth live up to expectations? The short answer is yes. And then some. Although turn-based combat isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, in this case it works pretty well. The developers have opted to make it as close to your standard turnbased role-playing game as possible, which should be well-received by players. Taking turns in attacking and defending, players have a choice of three different kinds of attacks: standard and heavy attacks, and a farting attack – which is considered magic. While the focus of the title is on the South Park characters, the Stick of Truth and the sleepy town, the highlight of the title is definitely the combat system. Players also won’t have to take on multiple enemies alone, as they can choose one other character to accompany them on their journey and in combat.

However, there’s more to this title than combat, as characters have freedom to wander the streets of South Park for as long as they want. While there isn’t much to do in just exploring, players will eventually bump into characters who will provide them with quests. It’s these quests that drive the entire narrative of The Stick of Truth. Another plus point for the title is the fact that the visuals have been authentically recreated from the television series, with Stone and Parker doing the voices for the characters as well. It is clear that a lot of effort has gone into producing the game, and fans of the franchise should love it… but it’s not without its faults. As the plot unfolds, players will soon realize that the Stick of Truth actually only forms a small portion

gamecca58

53


intercourse because they can, and it’s somewhat expected. And the crudeness isn’t even that bad – it’s actually pretty mild – but fart jokes and kids swearing are only funny up to a point. Then they become annoying. It seems like creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone where trying to offend as many people, religious groups and affiliations as possible, as nobody walks away unscathed in Stick of Truth. One thing that gamers will probably never complain about is a game’s playtime. Usually titles offer up far less than expected, but for Stick of Truth, it could have been just slightly shorter. Within the first hours, the game shifts from the titular stick, to something much bigger. It’s neatly wrapped in the narrative and held together by strange circumstances, but some

Review

of the story, and that there are other elements to it that contribute towards the general plot line. There are also a number of QTEs, and with some careful manoeuvring the player will, for example, help to abort a baby from a male patient in a hospital. Although not in Europe. That scene, and a few others, was banned in Europe and (because we get our games from Europe) by default South Africa as well. But that is the sense of humour that South Park was going for – over and over again. Speaking of which, the crude jokes and offensive religious references are indeed humorous, but the effect wears off after a couple of hours. South Park has been known for trying to offend as many people as possible, but after a while the intention seems to shift from that, to showing cartoon sexual

54

gamecca58


battles and plot pieces seem unnecessary. And then there is the inclusion of zombies - Nazi zombies. Complete with chants and shouts in German, with swastika armbands. Their inclusion isn’t really upsetting, but one would think that 75 years later, we should be over that and move on. But then again, this is South Park. Fans of the franchise will absolutely love The Stick of Truth, but it might (and probably will) get a bit too much for gamers who haven’t seen Cartman, Kenny, Stan or Kyle in years. It’s great that players can wander around town and visit some of the series’ most iconic buildings, but the game struggles to find a good balance between combat, the plot and the overall length. Some quests were redundant or filled with unnecessary grind work,

which makes the player feel cheated, while some of the better quests are over in a very short amount of time. From a purely combat point-of-view, the title is fantastic. The wide variety of weapons and special powers that can be used leaves the game open to be played in any way the gamer wants. And with four companions to choose from, the commentary will often take awfully funny turns. For someone who hasn’t seen South Park in a while, it’s a wonderful trip down memory lane – if you don’t mind farts being thrown in your face and sitting through a level of 8-bit Canada. Oh, and if words like “anal beads” or “dildos” make you giggle, then South Park: The Stick of Truth is definitely for you. g

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

RPG

Reviewed on:

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Obsidian Entertainment Ubisoft Megarom

Parental Advisory

18+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

X360 Platforms

It’s a South Park RPG – need we say more?

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

85 55


Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

A Taste…

Ground Zeroes makes some big promises for the future of Metal Gear Solid by Walt Pretorius

O

as a prequel, it is brutally short. Expect to spend around two hours completing the game. At a dash, you could do it in one. And that is the major complaint that is arising all over about Ground Zeroes; it is simply too short. Yet, within its woefully quick play time, players will come across things that are, quite frankly, rather impressive. For example, the level design of the game, which takes place in an off-shore American detention camp, is wonderfully crisp. A lot of attention to detail and careful consideration went into making each level not only challenging, but sensible and engrossing. Players will find that the idea of handily placed hiding spots all over the level is a thing of the past, if trends set by Ground Zeroes are going to continue – rather, players will need to take a more considered, pedantic approach as they stealth their way through the games various missions.

