Page 1

ISSUE 62 / Vol.6 August 2014

www.gameccamag.com

The Last of Us Remastered Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark TowerFall Ascension and more...

Shielded!

NVidia’s new console, Part II

Relive the Epic The Last of Us hits PS4

In Space

Can Sega rescue Alien?

Transformed

The latest Giant Robot adventure reviewed

Written in the stars! Bungie’s new Destiny...

Free Online Mag


H OW O

All links in Gamecca Magazine can be clicked - even after you have downloaded it - as long as you are connected to the Internet. You can even find all of our back issues online, where they will be available forever. Gamecca Magazine uses the Issuu platform to publish. This means that Gamecca can easily be accessed on your smartphone or tablet, thanks to Issuu’s Android and iOS apps. Look for it in your app store. Gamecca Magazine is a monthly digital magazine that you can read online or download for free. Gamecca Magazine has an associated website that offers access to all issues, easy competition entries, newsletter subscription, news and more.

All the links on this page - and in the whole magazine - are live. Click on the icons to... visit the Gamecca website

Follow Gamecca on FaceBook

Follow Gamecca of Twitter

Gold Award

Given to games and hardware that score above 90

2

Silver Award

Given to games and hardware that score above 85

Send Gamecca an email

Find Gamecca on Issuu

Download Gamecca back issues

Bronze Award

Given to games and hardware that score above 80

gamecca62

Ed’s Choice

Given to products that stand out for various reasons. This award is not dependent on score.


From the Editor

Tempus Needs to Fugit

by Walt Pretorius

I

am not one to wish time away. It’s far too valuable a commodity to just want it to pass. However, I have to admit that I have been doing a lot of clock (or rather, calendar) watching for the last while there are a number of reasons for me uncharacteristically wanting time to fly by. The first is that we are once again stuck in that middle-of-the-year drought that sees very few games being released. It’s almost painful, not having anything new to play… sure, I could get back to all those games that I meant to finish, but when you do this job for as long as I have, a steady stream of new game becomes something you crave. And with it being winter here in South Africa, passing the chilly days with gaming is not always a great option, unless you’re replaying stuff you played before. That’s another reason I am keen on time flying – I have had enough of winter, even the mild one we have experienced here in Johannesburg this year. But the biggest reason for me wishing away the days is that next month South Africa will finally catch up with the majority of the world, at least in terms of gaming consoles. The Xbox One will arrive late in September and, I have to admit, I am extremely excited about it. Sure, the Xbox One has been on the receiving end of a lot of flak. And yes, I love my PS4 (although I don’t think I’ll have a preference

when both consoles are in my reviewing space). But the truth is this: along with the Xbox One, we will be getting official releases of most of the games that have come out for it. Sure, a lot of these games came out on PC or PS4, but there are a number of exclusive titles that we haven’t seen yet, including the likes of Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome And there are a few more coming, too, including Sunset Overdrive and (eventually) Scalebound. What this adds up to is the fact that while the rest of the world will still be having a bit of a slump in September, South Africa (and the other territories enjoying the Xbox One launch in September) will have a few new games to play. They may not be new in other territories, but they are new here, and that’s an awesome thing. Until then, we also have things like GamesCom coming up, and I am hoping for a few new announcements to come from Germany this year. We already have an exciting line-up, but it looks like the next year or so – make that 18 months – are going to be very exciting as developers get to grips with new console hardware. And, from next month onwards, we’ll be able to take full advantage of that. But, for now, we still have a little time to kill. Good thing you’ve got a brand new issue of Gamecca to help you through it…g mgeect 2 c7a 6 2 ggl a ad

3


THIS MONTH’S COVER

Bungie take on a whole new world with Destiny

Publisher / Editor: Walt Pretorius

10

Regular: Did you know More conversations starters from the world of video gaming

12

Feature: Written in the stars Bungie takes on a whole new challenge with destiny

18

PReviews: Games 13 games to look out for in the next few months

walt@1337-media.com

Publisher / Art Director Katia Taliadoros Katia@1337-media.com

Writers: Alex Scanlon Charlie Fripp Lein Baart Nthato Morakabi Rob Edwards Suvesh Arumugam Walt Pretorius Letters: letters@gameccamag.com

54

Feature: Alien Isolation Can Sega rescue the Alien game franchise with this new direction?

60

Reviews: Games 6 games Scrutinised...

76

Regular: Legacy Sonic - The hedgehog that changed the world

80

Column: Ramjet’s Rantality Time to stop the Moron Machine...

Competition Entries: competitions@gameccamag.com

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gameccamag.com

Marketing Contact:

Copyright © 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2014

marketing@1337-media.com

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

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

4

gamecca62


Feature: A NEW Shield Nividia forges ahead in the console market

90

reviews: Hardware six tech ways to an awesome life

100

Regular: Internet Is sharing caring?

102

Regular: Security look after the little ones online...

104

Column: Technically Speaking goodybye Glass, hello wear...

108

Gamecca Vol. 6 Issue 62 August 2014

84

Feature: ICON 2014 The deep geek fest as it happened

112

Column: The Time Betwixt Science, right?

114

COOL STUFF Comics and boardgames on display

116

Gadgets four must have things!

gamecca62

5


“The Last of Us on PS4 opens a world that is fuller, richer and far more detailed than was possible on the PS3.�


FeatureS 12 54

Written in the Stars Alien: Isolation

PReviews 18 22 26 30 34 38 40

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Sunset Overdrive Battlefield: Hardline Forza Horizon 2 Super Smash Bros. Disney Infinity 2.0:

42 44 46 48 50 52

Marvel Super Heroes Civilization: Beyond Earth Skylanders: Trap Team Lords of the Fallen Just Dance 2015 Samurai Warriors 4 Escape Dead Island

Reviews 60 64 68 70 72 74

The Last of Us Remastered Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy TowerFall Ascension Strider Doki Doki Universe

RegularS 10 76

Did you know Legacy

COLUMN 80

8

Ramjet’s Rantality

gamecca62


Know? ar

l gu

1…

that Arya Stark could play in The Last of US film? If you don’t know who Arya Stark is, maybe you have heard of a little television show called Game of Thrones? Well, the actress who plays Stark, Maisie Williams, is reportedly in talks with movie makers to play the lead role of Ellie in the film adaptation of one of the best games of last year. “The Last of Us movie team had meeting with Game of Throne’s Maisie Williams for lead role of Ellie. “Nothing signed yet at all,” Buzzfeed’s senior film reporter Adam B. Vary tweeted from San Diego Comic-Con.

2…

that the Firefly game reunite old faces? Speaking of hugely popular television shows, it is no secret that Joss Whedon’s cult classic sci-fi TV series Firefly will be turned into a video game. But as fans of the series has been calling for a film to wrap up some of the outstanding issues, it has been revealed that the forthcoming online game will feature all of the original cast members. Michael Fairman will reprise his role as mob boss Adelai Niska, while Alan Tudyk (Wash) will be playing multiple roles.

3…

that there will be no Battlefield title this year? Electronic Arts have been really good at pushing out a new Battlefield game every year, trying to compete with the ever-present Call of Duty franchise. But while Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be released this year, EA announced that their next title, Battlefield: Hardline will be moved to a release date next year. Reasons are still sketchy, but Polygon has reported that the Hardline team wants to spend more time developing it to ultimately make Hardline a better game. Don’t they all…?

GAMING

Did You

re

10

gamecca62


DID YOU KNOW

Twitch, Bioshock, Battlefield and more...

4…

that Twitch has been acquired by Google? First Google put their claws into YouTube, and now it has been reported that the technology giant has made a $1 billion offer for game live-streaming service Twitch. This is great for two reasons: Twitch will have the full might of Google behind them; and it just further proves that big companies are taking gaming seriously. Over the last couple of years Twitch has become the go-to service to watch live streams of people playing video games, not only in tournaments, but also Average Joes in their living rooms.

5…

that there is possibly a new BioShock game on the way? While nothing has officially been announced yet, BioShock publisher 2K Games tweeted recently a picture of an apple in an ad for Eve’s Garden at Poseidon Plaza. Players of the franchise will know that Poseidon Plaza was a location in the first game’s Fort Frolic level. It could mean that there is a brand new game waiting in the wings, but then again, series creator Ken Levine has been pushing hard for a Vita tactics spin-off. It could mean something, or it could be a giant heap of nothing. Only time will tell.

6…

that Rob Zombie made an Assassin’s Creed short film? Most people will probably know Rob Zombie as being the lead singer of long-defunct rock band White Zombie, but those following his career will know he is also a rather well-established film maker (Google: House of a 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects). Under the instruction of Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft, Zombie teamed up with The Walking Dead illustrator Tony Moore to produce ‘Rob Zombie’s French Revolution’. The idea of the incredibly violent, NSFW film is to educate the public about the French Revolution leading up to the events in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity game. It’s well worth a watch... g gamecca62

11


re

tu a e

f

Writ in the

Getting hands o

GAMING

Destiny [des-tuh-nee] Noun, plural destinies. 1. Something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing; lot or fortune. 2. The predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.

12

gamecca62


Feature: Destiny

by Charlie Fripp

tten Stars

on with Destiny

gamecca62

13


re

tu a e

f

GAMING

F

rom the dictionary description, it is rather difficult to say which definition Bungie’s Destiny would fall into – it is one of those situation where it could be either or. But looking back at the initial announcements about the series that has been touted to overtake the hugely-successful Halo franchise, there are some clue as to what Bungie had in mind. For a game that is taking upwards of half a billion dollars to develop, the developer is truly hoping that their destiny has already been plotted out – and that it will be a successful one. A lot of time and large quantities of cash have been poured into this project, and gamers finally got a chance to put the title through its paces with the release of the beta at the end of July. Initially beta codes were only given to those who pre-order the game, but after having access for a week Bungie decided to throw open the flood gates and let just about anybody in. This was done for several reasons, but most importantly it was to stress-test the

14

server infrastructure. Seeing as a large portion of the title is online, having a server test is a rather important thing. Similar to the Halo franchise, Destiny takes place about 700 years into the future, but planet earth is not nearly as pretty as it is today. For starters, this whole apocalyptic thing happened when human colonies throughout the solar system started to disintegrate, leaving the only human survivors to be taken to earth by The Traveller, “a white, spherical celestial body”. The beta isn’t the full game, but gamers will get a pretty good idea of what the universe is all about and how vast it is. Earth serves as a starting point for players, where most of the missions will be located, as well as being the point of entry to access the Tower. While locked in the beta, the moon is visible on the general overview map, suggesting that players will complete some missions there as well. The rest of the universe is either locked or was not made visible in the beta. But it is already a large place, and would it have

gamecca62


Feature: Destiny

been any bigger, the experience would have bordered on a demo, instead of a beta. Being dropped onto earth at the start of the title can seem like a daunting task – especially when gamers consider that there are creepy enemies everywhere - but at least they won’t be alone. Every player has a ghost, a little flying cube that helps them in certain situations. While the ghost doesn’t assist in combat, he quips a comment here and there during the course of the missions. But for the main part of the adventure, gamers will be on their own (unless they are part of a fireteam). Each map or scenario will have a mission attached to it, and the ghost will guide players in the right direction. Destiny takes on the trusted formula of throwing almost everything between gamers and their end objective, which doesn’t just create action-packed battles, but also helps gamers to level up faster (Level 8 is the cap for the beta). Before exploring the battles and in-game mechanics, it has to be pointed out that there is an RPG element as

well, as players will each experience points for downing enemies, which in turn unlocks different abilities and traits. It does dig a little bit deeper than that, but only the core abilities and functions are available in the beta. So, imagine Borderlands, but on a slightly larger scale. Since the title is meant to be played while connected to the internet, players could be on their way to complete a mission while a completely random (human) fireteam is busy battling it out with group of aliens. Players can choose to either help their fellow Destiny players defeat the foes, or just mind their own business and carry on their merry way. That is the beauty of Destiny – everybody plays in the same world, but they don’t have to interact with each if they don’t want to. And since the game scales according to the amount of people in a fireteam, gamers will get a different experience either way. Right, on to the weapons. Depending on which class they chose in the character creation screen (there are

gamecca62

15


re

tu a e

GAMING

f

three races, with three different class and two genders) they will start with a pretty decent first weapon. This will usually be some sort of high-powered rifle, with Hunters having a sniper rifle and Warlocks being equipped with a Scout rifle. As the game progresses, players will unlock the ability to carry a secondary gun (which is either a fusion rifle or a shotgun), and then a third gun, which is a heavy machine gun or a rocket launcher. Each class also have their own abilities which can be used differently during the course of the game. The beta is limited to the amount of upgrades and powers that can be added to the various powers, but it is still fun to throw rudimental lightning bolts and plasma balls around. Once again, think Borderlands with a Halo flair and some shiny graphics. Speaking of graphics, this is an incredibly detailed world, and players will immediately see that a lot of work has gone into drawing the little things and adding small

