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ISSUE 94 / Vol.8 APRIL 2017

www.gameccamag.com

AMD Flavour

For the Masses

MSI’s Tomahawk B350 Motherboard

Razer’s Cynosa Pro Bundle

Ghost: Recon: Wildlands Nier: Automata Mass Effect: Andromeda Flatout 4: Total Insanity Styx: Shards of Darkness and more...

Oni Attack Toukiden 2

Surr eal action

Smash Up!

Nier: Automata

Emancipation Ghost Recon: Wildlands

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity

New home

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Open conflict

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 incoming

Free Online Mag


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Bronze Award SCORE 80-84

Read on www/gameccamag.com Read on Issuu (Also available on your App Store) Read on Facebook

Silver Award SCORE 85-89

Gold Award SCORE 90-94

Platinum Award SCORE 95-100

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All Game Reviews in Gamecca Magazine are based on code provided by Publishers / Official Distributers. Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd / Gamecca Magazine do not hold any responsibility for any malicious exploitation that any reader should experience due to unauthorised distribution. Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd / Gamecca Magazine will not be held accountable for any injurious detriment or pernicious damage to personal equipment or software due to use of unauthorised downloaded files. Action will be taken against any person or persons engaging in unauthorised distribution of Gamecca Magazine.

Gamecca Magazine: © Copyright Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd. (2009 – 2016)

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Ed’s Choice Awar


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I don’t like talking about politics in Gamecca Magazine. It really doesn’t seem like the right place, not if you consider the fact that it is a gaming magazine, and that South African politics really don’t have a place in a publication that has an international readership. And I do not feel that my personal view on the situation have any bearing on the subject matter of the magazine, nor should they have any effect on the opinions of Gamecca’s readers. However, there is something that has become fact – not opinion – that does bear mentioning. We are in for a rough ride here in South Africa, after events that recently unfolded. Our economy is set to be under serious strain, and our currency has seen a massive devaluation in just a few days (hours, even). So while you may be sitting on your couch or at your desk, playing your favourite game, cast a thought towards the situation that we are currently in, and what it might mean for us as gamers. Without pointing fingers or laying blame – because there are many sides to what is going on, after all – one cannot deny that the South African economy could be a lot stronger. But it has taken a knock, and the country’s international standing (financially) hangs in the balance. Simply put, that means prices will increase. Whether you play on PC or console, you can expect the costs of both hardware and software to show increases, at a time when they were getting ready to recover

From the Editor

StayStrong

by Walt Pretorius

after a better performance from the South African Rand. We never saw that materialise, though, and now we potentially have another price rise on the horizon. Brace yourselves, gamers, it might get rough. But there are broader implications here that gamers sometimes don’t see. We often focus on our own experience, without seeing a bigger picture – which is why platform and franchise wars happen so regularly. As gamers, we can tend towards being more involved with our own space than the greater community and industry. The truth is, though, that the entire gaming industry may just be in for a tough time. From the local distributors of both software and hardware, right through to the end user, things may be getting just a little challenging over the next few months. Let’s hope it doesn’t have too much impact – our games and hardware are already very expensive, and I personally don’t see how the industry can flourish if prices rise yet again. Still, the show must go on, and in this month’s Gamecca Magazine we have 14 games on review, including some anticipated, big names. We also have a bit of a VR round up, with half of the games featured being for the PSVR system. And, of course, we have all the other gaming, tech and lifestyle goodness you have come to expect from Gamecca Magazine. That’s enough from me. Enjoy the issue, and stay strong. g

mgeect 2 c7a 9 4 ggl a ad

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THIS MONTH’S COVER

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 promises a whole new kind of experience

Publishing Editor Walt Pretorius

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Feature: War Crimes Something new for the Sniper Ghost Warrior series

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Previews: Games 13 incoming games

walt@novamentis.co.za

Art Director Katia Taliadoros katia@novamentis.co.za

Writers: Alex Scanlon Clive Burmeister Iwan Pienaar Noelle Adams Nthato Morakabi Rob Edwards Sibonisile Motha Suvesh Arumugam Walt Pretorius

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Reviews: Games 14 games reflected upon

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Regular: IndieView Meeting the meatheads

Letters: letters@gameccamag.com

Competition Entries: competitions@gameccamag.com

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Marketing Contact:

Copyright Š Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd 2009 - 2017

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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 Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd

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Feature: Made in Japan Rethinking the PSU

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reviews: Hardware 7 hardware review for you

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Gamecca Vol. 8 Issue 94 April 2017

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Regular: Internet Should speech be free?

COOL STUFF: Movies The return of Groot (and friends)

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COOL STUFF: Comics More books with pictures!

128

COOL STUFF: Books Some literature to feed your brain

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s e d’ c E oi h C

“As you play through the absolutely insane mixtures and chaotic fights that Automata throws at you, you come to realise that this is a massive, sprawling homage to everything cool about gaming.”


Nier: Automata


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Features War Crimes

PReviews Tekken 7: Fated Retribution Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Get Even The Watchmaker Convicted Galaxy Aven Colony Constructor Highway Blossoms Blue Rider Think of the Children Drop Dead Birthdays: the Beginning The Golf Club 2

Reviews 36 42 46 52 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74

Ghost Recon: Wildlands Nier: Automata Mass Effect: Andromeda FlatOut 4: Total Insanity Styx: Shards of Darkness Vikings: Wolves of Midgard Here They Lie Driveclub VR RIGS: Mechanised Combat League EVE: Valkyrie Until Dawn: Rush of Blood Robinson: The Journey Dirt Rally VR Toukiden 2

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IndieView

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 bre 10

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

eaks the franchise’s mould. gamecca94

By Walt Pretorius

crimes

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t’s hot… really hot. Insect crawl around the layer of decaying leaves and underbrush, or zoom around, occasionally landing on a minute area of exposed skin to tickle and bite. Birds sing overhead, undisturbed by the achingly slow motion with which you moved into position. The sun sits overhead, playing a visual staccato with the leaves as they sway in a breeze that doesn’t seem to be doing anything about the heat. A bead of sweat runs down the side of your face, but you pay it no mind. You don’t pay anything any undue attention, because your focus is on your scope, and the target who will be appearing in your cross hairs in a few moments… if the intelligence guys got this right, of course. Under your cheek, the rifle stock is hard and hot, an

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uncomfortable pillow for a professional killer. You wait, watching, for that time when your finger will gently curl around the trigger, igniting a series of mechanical and chemical reactions that will send an expertly aimed projectile towards your enemy, resulting in the pink mist that you have been trained to crave. You are a sniper, and you deal death at a distance. Snipers are reviled in online play for the most part, but they are also admired. A well-placed headshot doesn’t only provide another kill on the score board, but afford the person that pulled it off bragging rights. So whether people complain about them or not, the real truth is that a good sniper is something that everyone secretly wants to be. A long-distance shot, perfectly placed, is about precision and

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

accomplishment. Perhaps that is why, even though they are still not really mainstream, the few sniper based video games that are out there are quite popular. And one of the franchises pushing the genre forward, Sniper Ghost Warrior, is about to get a new instalment. The third instalment of this game has quite a few new concepts to it, which may address some of the issues that has faced the series in the past. But one thing that certainly has changed is the development approach. See, the previous two games were never really handled like AAA titles, but this time around the developers are throwing everything they have at it – drawing on the experience, successes and failures of previous titles.

Let’s go back to the beginning, for now. The first Sniper Ghost Warrior game was released in mid-2010 for PC and Xbox 360, and around a year later for PS3. This was largely due to the fact that while the PC and Xbox 360 shared similar coding languages, the PS3 used a proprietary coding language (that is thankfully a thing of the past). In the first game, the player took on a number of different character roles, in a tropical environment. The plot was somewhat convoluted, yet the missions were largely linear in their approach. Built using the Chrome Engine, the game had long visual draw distances, and allowed the player to hide from sight in foliage and behind other obstacles. The problem was that, despite a great attempt at realistic bullet physics, the game featured an AI that

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GAMING

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was completely inconsistent. At times the player could sneak right past an AI character, while at other the AI would see the player when it really shouldn’t have been able to. Another issue was that the game did occasionally deliver graphical issues, and it also became extremely unforgiving if the player was spotted. The player’s character was a great sniper, sure, but wasn’t really good at up-close fights. Sniper Ghost Warrior’s middling to poor review scores didn’t stop City Interactive from making another title, and in early 2013, Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 hit the shelves for all three major platforms. Once again, there was a complicated plot to work through, but the player was more concentrated on a singular character this time.

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However, problems still plagued the franchise, at it once again met with less than favourable reviews. Linearity and a punishing AI up close were, once again, sited as some of the game’s major issues. Critics, though, aren’t the be all and end all of the video game industry. In the end, what keeps a franchise going is the number of sales that it achieves, and with 5.5 million units sold worldwide between the two Sniper Ghost Warrior Games, City Interactive achieved commercial success with the series, if not critical success. And that was why, in late 2014, the developers (now renamed to CI Games) announced the third game in the series. But things were different now – the successes of the previous games in terms of earning meant that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 would

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

enjoy the kind of budget thrown at AAA titles. That budget allows for the new concepts mentioned earlier. The biggest of these is giving the player a massive amount of freedom, thanks to the new open world approach that the title will follow. There will also be side missions available to the player, called “war crimes” in game, which can be completed between main missions. The freedom goes further, though, and we’re not talking about new traversal systems that include free running and parkour style moves. This time around, the player will be able to take on three distinct game play styles – sniper, for the long-range kills; ghost, for the sneaky stuff; and warrior, for in-your-face action. This is a major departure for the series, leaving behind its

pure sniping roots and moving towards something far more accessible and potentially more exciting. There are many other new concepts introduced that will make playing Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 a treat, including fast-travel enabled safe houses (also good for checking loadouts and replenishing supplies), limited crafting and much more. Time has given CI Games the experience to pour into Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, and commercial success has given them the ability to back their experience up with a budget. It seems then that Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 will be the game that CI Games always wanted it to be, and a fantastic experience for those who want a combat simulator that provides lots to do, and numerous ways in which to do it. g

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Tekken 7: Fated GAMING

A new Tekken power punch!

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Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

by Walt Pretorius

d Retribution

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bringing a lot of excitement for fans. Both Street Fighter and Tekken are more rooted in reality, but only marginally so. However, Street Fighter has moved to a more “animated” feel, and feels a lot more flippant. That leaves Tekken as the grittier alternative, with a more serious approach – even if you can play as a panda. Tekken’s history is rich and convoluted, and the franchise’s narrative has focused on numerous different areas and rivalries. In the latest addition to the series, Tekken 7: Fated Retribution, the saga of the Mishima clan will draw to a long-awaited conclusion. Other aspects and mysteries, like the origin of the Devil Gene, will also be addressed by this title. But let’s be honest; while the story might be great and

GAMING

here was a time when fighting games were all the rage, and lots of contenders stepped up to the arena. But, over the years, things have become a little more polarized. Popular consent got behind three big names, and while there are still other great (perhaps arguably better) fighting franchises that surface every now and then to try and beat their opponents to a pulp, the fighting game genre has become a three-way punch up between Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken. Each offers a distinctive style and flavor in trying to get players to part with their hard-earned cash. Mortal Kombat is perhaps the most over-the-top, with a strong sci-fi element and otherworldly characters

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Tekken 7: Fated Retribution

all, it is really secondary to the fighting. And it is here that Tekken 7 looks to shine above the competition. The game will focus on one-on-one battles and will allow the player to really pound the opposition into the dirt. Two important new mechanics are being added to the mix, as well. The first is Rage Art, a low health alternative that will allow the player to unleash blistering critical attacks. The second is Power Crush, a system that will allow players to continue attacking even when they are being struck by their opponent. While this may result I a few bloodied noses among button-mashers, it may also lead to button spam fests as the two opponents beat on each other like preschoolers in a kindergarten brawl. As always, it will come down to skill, though, because

even a button masher cannot take on a truly skilled combatant. Tekken 7 will also feature – for the first time in the franchise’s history – a practice mode, which will allow the player limited time bouts in which to hone their fighting arts. These changes, along with a number of others, will make this possibly the most accessible Tekken game ever made, with newcomers and veterans alike being able to enjoy the action. With over 30 playable characters (including a guest appearance by Street Fighter’s Akuma), overhauled mechanics and moves, as well as the Unreal 4 engine running the show, Tekken 7 promises to be an exciting addition to any fighting fan’s game library. g

AT A GLANCE Fighting

An overhauled combat system, more than 30 characters and the Unreal 4 engine will combine to make Tekken 7 a very exciting prospect. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Bandai Namco Bandai Namco Megarom

Q3 2014

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

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LizardCube DotEmu Online

PLATFORMS

A remake that goes retro

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Platform, Adventure

With the developer’s hearts in the right place, this will hopefully be a remake to be remembered.

gamecca94

by Sibonisile Motha

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

ostalgia is a powerful emotion, especially in gaming. While the old folk are complaining about the state of the world, people like me spend time thinking about games that changed my life back in the day and how great it would be if the next generation could experience the same games I did. Well, turns out there are a lot of us who think like that, and thankfully, Lizardcube is one of them. Take a great game that told the story of an adventurer who was cursed by a really mean dragon to shape shift into six different characters. This poor adventurer takes on the form of a lizard, hawk, mouse, lion, piranha and not forgetting that he is actually human too. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do – find a cure (the Meka-Dragon probably crossed the line when the cursed interfered with the face). Lizardcube and DotEmu have teamed up to create this remake. Those familiar with the original title will notice the wording of the characters is different, as the original rights are still held by SEGA. But that doesn’t really matter when a great game can be created in the process. The most noticeable changes are of course the graphics. Although animated, it resembles that of an adventure illustrated book with their use of colours. But who wants to play in HD the whole time? So Lizardcube have stolen my heart with a one button retro graphics switch. Yes, you can press one button and switch to 8-bit retro graphics at anytime throughout the game. This old school feature comes complete with music and sounds to match. Tears of joy people. Tears of joy. g

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

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Get Even

E M W A VIE G E R P

Get Even

Cay you turst the memories?

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

The Farm 51 Bandai Namco Megarom

PLATFORMS

GAMING

May 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

what is a real memory and what isn’t. While Get Even features guns, there will be multiple ways to defeat enemies. A mobile phone will be a constant help in the game, able to reveal enemies on the map to either avoid or takedown stealthily. The device will also be able to analyse objects, uncover secret paths, as well as act as a map. The Farm 51 say Get Even will support the Oculus Rift, and Project Morpheus, as their way of immersing players in the game. g

AT A GLANCE Action Adventure

The girl. Chair. Bomb. Headset... all connected. There’s a party coming. A storm in a teacup. Focus and breathe... the master is on his way.