Review

ne thing that has always been a hallmark of the Metal Gear Solid series (aside from the rabid adherence to it that fans display) is convoluted plot lines. But that may just be a thing of the past, as Hideo Kojima’s latest adventures for Big Boss take on a simpler, grittier narrative. It is still experimental ground for Kojima, though, and there are a few missteps that crop up from time to time. That said, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes offers a slightly new take on the franchise, and offers players a great introduction for what is to come. Introduction is pretty much the right word… Ground Zeroes is not the full game that MGS fans are waiting for. Rather, it serves as a prequel for the upcoming Phantom Pain, introducing players to a few new ideas that haven’t really been seen in the series before. And,

56

gamecca58


Or not. For the first time in the franchise’s history, players are not cruelly punished when entering into combat. Thanks to wound healing and other concepts not seen before in a Metal Gear Solid game, Ground Zeroes allows a wider scope of approach – in fact, the player could, if they wanted, run-and-gun the whole thing. But stealth is still the key element in the game, and this is reinforced by a savage AI and a scoring system that will, ultimately, punish a trigger-happy player. New systems do not discourage stealthy game-play… they are intended to widen the scope of possibilities and situations. On top of that, the game offers the player a visual feast. This is by far the most impressive MGS title we have ever seen, and playing it on the PS4 really shows off the power of the system and the skill of the

developers. Great graphics, combined with sensible level design and potentially game-changing new concepts, make Ground Zeroes a title that is highly entertaining and engrossing. With great presentation and an engrossing dynamic, Ground Zeroes can be rewarding (if you can get past its length). It’s exploration of grittier narrative elements can be somewhat jarring at times, and it’s ending is a little weak, but it still serves as a solid new addition to the Metal Gear franchise. It also offers platformspecific side missions and rewards stealthy players with numerous unlocks. If Ground Zeroes is setting precedents for Phantom Pain, we certainly have a lot to look forward to in the next MGS release. The PS4 version, in particular, is an impressive effort from Kojima and his crew. g

AT A GLANCE: Action

Reviewed on:

It’s really short, but Ground Zeroes is still a worthwhile experience, packed with potential and promises for the future of this long-running franchise. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Kojima Productions Konami Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

18+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

80 57


LEGO: The Movie Videogame

Bricked Up! It’s all LEGO this time around…

by Walt Pretorius

L

LEGO faces in the title. There is even a nod to the Lord of the Rings, which got its own LEGO game treatment not too long ago, although the character that quite obviously is based on Gandalf bears another name. He also speaks with the voice of Morgan Freeman. Other well-known voices include the likes of Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks and Will Ferrell, adding a true Hollywood feel to a franchise that has always gone out of its way to lampoon and celebrate some rather big Hollywood properties. Central to the tale told in this long and often amusingly jarring game is the character of Emmett, a construction worker who happily plies his trade – which basically comes down to squashing creativity and sticking to the rules in his home town of Bricksburg. But soon he comes to realise that creativity is key, and conformity is a bad way to live.

Review

EGO games are being released pretty thick and fast these days… it seems that there is a new LEGO game every few weeks. With LEGO: The Hobbit coming up soon, the gap between that title and LEGO: Marvel Superheroes has been filled by another LEGO title based on a movie… and this time the fit is as perfect as two of the multi-coloured blocks the franchise derives its inspiration from. LEGO: The Movie Videogame is based on a film that arguably draws a lot of inspiration from the LEGO games that came before. In this title, which is obviously based on LEGO: The Movie, players control a number of characters not only from the LEGO universe, but also from properties that share common ties (in the form of Warner Bros). So expect to see the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and a host of other famous

58

gamecca58


That’s sort of the message in this game, although the plot does jump around a little, making leaps that are covered by the film. Emmett’s quest is to become a master-builder (although in game terms that is less impressive than it sounds). It would have been awesome if there was some kind of way for players to influence the building of master objects, but (ironically) they are shoe-horned into conforming to what this game all about creativity wants them to do. Not that this is a bad thing. Fans of the previous LEGO games will find a large free-roaming world to explore, and tons to collect, destroy and build. There is also a massive cast of characters to unlock, some of which have special abilities that add replayability to already completed levels. The biggest change to this game is that, for the first

time ever, the entire world is made of LEGO bricks. Every little thing. And that’s pretty cool, because for the first time it feels less like an homage to a movie, and more like an actual LEGO-based adventure. Aside from that, and for the idea of master-building (which, once again, is underwhelming in that it really just replicated the other kind of building that we see in LEGO games on a slightly larger scale) there isn’t too much new here. But that’s OK… at the very least players will know what they are in for, and the popularity of previous titles means that the old formulas still work well. Overall, it’s an enjoyable game that will delight old and young alike, crammed with humour and action. But, above all, it’s a LEGO game, and the way you reacted to previous titles in the franchise will most likely determine how you feel about this one. g

AT A GLANCE: Adventure

Reviewed on:

Despite some new ideas, it really is another LEGO video game – and that may or may not be a good thing, depending on your view of the franchise. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Developer Publisher Distributer

Parental Advisory

7+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

79 59


Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition

All to Hell!

