GAMER PULP An independent Video Games magazine produced in the North West of England - By you!
KICK-ASS GAME REIVEWS
Free Vol:1 issuse:2 March 2013
1 Gamer Pulp is an independent project in the North-West to provide Game reviews, News, Features, Events, and deals about Video games. Originally set up by Manchester Metropolitan Gaming Society and Salford Gaming, all content is locally produced by awesome people who love games. We have an Ethos: don’t be mean, and let anyone have access to publish their works regarding video games. People love gaming, and some even like to write about it. We are here to allow people to stand proud of what they write. We think the bottlenecks created by most conventional newspapers and magazines suck- So we are on the fightback against it!
Editor - Liam McLoughlin Contributors John Carey Liam Edge Robyn Kuscher James Bowden Tom Short Kate Thornton James McIntosh Sammy Royle
The views expressed in the articles of Gamer Pulp are the opinion of the writers, and probably won’t be the same as any sponsors, connected Universities’, student unions, or the magazine itself. All media has been supplied by the authors, and shouldn’t break any copyright laws. If it does, please tell us and we will remove the offending articles
2 Highlights 6 - NUEL Season Results 7 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown 10 - SimCity 11 - Journey 15 -Assassinâ€™s Creed: Outta Time? 17 - Nintendo Double 19 - *COMPETITION * 21 - Tom Shorts Comments 29 - Indie Double
The front page picture was kindly made especially for us by Sammy Royle at: https://www.facebook.com/ SjlrDesigns
Word from the Editor I think this issue is a significant improvement on the last, on your advice we have changed around with the layout, and the amount of content submission has been amazing, so thank you to the contributors who have made this magazine work so well! Although for me this magazine has been far more stressful, (but even more rewarding) being in my final year of university; starting the handing over process for Salford Gaming that I founded and have been running as chairman for three years, alongside work have resulted in plenty of early morning work â€“ and coffee. Nevertheless the Magazine looks amazing! And after this publication we are going to move over to a more permanent website address and finally set up our Minecraft server (Dell PowerEdge 860) that has been sat in Kyotoâ€™s server room for well over a month. So I hope you all enjoy this issue, and good luck for the people entering our competition!!
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MMUGG is a society for Manchester Metropolitan University students who enjoy video games and want to socialise with other gamers. We range from PC gamers to consoles, mainly PS3 and X Box. Our weekly socials take place on Wednesday afternoons from 2pm to 6.30pm at Kyoto Lounge gaming bar. During socials we host tournaments on the most popular platforms, whether it’s League of Legends on the PC or Tekken Tag on the X Box. We also arrange nights out and national events such as Insomnia. Membership is £3 and our weekly socials are only £5, that’s for 4 ½ hours of gaming! firstname.lastname@example.org Salford Gaming is Salford university’s gaming society. We are band of students and ex-students who play video games, enjoy socials out, network together for online play, and ‘battle-plan’ in the pub. We have no real focus on a particular gaming platform; however you can find most of us on PC, PS3, Xbox, and on Nintendo consoles. We meet weekly for events, where we arrange an assortment of events, from Manchester premier gaming lounge, to buffet and film nights. You can also find us playing 24 hours a day online. Though organised online events or random gaming! For this we even host Minecraft, Team Fortress 2, and a mumble server. www.SalfordGaming.com | Info@SalfordGaming.com
7 >> Review
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
John Carey reviews this Turn-Based Role-Playing Strategy Game
NOW, and I’m going to be honest here, but I’m not really a particularly sensitive, or an over-emotional guy, but there’s something I found slightly disturbing in seeing my bestfriend had panicked and shot my girlfriend point-blank in the face while hiding from a floating alien death machine which had just mowed down a row of unarmed civilians. Don’t worry though, I know certain areas of Salford and Manchester can be pretty rough but, compared to the world of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it’s like living in Spiral Mountain! (Banjo and Kazooie reference there, for those amongst you whom bear no respect for the classics.) XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based strategy game, with even a few RPG elements, such as the names and appearance of your characters, their classes and which skills (out of an admittedly small selection) and weapons you assign to them. This game brings XCOM right back to the roots of the series, rather than the seemingly elusive XCOM first-person shooter which has been in development since 2006. It is the year 2015, and a mysterious object falls from space. With the typical green light of alien origin hovering around it, as clear to me as if a massive sign-post had fallen and said, in neon letters twenty feet high ‘Stay Away From Here Or Else!’, the obligatory crowd of god-damned morons gormlessly gather around it and all of them, very deservingly I find, are abducted and, we can only hope, probed within an inch of their lives for their innate stupidity. Anyway, after choosing which continent you want to make your base of operations, each choice offering different bonuses to the