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by Nthato Morakabi

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of finding out the truth of his past. Get Even is an interesting upcoming title that has been labelled as an action adventure as well as a shooter, but with a lot of Silent Hill/ Resident Evil exploration and solving of environmental puzzles. The device attached to Black’s head works as a Virtual Reality helmet, and his gateway to the lost memories. He is guided by an ominous, disembodied voice named “Red”, only Black doubts the voice, and the events playing out. Players will, by extension, experience the disorientation of trying figure out

ole Black wakes within the dark, twisted corridors of an asylum. A single memory in a fog of darkness is his only companion. His only tether to the disjoined reality that stands before him. The memory is one of mystery, of a teenage girl and a bomb strapped to her chest. And his attempt to rescue her. He finds then that a strange device has been fused to his head. A curious machine able to read and replay human memory – yet not everything is as it seems. Cole attempts to travel down the rabbit hole of his mind in the hopes


The Watchmaker

E M IEWW A VIE G EEV R PR

The Watchmaker T

he precious Clock Tower stands tall and proud, with its gleaming clock mechanisms and golden gears turning with the passing of time. Alexander is the custodian of the Tower, repairing what requires repairs, oiling what gears need oiling, polishing every aspect of the machine right down to its smallest piece. His routine is like clockwork and has been for the entirety of his life for the Clock Tower is all he knows. All is well, until a mysterious voice awakes him from his slumber. The Tower has been sabotaged and time has gone awry. Sadly, it also means Alexander’s time has also run short as he ages dramatically, and with very little time to repair what has been broken. Delve into the weird, quirky steampunk world of The Watchmaker. This puzzle action adventure title puts players within the aging, yet surprisingly agile body of Alexander, as he works to put right the clock tower he takes care of. In this exploration, the towers dark secrets are set to come to the fore. Armed with a magnetic glove, a bag of time bombs, and guided by the mysterious voice, players will have to move about the massive environments, and solve complex puzzles. The time bombs will have varying effects such as stopping time, slowing down time, and reversing time. Rather than a health bar, players will have to restore their age using a special stamina producing liquid, to keep the adventure moving. Obstacles and enemies hope to prevent players from mending the Clock Tower, while large boss battles, and environmental puzzles will test the resolve and skills of players through the various gadgets available. What secrets does the tower hide? g

GAMING

Q2 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Micropsia Game 1C Company Online

PLATFORMS

by Nthato Morakabi

Time waits for no man...

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Puzzle Adventure

Time has gone mad and it up to Alexander, the clock tower keeper, to restore time before his runs out.

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May 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Mind Grown Software Mind Grown Software Online

PLATFORMS

You should’ve just played dead.

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Adventure

Although there is still much to be done before it can be released, there seems to be a good sign of hope for this game.

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by Sibonisile Motha

Convicted Galaxy

onvicted Galaxy is the brainchild of Mind Grown Software. Set for an anticipated release in May this year, the folks over at Mind Grown Software have mentioned that there is a lot they hope to achieve in completing before the scheduled release of the title. The game itself is set in a world where humans have been travelling throughout space and using planets for resources. This doesn’t go too well as things aren’t all that great for those aboard these ships. Conditions in the ships stink and health along with life expectancy has decreased drastically. Your character awakes from stasis to find that you may have woken up just in time to escape. A ship carrying convicted prisoners has somehow set the prisoners free. In the midst of this chaos, you have the fortunate task of finding the information required to escape to a different planet. Good thing the information you need isn’t on the ship with the escaped bad guys… oh wait, it is. This makes for a couple of missions just to complete your mission. As you travel throughout space, you will be able to collect scrap and information that you will use to create essentials from ship upgrades, to warp drives to portals and so forth. By the time the game is released, natural events in space such as solar flares and comets should add to the dynamics of the game. Explore and fight your way through this unforgivable and lawless galaxy. Uncover the real truth behind it all and at every turn ensure that you not only do it right first time, but survive to see yourself make it out alive. g

Convicted Galaxy

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Aven Colony

E M W A VIE G E R P

Aven Colony

Practice your planet colonization skills

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Mothership Entertainment Itch.io Online

PLATFORMS

GAMING

TBA 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

you to monitor the citizens’ morale. Hunger, crime, low health and various factors can play into your demise with the people. The environment must become your best friend. Awareness of the elements will help you. With a night and day system in place, each time will pose its difficulties. For example, in the night, the planet freezes over so your crops and solar power will be affected. With two modes available for play, and beautiful graphics on display, if Aven Colony is done right one has a lot to look forward to. g

AT A GLANCE Strategy, sci-fi, builder

A lot of great and challenging elements to look forward to.

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by Sibonisile Motha

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order to prepare yourself against any threats to your stay. Plant crops that will aid you in providing food and resources you may require. Install technologies that will help you harvest essentials like solar power and keep them running and improving. Another factor that will make this task handed to you a little more challenging is the people themselves. Here, the people have a say (sorry man, no dictatorship here). They can hold regular elections and decide which leader they want to see to it that their requests are met. This will require

n a new planet that humans are to colonize, you are placed in charge of not just the process, but it’s overall success. Developed by Mothership Entertainment, this is another take on a builder game. In Aven Colony, you will oversee the gradual colonization of a planet outside our solar system. From building shelter to purpose-built skyscrapers, you will need to do all that you can to ensure that the mission is a success (and by success, I mean people need to stay alive). You will need to monitor and observe the planets traits in


Constructor

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Constructor T

he property game is always a unique experience, more so when rival construction companies attempt to bury the competition – sometimes literally. As a budding property tycoon, how far are you willing to go to ensure you stay on top of the game? Constructor is a Real-Time Strategy game that was originally released in 1997 for MS-Dos PCs and then ported to Playstation (one) where it gained critical acclaim in the 90s. It even inspired the renowned simulator The Sims. Development head John Twiddy and the original team who all worked on the first Constructor, have decided to revive the much loved title in HD for both new-gen consoles and PC. Players take on the role of a budding property tycoon with a growing construction company. They will begin in a new area divided by several estates. The objective of the game is to successfully build a city, and rebuff any rival companies trying to obtain your turf – by any means necessary. As a construction company, players will be tasked with hiring workers and foremen to build facilities and manufacture building materials for the city’s construction. Tenants will then pay rent to fund the company and continue the cycle with new workers, tenants and various characters. The main feature of Constructor is the use of Undesirables: a collection of reprobates sure to terrify residents, damage property, and cause mayhem in the city. Revealed antagonistic include Thugs to terrorising neighbourhoods, Hippies to squat in rival empty properties, Mr Fix It to botch gas supplies, and a criminal underworld to do your bidding. Constructor has been in development for over five years, with production delays to ensure Constructor lives up to its predecessor. g

GAMING

Apr 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

System 3 Acclaim Online

PLATFORMS

by Nthato Morakabi

Building on a classic RTS idea

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE RTS

From the game that inspired the Sims, comes Constructor, the construction company RTS pitting rival business tycoons against each other.

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Jun 2016 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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AlienWorks Sekai Project Online

PLATFORMS

Watch the story unfold

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Interactive Novel

Although there isn’t much actual gameplay in Highway Blossoms, the storyline is sure to captivate you.

gamecca94

by Sibonisile Motha

Highway Blossoms

ighway Blossoms is a game that is less of a game but more of a story you get to watch unfold. AlienWorks created this kinetic novel with a really good narrative that drives it. A young woman by the name of Amber has just recently lost her grandfather (he died, not that he is actually missing) and she sets out on the road in her mobile home trying to get her head around her emotions. What she isn’t aware of is the fact that a gold rush has hit the town around her. She doesn’t stay oblivious to the fact very long as she gives a lift to a gold-seeking hitchhiker called Marina. Marina eventually convinces Amber to help her look for the gold as she believes that she has an added advantage – an old gold miner’s journal. Along the way, clues are uncovered and even new characters join the plot. A lot of various issues are dealt to the characters who each have their own unique personalities as well as traits that can result in tension and questions of trust in their quests. Character development is what will keep you involved in Highway Blossoms. Although the objective is known , in this one, it really is the journey there that matters. You will get to witness an explored relationship between Amber and Marina and the resulting consequences. This narrative has received an overall impressive rating, with many praising the story and characters. Whether this will be one of those games that may be redone to include a level of player gameplay immersion that we are used to will be seen in the future. g

Highway Blossoms

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Blue Rider

E M W A VIE G E R P

Blue Rider

Easy to play, hard to beat

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Ravegan Ravegan Online

PLATFORMS

GAMING

Mar 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

battles appearing at the end of each level will apparently be big – and difficult. The Blue Rider vehicle comes equipped with primary weapons and secondary weapons. As players explore the various levels, they will be able to improve their weapons by picking up upgrades in the style of many similar shooter titles. While Blue Rider has been out for a while now, the game only now making its way to both PS4 and Xbox One. It has frustrated a good many PC gamers, let’s see how console players will feel. g

AT A GLANCE Action

Take on hordes of enemies as the pilot of the Blue Rider, in this fast paced shoot-em-up game.

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by Nthato Morakabi

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of missiles towards the player’s lone ship. It’s one against the world requiring skill, precision, and nerves of steel. A very arcade titles 1942-slashRaiden-slash-Gradius type of feel without the aerial fighter jets and corny save the world storyline. Instead, players will be within the Blue Rider (wink wink) and traversing over nine unique levels… ahem, biomes. Played from a top-down perspective, players will control the Blue Rider through 3D rendered levels. Enemy forces will attempt to prevent their progress, up to the eventual boss battle. Nine boss

he premise is simple. The controls are easy. It’s just you, and the controller obeying your fingertips, testing the limits of your reflexes and your mind. Before you, is a ship at your command. Ahead of you… hordes of enemy forces stand ready to send you to oblivion. It’s nostalgia for the older folk who grew up around coin operated arcade games. It’s novel fast paced gaming for the younger folk. Blue Rider – not for the faint of heart. Blue Rider is an action shooter that pits players against hordes of enemy forces, constantly spewing a variety


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Q2 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Jammed up Studios Surprise Attack Online

PLATFORMS

Ready? Set? Parent!

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Action

Tons to love about this game that oozes educational experience.

gamecca94

by Sibonisile Motha

Think of the Children

have always had my own reservations when it comes to the idea of having children. It’s not that I don’t want to have kids, I just think that the more I witness them in action, the more I realize that I would prefer them laaaatttteeer on in life. Now a game like Think of the Children doesn’t help to change my mind. One of the most fun and funny game concepts I have come across in a while, Jammed up Studios have thought of a way to help aspiring parents practice their skills, and probably make real-life parents hit a painful moment of realization of their most-likely reality. In Think of the Children, you play a parent that will be overseeing a bunch of things at once. Picture a birthday party, where you will have to make sure the meat on the grill doesn’t burn, while making sure that the cake isn’t destroyed, while making sure that little Timmy doesn’t drown (sorry to all the Timmys who have been victims to scenario based tragedies), whilst making sure that Sandra doesn’t get knocked over by a car in the street, while making sure that Kyle doesn’t eat poison berries, while making sure that the kids don’t get kidnapped all whilst making sure that you do not LOSE YOUR FLIPPIN’ MIND!!! My sincerest condolences to all the parents who have had to deal with such tragedies in real life. I find this to be a highly educational game (this game should be a part of the birds and the bees talk). A funny idea and matching gameplay. With so much to do I doubt one can get bored. g

Think of the Children

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Drop Dead

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Drop Dead

Time travelling VR zombie madness

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Pixel Toys Pixel Toys Online

PLATFORMS

GAMING

Q2 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV VR

GENRE

in a zombie infested world. Armed with a visor able to display various information, and a number of gadgets and weapons at their disposal, the zombies won’t know what hit them. Players can blast limbs off zombies to slow them down, while a combo system will rewards those with stellar accuracy. This fast-paced adventure is said to combine sci-fi, horror, and humour into the 27 single player missions. Up to four player can play the co-op Horde mode, and competitive real-time multiplayer. Onward with VR gaming. g

AT A GLANCE VR FPS

Take on hordes of zombies in this Virtual Reality FPS, when time traveling Agent Cipher tracks down nefarious Doctor Hironimus Monday.

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by Nthato Morakabi

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as the zombies scramble towards you. The bullets run out. Time has run out and… your time travelling mutant DNA activates. You were so close… you must try again. You must defeat Doctor Hironimus Monday once and for all. Drop Dead is a VR title developed by Pixel Toys, who develop games for handheld devices and mobile, from Nintendo to Windows, Apple and Android phones. This particular title made its way to the Samsung Gear and is now heading for the Oculus Rift. Players will be in control of the time travelling mutant, Agent Cipher,

ou wake to the mad cackles of the strange and terrifying Doctor Hironimus Monday. His visors gleam scarlet in the darkness of his laboratory. In the distance, you see the undead corpses of your colleagues, clamouring for entry into the control area where you are tied to the wall. There is no escape. The Doctor informs you that you were close, that you had potential but it all ends here. In his madness he activates the “total population cleansing protocol” as he escapes. Not before he hands you a weapon for your final stand. Your final few minutes


Birthdays: the Beginning

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Birthdays: the Beginning T

he light beckons. Calls to me. I enter the brightly lit cave that is a beacon within the dark forest. Within the hollow confines lies a giant cube of stone floating above the floor. Beside it, a gleaming prism and‌ a strange creature I have never seen before. Thus, begins my adventure. Birthdays the Beginning is, at its core, a simulation where players get an opportunity to play god. An array of cube-shaped worlds (flat Earth anyone?) are set to exist, and with the help of an alien Avatar and a floating prism named Navi, players will have to create varying ecosystems. The game is a sandbox game, allowing players to create cube-shaped worlds, in a Minecraft-esque design. Players will be able to create their own worlds, sprouting massive mountains, expanding sprawling forests, entrenching deep oceans, and populating the grasslands with flora and fauna. The key concept around the game is altering the climate and temperatures, which in term affects the life forms. These life forms can spawn singlecelled organisms which in-turn become complex multicellular life, such as mammals, birds or even dinosaurs, to plants and trees. Every creature that is born can then be captured to be recorded in a Library. The library will list every organism that is born, and keep a track of the genetic evolution through the Tree of Life. Creator, Mr. Yasuhiro Wada, was inspired by the Eath-making Machine that appeared in the anime/ manga Doraemon, which allowed one to make a miniature Earth in their room. He has thus taken this idea through the decade to make the unique simulator that is Birthdays the Beginning. g

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May 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Toybox inc. NIS America TBC

PLATFORMS

by Nthato Morakabi

Witness the birth of an entire ecosystem.

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Simulator

Create fantastical worlds and grow life forms on your own flat Earth. Then record their evolution in the Tree of Life.

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GAMING

Q2 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

HB Studios Maximum Games Online

PLATFORMS

They heard your requests…

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Sport

A lot of boxes to check for fans of the title. Golf Club 2 looks to do just that.

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by Sibonisile Motha

The Golf Club 2

he first time I ever played a golf game was Links LS 2000 on Windows 98. I hated watching the actual sport but I always enjoyed the thrill of somehow being virtually good at it. (I didn’t even question the fact that homeboy at the time, Tiger Woods, looked nothing like him in the game). Since then, the development of gameplay technology has made the sport more enjoyable and even has a fan base that has been steadily growing. HB Studios along with Maximum Games have created a sequel to their hugely successful predecessor, The Golf Club. The biggest note with The Golf Club 2’s development has been the attention given to the requests and concerns of the players of the first game. One of the main things was a career mode. The developers were excited to announce that players will now be able to have a career mode where they can improve their skills offline. This is especially helpful as your skills as a player will have huge impact on the money you can make in competitions as well as your ranking. Another concern that HB Studios have taken was that of societies. In the previous game, players would create their own groups outside of the game. Now players will be able to create and build their own societies within the game itself. Money earned can upgrade your clubhouse and impact the atmosphere of play in your game. With integration, the courses that players had created in the first title will be available in this one. The swing mechanics will encourage players to improve their skills. So many improvements, a game like this should find it difficult to fail. g

The Golf Club 2

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We have


e issues!