Put those zombies where they belong… back in the ground! by Walt Pretorius

I

the player achieving pinball-esque scores in the process. And that’s really What Dead Nation is about – getting score while settling scores. The game is presented as a third person isometric shooter, using a “two stick” model for control. This means that the left stick controls movement, and the right stick aiming, while bumpers and triggers provide fire control and other functions. The player will, by killing hordes of the undead, earn cash to spend on new weapons, which can also be upgraded in the expected ways; rate of fire, ammo count and so on. Most of the weapons are pretty run of the mill, which isn’t too much of a problem. After all, a shotgun works well against zombies, every time. There are some more inventive weapons, too, like a blade-thrower that decapitates enemies, and an electric gun that damages larger groups. In addition, the player will also have access to

Review

f Hollywood and all the other entertainment industries are to be believed at the moment, a zombie apocalypse is not a matter of if, but rather of when. And, of course, while the vast majority of the population gets turned into shambling, brain-craving undead, there will always be those people that are immune to whatever virus, pathogen or alien brain-worm caused the whole mess in the first place. But while a lot of the zombie tales we have been exposed to in recent years have opted towards a more human, emotionally charged narrative, Dead Nation does exactly the opposite. It’s like the redneck, bigot neighbour of the zombie genre; zombies, all zombies, must (according to this game) die. And they do, in absolute droves. As the player makes their way through ten levels – either solo or in co-op mode – the body count racks up to tremendous numbers, with

60

gamecca58


things like mines, grenades, and other secondary weapons. This rebooted game presents the player with fairly long, not-too-linear levels that are quite pretty to look at. They contain lots of shadows for zombies to lurk in, and enemies tend to come from all sides – even places that the player has already been. Speaking of enemies, Dead Nation offers a wide variety of bad guys to blow into little icky bits. Aside from the stock in trade shamblers, there are zombies that have armour plating, explosive zombies, undead that leap great distances and zombies with massive blades for hands. There is even a level filled with clown zombies, which make a variety of amusing sounds as they get blown away. Dead Nation offers very little by way of depth. There isn’t much of a plot here, and what little narrative the game presents is pretty predictable. But Dead Nation is

not about plot and deep, thought provoking messages. It’s about killing zombies, and nothing more. And the player with a quick mind and quicker trigger fingers will get a lot of enjoyment out of the rather uncomplicated title. There are a few game modes, too, including replaying completed missions for score improvement, multiplayer coop and an endless arcade mode. Dead Nation doesn’t pretend to be more than what it is, and provides the player with a fairly simple, enjoyable experience that provides challenge without becoming too taxing. It isn’t an important game by any means, but it serves as a great time-killer for those who want to leave behind deeper concepts and just rack up a mountainous body count. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but it does provide the player with lots of zombie-blasting fun… and sometimes that’s all you need. g

AT A GLANCE: Shooter

Reviewed on:

This remake brings zombie-blasting action to the PS4, without getting bogged down in all that ‘human emotion’ rubbish...

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Housemarque SCEE PSN

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

79 61


Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Classical Update Taking the good with the bad

by Lein Baart

T

Symphonia wasted little time in capturing the hearts of gamers worldwide. With nearly a decade having passed since its last release though, and re-releases being notoriously disappointing, the question remains whether Tales of Symphonia Chronicles can live up to the nostalgiatinted memories of a generation that has seen enormous leaps in expectations. Tales of Symphonia sees you take up the role of Lloyd Irving, a human teenager in the world of Sylvarant, who is swept up in a quest to replenish the world’s mana by aiding his childhood friend, Colette Brunel, the Chosen One. Moral qualms about sending children to fight wars aside, Symphonia’s story is not one that was ever going to win awards for originality. Nonetheless it still manages to enchant, as serious issues such as racism are explored through the eyes of a child coming to terms with the world

Review

he western market has always been a tricky minefield for Japanese developers to navigate, especially for the so-called JRPG sub-genre. While the mass appeal of the Final Fantasy and Pokémon series are difficult to deny, there exists a slew of games that never received the attention they were due in the western world, and of them, the “Tales of” series most definitely is deserving of some recognition. Spanning 13 distinct games (which doesn’t include sequels or spin-offs), it’s a massive franchise in Japan, and while it remains somewhat obscure outside the island nation’s borders, Bandai Namco is doing its damndest to change that, releasing a bevy of re-releases and new additions. Of all the Tales games, Tales of Symphonia is one of the most recognised across the globe. Launched on the GameCube in 2003 (2004 for the western world),

62

gamecca58


around him. The more mechanical aspects of Symphonia likewise stand up to scrutiny. The cel-shaded graphics of the original have been beautifully translated to the PS3, and while some anachronisms still remain, this is a game that remains by and large a pleasure to behold. The battle system enjoys much the same praise, providing enough depth (particularly in co-op) to keep you entertained throughout the 60 or so hours you can expect to sink into the game. Through a well balanced mix of frantic button mashing and strategically timed combination attacks, Symphonia never feels like a grind to get through. Symphonia though has a dark side, and in the same way the original’s charm is captured in the re-release, so is Dawn of the New World’s frustrations brought over into Chronicles. A sequel to Symphonia that first saw life on the

Wii, Dawn of a New World was mostly panned on its release due to a multitude of issues, and the intervening time has done nothing to soften its flaws. Featuring one of the most irritating protagonists ever conceived, along with tedious cut-scenes that killed any hope that the game would actually become interesting, Dawn of the New World was and still is a game best left relegated to the annals of history. Tales of Symphonia Chronicles then is a collection that does exactly what it is supposed to do, namely capture the essence of the original titles. Symphonia remains as good as it was when it was first released, and fans of JRPG’s, whether you’ve played it before or not, would do well to give this serious consideration, as the first game alone is enough to merit the purchase. It’s a classic to be sure, and you won’t be fooled into thinking otherwise, but this is definitely a title worth reliving. g