16

details. While there is a distinct different between old and current gen consoles, both perform pretty well for their respective technologies. One thing that will stand out for players on current generation consoles is the draw distance. Enemies can be spotted from some distance away, which is always a good thing if playing as a sniper, where distance if their friend. Technology has allowed the developers to fiddle with the graphics to suit each console at its best, but that shouldn’t be a major concern for either generation. Thankfully controls are one thing that developers can’t fiddle around with too much, and Destiny is no exception. Players who enjoyed Borderlands will be very familiar with the control scheme, and should have no problems getting around – and it feels the same as well. In fact, the controls are so stock-standard that there isn’t even a tutorial or anything at the beginning of the game. Players are left to figure things out for themselves,

gamecca62


Feature: Destiny

but paging through some of the selections in the menu will indeed reveal a schematic for the controls. And it’s here where players can change the way things work if they feel the need to tweak things – there are about six or seven pre-sets to choose from. Keeping in mind that it is still in the beta phase, the little Sparrow that gamers can use to zip around the levels are a bit clunky in terms of controls. We suspect it is something that will be patched in the main game. Either that, or the first Sparrow is just a horrible aircycle to ride – which can be upgraded using cash or other means. The difficulty comes in when players have to steer with the left analogue stick while controlling an independent camera with the right analogue stick – and pressing the left trigger for boost. Destiny as a beta is pretty good. Is it $500 million good? Probably not. But with that said, it plays beautifully and while there are some difference between current

generation and old generation console version, the experience between the two are pretty much on par. Not sure if it is intentional, but there are actually a number of similarities between Destiny and Borderlands. It might seem like a bit of a stretch, but give it a go and they will soon become clear – like the level difficulty that scales depending on the amount of people in your fireteam; or the controls. If Halo had to mate with Borderlands, not only will that be a foul-mouthed baby with great style, but it would be called Destiny. That is about the closest that one can accurately describe the title. Borderlands has been a huge success since the first title, and Bungie is hoping that Destiny will be able to meet the expectation. We don’t usually buy into all the hype before the full version of the game is released, but Destiny has given us a glimpse into what could possibly give Borderlands a really, really good run for its money. g

gamecca62

17


E M W A VIE G E R P

Assassin’s CREEd: unity GAMING

Redesigned Revolution

18

gamecca62


Assassin’s Creed Unity

19

gamecca62


A

he rises through the ranks of the Assassins. While there are scant few details available regarding the storyline, this tumultuous time in French history is rich with possibilities, and given the franchise’s predilection for muddying the waters when it comes to what sides are historically considered good and evil, expect more than a few plot twists. Unity has seen more than just the typical change of scenery however, and players can expect many of the fundamental mechanics of the series to be revised. To start with, Unity will introduce what Ubisoft are calling the “parkour up” and “parkour down” movement schemes, which they claim will give players a greater degree of control when navigating the environment. The combat

GAMING

t’s been a long time since the first Assassin’s Creed game was released in 2007, and the gradual evolution that the franchise has undertaken has brought us to a point where the last year’s entry, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, was a very different beast to its original progenitor. Gone were the towering castles, forts and spires that had awed players in the first two titles, along with anything that resembled an actual assassination mission. Now it seems that Ubisoft is set on returning to its roots, and even from the small glimpses we’ve seen, Assassin’s Creed Unity looks to be a magnificent return for the series. And so players will find themselves in the midst of the French Revolution, taking on the role of Arno Dorian as

20

gamecca62


Assassin’s Creed Unity

highly replayable, with multiple paths and options that will change depending on the number of players. Add to this the fact that each party member can be given a specific co-op skill, such as revival or healing, and the inclusion of this mode could be the most exciting aspect to be added to the franchise to date. Unity will be next-gen only, and for good reason it seems. Capable of rendering up to 5000 people on screen at once, all controlled by adaptive crowd AI, Unity is looking to bring revolutionary Paris to life. Loading screens will be non-existent, and all major landmarks as well as a third of the ordinary buildings will have playable interiors, all in all tweaks that were just not possible with previous hardware. g

AT A GLANCE Action-adventure

Assassin’s Creed Unity is shaping up to be a truly spectacular addition to the franchise, even without the addition of co-op Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Ubisoft Montreal Ubisoft Megarom

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

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

21

by Lein Baart

system will also see changes, with the elimination of counter-kills meaning that battles should be more challenging than in previous games, putting emphasis on stealth which includes a new crouch and cover mechanic. Finally, Unity will also introduce a skill and equipment system whereby players can customise their incarnation of Arno to their own play style, which will carry over into the co-op mode the game is launching. It’s this four player co-op that has been the focus of much of the talk about the game. Initialised by walking into a tavern and approaching the “ghost” of any friend who is currently online, the co-op will allow players to tackle most missions from the single-player story together. Ubisoft have also stated the missions themselves will be


E M W A VIE G E R P

Middle-Earth Shadow of M GAMING

Game changer

22

gamecca62


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

h: Mordor

23

gamecca62


W

Taking place in the period between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, Shadow of Mordor will tell the story of Talion, a ranger of Gondor appointed to guard the Black Gate in a time when Sauron has still to reclaim his lands. Killed in action against Mordor’s armies, Talion is resurrected through possession by a wraith-like being, and with powers similar to those of the Nazgul he sets off to enact his retribution against the orc tribes that inhabit the land. An open-world game, Shadow of Mordor seems to draw on a couple of franchises for inspiration. Gameplay videos have shown Talion to be an agile character, easily able to scamper up walls and buildings in a manner more than a little reminiscent of Assassin’s

GAMING

hen it comes to fanbases, those that have fallen in the love with the literature of Tolkien have to be some of the most, uh, passionate out there. Whether muttering to themselves in Sindarin over the shortcomings of Peter Jackson’s films or debating an obscure piece of lore, these are people who generally detest even the slightest alteration to the master’s canon. Thus the announcement of game that goes further and inserts an entirely new chapter in to the history of Eä is bound to be met with trepidation by this same group, but if the promises of Monolith Productions hold true, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is not a game you are going to want to miss out on.

24

gamecca62


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

and adapt to your past actions, changing both their behaviour and attitude towards you. For instance, an orc you faced in an earlier encounter in which he was not killed may rise to the rank of chieftain, all the while harbouring a bitter grudge that will make him a tougher opponent the next time you face him. Additionally entire unforeseen events may be sparked by your actions, such as a battle between tribes in which you had no direct hand. It’s an exciting prospect and alone makes Shadow of Mordor stand out amongst several big name games to be released this year. Unfortunately though old gen gamers will be receiving a stripped down version of the Nemesis System, though Monolith have promised to include as much as possible. g

AT A GLANCE Action-Adventure

With the potential that the Nemesis System offers, this is a game to keep an eager eye on Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Monolith Productions Warner Bros Ster Kinekor

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

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

25

by Lein Baart

Creed (suspiciously so according to a former Ubisoft developer), and even air assassinations make an appearance. Likewise, the actual combat seems to be almost directly lifted from the Arkham games, with signs flashing above an enemy’s head to indicate its intent to attack, allowing players to respond with counter-attacks and dodges as appropriate. What innovation Shadow of Mordor does bring to the party is easily its biggest attraction however. The game will make use of a mechanic that Monolith is calling the Nemesis System which, if their assurances hold true, will allow a genuinely unique play through each time you start a new game. Essentially designed to allow for responsive AI, the system will see characters remember


E M W A VIE G E R P

Sunset Overdrive GAMING

Experience the Awesomepocalypse

26

gamecca62


Sunset Overdrive

27

gamecca62


O

creatures. Enter the player, a former video-game-playing, comic-reading, couch-surfing layabout who has discovered that all those “wasted years” have actually become a benefit – allowing the player’s character to become the super-powered hero that Sunset City desperately needs. Sunset Overdrive is being developed by Insomniac games. This is the studio that gave us Ratchet & Clank (awesome), Resistance (pretty solid) and Fuse (what were they thinking?). There’s a pretty solid history here, but one or two missteps do make one wonder exactly what we can expect from this new IP. On the surface, things look great. We’re talking a massive playground, tons of action and characters that are extremely customisable, which always works well. Some

GAMING

pen world games have become a massive thing – no-one can ever accuse game developers of leaping onto band wagons and riding waves created by others, now can they. But whether the trend annoys or excites you, there are increasing options to partake in within the open-world idea. And, to be honest, game developers wouldn’t keep making them if gamers didn’t lap them up. It stands to reason, then, that open-world games are massively popular, and there’s a new one coming. Sunset Overdrive will be set in the near future – 2027, to be exact. The fictional Sunset City falls victim to an energy drink that was rushes to market, and most of the population has turned into weird mutants and crazed

28

gamecca62


Sunset Overdrive

developers are pushing the “crazy” aspect, things could get really, incredibly insane in these sessions. Insomniac are also promising a solid, steady flow of communication between themselves and their audience. In other words, players from around the globe will be able to influence the regular content updates that the game will receive, supplying at least some level of input on how their Sunset Overdrive experience develops over time. Sunset Overdrive is one of those titles that could go either way, really. The developer has a solid enough track record, and the Xbox One will be more than capable of handling all of their ambitions for this title. It looks like great fun, really, and we’re going to go with cautiously optimistic for this title. g

AT A GLANCE Action Adventure

We’re hoping that Insomniac manage to deliver the goods with this ambitious, crazy, open world title. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Insomniac Microsoft Microsoft

Q3 2014

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

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

29

by Walt Pretorius

of the PR speak around this title smacks a little of the Saint’s Row level of craziness, but we’re hoping that this game manages to do many of the things that Saint’s Row didn’t – including staying focussed through any additional instalments that might spring up in future. If the surface isn’t just a fancy veneer, Sunset Overdrive will prove to be an awesomely fun game to play. Games that grant the player lots of freedom generally are, and with a wide array of options, equipment and movement abilities, the free-roaming aspect of Sunset Overdrive will not only provide the player with tons to do, but also crazy amounts of fun while doing them. And it won’t just be for solo-operators either; eight player co-op is also on the cards, and seeing as how the


E M W A VIE G E R P

Battlefield: Hardline GAMING

Out with the old

30

gamecca62


Battlefield: Hardline

31

gamecca62


M

To start, Battlefield: Hardline will be the first game in the series to deviate from the ever popular military shooter, with Visceral Games, best known for the Dead Space franchise, opting instead to pitch Hardline as cops vs. robber styled FPS. It’s a dramatic shift in tone, especially considering that Visceral wants the game to be more than just a palette swap of Battlefield 4, and you’re likely to see less overall mayhem and chaos and more tactical play, both in multi- and single-player. Speaking of single-player, Visceral have shown to be more than capable of stringing together a good narrative, and Hardline might just be the game that breaks ground for the series to deliver something that

GAMING

odern shooters (particularly those that revolve around warfare) are not exactly known as the pinnacles of storytelling. With the focus firmly on multiplayer, it seems that the single-player campaign has been reduced to little more than an extended tutorial, and despite all that bangs, bells, flashes and whistles, the term rail shooter has become disappointingly apt. With Battlefield 4 having launched with a seemingly endless list of bugs in its online incarnation, for the first time EA has decided to let another developer take a shot at one of the world’s biggest selling franchises, and the result could be something markedly different from what’s come before.

32

gamecca62


Battlefield: Hardline

and high-speed chases. While the more obvious military equipment such as tanks and jets will not be available, EA have been quick to assure that there will be “plenty of machines to fly’, as well armoured trucks, motorbikes and muscle cars. And of course, seeing as this using the Frostbite 3 engine, expect to see the absolute level destruction that is Levolution. Unfortunately if you’re now itching to get your hands on a copy of the game, EA has recently announced that the release date has been pushed back to early 2015. Citing player feedback from the beta, EA have stated the development needed “a little bit of extra time” in order to “get the game to where we think it needs to be in order to be successful”. g

AT A GLANCE First-person shooter

The potential for a decent plot and tactical gameplay means that Hardline could be a fresh new addition to a rather generic genre Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Visceral Games Electronic Arts TBC

Q1 2015

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

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

33

by Lein Baart

can actually be called a plot. Revolving around Nick Mendoza, a SWAT officer fighting the “war on crime”, the game will feature an episodic storyline that EA is billing as a “straight TV crime drama… inspired by the most popular crime dramas seen on television today”. Featuring “so many twists and turns, you won’t be able to wait until the next episode”, Visceral have teased that the campaign won’t be entirely linear, though they have remained coy with regards to solid details. Hardline is still a Battlefield game though, and as such expect there to be a heavy focus on multiplayer. Four new modes have been revealed through the beta thus far, all of which are different takes on the law enforcement theme, and include rescuing hostages


E M W A VIE G E R P

Forza Horizo GAMING

Off the beaten path

34

gamecca62


Forza Horizon 2

on 2 gamecca62

35


I

Set once again during the Horizon Festival, Horizon 2 will be shifting the action from Colorado, USA to the varied and stunning vistas of mainland Europe, specifically southern France and Northern Italy, with a playable area approximately three times larger than that of the original. Featuring the same engine used in Forza Motorsport 5, if the screenshots and gameplay trailers are anything to go by Horizon 2 is going to be jaw-droppingly beautiful, revelling in the graphical prowess that the Xbox One has to offer. Everything from the reflection of the sun off rain-slicked roads to the modelling of the cramped and cobbled streets of medieval-aged villages appears to be rendered in loving detail, and those that appreciate aesthetics in their

GAMING

t’s a rare thing to see a developer share control of a successful franchise, and rarer still for that to become a lasting arrangement. Yet when Turn 10 Studios, responsible for the massively popular Forza Motorsport series, handed the reigns over to Playground Games to develop a spin-off title, gamers in 2012 were treated to a dazzling display of visual glitz, innovation and the uncommon experience of simulation and arcade racing expertly blended. Indeed it appears that publisher Microsoft was so enthralled with Playground’s work that Horizon seems to be taking up permanent residence in the Forza stable, and car nuts can expect plenty more open-world racing delight in Forza Horizon 2.

36

gamecca62


Forza Horizon 2

system has seen heavy reworking and now will play an integral part of the game, with perks being unlocked as players gain experience points that have actual tangible gameplay benefits both on and offline in the seamless multiplayer that Playground is looking to implement. This is all great news for Xbox One owners, however those that have been unable to get their hands on Microsoft’s latest console will find the Xbox 360 version a somewhat different beast. Developed by Sumo Digital, according to Playground the two versions are different games “inspired by the same ideas”, and as such several features, like the dynamic weather system and the Drivatars of Motorsport 5, will be exclusive to the Xbox One. g

AT A GLANCE Racing

Forza Horizon 2 is a title that looks set to delight fans of the original. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Playground / Sumo Microsoft Microsoft

Sep 2014

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

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

37

by Walt Pretorius

gaming are certainly going to be delighted. Gameplay-wise Horizon 2 is looking to blend the best of the original with a suite of new features that should get any fan excited. With over 200 cars available at launch, including the likes of the Lamborghini Huracán, and a mammoth 700 events to be explored and completed, this will not be a title devoid of content. While the first game was ostensibly open-world, the sequel is truly taking the descriptor to heart and players will now be able to venture off the tarmac at will. This will also be the first title in the Forza franchise to feature a dynamic weather system, which combined with the physics model of the Motorsport series means that races could be drastically altered by the advent of adverse weather. The skills


E M W A VIE G E R P

Super smash bros. GAMING

Everyone’s in!