E M W A IE G EV R

Ghost Recon: W GAMING

Beautiful chaos

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands

by Walt Pretorius

Wildlands

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here are very few games that come from Ubisoft these days that cannot have the words “open world” attached to them. The French publisher has pretty much put player freedom and exploration at the top of every game’s development plan for the last while, and they are gaining great experience and implementing new ideas as a result. The latest title to get this treatment is Ghost Recon; Wildlands. Rather than tread the familiar, fairly linear template prescribed by previous instalments in this particular part of the Tom Clancy brand, Ubisoft decided to let players loose on a virtual recreation of Bolivia. It’s one of the largest maps I have ever encountered in an open-world game, and it I completely free for exploration from the word go. But this kind of freedom comes with a few prices… In Wildlands, the player takes on the role of a member of a special forces team sent to Bolivia to dismantle the Santa Blanca Cartel, a Mexican cocaine manufacturing and smuggling network. The Cartel pretty much runs the entire country, using the citizens as a work force and the military as enforcement. The situation is dire, and the powerful illicit organisation is getting more brazen. So it is up to the player to take them on, dismantle their operations, and return order to Bolivia. It is a mammoth task. The beautifully depicted country, complete with varied ecological biomes ranging from jungle to desert, is divided into 20 provinces. Each province has a boss, occupying a rung on the Cartel’s ladder. By taking them out, the player destabilises the Cartel, in theory, and draws out its leader, the diabolical El Sueno. And the player can pretty much take on the provinces in any order that

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they wish, although sticking to the difficulty rankings might be a good idea until skills and equipment are improved a bit. It is a lot to do, and the massive, beautiful landscape offers a lot to see, but it also leads to the game’s biggest problem – repetitiveness. See, each boss also needs to be drawn out, which is done by undertaking four or five sub missions. These are found by discovering intel within the province in question. In the end, though, with 20 provinces to deal with, the actions of intel collection and dealing with sub-missions become pretty much the same thing over and over again. While this approach does allow for the player to define the narrative to a degree, it also takes a lot of bite out of the enemy. While Santa Blanca Cartel hoodlums and paramilitary types will constantly be trying to stop the player’s actions, the upper brass of the organisation feel very passive in this endeavour. They seem to sit back and watch the player wreak havoc on what they have created, which doesn’t seem overly realistic. Once a few of the lower echelons of power have been killed or captured, one would assume that the Cartel would spring into action, surely? At least the bosses are entertaining. While many of them fit into Hollywood style stereotypes, they are an interesting and challenging bunch to deal with, and their hold on Bolivia – and every aspect of life there – is absolute. In addition to the main missions (which, if you do the maths, number more than 100) there are tons of side missions, most of which add benefit to the player. But they can get repetitive too. There are Rebel Ops, in which the player must undertake certain tasks (intimidate a Cartel captain, assault a gamecca94


Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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GAMING

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands

GENRE

You may hear more than a few

Just

Cause notes playing in your ears, but

Ghost

Recon: Wildlands offers a lot to do in a massive playground, if you can look past it’s

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

82

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

few faults.

Ubisoft Ubisoft Megarom

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Action

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

assaulting various positions, and multiple players means that better use can be made of vehicles. In an ideal situation, a multiplayer team is far more effective than the player supported by the AI. But ideal situations have a tendency to go pear shaped quickly in Wildlands, resulting in pulse-pounding, exciting and often hilarious chaos. It’s great fun. Ghost Recon: Wildlands has a number of problems – the vehicles handle poorly for the most part, the missions start feeling repetitive, the skill tree sometimes doesn’t feel as impactful as it should, enemies are not very varied (although thankfully they are not bullet-sponges) and playing in co-op, you need to have a good team to prevent all hell from breaking loose. But it also has a number of really good points: the map is massive, varied and beautiful, with geographical features playing a big part in tactics. It offers absolute tons of things to do, with missions, side missions and collectibles aplenty. It offers a fairly wide range of player customisation, as well as a large arsenal of unlockable weapons. And it offers a lot of chaotic fun, even in single player. While Wildlands may not be perfect, it is still an enjoyable and often crazy open-world game. Approaching Wildlands with the right attitude will result in hours of fun to be had, even if there are times that your frustration levels may rise significantly. But more than this, it shows that Ubisoft have an even stronger understanding of their beloved open world ideals, and that they are still ambitious when it comes to making games that are bigger and more complex. If you are willing to forgive a few problems, Wildlands is a fun way to kill more than a few hours, and more than a few drug-traffickers. g

PS4

communications hub, protect a broadcast system and so on). The reward is rebel support, whether it be in the form of vehicle deliveries, armed support or even mortar attacks. And then there are supply raids, bringing in large quantities of supplies to the rebels. The benefit here is that skills require both skill points and resources to upgrade, so making sure the rebels are well supplied means a smooth progression through the skill tree. Hijacking vehicles loaded with supplies is fun, until you consider that Wildland’s vehicle mechanics need some work. Flying a chopper, for example, takes a lot of getting used to, and trying to land a plane packed with medical supplies on a small valley airstrip can be a massive exercise in frustration. The player is provided with all the tools they need to get things done, though. A handy drone will help scout out and mark enemies, and a host of weapon types will allow the player to deal with them. In single payer, the player’s character is accompanied by three AI operatives who can be a blessing and a curse. The player has limited control over them, but they do act fairly effectively for the most part (and are invaluable in setting up multi-target synched shots). But they can get embroiled in firefights from time to time, or occasionally not notice enemies they should. Still, they have the player’s back more often than not, and as long as reliance on them isn’t too great, become another useful tool in the player’s arsenal. With that said, Wildlands really is best experienced in co-op. It’s a drop-in, drop-out setup that really delivers a lot of fun. Tools are provided for players to make tactical decisions and come up with strategies in

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Nier: Automata GAMING

Time to get crazy!

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Nier: Automata

by Walt Pretorius

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adventure, all in the same game. But that’s what Automata likes to throw at the player; a crazy mixture of nostalgia and flash that can leave you quite breathless. At times, the things that Automata does can even seem nonsensical. The enemies, for example, run a wide range, but the game won’t be shy to throw a bunch of zombie clowns in to help out the robots you’re busy beating to a metallic pulp. This over-the-top chaos reflects in the player’s android character, too, with oversized weapons and absolutely insane attacks being the norm in this rather unique title. Automata is, first and foremost, about combat, but thanks to a wide variety of weapons, upgrades and other options, the combat pretty much always feels fresh and exciting. Character animations are fluid and quick, particularly if you’re playing on a PlayStation 4

GAMING

t seems, at first glance, that the development team behind Nier: Automata couldn’t quite decide what they wanted the game to be. But as you play through the absolutely insane mixtures and chaotic fights that Automata throws at you, you come to realise that this is a massive, sprawling homage to everything cool about gaming. As such it works really well, but this almost scattered approach to building the game also can be detrimental to its overall experience. Some may find the way that Automata reinvents itself on the fly to be a little disconcerting. I know that I did, initially at least. It took a while to get past the idea that within the first couple of hours I had played an arcade style space shooter, a side scrolling brawler, a tight third person action game and a free-roaming

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Nier: Automata

Pro, which has the added benefit of making things look really good, even at their craziest. This counts for the environment as well. It’s set on Earth after humans fled to the moon to escape an alien invasion. Their only hope rests in the synthetic hands of an army of android, of which your character, 2B, is one. So when you make trips to the planet surface, you find a post-apocalyptic world with overgrown cities and many other wonderful sights to behold. In keeping with the near-unpredictable craziness, Automata features a narrative that is… well, odd at times. It will certainly keep you guessing and may, every now and then, get you thoroughly confused. But if you stick to it for the 30 or so hours that you will spend on the main quest, everything should become clear enough. Be warned though, that Automata is unforgiving. It

doesn’t have an autosave function and, thanks to the overly exciting combat, biting off more than you can chew is relatively easy. The controls are easy enough, and the upgrades should keep you safe, but there are more than a few opportunities for Automata to become overwhelming. Death means that you will have to go back to the last manual save point, and there are not a lot of them about. It all boils down to a well-made game that, despite (or maybe because of) its many eccentricities is a lot of fun. There is tons do see and do in Automata, and wandering off of the beaten track will result in more than a few hidden gems. The action is fast and furious, with a decent tactical edge, and action fans will have more than enough in terms of enemies to beat up on. Automata is a great, breathless, crazy experience. g

AT A GLANCE Action Adventure

It’s fast, frenzied and sometimes a little weird; Automata is packed with action and things to do.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

PlatinumGames Square Enix Megarom

PARENTAL ADVISORY

18+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

REVIEWED ON

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

88 45


E M W A IE G EV R

Mass Effect: An GAMING

A small big step…

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Mass Effect: Andromeda

by Walt Pretorius

ndromeda

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of the Mass Effect phenomenon. And so, thanks to the sterling reputation of the first three games, as well as of the development team, When Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced, people got excited. There was a lot of hype for the title, even if it wasn’t needed thanks to fan enthusiasm, and a lot of information telling us how much the overall mechanics of the game, as well as player freedom, would be improved. Whether that’s what we got when Mass Effect: Andromeda arrived can be debated in either direction. But there can be no denying that the promises made were not fully met by the product delivered. Mass Effect: Andromeda will leave many fans with a sour taste in their mouths. To circumvent the undeniable finality of the ending presented in Mass Effect 3, BioWare shot the franchise off in a brave new direction, literally. Players take on the

GAMING

hen Mass Effect was first released way back when, it introduced players to a universe that soon drew a massive following. With a strong protagonist, a massive, varied and interesting setting, and a great narrative, Mass Effect was a game that was well loved. In fact, the entire trilogy of Mass Effect games can easily be counted among the most popular titles among gamers around the globe, even if the ending of the third, climactic title did leave a lot to be desired. The original Mass Effect games went a long way to solidify BioWare’s reputation as an excellent game development studio, with a particular mastery of character development and the impact of player actions on the entire setting. It was hardly surprising that, even though the story was finished, Electronic Arts and BioWare wouldn’t let go

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Mass Effect: Andromeda

role of a new hero in Andromeda, named Ryder (and, once again, it can be either a male or female character). Ryder is part of a 600 year mission to the Andromeda system, where humanity hopes to find a new home among the stars. Things are a little rocky, though, and they discover that establishing new colonies is going to be a little tougher than expected. But with Ryder as the newly appointed Pathfinder, the future of humanity (along with a number of their alien allies) may just work out. So it’s a whole new galaxy to explore (or part of one, anyway, as Andromeda focuses on the Helios cluster of stars). And exploration is something that there is plenty of; There are numerous planets to explore in Andromeda, with varied ecologies and conditions. Some are ice worlds, others are deserts, and yet others are claustrophobic jungles, and so on. The geography of the worlds can even

impact on the game dynamics, which is great, and they are generally pretty large in terms of explorable map size. The thing is that there generally isn’t much to find in these massive areas. Exploring with the Nomad ground vehicle can be enjoyable, because the six-wheeled vehicle is a lot of fun to drive. But there isn’t all that much going on between point A and point B… maybe a few bullet-sponge aliens to shoot at, or a mining opportunity or two to help gather resources. Additionally, most planets have harsh environments that force the player to not stay overly long in any unprotected location. While at any particular location, Ryder and his crew will likely be slinging a lot of ammo at bad guys, and this is one area in which Andromeda is markedly different from the previous Mass Effect games. Earlier titles were pretty

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The player’s sidekicks have also been given a lot more freedom this time around, and are extremely capably combatants. However, orders that can be given to them have been stripped down to basically two things – stand there, and shoot there. It makes setting up effective combos and traps almost impossible. Additionally, companion characters cannot have their loadout adjusted by the player. The weapons and armour they start with is the same as what they will end with. This doesn’t cause too much of a problem, thanks to their effectiveness and the player’s control of their skill trees, but the “hand me down” idea of giving modified and better weapons to them when you find something better for yourself is gone. It takes some of the use out of Andromeda’s extensive research and crafting system. One really nice aspect is that the player has access to

GAMING

strict in their cover-based nature, but Andromeda allows the player a lot more freedom in fire fights. For example, Ryder has a jump pack that boost the player up into the air. Aiming at that time will allow the player to hover for a short while. Not long enough to take out most enemies, mind you, because they can soak up the damage in Andromeda. Then the game also introduces an automatic cover system, which has the player take cover as soon as they’re behind an object that can protect them. It’s a flawed system, though – sometimes it works, and at others it doesn’t. Also, the player will manually have to set their facing, which is a small pain, but something that could have been addressed during development. The required facing behind cover is, after all, obvious, and the switch side functionality could still have been included in an automatic facing system.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda

all skills and skill trees. Freed of the idea of classes, the player can truly customise Ryder to be an effective fighter, and can change skill allocations too (which is rather nicely explained away by the narrative). Speaking of the narrative, Andromeda’s plot is decent, but hardly revolutionary. The voice acting is fairly solid, too, although, once again, nothing that will knock your socks off. In fact, Ryder feels like a much less interesting character than Shepherd, the hero of the first three games. Additionally, decisions made by the player, while still having impact, seem much less important than the galaxy changing choices the first three games called for. And then there are those animations, which a lot of noise has been made about… they’re OK for the most part, but they also have moments of extremely poor execution. In the first three Mass Effect games, the player felt like

they were impacting the galaxy in a very real way. In Andromeda, not so much. The overall experience doesn’t feel quite right- it’s like Mass Effect Lite in many ways, with decent ideas that weren’t fully realised, and other great ideas from the originals completely left out. It doesn’t feel as though it has the same gravitas of the first three games… it’s almost flippant, even when it tells you that survival is at stake. Too few new aliens to meet, a fair amount of repetition and some strange ideas are just some of the things that don’t work for Andromeda. What BioWare had here was a massive opportunity, and while Andromeda is fun to play, it seems like they squandered a lot of the game’s potential. It’s not unplayable, and it is still enjoyable, but it doesn’t have that Mass Effect spirit that made the originals such great games. g

AT A GLANCE Adventure

REVIEWED ON

While it can deliver some fun, Andromeda is missing a certain something that was so very apparent in the previous Mass Effect games. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

BioWare Electronic Arts Prima Interactive

PARENTAL ADVISORY

16+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

x0 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

77 51


E M W A IE G EV R

FlatOut 4: Total I GAMING

Smash it up!

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FlatOut 4: Total Insanity

by Alex Scanlon

Insanity

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revive what is essentially a fun and addicitive formula from a potential early grave. In FlatOut 4, you race against a bunch of other malcontents with the supposed purpose of being the first over the finish line. In fact, you can play the game like that all the way through. The truth is, though, that the greater joy – and rewards – come from driving like an utter maniac. FlatOut 4 is about destruction, both of the environment and of the other racers, and the game becomes a tactical battle as you balance the amount of damage you wish to inflict with the amount of punishment your chosen vehicle can take. There are a few event types available, including a mode in which you fire weapons (much like a kart game) which are subject to cooldown periods, rather than pick-ups. Alternatively, you can take to the stunt arena, in which the main focus

GAMING

robably the biggest mistake that can be made when reviewing FlatOut 4: Total Insanity is comparing it to other racing games. While it is a racing game in a vast number of ways, it is (arguably more importantly) a vehicular combat game. In other racing games, smashing into opponents is frowned upon or even punished; in FlatOut 4 it is celebrated. The fact that you can earn more in a single race by smashing other cars than by winning should be a good indicator of that. It’s been a while since we saw a FlatOut title; the first two games were extremely well received, but FlatOut 3 put everything into a tailspin because, quite honestly, it was very good. In fact, the third instalment of the game might have been the franchise’s death rattle, had developers Kylotonn not attempted to

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FlatOut 4: Total Insanity

is launching your car’s driver through the windscreen to achieve certain goals, like distance or score when demolishing structures. The stunt game is by far the best part of FlatOut 4, despite its dated ragdoll effects. It’s simply crazy and completely irreverent. The racing is fun, too, if you take it for what it is. The number of tracks and vehicles are limited, but all vehicles can be upgraded and new ones can be bought, if you’re willing to grind through the game’s somewhat stingy economy. The physics are a little laughable, but this isn’t a game about tight control and precision cornering. And the AI ranges from nasty and smart through to nasty and stupid, making it inconsistent and unpredictable, and leaving gaps for player exploitation, if you spot them.