AT A GLANCE: JRPG

Reviewed on:

Symphonia never waivers from its original formula, which for the first game is fantastic. For the second... not so much

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Bandai Namco Games Bandai Namco Games Megarom

Parental Advisory

12+ gamecca58

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

Genre:

PC X360 X0 PS3 PS4 Wii U PSV 3DS AND iOS

Score

72 63


Contra

Double Dragon

W

hether this game got its name from Latin for ‘against’ or the Nicaraguan rebel groups the U.S. supported in the ‘80s, Contra was a big hit. The world simply could not get enough of the excellent two-player feature - this was the Gears of War of its day.

T

he main characters in this classic brawler give self-defence classes, which they forget to teach a girlfriend. That may have been useful when she got kidnapped. On the upside, countless gamers beat the snot out of future New York’s underworld with invincible elbows. Legend.

Test Drive

T

Metal Gear

A Year in Games

oday Need 4 Speed is seen as the granddaddy of the non-arcade car racing genre, but Test Drive beat it to that honour by nearly a decade. You didn’t actually race against anything but the clock and the tracks mainly consisted out of twisty coastal road. But it was a marvel for its day.

N

owadays Metal Gear Solid is a classic from yesteryear, but we forget that the series actually started as a top-down game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Reviews were mixed, but it rolled out a new paradigm for stealth gameplay. A re-release on mobile would be nice...

A YEAR IN GAMING

64

gamecca58

1


Maniac Mansion

E

Leisure Suit Larry

ven in a genre bursting with monolithic classics, Maniacs Mansion - the original point ‘n click adventure - stands tall. Three people visit a creepy mansion to rescue someone’s girlfriend: what they found was the template to the LucasFilm domination of the genre for years to come.

L

arry Laffer, what a hero! And by hero we mean loser, but at least he made all the adolescent boys who played this game feel good about their lack of conquests. Also the only game ever to ask interesting trivia questions for its security and to keep teenagers out. It never worked...

Shinobi

B

oth ninjas and side-scrollers enjoyed a huge heyday in the mid to late ‘80s. Shinobi was their combined king and for a time became synonymous with all things ninja. It spawned many sequels - the most recent in 2011 - but the ultimate shadow master is a bit of an obscurity today.

After Burner

A

fter Burner cabinets can still be found all over the world in malls - that’s how big a deal it was. It created the ‘fighter jet on steroids’ genre, distilling the awesomeness of piloting a supersonic harbinger of death into a few arcade buttons. Still a fantastic inducer of motion-sickness…

1987 gamecca58

65


Graphics

Review

Asus Matrix Platinum Graphics Cards

It’s Radeon vs NVidia in the Matrix Platinum range…

66

gamecca58


A

by Andy Taliadoros

A

sus are well known for creating components that are great for all kinds of performance, but their products – particularly their graphics cards – really shine under overclocking conditions. Aside from generally excellent performance under normal loads, Asus graphics cards are a go-to solution for many that want to push their machines to the max. For those that really want to squeeze every bit of performance out of their PC, and even want to tinker with extreme cooling methods, Asus has produced their Matrix Platinum range of graphics cards, in both NVidia and Radeon flavours. In this review we look at one of each. Just a quick note – we don’t normally put two products into one review, but the truth is that these cards are so very similar that producing a separate review for each would almost be like reprinting the same thing twice. Almost. But there are a few differences that allowed us to put the two cards head-to-head, with interesting results. Both versions are visually identical. Apart from an SLI interface that can be found on the GTX 780 Ti, one would be hard-pressed to identify the different chipsets at a glance. The NVidia version is powered by a GTX 780 Ti chipset, while the Radeon model has a R9 290X at its core – both chipsets that compare favourably against each other. The first major difference between the two, though, comes in the form of video memory: the GTX 780 Ti offers 3GB of RAM which runs at 7000 MHz, while the R9 290X sports 4GB of RAM, which runs at 5400 MHz. In other words, one has less RAM with a faster clock speed, while the other has more RAM which is a little slower. What kind of difference does that make? Well, it seems that the faster RAM wins out, despite the fact that there is less of it. In our own tests, as well as in manufacturer documentation and other tests we found floating around the Internet, the GeForce version outperformed the Radeon card to varying degrees, sometimes by as much as almost a thousand points in systems like 3DMark11 Extreme. But those figures are not always a clear indicator of what a graphics card can do – the proof is when the card is put under the strain of gaming, which is one area in which any graphics card will be pushed to perform. After putting both cards through their paces in a number of

gamecca58

67


Summary

Tech Specs: • • • • • • •

The NVidia version shows slightly better performance on paper, and manages to run cooler and quieter.