different aspects of the game, none of which really affect the turn-based strategy skirmishes which form the core of the game, instead adjusting the rate of your research, the monthly cost of your air-force or increasing the quite pathetic amount the governments of the world allow you to fight off the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. ‘I know you’re policing the entire world from an alien invasion with six men, a couple of ships and three-hundred dollars a month but, you know, YOLO, right?’ Though quite a simple game mechanic, actually, it is almost exactly identical to the original XCOM game; it still managed to keep me entertained so much so that I have barely touched both Hitman: Absolution or Farcry 3 at the time of writing. The game is split into two distinct modes, the Geoscape and the Battlescape. In the Geoscape, a holographic projection view of the world which shows you the locations of any UFO’s you’ve managed to detect and allows you to send interceptors to combat them, where your bases are placed, the panic levels of each country which forms a part of the elusive council. Your home base, situated in Germany for me, has a view which has been given to apt title of Ant-Farm by the players and, though I found it a little odd, if not unnerving at first, it works well enough. You need to excavate rooms out and build access lifts to gain more possible building spaces. The buildings you can construct include Laboratories, which allow you to house more scientists, thereby allowing you to research more aspects of the Alien technology such as Laser or Plasma weapons, perform autopsies and interrogate capture aliens. Workshops which allow you to build the produce of this
8 research, foundries designed to upgrade that which you create in the Workshop. Your soldiers start of as rookies and the more enemies they kill, missions they complete and just generally the more awesome they are, they receive experience which allows them to receive promotions, in the typical RPG/ shooter style. The only complaint I have about the XP system is, though it is effective enough, you have no control over which original specialisation the squad member takes, which can be annoying if every other Squaddie you promote becomes a Support character. The four specialisations are: Assault, Heavy, Sniper and Support, each with their own specific skills.
The Assault class is the close combat master, the only member of the squad who has the ability to move at his full range, and then fire as well, after using his core skill (Run & Gun). Combined with the heavy-duty shotgun he wields, the Assault soldier is the ultimate front-line weapon against the invading forces. The Heavy is exactly what you’d expect, a big brute of a soldier armed with a machinegun and rocket launcher. Think typical space marine and you’re about there. There isn’t much more to say really, besides his skill to suppress his target, lowering their accuracy, and offering him a chance to fire if they move from their position. The Sniper, the typical long-range killer, is perhaps the most deadly of all the classes, especially when the class nears the highest rank it can attain. Typically, the sniper cannot fire his or her rifle after movement, instead relying on the pistol but as the second skill the Sniper can learn, their play style changes completely. You can either allow the sniper the ability to move after shooting, at a reduced accuracy, (Snap Shot) or the ability to fire upon anyone within an ally’s line of sight (Squadsight). The Support is, again, nothing surprising. This class has the ability to move a little further per turn than their counterparts, and they act as a well-rounded class, designed (surprise, surprise), to offer support to the more specialised members of the squad.
Their core skill is a smoke grenade which helps to hide the members of the squad within its range, and can even be upgraded with skills later on in the skill tree either to increase the range and concealment of the grenade or gives additional bonuses for those caught within it, such as bonuses to accuracy. The story is almost non-existent but, I honestly think I like it, in this case. A good narrative can make a game stand out in the crowd, but XCOM doesn’t seem to need one. The simple aliens are invading, you’ve got to stop them, seems narrative enough for a game in which it is the game play which draws you in and keeps the game fresh and endearing. Even when I hit the final mission, it still felt new, it still kept me entertained where, say, Halo 4, had long since started to feel like I was going through the motions or, though I hate myself for saying it, felt like I was grinding through another *cough cough* wonderful *cough cough* Final Fantasy game. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is probably my favourite of 2012 and, unless Injustice: Gods Among Us is as good as I fervently pray it will be (being the giant DC nerd I am), it may very well maintain the title through 2013. Though available on the PC, through Steam is probably your best option if you are one of the gaming master-race, I’d recommend playing the game on a console. The PC is overflowing with excellent strategy games, but XCOM is the first one of its kind I can definitely say, feels as if it was made for a console. You can pick it up online for around £20, or from about £25 if you’re lucky enough to live near a videogame store which hasn’t been closed down yet.
