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Tales of Berseria

Alienware Aurora R5

Old School Mafia 0

Remake

Desktop Brilliance

Razer Blackwidow Chroma v2

The Dark Side

Resident Evil 7 Mafia 0 Tales of Berseria and more...

In Your Face! PlayStation VR

Fear

Resident Evil 7

Into the wild Take on the Cartel in Ghost Recon: Wildlands

ISSUE 92 / Vol.8 February 2017

www.gameccamag.com


H W

M Read Online for Free! Read all new and back original and unaltered issues free at:

Bronze Award SCORE 80-84

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

Silver Award SCORE 85-89

Gold Award SCORE 90-94

Platinum Award SCORE 95-100

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

Gamecca Magazine: © Copyright Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd. (2009 – 2017)

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Ed’s Choice Awar


rd

I

t’s pretty difficult to imagine

Andromeda and FlatOut 4 all on the

that we have already reached

cards for that month. In fact, up until

February. 2017 is full-steam

around May, we should be seeing a

ahead, and it is dragging us all

great batch of games released – just

along for the ride. And there

before the annual pre-E3 slump hits

has been a lot of interesting

us. There will be plenty to distract us

things happening this year

from the real world and its issues.

already, even if it is only one

that should see the light of day

to be deepening globally, and

before the end of this year, too,

tolerance seems to be at a low point.

including things like Tekken 7: Fate

Precidting what this year will have in

Retribution, Ace Combat 7: Skies

store for us is all but impossible…

Unknown, Call of Cthulhu, and even a rumour about a new Far

And Gamecca is hardly a place for

Cry game (although that is totally

political discourse, so let’s look

unsubstantiated at the moment).

at something more predictable

Once E3 has run its course, we will

(although only slightly); the video

know more… but as things stand,

game market. While governments

2017 still has a lot of excitement

and the like may be doing things that

ahead for us gamers.

common folks aren’t too sure about,

Speaking of issues, this month’s

the video game industry has an

Gamecca Magazine has a hands-

exciting year lined up for us, and it

on review of the PSVR (we do

starts with this month already. Aside

get some stuff a little later here

from the January release of Resident

in South Africa) as well as tons of

Evil 7 and a handful of other titles,

other awesome reviews, previews,

February is the month in which

features and more. On a sad note,

things are starting to get interesting.

we also bid goodbye to one of our

Names like For Honor, Halo Wars

long time contributors this month…

2, Sniper Elite 4 and Torment: Tides

Lein Baart has been a prominent

of Numenera will all be arriving this

name in Gamecca Magazine for

month. March looks equally exciting

several years, and his insight and

(if not more so) with names like

excellent articles will be missed by

Horizon: Zero Dawn, Ghost Recon:

myself and the rest of the Gamecca

Wildlands, NieR: Automata, Star

Crew.

Trek: Bridge Crew, Mass Effect:

by Walt Pretorius

There are plenty of other games

month old. Political divides seem

At least, in politics, it will be.

From the Editor

MonthTwo

And so, on to the magazine…g mgeect 2 c7a 9 2 ggl a ad

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THIS MONTH’S COVER

Fight Bolivian drug lords in Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Publishing Editor Walt Pretorius

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Feature: The Real World Take on the Cartel in Ghost Recon: Wildlands

18

Previews: Games 11 games incoming!

walt@novamentis.co.za

Art Director Katia Taliadoros katia@novamentis.co.za

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

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Reviews: Games 10 games studied

60

Regular: IndieView Being Fireproof

Letters: letters@gameccamag.com

Competition Entries: competitions@gameccamag.com

Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gameccamag.com

Marketing Contact:

Copyright Š Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd 2009 - 2017

walt@novamentis.co.za

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

GAMECCA is published by Nova Mentis (Pty) Ltd

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Gamecca Vol. 8 Issue 92 February 2017

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Feature: In the Game Getting real with PSVR

74

reviews: Hardware 7 bits of awesome tech

88

Feature: CES 2017 Innovation from the show floor

92

Regular: Internet Getting the law right

96

Regular: Living Digital Protecting your smart phone

100

COOL STUFF: Movies The end for wolverine?

112

COOL STUFF: Board Games Table-top activity!

116

COOL STUFF: RPGs Some essential make-believe

124

COOL STUFF: Comics More books with pictures

132

COOL STUFF: Books FGrow your brain

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s e d’ c E oi h C

“This is a brave new direction for the Resident Evil franchise, and one that pays off…”


Resident Evil 7: Biohazard


10

18 22 24 28 29 30 32 33 34 36 37

Features The Real World

PReviews Torment: Tides of Numenera NieR: Automata Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 The Fall Part 2: Unbound Linelight Dreamfall Chapters Voodoo Vince Dual Gear Hand of Fate 2 RiME Persona 5

Reviews 40 44 48 50 51 52 54 56 58 59

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Hitman: The Complete First Season Yakuza 0 Day of the Tentacle Remastered World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap Tales of Berseria Titan Souls Digimon World: Next Order The Swindle This War of Mine: The Little Ones

RegularS 60

8

IndieView

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TheReal Fighting drug l

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aking on the Santa Blanca Cartel and putting an end to their stranglehold on Bolivia, as well as their drug-smuggling operations around the world… that’s what you’ll have to do in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. But you won’t have to do it alone… Wildlands will bring

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands

l World lords in Bolivia four-player co-op and a massive open world to the franchise. We recently spoke to Tom Isaksen, Senior Character Artist for Ghost Recon: Wildlands, about what we can expect from this exciting new instalment in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise. gamecca92

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GM: What prompted

something of a

missions still have a

the idea to move

Ubisoft signature.

more rigid structure to

from a more linear

How is Wildlands

them?

experience to an open

differentiating itself

TI: There are a

world?

from the numerous

hundred plus story

other open world

missions in the game,

in the team have

games that Ubisoft has

and you’ll be able to

worked on all of the

done?

do them in any order.

TI: A lot of the guys

games, so this is more

TI: This game is

like a dream scenario

the biggest action

around and explore

– it gives complete

adventure we have

and when you come

freedom to the player

done at Ubisoft. We

across something you

and opens up many

are using the real-

can either take on the

play styles. So, in

world location of

mission, or move on.

many ways, this move

Bolivia, which is a very

It’s really up to the

is about doing the

unique place; it’s quite

player.

game that they have

beautiful, it’s diverse

always dreamed of

and it helps create an

manage the narrative

doing, now that the

authentic experience,

within the game with

technology is there,

with the Tom Clancy

that much freedom

and the power to run a

fantasy on top of it.

given to the player?

massive world. That’s

People are going to

TI: You have mini-

really the essence

see a country that they

bosses in the various

of it. The fans of the

don’t really know.

regions. The idea is

franchise will still

GM: How do you

On top of that we

that you have to break

find Ghost Recon in

have the tactical four-

down the Santa Blanca

there, the whole Tom

player co-op. It makes

Cartel from the inside.

Clancy fantasy, what if

a big difference, and

They have four pillars,

scenario. It’s all there,

it’s something new and

which are how they

just opened up. I think

interesting for us to

manipulate and gain

it will also be easy for

work with.

influence over the

new players to grab on

GM: The Segway

local population, their

to, and the fans will be

between open world

production of cocaine,

able to get in there and

exploration and

the security and

do their thing as well.

missions themselves

smuggling operations,

GM: Open world

– will that be fairly

which you need to

games are becoming

natural, or will the

break down. These

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You’ll be able to roam

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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are run by bad-ass

technology that exists

of work to be done.

lieutenants, who you

today. What prompted

There is lots and lots

have to take out. We

the move away from

of content, and we

tell the story as you

the whole future-tech

had to develop new

progress and slowly

thing?

tools to make a lot

take the Cartel down. GM: There is a

TI: I think the tea wanted something

environment is the real

lot of non-scripted

really authentic and,

star of this game; I

NPC interaction

combined with the

get goosebmps when

promised, with each

real world location, it

I think about it. There

character having their

just makes sense. You

are awesome sunsets

own reactions and

still have gadgets but

and the environment

motivations. How will

they’re toned down

extends as far as the

the player affect the

from the things you

eye can see. It has a

dynamic of the game in

had in Future Soldier.

full day night cycle…

general?

They’re a little more

there really has been a

TI: It comes down,

realistic, a little more

lot of effort going in to

once again, to the four

possible. Setting the

this.

pillars. As you break

game in a real world

GM: What kind of

them down, you will

location and making

environments can we

see how it effects

it more authentic was

expect to see?

the game world. You

part of the essence of

will also find a local

the game.

resistance and you can

TI: There are eleven different ecosystems

GM: You said that

in the game. It’s really

help them. As you help

this is the largest

diverse; salt-plains,

and free them, they

environment that

mountain ranges,

will be more involved in

Ubisoft ever created

jungle… there’s a little

helping you out.

for a game. How big a

bit of everything in

GM: Another

challenge was creating

there. There are also

it?

real world locations,

departure that is evident in Wildlands…

TI: There is a big art

like the famous cliff-

in the past, the

team handling it and

roads – death roads –

Ghost Recon games

it is a huge challenge.

that you can drive on.

were more focussed

There are people only

It’s going to be quite a

on future-tech. But

doing vegetation,

show.

Wildlands is more

people only doing

real-world, using

rocks… there is a lot

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of it possible. The

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GM: How much research went into


Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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that? TI: Part of the team (unfortunately not me) actually went to

options, and so on. Hats, hair, tattoos, it’s

preferred or intended

all in there.

way that the game

We also have the

should be played?

Bolivia, to document

Gunsmith in, back

things and talk to

from previous different

game work well either

the locals. They

games. There are

co-op or single player.

spoke to specialists,

fifty different guns

When you play single

photographed stuff and

and tons of different

player, your team

brought it all back to

attachments and

mates are there to

us. The team that went

colours. Guns will also

back you up, which

was very impressed

undergo wear and

is something you

with the country, and

tear as you play the

might not be able to

a lot of what they saw

game. They will slowly

rely on with human

we put straight into the

degrade. Characters

players. And a lot of

game. I have a feeling

will get dirty.

it comes down to the

that after people play

And there are tons of

they will actually want

vehicles as well.

to visit Bolivia… it will

GM: Any RPG

be more quiet in the real world than it is in our game! GM: Beyond freedom

elements?

TI: No, I think the

exploration, which is really great even if you play solo. GM: What are your

TI: There is some

personal favourite

skill progression, and

aspects of Ghost

you will be able to

Recon: Wildlands?

in mission approaches,

unlock lots of different

what other freedoms

equipment.

TI: It’s really a small thing, but it gives me

willplayers have, in

GM: How tactically

goosebumps. Imagine

terms of characters

focussed is Wildlands?

you’ve just completed

and advancement?

TI: We believe that it

a night-time mission in

really is player choice.

the rain, and you’re on

be able to completely

You will be able to give

the road somewhere,

customise your

basic commands to

with the sun coming

Ghosts. We have a

your AI team mates

up… translucent leaves

very complex character

if you play solo, like

on the trees… it’s just

customisation system,

attack here, or set up

really gorgeous..

with different races

sequential shots. But

and genders, different

when you play co-op, it

gear and clothing

really is your choice.

GAMING

TI: First of all, you’ll

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GM: Is the co-op the

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GM: So it transports you to that place? TI: Definitely.


Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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Torment: Tides o GAMING

Old meets new

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Torment: Tides of Numenera

by Walt Pretorius

of Numenera

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days before the 30 day campaign ended. What that means, essentially, is that the DNA of Planescape: Torment is strong in Torment: Tides of Numenera. And it showed in the keen reception that the game received in Early Acess. But a deal with Techland means that a little more than a year after Early Access started, a retail version will be released by the Polish publisher. Torment: Tides of Numenera is, essentially, a combination of old and new ideas, made possible through better technology applied to a formula that was extremely popular in the past. This isometric RPG will put players in an intriguing setting – Earth, around a billion years from now – and will deliver a powerful, thematically powerful and thought provoking narrative. Aside from that, though, the game will feature tons

GAMING

ickstarter has really changed the world of video game development. If you, for example, take a great, known formula, and present it as the basis for a new game, you might be surprised at how quickly funding goals are achieved. inXile Entertainment took the formula of Planescape: Torment, combined it with the setting of the popular Numenera table-top RPG (reviewed in this issue) and started a fund for Torment: Tides of Numenera. Their funding was reached within just six hours after the campaign launched in 2013, breaking previous records as the fastest campaign to hit the $1million mark. In fact, the team’s promise to bring Planescape: Torment lead designer Chris Avellone on board if they reached a $3.5million stretch goal target was fulfilled less than three

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Torment: Tides of Numenera

of choices that change the game, meaning that it becomes a highly replayable title. The Ninth World is a stunning science-fantasy setting, complete with great visuals, a ton of sometimes surprising items to use, and lots of powerful magic on display. This will rub shoulders with the forgotten science of the previous civilisations, complete with clouds of rogue nanites, automated soldiers fighting a forgotten war, and a massive data network that the very clever or very lucky can access… all set among the crumbling, mysterious ruins of what was before. Characters will be available in three main varieties; Glaives are powerful warriors, Nanos are scientifically and magically minded, and Jacks are… well, a bit of both. These characters will be further defined with descriptors (tough, smart,

cautious, and so on) that modify some abilities, and focuses, which define your character in terms of studied and natural abilities. The number of possible combinations is huge. Characters are also further defined by Tides, mysterious forces as real in the Ninth World as magnetism and gravity. These form the basis of a carefully balanced and highly nuanced alignment system, which doesn’t fall into the blackand-white trap of “good and evil”. Torment: Tides of Numenera has already garnered a large number of fans, and is proving to be an exciting and entertaining, highly creative and extremely original experience. When it launches for retail in late February, even more players will be able to explore its intricacies and mysteries. g

AT A GLANCE Adventure

Set in a science-fantasy world a billion years in the future, this game promises intricacy, mystery, and tons of player options and choices. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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inXile Techland Ster Kinekor

Feb 2017

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

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NieR: Automata Man vs machine vs machine?