Ma n u fa ctu r e r Di s tr i b u te r : Online:

A s us P innacle Af rica w ww.pinnacle .co.za

Pros • • • • •

68

Quiet Great performance Safe Mode

GeForce GTX 780 Ti chipset 3GB VRAM DirectCU II technology 2 DVI outputs DisplayPort HDMI GPU Tweak

(GTX 780 Ti)

Review

Asus ROG Tytan CG8890

games, those all-important frame-rate counts indicated that, for the most part, the GTX 780 Ti produced a few more frames a second than the R9 290X. The difference, however, almost falls into the realms of negligible… the higher frame rates were not significant enough to make a difference perceptible to the naked eye. So the better performance delivered by the GTX 780 Ti really is something that looks impressive on paper, but doesn’t translate into a massive difference in the real world. Without kicking into overclocking, both cards run relatively quietly, and don’t generate too much heat. That said, in terms of in-box performance, the GeForce wins again. It runs quieter and quite a lot cooler than the Radeon model. That’s not to say that the Radeon is going to melt under strain – both cards feature great on-board cooling, in the form of dual hybrid fans, generous multi-directional air-flow and the DirectCU II cooling system (which features large heat sinks and 10mm heat pipes that are in direct contact with the GPU). Both also feature an aluminium back plate, as well as DIGI+ VRM technology, which makes use of black metallic capacitors and 14-phase super alloys. They also both feature a new Asus technology especially for those that run machines with extreme cooling systems. Integrated memory defrosters can be turned on to minimise the cold bugs, which can sometimes occur in sub-zero temperatures. That’s a great solution for extreme overclockers. Overclocking is the Radeon version’s domain. It simply offers overclockers more things to tweak and fiddle with, which would appeal to some of the more hard-core enthusiasts. When used with compatible motherboards, both can be directly wired to appropriate solder-points on the motherboard, making overvolting much easier at a hardware level. They also feature a jumper switch that alternates between standard cooling and liquid-nitrogen cooling. Simply put, when in liquid-nitrogen mode, a number of

Cons • • • • •

Pricey

Score

96 gamecca58


(R9 290X)

built-in restrictions on power and voltage are overridden, providing the user with a ton of extra manoeuvring room. Both cards work with Asus’ GPU Tweak software suites, which enable easy overclocking to virtually everyone. In addition, both cards have an integrated safe-mode that kicks in if the strain is too much, effectively preventing catastrophic damage to the devices. A safe mode button on the card will, with one press, reset the cards to their factory settings, which adds a level of hardware safety to both. And both feature a side mounted indicator that changes colour according to load, providing users who have a windowed PC case an at-aglance indicator of the card’s performance and strain. So which card is better? Well, there is no simple answer for that… it really depends on what the end user is going after. For “normal” activities, like gaming and low-level overclocking, the performance of the GTX 780 Ti is better on paper, although it’s tough to spot it with the naked eye. The GTX 780 Ti runs cooler and quieter, too, which may be a big consideration for some. But if the user is going to be doing some heavy, high-level overclocking (including the use of chemical cooling agents) then the Radeon is arguably the better bet. Both cards allow the same kind of tinkering, but the Radeon seems to enjoy being messed with more. Both cards offer the kind of reliability and performance one would expect from Asus’ components, and both do a great job of delivering top-notch graphics performance. Perhaps the deciding factor, then, would fall towards the user’s preferences for chipset manufacturers, although – quite honestly – the cards are so similar that it becomes something of a moot point. One thing that is for sure, though, is that no matter which Matrix Platinum flavour you decide on, you’re guaranteed of great performance and reliability. g

Summary

Tech Specs: • • • • • • •

The NVidia version shows slightly better performance on paper, and manages to run cooler and quieter.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

A sus Pinna c le A fric a www.pinna c le.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

gamecca58

Awesome overclocking Great performance Safe Mode

R9 290X chipset 4GB VRAM DirectCU II technology 2 DVI outputs DisplayPort HDMI GPU Tweak

Cons • • • • •

Pricey

Score

95 69


Raidmax Vortex PC Case

C Review

C

Saver

hoosing the right case to build your PC into is a very important step when putting together a great machine. The case needs to be able to hold everything comfortably, while still having enough space on the inside to ensure good air flow. But lots of room in a case also means a bigger box, and sometimes finding a balance between saving space and keeping a case roomy can be quite tricky. The Raidmax Vortex strikes a decent balance between the two. It is a comparatively small case, but is well structured internally, allowing for even longer graphics cards to be housed within it. And good structure means potentially good airflow, provided the user builds their interior neatly. Fans are also obviously important for air moving through the case, and the Vortex allows for two front mounted, one top mounted and one rear mounted fan,