38

gamecca62


Super Smash Bros.

AT A GLANCE Fighting

If you are a fan of Nintendo and fighting, this is for you Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Bandai Namco Games Nintendo Nintendo

ETA

Sep 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Charlie Fripp

.

G

oing back about 15 years, the first Super Smash Bros. title was launched for the hugelysuccessful Nintendo 64 to much fanfare. The start of the franchise pitted characters from various Nintendo stables against each other in battle brawl ‘til death. While there have been two games after the initial release, this year will see the launch of two separate titles: one for the 3DS, and another for the Wii U, lumped together under the banner of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Just as with the previous titles, the fourth and fifth instalment will see various characters from the Nintendo franchises fight against each other in a competitive style. Up to four players will be able to control one character each, and Smash Balls will be making a long-awaited return. In total about 36 characters will be able to battle it out against each other, and include the likes of Bowser from Mario, Charizard from Pokémon, Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog. But that isn’t all, as customizable characters will be made available for the first time, which can be used in local matches and online matches against friend. It might not be a game that will immediately attract everyone, but if you are a fan of the Nintendo universe and love fighting titles, this one should definitely be on your radar. It is arguable that the Wii U version might be slightly better than the 3DS one, but at the end of the day it will come down to console preference, if you are fortunate to own both. g

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

39


E M W A VIE G E R P

Disney Infinity

Marvel Super H GAMING

Prepare to spend!

40

gamecca62


AT A GLANCE Adventure

Adding the Marvel characters to the already popular Disney Infinity line-up is sure to empty wallets and provide tons of entertainment. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Avalanche Disney Interactive Prima Interactive

ETA

Q3 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Walt Pretorius

y 2.0:

Heroes

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes

P

arting people with their money makes good sense in any industry, and in the video game industry delivering a product that does so almost constantly is gold. Most games are pretty much once-off purchases, but franchises like Activision’s Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity provide players (or, more likely, their parents) with a reason to keep coming back. Disney’s offering arguably has an edge in the collectable-toy-video-game market, simply because it makes use of wellestablished and recognisable properties from the Disney stable. And with the release of Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes, it will extend that advantage beyond its previous scope, by introducing characters to the game that are immensely popular with young and old alike. Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes will bring more than 20 Marvel characters to the game, each with an associated collectible figurine. But unlike previous Infinity efforts, these characters will be able to partake in all the adventures, rather than in those specifically created for them. Additionally, a new and improved toybox mode will enable players to create even better levels, and tweaks and changes to the system will allow those that want to create their own games within the main title to do so more easily. This will be the first outing for the franchise on the new generation of consoles, too, so we’re hoping to see a lot more in terms of power and capability in terms of what players can do with the new Disney Infinity. One thing is for sure – wallets will strain under the weight of this very valuable property... g

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

41


E M W A VIE G E R P

Civilization: Beyond Earth GAMING

Tag line here, tag line here

42

gamecca62


Civilization: Beyond Earth

AT A GLANCE Grand Strategy

A must have for any Civ fan, Beyond Earth should be an exciting and new addition to the franchise Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Firaxis Games 2K Games Megarom

ETA

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Lein Baart

h

F

or any fan of grand strategy, a new Civilisation release is cause for ridiculous levels of excitement and anticipation. The granddaddy of all 4X games (which stands for explore, expand, exploit and exterminate), the franchise has blazed a trail in gaming history and to this day continues to stand out in the genre. So the announcement that Civilization: Beyond Earth (which totally isn’t Alpha Centauri 2) is set to launch this October has had more than a few players prepping for the inevitable all-nighters that are to come. Fleeing an unnamed global disaster known only as the Great Mistake, Beyond Earth will see players take up the mantle of leader once more, only this time on a new planet that humanity has yet to colonise. This fact alone means that the standard Civ formula will be drastically altered, as players will begin the game where previous titles have ended. To represent this Firaxis Games are making changes to several core mechanics, the first of which will be the ability to customise your faction’s journey to the planet through the choices of expedition sponsor, spacecraft, colonists and cargo. The heart of the game though will lie with your adoption of an affinity, one of three philosophies that will guide your burgeoning civilisation throughout its growth. Split between The Supremacy, who are enamoured with all things technological, The Harmony, who wish to transform humanity to suit the world, and The Purists, who would see the world transformed to suit humanity, your affinity will have a massive effect on your technology web, which replaces the standard tech tree, and will ultimately see players end up with vastly different units, buildings and capabilities. g

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

43


E M W A VIE G E R P

Skylanders: Trap Team GAMING

Prison break

44

gamecca62


Skylanders: Trap Team

T

AT A GLANCE Adventure

If you like the Skylanders premise, then there is no reason not to get this. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Toys for Bob Activision Megarom

ETA

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Charlie Fripp

he Skylanders franchise has quickly rose to become one of the most popular series of games/toys aimed at the younger gaming generations. But don’t be fooled – there are many adults who enjoy the battling creatures with their own set of unique little fighters. Skylanders: Trap Team is the fourth game in the franchise, and follows on from the events in Skylanders: Swap Force. Just for a bit of clarity, what has made Skylanders so successful is that players have to buy figurines from retail stores, and import them digitally into their games. In terms of plot, players can expect to battle some of the worst villains in the series, as antagonist Kaos blows up Cloudcracker Prison, which in turn sets the villains free. The game becomes a bit of a cat-and-mouse scenario, as gamers (who take on the role of Portal Master) must use the Trap Masters and the Traptanium shards to recapture all the villains to restore peace in Skylands. The game mechanics for Skylanders: Trap Team has remained largely unchanged from the rest of the series, as players still have to place their toy figures representing the characters onto an interface device known as the Portal of Power. But there is one element that has been added: the trap. “Unlike the figures, which brings characters into the game, the traps can be used to store enemy characters originally found in the game, who may then be controlled as good characters,” the game explains. Once characters have been trapped, they can be transferred to other consoles as well. g

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

45


E M W A VIE G E R P

Lords of the Fallen

GAMING

The sincerest form of flattery‌

46

gamecca62


Lords of the Fallen

T

n

AT A GLANCE Action RPG

Anything resembling Dark Souls is potentially a very good thing, though how distinctive Lords of the Fallen will be remains to be seen Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Ci Games; Deck 13 Bandai Namco Games Megarom

ETA

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Lein Baart

hey say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if that’s the case, From Software, developers of the brilliant and brutal Souls series, must be feeling pretty charmed at the moment. Never mind the slew of seamless multiplayer games that are being released later this year (though they were not the first to use it they have been integral in its massive growth in popularity), nothing shouts success more than another developer releasing a game that more than casually resembles your work. But if CI Games and Deck 13 Interactive are to be believed, Lords of the Fallen is going to be much more than a straight clone. Set in a medieval fantasy world that has seen humanity banish a vicious and evil god, Lords of the Fallen will cast players as Harkyn, a man steeped in sin and banished from civilisation. When the demons of the fallen god begin to appear, Harkyn is called upon in a desperate act to stave off the return of humanity’s worst nightmare in what the developers are promising will be a challenging and skilful action RPG. While the similarities to the Souls series are obvious, including difficult encounters with bosses and ordinary foes alike, a respawn mechanic that will see you lose all accumulated experience should you die before reaching your body and the promise that skill is integral to the gameplay, CI Games have stated that Lords of the Fallen will have a much heavier focus on the plot. Additionally, the game will be more arcade in nature, with fastpaced combat that will still require skill and timing, yet less so during normal encounters. g

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

47


E M W A VIE G E R P

Just Dance 20 GAMING

Share your moves‌

48

gamecca62


Just Dance 2015

AT A GLANCE Dancing

With deeper community involvement and a host of new tracks, Just Dance 2015 is sure to thrill those who enjoy embarrassing themselves in front of their friends. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Ubisoft Ubisoft Megarom

ETA

Q3 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Walt Pretorius

015

T

here are some franchises that enjoy yearly iterations. Call of Duty. Fifa. Battlefield (oh, no, wait, not this year). And joining those and many other yearly titles is Ubisoft’s ever-popular Just Dance. For a game that seemed to start out as a bit of a gamble, Just Dance has proven itself to be an evergreen and massively enjoyed title, with over 100 million people around the world playing it. And now, with the release of Just Dance 2015, those players will finally be able to have a real fifteen minutes of fame (and not just in their living room, being laughed at by invariably inebriated friends). The big feature that Just Dance 2015 will bring to the table is the all-new Community Remix feature. This will allow players to record their performances and share them with the community. Sequences that get the most votes will then be turned into remixed gameplay sections… in other words, you may just be able to dazzle and challenge the world with your awesome dance routine. It’s the first time that community involvement in Just Dance will actually result in content, and the idea is pretty exciting (if you’re a Just Dance fanatic, of course). And even if you’re too shy for that, more than 40 new tracks and a bunch of tweaks await those brave enough to take on the next chapter in Ubisoft’s dancing challenge, all set to the now-familiar psychedelic graphic style that fans have come to love. So strap on your dancing shoes, because Just Dance 2015 will be coming to multiple platforms very soon. g

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

49


E M W A VIE G E R P

Samurai Warriors 4 GAMING

Coming Out Swinging...

50

gamecca62


Samurai Warriors 4

T

AT A GLANCE Action hack and slash

This will be a game that any fan of the Warriors series will undoubtedly enjoy Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Omega Force Tecmo Koei TBC

ETA

Oct 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Lein Baart

ecmo Koei is a publisher that has come to rely on a few select franchises and their spin-offs, and of all the games in their stable, which includes the likes of Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden, the Warriors series has become the company’s proverbial cash cow, mostly in the form of Dynasty Warriors. Out of the horde of spin-offs and expansions the franchise has produce though, it’s the Samurai Warriors line that has risen to the top of the pack, and for those that were disappointed by the Wii-only western release of the third instalment, fear not, for Samurai Warriors 4 will soon be making its way to a PlayStation near you. Samurai Warriors has always closely mirrored the gameplay of its parent series, and the fourth entry is looking to be no exception to the rule. A third person hack and slash title that will see you take on the role of one of 55 playable characters, Samurai Warriors will see battling through masses of enemies as you play through the conflict-ridden Sengoku Period. The story mode will be split between two types: region stories, which itself is split into ten chapters details the struggles of a clan or region rather than an individual character, and the story of unification, which will play similarly to the Empire line of Dynasty Warriors games. Character customisation will once again return in this release, with players being able to take their unique avatars through their own custom story in the new vagrant mode, and the characterswitch from the Chronicles game will also feature, allowing players to swap between two preselected characters during battle. g

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

51


E M W A VIE G E R P

Escape Dead Island GAMING

More zombies are coming your way

52

gamecca62


Escape Dead Island

Z

AT A GLANCE Adventure

If zombies and stealth is your thing, this will be for you Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

Fatshark Deep Silver Apex Interactive

ETA

TBA 2014

Platforms

GENRE

by Charlie Fripp

ombies in games have been around much longer than what they can stay alive, but it might be come to a point where developers start to scale back on the walkers. One company that is definitely not is Deep Silver. After Dead Island, Dead Island Riptide, upcoming Dead Island 2, and Dead Island Epidemic, they will be releasing Escape Dead Island – another zombie title that takes place in pretty much the same universe as the previously mentioned games. In development over at Fatshark, the game will apparently be different to the previous Deep Silver zombie-filled games. Instead of running around trying to gun down anything that smells a bit little off, you will have to make use of stealth instead. For the information that has been made available to the press, gamers will really have to think about the way they approach a situation, as it can turn south very quickly. The instance was given where gamers start the level with only a screwdriver. Get over run with that, and players will be toast. Whether or not the zombie-gaming genre has run its course or if there are still some walkers to be killed, only time will tell. But if you are a fan of stealth titles and fancy a bit of thinking and zombies on the side, then this one should be with checking out. But don’t expect too much from the graphics though, as it will be done in the typical style that has been present in the previous Deep Silver games. With that said, the graphics aren’t horrible, but they could have been a bit better. At least you won’t have live-like zombies breathing down your neck, which is always a good thing. g

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

53


re

tu a e

f

Alien:

Isolatio GAMING

Resurrecting a classic

54

gamecca62


Feature: Alien Isolation

by Lein Baart

on

55

gamecca62


re

tu a e

f

GAMING

T

he Alien franchise has seen difficult times over the last decade or so. With only one game since the awesome Aliens versus Predator 2 to have received anything approaching praise (namely the DS exclusive Aliens Infestation), and the last venture, Aliens: Colonial Marines, having brought the iconic sci-fi horror series to an impressively dismal low, fans could be forgiven for having written off anything to do with the Alien name as doomed to disappoint. SEGA, who own the licence to the IP, haven’t thrown in the towel just yet however, and thus there just may be a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel, as Alien: Isolation could just be leading the charge to restore the franchise to its former bone-chilling glory. There is however a certain irony in the creation of Alien: Isolation. Billed as an old school survival horror,