Sadly, the single player career is a bit short, too. It has a few tiers for you to work through, but with the repetition of tracks and the slow rate at which cash comes in, it can be quite the grind. The career is best experienced in small doses, and repeating races is the only real way to get a good amount of cash. Even then, unlocking cars requires some other requirements to be met at times, and these are never clearly explained. Getting a car unlocked is always a surprise, and very rarely something you can set as a goal, as a result. Ultimately, you could level a bunch of accusations at FlatOut 4… if you treat it like a racing game. But if you approach it in the spirit in which it was made – a little irreverence, a little black humour and no seriousness at all – then it can be a fun game to kill a few hours with. It won’t change your life, but it will keep you distracted. g

AT A GLANCE Racing

REVIEWED ON

It’s about racing, yes, but it is more about mayhem... FlatOut 4 is crazy, irreverent and never takes itself seriously.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Kilotonn Bigben Interactive Apex Interactive

PARENTAL ADVISORY

12+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

x0 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

77 55


E M W A IE G EV R

Styx: Shards of Darkness Back to the shadows…

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prefer their action to take place in the shadows. And that’s certainly a requirement of Styx: Shards of Darkness. Styx isn’t a fighter. In fact, he’s pretty darned weak. A well-placed hit from a towering enemy (and everyone towers over Styx) is enough to force the player to load the last save. Thankfully, though, players will be able to escape from combat this time around. In the previous game, if Styx got into a fight, he was locked in until it was over. This time, a prudent player can decide to break away from an all-out confrontation and leg it to the nearest hidey hole until people stop looking for him. That’s a small, but significant change that ties in beautifully to the nature of the game. Those save spots are also mercifully controlled by the player - Styx: Shards of Darkness has a “save anywhere” function, which is something to always be aware of, because

GAMING

tealth games are hardly the kind of thing that lend themselves to flippancy and irreverence. Yet Cyanide Studios have managed to inject doses of both into their latest fantasy sneaker, Styx: Shards of Darkness. But let’s back up a little first, before we get to that. We were first introduced to the world of Styx in 2014, when Styx: Master of Shadows was released. It represented a well-crafted fantasy world in which the unlikely hero was a goblin named Styx. Styx had a job to do, and the greatest weapon in his arsenal was his ability to be stealthy. Well, in Styx: Shards of Darkness, it’s the same again, but this time round things have been greatly improved. Styx: Shards of Darkness still has a few rough edges, but there is a definite progression here in terms of overall quality and experience that makes it a fun game for those who

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Styx: Shards of Darkness

of Darkness. This feeling fades a bit, sadly, when the latter half of the game sees the player revisiting previous levels a little too often, but the challenge level of the game never really drops as a result. Sadly, Styx: Shards of Darkness has a few bugs, particularly related to AI characters and co-op modes. Yes, you can play the game with a friend, but the companion graphics aren’t as good as they should be. Also, it gets tricky, because co-op mode has no “save anywhere” function, and one small mistake from either player can result in mission failure. Styx: Shards of Darkness is a fun game for stealth fans that want something a little different. The lead character is a disgusting little goblin, with a foul, snarky mouth and a love for breaking the fourth wall, and the world presented is rich and interesting. g

AT A GLANCE Adventure

REVIEWED ON

A great playground for fantasy stealth fans, Styx: Shards of Darkness shows good improvement over its predecessor.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Cyanide Studios Focus Home Interactive Apex Interactive

PARENTAL ADVISORY

16+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

79 57

by Rob Edwards

checkpoints are brutally meagre in the game. Styx fights from the shadows, using craftable weapons to slice throats and unlockable skills to bamboozle, rather than take on bad guys toe-to-toe. Thankfully, the world created by Cyanide Studios ties into this. There are plenty of opportunities to hide and move around stealthily, even if an improved AI will spot the character if he isn’t deep enough in the dark. The enemies look very different, from swarthy dwarves to slender elves and burly humans, but they all follow similar patterns – a great predictability when you need to act quickly and quietly, but a little low on the variation side of things. Back to the world – it’s great, a vertically enabled playground with tons to explore, and plenty of nooks and crannies to get lost in. At first, you’ll find yourself entranced by the great setting the developers realised in Styx: Shards


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Vikings: Wolves o Midgard GAMING

Winter is coming?

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Vikings: Wolves of Midgard

GENRE

With strong influences from

by Walt Pretorius

Diablo, Vikings allows the player to hack and slash their way towards

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

18+ AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

77

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

saving the world.

Games Farm Kalypso Apex Interactive

gamecca94

Action Adventure

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

the blue in the middle of a fight, and the player will need to transport the blood they have collected to a shrine in order to benefit from it, once they have gathered enough for an upgrade. There are numerous missions available to the player, but they all pretty much boil down to one thing – smash stuff. The enemies are fairly varied, and each mission ends with a boss battle, but the environments don’t show much variation. Which leads to a third difference: environmental effects. When the player is in snowy environments, they get cold. Get too cold, and you die. So the player has to balance keeping warm near fires with getting the job done, adding a nice riskreward element to the game. Vikings: Wolves of Midgard also features an extensive crafting and upgrading system, with specialists added to the player’s home village of Ulfung as the game progresses. There is also lots of loot and raw material to find in missions. Vikings: Wolves of Midgard isn’t the perfect candidate to unseat Diablo – there might never be one, in fact. But it is a great hack and slash adventure, with a good looting system and lots of action. The game does get a little over the top in expressing how much of a bad ass your character is, but that’s probably just because they’re a boastful Viking, right? Also, at times, ranged fighting feels a little overpowered, and those that want an easier time of things will quickly learn to rely on their bow skill tree more than anything else. Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is a fun game, with lots of action for those who want something Diablo flavoured, but with a few different spices. It’s not ground-breaking, but it is fun. g

XO

of

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aking on a juggernaut within a genre is never an easy task, and there are few titles as genre defining as the Diablo series of games. Drawing the comparison between Diablo and Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is not only obvious – it is crucial. The influence of Blizzard’s fantasy hacker adventure on this title from Games farm and Kalypso is so blatant that one could be excused for thinking that it is a complete clone. And, in some ways, it is. But there are ideas here that set Vikings: Wolves of Midgard apart from its inspiration. The first, most obvious difference is that Vikings: Wolves of Midgard is based on Norse mythology: the Jotun have returned and are warring with the Gods of Asgard, leaving the world of Midgard ripe for the picking. Ice giants have invaded, and the process or Ragnarok – the end of everything – is underway. The player’s character, which is either male or female (with some limited customisation) saves the village of Ulfung, and is named chieftain. Now they just have to worry about the rest of the world. The second difference has quite a bit of impact on the way the game plays out, and in how the player approaches it - Vikings: Wolves of Midgard has no class system. Rather, the skill trees are all available to the player, with classes of skills relating to different weapons, like staves, dualwielded weapons, swords and bows. Each is related to a particular god within the Norse Pantheon, and new skills and levels are gained by sacrificing the blood of fallen enemies to the god whose skill tree the player wants to upgrade at the time. It’s an interesting mechanic; level ups can only be performed at shrines, rather than appearing from

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Here They Lie GAMING

Trying too hard…

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gamecca94


GENRE

Had the developers spent less time thinking how to be garishly shocking

by Rob Edwards

and more time on figuring out how to make an engaging, immersive game,

Here They Lie

would have been

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

18+

Tangentlemen SCEE Ster Kinekor

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

50

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

much better.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca94

Horror

PS4

observer, which downplays the little horror that the game presents even more. And then there’s the control scheme. The right stick, when moved to the side, will rotate the player 40 degrees. That’s it, until the stick is moved again. Pulling the stick back will make the player turn around. It’s obvious that the developers wanted this odd movement scheme, along with the black “shutter” effect that happens during turns, was intended to limit potential motion sickness. Fair enough, but at least provide a way to turn it off. The player can also turn while moving using head movements, but this is a painstakingly slow process that is more hassle than it is worth. In fact, that statement can be applied to almost all of Here They Lie, except for one thing: at times, every now and then, it really helps show off how great a VR world can look. The developers were aware of the limitations they were working with, at times at least, and they worked with what they had. Here They Lie becomes an extensive tech demo, then, rather than a game that is going to suck you in and enthral you. The plot goes nowhere, ultimately, and the horror is way too overwrought to be actually scary. It’s like the game tries too hard to be scary, which simply makes it ultimately tame. This, combined with the stark surrounding and the frankly annoying control scheme will drive more than a few prospective players away from Here They Lie. The level of frustration that the control scheme alone provides is extremely high, and that’s not even because of bugs (which the game sees free of). There is potential here, but it is not realised. g

Here They Lie

H

orror is an odd beast. In recent years (and I can say this, because I remember the times before) horror has moved away from the creepy sense of dread to the overuse of jump-scares and shock value. It takes a subtle art form and makes it crude. Scaring someone isn’t about what they see… it is about what they think they see, what they assume. Gratuity isn’t horror. It is just gratuity. That is something that the makers of here they lie could have realised, but didn’t, and the game is crammed with far too much intended to shock and disturb, and not enough for the creation of creeping dread. It really is the way of things these days, but the utterly creep setting of this game could have been a great starting point for something a little more elegant in terms of horror. Here They Lie is a game set in a post-apocalyptic city, and the player has to spend the few hours of game play it has on offer exploring this dreary, monochromatic place. Colour only comes into play late in the game, and even then it is used very sparsely. The player is given very little to make heads or tails of – there are clues lying around, sure, but there are also a lot of pointless bits of information that seem too “disturbing-arty” for their own good, while still remaining more or less irrelevant. The world that the player finds themselves in is not one that they can immerse themselves in, either. There is very little to interact with here, and even enemies cannot be attacked. The player is armed with a torch and a mountain of batteries, but there is no mechanic for it more interesting than lighting dark corners. The player feels like an

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Driveclub VR GAMING

Get back on the track!

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GENRE

Aside from a few problems, Driveclub VR will

by Rob Edwards

provide you with a wonderfully immersive driving experience... particularly if you

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

3+

Evolution Studios SCEE Ster Kinekor

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

75

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

use a wheel.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca94

Driving

PS4

Also, the arrangement of certain HUD elements is strange. They require larger head movements to see, because they have been placed at the extreme periphery of the screen. The best way to play Driveclub VR is securely in the cabin of the car, with a wheel. This is simply because it leads to the greatest level of immersion. Still, if you prefer bumper cam with the DualShock, feel free; the experience is still a lot of fun, and the game is far less dizzying from this viewpoint than one might expect from a VR title. Fans of Driveclub who have made the move to VR will likely be extremely excited by the prospect of truly immersing themselves in their beloved driving title, but there is one thing that needs to be pointed out. Even though it features all of the content of the original, Driveclub VR is a standalone game. It has its own dashboard on the PS4 dashboard, and it has its own saves and files. That means that all of your progress won’t carry over. It’s like starting all over again – new clubs, new cars, new career. That can be quite an obstacle for the experience, but Driveclub VR tends to be generous with car unlocks, so if you take the plunge you’ll be racing your favourite vehicles again before long. The driving here feels natural and intuitive, and things like adjustable head height help make it feel as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. While it is hampered a little by hardware limitations, it does manage to deliver a great experience that is wonderfully immersive and thoroughly addictive – just like a driving game should be. g

Driveclub VR

O

ne would assume, quite correctly, that certain genres are more suited to VR than others. Driving is one of them, and the makers of Diveclub have brought the entire original game out in a VR version for fans of racing, who also happen to have a PSVR setup, to enjoy. Driveclub VR has a number of really good points. It takes the almost arcade, forgiving physics of the original and put them into a virtual world. Where this really shine is in the ability to see where you are going which – in some cases – isn’t exactly where the car is pointing. The ability to peer at the angle of an upcoming turn or, even better, turn your head to effectively navigate a drift, is a real winner here. Driveclub VR adds a few elements to its already full bag, in the form of a number of new tracks, as well as a new event series. All of the familiar tracks featured in Driveclub are there too. The thing is, though, that developers are still coming to grips with VR, particularly on the PS4, and the team behind Driveclub VR has made some graphical concessions to ensure that they keep up the 60FPS per eye that Sony insists on. One of the first things to go is graphical detail, and you see it in the tracks most obviously. There is a lot more pop up than in the original game, and the overall texture detail has been toned down. Not that Driveclub VR doesn’t look good – it just doesn’t look as good as the original does now. Additionally, environmental effects, which look so great in the original, are left out, giving the player much more limited lighting and environmental conditions to experience.

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RIGS: Mechanised Combat League Goal!

f

a hoop when they achieve the power boosting overdrive status to score goals. Whenever a player’s rig is destroyed (because they have guns on them, after all) the player is ejected, and can select a new starting point. It is another potentially nauseating event, but the screen is blacked out by default. In fact, all the vision assistance modes are turned on by default, as is the ability to turn your rig by moving your head. FPS veterans will probably want to adjust their controls to have the right stick control turning, which then frees up head motion for aiming, and adds a lot of versatility to the player’s movement and fighting abilities. There are several RIGS available in the game, all of which offer weapon variations of the game’s four basic mech classes. Each class has a basic advantage, whether it be heavier armour or the ability to double jump, or even hover.

GAMING

irst-person perspective games are the ones that will truly reward those using a VR headset, and RIGS: Mechanised Combat League manages to contextually place the player in a first-person perspective without getting confusing or nauseating. With that said, you may need a strong stomach (or to turn the games numerous VR vision buffers on) when playing RIGS; the action is fast paced, intense and comes from every direction. Set in the future, RIGS puts the player in the role of a sports star trying to make it big. The chosen sport is the titular Mechanised Comat League, in which teams of three take each other on in one of three game styles. Deathmatch is self-explanatory, while Endzone is a sort of combination between capture the flag and gridiron football, and Power Slam sees the player jumping though

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RIGS: Mechanised Combat League

things less confusing and works towards preventing motion sickness, too. RIGS allows for single player gaming, with AI team mates and opponents, or online multiplayer. With long loading times and long matchmaking, online can feel like a bit of a chore, but RIGS will undoubtedly strike a chord with many players, making it a fun and fast paced way to get into VR. RIGS does have a rather long tutorial, but developers Guerrilla Games (the same guys that made the incredible Horizon: Zero Dawn) wanted to ensure ability and comfort within the game… therefore a lot of settings, particularly those VR visual assistants, are determined during this lengthy yet important part of the game. RIGS, then, is an accessible, fun and addictive VR title for the PS4, and is one of the better games in the PSVR launch line-up. g

AT A GLANCE Action

REVIEWED ON

It’s future sports with guns and VR – RIGS is a fast paced, fun FPS game for the PSVR.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Guerrilla Games SCEE Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

80 65

by Walt Pretorius

The various loadouts change up weapons and special abilities, and with all rigs costing the same, it’s pretty easy to find the one that works best for you. Within each game, the player will be able to manage their power modes, switching between high speed, high damage and self-repair at will. When enough kills are racked up or collectibles gathered, the player enters overdrive mode, which enables all three power settings at the same time for a limited duration, high powered kick. Visually, RIGS does the trick quite nicely. The models and environments are not massively detailed, but the fast paced action hides this from the player for the most part. And even though there could have been more detail injected here, the game still looks great – it is one of the better looking VR titles. The fact that the HUD is tied to the rig, and not the player’s head direction, helps keep


E M W A IE G EV R

EVE: Valkyrie Space pirates rule!