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will hopefully be a step up from what they know. And for newbies, this is one to hopefully impress and leave a lasting impression. About the game itself, it is set in a machine-run world. So much so that humans have moved to the moon (clearly they weren’t big dreamers like my hero Elon Musk). In an effort to want to return to their home, the humans do what humans do best – make someone else go fight the bad guys and risk their lives. With such heroism in the human spirit, it is evident that their only option is an android. A rather beautiful and kickass android named YoRHa No.2 Model B – don’t freak out if you’re saying it wrong, it’s 2B for short. 2B is works well under pressure and

GAMING

any developers had a good string of well-received games in 2016. Square Enix was one of the beneficiaries of the accolades. But that was last year, gamers have a clean slate that they wish to completely make filthy with good impressions from games they will be playing. NieR: Automata is the next instalment from the NieR franchise. Although many who have played its predecessor may still find the storyline a bit daunting, it will come as good news for those brand spanking new to NieR that Automata doesn’t have the requirement of having played the previous game. Reason for this is the timeline. NieR is set a few millennia after its predecessor. So for fans, this one

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NieR: Automata

looking (again, from what they have chosen to show us). The fighting is as dynamic and fast-paced as it is thrilling. You will come to thoroughly enjoy playing as 2B. From super quick dodges, to the quick switch between strong and lighter attacks. It is all very fluid. Thank goodness you won’t be having all this fun by yourself – you will be joined by 2 allies. One is another android nicknamed 9S and a few more unique characters. You can enjoy all this from the comfort of the everso-dynamic-camera views. The camera is a character on its own here. Oh, and did I mention that the game is open world? Enjoy. g

AT A GLANCE Action RPG

Platinum Games & Square Enix seem to have the right recipe for a good game: action, some RPG & an open world. Let waiting begin. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Platinum Games Square Enix Megarom

Mar 2017

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

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by Sibonisile Motha

always manages to maintain her resolve. This comes in handy considering the enemies that she comes across throughout the game. Platinum Games was the perfect partner in creating this game. They are notorious for great action sequences in their projects. Because who wants to fight basic unimaginative robots? Believe me, you won’t have to. The machine bosses (well, the ones they have let us actually see so far) are interesting to say the least. To give you a clearer picture, at E3, Square Enix showed off a boss that seemed to be inspired by that one old lady who you were sure is cooking children in her witch’s pot. This brings us to the action sequences in combat. Absolutely awesome-


E M W A VIE G E R P

Sniper Ghost Wa GAMING

Two’s a party, three’s a strike team

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

by Walt Pretorius

arrior 3

…

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developers CI Games push the title back to early April. Barring any more delays, we should be just months away from enjoying the third instalment of Sniper Ghost Warrior. Things look to be a little different this time around, though. In the previous two games, the dynamics were very much centres around the idea of being a sniper‌ long rifles and stealth were what the game was all about, and getting caught was pretty much a death sentence. In this third outing, though, the developers have taken the game’s name to heart, using it as inspiration for three play styles. There is the long range Sniper, the up-close and personal stealthy Ghost, and the guns-blazing Warrior, all approaches that the player can take in the game. And with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 being the first in the series to

GAMING

he world of video game design is an interesting one, to say the least. Long development times and delays often hamper progress, with developers trying to deliver the best possible experience while trying to keep up with modern technology. This certainly was the case with Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, which was first announced in December of 2014. Even though the game had a playable demo six months later, the release date was never certain, and a year after the demo was released, a full game release date surfaced; in June of 2016, a year and a half after the initial announcement, the release for Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was pegged at late January, 2017. But more delays and a need for additional polish saw

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Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

deliver a truly open world experience, varied approaches may well be extremely necessary. To facilitate this, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 has a small, but effective arsenal; three long range rifles (the BMT 03, the Turret M96 and the Dragoon SVD), an assault carbine (the Herstal), a heavily modified pistol (the SP M23) and an automatic, gas-powered shotgun (the Origin 12). There will also be other equipment available to the player, in the form of vehicles (which also serve as mobile weapon stashes) and a multi-functional recon drone. With great graphics and a massive world, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 promises to be an action packed and appealing title. This will be even more the case when considering that the developers are creating a strong narrative for the

title, centred around three main characters. At the core is Jon North, a US Marine sent in to assassinate high value targets in war-torn Georgia. His first squad mate is ex-Georgian FSB mercenary, Lydia Jorjadze, who worked with Jon before in Afghanistan. The third team member is MOSSAD agent Raquel Shein. Whether the player will make use of all three characters, or just one, remains to be seen. However, each character will have their own motivations and missions, creating fertile ground for some excellent interaction and narrative development. With numerous formulaic changes and new approaches, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 could be the best game yet in the series. We’ll know for sure in April. g

AT A GLANCE First-person Shooter

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 introduces a truly open world and multiple play styles to the franchise. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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CI Games CI Games Apex Interactive

Apr 2017

Platforms

GENRE

ETA

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

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N

GAMING

Q1 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Over the Moon Games Over the Moon Games Online

PLATFORMS

Step away from the cliff-hanger.

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Action, adventure

With The Fall’s success, Part 2 has a lot to live up to for the eagerly waiting fans.

gamecca92

by Sibonisile Motha

The Fall Part2: Unbound

ot often enough does it happen that an indie crowd-funded game is not only successfully created but extremely wellreceived. That was the case for Over the Moon Games’ The Fall. The Fall was so greatly received that people have been waiting for a little over 2 years to know where the story could go to after a torturous cliff-hanger of an ending. To those who have been sitting with a candle that is almost burnt out, you won’t have to wait too long now. The Fall Part 2: Unbound (call me a gun-jumper, but the title already sounds like a proper series brewing). Without giving away too much of the previous story, Part 2 will see the lovable and headstrong AI, ARID, make her way through the system in order to find herself in the main program. There is a degree of puzzlesolving in this game as you will need to figure out ways to use bodies that do not belong to you alone in order to accomplish your tasks. Every setting will present its own story and unique weird. With every task completed, ARID gets one step closer to where she needs to be. With her being an AI, you will get to play ARID in various scenarios and environments that will make you stay glued to seeing this game through. From engaging in combat with a small army of androids, to assuming the role of a robot butler obliviously tending to rotting corpses, there are a lot of great moments that look to be in store. This game can also be a great ice-breaker for those AI debates that we as society keep getting into. g

The Fall Part 2: Unbound

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T

GAMING

Q1 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Brett Taylor Interactive LLC Brett Taylor Interactive LLC Online

PLATFORMS

What if everything takes place on a line? PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Platformer

Minimalist indie platformer that reduces all to lines and lights.

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by Nthato Morakabi

Linelight

ake gaming and reduce it to its bare minimum. Rather than 3D rendered trails and routes, reduced them down to simple lines and paths. Take your protagonist as a marine, mage, warrior or archer and simplify them into a lined representation. A streaked avatar. Utilize the same goal orientated gameplay and puzzle mechanics into this abridged style platformer and what you have is Linelight. As it has been described, Linelight is a study in minimalism, stripped of the aesthetics in backdrop, setting, and characters. What remains is a lines, dashes and an immersive experience that removes the distractions of everything else. Linelight was developed a twentysomething indie developer over the course of 10 months and has since racked up a share of accolades across indie dev shows including PAX and Gamescom. Linelight takes the incredibly interesting perspective of “What if everything takes place on a line?” and builds on it with each level. The premise is simple; guide Dash through the puzzling complexities of the world. There is no jump, shoot or any other button except to move Dash. Set in outer space, there is technically, a universe of possibilities available to solve every puzzle. As to be expected, every level gets more difficult and Brett Taylor says the key to immersing players into the game is to keep pushing them to solve what looks unsolvable. With beautiful aesthetic colours augmenting the simplistic design, Linelight feels like those simple puzzle games you can lose hours playing, hoping to solve every puzzle with the highest grade. If reading Brett Taylors’ Developer blog is anything to go by, players can expected to be truly tested. g

Linelight

e m ew a vi G e R P


Dreamfall Chapters

E M W A VIE G E R P

Dreamfall Chapters

Dreams really do come true.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Red Thread Games Deep Silver Online

PLATFORMS

GAMING

Mar 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

and explore the worlds and secrets around them in their lucid dream states. With an antagonist who knows that dreams have the power to alter and shape reality, players are not only running against time to save the world, but themselves. They must wake up in order to help save their worlds. When released later this year, it will consist of all chapters to the series to players do not have to wait until the next one is released. And with it being remastered for the next-gen consoles, players can enjoy a good story that looks good too. g

AT A GLANCE Adventure

A chance for console users to discover the story that PC players already know.

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by Sibonisile Motha

I

consoles regardless. For those unaware of Dreamfall, it is a story that is character focused and revolves around the dream world, as well as two parallel real worlds. In it, you follow the story of 2 main protagonists, Zoe and Kian. Each one of these protagonists exists in one of the parallel worlds – one more modern and cyperpunk, and the other fantastical with magic. As you follow the story, you begin to discover a conspiracy that threatens all worlds. The power of dreams. In Dreamfall, characters discover

must say, sometimes PC gamers have it hard in this fickle industry. They spend a lot of time, patience, passion (and money) following a story episode by episode, or in this case; chapter by chapter – only to find that the developers have decided to put the whole story into one big game for console users. I’m sorry to all the PC gamers that have had to be subjected to this cruel fate. Maybe one day PC gamers will be happy for console users when this happens. Until then, Dreamfall Chapters is being released for


Voodoo Vince

E M IEWW A VIE G EEV R PR

Voodoo Vince W

e do not have to look at the indie game scene or all the people losing their minds (and money) to Nintendo’s Classic NES to know that current gamers are a nostalgic bunch. Final Fantasy 7 saw a remake in glorious HD. Crash Bandicoot is making its way to us. We’re still playing Street Fighter and Tekken and, and, and. So it came as no surprise when Clayton Kauzlaric, Founder and Creative Director at Beep Games Inc as well as Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, announced that his beloved first-gen Xbox title Voodoo Vince, would also enjoy the glories of remastering. Rumour has it that Phil Spencer is also a big fan of Voodoo Vince. Voodoo Vince is a platform title where the burlap voodoo doll Vince is struck by Zombie Dust and is brought to life during an attempted robbery of Madam Charmaine’s voodoo shop. Madam Charmaine is kidnapped and taken to Kosmo the Inscrutable while the escaped Zombie Dust starts to bend and warp reality. It’s up to Vince to save both his owner and the world. Clayton Kauzlaric says that gameplay is mostly untouched and Vince will move, animate, and have the same controls as he did in the original 2003 game. Vince will perform the standard jump, punch, and a spin attacks. However, the true abilities lie in Vince’s voodoo powers, each power hurting Vince in unique ways and how he hurts himself hurts the enemy in a similar way. Players can gain more abilities by finding special voodoo icons scattered through the game. When Vince’s voodoo power meter is full, he can use a voodoo power destroying all enemies nearby. g

GAMING

Q1/Q2 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Beep Industries Microsoft Game Studios Microsoft

PLATFORMS

by Nthato Morakabi

Cult Classic comes back from the dead

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Platformer

The remastered Voodoo Vince looks promising for fans and newcomers alike.

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GAMING

Q1 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Orbital Speed Studio Co. Ltd. Orbital Speed Studio Co. Ltd. Online

PLATFORMS

Tactics on the ground

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Strategy, turn-based , simulation

With much of the game still under development, the level of funding shows the anticipation for this game already.

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by Sibonisile Motha

Dual Gear

hen someone mentions turnbased strategy, one may often resort to the default aerial view of things. It is always easier to know the best move from above right? How about not making it that much easier? How about making it from a third-person perspective while keeping all the elements of a turn-based simulation strategy game? Yes. We shall do that. And we shall call him Dual Gear. Orbital Speed Studio Co. Ltd, decided to come up with a game that does exactly that. Production for this game has been a bit of a process. With some crowd-funding and a vision, Dual Gear is hoping to become a game with a great fan base as well as applause. So what is Dual Gear all about you ask? Well, as a result of a successful attack on a powerful energy receiver called the Gaia Belt, the losers of the battle play the blame game and a decision to focus on building stronger militia is made. A Dual Gear is a Tactical humanoid Vehicle war machine. You will get to play as one of these and command your own base and crew. Remember how you won’t be playing in a top view, well, you will have to find and recruit an amazing pilot to do that part for you. The better the pilot is the better for your unit. This game is still in PreAlpha and funding mode. The developer undoubtedly has a huge vision for this game to be enjoyed. Like 30 hour gameplay, or replayability for missions, 30 types of mechs, 100+ parts, 60 types of weapons – and list just keeps going on. Hoping for a mindblowing final product. g

Dual Gear

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Hand of Fate 2

E M W A VIE G E R P

Hand of Fate 2 Fate deals a new hand…

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Defiant Developer Defiant Developer Online

PLATFORMS

GAMING

Q1 2017

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

the unique deck building mechanics of its predecessor. Also, players will be able to team up with companion characters who will be able to provide combat support and mini-game perks. Their presence influences the player’s story and may affect how it all plays out. The first Hand of Fate was a Kickstarter funded initiative that progressed from Steam Greenlight to the virtual shelves of the digital game giant. This successful third-person, high-risk high-reward table top RPG makes for a compelling card-based strategy title and worth giving a try. g

AT A GLANCE Card RPG

A third-person card-based table top RPG rogue-like adventure from some of the industry’s best.

gamecca92

by Nthato Morakabi

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face. It is up to them to overcome the cards fate has dealt. The revised table from the bolstered, revenge-driven dealer brings with it brand new challenges for players to brave. The refurbished card suits introduce new foes to the series, from the disciplined, sword wielding Imperial forces to the corrupted mutant Blights and other powerful foes. More combat styles will appear in the game including dual-wielding and heft two-handed heavy arms. Items, gear, armour, weapons, artefacts and collectables are still key elements in Hand of Fate 2, continuing

he dealer has clawed his way back from beyond the thirteen gates to our mortal realm. Anger fuels his heart, and while the table has changed, the stakes remain the same: life or death. His return signals not merely the fate of a soul, but the souls of empires. His motivation – to seek his revenge. Once again players are thrust into the scuffed boots of adventurers exploring a dark fantasy world brought to life through a supernatural board game. The magical dealer casts his Tarot cards, each overturned card revealing a new trial for adventurers to


RiME

E M IEWW A VIE G EEV R PR

RiME R

ime is one of those games when I came across it for the first time; I was captivated by it all. Tequila Works have taken the time to create a game that combines the fun of exploration & discovery, as well as the beauty of an unspoken narrative. In this title you will assume the role of a young boy who needs to escape an island that is as beautiful as much as it hides it curse. Mostly a puzzle game, you will find yourself taking the time to step back and figure out where things go. You begin to build an almost completely different world with every puzzle you solve. Some puzzles will reveal beautiful things, and on the other hand, you will come across puzzles that remind you why you need to escape from the island. The world of Rime is one where all the other elements, besides words, speak the story of the journey you will embark on. Although the game does not have cut scene graphics, they are very fitting to the game’s agenda – a world that is different and unique. One of the ways that this world is brought to life is the day-night system that is in place. You get to experience various moments that are enhanced by the time of day you unravel them. Without a single word spoken in the game’s entirety, players are given no choice but to focus on the game itself, and let the gamer’s experience provide a narrative from his/her own perspective. The developer has expressed the immense pressure on them to produce a game that meets or hopefully exceeds the positive expectations thus far. Good luck. g

GAMING

May 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

36

Tequila Works Grey Box Online

PLATFORMS

by Sibonisile Motha

Explore worlds within a world

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE Adventure

With such great expectations for this game, one can only hope that the game leaves a trail of smiles upon release.

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GAMING

Feb 2017 Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Atlus Atlus Apex Interactive

PLATFORMS

Cleanse corruption and conquer callous characters

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE RPG

After transferring to Shujin High School, a boy and a group of students discover their Personas and become the ‘‘Phantom Thieves of Hearts’’ vigilante group.

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by Nthato Morakabi

Persona 5

okyo 20XX. A band of students from Shujin High School discover their Persona abilities – supernatural manifestations of their personalities and inner psyche following an encounter with a teacher, in which they stumbled into the Palace realm. Led by a new student transfer, the students begin to form the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” vigilante group. Using their Personas, they seek to rid the city of corruption from the hearts of adults. However, it is an arduous battle, and changing another’s heart for good is no walk in the park. If you’re into Japanese RPGs, and you’ve heard of game developer Atlus, then Persona should not be new to your knowledge base. A spin off from the Shin Megami Tensai franchise, the Persona series are “what if” stories following a silent protagonist and are usually set on smaller scale environments compared to Shin Megami Tensai. The latest instalment in this popular spin-off, Persona 5, is an immersive JRPG that fluidly combines dungeon exploration with mundane student life. Players will have to live life as ordinary students during the day, forming relationships with the various characters around their city. At night, they don the mask of the Phantom thief and reform corrupt adults. Thematically different to its predecessor, Person 5 combines elements from the previous title with bold, new colours and an updated HUD display system. Dungeon exploration will include intense battles, and an Alertness system that affects player progression within the Palace realm. Combined with epic anime cut-scenes, intense battles, and a smooth transition between areas and enemy encounters, Persona 5 kicks it up a notch to create a beautiful game sure to please all Shin Megami Tensai fans. g

Persona 5

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We have


e issues!


E M W A IE G EV R

Resident Evil 7: GAMING

In your face!