56

as opposed to the action hybrids that have been all the rage in the last couple of years, the studio developing the game is none other than The Creative Assembly, who are best known for their work in the fantastic Total War strategy games. If this has raised any doubts as to their ability however, cast them aside, as almost everything that has been revealed by the developers in anticipation for the game’s October launch has had gamers hungry with anticipation to experience the dread the game is promising to inspire. Alien: Isolation will be set 15 years after the events of the 1979 masterpiece, Alien, and will see players taking on the role of Amanda Ripley, the briefly referenced daughter of the legendary Ellen Ripley. Contacted by Weyland-Yutani, a mega-corporation on Earth that had been her mother’s employer, Amanda is sent to the

gamecca62


Feature: Alien Isolation

space station Sevastopol in search of the flight recorder from the lost Nostromo. Upon reaching the hulking monolith however Amanda finds the station a near deserted blood-stained graveyard, with an alien on the loose and hunting her down. It’s a setup that has far more in common with the original film directed by Ridley Scott than James Cameron’s more action-adventure styled sequel, and this shows in more than just the plot. The Creative Assembly wanted to recreate the feeling of the film, and in doing so have gone to massive lengths to bring the “lo-fi” world that Scott imagined to life. Building on an apparently massive collection of archived footage, sound, props and photos that were supplied to them by 20th Century Fox, the developers have aimed to reconstruct the creative processes of the film to

ensure that every item that players see could have appeared in the movie. Techniques such as filming game animations on VHS to give it an authentic grainy image when played back and only utilising items that were available pre-1979 means that Alien: Isolation should slot in comfortably with the aesthetics of the ugly but functional universe that the film series presented us. Visuals aside though, it’s the gameplay of that will truly make or break this title. Drawing on classic elements of survival horror, this will be a game that will see you flit from shadow to shadow in constant terror of the monster that stalks you. While The Creative Assembly have stated that there will be weapons available, don’t expect to be a walking gun locker. Even having a firearm handy won’t save you for the alien’s predations, as he cannot be killed, and thus

gamecca62

57


re

tu a e

GAMING

f

staying hidden will be the rule of thumb. Stealth therefore will be your greatest ally in this game, and whatever means you can use to hopefully keep the xenomorph’s attention off you will be an invaluable tool in your arsenal. To aid in this, the developers will be implementing a crafting system that will allow you to make items that best suit your immediate needs, a la The Last of Us, and while details remain scarce, it has been confirmed that the locations of components will be randomised, forcing players to explore the dark, claustrophobic halls and passages of the Sevastopol. Predictability has been a downfall of horror games in the past, as knowing when and where your opponent will strike completely destroys whatever tension the game has managed to build so far, and

58

to counter this The Creative Assembly are employing several mechanics that should allow players to be taken completely off-guard. The first will be the implementation of the game’s audio, which will always play a critical role in creating suspense. While there will be audible clues as to the xenomorph’s intent, such as blood curdling shriek when it is about to attack, don’t expect the creepy music to play just because the monster is in the vicinity. The soundtrack will adapt dynamically according to your actions, not the alien’s, and whether you’re slinking along a corridor or desperately cowering in a locker, the music will play no part in your survival. By far the most impressive feature of the game though, if The Creative Assembly is to be believed, will be the AI that controls the alien. Rather than rely

gamecca62


Feature: Alien Isolation

on heavily scripted sequences, the developers have created a creature that will adapt to your actions on the fly, offering a different and unpredictable playthrough each time you run through a level. The alien will hunt you with its virtual senses alone, and while this may sound like a reprieve, almost any action you take has the potential to give your position away. From the beeping of the instantly recognisable motion tracker to the beam of your flashlight to even the sound of your terrified breathing, you will be in constant fear that the xenomorph is just around the corner, meaning that this should be a game that keeps you on edge for the entire playthrough. While there have been concerns raised over the ability of Alien: Isolation to consistently provide scares throughout the game, the developers seem to be confident that

the game will more than measure up against the expectations of genre fans and newcomers alike. There’s a lot riding on the release of Alien: Isolation, particularly since the Colonial Marines debacle caused so much damage to the brand. Admittedly there are a number of elements to the game that require an extremely delicate balance, and if even one of these are not properly executed it could ring the death knell for the franchise. There is more than enough reason to hope that Isolation will deliver however, as while screenshots and trailers are never a guarantee of quality, The Creative Assembly crew would have to be outright liars to betray the polish that seems to shine through. Alien: Isolation is shaping up to be a truly terrifying game, and fans of the genre and films should be paying it very close attention. g

gamecca62

59


E M W A IE G EV R

The Last of U Remastered GAMING

The incredible journey revived

60

gamecca62


The Last of Us Remastered

Us

61

gamecca62


E M W A IE G EV R

T

almost as a swan song for hardware that would soon be replaced. As with numerous other games that arrived late, The Last of Us has been reworked for the PlayStation 4. Because of this, one of the finest games created for PS3 is now available on its successor. The question arises, though, as to whether The Last of Us manages to remain impressive after jumping ship to hardware that is considerably more powerful. But the developers behind the game – the remarkable Naughty Dog, who created that other iconic PS3 series, Uncharted – don’t do much by half-measure. Starting up The Last of Us on PS4 opens a world that is fuller, richer and far more detailed than was possible on the previous hardware. Textures are more detailed, characters are more refined and the overall effect has just as much – if not more –

GAMING

here are a few games in each console generation that truly stand out as examples of beautifully constructed works of art. In the outgoing generation – for the PlayStation 3 – one of those was the rather remarkable The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic tale of survival and loss. Set twenty years after an infection turned most of the world’s population in bloodthirsty, mindless killers, it tells the tale of Joel, a disgruntled survivor, and Ellie, a teenage girl who knows nothing of the world before. Together they must travel across the USA, a journey which creates a strong bond between them while presenting them with countless dangers. The general consensus was that The Last of Us was the shining gem of the PS3, and its careful construction showed off the hardware’s capabilities at a level that few ever expected. But it also came late in the PS3’s cycle,

62

gamecca62


The Last of Us Remastered

take on situations the way they prefer, although extremely limited supplies and ammo do lean towards favouring a stealthy approach. The game also features a robust, simple crafting and upgrading system, which sees Joel cobble together medpacks and other essentials, or improve his weapons with parts found lying around. Exploring this incredible world, complete with its ruined buildings and overgrown forests, is a real treat. But the real joy that The Last of Us provides is the story, artfully written and featuring top-notch voice acting and character animation. It is extremely easy to get lost in this game, to get swept away by its engrossing and emotionally charged narrative – even the second (or third) time around. Even though the multiplayer still leaves a bit to be desired, the Last of Us is an extremely welcome addition to the growing stable of PS4 titles. g

AT A GLANCE Action adventure

The brilliance of this title is enhanced even more by the PS4’s more powerful hardware. If you haven’t played it yet, this is the version to get. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Naughty Dog SCEE Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

18+ gamecca62

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

ACCESSIBILITY

Hard-Core Medium Casual

REVIEWED BY

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

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

Score

97 63

by Walt Pretorius

impact than the previous version of the game. It’s still the same title, of course, and those that have played it before may be hard pressed to find a reason to purchase it again, even if it does contain extra multiplayer maps and a single player DLC prequel. But those that were struck by the depth and stark beauty of this wonderfully crafted title might just do so. If you haven’t played The Last of Us yet (seriously?) then this is the perfect opportunity to do so. The PS4 version really shines and, aside from one or two tiny glitches, the likes of which seem to creep into almost every game, this version of the title is breath-taking. Even more so than the original. For those that don’t know, the Last of Us is a third person action adventure that relies on a cover-based system for combat. It gives the player enough freedom to


E M W A IE G EV R

Transformer Rise of the Da GAMING

All Spark, no sparkle‌

64

gamecca62


Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

rs: ark Spark

65

gamecca62


E M W A IE G EV R

S

Cybertron games, both of which elevated a franchise that could easily have fallen prey to all those movie-game pitfalls. Unfortunately Rise of the Dark Spark doesn’t live up to those two titles, even though it treads similar paths. With the bulk of the action in the game’s 14 missions taking place on the Transformer homeworld, the player might expect that it rises to similar levels… however, poor pacing, a bumpy difficulty curve and a plot that is almost non-existent do it no favours. The first issue is that the previously mentioned titles have separate Autobot and Decepticon campaigns, while Rise offers a single campaign that bounces the player from one side to the other. That would have been fine, except that there seems to be little logic in the way that it happens, and next to no balance. This muddies the plot, which is extremely simple yet becomes painful to follow, thanks to all that

GAMING

ometimes the reason for playing a game can make a difference in its overall quality. If you’re after a deep plot and some meaningful elements, this latest Transformers title will leave you wanting for so much more. But if you’re just after blasting giant robots to bits and don’t care much about sterling quality (in other words if you have time to kill and don’t mind doing whatever to do so) then Rise of the Dark Spark may just provide what you need. That’s something of a sad statement to make, really, because in the past, Transformer games no associated with movies have proven to be the better titles. Rise of the Dark Spark is sort-of associated with the latest film, but it deals more with events on Cybertron than trying to tie in to a film plot. Previous games that have done the same were the rather enjoyable War for Cybertron and Fall of

66

gamecca62


Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

robots into vehicles. This staple of the entire franchise also feels a bit flat this time around, with the clear advantages of either form that were evident in previous games all but absent in Rise of the Dark Spark. There are times when the use of vehicle form feels truly beneficial, but that only really happens with characters that change into flyers. While the game looks great on next generation consoles and PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 players will also find something to complain about. The multiplayer Escalation mode (similar to Gears of War’s Horde mode) is the best part of the game. While it isn’t particularly deep, it can provide chaotic fun for up to four players. It certainly is the best part of the title, but it doesn’t do much to elevate Tranformers: Rise of the Dark Spark to anything more than a mindless robotbased shooter. g

AT A GLANCE Action

REVIEWED BY

Rise of the Dark Spark falls victim to numerous problems, leaving it a pale shadow within the franchise.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Edge of Reality Activision Megarom

PARENTAL ADVISORY

12+ gamecca62

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

ACCESSIBILITY

Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

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

Score

55 67

by Walt Pretorius

leaping about. The characters themselves are also a bit of a let-down. Sure, the usual faces are there, but there is very little that allows the player to tell Optimus Prime from Jazz or Starscream or any of the other characters they are forced into playing. Each has a unique ability, sure, but there just isn’t enough variation in the characters, save for some particularly hammed up voice acting. While the primary weapons are rather cool, and feature a few (simplistic) upgrades, the true imbalance comes from the special abilities. Some are just too powerful, while others are virtually useless. Add to this an AI that is unpredictable, and the whole thing boils down to an experience that can be painful, unless you’re after some mindless robot-on-robot violence. And then there are the transformations, which switch the


E M W A IE G EV R

The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy Back to the start

T

as well as the first two sequels (Locked and Loaded and Up Your Arsenal) to the PS Vita, and the bundle goes a long way to show why Ratchet & Clank became such a solid franchise for PlayStation in the past. Sadly, though, these are games that could, in the gaming sphere, be considered “old” and all three show their age in this new iteration. That’s not to say that they are bad. In fact, it’s pretty easy to see why Ratchet & Clank rose to the heights they did with these initial offerings, and both fans of the franchise and newcomers would be well pleased in experiencing these three games. Just don’t expect them to be up to par with some of the stuff that’s coming out these days. First off, they’re platformers, albeit 3D platformers, and this genre is going through something of a slump at the moment. Also, while the levels have an appearance of being

GAMING

he problem with old video games is that they feel much older than they should, and they do so much more quickly than other forms of entertainment. This is probably due to that ever-present, blisteringly-fast pace that gaming technology advances by. The result, though, is that true classics are only appreciated by those that can look beyond the instantgratification and obsession with super-realism. But that doesn’t stop publishers from reworking and rereleasing classics, as is the case with numerous titles that have landed on the PS Vita platform in the past months. Titles like the God of War games and Sly Trilogy have already surfaces, and now we have access to a true stalwart of classic platform gaming – the first three Ratchet & Clank games. The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy brings the original game,

68

gamecca62


The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy

player moves. With all that said, one must remain conscious of the idea that this particular collection was intended to bring the original experience to players who might never have had the chance to get through them before, or to squeeze a nostalgic tear out of the eye of a long-time fan. They are also there to breathe renewed life into the franchise, for purposes mentioned before, as well as to wring a little more cash out of older IPs. Whatever the case may be, if you’re willing to look past the bits that feel aged, reliving the initial adventures of the last Lombax and his robot sidekick are well worth the effort. Don’t expect anything revolutionary, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a welcome revisit to the origins of one of the most popular PlayStation platformers ever, and will provide tons of entertainment for more forgiving gamers. g

AT A GLANCE Platform

REVIEWED BY

It may show its age, but the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy will provide hours of fun for more forgiving Vita players.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Insomniac SCEE Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca62

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

ACCESSIBILITY

Hard-Core Medium Casual

PSV PLATFORMS

GENRE

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

Score

75 69

by Alex Scanlon

large and open they are, as is almost always the case with platformer titles, linear. The plot lines are almost non-existent, and the characters adhere vehemently to their core personalities. There is lots of ham acting and jokes that were a lot funnier in games ten years ago. And, naturally, many of the game mechanic advances that were made through the numerous Ratchet & Clank games are missing here, because they are the first titles. Additionally, some elements of the experience didn’t translate awfully well to the Vita. Strafing, for example, is introduced in the second and third adventures, but this being controlled by the Vita’s rear touch-pad is not really the greatest of implementations. Additionally things like the camera can occasionally be more harm than good, as it manages to avoid snapping to the right position while the


E M W A IE G EV R

TowerFall Ascension Tag line here, tag line here

T

try. The game is extremely simple, yet therein lies its brilliance. With 8-bit style graphics and simple, platform style levels, TowerFall Ascension offers three game modes: single player, in which the player’s bow wielding character takes on waves of AI enemies; co-op, which is the same but with more players; and a death-match like rumble that sees up to four players take each other on. It is this final mode that hides this unassuming title’s true brilliance. See, TowerFall Ascension doesn’t just throw a bunch of people into an arena and expect them to fight. Rather, it expects them to think, and the basis of this thought provocation stems from the fact that ammo is extremely limited. The arrows that you and your opponents start with are the arrows in the game. But arrows can be retrieved and re-used, making the game not only a fight for survival,