Liam Edge attempts to review the latest release from Maxis
SimCity 5 is the newest release in over a decade since the popular SimCity 4, where you can found and develop your own city. Available from Amazon for just over ÂŁ50. ERROR: Review of SimCity 5 has stopped working.... . . . Attempting to connect to sever.... . . . SimCity 5 Review Server Busy: Next Attempt to Join.. 15:28.... . . . Queue place, 20,000. . . . Error: Could not login to SimCity Due to a Network Error
Like we need another reason to hate draconian DRM
11 >> Review
A beautiful moment experienced by Adam Miles
AFTER hearing plenty of praise about Journey on the PSN, I was finally able to invest some time into what has been regarded by many as one of the best experiences on the PlayStation to date. This article is less of a review and more of an accounting of one my experiences with the game (Although if you were to ask me, It’s fantastic, give it a go, but it is fairly short). So the game begins. Your character awakens in the middle of a vast unseeingly never ending desert and your only goal seems to be to reach a great mountain in the distance with a bright gleaming light shining at the top. You have no idea what it is and yet you feel compelled to make it there just to find out. As you progress on your journey you’ll begin to find remnants of a past great civilisation including gorgeous architecture, paintings and visions of the past. Now what makes Journey truly stand out is its multiplayer experience. Should you play the game whilst you’re online (which
I’d strongly recommend) you’ll occasionally come across another traveller. The game won’t tell you their gamer ID until you’ve reached the end of your journey, the game won’t even let you speak to them using a microphone. Instead your only form of communication with fellow travellers is the ability to make a series of sounds at the push of a button. This is also used to solve a couple of minor puzzles, but is also used to communicate. During my journey, I encountered a few travellers, most kept to themselves seeking out some of the hidden secrets in the levels, but other times I found myself temporally tagging along with someone else for a short time, if only to have a little company in this otherwise lonely world. We would exchange noises with one another, either as some odd form of merry singing or to alert one another to something we’d found. For the most part earlier on in my journey, any occurrence of this would happen for around twenty minutes and then we would part ways.
It was this feature that led to one of the most unique experiences I have ever had in any game. So after many miles and trials, I had finally reached the base of the mountain and I begin my climb, its freezing cold, the winds blow me back down the mountain should I not be in cover. For this first time in this game, I genuinely feel like my little traveller could be killed at any moment should I get too careless, I’m desperately trying to keep him out of the freezing winds. Once again on the mountain, I meet up with another traveller which after some exchanging a couple of tunes with one another, I seemed to have formed another temporary bond with another traveller. By sticking together and exchanging sounds, we seem to be able to stop each other freezing to death; suddenly this mutual acquaintance we’ve formed has now become a struggle to try to keep each other from keeling over on this mountain. So after making further progress on the mountain, we reach a fairly open area and up in the sky is a large serpent like creature with a bright light shining down into this area. Naturally, my companion and I try to stay out of its gaze. But the winds are too strong, and I’m blown into its vision. The bright white light turns red. “Bollocks” I thought and my worries are soon justified when it swoops down, grabs me and throws me back down to the ground. It’s weakened me, I can’t jump as far, I can’t speak as loudly. I’m starting to think it’s all over, I can barely see in this blizzard and it looks like my character is about to freeze to death. But just then, I can barely make out my companion in the distance; he seems to be signalling me to come into a cave he’d found. I make my way over as fast as I can. We make it inside the cave.
This random guy I’d met had saved my traveller’s life, He now felt more like a guardian than a companion. We continue our way through the cave and out of the other end, we find ourselves in another open area, with another one of those things circling above. We try to run from cover to cover to protect ourselves from the freezing winds and that serpent thing. However as my companion was about to make a run for the next piece of cover, the winds caught him and he was blown into the beasts gaze. It swoops down and throws him far away. I can’t do anything to help him, I’m powerless. The only things I can do is push forward, and hope he’s able to catch up. As I near the exit, I can see him running towards me, but once again, the beast swoops down and attacks him. I can no longer see him. I wait by the exit for about a minute or two, hoping that he would return and that we may finish the journey together. But after a seemingly long wait, I proceed with the remainder of my journey alone. After the credits had rolled at the end of the game, a screen appears with the title ‘Companions Encountered’ which then shows the gamer IDs of the players I’d met along with their corresponding symbol. My only regret is that I forgot what my companion on the mountain’s symbol looked like, but I feel I have a good idea who it was. So that was one of one of most interesting multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had. Fascinating that I felt a pretty emotional bond with some random person on the internet that I never even said a word to. Hell, I didn’t even know their name…
Angry Birds? New Wakefield Street, Manchester
Comments << 14
Game Prices around the world
You can be lucky enough to pay 50% extra for a game, just because of your location.