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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

by Walt Pretorius

Biohazard

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view that Capcom obviously wanted to explore the new VR capabilities of the PS4. The other effect that this has had on Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the fact that this is probably the best looking title in the series. It is easy – particularly in VR – to lose yourself in the minute detail of the setting, because most of it looks so damned good, even though it is decrepit, ugly and sometimes downright disgusting. The player takes on the role of Ethan, a man searching for his wife after receiving a mysterious email from her – years after she was thought dead. The game takes the player to a creepy location – the Dulvey Plantation, in Louisiana, where he encounters (at first) the twisted Baker Family. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is less Night of the Living Dead and more The Hills have Eyes or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, thanks to the twisted family of rednecks that the player initially contends with, but there are, throughout the course of the

GAMING

\he Resident Evil franchise has been around for quite some time, and through the years the developers have tried various things to make us feel afraid while playing the game. Some worked, some didn’t, but very few come close to recapturing the feeling of the original game – that creeping dread and constant nervous anticipation – as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard does. Despite taking the biggest departure from previous formulae that the series has ever seen, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard manages to recapture the pedantic, gloomy, helpless and often terrifying feeling that made us fall in love when we first encountered the franchise. At least, it does so for the most part. The big departure, of course, is the fact that this is the first ever Resident Evil game presented from a firstperson perspective. This was necessary from the point of

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Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

game, strong ties to the existing Resident Evil mythology that the player can discover. So is it scary? Well, yes and no. The added immersion of VR does make it a bit more creepy, but even experiencing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard on a normal screen can get you a bit jittery. The game is more about atmosphere than too many jump-scares (although it has a number of them) and it is more creepy than scary, ultimately. This is exacerbated by the fact that, like in the original few games, resources are extremely limited. Sadly, though, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard fails to deliver in some areas. The puzzles are far too easy, for the most part, with little head scratching involved. The enemies are not extremely varied, making some of the action in the game quite predictable, which is never good for creating tension. In fact, visual and auditory clues can prepare the

player who picks up on them for most of the jump-scares and quick frights that Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has on offer, which does remove a lot of the scare factor from the game. In terms of VR, while strapping on PlayStation’s new headset does make for a slightly more immersive experience, playing the game with VR enabled isn’t a necessity. It can still deliver the goods on a normal screen, too, particularly if you have the lights down low. Where VR really pays off is that aiming is based on head position, so snapping off head shots is a lot easier. This is a brave new direction for the Resident Evil franchise, and one that pays off, for the most part. Considering some of the weaker parts of the series, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is certainly a game worth playing. g

AT A GLANCE Survival horror

As the first FPS version of Resident Evil, Biohazard manages to get it right, for the most part.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Capcom Capcom Ster Kinekor

PARENTAL ADVISORY

18+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

REVIEWED ON

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

85 43


E M W A IE G EV R

Hitman: The Complete F GAMING

Killing interesting people around th

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Hitman: The Complete First Season

by Walt Pretorius

First Season

he world…

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the idea of taking things slowly more than a little frustrating. Additionally, episodic releases mean a lot of downloading, which isn’t always an option for some players. The episodes for Hitman have been fairly chunky downloads, too, weighing in at several gigs each. Now, though, players can download, or buy a physical disk of, the whole “season” of Hitman, with all episodes and bonus content complete. That’s a pretty awesome idea for those who didn’t go into episode-mode over the last year, and it brings a game to market that is fully patched and tweaked (seeing as how each episode brought adjustments with it). The physical release also puts the game into the reach of those who couldn’t get hold of it previously via download. The story of Hitman sees Agent 47 employed by the International Contract Agency, or ICA, an organisation working for the highest bidder in eliminating targets. Most

GAMING

pisodic game releases are something that you either love or hate. With episodes spaced well apart, players can take time to dig into the content that they do have while they wait for the next instalment, trying and retrying missions. This is something that Hitman, first released almost a year ago, is pretty keen on players doing. Each of the six main missions features numerous starting points to be unlocked, as well as a variety of ways in which to dispatch targets. So players who enjoy replayability can really sink their teeth into the various missions, taking advantage of an achievement system that cannot be owned in a single play-through. But episodic games are like episodic series – the roll out of episodes may work well for some, but others want to binge. And so, through the almost 12 months that Hitman has been available, there have been those that have found

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Hitman: The Complete First Season

of the kills that the six episodes present are villainous types, pretty much people who need to take a bullet for the greater good. And, like any good spy thriller, it sees the player taking Agent 47 around the globe. Paris, Sapienza (in Italy), Marrakesh, Bangkok, Colorado and Hokkaido (in Japan) are where the player will go during the course of these six episodes. Each location requires Agent 47 to take out multiple targets, with the common number being two. The Colorado mission requires four hits, making it particularly challenging. In fact, the Colorado mission stands out quite a bit. Unlike the other five missions, Colorado isn’t glitzy and glamorous, and it features pretty much no innocent bystanders or crowds to take advantage of. It’s almost more like a military strike than a high-profile assassination, and it feels very different from the other five locations, even in terms of visuals. It’s also the

only mission in which the game’s pervasive use of American accents makes sense. Call me picky, but hearing a bunch of American accents in Paris or Morocco just feels wrong, and it brings the otherwise excellent presentation of the game down a peg or two. Each mission provides its own challenges. Some are larger, others smaller, and the level complexity varies. Most, however, provide the player with plenty of opportunities and approaches to their targets, although sometimes the game can spoon feed the player a little too much. The help functions can be turned off, though, making each mission a long process of trying stuff, failing, and trying again. It is unlikely that you will get through any single mission in one sitting. Hitman is pedantic, thoughtful and great fun when you get a successful hit completed. But be prepared for more than a little frustration. g

AT A GLANCE RPG Adventure

Requiring a different approach to each of the six settings, and with tons of opportunities in each mission, Hitman is a great replayable sneaker. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

IO Interactive Square Enix Megarom

PARENTAL ADVISORY

18+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

REVIEWED ON

PS4 PLATFORMS

GENRE

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

80 47


E M W A IE G EV R

Yakuza 0 GAMING

An ‘80s beat-em-up origin tale…

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GENRE

Despite a handful of quibbles,

Yakuza

by Walt Pretorius

0 proves to be an exciting and entertaining crime brawler set in

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

18+

Ryu ga Gotoku SEGA Ster Kinekor

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

84

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

‘80s Japan.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

gamecca92

Action

PS4

when compared to other open world titles, they are lively and crammed with detail. The blazing neon of ‘80s Tokyo and Osaka, the inspirations for these virtual places, is captured beautifully here, and while it isn’t pitch-perfect in terms of nostalgia, there are more than a few nods to that ridiculous decade (which may make those who lived through it cringe, as well they should). One of the cores of Yakuza 0 is combat, and the game manages to deliver a satisfactory experience in this regard. Each of the characters has three fighting styles which can be switched between on the fly, as necessity dictates, and the player who understands the strengths and weaknesses of these styles can blast their way through crowds and boss fights alike. While the counter system is largely (and disappointingly) inconsistent, Yakuza 0 is crammed with context sensitive finishers and moves that are extremely satisfying and well animated. Speaking of which, is it important to note that Yakuza 0 was released for both PS3 and PS4 in Japan, which explains some of its weaker point, particularly in terms of graphics. But the overall effect is still extremely enjoyable. With that said, Yakuza 0 is likely to appeal more to existing fans of the franchise, or fans of Japanese film and games, rather than to more casual players. This is largely due to the fact that the entire game is subtitled, with all spoken dialogue only delivered in Japanese. That does, however, add to the game’s generally authentic feel (even with the overstated sequences that the Japanese seem to enjoy thrown in). Ultimately, Yakuza 0 offers tons to do, lots of action, and a great story for those who enjoy open world brawlers. g

Yakuza 0

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here is a benefit in vanquished foes living to tell the tale of their defeat; at least, that’s a theory that Yakuza 0 seems to espouse. No matter how many punks you take on in this sixth outing of the Yakuza franchise, virtually every single one of them will live, even if slightly worse for wear and missing a few teeth. It’s an approach that works well for the game, and the franchise. But let’s get back to the beginning… just like Yakuza 0 does. Set in 1988, this sixth installment tells the back story of two of the franchise’s most important characters: Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. The two find themselves caught up in a turf war that envelops the game’s relatively small setting. And, unlike Yakuza 5, which threw a truck-load of story lines at us, Yakuza 0 sticks closely to this central narrative, delivering a clear and strong story for those that want one. There are prices to pay for this, of course – the player will often be subjected to long-winded cut scenes that help expose the tale, but despite sometimes wooden character animations, these are never overly taxing. This is thanks, in part, to the fact that the developers have kept the plot on-point in Yakuza 0. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to be on rails for this one. Sure, the story missions are pretty linear, as they should be, but there are tons of side quests and other activities to enjoy in Yakuza 0. The side quests run the gamut from fetch quests through to some pretty funny, zany activities, while the other things to do offer a wide variety of challenges and mini-games, from reflex based batting cages through to management of businesses (which can really deliver big money pay outs if handled right). While the settings are small

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A fantastic remastering of

PS4

a genre defining game, this is one that any true game connoisseur simply cannot miss.

PLATFORMS

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Double Fine Double Fine Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

RPG Adventure

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE

GAMING Bound of flame

A true classic revived

88

by Alex Scanlon

Day of the Tentacle Remastered

e have seen a lot of remastered games for the current generation of consoles, but very few are as old (23 years, to be precise) and as deserving as the remake of Day of the Tentacle. Originally released by LucasArts as a sequel to Maniac mansion, Day of the Tentacle became a defining moment for the point and click adventure genre, and this reworking by Double Fine manages to keep all the charm and excellence of the original in place, while still bringing it into a more modern era. 23 years is almost an eternity in terms of gaming, but Day of the Tentacle Remastered manages to escape the ravages of time and deliver an experience that is as enjoyable as it was in the ‘90s, when the game was first released. The player takes on the roles of three friends – geeky Bernard, laid back Hoagie and oddball Laverne. They have been scattered through time, yet must somehow work together to put an end to the plot of the evil Purple Tentacle. Double Fine have given the game a wonderful revamp and a fresh coat of paint, bringing the zany humour and sometimes extremely odd puzzles to a whole new audience. It’s a refreshingly nostalgic game in a time when headshots seem to be all that matter, and it will provide the player with more than a little enjoyment. And as an added bonus, if you can find it, the entire Maniac Mansion can be unlocked while playing the game, too, making it a great “2 for 1” deal. Day of the tentacle Remastered is a wonderfully modernised version of a true classic, and is a game that anyone who considers themselves to be a gaming connoisseur simply cannot miss.g

Day of the Tentacle Remastered

E M W A IE G EV R


World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap

e m w a ie G v e R

World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap Monster slaying services

defence and isometric action combo, but it is a little too easy at low

XO

difficulty levels. PLATFORMS

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

a defeated wave will grant the player resources for a new round of building. With highly upgradable traps (around 25 different ones in total) as well as upgradable player character abilities and gear, and three character classes to choose from, Deathtrap is pretty deep, all told. The player can revisit levels for better achievements, too, which is good, because the game is a little too easy on less challenging difficulty levels. Deathtrap is not an important game by any means, but it can be a lot of fun, and a good way to kill more than a few hours. g

Neocore Neocore Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

16+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

It’s pretty deep for a tower

REVIEWED ON

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE

GAMING

Defence

want to reach the player’s base. Before each wave, the player can place traps or towers on prescribed construction hardpoints that will allow certain types of devices to be built. Once the player is ready – or they have maxed out their resources – they can begin the wave. During the monster attack, the player can guide their character around the level, either helping stave off the waves of invaders that want to reach the player’s home world through the portals he is protecting, or by exploring the level to discover hidden treasures. Each successive wave will potentially add new routes for the monsters, but

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by Walt Pretorius

W

orld of Van Helsing: Deathtrap is, as one might assume from the title, based on the Van Helsing games made by Neocore Games. However, unlike previous Van Helsing games from this studio, Deathtrap isn’t an isometric monster basher. Well, OK, it isn,t only an isometric monster basher. Rather, it combines that kind of play – like what you would expect in dungeon crawlers like Diablo – and combines it with a surprisingly deep tower defence mechanic. It breaks down like this… each level has a number of monster waves that


E M W A IE G EV R

Tales of Berseria A darker path…

O

is said and done, making it a game that stands out from its stable mates. Tales of Berseria tells the tale of Velvet Crowe, a woman driven by revenge. She wants to destroy the man that took everything from her, and her obsession forms a strong thread through the game’s narrative. Not that Crowe’s compatriots are any better. A fratricidal demon, a witch with a bad attitude and a rage-driven pirate form part of her team, if you can use the word team for a group of people who have been cajoled, swindled and even kidnapped into working together. Even the more positive characters on her team aren’t exactly up-beat. This darker turn for the Tales series is more than

GAMING

verly sweet games or franchises make my skin crawl, just little bit. I describe myself as a realist (which is basically a pessimist trying to be positive) and games in which things are too saccharine just feel wrong to me. So when I first stuck Tales of Berseria into the PS4, I was having visions of sickly sweet encounters triggering my gag reflex. After all, the Tales series has been pretty nice and huggy up to this point. It was quite a surprise, then, to find that Tales of Berseria is the complete opposite. It’s not just darker than other Tales games, but almost totally opposed to the feel of its predecessors. It’s gloomy, dark and even a little depressing, when all

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Tales of Berseria

what really shines in Tales of Berseria is the combat. Combat has been streamlined and modernised a bit. Instead of moves being governed, now every action that the character undertakes is tied to their Soul Gauge. The Gauge drains with activity and a depleted Soul Gauge makes the character easier to hit. However, attacks can refill the Soul Gauge, and a full Gauge enables players to employ devastating Break Souls actions. There is a surprising amount of depth here and, while it takes a little while to come to grips with, Tales of Berseria delivers the most satisfying combat in the franchise yet. It’s a fun game, and one that will certainly appeal to Tales and JRPG fans. It’s darker edge is very welcome, too. g

AT A GLANCE GENRE

Adventure

REVIEWED ON

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Bandai namco Bandai Namco Megarom

PARENTAL ADVISORY

16+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

PS4 PLATFORMS

With a darker feel and a few tweaks, this is easily the best Tales game to date.