GAMING

he whole Indie market is quite strong right now. While there are some that believe the bubble may burst before long, those that take advantage of the current situation really are capable of making hay while the sun shines. That is, of course, if their titles are good. But players of Indie games tend to be somewhat more forgiving than others and, despite many features that would have mainstream and hardcore gamers gnashing their teeth, titles like TowerFall Ascension deliver their own kinds of rewards to those willing to dip a toe or two into the Indie pool. In this particular case, those rewards come in the form of utterly compelling game dynamics. With services like PSN making it easy (and for paid subscribers) free to experience great Indie titles, there really is no reason why PS4 players shouldn’t give TowerFall Ascension a

70

gamecca62


TowerFall Ascension

in these cases, particularly when you’re trying to keep an eye on three opponents while still trying to gather your wits around you enough to execute effective, winning strategies. The one big downside is that TowerFall Acsension doesn’t feature any kind of online play. If four people are going to take each other on, they all need to be in the same room, using the same console and each with their own controller. It might not be enough reason to rush out and buy a bunch of new DualShocks, but those that have the controllers and willing friends will get a vast amount of enjoyment out of TowerFall Ascension’s more than 120 levels and tight, strategic game dynamics. It goes a long way to show that there is real gold in the Indie market, and that a game doesn’t have to look superawesome to actually be viable and enjoyable. g

AT A GLANCE Platform

REVIEWED BY

It looks really old fashioned and the game dynamic is, on the surface, extremely simple... yet TowerFall Ascension lends itself to fast paced strategy and tons of multiplayer fun. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Matt Makes Games PSN PSN

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca62

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

ACCESSIBILITY

Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

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

Score

80 71

by Rob Edwards

but a mad dash to gather up all the spent projectiles littering the level. This adds a level of fast paced strategy to the game that is enhanced by elements like level wrapping (think the edges of the Pac Man maze) and using environmental aspects to enhance the game (like firing an arrow through the flame to create a fire arrow). The sum total is an experience that is really, truly fun and engrossing. While the game does lose a bit in single player or co-op modes, these are almost as enjoyable. The AI is rather predictable, with enemies that will make their way towards the player by the shortest possible route (once again reminiscent of the Golden Age, when stalwarts like Pac Man used simple systems to challenge players). The true joy, though, is in that crazy, full-blast, almost mind numbing death match mode. It’s a complex game,


E M W A IE G EV R

Strider Back on track?

I

this new visit into the world of the cyber-enhanced ninja. Developed by Double Helix, this journey back into the world of Strider is a fast paced six-hour relook at a character and ideas that got a lot of attention two and a half decades ago. Available via PSN – for free to PSN subscribers – as well as online for Xbox and PC, Strider is well worth the effort… that is if you can get past the fact that it has a difficulty curve that is less like a slope and more like a wall. The main problem with the title comes from its inconsistency and balancing issues. Some of these stem from the fact that Double Helix tried desperately to cling to ideas that worked so well in the original game. But the original is almost thirty years old, and gaming has come a long way in that time. Take, for example, the fact that Strider’s health

GAMING

f the name Strider Hiryu means something to you, you’re either a fan of obscure manga, or you have been playing video games for a long time. OK, that’s not entirely true, because the previous Strider game came out in 1999. But the game most people will know this character from is the original 1989 release, which hit (and chewed up a lot of pocket money) in arcades, as well as on the NES (although despite having the same name and the same lead character, it was a different game). The truth is that Strider isn’t really a has-been… he’s more of a never-was. This great character just didn’t get the screen time he actually deserved, which really is a pity, because the few Strider games that have been released have been pretty awesome. And that can also be said, for the most part, for

72

gamecca62


Strider

difficulty level. Playing the game is, quite simply, tons of fun, even if the levels do descend into the repetition that can be expected from a single setting. While previous Strider titles did manage to visit a handful of locations, this one takes place all in the same setting, and the frigid cityscape can get a little old. But if you want fast paced fun with a few options for attacks and a light dose of puzzling, Strider’s new incarnation offers great button mashing fun, and collectibles and such offer a slightly longer experience than the sadly-short six hour run a single play-through offers. It’s not a perfect game, but it is good to see that Capcom haven’t given up on one of their most interesting characters. Who knows, maybe this is a taste of things to come… g

AT A GLANCE Action

REVIEWED BY

This revisit to one of Capcom’s more interesting characters is not fault-free, but it can be satisfying.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Double Helix Capcom PSN

PARENTAL ADVISORY

12+ gamecca62

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

ACCESSIBILITY

Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

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

Score

76 73

by Walt Pretorius

does not regenerate. That worked fine in the original, and it works fine here, too, for the most part. Until you run into a particularly brutal boss and the plentiful health packs that scatter the levels are suddenly nowhere to be found. That, friends and neighbours, is not fun. And which bosses are really tough? Well, all of them. Strider might wade his way through grunt level enemies like a hot cyber-blade through particularly soft butter, but when he runs into a bigger bad guy, the player can expect to what the hero get pounded into the ground a few times. It will take a few tries to get to grips with virtually any of the bosses. But the joy of zooming through levels, with a host of fluid moves and an awesome weapon, makes up for any shortfalls that Strider presents in terms of


E M W A IE G EV R

Doki Doki Universe GAMING

Oh, the humanity!

74

gamecca62


GENRE

It’s not a thrilla-minute action

by Rob Edwards

ride, but Doki Doki Universe has some important

PARENTAL ADVISORY

SCEA SCEE PSN

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

7+ ACCESSIBILITY Hard-Core Medium Casual

Score

70

AT A GLANCE

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

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

messages...

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca62

RPG Adventure

PS4

in the game world. Of course, QT3 can also give people what they don’t want, and in doing so build up varied relationships. But getting it right gives the player another piece to gift to people or use to decorate the world. And there are a great many worlds. Doki offers a wide variety of planets for the player to visit, each with a distinct theme and overarching messages. Where the game lacks variety, though, is in the game dynamic. It’s quite literally the same thing over and over again, and that can get extremely annoying before long. It seems that, for all the socio-political depth the developers crammed in, they forgot to put game dynamic depth in, and that is Doki Doki Universe’s greatest failing. There are other aspects that seem weaker too, but one element of the game that is surprising – and entertaining – are the personality tests it dishes out. By asking a series of abstract questions, the game can often peg your personality rather accurately. It’s bizarre, because it seems that the questions asked have no relationship to the conclusions drawn. But there you have it – an opportunity to get psycho-analysed while giving badly drawn in-game characters stuff. That previous sentence pretty much sums up the entire Doki experience. Not that the game isn’t enjoyable… it just requires a certain kind of player to take it on. Most will find it frustrating or repetitive at best, but some may even go down the road of believing it pointless. It has strong messages, but so do many other games, and they tend to be more engrossing. If you’re looking for something completely unusual, Doki Doki Universe may scratch the itch. But it may not. g

Doki Doki Universe

G

ames are supposed to be fun, right? And for most of us, that involves blasting enemies (be they controlled by an AI or another human being) into teeny, tiny pixelated bits. But every now and then a game comes along that changes that idea, that delivers an enjoyable experience which does not involve simulated violence. Doki Doki Universe is such a game. OK, yes, it’s been around for a while, but it’s still worth mentioning, purely because it is, in so many ways, a very unique game. In it, the player takes on the role of a robot named QT3, who was abandoned by his family simply because he was an older model and wasn’t really human enough. So, with the guidance of an alien named Jeff, the player goes about trying to learn what humanity is. It sounds a bit preachy, doesn’t it? And, in many ways, it is… Doki can be extremely heavy handed in dishing out advice and criticism, and it covers an extremely wide array of topics that concern the world today… from being a generally crap person right through to environmental issues, Doki will address them. Most of time it doesn’t get particularly heavyhanded, but at times it really does feel like the unusual game is trying to hammer its point home. There isn’t much about Doki Doki Universe that could be called normal. Graphically, the game looks like a cobbling together of kids drawings. That sounds like a criticism, but in this case it does work. And the game dynamic is quite simple; it’s like a massive collection of side quests that QT3 must complete to learn lessons. Generally, they involve him pleasing people by giving them what they want. These items come in the form of collectibles that can be placed

75


cy a eg

l

The Sa of S GAMING

How a hedgehog c 76

gamecca62


The Saviour of Sega

aviour Sega

changed the world... By Lein Baart

gamecca62

77


cy a eg

l

S

eeing as we covered Mario for the inaugural article in this series, it seemed only fitting to follow it up with a character that at one time was considered his equal in both popularity and sales. While hindsight has shown that Mario was always destined to be the one IP to rule them all, Sonic the Hedgehog gave him a good run for his money, and to this day, despite several inadvertent attempts by Sega to kill him off, he remains a character permanently etched into the consciousness of gaming culture.

GAMING

Why was he created? Sonic was a character brought to life for a singular purpose: to give Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis if you live in the USA) an edge over Nintendo and the powerhouse that was and still is Mario, a goal that they actually achieved in several countries, if only for a couple of years. The actual story of his creation goes back to 1990, when Sega’s in-house research and development AM8 team were instructed to devise a mascot that could replace Alex Kidd. While a host of proposal’s were submitted, including a Theodore Roosevelt caricature that would eventually serve as the basis for Sonic’s nemesis Doctor Robotnik/Eggman, it was ultimately the blue coloured Erinaceidae (thank you Wikipedia) conceived by Naoto Oshima that was selected. His design was based on a number of sources, with his shoes being inspired by Michael Jackson and Santa Claus, while his characteristic personality and attitude were drawn from the modern sensibilities embodied by none other than Bill Clinton. Sonic was meant to be cool right from the start, with Sega hoping to capture the adolescent market that made up the vast majority of gamers at the time. The initial concept was perhaps a little too edgy to begin with however, as he featured fangs, played in a rockband and had a human girlfriend called Madonna. It was thanks to a team led by Madeline Schroeder from

78

Sega of America that none of these attributes made it through to the eventual release, as, despite being vehemently protested by the Sonic Team (as they became known), it was felt that Sonic needed to be “softened” before being unleashed on the world.

Why do we care? The answer to this question probably differs depending on your age. For those that remember gaming in the early nineties Sonic the Hedgehog will always be the game that launched the now legendary 16-bit console war. In the days when consoles were sold on a single must-have title and not on their launch line-up, this was a game that completely changed the way that platformers (the most popular genre of the time) played. It was blisteringly fast, more so than any Mario game had ever been, and included a multitude of new gameplay elements such as loops and springboards that complemented the never-seen-before idea of momentum-based platforming. It was so successful in fact that the Mega Drive/Genesis managed to achieve a 65% market share in the USA just over half a year after the game’s launch. Followed by the highly acclaimed Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Sega mascot had managed to seal the company’s eventual victory in the western market, though ironically Sonic would never prove that popular in Japan. The last decade has not been so kind to the beloved speedster however, and for those that have grown up on newer generation consoles he will likely remain a moderately popular figure at best. Starting with Sega’s exit from the hardware market in 2001 through to a rather lacklustre transition to 3D, the one-time darling of the industry has seen a dramatic fall from grace. It’s not all bad news though, as recent times have seen the Sonic Team produce some rather memorable titles, and one can be sure that as long as Sega exists, and probably even beyond that, gamers will not have to say goodbye to an icon in gaming history. g gamecca62


The Saviour of Sega

79

gamecca62


I

Ramjet’s rantality

will never, ever, ever understand the video game industry. Seriously, never. And while I spend most of my time complaining loudly to anyone who will listen about the people who play games, the ones who make them can be just as annoying. See, people (in the industry) are complaining that sales are, well, iffy. They have been for a while, and reasons like recession and economic crisis get tossed out a lot. But, let’s be honest here, if we look at the performance of the PS4 and Xbox One in terms of sales world-wide, that particular reason seems to lose its teeth. I recall that I have bitched about this before but, hey, I am a creature of habit – and besides, no-one is listening to me, so I obviously need to say it again. The situation is this: game publishers complain about people not buying tons and tons of games, but they don’t seem to have figured out that people have a limited

80

budget. So in the middle parts of the year, when the publishers insist on not releasing anything, people spend the money that they could have spent on games on other trivial things, like food and rent. Then, when the end of the year rolls around, publishers flood the market with tons of awesome games. But the people who buy them are still only able to spend a certain amount. Very few of them save money, and even fewer save for buying games. So the publishers scratch their heads and bemoan the economic situation, because a whole bunch of games don’t do as well as they could have. It’s like cutting your own foot off and then complaining about the fact that you can’t walk properly anymore. The solution is really simple: stop trying to take advantage of Christmas. Gamers don’t only play games during the holidays. They want games all year round, and they want new

gamecca62

BY rAMJET

Moron Machine...

games all year round. If the video game industry suddenly got a clue and started releasing titles outside of the mad rushes, they would probably make a bit more money. Scratch that… a lot more. But they just don’t seem to get it. And the main reason why this annoys me (because I don’t pay for games, which likely annoys you) is that there are these huge patches of bugger-all to contend with. I hate not having games to play during the mid-year doldrums. Of course, that doesn’t make a lick of difference to publishers, which is why I tried appealing to their pockets, which seem to be the only thing they care about these days. Seriously, guys, wake up. There is money to be made. Just stop trying to release everything in massive batches. It makes no sense at all. It is, quite frankly, moronic to try and take advantage of consumer spend at the same time as everyone else. g


FeatureS 1

A New Shield

HARDWARE Reviews 90 92 94 96 98 99

Razer Adaro Wireless Bluetooth Headphones MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard Crucial M550 1TB SSD Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Gaming Keyboard Gioteck EX3-R Inline Messenger Headset for PS4 Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB RAM Kit

RegularS 100 102

Internet Security

COLUMN 104

82

Technically Speaking

gamecca62


re

tu a Fe

A NEW

TECHNOLOGY

NVidia forges ahead

84

gamecca62


Feature: A NEW SHIELD

SHIELD

in the console arena

gamecca62

85


re

tu a Fe

TECHNOLOGY

T

hat times are tough cannot be argued. Virtually the entire world is in a state of economic upheaval, and even industries that were previously considered recessionproof – like many entertainment industries, including video gaming – are feeling more than a pinch. Consumer simply aren’t spending a lot of money these days, largely because they don’t have a lot of money to spend. And yet, in the midst of what many are labelling a crisis, both Sony and Microsoft introduced new consoles to the market, and both are selling well. Between these two companies and arguably Nintendo (even though the Wii U has showed nothing but lacklustre results for the Japanese gaming giant) the console market is all but wrapped up. What little money there is for these activities is solidly flowing into the pockets of the three massive