Black Ops II (Xbox 360)
Dead Space 3 (Xbox 360)
Assassins Creed III (Ps3)
Australia £53.7 ($79 Aus)
Australia £60.6 ($89 Aus)
Australia £61 ($90 Aus)
United States £35.9 ($54)
United States £39 ($60)
United States £39 ($60)
United Kingdom £40
United Kingdom £45
United Kingdom £30
15 >> Review
Assassin’s Creed: Outta Time? Robyn Kuscher has her issues about the Assassin’s Creed series
I’M HAVING a bit of a crisis at the moment. If you had said to me back in 2008 that Ubisoft would release an Assassin’s Creed game that had pirates in it, I would have started literally vibrating with excitement. I love pirates, rum, and anything related to these things, and at that time in my life I was also in awe of Assassin’s Creed. Fast forward 5 years to the announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, however, and I am significantly less loyal to the franchise that showed so much promise back then. You see, while games 1 and 2 were spectacular, pioneering successes that trod new ground in their use of style, setting and story, I get the impression that Ubisoft is now using it as a dumping ground for every mad idea they’ve ever had. Let’s have a quick recap of what has happened in the sprawling mess that is the story so far: *deepbreath*
Desmond Miles is a regular bloke who gets kidnapped by a shady organisation called Abstergo. While he’s there, he conveniently remembers that he is part of an underground group called The Assassins, who are forever locked in a struggle against The Templars who somehow survived from medieval times. By sticking Desmond in a machine called the Animus, he is forced to act out the memories of his Assassin ancestor, Altair, and reveal the location of an artefact Abstergo want to get hold of. He finds the artefact, which turns out to be the biblical Apple of Eden, which has powerful magical properties. His minder from Abstergo turns out to a double agent, and is really an Assassin, while Abstergo, it turns out, are all modern day Templars. She takes him back to her base where Desmond is immediately put into another Animus in the hopes that reliving the memories of an Italian ancestor called Ezio will train him in Assassin skills. During this, Desmond gets contacted by aliens who claim to be from before humans existed, and also the ancestors of the whole Assassin order (although this is all but forgotten afterwards). Des is warned of an impending apocalypse. After much more time spent training as Ezio,
No Aliens Meme needed he finally discovers that a giant solar flare is due to wipe out all life, on (who would have guessed it) the 21st December 2012. He jumps into the mind of a British Templar, and then this man’s half Native American son Connor, to find a way to stop the end of the world. Meanwhile he is taunted by one of these people from before our time, who says Desmond is the only one who can stop the end of the world, but only if he lets her exist in the present. He finds out how to save the world, and sacrifices himself Matrix Revolutions-style, allowing this alien person to take control of everything. And that’s where it ends. We know Desmond is probably dead, and that the world may or may not be in the hands of an ancient evil alien person- that is, if it hasn’t been destroyed. It really wasn’t that clear. There was me thinking the ending to Mass Effect 3 lacked closure…
16 So we have this non-sensical story that pretty much kills off the main character, goes completely off on a tangent with aliens and apocalypses, and ignores most of what was introduced in the first game. Anyone sensible would have counted their losses and ended the series at this point. Maybe Ubisoft has performance anxiety, because they seem in no hurry to think of a good ending to this utter monstrosity of a storyline. Hell, maybe it’s too damn late for a decent ending, because I can’t think of one myself. However, we know Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is around the corner, so that must mean that something is going to be resolved.
This goes back to my idea that Ubisoft is just pulling out every idea for a game they’ve ever had and shoving it into this one series. Black Flag, to me, shouldn’t be tacked on to the Assassin’s Creed franchise- it should be a separate game, just about pirates and sea battles. That would be cool. Just like aliens, giant solar flares and one man’s race to save the world would have made a good game on its own. Templars and assassins can stay as their own game, but need to be entirely stealth-based. Maybe finish it by finally wiping out the Templars, I don’t know. Right now, though, Assassin’s Creed is like a lumbering, mutilated, hybrid that really just wants to die.