AWARDS

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Casual Ed’s Choice

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

Score

80 53

by Rob Edwards

welcome, but the developers didn’t leave behind elements that worked. There are a lot of things in this game that will feel extremely familiar, and like any good JRPG is drives forward in a loose linear fashion. Speaking of fashion, Tales of Berseria will allow the player to make cosmetic tweaks to their characters as they unlock various items within the game, while also allowing upgrading of weapons and abilities, as expected. There is a lot to find and do in the game, which is a little surprising, given that the various settings are a little uninspiring, and that travelling can be a long-winded affair. But travelling isn’t the most important part of the game, and while the various mini-games and other activities are fun,


NAMESouls Titan OF THE PRODUCT

E M W A IE G EV R

Titan Souls

So very unprepared for this…

54

There is very little attractive about this sparse, near lifeless game, save the potential satisfaction in the unlikely

REVIEWED ON

PS4

event that you kill a boss. PLATFORMS

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Acid Nerve Devolver Digital Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

Adventure

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE

GAMING Bound of flame

by Rob Edwards

T

here is something really cool about a game that presents a bleak and empty setting. Actually, no, there isn’t. Settings are vital in bringing a game to life, and when everything is sparse around you – with no real explanation as to why that is the case – it feels like the game is underbaked. You cannot help but feel that when playing Titan Souls. And it gets worse. There is simply no worse character to take on the challenges of this game than the one you’re given. A small girl with a pink bow and a single arrow is what you have to work with. Sure, the arrow magically returns to her quiver after each shot, but it’s hardly going to let you lay down the hail of pain you might want when facing the game’s bosses. And that’s really what it’s all about – defeating a wide variety of bosses. Essentially, Titan Souls is all about finding out how to exploit the weaknesses of the bosses. If you don’t, you will die. If you do, you will probably die too, but at least you will feel an ounce more prepared while you do so. A lot could have been with Titan Souls, but the very simplistic graphics, the lacklustre controls and the sparse world (not to mention virtually no narrative) makes it feel more like a rushed high-school project than a retain release. Playing Titan Souls is an exercise in selfinflicted agony, although if you do get the kill a boss, there is a great satisfaction attached. It’s just the bits between the start and the finish that make it not only frustrating, but also a chore to play. g

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Digimon World: Next Order GAMING

It takes two, baby…

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GENRE

While training two Digimon can be cool,

by Rob Edwards

it’s a lot of work… and the confusing systems don’t help

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

7+

BB Studio Bandai Namco Megarom

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

70

AT A GLANCE

PARENTAL ADVISORY

REVIEWED ON

PLATFORMS

much.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Adventure

PS4

digital pets. And then things get crazy. The first thing the player will do is train their two new pets up to a certain level. It is simple enough to do – the player selects which areas each pet gets trained in, in terms of stats, and then has to stop a fast moving selection on a track of mysterious icons (which are not explained) to see if they get any training bonuses. This process is repeated over and over again, until the fledgling Digimon reach a certain, combat-ready level. In between training, though, the player has to manage feeding, resting and letting the pets go to the toilet. It is a little like a supercharged tamagochi, and just as annoying. Sometimes you may not even know what the icons displayed over the Digimon heads mean, and you’ll have to guess your way through a lot of the sequence, until you somehow divine what it is that the nagging brats want. Out in the world, after training, the player wanders around, doing battle with enemy Digimon and sending friendly Digimon back to town to help with rebuilding the settlement. It sounds easy enough, but the game is massively unforgiving, and you’ll spend a lot of time watching your pets get beaten up before you start getting anywhere. Ultimately, there is challenge here, but only for those who are dyed-inthe-wool Digimon fans. It is confusing initially, and will have the player in a flat panic as they worry about the toilet habits of digital creatures. The combat is fun, but the indirect control leaves is feeling a little unsatisfying. And while the world ties in to traditional anime values, there isn’t much original to see here. You can have fun with this title, but it certainly isn’t the best Digimon game ever made. g

Digimon World: Next Order

T

he Digimon franchise could very well be accused of harvesting large portions from that other popular franchise, also ending in “mon” and being pretty bald-faced in adding them into their own world. Here, instead of capturing little monsters and training them, sweet little anime kids raise monsters from eggs. That, pretty much, is the only real difference that doesn’t fall into the field of semantics. There have been several games based on Digimon before and, like other “mon” games, they require the player to explore areas while training their creatures and doing battle. But unlike other games, the player doesn’t build up a stable of monsters. Rather, they seem to have the simpler task of raising and training just two. It’s not as simple as it looks, though. The game starts easily enough, perhaps even misleadingly. The player chooses between a male or female protagonist, and then is immediately thrust into a weird digital world. There they meet two Digimon, who are their partners – even though they cannot remember anything about them. The player is given a quick battle tutorial (teaching the player the simple and effective system for issuing commands). The Digimon fight for themselves, but the player has influence over their attacks and special actions. The two Digimon win the battle, but fall themselves, and the player is again transported to yet another world. Here they find out that while they are free to go home, they are also needed to help the world they are currently in. The spirits of their two fallen comrades now reside in eggs, and the player can retrain them. Up to this point, everything is simple enough, and the player gets to choose the reincarnations of their fallen

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The Swindle is, ultimately, an unforgiving game that will have you howling in frustration... but there is fun

REVIEWED ON

PS4

to be had here, too. PLATFORMS

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Size Five Curve Digital Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

7+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

Platform

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE

GAMING Bound of flame

Stolen potential…

70

by Rob Edwards

The Swindle

he Swindle has every intention of being a great video game, but it manages to become a confusing, even complicated endeavour, pretty much from the start. It doesn’t give the player too much to work with either, right at the start… Set in a Steam Punk vision of Victorian England (although a bit more advanced than your run of the mill Steam Punk) The Swindle sees the player in control of a group of cat burglars who, one at a time, need to break into various procedurally generated building to steal as much cash as possible. The reason? Well, in 100 days, Scotland Yard will release a new crime fighting system, and the crew of thieves need to generate enough cash within that time to steal the system itself, or kiss their livelihood goodbye. That’s pretty much all the explanation the player gets. What the power-ups are, the fact that upgrades carry over if an operative is taken out, and what to expect from any given mission is a big, fat question mark right at the word go, and only by digging through menus or actually playing the game will the player learn anything useful. Which is a pretty difficult task, seeing as how everything is randomly generated, and the player will never really know what to expect. In this way, The Swindle gets nasty, too, because even at the easiest levels, levels in this platformer can be unforgiving, if not downright impassable. The Swindle can provide some fun, but expensive upgrades, unpredictable levels, somewhat unresponsive controls and very little explanation can make it an exercise in masochism, too. It looks pretty, though, and if you’re willing to sweat a bit, it can be a fun game. g

The Swindle

E M W A IE G EV R


This War of Mine: The Little Ones

e m w a ie G v e R

This War of Mine: The Little Ones The other side of war…

potential emotional charge, This War of Mine looks at the other side of war.

PS4

PLATFORMS

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

the ceasefire. At night, thinks get a little bit more intense. The player can set guards and assign who rests. They can also send out one survivor to scavenge the surrounding areas, which might result in confrontation, theft and other things included in the game to make one answer a few moral questions. This 2.5D platform management game is some rather different and, for those with a conscience, can be a moving experience indeed. It won’t impact everyone, but empathic players will certainly hear This War of Mine’s message. g

11 Bit Studios Deep Silver Online

PARENTAL ADVISORY

18+ gamecca92

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

AWARDS Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

Score

A game packed with

REVIEWED ON

PC X0 PS4 Wii U X360 PS3 PSV 3DS

GENRE

AT A GLANCE

GAMING

Management

putting pressure on the player to make some tough decisions. For example, limited building materials may make them scratch their heads about what to build first, while limited food may mean leaving some characters to go hungry while others eat. During the day, the characters are restricted to the shelter, thanks to the presence of snipers, and spend their time crafting, resting or doing whatever else the player needs them to. It’s a careful balancing act, at least initially, and players may find they need to make some difficult choices in the first few days of waiting for

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by Alex Scanlon

v

ideo games often go about aggrandising war and armed conflict. So often you, as the player, are put in the part of a brave and heroic soldier fighting for the greater good. But what about those that aren’t armed combatant, the civilians that are as affected by war as soldiers are? This War of Mine: The Little Ones takes a look at war from a very different direction. The player takes on the care of a group of civilians surviving in a derelict building while war rages on around them. It’s largely a management game, when you get down to it, with limited resources


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reputable background and the very successful “The Room” puzzle series under their belt, Barry Meade of Fireproof Studios

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has a lot of history

By Nthato Morakabi

Experience chats to us about his road towards independent game development, including the big names he has encountered along the way. gamecca92

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GM: Fireproof Games sounds like you’ve run into a lot of fires. Where does the name come from and what can you tell us about the studio? BM: Regarding the name, when we were forming the studio we agonised over a lot of names but we never really came up with anything we all liked. As it happens a friend we worked with at Criterion came up with Fireproof and none of us objected to it so we ran with it. Names don’t mean anything until you do some interesting work anyway, so in a way it doesn’t matter what you call yourselves.

GM: That is very true, and can you tell us the history behind Fireproof Games and how it was formed?

GAMING

BM: We all met around 2003/2004 when we were employees of Criterion Games, making the racing game series Burnout. Most of us worked on Burnout 3: Takedown to varying degrees but it was really the follow up game ‘Burnout Revenge’ where we all worked together as an art team for the first time. We were lead artists then, specialising in designing & building the environments and tracks and got on very well and did great work together. By the time we’d finished the 5th game ‘Burnout Paradise’ together we were ready for something new and so we got the idea to form a freelance art company.

GM: Moving from an art team for Criterion to independent game developers feels like it was the next logical step. What motivated the change of direction and was 62

there a particular game or inspiration that fuelled it? BM: Actually, it wasn’t a change in direction, we had always intended to use the money we made as freelance artists to fund our own games. The problem was, in order to be successful at freelance work we had to keep our rates low and that meant we saved money at a very slow rate. So when mobile games came along as a platform, we realised we could make a game for much less money than on console or PC, so we decided to give it a shot. We tried a few ideas but one, which we called Puzzle Box, stuck out as a good idea for a touch screen game, and we eventually named it ‘The Room’ before release. GM: So was there a particular game that inspired you to develop games in the first place before Criterion and Fireproof? BM: I’ve basically enjoyed playing games since I was very young but I never thought I would ever make them for a living. Then in my late teens I learned to make computer art and when I turned 20 years old, I accidentally landed a job in a small games company in my home in Dublin, Ireland. That was it for me, I never wanted to leave games after that.

course because it combined two things I really enjoyed at the time - animation and CGI.

GM: What are your thoughts on studying game development in general? Would you consider studying it now after everything? Maybe. Some game courses are very good but I was always more into art than anything so I think I would take a straight art degree like illustration or fine art, then learn CGI after.

GM: It’s clear from all the indie devs I’ve spoken to that gaming plays a major role in their lives. Is gaming a major part of your life in general? BM: It’s my primary hobby, in fact it prevents me enjoying my secondary hobby, reading.

GM: Ah yes, I’m sure it’s quite time consuming. So what is your source of inspiration both in gaming and outside of gaming? BM: Literally everything, as it should be! People are fascinating, life is a big ride. I enjoy history and politics but also movies, comics, art and am a big music fan. Inspiration can come from anything that gets your mind working so it’s a good idea to be interested in as many things as possible.

GM: Considering how you learned to make computer art as a teen, and your love of games, what did you study and did you study it specifically to go into gaming?

GM: That is very true, we should find inspiration in the world around us. Working as an indie developer now full time, does that mean to you both as a gamer and as a developer?

BM: I studied computer animation in 1992 at Ballyfermot in Dublin, Ireland but I had no idea I would go into games from doing it. I took the

BM: You certainly lose some of the glamour about games when you make them for a living. Some people in the industry never get over that and

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GM: It’s fascinating to see the same names LucasArts and Blizzard playing a big part in inspiring others. Are you part of a Game Dev community? BM: Not really a community per se, although the town where we (Fireproof) are based is Guildford and Guildford has a huge gaming scene, amongst the oldest & biggest in Europe.

GM: Wow that’ amazing! How has it helped shape your own development? BM: I’ve lived and worked here for over 20 years and all I can say is I learned so much by hanging around all this time. Lots of water under the bridge but it’s still a vibrant place to work if you’re in games.

GM: Yes I can imagine. How integral are your fans and the outside gaming community to your development? BM: Well our fans are super integral! But as a small studio we haven’t developed a

community in the way larger studios have. We talk to people over email and maybe twitter but it’s not a permanent online community per se.

GM: To a slightly more serious question, how difficult is the indie industry in general? Would you share any advice, your struggles, victories or challenges you have faced as Fireproof? BM: It depends, different people have different stories, and I suppose it’s down to your experience. It’s amazing fun when you have a job you enjoy but not fun at all when you don’t. And it’s always a struggle, it’s very competitive so you really have to improve all the time. But that’s also what makes it so interesting, you have to enjoy the struggle in a way.

GM: Enjoy the struggle. Calling on any indie clairvoyant abilities, where do you think the games industry will be in the next 5 years? BM: I have no idea. Anyone who says they do is making it up.

GM: Fair enough. Now is there a game you are currently developing? BM: Yes, two in fact but we haven’t revealed them yet.

GM: That’s unfortunate. However you’ve developed the series “The Room” which have been ported to PC as well. Can you tell us about it? BM: We developed The Room in 2012, a physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world. It won Apple Game of the Year in 2012 and ‘The Room gamecca92

Indie View

lose interest in playing games but luckily I never have. I play games as much now as I did 20 years ago. GM: That’s great to hear. It’s the gamers making games after all. Speaking of which, are there any other Indie Developers you look up to, refer to or have mad respect for? BM: Ha, I’ve been at this for over 20 years now so I’m afraid there’s too many to list. But if I had to list some companies that meant a lot to me personally it would be Bullfrog and LucasArts in the 1980’s, and Blizzard and Rockstar in the 90’s. But since the dawn of Steam & mobile gaming, there’s too many to list now, I see great stuff every day.

Two’ was App Store Best of 2013-14. The Room Three continues the story from The Room Two, where the player’s obsessive search for the Null results lures them to ‘Grey Holm’, a mysterious mansion located on a remote island. You must use all your puzzle-solving abilities to navigate a series of trials devised by a mysterious figure known only as “The Craftsman”.

GM: I’ve watched some gameplay and trailers for The Room, it looks amazing. Although developing for mobile, what platform would you like to focus on? BM: All of us at Fireproof have spent many years making games across all platforms so it’s hard to say. We like the power of PC and console, but mobile has been our biggest success. I think in future PC & console will play a bigger part for us though as we want to make bigger, more complicated games than mobile allows.

GM: Great! Now for fun questions, what is your favourite game of all time? BM: I can’t answer that as it changes all the time. But Populous or Monkey Island had the biggest effect on me when I was young.

GM: And what are you currently playing? BM: Total War: Warhammer soaks up a lot of time at the moment. Also playing Last Guardian and am about to start Resident Evil 7.

GM: Resident Evil 7 looks amazing! If there was a game you would love to work on, what would it be? BM: Probably one that lives in my head! g

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FEATURES 68 88

In the Game CES 2017

HARDWARE Reviews 74 76 78 80 82 84 86

Alienware Aurora R5 PC MSI Z270 Krait Gaming Motherboard Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Cooler Master Masterliquid 240 MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard MSI B150I Gaming Pro AC Motherboard Roccat Power Pack Gaming Set

RegularS 92 96

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You can feel the

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EGAME

eir breath on you!

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While PC gamers have,

avoid user disorientation

It is the most affordable VR

for some time now, been

and motion sickness. On

system on the market right

able to invest what can

the older hardware, this

now. Next up, the question

only be called a solid

means that instead of

of resolution. Both of the

chunk of change in a VR

dropping frame rate, games

PC based headsets deliver

headset, Sony has finally

may show slightly poorer

a resolution of 2160 x 1200,

brought their version of

quality textures. It’s not a

while the PSVR weighs in at

VR, made specifically for

deal breaker, but if you do

19220 x 1080. Although the

the PlayStation 4, to the

want to get the full, rich

PSVR’s resolution is lower

market. As things currently

and immersive experience

than that of the Oculus Rift

stand, the PlayStation VR,

of PSVR, the PS4 Pro will

and the Vive, it is still full

or PSVR, system is one

deliver exactly that, thanks

HD, and the PSVR delivers

of the cheapest solutions

to improvements to the

a better maximum refresh

on the market. But, unlike

system’s overall power and

rate of 120Hz.

those cheap knock offs that

performance. Right, on to the good

question of comfort. Here,

place, the ones with brand

stuff. The PSVR system,

the PSVR is a clear winner;

names that sound almost,

as it comes out of the box,

instead of just a strap

but not quite, familiar, PSVR

looks fairly complex. Once

holding thee unit in place, it

is actually an extremely

everything is assembled,

has a specifically designed

good system. And, unlike

though, it really just comes

head band, which features

PC based VR systems that

down to an extra processing

a padded back strap and

have a number of minimum

unit between the VR

padded forehead support

requirements, all you need

headset and the PS4, which

(both of which are highly

to make use of your new

splits an HDMI cable off to

breathable. The straps

PSVR in a PlayStation 4.

a normal screen, too, for

are solid, too, so there

spectators. The headset is

won’t be any accidental

right off the bat, that

tethered, meaning that it is

slippage, while a strong

while the PSVR system

connected to the processing

elasticized section allows

works with the original

unit with a cable. While this

for momentary expansion of

PS4 hardware, it works

might seem like a hassle, it

the headband to remove, or

better with the PS4 Pro.

becomes a non-issue when

put the unit on. Additionally,

Performance on the original

you start playing.

the actual screen housing

you see in stores all over the

It does bear to mention,

TECHNOLOGY

PS4 is not bad at all, mind

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And then there is the

It is necessary, at this

position can be adjusted

you, but the PS4 Pro has

point, to start drawing

for maximum comfort, and

the added power to make

comparisons between the

had light excluding seals all

things pop. See, when Sony

PSVR and other major VR

around the screen section.

started allowing developers

players on the market, most

The PSVR is also a bit

to make games for the

notably the Oculus Rift

lighter than the Oculus Rift

PSVR, their instruction

and the HTC Vive. The first

and Vive, which is an even

was simple… no less than

comparison is price, in which

bigger bonus.