86

corporations. And yet there are companies out there that believe that there is still space for more consoles in the market. One such company is NVidia, who introduced their Shield gaming device to the world just over a year ago. Many people asked whether there was a gap in the market for such a device, but NVidia weren’t naïve enough to believe that they would crush any of the big names out there with their new device. In truth, the Shield did everything but take on the console giants, purely because it was aimed at a slightly different gaming market – the PC market. The original Shield is a portable device, with a 5 inch 720p multi-touch folding screen attached to a controller very reminiscent of the Xbox controller style. The system features an Nvidia Tegra quad core mobile CPU with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of

gamecca62


Feature: A NEW SHIELD

on-board storage, and is fully capable of playing any of the 100-plus games that have been optimised for it. These titles include the likes of Max Payne 3, Call of Duty: Ghost, Crysis 3, Borderlands 2 and many more. Observant types may note that most of those games wouldn’t fit on the limited storage of the Shield. But using a streaming system via NVidia GameStream, the user can not only access games online, but can remotely access games already installed on their PC. In addition, the device is Android powered, enabling the user to make use of Android games and apps, and even watch moves. Yet around the time of launch, the NVidia Shield took some flak from critics, citing (among other reasons) a lack of compelling games and a high price point. Critics did not feel that the device would be able to compete in a handheld

market already dominated by Sony and Nintendo, and quite frankly not doing as well as everyone had hoped. All of this, of course, is relatively old news. And, in recent months, it seems that the Shield, along with other “indie” consoles, including the Ouya and GameStick, are facing a massive uphill struggle against the corporate giants. So much so, in fact, that hardware production on some of these devices might be canned entirely. That, though, is not in NVidia’s immediate plans. In fact, the company recently renamed the Shield to the Shield Portable, because there is a new device launching roughly now. The new Shield tablet is Nvidia next big swing at the market, although it will take on a broader approach. As the name suggests, this is a tablet. Although it has been designed with gaming in mind, the Android powered Shield Tablet

gamecca62

87


re

TECHNOLOGY

tu a Fe

will offer users all the versatility of an Android device, as well as a portable gaming solution. The Shield Tablet is armed with a Tegra K1 192 core Kepler GPU and a 2.2GHz ARM Cortex A15 CPU, both supported by 2GB of RAM. It’s 8 inch full HD multi-touch screen is a big step up from that of the Shield Portable, and is flanked by powerful speakers, including a dual bass reflex port. On top of that, the Tablet comes in 2 flavours; a Wi-Fi only unit that offers 16GB of storage, and a 32GB Wi-Fi and LTE option. In addition to the Tablet, the Shield Wireless Controller has also hit the market. It can be paired with either the Shield Portable or the Shield Tablet, and once again resembles an Xbox controller. The combination of the Tablet and Wireless controller allows the user to make use of the system in a number of ways.

88

Most obviously, games can be played with the controller, using the tablet screen for visuals. Console mode allows the tablet to be hooked up to an HDTV for a larger screen, and to allow multiple players to take part. Games can also, once again, be streamed from a PC. And all of this can stream to the Twitch online game streaming service. On paper, the combination of the Shield Tablet and Wireless Controller make a lot of sense to PC gamers who want to have their games available anywhere and everywhere. With more and more titles being added to the Shield stable, there is a lot of entertainment to be had. But there are some flies in the ointment for this device, which may be the result of stubbornness rather than sensibility. The first is that its starting price point is US$299. That’s comparable to an arguably more

gamecca62


Feature: A NEW SHIELD

powerful console from one of the big corporations. While those may not be portable, they may provide the user with a better experience. Secondly, the Tablet isn’t a complete solution. It requires a capable PC, for example, for streaming, and has the added cost of a Wireless Controller for it to truly shine. Thirdly, there will potentially be additional data costs involved, upping the cost of using the device even more – and we haven’t even started talking games yet. None of these elements are deterring NVidia, though. They have forged ahead with this device, which – for the right person – can make a lot of sense. But there are numerous obstacles along the way, not only related to cost. PC gamers, for example, might not take well to the controller idea, being more accustomed to a mouse and keyboard

configuration. All of this is, of course, something of a moot point here in South Africa – there are no local distributors of the Shield devices here. Those that would want to get hold of one would have to import. Still, the Shield idea is not fundamentally flawed; this may all be a case of poor timing on Nvidia’s part. Then again, it might not – just looking at sales figures for consoles from the large corporations shows that the market is perhaps healthier than many surmise. Either way, the fate of the Shield is not sealed, and it’s performance will provide an interesting set of indicators to not only the health of the worldwide gaming market, but also as to how consumers prefer to consume their games. The multifunctional device may yet surprise even its staunchest critics. g

gamecca62

89


Razer

H C EW E T VI E R

Adaro

TECHNOLOGY

Untethered Audio

90

gamecca62


Razer Adaro Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth Headphones

L

by Walt Pretorius

ast month we got to take a look at one of Razer’s new headset lines. Well, headphones, really, because headsets require microphones, and the Adaro series that we have seen to this point don’t have any. Let’s not get sidetracked… Last month we took a look at the Adaro Stereos from Razer, a product aimed at expanding their personal audio offering to a market that doesn’t just consist of gamers. And, quite frankly, we were impressed. This month, we get to see another set of Adaro headphones, this time the Wireless variety. And, like their wired counterparts, these stylish and sturdy headphones seriously do the trick when it comes to audio. I am always a little surprised when 40mm drivers deliver rich sound across the full spectrum, but this is the second time in a row that the neodymium drivers used in the Adaros have raised my eyebrows. The audio really is that good. Now you may well be saying ( I know I was) that this kind of solution isn’t great for gaming… but it actually is, if the gaming you’re doing is on a Bluetooth capable device. Read as tablet, phone or laptop. The top notch stereo response is excellent, and the overall sound quality is extremely impressive. And now, no wires… that’s an added bonus. The Adaro Wireless headset is very comfortable, with generously padded over-ear cups and a narrow but well-padded headband. Controls are built into the left ear-cup (an odd decision, as right seems to be ‘standard’)and consist of power and volume. Actually, the volume switch also doubles as the track control system. This is done by depressing the volume rocker slightly and moving it in the same way as adjusting the volume. And herein lies the only real complain… first of all, it’s a stepped volume, so it adjusts according to predetermined degrees. Secondly, if you’re a little heavy on the control, you may end up switching songs rather than adjusting volume. It is very sensitive. Possibly separating the controls would have been a much better implementation here, but it is what it is. An option for a jack would also have been really nice – for all those non-Bluetooth devices – and would have added a lot of versatility to the Adaro Wireless, but Razer opted to not go that way. The headset recharges via USB, which could also prove to be a niggle for some, but most people have a PC or a USB-capable wall socket adapter, so that’s not too much of an issue. Each charge will deliver around 20 hours of audio playback, which is more than decent. Despite a few small quibbles, the Adaro Wireless headset really does offer an excellent option for those who want wireless personal audio. g

AT A GLANCE: Summary

This is a very decent Bluetooth capable headset, with excellent audio and great battery life.

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

gamecca62

Razer Co re x w w w . c o re x. c o . z a

Tech Specs: • • • • • • •

Bluetooth 4.0 enables 40mm neodymium drivers USB recharging cable On-ear controls 20 hour battery life

SCORE

94 91


MSI

H C EW E T VI E R

Z97

Middle monster

M

TECHNOLOGY

SI took steps just a little while ago to rework the look of their Gaming Series motherboards. Why, you might ask? A motherboard isn’t exactly something that needs to be pretty. But the truth is that many enthusiasts want a motherboard to be good looking, thanks to a variety of windowed and clear cases that allow them to show off exactly what kind of hardware they are rocking. And so MSI take careful care to make sure that their motherboards look striking, and carry the dragon motif that marks their gaming series of devices. But a motherboard is, of course, not all about looks (even if the striking red and black finish of this particular device is really rather impressive.) While looks can be of a benefit to those inclined to consider the aesthetics of their components, it is performance that is far more important. And as a mid-range board, the Z97 Gaming 5 is a really good option. It gets difficult, though, when manufacturers produce boards that are very close in specification to each other, to highlight the differences between boards. They may be extremely slight – things like tweaked chipsets and so forth. Price, though, is affected by these changes, so some deep research into similar devices is always advised. Instead of comparing

92

gamecca62

this board to other MSI boards, or to those of other manufacturers, let’s rather look at what it has on offer – and that, to be honest, is almost exactly what you would expect from MSI’s latest boards. Things like Military Class components, solid CAPs and the like are almost a given now, so it comes down to features. One of the nicer ones if Killer E2200 networking, which prioritises gaming traffic over a network. Additionally, this board delivers exceptional audio, thanks to a combination of Creative SoundBlaster chipsets and high quality audio hardware. Even USB audio benefits here, because of the USB Audio Power system that ensures clean power to USB ports. NonUSB audio is delivered via 8-channel outputs. Naturally, the board is also capable of supporting multiple GPUs, with 3 PCI-E ports on offer. It also offers the user a very generous six USB 3.0 and eight USB 2.0 ports, as well as six SATA 6Gb/s ports. And then of course, there is the new MSI Gaming App, to make overclocking easier and more stable than ever before. But you may never need it – this is a quick and reliable motherboard, even on factory settings, and it will provide the user with great amounts of reliable performance. In short, MSI’s quality shines through here, even if it is becoming difficult to discern between the different models at a glance..g


MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard

Motherboard

AT A GLANCE:

by Walt Pretorius

SUMMARY

It’s not the top of the line, but it certainly does the job more than effectively.

gamecca62

SCORE

80 MS I Co re x w w w . c o re x. c o . z a

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

Z97 chipset 4 memory channels 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports 6 USB 3.0 ports 8 USB 2.0 ports Killer E2200 networking

93


Crucial

M550

Gioteck M550 EX3-R 1TB Inline Messenger Headset for PS4 Crucial SSD

H C EW E T VI E R

1TB SSD Goin

g bi g!

94

AT A GLANCE:

TECHNOLOGY

S

olid state drives make a lot of sense because of their dependability, speed, low heat and quietness. They are, quite frankly, awesome. Except, of course, that they tend to be a little smaller in capacity than traditional HDDs. Well, that’s changed, thanks to Crucial. Here we have the first 1TB SSD that we have clapped our eyes on, and it’s awesome. Now you have more than enough capacity to not just run your boot disk from your SSD, but also take advantage of the speed it offers for numerous other applications. And the difference is extremely noticeable. Applications and software load much faster, the system is generally more stable, and overall performance is excellent. It will hit your pocket hard, though, but for many the idea of great speed and reliability is worth every penny that the Crucial M550 1TB SSD will cost. g

SUMMARY

At last, an SSD with tons of reliability, speed and (most importantly) storage space!

gamecca62

SCORE

94 Cruc i a l S ynt e c h w w w . s ynt e c h. c o . z a

TECH SPECS • 2.5 inch SSD • 1TB capacity • • • • •


AT A GLANCE: Summary HP’s good intentions at producing a more cost effective printer seem to be realised in the 5525.

INTRODUCING THE WORLD’S FIRST MECHANICAL SWITCH DESIGNED FROM THE GROUND UP FOR GAMING. Tech Specs:

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

Name of Product

• • • • • • •

Featuring blazing fast actuation speeds and increased life span, the all-new Razer™ Mechanical Switches usher in a new era of gaming precision. M a nufa c ture r D istrib ute r: O nline :

Now available in the new Razer Blackwidow family. SCORE

00

DISTRIBUTED BY:

AVAILABLE AT:

www.razerzone.com/razer-mechanical-switches Copyright © 2011 - 2014 Razer Inc. All rights reserved. Actual product may differ from pictures. Information correct at time of printing.