I can’t help feeling a mixture of expectation and dread about Black Flag. On the one hand, it has pirates, and will supposedly feature cameos from famous buccaneers like Edward Teach (Blackbeard), which sounds great. It also looks like it will have more of the navy combat that worked so well in Assassin’s Creed 3 (in fact, it was a lot better than the rest of the gameplay). And of course, there’s seeing where the story can meander to next.
My crisis about this? I will probably buy Assassins Creed Black Flag. I want to know what happens in the story. I want to play as a pirate and poop cannonballs from my massive galleon while ruling the Caribbean seas. I want to wield 4 flintlock pistols at a time. Most importantly, I want to see how bad the franchise will get, or whether it will somehow save itself. This morbid curiosity is enough to persuade me to buy it. That’s not a good reason, but Ubisoft will nevertheless make from money from me because of it. Maybe this whole franchise was designed to make people part with their money for a monumentally retarded set of games. If so: touché, Ubisoft.
On the other, it’s called Assassin’s Creed for a reason- being that you assassinate people. This seems to be something that Ubisoft appears to be struggling with. In games 1 and 2, you were given targets that were linked to the Templars and would progress the story. In Brotherhood, Revelations (I still have no idea what that bloody game was about- answers on a postcard, please) and 3, there was a lot less assassinating, and a lot more murdering in broad daylight. This included but wasn’t restricted to; lighting big buildings on fire, playing tower defence with hoards of other assassins, chasing Templars through streets and aiming at armies with cannons- none of which are the least bit stealthy. From the looks of the trailer, and also how many pistols the latest character has on his person (I counted at least 4), this trend will only continue. How you can be sneaky on a warship while a big battle is going on is utterly beyond me, unless the new character has an invisibility cloak, which seems entirely possible right now.
17 >> Review
James Bowden’s Nintendo Double Our Nintendo expert reviews two new releases Luigi’s Mansion 2 & Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
Luigi’s Mansion 2
GHOSTS. Everywhere. Mischievous ghosts, playful ghosts, angry ghosts; all so wonderfully animated. Then there’s the green capped plumber, a polygonal statue of jitters and nervous mannerisms. If Luigi’s Mansion 2 were released purely as a string of visual skits and idle animations it would still be well worth enjoying, so the fact there’s an enjoyable ghostbusting game taped to them makes Luigi’s Mansion 2 all the better. Luigi’s Mansion 2’s ghost wrangling is markedly more purposeful than in the twelve year old Gamecube launch game to which this 3DS release owes its lineage. Rather than a twin stick setup the game employs a ‘strobe then snag’ system that demands more dedication and pre-planning than the comparably loose Gamecube original. Scraping with spectres is all the better for it, pulling against them and reeling them in like transparent fishies is done with a tangible ‘oomph’ and high-score niches in the gameplay, combined with a ranking system and plenty of hidden collectables, engenders the many levels to many replays. Not that Mansion 2 is short – the campaign can last between 8 and 10 hours with no intensive secret hunting.
The co-operative multiplayer is excellent as well. The ‘Thrill Tower’ challenges you and three pastel coloured Luigi’s (online or locally) to climb 25 floors of spooks in one go. Fail and it’s back to floor 1, and a full 25 floor attempt can take in excess of an hour to complete. Throw in three modes and three difficulty settings (hard, really hard and ‘What do you mean we failed on floor three?’ Hard) and Luigi - nervous, antsy Other Brother - proves himself to be quite the masochist. Always the quiet ones... Luigi’s Mansion 2 is just a delight for the senses. From the painstakingly precise puppetry to the Ray Parker Jr. besting soundscape, Mansion 2 is truly indulgent gaming. The only downside is that the story never really goes anywhere unexpected after the initial statement of ‘bugger, ghosts’. The fact you’ll want, or even expect, more from the narrative is only a testament to how much life and character developers Next Level Games have managed to cram into the game. That issue aside, Luigi’s Mansion 2 is effortlessly one of the best titles available for the 3DS.