60 frames per second, to

the PSVR wins hands down.

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Audio is best experienced


In the Game

Affordable, accessible, comfortable & immersive‌ the PlayStation VR. gamecca92

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Wusing headphones, which

not as pervasive as the

that can compare to the

plug into a small inline

Xbox One camera, which

experience.

volume control on the

is a standard accessory

headset’s tether cord via

included in the box when

and accessible. It is an

a 3.5mm jack. The reason

you buy Microsoft’s console.

excellent entry point for

why you’re going to want

So if you’re going to rush

VR gaming, and its design

to make use of headphones

out and buy a PSVR – and

and construction shows

is because the PSVR

you really should consider

far more forethought than

makes use of 3D binaural

it if you are a PlayStation

is apparent in its more

audio. What that means,

owner, or want to get into

expensive, PC based

essentially, is stereo audio

the thrilling world of VR

counterparts. The PSVR

used to create directional

gaming – remember to

is, beyond a shadow of a

audio. In other words,

include a PS Camera in your

doubt, the best piece of

volume levels adjust on the

shopping cart. The system

hardware that Sony has

fly, depending on how your

won’t work without one.

ever created to act as a

head is positioned or turned.

with the standard

and anyone who takes the

7.1 surround sound – very

DualShock 4 controller (also

plunge into the thrilling

clever, and adding greatly

tracked by the camera)

world of VR gaming with

to the immersion already

or by a pair of PS Move

the PSVR will be thrilled.

created by the visuals. Sure,

controllers. Some games

There is very little to

you can use your TV audio,

specifically require move

compare to the feeling of

but this will lose the overall

controllers, but, once again,

being in the game world,

effect of being “in” the

these are not included with

whether you are exploring a

game world.

the main PSVR kit. So,

creepy mansion or strapped

another box that needs to

into the cockpit of a high-

important part in playing

be checked if you’re buying

tech war machine. The

games with the PSVR,

a PSVR system.

PSVR is a massive victory

for a variety of reasons.

TECHNOLOGY

peripheral to a console,

It’s like an active version of

Head position plays a very

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Games can be controlled

The PSVR is affordable

The combination of all

for Sony, and it elevates the

It could be simply to look

required parts – a PS4,

overall PlayStation gaming

around, or even to aim

the PSVR, a PS Camera,

experience far above what

specific weapons. Whatever

PS Move controllers and

any competitors currently

the case may be, head

a good headset – will

have on offer. PSVR is

movement is tracked by the

transport you to a whole

Sony’s silver bullet in the

PS Camera, which forms an

new level of immersive

current console wars, and it

integral part of the setup.

gaming. The experience is

will be extremely difficult to

It is strange, then, that the

absolutely great, even at

best this excellent system.

PSVR doesn’t come with a

the lower resolution that

Affordable, accessible,

bundled camera. Sony may

the PSVR offers. At times

comfortable and

assume that many people

is can take a little getting

wonderfully immersive…

already have a camera, but

used to, but once you’re in

the PlayStation VR system

the PS camera is arguably

the swing of it, there is little

is an absolute winner. g

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H C EW E T VI E R Alienware

Aurora R5

TECHNOLOGY

Out of this world

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Alienware Aurora R5 PC

A

by Walt Pretorius

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS

For those that want the ease of a prebuild PC, the Aurora R5 is an excellent bet, with tons of configuration options.

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

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• • • • • • •

Small Prebuild Water Cooling Dual graphics options Customisable lighting 7 USB 3.0 ports Varied configurations

SCORE

A l i e nw a re Dell w w w . de l l . c o m

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lienware is hardly a name that needs any introduction to PC gamers. Their selection of prebuild PCs and gaming notebooks has long been known as a top contender, and even as the market starts getting more and more competitors, Alienware manages to hold on the its reputation as a premium hardware providers. And with good reason, too – these machine are carefully tuned for excellent performance, when all is said and done, and even if their price point sits beyond what many can attain, they still deliver the goods. Take the new Aurora desktop range as an example. The core of this range is VR, combined with liquid cooling and tool-less access. Liquid cooling alone is something that you don’t see often in pre-built units; just one reason why this particular range stands out. The Aurora R5 comes with a variety of configuration options. CPUs range from a 3.7GHz i3-6100 to an i7-6700K running at 4.2GHz on all four cores. RAM (DDR4) ranges from 8GB through to 64GB, with options for 8GB or 16GB HyperX Fury RAM also available. Storage starts at a 1TB HDD and runs through to a combination of a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD and 2TB HHD. Graphics start at a GTX 950 option and vary through a wide number of options, topping out at dual GTX 1080s. There are even options for no optical drive, a DVD burner or a Blue-ray ready drive. This all means that the performance and price of various Aurora R5 units vary widely. However, certain things remain unchanged within this prebuild. Like, for example, the water cooling system, which is standard in all configurations. So is the Intel Z170 chipset which runs the standard MicroATX dual-graphics motherboard, and the Killer LAN E2400 port. And the fact that it is the smallest pre-built laptop to offer both water cooling and dual graphics cards options is standard, too. The Aurora R5 comes crammed with special features and software, including all kinds of control and tweaking software for a customised end user experience. Additionally, the sleek and unique looking case features customisable lighting, for the personal touch. The Aurora R5 also ships with a basic membrane keyboard and a basic three button mouse, but you’ll probably want to look at upgrading those, to ensure that your input capabilities match the potential power of this rather smart, great looking prebuild PC. The beauty of the Aurora R5 is that it has been carefully constructed and well balanced, with components painstakingly selected to work best together. Sure, you can do the same with a home build, but the truth is that the balance achieved here is probably beyond what most home builders can achieve. It costs a bit more, but paying for perfection may suit some down to the ground. g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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H C EW E T VI E R MSI

Z270 Krait Gami W Not just a pretty face…

TECHNOLOGY

hen the latest generation of Intel processors hit the market – the upgrade for Skylake, codenamed Kaby Lake – MSI were more than ready for them. At the outset, the component manufacturer had several options available for consumers, across the range of enthusiast levels, much like they did for the previous Intel generation. Sitting just below the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, which we reviewed last month, is the Z270 Krait Gaming motherboard, putting it just around the mid-range level for performance and power. With that said, it is good to remember that MSI, as a motherboard manufacturer, squeeze as much as they can into even their lower range products, making a mid-range product like this an extremely good option. The first thing you’ll notice as you unbox the Z270 Krait Gaming is that it is extremely visually striking. The board is finished in a black and white pattern that sits somewhere between winter camo and animalistic stripes, a look that works very well with their Armor range of graphics cards (for those who are image conscious when it comes to their case interiors). The black and white look extends to heat sinks and covers, and even gets repeated in the RAM ports, with channels identified by either white or black ports. The large, flashy heat sinks also serve a purpose beyond looking cool; they help enable the Z270 Krait Gaming to run at

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surprisingly low temperatures, and the inclusion of six fully controllable fan headers put a lot of cooling control into the hands of the end user. Further “image conscious” options are offered by the inclusion of Mystic Light technology, which lets the user set a variety of RGB lighting options for the board. Performance is naturally key for those who want to squeeze everything they can out of a motherboard, and the Z270 Krait Gaming delivers it through a number of systems. These include ideas like DDR 4 boost, Twin Turbo M.2 and Intel Optane compatibility. Game Boost and Gaming LAN tech also help performance to be increased. MSI have also brought their toughened Armor components into the mix with the Z270 Krait Gaming. These include strengthened RAM and PCIe ports, to help ensure that the board lasts longer, even when heavier components (like oversized graphics cards) are used. Additionally, numerous surge and overvoltage protections have been built in, to help avoid mishaps. The Z270 Krait Gaming delivers excellent performance within its weight class. It features numerous new technologies – mostly focused on faster performance – and a lot of forward thinking ideas that display MSI’s understanding of not only what a gaming motherboard should be, but also what the gamer market wants in a motherboard. It might not be their top of the line board, but it certainly is a very decent option for those wanting to make the move to the new Intel generation. g

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MSI Z270 Krait Gaming Motherboard

Motherboard

SUMMARY A visually striking motherboard, the M270 Krait Gaming is an excellent performer in its weight class. TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

Z270 chipset RGB Lighting 8 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports Military Class V components Steel Armor ports 6 controllable fan headers M A NUFA CT UR E R M SI

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

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

SCORE

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by Rob Edwards

AT A GLANCE:

AWARDS

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H C EW E T VI E R Razer

Blackwidow Chro A new coat of paint…

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azer is a company that is well aware of when a good formula has been achieved. It is also a company that realizes that, for good formulae to remain relevant and competitive, they need to be revisited and updated from time to time. And so we see, in a more or less cyclical nature, new versions of well known and loved peripherals hitting the market. The latest of these is a revamped version of the very popular Blackwidow keyboard. The Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 is, as the name implies, a reworking of the original Blackwidow Chroma. Razer have, pretty much, stuck with what works, while introducing new ideas where necessary. In the case of the Blackwidow Chroma V2, that comes down mainly to two things – the switches, and user comfort. The switches, of course, are the biggest aspect of the upgrade. Entering the third year of manufacturing their

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own switches, Razer offer the Blackwidow Chroma V2 in three flavours – the Green and Orange switched that formed the basis of their past efforts, and now the Yellow switch, which adds a new option for consumers. It breaks down to the Green switches being the most mechanical in feel, with a tactile, clicky response, while the Orange switches deliver less click, opting for a tactile feel with a more silent operation. The Yellow switches, new to the stable, are linear and silent, more like a membrane style switch than a mechanical one. With less travel, the Yellow switches offer an accelerated response time. All three varieties are available to those wanting a Blackwidow Chroma V2, and all have been rated to 80 million keystrokes in terms of durability. The comfort part comes in the form of a large, generously padded removable wrist rest, which uses magnetic couplers to stay in place. The rest adds greatly to the comfort offered by the Blackwidow Chroma V2, but can be removed for those

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Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2

oma V2

Keyboard

by Alex Scanlon

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

A revised Blackwidow Chroma, the big drawcard here are different switch varieties, as well as the addition of a great wrist rest. Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

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3 switch varieties Chroma enabled 5 macro keys USB through port Audio through port Removable wrist rest

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that don’t want it in place. In terms of Chroma functionality, not too much has changed. Each key is individually backlit and can be controlled (in terms of lighting) as the user sees fit. The Chroma profile system has seen a bump, though, with the addition of profiles for popular games, including Overwatch and Call of Duty: Black Ops III (to name but two). In terms of design, the Blackwidow Chroma V2 is a full keyboard, with five additional macro keys arrayed along the left side of the keyboard. It also offers a USB pass-through port, as well as a 4-pole 3.5mm audio pass-through jack. These certainly help with cable management and clutter, and the audio port is now compatible with more modern headsets, that make use of a consolidated audio and mic jack. Overall, a good step up for the Blackwidow line, and a great bet for those in the market for a new keyboard. g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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H C EW E T VI E R Cooler

Master

Masterliquid 240 T Keep your cool!

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here was a time when water cooling wasn’t for the faint-hearted. The risks were many, not least of which were complications springing from poor installation. See, years ago, water cooling systems had to be fully assembled, carefully and painstakingly by the enduser. Reservoirs needed to be maintained, topped up with water and coolant liquid at regular intervals. And visual maintenance (at the very least) had to be carried out, with the end user trying to eyeball potential issues with a system that could, if compromised, spell disaster for their PC. Those days are long gone – these days, water cooling systems are secure, effective, require minimal maintenance and are installed in a fraction of the time that it took to get their older counterparts in place. And there are a host of options available. One of them is Cooler Master’s Masterliquid 240. While it may not have the “Pro” name attached to it, like Cooler Master’s top of the line water cooler, there is realistically very little difference between this unit and its big brother. One main difference is that the Pro version has a water block that features a clear window, allowing you to see the liquid cooling in action. But that’s an aesthetic idea, really, and if looking funky is not something that your PC needs to do, the

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Masterliquid 240 is as good a bet. At its core is a dual chambered pump and water block, which sit directly on the PSU. A large copper base plate directly touches the CPU, transferring heat to the liquid rushing through the water block. The liquid is whisked away through sleeved FEP pipes (which allow for better flow than rubber pipes) to the large radiator, where twin Masterfan Pro 120 AB fans blast it out of the case. The cooled liquid them runs back to the water block in an unending cycle of supereffective cooling. The entire system comes pre-assembled and never needs topping up, thanks to its sealed construction. Installing the system is extremely easy, too – bolt on the fans, fit the radiator to the appropriate space in the PC case, connect the fans, and fit the water block onto the CPU with a specialized bracket. It’s simple, quick and pretty much devoid of catastrophe. The fans run really quietly, and the sleeved pipes not only look better, but allow for better air-flow from existing case fans (because, yes, you will still need those). The Masterliquid 240 is a fantastic solution for those who want to take advantage of the extra cooling potential provided by a water cooling system. It is reliable and effective, and is built to last, which is always a plus. g

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NAME OF Cooler Master THE PRODUCT Masterliquid 240

Liquid Cooler

SUMMARY Simple to set up and requiring very little maintenance, the Masterliquid 240 is an extremely effective CPU cooling solution. TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

Twin fans Dual chamber water block Sleeved FEP pipes Large radiator Copper water block base Sealed unit M A NUFA CT UR E R C o o l er M a ster

DISTRIB UTOR C o o l er M a ster w w w. co o l er m a s t e r. c o m

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

SCORE

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H C EW E T VI E R MSI

Z270 Gaming M

TECHNOLOGY

The flagship sets sail…

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SUMMARY

AWARDS

This top of the line MSI motherboard is a remarkable piece of PC equipment. Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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Killer Ethernet E2500, a low latency system that prioritises gaming traffic. In terms of durability, the Z270 Gaming M7 has numerous features, ranging from Steel Armor technology that physically strengthens PCIe, RAM and SSD ports, as well as providing a protective cover and heat sink for M.2 devices. Additionally, large heat sinks add as heat disappation and protective covers for some of the Z270 Gaming M7’s more sensitive bits. And with the use of Military Grade V components, the Z270 Gaming M7 is almost guaranteed of a lifespan that will outlive the need to upgrade. On the customization side, the Z270 Gaming M7 features RGB, adjustable LED lighting on every heat sink, as well as in other areas. The theme of the board is very “sci-fi”, and the lighting shapes and patterns reflect this. The Z270 Gaming M7 is also finished in a discrete matt black, o the lighting effects really show up beautifully. And then there are the extras, like Nahimic 2 audio software supporting the Audio Boost Pro system, as well as several game enhancing ideas (including specific gaming oriented USB ports). The Z270 Gaming M7 is a feature rich top-performer that would serve any enduser very well indeed. It comes with a host of software options and tweaks, too, for those who want to squeeze more out of its already excellent performance. g