70

all 120mm in size. The side panel has a window, but no place to fit a fan. This isn’t ideal, as a side mounted fan can deliver much needed cooling to the GPU and CPU. Still, the straight-in, straight-out design that the Vortex uses for air flow isn’t the worst idea around. Higher end machines may get a little toasty if built into it, though. If the user makes sensible choices, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The PSU slot is bottom mounted, with generous venting to allow direct PSU heat extraction, which helps. The bottom mounted PSU also adds stability to the case, by shifting the heaviest component to the base of the box. The interior of the Vortex is well finished, and can be purchased in a screwless variety for those who want to save on a little labour. On the outside, the case looks great. It is quite

gamecca58


by Walt Pretorius

A

slightly

sm a

ller cas

or f e

d-range i P m

angular, and the front panel features aesthetic detail and pleasing lines. At the top-front of the case the user will find a single USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port. Once again, not quite ideal, but the inclusion of a USB 3.0 port is good. There are also audio jacks and the expected switches. The Vortex can also house three 5.25 inch optical drives, as well as three 3.5 inch and three 2.5 inch HDDs (or SSDs, in the case of the latter measurement). On the whole, the Vortex is a decent box, but it won’t be the best fit for a higher end machine. Fewer external ports limit it a bit, and the lack of a side panel fan can make keeping a monster machine cool a little tricky. But the Vortex isn’t intended for monsters – rather, it is a decent, compact home for mid-range PC components. g

Cs

Summary

Tech Specs:

It might not be perfect for a monster PC, but the Vortex will serve as a good home for mid-range machines.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca58

Compact Looks good

1 USB 3.0 port 1 USB 2.0 port 4 120mm fan mounts Bottom mounted PSU 3 Optical bays 3 3.5 inch drive bays 3 2.5 inch drive bays

Ra idma x Sy ntec h www.sy ntec h.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

No side fan mount

Score

75 71


Review

Raising

SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset

Bar

W

72

W

e get to see a lot of headsets and, quite honestly, most of them are really good products. After all, the function of a headset is to produce decent sound (and in some cases enable clear chat) and most manufacturers get this right more often than not. Occasionally one comes along that is sub-par, but they are becoming more and more rare. The bar has been raised across the board, and it keeps getting raised by the other side of the coin; truly exceptional products that don’t just deliver great audio, but do it in an intelligent and innovative manner. Those products are also more rare than the run-of-the-mill, but this month we had the opportunity to test one of them: the SteelSeries H Wireless Gaming Headset. Wireless headsets come with a wealth of potential problems; battery life, audio lag, transmitter size and so forth. But SteelSeries managed to really get things right with the H Wireless. Using a small transmitter that delivers lag free performance, the H Wireless doesn’t take up too much desk space, and certainly has no cable-clutter to deal with. That said, the transmitter box offers a number of options for inputs, ranging from USB to optical. That means that pretty much every kind of gaming platform can be used with this headset, for audio at least. The PS4 cannot make use of its chat function, unfortunately, because the jack that connects the headset to the game controller is the smaller kind, used by the Xbox 360. But if chat isn’t important, then the H Wireless serves PS4 users perfectly well. Battery life is taken care of by two rechargeable batteries (resembling mobile phone batteries). While one is powering the headset, the other can be recharged in the transmitter, which features a special port for that purpose. Switching batteries is a bit of a chore, as the user needs to remove the left ear-cup cover to access the battery compartment, and the process can be a little fiddly. But it doesn’t take long after a bit of practice, and the LCD screen on the front of the transmitter displays the power levels of the battery in use, as well as the charge status of the backup. That makes planning a quick swap pretty easy. The transmitter also features a large knob that adjusts audio and serves as control input for setting the H Wireless’ numerous audio modes and functions. There is also a volume control built into the headset’s right ear-cup, making audio control extremely easy. There are numerous aspects of the H Wireless that are great; ease-of-use, versatility, comfort, and, of course, audio quality are all top notch. SteelSeries hits all the right notes with this excellent audio device. g gamecca58


SteelSe ries

ge ts w ire

les

sa

ud i o

ht… ri g Summary

SteelSeries have produced a real winner in the form of the H Wireless, which serves as a great multi-platform wireless gaming headset. Tech Specs:

S t e e lSe r i e s M e ga r om ww w .m e ga r om .c o .za

Great audio Clever design ideas Comfortable • • • •

Pros

M a n u fa c t u r e r D is t r i bu t e r O n lin e

Not the best for PS4

7.1 virtual surround sound OLED screen Neodymium drivers USB input Optical input Mobile compatible Rechargeable batteries