E

EVE: Valkyrie really shines. The levels are massive and beautifully rendered, crammed with debris and space ships and beautiful special effects. Players can choose a number of unlockable ships to pilot, which fall into three categories. Initially, the fighter class provides the player with forward firing gatling guns and a underpowered homing missile pod, aimed by looking. The initial heavy ship has a look-aimed rail gun and a special warp speed engine to quickly get in close to enemies. Finally, the initial support ship has a shield depleting or replenishing beam, a laser and drones that either harm enemies or heal allies. Each ship has a distinctive feel when piloting it, so there is a lot of room for experimentation. As the game progresses, ships can be upgraded and new ships can be unlocked. It’s a pretty long slog, though, unless you’re willing to drop large amounts of cash in the

GAMING

VE: Valkyrie has a few problems, but there is a shining truth about this game that makes it worth working your way through the issues; this is the way in which a dogfight game should be played. That’s just all there is to it. The ability to visually track your enemies thanks to the fact that you have a VR headset strapped to your face is pure dogfight gaming gold. When you’re rocketing between asteroids and the enemy you’re tracking zips up and over your craft, being able to keep a visual track of him is extremely valuable. EVE: Valkyrie puts the player in the role of a clone whose consciousness was downloaded from their original body just before their death. It’s a convenient way to explain away the multiple deaths that the player will undergo during this game. Once you’re out of the clone tank and taking to the great, cold emptiness of space,

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EVE: Valkyrie

manages to keep a steady frame rate going, allowing for smooth and exciting battles to dazzle the senses. Nailing VR properly, particularly on the relatively new PS4 VR system, is a tough task. The entire concept of consumer-aimed VR is still very new, and there are a lot of edges to be smoothed and corners to be knocked off before the idea of VR gaming reaches any kind of golden age. But games like EVE: Valkyrie are initially strong steps in the right direction, creating a massive amount of hope and trust in the future of VR gaming. The developers here went with something of an obvious route, but they did it extremely well, delivering a space dog-fighter that is addictive and highly enjoyable. Great looks, solid controls and a brilliant presentation all contribute to making EVE: Valkyrie one of the best games that you can play on PSVR at the moment. g

AT A GLANCE Combat sim

REVIEWED ON

This is a great game to get into VR with, even if there is a lot of grinding and microtransaction unbalancing going on in space. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

CCP Sony Interactive Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

12+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

80 67

by Walt Pretorius

game’s microtransaction system. Each game throws the player into an eight on eight arena, in one of a number of modes. The standout mode is Carrier Assault, in which players need to disable the shields of enemy carriers and take down the massive capital ships. Despite the painfully slow and the game unbalancing microtransaction options, EVE: Valkyrie is an extremely enjoyable space fighting game, particularly when you are able to support, or get support from, team mates. The action is intense and fast paced, the kind of thing where swooping in to take out a bogey on your team mate’s six is a common occurrence. Additionally, it is possessed of a truly simple control scheme, and the ironwork of the cockpit helps prevent all kinds of motion related issues, except maybe in the most sensitive players. It also


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Until Dawn: Rush of Blood GAMING

Less scary, more shooty.

68

gamecca94


GENRE

There isn’t much horror to be found

by Alex Scanlon

here, but there is tons of on-therails shooting fun

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

18+

SuperMassive SCEE Ster kinekor

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

75

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

to be had.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca94

Shooter

PS4

and the aim spread of the two guns is controlled with the sticks. However, the best way to play Rush of Blood is with the move controllers, with one controller in each hand controlling the corresponding firearm in the game. This allows the player to quickly and effectively spread their aim, allowing them to take out multiple targets with ease. Rush of Blood will take the player through various levels (seven, to be exact) each of which ends with a letter rating and a score tally. It is a game that is primed for replaying, thanks to that, and unlockable sections of rail allow for variation within the seven levels that Rush of Blood presents. It’s the kind of game you can play with friends, in an effort to get the best scores up on the online leader board, not to mention hunting down the game’s numerous collectibles. The thing is, though, that it better be shooting that you’re after here – the game gets a little light on variety after a few levels, which is pretty sad. However, the shooting mechanic can be tons of fun, and the ability to move your head to look around, thanks to the VR headset, is great for finding hidden collectibles or getting a last shot off at all the targets in a particular room. Rush of Blood has very little to do with the original game, so don’t go in expecting anything more than hints at any correlation. It never explores that fully anyway, so it really is best to ignore the first part of the name, to ignore the fact that there is supposedly horrific stuff going on, and to just enjoy the addictive arcade style shooting mechanics that are on offer. It’s much more fun that way. g

Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

U

ntil Dawn was a pretty scary game, filled with creepiness and enough nasty scenes to almost turn your stomach. It was a good horror game, because it managed to keep the creep factor going for the most part, and allowed the player to make assumptions that almost always lead to some kind of dread – even if they were often wrong. It’s strong reliance on the particularly annoying trend of gratuity in horror aside, Until Dawn was a fun horror game. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is nothing like that. In fact, it’s pretty much not scary at all, not after the first jump scare takes you by surprise. In fact, the horror element of the game is so non-existent that the creepy setting and equally creepy enemies become oddities, rather than horrific entities. With that said, it is important to mention that, even if Rush of Blood fails at the horror that its name implies, it manages to be a fun, if unimportant, game. Basically, the player is stuck in a roller coaster cart for the entirety of the game, ceaselessly moving along a track that takes them through a weird house of horrors. What exactly does the player do? Why, shoot stuff, of course, which makes the use of VR for this particular title really enjoyable. See, the player is armed with dual firearms, which can be swapped out with pickups along the way. These are used, either with the DualShock controller or, preferably, with Move controllers, to blast away at tons of enemies and a myriad of other targets. It is, quite simply, an arcade style on-the-rails shooter with wannabe horror overtones. Playing with the DualShock controller is not too bad. It is principally aimed by moving it around,

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Robinson: The Journe Strolling about a VR paradise…

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Robin’s only other companion is a one-year-old T-Rex called Laika. Crytek nailed the environmental storytelling here; from a camp that feels like it has been a youngster’s home for a year through to the jungles and oceans of the world, it all feels right. And it looks good, even at the lower resolution you can expect from a VR headset, with detailed areas and bright natural colours contrasting against space ship wreckage. Additionally, the dinosaurs that inhabit the planet are beautifully put together, almost jaw-dropping in their magnificence. And if that was all that Robinson: The Journey was about, everything would be fine. But it seems that while Crytek were managing the visuals ball, they dropped almost every other one. Two major problems arise during the four to six hours that you will spend with this game, which at times feels

GAMING

irtual reality, as a practical concept, still has a long way to go. This is particularly true for the PlayStation VR system. However, you cannot deny the absolute awesomeness of being drawn into another world thanks to the wrap around 3D visuals provided by the PSVR headset. Resolutions may still be lower than we would like, but the truth is that it is pretty awe inspiring. Particularly when you get lost in a lively and lush world like the one presented in Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey. In this game, the player takes on the role of Robin, a young boy stranded on a planet after the spaceship he called home crashed there. It is a dangerous, primitive world, full of massive trees, grand vistas, scattered space ship wreckage and, yes, dinosaurs. In fact, aside from the sometimes annoying floating ball robot HIGS,

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Robinson: The Journey

ey movements would have benefitted from Move support. The third issue is beyond infuriating. Robin doesn’t run. Ever. Even when there is a pack of rabid velociraptors chasing him, his pace is little quicker than a leisurely stroll. Sure, you can argue motion sickness and the like, but the game already has options for limiting motion via the camera (turning at angles, if you desire, rather than free form movement). If you’re worried about people getting motion sick because of a sequence that is meant to be tense, high-speed action, leave the sequence out. Otherwise it just feels out of place and clumsy. What Robinson does do is introduce players to the idea of a well-realised world, and shows off what that world could look like. But the frustrations inherent in that world, as pretty as it is, are simply too many. And it has little to do with potential limitations of VR in its current form. g

AT A GLANCE Adventure

REVIEWED ON

As beautiful as the world of Robinson: The Journey is, it isn’t enough to excuse the game’s numerous poor design decisions.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Crytek SCEE Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

60 71

by Alex Scanlon

more like a visual tech demo. The first are the puzzles. A good puzzle needs to challenge the player with how they will solve it, not with what they are supposed to do with it. Sadly, a good number of Robinson: The Journey’s puzzles fall into the latter category, leading to head scratching not in finding a solution, but in finding a starting point. Many of the puzzles are simply too obtuse in their approach, which is frustrating and leads to a lot of time wasting. The other problem is control. Everything handles smoothly enough, except for three things: first off, there is no support for move controllers. That’s all fine and well, but when you tie in the second aspect, climbing, it becomes an issue. You’ll do a lot of climbing in the game, but it feels clumsy and unpredictable when using the DualShock controller. Additionally, some of the more precision


E M W A IE G EV R

Dirt Rally VR GAMING

Time to get real

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GENRE

Improved depth perception and spatial awareness

by Walt Pretorius

are just two things that make this

VR

version the best way to play

Dirt

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

3+

Codemasters Codemaster Apex Interactive

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

88

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

Rally.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca94

Racing

PS4

effective steering. In fact, the improved depth perception granted by VR could be seen as making the overall Dirt Rally experience more accessible and easier to deal with. After all, distance is as important as direction in this kind of racing. Additionally, the directional audio delivered by the PSVR system, while not integral to the racing, heightens the experience and immersion of the title greatly, from the clatter of gravel in wheel arches through to the pounding of rain on the roof. Surprisingly, Dirt Rally VR doesn’t seem to be too hectic in terms of motion sickness, either. The sense of speed is amplified by the improved depth perception, and at times the player will truly be going sideways, but the game manages to not become overly nauseating at any particular point. An odd addition to the game is the role of the co-driver. A second player can, using the TV screen and a DualShock controller, undertake a sort of rhythm mini-game, timing button presses with on screen prompts to ensure that the driver is correctly informed about the course ahead. It’s optional, and can be fun, but it is not essential. Codemasters made a really good decision in the way that they handled the VR extension for Dirt Rally. Except for the degraded graphic performance, the game is improved in virtually every aspect, making it the perfect reason for driving sim enthusiasts to get hold of a PSVR system. It is, without a doubt, the best driving game available for PSVR to date (although, admittedly, there aren’t that may available yet) and it sets numerous bars for future releases. It captures the thrill of rally driving better than the non-VR version, despite the visuals, and elevates the experience or driving a virtual rally car into

Dirt Rally VR

W

hen Dirt Rally was first released, it was hailed as a triumph for simulations of the rough and rugged motor sport. Codemasters managed to get pretty much everything right in Dirt Rally, with very few issues raising their heads as virtual driving enthusiasts around the world flocked to the game. Codemasters took a big step with the release of VR, first making an Oculus version available and then following up with a PSVR version. But perhaps version is the wrong word to use – rather, think of this as a modification. See, unlike other driving simulators, Dirt Rally wasn’t rebuilt of recreated for VR. Instead, it was modified. What that means is that the entire original game, with all of its cars, modes and tracks, is playable in VR. That is an awesome prospect for fans of the game, and makes it a great option for PSVR owners who want to get into a really good driving sim. The question then arises: does VR have an impact on the game itself? The answer is yes, and in numerous ways. On the down side, the limited resolution offered by the PSVR makes the game a little less pretty to look at, and driving in adverse weather can be challenging thanks to a muddier colour palette. Additionally, Codemasters didn’t put a lot of work into detailing the car interiors. On the plus side, though, the 3D images delivered by the VR headset help the player to better determine depth perception within the game, meaning that turns and the like can be navigated more effectively. Also, the player’s view not being locked to the direction that the car is heading means that glancing sideways to better determine direction during slides and heavy turns can lead to more

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Toukiden 2 Purging the Oni

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remaining. The situation in Mahorba is tense. Two factions – the Insiders, led by guard and made up of people who were in the village before the attack, and the Outsiders, led by Samurai and made up of people from outside the village – vie to fill the vacant post of village leader. There is a fair amount of political intrigue and squabbling built into the plot, but your main job, as a Demon Slayer, is to, well… slay demons. There is plnty of fighting to do in Toukiden 2, and plenty of wats to do it. In fact, the options for weapons and fighting styles are quite intimidating initially, but numerous tutorials, as well as the ability to make changes at any time, help to take the edge off of any concerns you may have about making the wrong decisions. With so many options, finding a play style that suits you best is a

GAMING

hen demonic Oni invade, it is up to the Demon Slayers to protect Yokohama. That’s how Toukiden 2 starts and, after a character creation session, it hurls you right into the action. But while fighting against a particularly nasty Oni, your character is sucked into an Oni gate. When you wake up you are far away, ten years have passed, and your memories are gone. Toukiden 2 starts off using the sometimes annoying “see how cool you can be before we strip you down to nothing” approach to start of its long and complex narrative, but it does work fairly well here. When your character awakens, you are in the village of Mahoraba, one of the last bastions of humanity. See, during your “absence” the Oni managed to conquer the world, with only a few settlements, protected by mystical powers,

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Toukiden 2

join you. Toukiden 2 offers a massive amount to do. There are a huge number of varied and beautifully created enemies to take on, lots of collectibles to find and a massive world to expore. And, of course, there is a ton of fighting to get through. It is a little strange, then, that the fighting feels quite light. It’s great fun, yes, but sometimes it feels like the impact your character has on enemies is a bit understated. It’s a small niggle, really, and once you get used to it, you will be slashing Oni with glee. Toukiden 2, with its tons of action and lengthy plot (which is generally driven by text based cut scenes) is a great game for those who enjoy exploration, crafting and lots of free-flowing combat. It provides plenty of options, too, for those who want them. g

AT A GLANCE Action

REVIEWED ON

Toukiden 2 is brimming with action and options... it’s a great game for those who enjoy fighting, crafting and exploring.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Tecmo-Koei Tecmo-Koei Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

16+ gamecca94

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

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by Rob Edwards

bit of effort, but also relatively easy. There is a lot of equipment to be crafted and upgraded, too, including a powerful Demon Hand device given to you by an inventor in Mahoraba. Additionally, equipment can be buffed with the spirits of fallen warriors, of which there are 200 scattered around the game. Accompanied by extremely effective AI companions, the player clears out area by area, removing the poisonous Oni curse from each as they progress. Sometimes the AI companions feel a little too good, though, almost as if the player is just tagging along with them, instead of the other way around. Still, it’s good to know that they have your back, and are very good at what they do. In addition, you can find occasional online co-op quests, too, although the co-op player may be filled in by an AI character if there are no real folks around to


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Chewing the fat with SA

M GAMING

aking games in South Africa can be a challenging undertaking, with numerous factors putting local developers on something of a back foot. But that isn’t stopping Nyamakop, a South African development team working on a very exciting

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Indie View

A developers Nyamakop.

By Nthato Morakabi

heads… take on platform puzzling called Semblance. We caught up with Nyamakop’s Ben Myers and Cukia Kimani, and spoke to them about the challenges of Sotuh African development, the importance of community, and making games in the platinum-age of gaming…

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he went to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, a games and playful media festival. He met the community who really encouraged him to start.