Razer

H C EW E T VI E R

Black

All about the switches

TECHNOLOGY

I

t seems that, like some game companies that release yearly iterations of their games, Razer has taken to producing regular “updates” for existing hardware. We have seen numerous updated peripherals from the company recently, including this renewed version of their popular Blackwidow Ultimate keyboard. So the obvious question arises; how much can a keyboard be upgraded from one model to the next. In PC terms, a keyboard is a relatively simple item, and the technology driving them tends to move more slowly that it does for other PC components and peripherals. Sure, we get additions like touch-screens and the like, but these tend to be on the periphery. Real changes to core keyboard technology are slower, because a keyboard is, once again in PC terms, a relatively simple device, the functions of which has remained largely unchanged since the first PC struggled to life. The biggest change in the 2014 version of the Blackwidow Ultimate comes in the form of the switches the keyboard uses. Underneath each key is a switch that has been specifically designed with gaming in mind. What this means is that these mechanical switches are more sensitive, with actuation and reset points much more refined than those of “normal” mechanical switches. In other words, it takes less effort to get the switch to activate, meaning that the keyboard is

96

really sensitive. In addition to that, these switches deliver a great tactile response when depressed. That means the player can be pretty certain on their inputs, just by feel alone. It also means that the keyboard issues fairly distinct and loud clicks with each key pressed – something which may not sit well with those that prefer a quieter computing experience. Still, the sensitivity is definitely there, and it makes using the Blackwidow Ultimate as a gaming device a little more effortless than other keyboards. In addition to these switches, the device offers exactly what one would expect from a Blackwidow. In other words, all keys are individually backlit and fully programmable; there are five additional gaming keys with on-the-fly macro recording, a full range of media keys, an audio-out and microphone jack, and a ten key rollover to avoid ghosting. Is there enough here to warrant chucking out your old Blackwidow and buying a new one? No, not really. The older model is still a good keyboard, and the luxury of more sensitive switches is probably not enough motivation for the added expense. But if you are in the market for a new keyboard (or you need to replace your old Balckwidow for whatever reason) then this is a good option. It’s a no-frills, no-nonsense, uncomplicated option that delivers great performance time and again. g gamecca62


NAME Blackwidow Razer OF THE PRODUCT Ultimate Gaming Keyboard

Ultimate Gaming Keyboard

AT A GLANCE:

by Alex Scanlon

SUMMARY This updated version of the popular Blackwidow features increased sensitivity in the mechanical switches, as well as everything you would expect.

gamecca62

SCORE

80 Razer Co re x w w w . c o re x. c o . z a

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

Mechanical switches Fully programmable Backlit 5 macro keys Anti-ghosting USB passthrough Audio jacks

97


Gioteck

EX3-R Inline Headset for PS4 The

ma s

te

r,

t un

by Walt Pretorius

… ied

TECHNOLOGY

98 98

AT A GLANCE:

T

he PlayStation 4 offers a great communication system, but it requires a decent headset to take advantage of it. Or, if you’re using big speakers and not headphones, it needs a device like this: the Gioteck EX3-R Inline Messenger Headset. This headset features a single ear design (much like a mobile phone hands-free device) with an integrated noise cancelling microphone. It plugs directly into the PS4 controller and allows you effortless voice communication while gaming. It has an inline mute switch, but chat volume will need to be controlled via your PS4’s dashboard. It’s comfortable, and produces great sound. It is wired, by necessity, which may not sit well with some users. But it does offer an excellent and inexpensive solution to those wanting to use PSN’s voice services with their PS4. And it’s fairly comfortable, too, for those long gaming sessions. g

SUMMARY

A great, inexpensive solution for those wanting to take advantage of PSN’s voice chat systems.

mgeect 2 c7a 6 2 ggl a ad

SCORE

82 Gi o t e c k A pe x I nt e ra c t i v e w w w . a pe xi nt . c o . z a

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

Flexible ear hook Noise cancelling microphone Large sound chamber Anti-twist cable Inline mute control

Gioteck EX3-R Inline Messenger Headset for PS4

H C EW E T VI E R


16GB RAM Kit

RA

M

mi

ng

sp

ee d!

Crucial by Rob Edwards

Ballistix

Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB RAM Kit

H C EW E T VI E R

AT A GLANCE: Summary Exceptionally good performance is the order of the day from this RAM… which is, surprisingly, a midrange Ballistix product.

W

hat’s better than lots of RAM that runs extremely well? In PC terms, not a lot. While many may not realise the importance of top-notch RAM, the differences that spending a little extra can make are undeniable. Crucial’s Ballistix range is really great quality. Up until now we have seen theiur Sports series (which is at the bottom end of the Ballistix range) and have been impressed. But take it up a notch to the mid-range Tactical products, and things get even more exciting. This impressive RAM comes fitted with a generous heat sink, and is available as a 16GB kit, (made up of two 8GB DDR3 units)which is quite sufficient. And if you double it up, and you’ll be blazing along, enjoying the improved speeds and reduced latencies that this RAM brings to the table. Even just one kit makes a big difference! g gamecca62

• • • • • • •

2 8GB units DDR3 Heat sinks Improved latencies

Name of Product

TECHNOLOGY

Tech Specs:

Cruc i a l S ynt e c h w w w . s ynt e c h .c o.za

SCORE

94 99


t

e rn

te

in

Serious Socks

TECHNOLOGY

Causes we “really” care about!

100

mgeect 2 c4a 6 2 ggl a ad


by Suvesh Arumugam

found out that is part of a Breast Cancer Awareness drive. Evidently wearing pink ribbons in and around Breast Cancer Awareness month in October just wasn’t enough, so some unnamed activist on Facebook decided to start this game. This is not the first Facebook game in the name of this cause, some games run previously included getting women to post their bra colours or where they’d like to post their handbags. This is also not the first time that social media has been used as a means to create awareness. I’ve received more than my fair share of Facebook invites to “Causes” and other Apps designed to make awareness and activism more armchair friendly. The Melbourne Metro Train’s video, Dumb Ways to Die, became one of the biggest viral hits of its time. Since its release in November 2012, the video has received over 85 million views. Since then, the video has received numerous awards for the advertising agency. However, baseline statistics of the rail safety accidents show no significant changes (or improvements) in the two years since. Some other funny campaigns that have gone viral, like the “Nutiquette” video, encouraging men to check themselves for testicular cancer, or Twitter campaigns using the hashtag #cockinasock, with men appearing nude except for said footwear covering their genitalia, to promote awareness of cancer. Having been saved the social media humiliation of posting about my foot fungus or desperate search for an emergency tampon, I couldn’t help but wonder how effective this new kind of campaign would be. Most obviously, there is no mention of Breast Cancer anywhere. However, somewhat more importantly, the campaign seems to associate a very serious issue (which claims many lives and affects thousands of families) with that kind of social media cringe factor when I see those weird videos that my seemingly normal friends share that go like “You’ll never guess what happened when this woman got out of the shower?”. Aside from the effectiveness of a campaign like

gamecca62

this, one has to question the values behind the message. Less than a month ago, a nonprofit organization called “Feed a Child” and their advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather were hauled before the Advertising Standards Authority for an advert to raise awareness around malnutrition. The ad, which showed a wealthy woman feeding a small child in a manner more fitting a household pet, attracted a lot of negative attention. Ultimately, aside from the racist connotations (the woman is white and the child is black), the main complaint behind the pulling of the advert was that the act of making a child behave like an animal, even though it was to raise awareness, was demeaning in itself and ultimately sullied the message. A lot of companies are spending millions trying to get everyday people to be their advertisers. Companies use competitions, promotions and all kinds of other incentives to try and get people to tweet, post or blog about them. So much so, that many social networks like Facebook will actually ban or suspend corporate pages that encourage people directly to post about them or offer incentives of any kind. However, for corporate brands, this is possibly still a worthwhile pursuit, since campaigns that do go viral usually result in big sales and brand recognition. However, social awareness or charities must realise that this is a different ballgame for them. While brands appeal to the vanity and aspirational elements that make social media work, it just doesn’t work for everything. Let’s face it; most people are driven to donations and activism through guilt or being moved emotionally by the plight of others. Trivialising these experiences, the suffering of individuals and families awnd making something deadly into a catchy tune just seems wrong. So while many people will probably continue to share funny content, let’s hope we don’t ever see the Dalai Lama doing standup comedy, or Bishop Tutu hanging out with dancing dogs to try to drum up support for the causes we really care about. g

101

SERIOUS SOCKS

I

f you, like me, spend a lot of time trawling Facebook for some semblance of intuitive insight into the modern universe, you may have noticed a few rather odd Status Updates recently. The one that first caught my eye was “I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear”. Perhaps by coincidence, the first person I noticed posting this was a female friend who is a singer and model. It seemed like it bordered a bit on TMI (too much information) for my liking, but I didn’t really think more about it. But when a twentysomething hard rock guitarist buddy of mine (whose previous most emo post was about changing the gauge of his guitar strings) posted “I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months”, I thought something was a little off. After contemplating commenting on his post (it’s one of those posts that you can’t really “like”), I decided against it. Luckily, I didn’t, because within minutes I would have received a message like this from my buddy: Oh dear, dear, dear. You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below & post a status. This is the 2014 breast cancer awareness game. Don’t be a spoil sport, choose your poison & change your status. 1) Damn diarrhea 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket. 3) Anyone have a tampon. I’m out. 4) How do you get rid of foot fungus. 5) Why is nobody around when I am horny? 6) No toilet paper, goodbye socks. 7) Someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant. 8) I think I’m in love with someone what should I do? 9) I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear. 10) I still love my ex. 11) I really don’t know how to tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay. 12) Guess it was 2 good 2 be true I’m pregnant. 13) Just won $7000 on a scratchy. 14) I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months. Haha… After a little Google search, I


ty

i ur

ec

W

TECHNOLOGY

hen children as young as three start browsing the Web, using tablets, and downloading apps, parents have cause to be concerned. Of course, this is in reference to the vast amount of malicious software, users, and other things we don’t want our young ones to see. For all the opportunities for learning and relaxation the internet and technology provide the little ones, so too does it have dark side that is best avoided unless you want to spend a fortune in counselling sessions for them later in life. But what can parents do to protect their children when they themselves might not be all that comfortable with security and monitoring software? Firstly, you need to decide where your child can and can’t go on the internet. Visit sites for children and pay attention to those that collect personal information. And boring though it might be, it is a good idea to read the privacy statement and, if you don’t agree with it, find another site that offers similar content. Blocking inappropriate content is one of the best defences any parent can implement. There is a variety of quality software freely available. If you are a Windows user, do a search on your computer for Parental Controls.

102

These will help you monitor, manage, and administer your children’s computers with the minimum of fuss. If you download or use other monitoring and blocking software, it is also advisable to go through their blocked sites and words lists. Most software will let you add to these which come in quite handy if your children use non-English words and phrases to search for dubious content. In addition to blocking inappropriate content, it’s a good idea to block sites and downloads that might be a risk to your security and privacy. Free games, music, animated toolbars, and other downloads can expose your computer to spyware or other unwanted software. Depending on the ages of your children, you can teach them not to download software from unknown sources on the internet or ask your permission before they download anything. It goes without saying but you need to make sure you use anti-virus and antispyware software and keep the definitions updated. Often, it is the simplest steps like these that are overlooked. Creating limited user accounts for your children mean that they will not be able to change system settings or install new hardware or software, including most games, media players, and

gamecca62

chat programs. Part of this is to adjust the security settings of your Web browser. This can help protect your child by allowing you to assign security levels to Web sites. It is not always possible to be there when your children are online. That’s where the History list in your Internet browser becomes handy. By reviewing the list, you can see all the places your children visited online. And just like in the real world, you must always warn your children not to speak to strangers online. With things like real-time chats, social networking, and instant messaging being a great way for children to discuss their interests and build friendships, the anonymity of the internet can also put them at risk of falling victim to imposters and predators. Teach your children precautions such as using only a nickname to identify themselves, never disclose a phone number or address, never send photographs of themselves, and never agree to meet someone they met online without supervision. While it might seem like a daunting prospect to protect your children from all the nefarious things that are in the digital world, these tips are designed to get you started and be mindful of what needs to be done for a safer online experience. g

by Iwan Pienaar

S


Big bad wolf

Big Bad Wolf Protect your children online

gamecca62

103


I

Technically Speaking

n last month’s Technically Speaking I wrote about Google’s Glass and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but while those are making a comeback into the market (after being something of a childhood dream), Google is making another huge push into the market – with something completely new. I did mention in the previous column that Google isn’t that big a fan of its own Glass anymore, as it has become cumbersome to some, banned in many places, and the nickname ‘Glasshole’ (use your imagination) hasn’t been created for nothing. Nope, the next big thing since the creation of the intrusive eye glasses is Android Wear. Most of you should know that Google is the mastermind behind the mobile operating system that has just been taking the world and smartphone manufacturers by storm. By late last year, the number of Android users were teetering around the 870 million mark, and forecasts have pegged the number of Android users by the end of the year to top a billion. That is 1 billion people making use of one company’s operating system that spans mobile phones and tablets. So yes, Google is rather heavily invested in the Android platform – and this is where Android Wear comes in. Android Wear, officially

104

announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in the middle of June, is a completely new operating system. It shouldn’t be confused with the confectionary-named Android system that is rampant on mobile device. This is something brand new – but the beauty about this one is that it works on everything – and we mean everything. Televisions, smartphones, fridges, watches – anything that can remotely be operated with an operating system and some controls can benefit from it. Speaking of watches, South Africans will be able to get their hands on the first Android Wear product when LG’s G Watch launches locally on 1 August for R3 500. “As one of the first Android Wear devices to market, we see this as the beginning of a long-term commitment to making wearables running Android Wear a household name,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, in a media statement at the time. But what exactly is Android Wear besides a new operating system? Being marketed by Google as “information that moves you”, there will be a huge focus on delivering information exactly when you want it. “Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. Get gamecca62

BYcHARLIE Fripp

Wear it’s At...

messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance.” Sure you can only get Android Wear now by buying a new LG, Samsung or Motorola watch through the Android Wear Play Store, but just think about the possibilities besides being incorporated in wearables like wristbands and watches. As a silly example, let imagine for a second that your fridge is running on Android Wear, as well as your phone or accompanyingsmartwatch. By inputting the date you bought milk, the operating system will be able to notify you when it thinks the milk is busy going off. You’ll get a notification on your phone or smartwatch to remind you to buy another carton. The same goes for weather information. Let’s say you placed a date for a braai in your calendar, the Android Wear technology will (without you even asking) tell you what the weather would be like, and if you should rather postpone. It might not seem like such a big deal now, but I’m fast becoming a huge fan of anything that incorporates Android Wear. It will make life just so much easier – especially in times when everything is driven by data and we hardly have time to even sit and read a newspaper (because even that gets done online as well). Android Wear, it’s where the future is leaning towards. g


FeatureS 108

ICON 2014

COLUMN 112

The Time Inbetwixt

116 117 118 119

Gadget Reviews Kisai Rogue Touch LCD Watch Sony Alpha 6000 Camera Sony W270s Walkman Creative Airwave Cool stuff