• • • •

Cons

• • • • • • •

Score

97 gamecca58

73


Logitech Z150 Multimedia Speakers

No ear damage here‌

Review

Does it

gamecca58


I I

t’s easy to become caught up in the need for bigger, meaner, louder speakers. After all, no matter what your audio preference, loud sound has power. Be it for music, movies or gaming, thundering audio manages to strike a great chord with almost everyone. But loudness should never compromise quality (which a few guys driving around my neighbourhood have yet to realise). And you can’t always have a massive speaker stack around… space confines and vengeful neighbours are just some of the factors that could contribute to one having to choose smaller, less powerful speakers. Enter the Logitech Z150 Multimedia Speakers. These rather small speakers would be easy to judge by their dimensions but, considering what they are, they produce pretty good sound. I doubt true audiophiles will be falling over their feet to get them, but average, every-day folk will find a decent response across the whole acoustic spectrum when using them. Sure, your cousin’s massive subwoofer that takes up half of his car will produce more resounding bass (as well as accelerating continental drift) but the Z150s are surprisingly good at bringing bass notes to the fore – particularly when considering that they are powered by 50mm drivers. Generally speaking, 50mm drivers are fine when they’re in a headset and your ears aren’t being bombarded by other sounds, but in speakers they aren’t necessarily the best bet. Still, they perform rather well here. Where they do lack is in volume… no one will ever pray for your immediate demise because your music is too loud if you’re using the Z150’s. And that’s a little disappointing, because they seem to want to do more. Not that they’re whisper quiet… they deliver a fair amount of volume. But they’re not going to be the life of the party; if bigger speaker systems are the guy with no pants and a lamp shade on his head dancing on a table; these are the guy having a quiet drink outside. The sound is good, just not extremely loud. The Z150’s use something of an anachronistic, yet effective system. They are socket-powered, rather than using USB, and interface with the PC (or any device with a compatible port) via a 3.5mm jack. All controls are situated on the right speaker, which interfaces with its slave left speaker via a cable. The right speaker has a volume knob that doubles as an on/off switch, as well as headphone and auxiliary outputs. In short, if you’re looking for a smaller set of speakers that won’t damage the foundations of every building in your neighbourhood, the Z150’s are a reliable bet. They’re not loud, but their audio is crisp, clear and free of distortion… which is more than you can say for your cousin’s subwoofer system. g

by Walt Pretorius

Summary

Tech Specs:

They’re small and not very loud, but the Z150’s still produce crisp, clear sound.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca58

Good sound quality Small

50mm drivers Stereo 6W peak 3.5mm jack On-speaker controls

Log itec h Pinna c le A fric a www.pinna c le.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Not very loud

Score

79


Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 4D Stereo Headset

Bass

T Review

T

he gap between 40mm drivers and 50mm drivers has closed up quite a bit, and relatively quickly at that. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a marked difference in the audio quality produced by the two, with the smaller drivers being on the back foot when it came to a full range of audio. Nowadays, that gap has closed… but it still exists. While there are some very impressive 40mm drivers out there, 50mm still produce a much wider, crisper range of sound. And that’s what you’ll be getting from Mad Catz’s F.R.E.Q 4D stereo headset; great, clear, well-rounded audio. There are several internal systems and components that lead to this, but at the core of it all are the precision balanced 50mm drivers that the F.R.E.Q 4D uses. And the sound quality is extremely good.

76

The bass effects are made even more impressive by the system that the F.R.E.Q 4D takes its name from: 4D sound. Using special ViviTouch actuator modules, complete with an on-ear control to turn them on or off, the F.R.E.Q 4D produces excellent bass when you want it. And that’s something that a number of headsets lack – the high notes are crisp enough, but the bass notes simply aren’t there. If you are a bass junkie, the F.R.E.Q 4D takes care of you. Built from tough yet lightweight materials, the F.R.E.Q 4D stays comfortable for long periods of time. It is generously padded and, although the over-ear cups look a little odd in terms of shape, they manage to provide decent levels of comfort, in addition to great sound. Like many other Mad Catz products, the F.R.E.Q 4D has rather striking, angular looks, but it doesn’t place aesthetics over functionality. To this end several

gamecca58


se t ad

Tee th

ra ttl

i

by Alex Scanlon

ng

low

r eo e t s es from this ton

he

controls have been built into the ear cups, allowing the user to adjust volumes and turn special features on and off. The controls are pretty easy to get to, and even have an equalizer toggle to help enhance sound even further. In addition to a standard stereo cable, the F.R.E.Q 4D comes with a smart phone compatible cable, too. This adds some versatility to the device, but it is a little clunky for general smart phone usage. And then, of course, there is the fact that the F.R.E.Q 4D is a stereo headset. This will serve most perfectly well, but there will be some out there who want a full surround experience. Still, as a stereo headset, the F.R.E.Q 4D will serve the end user very well. It might not be the cheapest around, but Mad Catz quality comes at a price. And this particular headset is crammed with that quality. g

Summary

Tech Specs: • • • • • • •

It features striking looks and a fantastic audio range – the F.R.E.Q 4D is a well-rounded stereo headset.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

M a d Ca tz Comet Computing www.c ometc omputing .c o.za

Pros • • • • •

gamecca58

Awesome bass tones Comfortable Versatile

Stereo Smart device compatible 4D sound technology 50mm drivers Boom mic On-ear controls