GM: So I’m guessing there was a particular game that fired up the creative engines to even think of Game Development in the first place? What were those games or game? GM: Hey guys, good to speak to local devs. Let’s talk Nyamakop founders and… names. Yours is unique so there must be some story here yes? NK: Nyamakop is Ben Myres and Cukia Kimani, we work with a variety of collaborators on a per project basis. Right now we’re working with Jean Roux on Art and Pressure Cooker Studios for sound/music. Cukia and I came up with the name, it’s a portmanteau work of Swahili and Afrikaans origins - Nyamakop means ‘meat’ in the former and ‘kop’ means ‘head’ in the latter. Together it means ‘meathead’. We just wanted a one word name for our studio which quickly spoke to our African background, but also sounded and looked distinct. Plus, we like to say we ‘think with our hearts’, and hearts are technically meat so...

GAMING

GM: We love it. Very unique for sure. So tell us about developing games, how did it start and why? NK: Ben began making games properly when he started the Game Design programme at Wits University in 2012. Cukia started on the side of his Computer Science degree in 2014, then a Digital Arts Honours. Both of us took the games courses in order to get into making games and for meeting like-minded people. I think both us kinda fell into making games really, Ben was lucky that it was first year of the game design programme. He fell in love with it there. Cukia always wanted to make games, but never started until

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NK: For Cukia it was definitely the Metal Gear Solid series, for Ben it was probably Age of Empires. I think for both of us, it’s really the newer and more modern stuff that inspires to makes games. GM: I can see that gaming is really a major part of your current endeavours, which brings me to the next question: what does being a game dev mean to you both as gamers and developers? NK: The human experience is really about living in a huge collection of systems, and you making input into that system. At a family, cultural, or even world-wide level, we’re always just a piece of a system. Games are the only art medium that regularly and successfully explores and reflects what it’s like to have a system and interact with it. In that way, games are uniquely coherent with the human condition. Being able to play and create games that can connect with people so deeply, and bring them joy, is such a wonderful privilege. It’s amazing to be alive and creating in this platinum-age of games.

GM: Yeah definitely understand that privilege. Can you define your experience after studying game development, and how it might help aspiring developers? NK: I think the most important part about University, especially for games, isn’t really the learning so much as the community and culture. It’s pretty hard to find a large group of people making games regularly in Africa, and the Wits game design course gives you that, and fosters gamecca94

a culture of debate and analysis. Realistically, because the craft is so new, you can probably learn a lot of game development just from books or the internet. Having mentors in person helps nudge you in the right directions, though.

GM: You have mentioned “community” quite a bit – what’s your take on the indie community? NK: The independent games community around the world is pretty important to us these days, we rely on them for friendship, advice, support and retweets - it’s integral. Without them we would be nowhere and probably couldn’t get anywhere.

GM: Therefore it’s safe to conclude you’re part of an indie community? What are they and how do they help shape your own development? NK: We’re part of MakeGamesSA, Tigsource, and A MAZE. The communities are all excellent! They give feedback on our games, prototypes, trailers, business decisions and share tons of insight when we’re with them in person.

GM: It’s really great to see a strong local community and the support it is to you, although surely you’ve had some difficulties in this growing industry. Care to share some with us? NK: It’s incredibly difficult especially in Africa. Finding funding, experienced mentors, good internet, accessing international press - it’s all really hard in South Africa. Moreover, you can’t survive selling to just Africans, they don’t really buy independent games much. You have to sell to Westerners, which means you have to try go to events in America or Europe, which is just super expensive. Finding a private investor and growing a significant Twitter presence are things we wouldn’t have thought


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GM: Oh yes I can understand that, and that’s incredible speaking at major indie events like GDC and PAX. Where do you think the industry will be five years from now? NK: Hard to say - it changes so fast! Hopefully there will be a big commercial market for VR. It’s pretty hard to make a living off making VR games right now, really. Hopefully, Steam’s domination of digital distribution will have diluted and platforms like Itch.io will be home to a lot of commercially successful indie games.GM: And within the Indie

scene, anyone who inspires you? GF: I’m a big fan of Tom Francis, the creator of Gunpoint. I really enjoy his games and his design philosophy, I enjoy following his development process on his blog. David Pittman, the developer of Eldritch and Neon Struct, is making the kinds of games I love to play, and I admire his work. Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb software has been producing indie roleplaying games longer than most AAA studios have been around, he’s another indie

who I have a ton of respect for.

10 GM: That is absolutely true, the changes these last few years have been numerous. Looking at all the devs out there, are there any that you look up to? NK: So many! We’re totally in awe of the work Free Lives in Cape Town does - the volume of great games they make, and how they’re helping out the community. Even people we started making games with like Tsitsi Chimuya and Bahiyya Khan are making amazing games and vignettes about life in South Africa. We love Ian Snyder’s work from The Floor is Jelly. Jonathan Blow of Braid/ The Witness. Daniel Linssen makes better games in 72 hours that many people make in years. The work Rami Ismail of Vlambeer does for the global games community is immense. There are so many creators we are inspired by we could go on forever.

GM: And on the subject of inspiration, what inspires you guys? NK: It’s pretty broad! All art! Personal experience! Games are about interaction and systems, so you really have to go out and find interesting interactions and systems in the world. Also though, there’s so much great stuff being created in other media that you can borrow from and be inspired by. Inside games, the independent and experimental community of game creators is doing such bleeding edge stuff that so many people don’t know about - it’s incredible. From One dimensional LED games to even games about holes in the ground, the scene is overflowing with innovative and whacky stuff to be inspired by.

GM: I definitely agree with you. So let’s get down to your own game. What are you working on? gamecca94

NK: It’s puzzle anti-platformer called Semblance. In Semblance, the world and the character is made of playdough - this means you can deform and shape the world. Semblance take the idea of a ‘platform’ in a platformer and turns it on its head: what if the platforms were actually part of the gameplay, part of the way you solved the puzzle. Can’t reach a collectible? No problem, just deform the platform underneath it to be higher so you have a higher starting point.

Indie View

of as victories previously, but they really are. Another major victory for us is that both Ben and Cukia got to go to GDC and PAX East this year. Cukia spoke at GDC, and Ben at PAX East, plus we got to exhibit our game at PAX East, getting an amazing response from players, and demoing the game to international press. We also got to meet several platform holders at GDC, which is a hard thing to do anywhere else. As a creative company, money is still a challenge. You want to make the best product possible for your own ego, but also so you can survive. But that’s at tension with the amount of money you have - eventually you run out. So during development you have to cut or compromise on features to get the game out - that’s tough.

GM: Fascinating! What was the inspiration behind Semblance? Play dough? *laughs* NK: At first we were just exploring what it would be like to have a character that changed shape. We wanted the character’s world to feel soft, but a bug Ben found made it so that you could move the platform out the way - this became our core idea. We were also inspired by the game ‘The Floor is Jelly’ which has jelly-like platforms, and explores the actual deformation in places. We loved these puzzles where you have to time the deformation just right, and wanted to make a whole game out of this mechanic - so we ended up doing just that. Other design inspirations included everything from Braid to Hohokum.

GM: That really sounds great, and when can we expect to play this game? NK: We’re looking at releasing end of August 2017 on Windows/Mac and hopefully at least one console.

GM: Just for fun… what are you guys playing and what would you love to work on? NK: Night in the Woods; The Witness; Hyperlight Drifter… Semblance Cukia would probably die to work on any game Hideo Kojima is making- Ben would probably love to do some work on a Mass Effect. g

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Features 84

Made in Japan

HARDWARE Reviews 90 92 94 96 98 100 102

Trust GXT 162 Gaming Mouse Razer Cynosa Pro Bundle Mouse & Keyboard Adata XPG Dazzle RAM MSI Tomahawk B350 Motherboard TteSports Meka Pro Mechanical Keyboard Asus RoG Maximux IX Apex Motherboard Trust GXT 880 Mechanical Keyboard

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Made in Japa

TECHNOLOGY

By Walt Pretorius

Cooler Master rethinks the PSU

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he majority of components going into electronics these days are manufactured in China and Taiwan, with Korea and Japan filling in some of the gaps and making up for exceptions. For the most part, this system seems to be working out just fine… except Cooler Master don’t agree. In fact, their overall feeling is that components for power supplies simply don’t make the grade these days, which is why they approached Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata to not only manufacture, but also redesign components for their new MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ power supply.

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So who is Murata, anyway? The company is headquartered in Nagaokakyo, in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture. It was established in 1944 as a personal venture, by Akira Murata, but in 1950 it was reorganised into Murata Manufacturing. Murata’s main business lies in manufacturing ceramic passive electronic components, most notably capacitors, and it is the world leader in ceramic filters, high-frequency parts and sensors. As such, it is an active contributor to the fields of robotics, communications, automotive manufacture, data centres, security and space exploration. With Murata at the design helm, the MasterWatt

gamecca94


Made in Japan

Maker 1200 MIJ features components mostly made in Japan. Some 80 per cent of the parts going into the PSU are made in than country, with twenty components having been completely redesigned by Murata, because the Japanese electronics manufacturer believed that commonly used existing components could be improved upon. Victims of mass production and little redesign, these components simply could not meet Murata’s apparently stringent manufacturing guidelines. The resulting MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is quite revolutionary in terms of PC power supply units – something that one doesn’t get to say every day. For

example, in some cases, singular components were replaced with dual components of the same kind, which lowers heat generation and improves component lifespan, even though many of the components are rated to perform perfectly at temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ features custom made power conversion circuits and a circuit board design not found in any other PSUs on the market today, as well as a Murata-made planar transformer which provides a much longer lifespan that standard transformers. All of these elements tie together to allow the

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MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ to run without employing fans up to 50 per cent load. Also, the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ makes use of fewer heat sinks, yet still maintains a lower temperature level than competing power supply units with heat sinks. The entire process of creating the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ took 40 engineers two years to accomplish. The end result is a product that exceeds 80 Plus Titanium efficiency standards, and has an extremely long lifespan. It even comes with an unprecedented, transferable 10 year warranty, which is pretty much unheard of for power supply units.

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While the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is built to last, it is also engineered to make sure that your other components deliver better performance and enjoy a longer lifespan too. This is thanks to the fact that the Murata engineers worked towards establishing the cleanest power output possible, smoothing out spikes and noise in the power to provide components with smooth, stable power. Cooling is provided by a 135mm sickle-blade Silencio FP fan, which generates 25 per cent more air pressure, even as it performs more quietly. The fan is armed with self lubricating, dust-proof Loop Dynamic Bearings to

gamecca94


Made in Japan

ensure that the fan stays quiet and doesn’t fail. And, added to all that, the fan only kicks in when power loads exceed 50 per cent, meaning that the first 600W of power are noiseless. The MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is also completely modular when it comes to cables, meaning you only use the cables you need. This cuts down on interior clutter and helps maintain good air flow inside the case. The creation of the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is a pretty big step forward for the power supply market as a whole. While there have been improvements and new technologies over the years, they have tended

to be more insular. The MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is indicative of a very new approach in putting PSU technology together, not to mention a pretty extensive overhaul of possibly dated thinking when approaching this kind of technology. The latest technology comes with a price, though, and the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ is no different. According to Cooler Master, the recommended retail price will be at around US$999. However, with its excellent power output, long warranty and high level of engineering, it may well be the last power supply you need to buy. g

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H C EW E T VI E R Trust

GXT 162

TECHNOLOGY

A new breed of rodent…

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Gaming Mouse


Trust GXT 162 Gaming Mouse

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by Walt Pretorius

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

A great entrant to the mouse market, this device deserves more than a second glance.

Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

gamecca94

4000 dpi 5 dpi settings 9 buttons Shift function 1.7m cable Customisable lighting

SCORE

T rus t A pe x I nt e ra c t i v e w w w . a pe xi nt . c o . z a

AWARDS

arkets can easily become dominated by particular brands, which leads to a great brand recognition factor, but also to a limitation in terms of the number of options available to consumers. It is really great, then, when a new entrant to the market appears… even though new brands may have uphill battles in establishing footholds (particularly in markets where consumers are extremely brand loyal). If any product deserves a fighting chance at clawing its way to prominence, though, it is the Trust GXT 162 Gaming Mouse. Trust is a brand that is new to our shores, and this is the first mouse that we are seeing from their line – if it is anything to go by (and I suspect that it is) then Trust is a brand name that will live up to the ideas it implies. The GXT 162 is a great mouse. Probably the worst point of this mouse is that it has an optical sensor that tops out at 4000 dpi. Realistically, 4000 dpi is plenty, but there may be some who would like their mouse to be a bit more sensitive. The accompanying software allows for five dpi settings to be programmed, too, so the GXT 162 remains versatile for those who want to have their mouse sensitivity adjustable on the fly. Also programmable via the software are the GXT 162’s nine buttons. In addition to the standard main buttons and scroll wheel, the GXT 162 features one button on the outside of the left click, two buttons aft of the scroll wheel and three very well placed thumb accessible buttons on the side. One button can also serve as a “shift” button, adding even more programmable functionality to the GXT 162’s control options. The software also allows for LED lighting colour adjustment, adding greatly to the GXT 162’s already excellent aesthetic. Part of the mouse’s visual appeal is its asymmetric design (which also means that it isn’t ambidextrous) It has a broad thumb support, as well as contoured outer edges for the ring and little finger. The entire things is finished in a comfortable, non-slip rubber that feels great under the hand. Being a wired mouse (with a 1.7m braided cable) the GXT 162 is accurate and responsive. It is also surprisingly light in weight (without feeling flimsy) and its generously sized feet allow it to glide effortlessly across virtually any surface. The Trust GXT 162 is a very solid decision for those that want to try out something new. Thoughtful design and control implementation combine with great comfort and responsiveness, making this a mouse that you should certainly take a good long look at if you’re in the market for a new pointing device. g

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H C EW E T VI E R Razer

Cynosa Pro Bund Razer for the masses!

TECHNOLOGY

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e have been publishing Gamecca for close to eight years now, and this is the first time that we are seeing a device bundle from Razer. That’s because Razer don’t do bundles, really… not until now. But in an effort to spread their already well-known name even wider, Razer are putting their expected quality into a bundle, which is centred around the Cynosa keyboard. The Cynosa is what Razer would arguably consider an entry level keyboard. It doesn’t feature any Chroma functionality, but it does offer three colour backlighting across the whole keyboard. Under the keys is Razer’s gaming grade membrane system, which may not deliver the well-loved, clicky feel of a mechanical keyboard, but is still great in terms of response. The keys still have a mechanical feel to them, though, with heightened keycaps that help mimic the tactile feel of a mechanical

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keyboard. Additionally, the Cynosa features a dedicated gaming mode, which also allows for on-the-fly macro recording. Next to it, in the bundle, is the well known and well-loved Razer DeathAdder mouse, albeit a 2000dpi optical version of the mouse. Once again, it is not Chroma enabled, but it features the same lighting options as the Cynosa. The two devices synchronise in terms of lighting, which looks really cool when using the breathing lighting effect, for example. The right handed DeathAdder features five hyperresponse buttons and a very comfortable feel under the hand. It’s been around for so long because it is such a well designed mouse, after all. At 2000 dpi it feels a little light on the sensitivity scales, and you’re going to be stuck with the dpi you set with this particular model – it has no dpi switching. Still, it’s responsive and sensitive for most. What the Razer Cynosa Bundle looks to achieve is putting

gamecca94


Razer Cynosa Pro Bundle Mouse & Keyboard

dle

Mouse & Keyboard

by Rob Edwards

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

An affordable bundle from Razer? Bet you though that was something you’d never see, but this product is just that. Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

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3 colour lighting Membrane keyboard Colour synchronisation 5 button mouse 2000 dpi sensor Macro enabled

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Razer quality at the fingertips of those who might not have had access to it before. Although priced above some other bundles out there, it is still much more affordable than the average Razer propositions, and it allows a whole new group of people to experience the excellence of their devices. Long-time Razer fans and those who demand a lot from their gaming gear may want to look elsewhere, though… and it’s the DeathAdder’s fault. The Cynosa is a great keyboard, considering its pricing, with the only real down side being that it doesn’t have all the features you might expect from Razer… and mechanical fans won’t like it. But the DeathAdder bundled with it is, quite honestly, a little underpowered. That doesn’t make this a bad deal, however, particularly for those who are new to gaming, or who want Razer quality without the traditional Razer pricing. This bundle may be cheaper, but it is still a Razer product. g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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XPG Dazzle

Adata XPG Dazzle RAM

H C EW E T VI E R Adata

RAM

Great looks, great performance

by Alex Scanlon

SUMMARY This RAM looks great and performs exceptionally well, even under the strain of overclocking.