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

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TECH SPECS • • • • • • • • •

15 USB ports RGB lighting DDR 4 Boost Audio Boost Pro Game Boost Killer Ethernet E2500

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by Rob Edwards

he top of MSI’s Kaby Lake motherboard pile – for gamers, at least – is the remarkable Z270 Gaming M7, a board built with enthusiasts in mind. In fact, it bears the 7-star Enthusiast label, making it clear that this board is for end-users that mean business while gaming. As part of the fairly large stable of motherboards from MSI that support Intel’s 7th generation chips, the Z270 Gaming M7 adds in a whole lot of new ideas, just like the others. However, because of its position at the front of the pack, it takes a lot of those ideas and elevates them above even other MSI boards. The Z270 Gaming M7 is based on a number of principles that form the core of its design; speed, durability, customization and performance (speed and performance are not necessarily the same thing, what with audio and other on-board systems). On the speed side, it employs technologies like Turbo M.2 and Turbo U.2, as well as M.s Genie, to squeeze every ounce of performance out of storage devices. With number way above the SATA3 standard, data transfer with the Z270 Gaming M7 is quick indeed. It also supports Intel’s Optane technology. This counts for RAM too, with DDR4 Boost technology speeding up memory performance by around 60 per cent – a system which is compatible with every major RAM brand. And network communications are revved up through the implementation of

AT A GLANCE:

Motherboard

MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard

M7


H C EW E T VI E R MSI

B150I Gaming P Smaller doesn’t mean weaker

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hen you think about a gaming rig, you generally get the impression of a massive PC case crammed with all kinds of bits and pieces, ranging from oversized graphics cards through to water cooling systems. But not ever gaming rig needs to be a massive monster – sometimes dynamite can come in small packages. Personally, I do prefer a larger case, for reasons of airflow and all those kinds of concepts. But some folks don’t have the luxury of a massive tower on or under their desk, and for those people, things like MSI’s B150I Gaming Pro AC motherboard exist. This mini-ITX form factor motherboard manages to deliver a surprising amount of power, despite it’s relatively diminutive size. It needs to be noted, of course, that a board like this is not going to be able to offer everything that an ATX board does. For example, it only offers two RAM ports (although it can mount two DDR4 RAM DIMMS), and will only accommodate a single PCIe Express card (so only one GPU, for gamers, in effect). It also offers only 4 SATAIII ports, so you’re not going to connect a multitude of drives here. Similarly, onboard audio is limited to stereo, even though it offers a surprising six rear mounted (and four front mounted) USB ports. What’s more important,

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though is what the B150I Gaming Pro AC does offer. A number of the technologies you would expect on an MSI ATX board can be found here, including Gaming LAN, DDR4 Boost and Audio Boost (which, when used with USB speakers, delivers 7.1 surround sound). It also features Turbo M.2, for faster SSD performance, and comes with integrated Wi-Fi and USB solutions, which can be used with Intel Wireless Display technology. The B150I Gaming Pro AC is a surprisingly adept motherboard, given its formfactor. So adept, in fact, that it falls into MSI’s Performance Gaming classification, which makes it a very capable midrange motherboard. And while the user may have to manage some of their expectations that they place on the B150I Gaming Pro AC, they won’t have to do too much of it. It is a surprisingly good performer, even if it cannot handle all the bells and whistles that an ATX board could. The fact that it uses an older chipset (one generation older) shouldn’t be too much of an issue, either – there’s nothing wrong with the Skylake generation. In short, if you are stuck for space (or want to build a smaller machine) the B150I Gaming Pro AC is a great choice, punching well above many competitors. Realistically, it isn’t going to be the backbone of a gaming beast, but it will deliver excellent reliability and performance in a smaller package. g

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MSI B150I Gaming Pro AC Motherboard

Motherboard

SUMMARY This mini-ITX motherboard is a surprisingly capable performer, all said and done. TECH SPECS • • • • • • •

B150 chipset DDR4 RAM compatible Integrated Wi-Fi Integrated Bluetooth Gaming LAN Turbo M.2 technology M A NUFA CT UR E R M SI

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

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

SCORE

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AT A GLANCE:

AWARDS

Pro AC


H C EW E T VI E R Roccat

Power Pack

Gaming Set

A nautical rodent pack…

TECHNOLOGY

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eripheral packs are normally focused on people who are starting out. That’s largely why they exist, and why they often tend to feature products that aren’t exactly top of the line. That’s the case with Roccat’s Power Pack, a mouse and pad combo pack that allows the end user to get a mouse and mouse pad with a single purchase. Oh, and a set of dog tags, too, but those aren’t going to improve your gaming. The naval theme of the pack probably won’t, either, but it does look good. The mouse is a Kone Pure Military mouse, with the battleship grey Naval Storm finish. It is similar in size and shape to the Kone XTD, but is “sleeker” (which is peripheral marketing speak for “less features”). Essentially an ergonomically designed right-hand mouse, the Naval Storm is a seven button mouse (including two side buttons and the on-the-fly dpi

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switching buttons) that delivers a performance of up to 5000 dpi in sensitivity. One of those buttons can be used to employ the Kone’s Easy-Shift[+] technology, which basically doubles up on mouse button functions. Sensitivity can be set anywhere between 100 and 500 dpi, using the Kone’s dedicated software, and the lift distance can also be adjusted – a handy feature for those who are going to be physically repositioning their mouse a lot. Further customization comes in the form of an illuminated Roccat logo at the rear of the mouse, which can be set in terms of colour and lighting behaviour. The Sense mouse pad, displaying a strong naval theme in its stormy seas artwork, is a 2mm thick surface with a rubberized backing that provides excellent grip on any surface. The pad measures 400 x 280mm in size, giving the user a fairly large area in which to work. The surface

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Roccat Power Pack Gaming Set

by Alex Scanlon

AT A GLANCE: SUMMARY

TECH SPECS

This mouse and mouse pad pack looks good, and delivers good performance for those who want to make use of a cloth mouse pad and sleek mouse. Ma nuf a c t ure r: D i s t ri but e r: Onl i ne :

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• • • • • • •

5000dpi mouse 7 mouse buttons Corded mouse 2mm mouse pad 400 x 280mm size Low friction surface

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material is a soft cloth with a microcrystalline coating that minimizes friction and allows for a good level of sensitivity. While the Kone Pure Military Mouse isn’t exactly the top of the Kone pile, it does the job fairly well. It is an uncomplicated mouse, and the combination of the Kone and the Sense mouse pad makes for good input sensitivity, as well as a comfortable mousing experience. If you’re happy with a cloth pad, that is. Cloth pads don’t offer the longevity of solid mouse surfaces, even if they are easier to transport and arguably more comfortable. This pack is a good bet for those who want to invest in a dependable, if not flashy, mouse, and want a mouse pad that works well with it. While there are many that have taken to not using mouse pads, and even others that prefer a solid, non-cloth mouse pad, the combination of these two products is a solid, dependable one. g

Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Ed’s Choice

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CES2 TECHNOLOGY Virtual Academy

Looking at an In

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VIR T U A L CES 2017

2017

ntelligent Future?

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anuary in the technology industry only means one thing – the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, or CES as we’ve come to know and love it. Now in what feels like its millionth year, the annual CES event provides pundits (like us), analysts, consumers, technologists, and any other ‘-ists’ you can think of, with some indication of where technology is headed for the next 12 months. Last year, almost 200 000 people visited the show spanning 820 000 square metres of exhibition space. By way of comparison, the Sandton Convention Centre has two exhibition areas of more than five thousand square metres each. Suffice it to say, CES is big, it’s loud, and it provides a pure unadulterated look at all that is sexy and crazy about the tech industry. Each CES has an unofficial theme in terms of the products on display. This year was no different with artificial intelligence (AI), self-driving cars, and robots stealing the spotlight. While we couldn’t go to the show this year (what’s that about a crazy exchange rate?), we followed it closely on the various live streams taking place and decided to highlight some of the more interesting things that were announced. Of course, you might have to wait until 2018 (or later) for some of it to land on our distant shores but there’s no harm in getting excited about it.

CES2017 CES2017 CES2017 CES2017

TECHNOLOGY

CES2017

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CES 2017

AI help The clear flavour of the month is AI assistants. Between Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and others, there will be some excitement on this side for months to come. Some analysts are even suggesting that AI assistants could replace apps. So instead of downloading something, we can just ask our phone to search for it and provide us with a response. While AI is not quite at that level yet, the rate of development has been nothing short of amazing. When it will become mainstream in South Africa remains to be seen with few people comfortable asking their phone for anything while out in public.

I am robot? While there were plenty of robots on display, the one that got the most attention was Kuri, one of the cutest out there. Essentially, Kuri follows you around taking video, telling stories, monitoring your home, and greeting guests. However, at an expected retail price of $700, it might be a while before it becomes a standard issue for the connected home.

360-degree cameras We’ve gotten used to the idea of 360-degree photos and videos but still struggling with the price of many of these cameras. Well, this year the Chinese were out in force with a myriad of cheap cameras, some of which can even be mounted on a smartphone. Practicalities aside, it does provide an indication of the importance that this will have for the likes of Facebook and YouTube over the coming few months.

Wall of weird No CES wrap would be complete without looking at the weird gadgets on display. Hushme is a ‘voice mask for mobile phones’. While it might look like you’re a kidnap victim (or perhaps a fan of BDSM) while wearing it, the manufacturers promise you can talk to anybody over your phone without people being able to listen in or being disturbed. Just be prepared to get some weird stares. The Denso Vacuum shoes comes in at a close second. As the name suggests, every time you take a step you press down on a pedal which powers the motor to suck dirt into a tiny internal receptacle. I’ll leave this up to you to decide. The Acer Predator 21X is a gaming laptop. Nothing strange there. However, at $9,000 it features two power supplies, five system fans, nine heatpipes, 64GB of memory, five storage drives, and the world’s first curved screen on a laptop. Ouch on all counts.

Clever cars This was an incredible year for automotive manufacturers to exhibit at the show. In fact, you could be forgiven to think that it was all about cars and not about technology such was the interest. Despite the negative perceptions around selfdriving cars and the trust and regulation required, many manufacturers highlighted how vehicles have become the ultimate connected device. Nvidia (yes, the graphics card company) even teamed up with Audi and Mercedes-Benz for an AI Car Platform, Amazon (specifically its Alexa AI) announced its integration with Ford, while Microsoft (Cortana) partnered with Nissan. Fun times ahead indeed on this side.

Being connected Of course, being connected is something we can all relate to and it wasn’t only limited to cars. There were so many apps on display promising to control different parts of our lives that to go through them would be dizzying. Essentially, our smartphones will control all aspects of what we do and how we engage with devices. No surprises there. At least we can hope for better integration between our fridge and smartphone.

So, here’s to another zany year of technology to come. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of these gadgets and technologies make it into our homes before CES 2018.

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Cybered TECHNOLOGY

South Africa cracking down on crime onlin

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by Suvesh Arumugam

Cybered!

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hen it comes to new criminals. Until now, South terrorism, everyone is Africa has not had a specific piece pretty familiar with the of legislation to govern cybercrimes, whole NSA-online-monitoring spiel and what few prosecutions have (especially if you watched Oliver gone forward have used a medley Stone’s Snowden recently). I don’t of clauses from different acts like think anyone really disputes that Film and Publication Act of 1996, horrible, horrible crimes are being The Electronic Communications and planned using digital networks like Transactions Act of 2002 and the WhatsApp and Facebook. I think most Prevention of Organised Crime Act. of us also feel that it would be worth Law enforcement agencies have no sacrificing a few personal freedoms if problem admitting that the legislation we could really live in world without is difficult to enforce, and to date that kind of violence. The argument is many serious criminals have evaded whether or not the loss of freedoms capture and/or prosecution. and civil liberties online actually get us Ironically, it seems that is was not closer to this ideal, or further away by terrorism, fraud or copyright that making the lives of ordinary citizens really drove the drafting of the bill, but worse, while the use of the internet South Africa has not had a specific terrorists and social media to piece of legislation to govern continue propagate hate speech cybercrimes... until now! to evade and to cause harm authorities. to others via those A lot of emphasis also gets put mediums. Amongst some of the other on online piracy as the major threat provisions of the bill, one of the most to the sovereignty of the internet. contentious aspect of the new bill Copyright Agencies like RIAA are hefty sentences (up to 3 years (Recording Industry Association in prison) for the use of the internet of America) and, in South Africa, to incite violence or damage to RiSA (Recording Industry of South property, fraud or misrepresentation; Africa) and SAFACT (South African intimidation and harassment; making Federation Against Copyright Theft) false claims that ultimately cause are putting major resources into physical, mental or financial harm; and campaigns against piracy; and pushing distribution of content that is intimate legislation which allows them to in nature (such as nudity). This will co-operate with social networks and bring a lot more force to criminal service providers, so it’s no wonder charges laid against the likes of Penny why this has become synonymous with Sparrow, Chris Hart and Justin Van online criminality. Vuuren. However online cybercrime is The new bill will introduce almost so much broader than just these 50 new crimes, many of which now two topics. The digital age has impose formal penalties on crimes brought traditional crime into the such as the creation and use of cybersphere, with fraud, sex crimes, malware, interception or interference malice and hate crimes becoming with data and personal data, financial more digital than physical. South fraud, copyright infringement as well African authorities are woefully as computer related offences related under-prepared to combat these to terrorism, espionage and other


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criminal acts. These more serious offences carry sentences up to 10 years or fines up to R10 million (or both in some cases). The bill would also see the creation of a permanent cybercrimes authority, or Cyber Security Centre, to be established under the Minister for State Security, a National Cyber Crime Centre under the National Police Commissioner and a Cyber Command to formed under the Minister of Defence. Part of the mandate of these agencies will be to obtain agreements and compliance with state and private entities. The bill grants them powers to investigate, as well as to co-operate with international law enforcement

50 new crimes...imposing formal penalties as serious as up to 10 years and/or R10 million in fines...