Monster Hunter 3 Ulimate
IT’S HARD to ever write anything constructive about Monster Hunter. Whenever you sit down and think ‘I’m going to elucidate to the uninitiated just what it is that makes this series so appealing’, your mind can’t help but flitter back to the game. Just two more Gobul fins and I can upgrade my Great Sword...’ The mind considers. An idle thought at first, but the domino effect is unstoppable. ‘But why a dang Gobul. Silly thing is so fast for something so ugly. What can be done? Perhaps I could take a few pitfall traps, dance with it in the water then use the traps to really lay the hurt when it retreats to land. A tainted meat as well, for when it gets low on stamina? And what about my attack? I’m sure there’s a way I can buff that against the stupid fish.’ And before you know it the 3DS is open once more and the word document remains a blank testament to the game’s compelling nature. It’s not so much the loot side of things either. Getting the big fancy helmet delivers the expected warm and gooey feeling but this isn’t a meaningless Diablo-like hike through number branded shirts and belt buckles. The joy of Monster comes from everything feeling purposeful. Your gear choices -
intentional. The tools you carry with you – planned. Your buffs – calculated. Your movements in combat – deliberate. People initially think Monster Hunter is clunky and unresponsive but it’s not; learning how your attacks can be best deployed against the next big beast is a joy that would be undermined were every hunter a Danterivalling combo fiend. Playing with friends enhances the joy ten-fold. Working out how all four of you can work together presents its own challenges, as it’s far easier to work against each other. Novice hunters will be thumping each other as often as the flying dino that’s coveting their collective man meat, but talking to each other, reacting to a monster’s reactive attacks and coming out on top after a thirty, forty, or even fifty minute brawl imbues everyone involved with a rapturous sensation that few games, save for Dark Souls and Civilisation, could ever consider matching. At its best - which is often - Monster Hunter encapsulates a lot of why Video Games are so incredible.
Gamer Pulp is giving away to one of our lucky readers a £50 Voucher to use however you like at Manchester’s Premier Gaming Lounge in Manchester, Kyoto Lounge. Oh and to make it even better, we made it super easy for you to enter. No premium phone lines and no super obvious questions either. To enter simply find us on Facebook: Like Our Page - Then Find our post that mentions this competition then simply share it. (If you haven’t already) Sound easy enough right? Competition will close on the 5th of April with the winners announced on 6th. Good Luck!
| No cash alternative | Prize will be picked randomly though a list of people who like our Facebook page and share the status | |We will attempt to contact the lucky winner on the 5th April over Facebook, so keep checking|
21 >> comment
Very Easy? Really?
Tom Short questions some of the short-comings of Modern game A.I’s
HOW one sentence managed to make my bank account £30 lighter... Well even more lighter if you include the bill for the smashed controller filled rage I am a gamer. And I hope that you are a gamer too if you are reading this. If not put down this article you filthy hobo! Someone else could be reading this... or using it to wrap up their fish and chips with (note: I am aware that no one does that anymore). [Editor’s note: Please do not attempt to use your monitor as a fish and chips receptacle; it may void your warranty] I am a gamer to the point of obsession if I am not careful I can spend entire days just playing on one game. For example: I have racked up 70 hours on Skyrim and still not completed the story yet, Pokemon games combined I’ve played 469 hours and fallout 3 has over 50 hours (but that was a tiny game that one wasn’t it?). In addition GTA’s, Tekkens and many other games that require a lot of hours to complete to a satisfactory level I would like to consider myself a seasoned gamer. So I have an issue whenever I read the term accessible when I read a review about video games. “This is the most accessible game entry in the series’ history” was a quote that cost me 30 of the Queen’s English that I’m never going to get back. I refer to Street Fighter 4, I am a seasoned Tekken player all the way back to Tekken 1 on the original PlayStation as a 7 year old when I would just mash buttons as Law or king and beat the game in 20 minutes to now Tekken 6 and Tag Tournament 2 where I just mash buttons as Law or King and beat the game in 20 minutes. As a child I never had street fighter 2 so as a result I was always bad at it, but I knew that at mine I could pound my opponents, and by proxy my controller, into submission! Going back to the quote “This is the most accessible game entry in the series’ history” I naively thought ‘Oh I might enjoy that then look the special edition for £30 with 2 display figures’ little did I know that the only sense of
victory would be if I threw the controller at the figures and hope they fell over. I put the disk into my Xbox and what resulted was round after round of me having my ass handed to me and a further kick in the teeth (figuratively and literally if you are a psychology student and consider Ryu an extension of the self...) from when I looked at the settings that told me it was on VERY easy mode. # So I question what is accessible? Because I would like to change that term ‘accessible’ to ‘this game has a setting that if a chimp put the controller up its bottom it would still manage to unlock 300G by the end of the hour’. I’m not going to win a video game championship anytime soon, but I should be nerdy enough to at least beat a game on very easy mode surely? This is not just a onetime occurrence either. There was another game that I consider to possibly be Satan incarnate, ‘A Sharks Tale: The game’ a game that should have been renamed ‘Water Torture: In PS2’ a game that had a 3+ label on it but if my 14 year old self was struggling with level 2 I don’t want to come anywhere near the Gollum like 3 year old creature that tamed that shark tale monstrosity. So I ask what is difficulty? Have we transcended difficulty in its current for where games such as Grand Theft Auto have no way of failing unless they add a mode where once you get arrested you have to tunnel your way out of prison all whilst it is narrated by Morgan Freeman and you wait for him to meet on a beach, and then you can continue the game where you left off. Surely we are at a point where A.I can track how good we are and change the difficulty accordingly? Some people like to say that video games are getting easier and some people would argue that it is just that the mechanics of games have changed with its more cinematographic approach toward storytelling and game play. But whilst they’re discussing that I’ll be in the corner turning red from getting beat by the ‘Very easy’ boss for the 24th time.