AWARDS

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AT A GLANCE:

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AM is something that people in the know get passionate about, because they realise the importance of this components. And they’re the ones who will be looking for RAM that is not only carefully selected but also well cooled. Adata’s XPG Dazzle range is just that. This high quality DDR4 Ram is not only carefully picked for best performance, but also features a large, striking heat sink to ensure best performance, even under strain. And, as an added touch, the heat sinks have integrated LED lighting to help make your build look even better. And its excellent performance will help make everything your PC does look great, too, whether under normal load or under the added strain of overclocking. And it’s less power hungry as well, which is always a bonus. RAM doesn’t have to be boring; Adata’s XPG Dazzle range not only performs extremely well, but it looks great too! g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

mgeect 2 c7a 9 4 ggl a ad

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A da t a TVR Distribution www.tvr.co.za

TECH SPECS • • • • • • • • •

DDR4 RAM 16GB set (reviewed) LED lighting Large heat sink


H C EW E T VI E R MSI

Tomahawk B350 O And now for Ryzen…

TECHNOLOGY

ne thing that you can be sure of when it comes to technology is that competition will always spur on progress. The various “wars” that have sprung up over the years have done nothing if not advance technology positively for consumers. Intel had a massive upper hand for a while, but now AMD has brought their latest offering to the fray, in the form of their Ryzen processors. Love them or hate them, it’s good for all of us. Naturally, third party manufacturers are now taking on the challenge of delivering great devices to use with AMD’s new chipset. One such device, which falls into the lower ranks of their motherboard offerings, is MSI’s Tomahawk B350. As the name suggests, the Tomahawk B350 is part of MSI’s Arsenal Gaming line of motherboards, which means that while it doesn’t necessarily have the features and power of their higher end lines, it still works well for gamers who want a decent backbone for their PC. And if they want it AMD flavoured, this is a great route to follow. The Tomahawk B350 has everything that one would expect from this level of MSI motherboard, built around Military Class IV components. In other words, things like DDR 4 Boost and Gaming LAN are present and accounted for on this military themed (yet visually

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down toned) component. In addition to these, the Tomahawk B350 has some other features too. While the Tomahawk B350 does offer a Mystic Light extension, for those who want a more visually striking look inside their PC case, many people would be happy with the bottom mounted red LED ‘ambient’ lights, which give the board a nice glow when fitted into a case. This lighting is not customizable, but it does look quite cool none the less. As for protection systems, aside from all the suable over voltage and other electric protection systems, the Tomahawk B350 is a little skimpy. It does feature MSI’s Steel Armor, but in this case it is just steel reinforcement of one PCIe slot. Other protection also comes from a LED debugging system, which helps identify issues with the motherboard or other components. The Tomahawk B350 does feature the latest technologies, including USB 3.1 and X Boost but, when you get down to it, it isn’t a board that higher end enthusiasts are going to be flocking to. Also, with Ryzen still proving itself in the market, there will be some who may shy away from this product. For those that are on the fence, the truth is that it offers reliable performance, and promises a long lifespan. It may not be MSI’s top of the line, but it is still a dependable components to have at the heart of your system. g gamecca94


NAME MSI Tomahawk OF THE PRODUCT B350 Motherboard

Motherboard

SUMMARY A dependable, affordable motherboard for gamers who like their PC AMD flavoured… TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

B350 chipset AMD Ryzen compatible DDR4 Boost Armoured PCIe slot USB 3.1 Gaming LAN M A NUFA CT UR E R M SI

DISTRIB UTOR TV R Di str i b u ti o n w w w. tv r. co. z a

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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H C EW E T VI E R TteSports

Meka Pro

Mechanical Keyboard

Gamer at heart

TECHNOLOGY

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he thing with gaming keyboards is that they can get pretty large. But, as happens with various technologies, there is a trend for keyboards these days, one that steers things towards smaller sizes. And so devices like Thermaltake Tt eSports’ Meka Pro mechanical gaming keyboard look towards consolidation of ideas, rather than just tacking on new ones. The result is a gaming keyboard that, quite frankly, doesn’t really look like one. But the Meka Pro delivers where it counts… performance. The most interesting – and smart – use of key consolidation comes from the way that the Meka Pro uses macro keys. At first glance, it doesn’t have any. But, on closer inspection, you will find that the often ignored (for gaming, anyway) Numpad has six keys that alternate their function as macro keys. It’s a smart way to cut down on extra keys, really, but it would probably

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not work for the maybe five people in the world who use their Numpad keys for gaming… so no real problem there. Macros can also be recorded on the fly, thanks to a dedicated macro recording key. Additionally, a number of other keys have alternate functions (for multimedia and Windows shortcuts) which, once again, cuts down on the clutter. The Meka Pro also features per key backlighting, with six lighting effects and four pre-configured lighting modes (for FPS, MMO, MOBA and RTS game styles). All lighting modes, as well as lighting brightness and effect speed, can be controlled right there on the keyboard, so there is no need to go digging around in software to do so. While the lighting options are a little more limited than other keyboards have on offer, the presets are sensible, making for a no-fuss approach to backlighting. The model we took a look at featured Cherry MX

gamecca94


TteSports Meka Pro Mechanical Keyboard

by Alex Scanlon

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

A no-fuss, effective keyboard that integrates macro and function keys beautifully in a slimmer design.

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6 lighting modes 4 light zone presets 6 macro keys Cherry MX switches On-the-fly macro recording

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Blue switches, which are quick, responsive and clicky. Red and brown switch varieties are also available, and the reliability of the Cherry MX brand means you’re not wondering about proprietary switches created by the keyboard manufacturers themselves. The real win here, though, is the fact that the Meka Pro is not too big. Its smaller size makes it great for travelling to LAN events and the like, or for desks that are a little less forgiving on space. While it doesn’t have extras like wrist rests, its responsiveness and cleverly integrated macro keys make it a clear winner when it comes to gaming keyboards, and although it is a little limited on extras like lighting customisation, it still offers enough to be fun and effective. This is a great option for those who want an effective gaming keyboard, but who aren’t too bothered with too many extra features. g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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H C EW E T VI E R Asus

RoG Maximux IX

TECHNOLOGY

One big mother…

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Asus RoG Maximux IX Apex Motherboard

Motherboard

by Rob Edwards

t has been some time since we took a look at an Asus motherboard here at Gamecca, and it seems that, what with the release of new chipsets and all that, the Taiwan-based manufacturer has been really busy refining their offerings. At the top of the pile is the RoG Maximus IX Apex motherboard, and while it tips the scales at a pretty intimidating price point, it gives hard core users and overclockers a host of tools and options to really squeeze every ounce of performance out of it. Right out of the box, there is little question that the Maximus IX Apex has something different to offer. The very shape of the board is unique, with flared corners creating a hinted X shape for the black (or should that be pinstriped?) device. Impressive gunmetal heat sinks, inspired by the distinctive shape of the F117 stealth plane, add greatly to the look of the Maximus IX Apex, which comes complete with a number of RGB lighting options and customisations. Looks aren’t really what a motherboard is about, though – even if they have become a more prominent idea in the last few years. What’s immeasurably more important is the performance that the Maximus IX Apex delivers. It’s really rather excellent. The Maximus IX Apex offers a wide array of options and overclocking tweaks, all with a stable, centralized overclocking system that keeps things safe for those who don’t want to push too many limits. The features on offer here are literally too many to list, which is great for those wanting a motherboard crammed with extras. Whether it is the dedicated water cooling monitoring and control system, or the reinforced PCIe and RAM ports, the Maximus IX Apex has a lot on offer. Increased RAM performance, improved game-priority LAN, exceptional protection systems… all of these are things that make the Maximus IX Apex stand out, and they’re not all, either. The Maximus IX Apex is currently attributed with 8 overclocking world records, and the entire system seems aimed at the extremes that power users demand. Aside from some strange design ideas – like the inclusion of only two RAM sockets, the Maximus IX Apex does its job wonderfully. But this isn’t a motherboard for everyone. Unless you’re planning on pushing performance to the limits (and perhaps beyond them) you’re going to be putting a lot of cash into a board that is capable of far more than the average user demands. In other words, if you’re not the type who has a canister of liquid nitrogen lying around, the Maximus IX Apex may be too much motherboard for you. Now that might sound like a challenge, but it shouldn’t be taken as one… this is a lot of board for simple, everyday use. g

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

The massively powerful Maximus IX Apex is great for overclockers, but may be too much motherboard for most users. Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

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4 ink cartridge system Wireless function Print, scan, copy Double sided printing ePrinting Web connected

SCORE

A s us A s us w w w . a s us . c o m

AWARDS

X Apex T

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

95 101


H C EW E T VI E R Trust

GXT 880

TECHNOLOGY

Straight to the point

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Mechanical Keyboard


AWARDS

AT A GLANCE:

It has no frills, but it does offer good performance and a much quieter mechanical experience. Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

T rus t A pe x I nt e ra c t i v e www.apexint.co.za

TECH SPECS • • • • • • • • •

Per key backlighting 6 lighting profiles Four integrated macro keys Proprietary switches 5ms response time N-key rollover.

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by Rob Edwards

SUMMARY

rollover, all of which ensure smooth, fast and effective response. Even the gold-plated USB plug, at the end of the 2m cable, helps make this keyboard perform well. In terms of special features… well, they aren’t immediately apparent. The GXT 880 features one backlighting colour (white) and no visible macro keys. However, it also features 6 custom light profiles, as well as per-key illumination. So while the colour will stay the same, you can set up the way you want it to display. Four macros can also be programmed into the GXT 880, although there are no dedicated macro keys. You would use normal keys for this, with a dedicated gaming mode key that enables macro use and disables the Windows key. The GXT 880 is, despite its overall simplicity, a goodlooking keyboard, with a contoured design and comfortable feel. And unlike a compact keyboard, it still features a numpad (great for those macros). It is an effective performer, and is solidly built, too. Additionally, those that want mechanical performance without the racket will certainly enjoy the switches used here. On the downside, it does feel a little sparse on features… even customisable colouring would have made a big difference. But that doesn’t take away from its great performance. No mess, no fuss. g

Trust GXT 880 Mechanical Keyboard

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gaming keyboard is a very personal device, in that it really needs to work for the person that is using it. Perhaps that is why there are so many options; macro keys, extra keys, USB pass throughs… all of these things can make or break an individual user’s experience. There are even those who prefer to avoid all those bells and whistles and go for something much sleeker and simpler. If you’re one of those folks, then the Trust GXT 880 Mechanical Keyboard is a good one to consider. This keyboard really trims things down, while still keeping a strong gaming appeal in the mix. The first thing that stands out with the GXT 880 is that, even though it is a mechanical keyboard, it is extremely quiet quieter than even some membrane keyboards out there. This is partly thanks to Trust’s proprietary GTXwhite linear switches, which are graded up to 50 million keystrokes and offer a 4mm total travel (with a 2mm work travel). There is still a click as the key hits the bottom of its travel, but the actuation click of each switch – which is what makes keyboards using switches like Cherry MX so clicky – isn’t there. That doesn’t mean that the GXT 880 doesn’t do the job, and do it well. It has a 5ms response time, and a 1000Hz polling rate, as well as N-key


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Free Speech VS The Internet TECHNOLOGY

Should online content be governed?

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by Suvesh Arumugam

elements of the law are contained in the new Cybercrimes Bill currently before Parliament. There is heated debate about whether a law like this should exist. Many Internet Service Providers and free speech advocacy organisations, such as Right2Know, have criticised the bill for being vague and open-ended. This would leave room for authorities to infringe on the public’s constitutional right to share information freely. The FPB claims that the new law brings South Africa in line with countries like Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The debate rages on. Let’s look at two slightly different cases that might help put this all-in perspective, and which might help you decide which side of the fence you’d prefer. Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewdiePie, is arguably the world’s biggest internet star. His YouTube channel boasts over 50 million subscribers and his content has been viewed close to 15 billion times by fans all around the world. Up until recently, PewdiePie was a headline content creator for Disney’s Maker Studios (a YouTube creative hub) and YouTube Red (a paid streaming service for premium original content). However all that changed when PewdiePie was called out by the Wall Street Journal for content they deemed anti-Semitic. In a series of by-lines, several journalists accused PewdiePie of hateful remarks and humour, the tipping point being a gag where he used a site called Fiverr and paid two people $5 to hold up a sign saying “Death to All Jews”. While he made a light apology in the video, claiming that he didn’t expect the duo to actually go through with his gag, he later rated them with 5 stars and praised the experience in the same video. The backlash was instant. Disney and Google immediately severed ties with the comedian, with Maker studios stating that while they have always known PewdiePie

“The application of the term “user generated content” is pretty broad.”

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Free Speech VS The Internet

VS

F

ake news is big news! Since Donald Trump won the US election just a few months ago, one of the biggest topics of discussion has been the concept of fake news. Ever since it became a buzzword, it’s been slung at journalists, public relations officers and politicians. At the same time, it has everyone on the internet frantically checking every statement and statistic for inaccuracies, misleading figures and blatant falsehoods. The internet seems to be a place where issues around freedom of speech are constantly fluctuating. It could be that because this is a space where people, rules and technology are always changing, there is a constant negotiation between all the various forces at play to determine what is permissible and what is not. The South African Film and Publication Board (FPB) weighed in heavily in May last year by proposing new legislation which would effectively allow them to censor certain aspects of the internet. The proposed Online Regulation Policy would allow the FPB to block certain “user-generated content” which: “contains sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person, degrades a person, or constitutes incitement to cause harm; advocates propaganda for war; incites violence; or advocates hatred based on any identifiable group characteristic and that constitutes incitement to cause harm” The application of the term “user generated content” is pretty broad. However, one could infer that this could extend to anything from a YouTube vlog to a post on social media. In response to complaints about content, the new law would allow the FPB to issue a notice to the distributor (like Google or Facebook), direct the distributor or publisher to take down the content or lay criminal charges against any party involved. The law is still under review, but some strong


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often flirted with controversy, this had gone too far. The debate continued online, with fans ardently defending PewdiePie and accusing media journals of orchestrating “hit pieces” against him and irresponsible journalism. While the scandal doesn’t appear to have lost the YouTube star many fans, being cut out of preferred YouTube advertising has probably lost him a few precious dollars. He also gained some new fans from white supremacist groups, with known neo-Nazi sites like the The Daily Stormer and other “alt-right” YouTubers claiming affinity to him. While it’s not clear what PewdiePie intentions were, or if he simply didn’t think it through, it left a lot of people asking what responsibility prominent figures on the internet have to censor hate speech.

“...the real damage is arguably from the comments and discussion in response.”