TECHNOLOGY

agencies. It’s interesting that while Freedom of Speech issues may have triggered the drafting of the bill, it’s one of the same issues being cited as an argument for the reviewing of the bill. Legal and Constitutional experts feel that the definition of racist and xenophobic material is very broad, in some ways may infringe on constitution rights, which also define hate speech. As one expert states “This means that constitutionally permissible speech may be criminalised”. They have also criticised the bill for giving very broad definitions of critical concepts like cyber terrorism and critical data. One of the aims of the legislation is to bring South African law in line with international standard, however these same type of broad sweeping powers granted to international authorities have

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led to abuse of the those laws and the information obtained, ultimately granting too much power to the government to regulate the internet. One such example is section 31 of the draft bill, allowing for seizure of evidence without a court order. The new bill also contains sections specific to service providers, such as the clause requiring that electronic communication service providers (ECSPs) report cyber offences to the National Cyber Crime Centre as well as preserving evidence and information to assist law enforcement. Some believe this would, in practical terms, mean that service providers would need to monitor and store traffic data in more detail, to make this available to authorities, as well as actively screen for cybercrimes. However, others believe that the legislation will only require service providers to report if and when they become aware of them. The current ECT Act provides that there is no obligation for ISPs to monitor traffic and that evidence need only be preserved once the ISP becomes aware of the crime. The bill provides for fines of up to R10,000 per day for non-compliance by ECSPs. Generally speaking the bill, and it’s intentions, have been well received and there is little doubt that South Africa (and the rest of Africa) is sorely in need of legislation to help stem the tide of a burgeoning cybercrime trade on the continent. The bill has been approved by Cabinet and is set to be presented to Parliament in the coming weeks by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Advocate TM Masutha. It’s likely that some revisions will be proposed and eventually incorporated into the bill, but it is expected to be signed into law very soon. g

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Smart, Phone

TECHNOLOGY

Protecting your digital presence

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kay, so you can’t swing the proverbial cat without hitting someone walking around with a smartphone, tablet, or other connected device. In sunny South Africa (at the time of writing at least), the costs of devices are coming down as new technology gets released. Even mobile data is making it slightly more affordable to use in between hopping from one public WiFi to the next. But what does this mean for our security? We know too well that the humble smartphone can be as vulnerable to a hack or virus as a computer. In fact, smartphones have become mini-computers themselves and deserve the same degree of caution in a world filled with cyber security threats and attacks. As a first step, you should keep your mobile device locked. Yes, it is annoying to put in that pin, draw the pattern, or even use the retina scan to unlock your phone every time you want to us it but consider the alternative. Chances are all your sensitive personal information (think financial records, social media passwords, and the like) is contained on your trust mobile device. Now imagine what would happen if someone steals it and starts trawling your social media profiles. Even worse, think of the shopping spree that could ensue just from using your Amazon or Takealot profiles that you logged in to on your mobile. Secondly, it is always advisable to consider encrypting your sensitive information. If the information is encrypted, criminals will not be able to access it when they get their grubby little paws on your device. We live in an app-driven world. But how often do you view the permissions before installing said application on your phone or tablet? If there is no reason to access your contacts or your phone dialler, then why should you approve it when the app requires the permission? Just think logically what the app needs to use it for and then make an informed decision. Another tip to keep you safe in

the digital world is to install security software on your phone and tablet. These devices are open to the same risks as your computer so why should you not protect it the same? All the well-known vendors have anti-virus and security software available for mobile devices with several offering good quality free solutions as well. Thanks to a certain fruit-flavoured technology company, people are increasingly using Bluetooth headsets for their smartphones. And while Bluetooth is wonderful (we’ve heard) for this connectivity, leaving it on is a significant security risk. Switch it off when not paired to your headset to keep your phone safe and to reduce the drain on its battery. Of course, beyond protecting your device there are a few things to keep in mind when using publicly available WiFi hotspots for your downloading and surfing pleasure. Cybercriminals often use these networks to intercept data. It is a great way for them to steal people’s banking credentials, passwords, and other sensitive information. Always assume a public hotspot is insecure and any information you transfer through it could be stolen. So, if you want to do some online shopping or banking while having a coffee, rather use your cellular network which is significantly more secure. Another way malicious users are using these hotspots to get information is by setting up a fake link. Often, these names could be misspellings on the name of the coffee shop or hotel you are visiting. It could also be something as simple as ‘Free Public Hotspot’ to entice you to connect your device to it. This is all the criminal needs to infect your device with malicious software than can steal your information or that of the company you are working for. So be vigilant out there, folks. There is always someone trying to make a quick buck accessing your private data. Let common sense prevail and use protection. g gamecca92

Popular types of mobile malware Banking Malware: Banking-based mobile malware is on the rise, as hackers look to compromise users who prefer conducting all their business — including money transfers and bill payments — from their mobile devices. More than 1.6 million malicious installation packages were found in the third quarter of 2015 alone. Mobile Ransomware: First made popular on PCs, ransomware “locks out” important user data such as documents, photos, and videos by encrypting this information and then demanding a ransom be paid to the malware makers. If the ransom isn’t paid on time, all files are deleted or simply locked up —forever inaccessible to the user. Mobile Spyware: Loaded as a programme onto your device, spyware monitors your activity, records your location and lifts critical information, such as usernames and passwords for email accounts or e-commerce sites. In many cases, spyware is packaged with other seemingly benign software and quietly collects data in the background. You may not even notice the presence of spyware until device performance degrades or you run an anti-malware scanner on your tablet or phone. MMS Malware: Malware makers are also looking for ways to exploit text-based communication to deliver malware. Mobile Adware: Adware has come a long way from being nothing more than annoying pop-ups and data collection. For many adware makers, revenue depends on the number of clicks and downloads they receive. Some have now created “malvertising” code that can infect and root your device, forcing it to download specific adware types and allowing attackers to steal personal information. SMS Trojans: Cybercriminals are infecting mobile devices by preying on what users love most about their phones: text messages. SMS trojans wreak financial havoc by sending SMS messages to premium-rate numbers across the world, racking up users’ phone bills.

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Smart, Phone

Source: Kaspersky


Movies 100

Logan

Board Games 112 114

Codename Pictures Lotus

RPGs 116 120 121 122

Numenera The Strange Player’s Guide Call of Cthulhu Phobia Deck Mutant: Year Zero Zone Compendium 1: Lair of the Saurians

COMICS 124 126 128 130

D&D – Frost Giant’s Fury #1 The Mighty Captain Marvel #1 Monsters Unleashed #1 The Smurf Menace GN

BOOKS 132 134

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Brother’s Ruin Proof of Concept

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Up, .

Logan is shaking up the superhero formula for Wolverine’s final movie outing. gamecca

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ack in 2000, the success of Bryan Singer’s live-action X-Men movie ushered in a new

era of superhero blockbusters. Hollywood has never looked back. Since then scores of costumed heroes have made the leap from comic page to big screen. Of course, after 17 years, it’s admittedly become a bit formulaic. That’s why expectations are so high for Logan, the cinematic swansong for Marvel’s Wolverine, as played by Aussie actor Hugh Jackman. To clarify, the character of Wolverine will probably appear in future X-Men projects, but he will be played by someone new. Jackman is stepping away from the role that made him a star, and which he is now synonymous with.

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A SUPERHERO TALE FOR GROWN-UPS What makes the upcoming Logan so special is that it promises to offer something that hasn’t really been seen before in the superhero genre: a grim, adult-orientated character study touching on such topics as ageing, loneliness and what truly adds meaning to life. Don’t expect skintight bodysuits and epic world-saving shenanigans slathered in CGI. Logan is a huge tonal shift for the X-Men franchise. It’s essentially looking at superheroes in retirement, and how they cope with their non-super status in the world.

MATURE IN MATERIAL & EXECUTION Loosely based on Wolverine: Old Man Logan, a comic miniseries by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, Logan is set in a grim near-future where mutants are practically extinct. The title character is worn out, cynical, finally aging and in constant pain as his healing powers fail. He’s also in hiding near the Mexico border, while caring for his friend Charles Xavier, founder of the X-Men. Age has ravaged Xavier too, and his telepathy has become unstable, making him practically senile at times. That’s a dour premise for a superhero movie. However, the action ramps up when Logan encounters a mysterious little girl with powers like his own. This girl – who may or may not be X-23 from the comics – is on the run from Transigen, an organisation turning mutant children into weapons. With Logan thrust into a reluctant mentor and protector role, he’ll have to use his claws one final time.

LIFESTYLE

And evidently this one final time, the action is going to be R-rated. There was actually a push for a higher age restriction back in 2013 when The Wolverine released. In fact, an unrated, bloodier version of that movie came out on DVD. It took the success of last year’s Deadpool, though, to convince Fox movie executives that serious money could be made off adult-orientated superhero movies.

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LOGAN AT A GLANCE The Plot: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide-out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

The Cast: Hugh Jackman – Logan, a mutant with superhuman healing and indestructible skeleton. Patrick Stewart – Professor Charles Xavier, telepath and former head of the X-Men. Dafne Keen – Laura Kinney (rumoured), a young mutant with powers like Logan’s. Boyd Holbrook – Donald Pierce, cyborg who hunts mutants for Transigen. Richard E Grant – Zander Rice, a Transigen scientist.

The Director: James Mangold – famous for 2013’s The Wolverine, and Oscar nominees Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma and Girl, Interrupted.

Age Restriction: Expected to R-rated.

SA Release Information: LIFESTYLE

3 March, at standard cinemas and IMAX. No 3D.

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THE LOGAN OF US Thanks to its gritty trailers, and the stripped down promotional imagery, Logan is drawing comparisons to The Road and video game The Last of Us. There may be some Gran Torino in there too, so viewers should probably brace for similar sacrifice and tears. Hype is building. There’s just one month to go until we experience director James Mangold’s bold, Western-inspired vision. Whether it kickstarts a new era of superhero films or not, the solo Wolverine trilogy looks set to end with something moving and resonant.

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WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN

Did you know that of the ten movies set in the X-Men movie universe so far, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has appeared in all but one? Here’s a rundown of Logan’s storyline contributions until now.

X-Men (2000) After decades of drifting, amnesiac Logan comes in from the cold, literally, when he befriends mutant teen runaway Rogue (Anna Paquin). As she is sought-after in the battle between Charles Xavier’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, Logan finds himself fighting alongside Cyclops (James Marsden), Storm (Halle Berry) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).

X2 (2003) Logan learns about the secret military experiments that gave him his adamantium skeleton. At the same time, he protects Rogue, Ice Man (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford) when Xavier’s school is attacked by mutant-hating Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox). Logan also famously matches claws with Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu).

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) The deaths of fan-favourite characters come thick and fast in this third series instalment. With the mutant population split over a cure, Magneto plans to destroy the human race by unleashing Phoenix, Jean Grey’s dark alternate personality. Logan takes a greater leadership role among the X-Men here, though his primary function is to stop Jean, the woman he loves.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

LIFESTYLE

Logan takes centre stage in this X-Men spin-off. Directed by South Africa’s Gavin Hood, Wolverine focuses on Logan’s pre-X-Men, preamnesia days – particularly his past as a military operative and his relationship with vicious half-brother Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber). Multiple mutants appear, including Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds).

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X-Men: First Class (2011) Logan makes a cameo appearance in this X-Men prequel set in 1962. He’s onscreen for under 30 seconds, drinking and smoking in a bar, when young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) attempt to recruit him. The offer is dismissed with trademark Wolverine gruffness.

The Wolverine (2013) In addition to the live-action movies, there are also two CGIanimated films from Japan that more closely reference the games and their characters. 2008’s Resident Evil: Degeneration is set between Resident Evil 4 and 5, while 2012’s Resident Evil: Damnation follows the fifth game. A third feature-length film is reportedly set for release later this year.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Logan’s First Class cameo becomes a starring role in this ambitious time travel tale. With the aid of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Logan’s consciousness is transplanted from an apocalyptic future to his 1973 body so that he can reunite Xavier and Magneto, and stop an assassination that will trigger the deadly Sentinel Program.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Logan returns for five uncredited minutes in the most recent X-Men film. In the 1980s, teenage Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) find Logan imprisoned and feral at Stryker’s secret military facility. Once the teens free him, he rampages through the facility and escapes into the woods.

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THE DEADPOOL DILEMMA Although there were several references to Hugh Jackman in Ryan Reynolds’s Fourth Wallbreaking Deadpool, Logan didn’t actually appear in the 2016 action comedy. As Wolverine and Deadpool are one of Marvel’s most popular antihero team-ups, Reynolds has spoken about his desire for Wolverine to appear alongside the Merc with the Mouth in future. Hugh Jackman isn’t ruling it out, but the implication is that Logan would probably be played by another actor. He told Variety earlier this year, “I’m hesitating, because I could totally see how that’s the perfect fit. But the timing may be wrong. I’m at the point where I’m finishing up. In terms of a theory, it’s a great idea.”

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Codename Pictur LIFESTYLE

Finding spies one word at a time…

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Team Puzzle

#of Players:

2-8 Players

Play Time:

15 minutes

Manufacturer: Distributor: Online:

Czech Games Edition SolarPop www.czechgames.com gamecca92

Summary

AT A GLANCE

Genre:

Ages

A great mind-teaser, Codename Pictures is all about team work and being on the same wavelength…

10+ 82 Score

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by Walt Pretorius

res

are a few complications. First of all, picking the assassin by mistake ends the game, with the team that picked it losing. Picking an innocent bystander ends a team’s turn, as does picking an agent of the opposing team (and helps them, too). The most complicated thing, though, comes from the clues that the code master may give. They are literally one word clues. So, for example, “fruit” would refer to the second example given above. But there may be more than one card that could be identified by a clue, and if they correspond with the correct agents, the code master may prompt his team to guess all of them. This is done by adding a number to the clue – “fruit 3”. That would indicate to the team that three cards can potentially be uncovered. The team may than make guesses equal to the given number plus one – which is a great way to go back to old clues that they may not have figured out, or got wrong before. As long as the team keeps finding the right positions, they carry on until they have used their allotted turns. The honour part comes in with the code master. Clues need to be on-point, precise and one word. They must also keep a poker face, not giving any clues to their team mates other than that one word. It’s pretty tempting to try and slip in some extra hints, but when it’s taken seriously, Codename Pictures can be a fun, challenging and mentally stimulating game. g

COOL STUFF: BoardGames

H

onour… it is a word that isn’t really associated with board games. We all know how it can be; people cheat, and the cheating ranges from light hearted tomfoolery through to relationship ruining manoeuvres. So when a game relies on player honour, it can be a bit of a difficult thing to get right. But there are those players who would rather let their skill and mental abilities shine through, without the need to stack the odds in their favour with dodgy moves… and those are exactly the kind of people you want to play Codename Pictures with. Codename Pictures has a simple premise, with a few complications. Players are split into two teams, and image cards are arrayed in a four by five grid in front of them; the images are surreal looking things, really, with elements grouped together in sometimes strange ways. A Volkswagen beetle that is actually a ladybug, a headset of which the ear cups are a sliced orange, that kind of thing. Each team has one code master, who must give his team clues to uncover certain cards. The grid corresponds with the placement of 15 agents, four innocent bystanders, and one assassin, described by a card that only each team’s code master can see. One team has eight agents (they will go first) and one team has seven… the first team to reveal all of their agents wins. It’s pretty simple, really, but there


LE TY EW S E I lIF EV R

CATAN

Building a mini empire

Lotus LIFESTYLE

Mastering the garden

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face up. Once play is completed, the

Lotus Garden have been

scores are tallied and a winner is

discovered only by a select

determined.

few, and possessing the flowers that grow there will grant them wisdom and

simple idea backing them up, Lotus is

eternal life. But only one can master the

possessed of a surprising amount of

secrets of these magical flowers.

strategic depth. Because only one of

Lotus is, at first glance, a very simple

each flower can be in play at a time,

game indeed. The aim is to grow flowers

and because cards can only be played

co-operatively, while still trying to

on one flower at a time, placing cards

exercise control over them. This is done

strategically is the key to success.

by playing cards.

Additionally, choosing between powers

Each card is one petal of a specific

or score can make or break a game,

flower. Once a flower is completed

so a careful approach is needed to

(there are varieties of three, four, five,

successfully tend this particular garden.

six and seven petals) it can be picked,

Lotus features beautiful presentation,

with the player who placed the last card

with each petal card beautifully

adding the flower to their score total.

illustrated. The illustration includes a

However, the player who had the most

placement guide on each card, so that

influence in creating the flower also

the flowers end up arranged in beautiful

gets rewarded, either with points, or a

shapes. Additionally, each card has petal

special power.

total and scoring guides, making the book keeping for this game extremely

their hand, and may take two of three

simple. Other parts, like score tokens,

actions each turn – play up to two cards

guardians and power tokens, are also

on the same flower, swap out up to two

beautifully presented, and each player

cards, or move one of their two guardian

has items specific to the colour that

creatures onto a petal to exert more

they play – down to the backs of their

control. The special abilities, of which

personal deck. Lotus is easy to learn, and elegant

increase the amount of cards that can

in its apparent simplicity. It is a

be played, or can grant the player an

thoughtful game, and allows for a

extra, more powerful guardian creature.

great amount of strategy and guile to

The rules are extremely simple,

be employed. Getting into the swing of the way the game works may take a

personal deck of cards is exhausted.

while, in terms of tactics, but once the

Each player has their own deck, while

players have it, the apparent peaceful

an extra, “wild flowers” deck allows for

surface of Lotus can hide a fierce

drawing extra cards that are already

battle of wits and wills. g

Genre:

Card Strategy

#of Players:

2-4 Players

Play Time:

30 minutes

Manufacturer: Distributor: Online:

Renegade Games SolarPop www.renegadegames.com gamecca92

Summary

and play proceeds until one player’s

Ages

An intriguing and surprisingly deep game, Lotus also has an enticing presentation.