Cake << 22
Kate Queen of Cake
Kate Thornton, our resident baker has given us a biscuitey treat
Buiscuit Base Ingredients
125g Butter 125g Caster Sugar 1 Medium Egg 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 250g Plain Flour
• Mix the butter and the sugar in a bowl until light and creamy • Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix • Sift the flour into the bowl and mix • Knead the dough until smooth, then roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour • Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180C/350F • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until around 4mm thick and use your cookie cutters (or anything you can find!) •Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown •Allow to cool before decorating
Royal Icing Ingredients
500g Icing Sugar 2 Medium Egg Whites 1 tsp Lemon Juice
• Sift the icing sugar into a bowl Kate runs her own bakery that you can find at: https://www.facebook.com/ katepopsbakery
• Add the egg whites and lemon juice and beat together for around 5-7 minutes
• The consistency should look smooth and shiny, if it looks dry, add a drop of lemon juice and mix again • When your icing makes a stiff peak, it’s ready to ice • If you want different colours, just add a couple of drops of food colouring until your happy • Spoon into an icing bag and decorate your biscuits!
Hardware << 24
Steam Box: First Look
The first Steambox has been announced for sale. Designed for gamers wanting to utilise their Steam library on home screens, it enables gamers to use steams ‘big screen’ UI in the lounge. Called PISTON and designed by Xi3, the console comes with varying performances depending on how deep your pockets can reach. Starting from £340 to the high end box at £660, (however you get a little more for your money) essentially you get a box that runs your home theatre and games. It’s modularly upgradable like normal computers, and is significantly smaller than current PS3’s or Xbox 360’s.
The top of the line console will be loaded with 3.2 GHz AMD Trinity Processor, Radeon 7000-series GPU, 8GB of DDR3 Ram, triple Monitor support, while only running on 40-50 watts, gives this little box a powerful punch; easily burning out predicted PS4 hardware capabilities. However it is going to be difficult to comprehend if it is expected to be a console killer, lack of a disk-drive might put some players off, alongside the difficulties of dragging people away from the brand power of the bigger players.
25 >> Press Room
World of Tanks Comes To Tablets and Smartphones
WARGAMING, the leading free-to-play developer and publisher, today announced World of Tanks Blitz, a free-to-play mobile MMO action game built specifically for tablet and smartphones. Inspired by the PC version of World of Tanks, World of Tanks Blitz delivers all of the action, teamwork and strategic gameplay the series is known for, all in a portable and instantly accessible experience. World of Tanks Blitz will feature several nations, including the USA, Germany, and the USSR, and an impressive roster of vehicles that include medium tanks, heavy tanks and tank destroyers, each with their own unique qualities. Taking advantage of the platforms’ touch-screen technology, players will need little more than their thumbs and skills to head into battle. But, just as in World of Tanks, success will take more than just an itchy trigger finger, with true tank commander success being dependent on mastery of the game’s incredibly deep tactical elements and team-based gameplay.
Playable on a wide array of Android and iOS devices, World of Tanks Blitz delivers console-quality visuals and realistic physics that ensure every enemy confrontation and shell hits with true-tolife impact. Whether commuting to work or resting at home, players can experience short, intense 7 versus 7 PVP battles almost instantly. “With World of Tanks Blitz we’re doing our best to give players a gaming experience that would rival anything they could find on a console,” said Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming. “We’ve always been committed to bringing World of Tanks to new platforms and we’re excited to give players a chance to experience the game in a whole new way.”