TECHNOLOGY

With mixed audiences that probably include young children, his gag could have far reaching effects. While PewdiePie claimed to be riffing off an old meme (a throwback to 2011 4Chan gag), it’s clear that his message reached a lot further than obscure Reddit or 4Chan forum boards. The second case of interest is a recent video of an altercation between a man and a woman at a Spur family restaurant. For those not familiar with the incident, the dispute allegedly arose around a prior altercation between their respective children in the play area. The man then confronted the mother of the child he believed to have struck his own, which resulted in the open hostility. Heated debate ensued on news articles and social media shares of the video as to who was wrong or right. The restaurant chain viewed CCTV footage (which they later released publicly) and ultimately determined that the man was the aggressor, having physically assaulted one of the children

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and also threatening to assault the mother (in full view of a group of children). He was later banned from all nationwide outlets. The outcry from the public did not stop there though. A movement arose to boycott the restaurant chain in defence of the man’s treatment, claiming that this was racially motivated. Others claimed that the woman’s family was offered counselling while the man’s details and picture have been widely published on the internet, potentially putting him and his family in danger. While the video is certainly incendiary, the real damage is arguably from the comments and discussion in response. While many have debated passionately to support either side, other comments have used the opportunity to incite violence and hate speech. While the proverbial jury may still be out in both cases, it’s clear that the damage is already done. What’s worse is knowing that toxic content of this nature (and the millions of additional pieces of content they will inspire) cannot be stemmed in any way or form due to the relaxed nature of internet. While the critics of the FPB legislation are probably right that laws like this are problematic in that they are difficult to enforce, it certainly is starting to look like there’s an argument for trying. While this content might affect us in different ways from amused, annoyed, triggered or inflamed, it’s clear that some people take these messages very seriously and could even be prepared to act on it. Free speech advocates are adamant that the internet needs to remain a place where anyone can say anything, but we’ve invented laws in society to prevent that very thing in the physical world because people get hurt. Ultimately we have to ask ourselves this: Is it bringing the sanity of laws that govern society into the internet going to be easier than convincing everyone that sticks and stones can break their bones but words (and videos) can never hurt them? g

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Movies 110

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

COMICS 120 122 124 126

America #1 The Old Guard #1 Rat Queens, Volume 2 #1 Savage Things #1

BOOKS 128 130

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Greedy Pigs Mapping the Interior

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by Noelle Adams

Marvel ain

The Misfit Space Heroes are Back in Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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ack in 2014, the release of Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest risk taken by Marvel Studios and owners The Walt

Disney Company. Arguably, it still is. As the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe it was a major departure from the movies that preceded it. By 2014, the Iron Man, Captain America and Thor franchises were already wellestablished with a minimum of two movies each. Audiences had embraced these iconic superheroes on the big screen. They knew what to expect. Guardians of the Galaxy was something quite different: a squad movie based on an obscure comic with a science-fiction focus. One of the characters was a talking raccoon. Another was an anthropomorphic tree. And the lead, Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord), was played by Chris Pratt, a TV sitcom star. With no high-profile actors, unfamiliar source material, and a general mix of comedy and cosmic weirdness, how would audiences respond? Very well, as it turns out. Guardians of the Galaxy was a critical and commercial hit, going on to make over $770 million worldwide. People loved the movie’s humour and surprising heart, and it became the top-earning Summer release of 2014. With such success, a sequel was inevitable. Fans have only one more month to wait for

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Screening in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX, the movie opens on 5 May in South Africa and the US. 112

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THE STORY THIS TIME

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Family is the focus in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. While the band of unlikely heroes come to terms with their new fame after the events of the first movie, they help Quill learn more about his mysterious father, played by Kurt Russell. Meanwhile, Rocket Raccoon finds himself in a father role himself, caring for rambunctious Baby Groot; and assassin-turned-Guardian Gamora (Zoe Saldana) contends with her villainous half-sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). All of the main performers from the first Guardians of the Galaxy return in the sequel, which is again written and directed by James Gunn. Notable newcomers to the cast for #2 include Sylvester Stallone, as a member of the Nova Corps intergalactic protection force. More important though, is the possible addition to the Guardians of Mantis (Pom Klementieff) – a quirky alien with empathetic powers. Quinn’s adoptive “father” Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) may also be joining the team. In case you’re wondering how cosmic supervillain Thanos slots into Guardians of the Galaxy 2, evidently he doesn’t. Josh Brolin’s Big Bad is being saved for the epic two-part Avengers: Infinity War in which the Avengers and Guardians finally meet, and join forces to stop the power-hungry overlord from using the Infinity Stones. Part 1 of Infinity War releases next year on 4 May, with the concluding instalment out in 2019.

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WHO ARE THE GARDIANS OF THE GALALXY As a comic book, Guardians of the Galaxy dates back to 1969. It was created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Gene Colan. Much like the Avengers, the team line-up has altered over the years, with the movie Guardians drawn from the 2008 hero roster. Here’s a reminder of who’s who.

Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord The human (probably half-alien) leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Born on Earth, Quill was whisked away from the planet in childhood by a band of space pirates called Ravagers. Raised by the Ravager head Yondu Udonta, Quill is a rogue-ish, self-interested smartmouth. He finds a more noble life purpose, though, with the Guardians. He is played by Chris Pratt.

Gamora Green-skinned Gamora is an adopted daughter – along with Nebula – of intergalactic warlord Thanos. Trained as an assassin, she is one of the finest combatants in the universe. Her strong moral code eventually leads her to rebel against her father. She now works with the Guardians in an attempt to make amends for her past. Gamora is played by Zoe Saldana.

Drax the Destroyer At first glance, Drax is a vicious tattooed brute. Outside of rampage mode, though, he is a simple, relatively cheerful being with no grasp of metaphor. He just wants revenge for Thanos’s murder of his family. Drax brings his superhuman strength and endurance – not to mention his knives – to every battle. He is played by pro-wrestling star Dave Bautista.

Rocket Raccoon Rocket is a genetically-engineered talking racoon and ex-bounty hunter. He is adept with assorted weaponry, spacecraft and is the team’s engineering expert. Rocket is extremely sensitive about his experimental origins, and is aggressive, pessimistic and distrustful as a result. His closest relationship is with long-time partner Groot. Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper.

Groot

LIFESTYLE

Groot is a sentient tree-like being. He was Rocket’s kind-hearted bodyguard and friend, before sacrificing himself to save the Guardians. With his incredible regenerative abilities, Groot has been reborn as Baby Groot. Rocket and Groot’s roles are now reversed, with Rocket protecting tiny, childlike Groot. As before, Groot is voiced by Vin Diesel.

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Yet another standout aspect of the first Guardians of the Galaxy was its soundtrack. Music played a central role in the movie as hero Peter Quill’s most treasured possession is a cassette tape given to him by his mother shortly before she died. This tape contains a mix of 60s and 70s rock, pop and soul. Upbeat hits such as Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling, and The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back struck a chord with audiences. When it was eventually released, the 12-track Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 went on to become the second most popular soundtrack of 2014 in the US. Its sales were only topped by Frozen. It also made history when it became the first soundtrack consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the Billboard 200 chart. The soundtrack’s achievements didn’t end there. Not only was it the fifth best-selling album of 2014, overall, but its global sales topped 2.5 million. Vinyl formats and a special edition cassette tape were also available. Three years on, you can recognise the influence of Guardians of the Galaxy’s unusual fusion of vintage music and superhero shenanigans. Since then, both Deadpool and Suicide Squad have utilised realworld chart toppers in a similar manner. Anticipation is high for the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack. Sadly, by the time of this month’s Gamecca deadline, no new information had been revealed about Awesome Mix Vol. 2. No track listing. No release date. All we know is that Volume 2 promises to be more diverse – combining well-known hits with more obscure songs. And that the soundtrack is fully integrated into the sequel’s story as the second tape Quill’s mother leaves for her son. g

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Title: Writer: Artist:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC America #1 Gaby Rivera Joe Quinones

Publisher:

Marvel

Rated:

Teen +

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by Clive Burmeister

America Chavez may be a fairly new hero on the block, but she’s definitely a rising star in the Marvel Universe. As the current leader of the Ultimates super hero team, she’s had her fair share of challenges to face, but now she’s in for a whole new trial which may be too much for even this super strong, flying, portal punching, power house to take on: college! In keeping with Marvel’s drive to make comics more accessible and relatable to everyone, America Chavez is another super hero of colour, a female, and a lesbian to boot. Marvel recognises that the world needs diversity in its heroes, not all main characters need to be white, and not all role-models need to be men. It does feel a little forced to me, but it is definitely on the right track.

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Title: Writer: Artist: Publisher: Rated:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC The Old Guard #1 Greg Rucka Leandro Fernandez Image Mature

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by Clive Burmeister

Greg Rucka is without a doubt one of my favourite writers in comics. He has a way on pulling you into the story from the first couple of pages, and leaving you so engrossed in the story that you never want it to end. His characters are believable, strong but flawed. His plots twist and turn, a complicated web planned from the first word to the last. And everything is detailed with research and realism, the man truly puts the time into his work. The story follows a group of people that can’t die, or at least haven’t been able to yet. They work as mercenaries, their obvious advantage a close kept secret. While the story in itself is a good one, Rucka’s focus on characters, their relationships and decisions and emotions and their entirety, is what will certainly keep you coming back for more.

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Title: Writer: Artist: Publisher: Rated:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC Rat Queens, Volume 2 #1 Kurtis J. Wiebe Owen Gieni Image Mature

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by Clive Burmeister

After a not too long hiatus which felt like an eternity, the Rat Queens are finally back. And what’s more, they’re back to their roots. Good old ass-kicking, skull-pounding adventuring, and drunken depraved parties of course. If you don’t know about the Rat Queens yet, you’ve been missing out. This is how fantasy should be written. This is no holes bared, no punches pulled, gritty, grubby, and a little grindy, fantasy. The story follows a group of female adventures as they balance the life of heroism (AKA killing things for money) with crazy sexual escapades, drug binges, and deep philosophical introspection. This is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas meets Lord of the Rings. Except it’s even better!

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Title: Writer: Artist:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC Savage Things #1 Justin Jordan Ibrahim Moustafa

Publisher:

Vertigo

Rated:

Mature

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by Clive Burmeister

Sociopaths and psychopaths are just part of society these days. Maybe they’ve always been there, maybe it’s a cause of modern living and the pressures of our age, but regardless, they are a fact, a given. But we could leave them to be a menace on society: child abusers, arsonists and serial killers. Or we could take those emotionless killers and turn them into our pet monsters and unleash them on our enemies. This was the plan for the Black Forest Project, the simple idea of taking the inevitable monsters that plague our society and turning them into weapons against any we deem fit to point them at. But with weapons like these, whose very nature makes trying to control them a risk, there is always the chance it will backfire. And then you’ve trained your own monsters.

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Greedy Pigs Matt Wallace Tor Books Urban Fantasy


COOL STUFF: bOOKS

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olitics is never an easy game. Not when there’s supernatural entities operating in the shadows, and not when you’re the team of cooks and chefs catering to both sides of the realm. The team at Sin du Jour not only do both, but their

latest assignment sees them catering for the Presidential elect of the United States… and his supernatural counterpart whose bacon they saved. Except the danger hasn’t passed and it’s up to one member of Sin du Jour to prevent a war of an unimaginable scale. In this fifth book of the Sin Du Jour chronicles, the drama and intrigue continues to build towards what should be quite a climatic end. Matt Wallace once again combines the hellish underworld of otherworldly creatures, with the unassuming and barely recognized world of catering. This time the consequences are on a massive scale, as the novella runs concurrent with the current American political debacle. The writing is crisp and humourous as ever, with an earnest realism to each of the characters growing through Sin du Jour’s expanding tale. Finding the balance between horror, is something Matt Wallace seems to do with ease. g

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by Nthato Morakabi

humour, and urban fantasy with a touch of

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Mapping the Interior More than meets the mind

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Mapping the Interior Stephen Graham Jones Tor Books Horror


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unior is a sleepwalker. Waking from an episode, he sees a silhouette stepping through a doorway in their new house. The silhouette, without specific detail, somehow reminds him of his father who died mysteriously back at the reservation before they moved. In a

boy’s desperate attempt to reconnect with his father, Junior maps out his house only to find it’s bigger, and deeper than he expected. His searching puts his little brother in terrible danger as something dark is watching. Waiting. Feeding. Mapping the Interior is a deeply nostalgic horror novella with strong Stephen King-esque elements. Solid pacing carries you through Junior’s narration of a dark, traumatic past, of a naïve boy who does his best to be a good older brother and the man of the house. His efforts while noble, carry far reaching consequences. Distinct characterisation weaves together the impending horror, with the lives of a mother trying to rebuild her life and her two sons who face their own daily troubles. It is dotted with spine-chilling events, an unfolding mystery, the desperate and hopeful intents of a boy in over his head, and it all culminates beautifully in the by Nthato Morakabi

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BY rAMJET

Assumption... I

Ramjet’s rantality

t’s April, so that means that there were a whole bunch of April Fool’s jokes doing the rounds again. Some of them were pretty clever, and others were, well, dumb. But the truth of it is that most of them worked in fooling the people who read them. Not all of the people, mind you, but a fair amount. It is actually pretty amazing just how gullible people can be, and the Internet has done nothing if not make it worse. There seems to be this sense of “it’s on the Internet, it must be true” going around. The logical assumption that anyone can have a website, and pretty much put anything that they want on that website, equated to the truth that half (or more) of the information you find on the Internet is going to be rubbish just doesn’t seem to arrive in the minds of an alarmingly large percentage of the population. “Fake news”. It’s a current watchword online, with many people finally realizing that “it is written” is not a concept or ideal that can be applied to online information. Of course, there are those taking the idea too far, accusing everything of

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being fake news, but at least there is some progress in the right direction. And yet… during my early morning Facebook lurking sessions, I still see my timeline crammed full of stuff that is extremely obviously fake, shared by people that I thought knew better. And let’s not even talk about the click-bait plague that still infects this massive social network. Don’t even get me started on that. The thing is this. Fake news is going to exist, even in our beloved gaming industry. There are many reasons for it, and most of them are malicious. The only way we can stop it from spreading is by applying our own logic and intelligence to each and every story, and acting accordingly (which would be, of course, not to spread the lies). And that is where the problem lies. Logic and intelligence. And laziness, of course, which is the bedfellow of assumption. Assumption is the enemy of logic and intelligence, at least in my slightly twisted world view. Even when the news is not fake, the lack of logic and intelligence, and the prevalence of assumption, makes me weep

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for our species. This morning I saw a comment on an announcement of the teams for an eSports World Cup event. Roughly the third comment down read something like “how come South Africa has no team in the world cup? How can it be a world cup if every country doesn’t have a team?” The assumption: a world cup includes everyone. And that’s where the thinking stopped. Applying logic and intelligence would have revealed to the poster that a) teams need to qualify for every single world cup event in every single sport and b) South Africa didn’t make the grade. That would have taken five minutes of research to find out, even if logic cannot be applied. Laziness. Assumption. Not willing to spend the energy to even think. It’s a sad state of affairs. In closing, I want to extend a thank you to all the readers that have supported us for the last 23 issues of Gladget magazine. I know that you’re going to love where we’re going with the publication, and I trust that you are as excited about all the new ideas as we are. g


Gamecca Magazine April 2017  

Gamecca Magazine April 2017 [Volume 8 - Issue 94] With 14 games on review, there is a lot to read in this issue of Gamecca Magazine. From t...

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