Cons • • • • •

Stereo Pricey

Score

85 77


& Sli

P Review

Seasonic X-Series 750W Power Supply

P

Cs are noisy; there isn’t really much of a way around that. But there are ways to reduce the noise a PC makes, and one of them comes from a rather unusual source. See, when most people think about building a quieter PC, they remember that the majority of noise comes from fans. And so they will try and find the fans that make the least noise, or devices that use low-noise fans. But one component that results in a lot of noise is often overlooked; the power supply unit requires a lot of cooling, generally, and therefore has a great, big noisy fan built into it. Unless, of course, you get yourself a Seasonic X-Series PSU. The Seasonic X-Series 750W PSU makes use of a technology you can find in all X-Series products, which is in the form of a specialised and intelligent cooling system. The Hybrid Silent Fan Control system balances performance and silence with three different modes: Cooling, Silent and Fanless. This makes the PSU not only silent during times of low load, but also adds to one of Seasonic’s claims to fame – the fact that they produce ecologically friendly power supplies. Silence is also helped by the use of Sanyo Denki fans, which use a unique design to maximise air flow while cutting down on noise. And does all of this work? Certainly! This is a remarkably quiet power supply. In addition to that, the X-Series PSU makes use of several technologies that improve performance and provide a steady flow of reliable power. Coupled with this are high performance components, like conductive polymer aluminium solid capacitors and high temperature-resistant capacitors are used in the PSU’s manufacture, making it extremely reliable and extending its lifespan significantly. Adding to the smooth, clean flow of power are the gold plated high current terminals used in the cables and modular power ports. Yes, this is a modular power supply, which always trumps a standard PSU because it’s easier to control cables and minimise air-flow-disrupting clutter. The PSU is generally a sadly under-considered component when it comes to putting together a PC. Most people will happily go with the cheapest they can find, but the truth is that taking the plunge and getting a higher grade unit, like this one, is a very smart thing to do. It delivers 750W of power cleanly, smoothly and with a minimum of noise, all of which are great for those who want a machine that has to perform, but still needs to be reasonable in terms of noise and power consumption. Like other members of the X-Series, this 750W option is a great way to supply power to your PC. g

78

gamecca58


ilent

by Alex Scanlon

s be

Just the way power should

… lied upp Summary

Tech Specs:

A reliable and quiet option for those wanting a 750W power supply.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca58

Very quiet for a PSU Modular

750W Hybrid silent fan control Sanyo Denki fan 80 Plus Gold certifies Gold plated terminals Modular

Sea sonic Sy ntec h www.sy ntec h.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Fairly pricey

Score

85 79


F*cking Respect! by Ramjet

Ramjet’s Rantality

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of 1337 Media or Gamecca Magazine.

I

t’s important to know where we come from. Not biologically, because if you don’t know that you need to have a seriously uncomfortable chat with your parents. I mean where our society and the things it loves comes from. Knowing and respecting history, even recent, unimportant stuff, is important if you don’t want to come across like a dumb brat. One of my pet peeves (and I have so many that I might as well be a zoo keeper) is young people who think that the ‘latest song’ they heard is so great… when all it is, in truth, is a five minute remix of a song that their parents danced to. It’s ridiculous that the music industry is so full of people who think that sticking a beat to someone else’s hard work is effort. Drives me batshit, truly… But that’s not really all that important to a column in a gaming mag. It just

80

serves to illustrate that morons who don’t take the time to learn where things come from appear to be just that – morons. Even worse are those people out there (and I use the term people for these space-wasting oxygen thieves extremely loosely) who have no respect for process, more specifically the process it takes for something to develop and grow. I was talking (not by choice) to a youngster the other day. Seventeen, maybe eighteen. I told him that I had been involved in the video game industry for many years, and that watching how gaming had evolved and changed (even though it is becoming a cess-pit of money-driven derivatives and copy-andpaste shooters) was actually pretty interesting. The brainiac responds with “nah, old games are crap”. I was, momentarily, gobsmacked. Momentarily,

mind you, because I love the opportunity to leap on a soap box and blast off an angry tirade, so when the chance arises, I take advantage. I pointed out to Mr Expert-of-the-WorldBecause-I-am-a-Teenager that without the games that came before, the ones we have now would most certainly not have existed. Sure, by today’s standards the original Wolfenstein 3D (for example) is an abysmal game. But without it, first-person shooters… well, you wouldn’t be able to try and think up as many uses of the adjective ‘gay’ as your limited vocabulary would allow while trying to prove how low your balls hang by shooting at a bunch of harmless pixels on-line, now would you? Not really. Sure, someone would probably have come up with the FPS idea in another fashion, but the straight, simple, unarguable fact is that it was Wolfenstein

gamecca58

3D to which you owe your ridiculously put-on bravado and self-aggrandising posturing. So show it some damned respect. Like you’re supposed to. That’s the real problem, isn’t it? Life has just become too easy with all these newfangled gadgets and great games and stuff. These kids don’t even remember a world before cell-phones. And that has made them spoiled, and disrespectful of the things that are actually important (but that’s for another time). What I am trying to get at is this; you don’t have to like old games. You don’t have to play old games. But you need to acknowledge their importance and absolute relevance to the games of today. Without them, you might actually have to develop a real life and go outside and stuff. Aren’t you lucky that they existed? ‘Course you are… so show some gratitude. g


Profile for Gamecca Magazine

Gamecca Magazine April 2014  

Gamecca Magazine April 2014 (Volume 5, Issue 58) Free monthly digital magazine all about video games!

Gamecca Magazine April 2014  

Gamecca Magazine April 2014 (Volume 5, Issue 58) Free monthly digital magazine all about video games!

Profile for gamecca
Advertisement