8+ 89 Score

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Each player can hold four cards in

there are three, can increase hand size,

AT A GLANCE

As with many games that have a

COOL STUFF: BoardGames

T

he secrets of the mysterious


LE TY EW S E I lIF EV R

Nume

The ancie

LIFESTYLE

What would life on earth be like a billion years from now? That span of time is incomprehensible, but it would be safe to say that, during that tremendous span, civilisations rose and fell, leaving behind relics and ruins to mark their passing. It is that world, called the Ninth World by its inhabitants, that Numenera is based.

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by Walt Pretorius

enera Genre: System: Manufacturer: Distributor: Online:

Science-fantasy Skill-based Monte Cook Games

Summary

AT A GLANCE

ent future

DriveThru RPG www.drivethrurpg.com

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An intriguing sciencefantasy setting with a simple, yet effective system, Numenera makes for some great story creation.

Score

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LIFESTYLE

I

t is that world, called the Ninth World by its inhabitants, that Numenera is based. It is a world in which eight mighty civilisations have existed, ranging from the height of human achievement to extra-terrestrial colonisers who made a temporary home on this blue planet. The Ninth world is still in its infancy, a time comparable to our civilisation’s dark ages. And it is here that players of Numenera must exist, exploring, fighting and seeking the knowledge of those that came before. Exploration and discovery is central to this game, and the relics of the past – the titular Numenera – that can be used as equipment, or to grant players’ characters extra abilities. With an intriguing setting and tons of story

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potential, Numenera is a really enjoyable table-top RPG. And it uses a system that is far less complicated than other games. Quite simply, the majority of mechanics and dice rolling is centred on a single system; the GM determines a difficulty, and the player mosifies the difficulty through equipment and abilities. A target number ifs then determined, and the player makes a roll. Additionally, the player can use specific point pools to further decrease difficulty, in effect applying effort to their roll. But using effort may leave a character depleted and easier to target. In this way, Numenera makes even actions a strategic decision. With three base character types – warrior called Glaives, mage-like Nanos and jack-of-all-trades

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Cool Stuff: RPGs

appropriately called Jacks – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of character option. However, using descriptors and focus mechanics, each character can be vastly different. Additional abilities can further differentiate between two characters of the same type, and this simple system proves very effective at creating character diversity. Character levels are measured in tiers, and they are hard-wo accomplishment. Each character type has only six tiers, and it takes quite a lot of effort to get from one to another. But Numenera isn’t focussed on levelling up. Rather, it looks at character advancement as an organic process, and characters can improve in numerous ways without reaching the next tier. Similarly, experience points (XP) are seen as a

fluid game currency, rather than something that just advances the character. As in real life, characters can rely on their experience to further in-game goals, spending XP on the fly to affect the world around them. While the system takes a little getting used to, Numenera’s mechanics are uncluttered and fairly easy to understand. Most rolls will require a d20, so tons of dice aren’t a requirement. And the game’s unique science-fantasy setting is unique, and compelling. Numenera is a breath of fresh air for groups that have been concentrating on strictly defined genres for too long, and it provides players and GMs with tons of potential for creating great stories. g

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The Strange Player’s Guide Spreading the rules around

by Walt Pretorius

AT A GLANCE

LIFESTYLE

Genre: System: Manufacturer: Distributor: Online:

Player’s Guide comes in handy. To be brutally honest, there isn’t much more in this book than you would find regarding characters in The Strange’s core rules. It deals with character creation, abilities and equipment, as well as some other rules directly related to characters. To this end, some may see it as a bit of a cash in, but the fact that it allows players access to rules, without them having to refer to the main rule book – which the GM may not be willing to relinquish – is extremely handy

Science Fantasy

Summary

B

eing an agent of the Estate means that you’re going to be travelling to many worlds, created by the fictions of our own, to defend Earth and other realities (called Recursions) from danger. It is a complicated setting, and one that has tons of potential for role playing. Even though the system is a simple, skill based mechanic, characters themselves can get fairly complicated in terms of various elements that define who they are and how they can act. That’s where this

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The Strange Monte Cook Games DriveThru RPG www.drivethrurpg.com

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when rules need to be referenced without breaking the pace of the gaming session. And it will not impart any hints at what the GM might be up to… after all, mystery in a roleplaying session is part of the joy of gaming. The Strange Player’s Guide is not necessarily an essential, must have book, but it will make everyone’s life easier during sessions, freeing up the GM from needing to reference every rule relating to a particular player’s character. g Score

While not a massive elaboration on the existing rules, The Strange Player’s Guide is a handy reference for players.

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Call of Cthulhu Phobia Deck Madness is on the cards…

Cool Stuff: RPGs

LE TY EW S E I lIF EV R

I

System:

Horror Call of Cthulhu

Manufacturer:

Chaosium

Distributor:

Chaosium

Online:

Summary

LIFESTYLE

AT A GLANCE 121

Genre:

www.chaosium.com gamecca92

Score

Handy cards to inflict all kinds of mental maladies on players, on-the-fly…

82

by Walt Pretorius

n the past, random events in RPGs were most often subject to a dice roll. For some time, though, random dice rolls have been replaced by cards. The reason is sound; cards give the gm a quick way to randomly determine something (without endless rule book page shuffling) and can contain all the pertinent information right on the card itself. Call of Cthulhu is a great game for random occurrences, and one of the favourites in that group of events is insanity. And so, to help out the Keeper in doling out bouts of mental illness, there is the Call of Cthulhu Phobia Deck. Made up of 46 cards, this deck is a great on-the-fly resource for when players are struck with insanity.16 phobias and 16 manias are included, as well as 14 bout of madness cards (which are split into real time and summary cards, depending on the current circumstamces). The deck isn’t exhaustive (there are more options in the rulebook) but it helps when something is needed fast, rather than breaking up the action with dice rolling and page flipping. Each card has a detailed description of the effects of the insanity it describes, to help players properly role play their afflictions. With a decent selection of manias and phobias on offer, there is a lot of variety here, even if it doesn’t contain every possible option. Still, being able to afflict a character with a sudden onset of Amenomania, Rhabdophobia or even plain old Paranoia in the middle of a tense fight, without having to break the action, is a great way to maintain in-game pace. g


Mutant: Year Zero Zone Compendium 1: Lair of the Saurians Cold blooded

System:

Sci-fi Mutant: Year Zero

Manufacturer:

Modiphius

Distributor:

Modiphius

Online:

Summary

LIFESTYLE

AT A GLANCE 122

Genre:

the already strange world of Mutant: Year Zero by adding strange reptilians living in a “rusted metal tube”, a nefarious tree, a family clinging tenaciously to their way of life and a mysterious man who can tell the future. The four scenarios are wonderfully detailed, yet manage to not be stifling for the GM. They can all be used as stand-alone scenarios which, when you consider the board nature of a Mutant: Year Zero campaign, works really well. And, above all, they are creative and original, adding wonderfully to the potential of this game.

www.modiphius.com gamecca92

In addition, the locations given in this Compendium are interesting and well presented, and can be re-used in a longer campaign, even once the associated scenarios have been completed – in essence the scenarios could act as spring-boards for some interesting home-brewed stuff, too. Modiphius have consistently produced great material for the Mutant: Year Zero RPG, making it a rich and highly entertaining role playing system. Be sure to look out for the second compendium, on review next month. g

A great new location, and four new scenarios, plus some useful rules… Lair of the Saurians is a great addition to the Mutant: Year Zero library.

Score

88

by Walt Pretorius

M

odiphius Entertainment have prepared a number of Zone Compendiums for their quirky and quite brilliant Mutant: Year Zero RPG, which we will be looking at over the coming months. The first of these is Zone Compendium 1: Lair of the Saurians, and it brings with it four new locations, including scenarios, rules for long distance travel and a monster generator for monsters in this zone. Combined with the core Mutant: Year Zero rules and even the Gen Lab Alpha supplement, this compendium expands

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Title: Writer: Artist:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC D&D – Frost Giant’s Fury #1 Jim Zub Netho Diaz

Publisher:

IDW

Rated:

Teen

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by Clive Burmeister

Scott Snyder, the writer on the previous best selling Batman series, has now taken on a new Batman project, one where he gets to deal with some of the less well known Batman villains, as well as taking a new spin on some of the classic villains like TwoFace and Poison Ivy. He’s also telling two stories a comic, and featuring different artists, some big names and some new comers. So what kind of bang can you expect for your buck? Well Snyder is considered by many to be one of the best Batman writers out there, he knows the character intimately well, and always weaves a concise and intriguing plot, and with featured artists like Jock & Romita Jr. (this issue), I don’t think there will be many disappointed.

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Title: Writer: Artist:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC Harley Quinn #1 Margaret Stohl Ramon Rosanas

Publisher:

Marvel

Rated:

Teen +

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by Clive Burmeister

After the events of Civil War II, Carol Danvers, A.K.A Captain Marvel, finds herself in the public spotlight, with frothing fans, and even a T.V show based on her adventures, while inside she’s still reeling from the tragedies she faced and the ordeals that she had to overcome. But her ordeals are not at an end, as she now faces the new challenges of how to deal with vast numbers of alien refugees flocking to earth, and a ruthless shape-shifting bounty hunter intent on capturing a young blue-skinned Kree Child. Writer, Margaret Stohl may be fairly new to comic writing, but as a bestselling author, she has picked up a thing or two about telling a compelling and passionate story.

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Title: Writer: Artist:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC Monsters Unleashed #1 Cullen Bunn Steve McNiven

Publisher:

Marvel

Rated:

Teen +

gamecca92

by Clive Burmeister

What new terror has been unleashed on planet earth? Who can overcome such a massive threat? Where do these monsters come from and what do they want? As more and more shooting stars hurtle toward earth, each unleashing some giant nightmarish monster somewhere in the world, all the world’s heroes must do their best to face the creatures and save as many lives as possible. Will this be the end of the world that many believe it to be, or will our heroes somehow beat back the humungous horde, and discover the source of the attack. Monsters Unleashed looks like it can be everything you might want from an event: tons of big battles, all the teams and all the heroes fighting together to save the world, great art, great fight scenes, and of course, lots of crazy tentacled monsters!

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Title:

The Smurf Menace GN

Writer:

Peyo / Various

Artist:

Peyo / Various

Publisher: Rated:

COOL STUFF

GET GRAPHIC Papercutz All Ages

gamecca92

by Clive Burmeister

We all know that smurfs are kind and friendly, helpful and peaceful. Or are they? When the smurfs start becoming more quarrelsome and aggressive toward each other, Papa Smurf is worried that their behaviour could lead to some terrible catastrophe, and maybe even mark their doom. Of course, he can’t sit by and let that kind of fate befall his beloved smurfs, so he concocts a daring and dangerous plan to restore the smurfs to their smurfy selves. But when Papa Smurf’s plan backfires, he now fears he might be the one responsible for destroying his smurfs instead of saving them. The Smurf Menace Graphic Novel also includes two other shorter comics: “The Shadow of the Smurf Apprentice”, and “The Mansion of a Thousand Mirrors”.

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Brother’s Ruin

Blood is thicker than water

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Brother’s Ruin Emma Newman Tor Books Historical Fantasy


COOL STUFF: BOOKS

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he year 1850 marks a momentous time for Great Britain’s prospering history, as the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts gives rise to powerful mages. Any who display talent are immediately called to serve the Queen, their lives swept from family

and freedom for the sake of the kingdom. The events within the Gunn home lead Archie to think himself a mage. However, his sister Charlotte is the real talent and she must risk all for his sake. Betrothed and working secretly as an illustrator, more secrets spill around Charlotte as the Royal Society elites appear at the Gunn home to test Archie. Brother’s Ruin is a fantastical tale of an alternate, magic infused Great Britain, and the story of a sister who will risk all for the sake of her family – especially her brother. Charlotte is a strong protagonist leading this elegantly written historic fiction meets mystery meets fantasy novella. Delving into a dark Victorian Era setting where nothing is what it seems, Brother’s Ruin merge’s genres seamlessly to kick off Emma Newman’s Industrial Magic series. g

by Nthato Morakabi

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Proof of Concept Threading the Needle

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Proof of Concept Gwyneth Jones Tor Books Sci-FI


COOL STUFF: BOOKS

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he future Earth is desperately overcrowded and has been ravished by climate change, rendering it soon uninhabitable. What remains of the world’s governments, seek to find an alternative for Earths people in Big Science – expensive research involving

large teams of scientists. Their hope is found when the most enigmatic theory is proposed The Needle. It is an experimental installation testing a profound theory that could eventually allow humans to travel to a habitable exoplanet. The crew are placed inside The Needle with all communication with the outside world cut off. Kir is host to the quantum A.I. Altair fixed into her brain. Thrilled to join the team, she struggles with the second presence sharing space with her mind. Only Altair has questions – will Kir listen? Proof of Concept is a weighty Sci-fi novella that swamps technical terms together like tadpoles in a basin, while thrusting you deep into the vetoed theories of fringe science. Written meticulously, the story flows rather quickly towards its climax, while at the same time revealing the almost childlike Kir, the seemingly restrained Altair, and the mysterious circumstances unexpected. g

gamecca92

by Nthato Morakabi

surrounding The Needle. The results are…

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Ramjet’s rantality

have just finished bingewatching The Knick. This series, which tells the story of doctors working at The Knickerbocker Hospital in New York in 1900, is pretty damned cool, but it also left me marveling at how far we have come since then. In fact, how far we have come since 2000, even. The world of technology is moving at a pace that is truly insane. Thing is, how much do we really understand about the tech that we are employing on a daily basis? And how much do we know about the effect it has on us? I mean, realistically, we cannot know. Health risks of a sedentary lifestyle were identified relatively recently, and we have been lounging around on our asses for millennia. I am not a health nut. I try to eat the right kind of stuff, but I don’t always (or even often) get it right. I try to get to the gym at least once a year. I am trying to quit all the nasty stuff that I shouldn’t be partaking in. But I am not a health nut.

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Still, one cannot help but wonder. Just don’t say it, though. Take, for example, the pretty new VR fever that has hit the gaming world. VR is, quite honestly, awesome. Getting right inside the game world like that is an experience that simply cannot be beaten. Given the already addictive nature of gamers, there are a lot of people who are going to be spending a lot of time with VR goggles clamped to their faces. It might be a fun thing, but we have no idea if it is going to be damaging, purely because VR hasn’t been around long enough for any form of long term effects of having a screen right in your face to have been identified. And never mind the idea that your brain is perceiving stuff that doesn’t equate to the rest of your body. But don’t tell gamers that, not the ones who love VR. They will blindly defend their new-found love to the death. How dare anyone deny them their new addiction? I am not saying that VR

gamecca92

BY rAMJET

Myopic Lunatics...

is going to turn people into myopic lunatics. I cannot, because we don’t know. But we don’t know the opposite, either. We don’t know that it won’t turn us in short sighted madmen with a sensory disconnection to reality. We couldn’t possibly know, either way. But we don’t want to find out, 20 years from now, that the fun we had was actually messing us up. It’s difficult, really. On one hand, we have this awesome new technology that I, personally, love. On the other, we have to – simply have to – consider what it might do to us. But, thanks to not wanting to face stuff like that, and thanks to the idea that bad stuff only happens to other people, there are still smokers out there. So trying to make an argument that VR should be approached moderately is pretty much pointless. Caution and moderation are the best approaches here. Sadly, neither are things that gamers are particularly good at. g



Gamecca Magazine February 2017