114 115 120 120 121 121

106

Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia Board Game Quarriors! Light vs Dark Dice Game Watchmen Graphic Novel Fables Graphic Novels Hellblazer Graphic Novels V for Vendetta Graphic Novel

gamecca62


E

R

U AT

FE

icon 2

GAMING

A three-day bre

108

gamecca62


ICON 2014

2014

eak from reality

gamecca62

109


re

GAMING

tu a Fe

icon 2014

icon 2014

icon 2014

icon 2014

110

gamecca62


ICON 2014

icon 2014

icon 2014

T

he weekend of July 18th to 20th saw the 23rd annual ICON Comics and Games Convention take place in Johannesburg, South Africa. For three days, attendees from around the country were able to escape the realities of this world and enter into a realm filled with fun, fantasy and excitement. From board games to role-playing and card games, LARPing to cosplay, carefully considered purchases to heated discussions about Thor suddenly becoming a woman, the event provided great entertainment for those that braved the cold to attend. This year’s ICON saw an increase in activities including cosplay, as well as a major tournament for board gaming (with winners being sent overseas to represent South Africa). In addition, the generous folks that attended helped raise significant amounts of money for Lory Park and the South African Guide Dog Association. ICON is well known for celebrating all things “deep geek” and this year was no different. A wide variety of merchandise was perused by super heroes and fantasy creatures, and LARP battles saw the likes of Deadpool take on elves. There was even a stand-up comedy event, with comedians designing their sets to appeal to the specific sense of humour of those who know what polyhedron dice are. With the 23rd ICON done and dusted, attendees are already looking forward to what organiser Grant Charlton (who sold his long hair for charity at the event, and can now be seen sporting a beanie and complaining about the cold on the back of his neck) and his team will come up with for next year’s event. And if you didn’t make it this year, be sure to keep an ear out for ICON 2015… it’s a great break from reality for three days. g

icon 2014

icon 2014 gamecca62

111


Not Enemy... T

The Time Betwixt

here was time in our not too distant history that we believed thunder storms to be signs of gods battling, that volcanic eruptions were an omen of divine anger and that clouds were formed from a dead giant’s brain. We drilled holes into the heads of the sick to exorcise spirits that were causing disease, and burned women at the stake for phenomena that we could not explain. We stared with dread into night-shrouded vistas, terrified of the demons that lurked just beyond sight, and read the entrails of animals to gain an inkling of what the future might hold. Then came the likes of Vesalius, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and many others who brought upon us the age of modern science. Men and women who fought against the misconceptions and judgements of their time, who were persecuted, prosecuted and in some cases executed for dragging minds that had evolved to see monsters in the shadows from their primitive stone age mentality to a time of enlightenment and learning. Decade by decade we have peeled away the magic and mayhem of an incomprehensible universe and replaced it with the majesty and awe that knowledge inspires. We have trod upon land that is not of Earth, have gazed at organisms and particles too small to be seen by the naked

112

eye and discerned the workings of stars a nearly inconceivable distance away. It is the upliftment of humanity that science has wrought for us, and for the almost miraculous achievements that we as a species have accomplished we have scientists across the globe to thank. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, the scientifically stupid still persist. The antivaccinators and the global warming deniers (to name but a few), all of them are having a detrimental and dangerous effect on humanity in general. Think I’m going too far? Consider that last year in America, between January and August, of the 159 cases that were reported 82% were unvaccinated individuals, many of which were children whose parents had objected due to fears of the vaccine. In the UK in 2008 the disease was declared endemic for the first time in 14 years, and even here in good old Johannesburg we had over 940 cases and four deaths in 2009 alone, largely due to the refusal of vaccines despite the government offering state-sponsored treatment. Why the rejection of a proven and invaluable method of disease prevention? The reasons vary from religious to philosophical, but many hold that vaccines are unsafe, ineffective or cause larger problems such as autism. Yet none of these claims have withstood scientific gamecca62

BY Lein Baart

Friend

scrutiny, despite the numerous and exhaustive studies that have been performed. Next, take a look at the state of the climate. In the last century we have seen the global average temperature increase by nearly 1°C, with nearly 2/3 occurring in the last three decades. While this might seem inconsequential at first, we’ve already observed glaciers in the arctic shrinking, weather changes and sea levels rising, and if we stay the course we WILL see disasters such as many coastal cities being completely flooded, vital food production areas turned into arid wastelands and even a mass extinction of aquatic life. All of this can be traced back to human activity, and there is not one major academic institution that says otherwise. This is a rant, I’ll not deny it. What does it have to do with gaming? Nothing beyond the fact that we all occupy a single planet, and like it or not we all have to ensure its inhabitable tomorrow. Each of these topics deserve an essay by themselves, but for now I have one simple appeal: before you dismiss an accepted and proven idea, open a damn book or read a bloody webpage written by some who knows what they’re talking about, and in the meantime, go get the jab then hope like hell Durban is still here next century. g


COMPUTERS | GAMING | TECHNOLOGY

10-12 Oct, the dome, JHB

IMAGINATION |

senses

| mind | reality

video games • comics • digital lifestyle gear • overclocking gaming peripherals • local game development studios geek culture • international game developers technology • gaming apparel and accessories • eSports events local artists • anime • cosplay • collectible card games • shopping

www.rageexpo.co.za For enquiries please e-mail rage@nag.co.za brought to you by


E YL W T ES IE lIF EV R

OnBo

BIOSHOCK INFINITE: The Siege of Columbia

T LIFESTYLE

he days of quickly yanking the rule book out of a board game box and learning how to play in a few minutes are pretty much over. Board games have become complicated affairs, with new products introducing levels of complexity that would have turned previous generations’ hair white. A prime example of this is the masterful, yet utterly complex, Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia. Based on the Bioshock Infinite video game, this board game might (initially) remind one of the classic Risk, as player duke it out for territory. However, the similarity soon disappears as the complexity of the

114

game comes to the fore. The Siege of Columbia works beautifully, both as a board game and as an addition to the Bioshock universe. It stays true to the source material, and it’s beautiful presentation pays homage to the visuals of the video game perfectly. But – be warned – this can be a massively intimidating game. Once you dig into its complexities, it is thoroughly rewarding, but only really seasoned board gamers won’t be running back to the rule manual repeatedly during the first few play-throughs. Still, it’s worth the effort of learning… this is a really enjoyable, strategically complex game. g

gamecca62


COOL STUFF

oard

QUARRIORS! LIGHT VS DARK

Q

Quarriors: Light vs Dark is an expansion to the very popular dice building game Quarriors. Just like the original, players will play the part of Quarriors who gather up armies of creatures to do battle with their foes. The game works on the principle of players building up dice pools to do battle and ultimately earn enough glory to win the game. By rolling dice, players either earn Quiddity (the game’s currency) to spend on creatures and spells, or get to unleash those creatures and spells (represented by dice). It’s a fairly simple game (by modern terms) and fits in as a perfect expansion to the

Quarriors series, which is growing fairly quickly. However, even though this game is a standalone product and the original is not required to play it, those who have not yet tried Quarriors may well want to consider getting into the original game first. Light vs Dark modifies some rules and makes the experience slicker. But the original has more dice and offers more strategic options to players. Quarriors: Light vs Dark is a great mixture of luck and tactics, and it’s irreverent, tonguein-cheek approach helps make it an extremely entertaining game for those who like rolling lots of dice.g

gamecca62

115


GET GRA

LIFESTYLE

E YL W T ES IE lIF EV R

116

WATCHMEN

FABLES

Writer Alan Moore, known for penning some extremely influential comic tales, is the creative force behind Watchmen. The tale tells of a group of costumed crime fighters in an alternate version of our world, closely resembling the 1980s. When a former crime fighter is murdered, another such hero undertakes an investigation into the crime. This begins a trail down a path that leads to as many questions as answers. The depth of Watchmen makes it a very important part of modern literature, elevating it beyond the general scope of “comics� and onto a higher level. It is an incredible read. g

The only graphic novel series this month not to have been given a movie treatment, Fables really deserves to be turned into a TV series! It is the brainchild of Bill Willingham, and the plotlines involves characters who have been exiled from the world of fairy tales and now live in a special enclave in New York City. Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf and other names from folklore and mythology fill the pages of these adult oriented graphic novels, casting aside the idea that these characters are only meant for children. This is gripping, entertaining reading throughout. g

gamecca62


hic N ovels Thes a j u s e fou t com re more r exa than mple ics... s exac tly w will sho w yo hy! u

HELLBLAZER

V FOR VENDETTA

Hellblazer is a series that follows the adventures of the streetwise magician John Constantine (now a television series that hopefully is better than the lamentable film a few years ago). Originally created as a supporting character for The Swap Thing by Alan Moore, Constantine is a dark anti-hero that takes readers into a world where angels and demons are very real… and he is the only one who stands between humanity and damnation. Powerful adult-oriented tales are the order of the day, as the dark and surly Constantine does unwilling battle with the forces of eternity in these remarkable tales..g

Possibly one of the most important graphic novels ever written, V for Vendetta comes from the pen of… wait for it… Alan Moore. This story tells of a dark, disturbing, dystopian future. It asks important questions about freedom and liberty in a society in which government and organisations exercise all-powerful control over the hapless population. The system is taken on by a revolutionary names V and his unwitting protégé, Evey. This is truly an important and powerful tale, and one that will make the reader contemplate many important aspects about the world we live in. It shows off Moore’s genius perfectly. g gamecca62

117

COOL STUFF

APHIC

Grap


Kisai

LCD Watch

Unconventional time

LIFESTYLE

G

etting hold of a top-of-the-line mobile phone isn’t always possible. After all, they’re expensive items. But if you want to take advantage of the reliability and great performance of Sony’s new Xperia phones, then the E1 is a great bet for the cash strapped consumer. It’s much smaller than other Xperia models, too, which may serve you well (considering that phones like the Xperia Z2 are quite big). It’s not as powerful or feature rich as other Xperia models, but this entry level handset offers a wide range of functionality, and a lot of reliability to boot.g

118

gamecca62

Kisai Rogue Touch LCD Watch

etW g ad IE G EV R


Sony

6000

Camera

Photographic power

LIFESTYLE

S

ony is getting better and better at producing cameras, as this Alpha 6000 shows. The small camera body, which takes E-Mount lenses, hides a lot of power and versatility. How much? Well, 24.3 megapixel image size, for starters, as well as 11 frames per second high speed shooting. The controls are very user friendly, and the generous LCD screen on the back can be repositioned for different shooting angles. The camera also makes it easy to take advantage of some great features. No zoom, of course, but that’s to be expected with an interchangeable lens camera. In all, a great option for all kinds of photographers. g gamecca62

119

Sony Alpha 6000 Camera

etW g ad IE G EV R


Sony

Walkman Oh so easy...

LIFESTYLE

T

ired of cables interfering while you’re trying to listen to music? Well, Sony have an awesome option for you in the form of the W270S Walkman. This “on-head” MP3 player needs no cables at all, because everything is built into the headset itself. Made especially for sporty types, the W270S, holds up to 8GB of music, which is transferred to the device using a funky dock. Its lithium-ion battery takes about an hour and a half to recharge, and delivers around 8 hours of music playback. Best of all, it’s light, comfortable, water resistant and delivers very decent audio – exactly what you’d want from a Walkman.g

120

gamecca62

Sony W270s Walkman

etW g ad IE G EV R


Creative Airwave

etW g ad IE G EV R

Airwave Share your music!

S LIFESTYLE

haring music is part of the joy of listening to it, but with so many devices relying on personal audio (read: headphones) these days, the need for a great speaker system that can interface with your music player is undeniable. Creative have a great option in the form of the Airwave. It makes use of Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC) technologies to stream music from your player to the great quality speakers it houses. And for devices that don’t have those systems, it has an auxiliary cable input too. The USB recharging system will deliver around 12 hours of playback on a single charge. g

gamecca62

121


I

THE OBSERVER

had the pleasure of attending ICON 2014 this year in the hope of expanding my horizons into the world of board games, roleplaying, cosplay, LARPing, card games, dice games, anime, figurines and much more. Truthfully, I found it fascinating! This year’s theme was super-heroes, and so, as I stood at the entrance of the hall, I found myself looking around a conference of creative and expressive people who were happy to be a part of a world of imagination, inventiveness and intrigue. I was told that I was in geek land and of course I had to ask: how do we really define what or who is a geek? I pulled out my smart phone and thought I would do the right thing and googled the word “geek”. The Oxford Dictionary definition is as follows: Late 19th century; from the related English dialect word geck ‘fool’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gek ‘mad, silly’. Dictionary.com says: A digital-technology expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often used disparagingly by others). 1. A person who has

122

excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity: a foreign-film geek. 2. A peculiar or otherwise dislikeable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual. 3. A carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken. 4. To be overexcited about a specialized subject or activity or to talk about it with excessive enthusiasm (usually followed by out): I could geek out about sci-fi for hours. To be honest, I wasn’t satisfied with any of these black and white answers! The judgement that geeks were previously held in (before Big Bang Theory made the idea of being a geek a mainstream concept) was one based in misinformation and misunderstanding. But that’s human nature, we often criticise that which we cannot relate to or understand. So I decided to make up my own mind and do a little investigating of my own; after all I was in the right place for it. After my experience in a confined space surrounded

gamecca62

BY Katia Taliadoros

Deep Geek...

by open-minded creatures, seeking to explore their imagination in an environment where judgement is nonexistent and a true expression of their artistry, insight and vision is communicated, I realised I was standing in the arena where the generation of geek-ism began. I started to see that your average mainstream geek has nothing on these guys. These were the geeks who were geeks before being a geek was fashionable. (As a true geek would say) This diverse, authentic and imaginative group of people have so much more associated to them. There is depth in everything they do, debate and relate to. Geek-ism has certainly grown to the point that it has manifested into a culture in its own right, with a continuation of generations that are evolving from the traditions and mentalities now handed down to them. This is a religion, not a fashion, and it goes beyond the games they play, and more into the reasons for playing them. These Deep-Geeks are grown-ups who have decided to not let go of their childhood and it seems to me that this has made them better adults for it. g


105 Back Issues avail


lable online for free


Profile for Gamecca Magazine

Gamecca Magazine August 2014  

Gamecca Magazine August 2014 (Volume 6, Issue 62). Free monthly magazine all about video games. In this issue we look at Destiny and Alien...

Gamecca Magazine August 2014  

Gamecca Magazine August 2014 (Volume 6, Issue 62). Free monthly magazine all about video games. In this issue we look at Destiny and Alien...

Profile for gamecca
Advertisement