Press Room << 26
JAGEX Announces Runescape 3
JAGEX has formally announced to the games community that RuneScape 3 will launch this summer. The massively successful game, which has welcomed more than 220 million adventurers since it was first released in 2001, is set to undergo one of the most significant updates in its history. RuneScape 3 will see a massive leap forward in technology, with a new fully HTML5 engine, improved graphics, longer draw distances, new audio, new design features and a world changing content update as the game moves into a new age. Full details of the update remain a closely guarded secret but RuneScape’s Executive Producer, Phil Mansell gave the community a teaser of what’s to come, saying, “RuneScape 3 is a massive update to RuneScape building on 12 years of content to make improvements on all fronts. RuneScape 3 is going to run faster, look better and feel so much more immersive.” The updates aren’t limited to tech improvements, however, RuneScape’s Creative Director, Mark Ogilvie commented, “RuneScape 3 marks a significant moment in RuneScape’s history as the world enters the 6th Age. All our recent content updates have been building up to this point, massive change is coming, and our players will be able to shape the game with the choices they make. Every single player will have the ability to shape the world.”
27 >> comment
1996 - THE GOLDEN YEAR
1996, the year the first ever Tomb Raider was released, has been voted the most memorable year for gaming by British gamers
· The year of ‘Girl Power’ and the arrival of Lara Croft voted most memorable · 2002, the year of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is runner up ·Wii voted best console of all time ahead of Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 1996: the year football came home and Gazza thrilled at Wembley; the Spice Girls hit number one with Wannabe, Oasis played Knebworth; the nation was drinking alcopops, Take That and Charles and Diana went their separate ways and a buxom British icon called Lara Croft entered the homes, lads mags and imaginations of millions of Brits. Maybe that’s why 1996, the year the first ever Tomb Raider was released, has been voted the most memorable year for gaming by British gamers. Retailer GAME asked 2,000 self-confessed console and PC aficionados to consider the biggest landmarks in the history of video gaming with 1996 voted the top vintage year. It was the year that saw Lara Croft become a household name and the release of seminal titles such as FIFA 96 (the first in the most successful football franchise to use real player names), Resident Evil, Tekken 2, Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario 64. Runner-up nostalgic gaming year was 2002, the year Rockstar games shocked and delighted gamers worldwide with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In fifth place was 1980, the landmark year Space Invaders appeared in homes on the Atari 2600 console and PacMan debuted in arcades causing mania, bunked school lessons and pocket money shortages among British teens. In tenth place was 1975, which despite being beyond living memory for most gamers and a world away from 3D graphics, motion control and online gameplay, saw the release of the first ever home video game Pong; the bat and ball that started it all.
Top five years for gaming 1. 1996 (14%): Tomb Raider and Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 launched. We were singing along to Baddiel and Skinner’s Three Lions and Brit Pop was at its height 2. 2002 (13%): Halo and Elder Scrolls III on the Xbox and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. BBC 6 Music arrived on our airwaves and Arsenal won the FA Cup 3. 1991 (12%): Street Fighter II and Super Mario World on SNES and Lemmings was out on the PC. It was the start of the Iraq war and the year Bryan Adams made history when (Everything I Do) I Do It For You entered its 15th successive week at number one 4. 1985 (11%): Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt and Donkey Kong Jr on the NES and Ultima IV and Oregon Trail on the PC. It was the year Eastenders went on air and the mullet was considered the most desirable hairstyle for men and women alike 5. 1980 (10%): Pac-Man and Centipede in the arcade, Space Invaders on the Atari 2600 and Zork on the PC. It was the year John Lennon was shot dead and David Bowie was at number one with Ashes to Ashes
Press room << 28
Heavy Gear Assault
This game promices to become the first true next-generation mecha PC game.
At its core, Heavy Gear Assault is a fast paced first person simulator where the player controls war machines called Gears via their in-game pilot characters. Through the use of Unreal Engine 4 the game will feature highend visuals that scale well for low- to highend PCs. Unreal Engine 4 is capable of near photo realism, destructible environments and flexible high-level network architecture for multiplayer gaming. “We are privileged to be amongst the first titles to use Epic Game’s Unreal Engine 4,” Vince McMullin, President, MekTek Studios said. “We will be able to bring all the gritty realities of sporting combat in the Heavy Gear Universe to life with never before imagined high-end visuals. Heavy Gear Assault will truly be the first next-generation mecha game”. Stompy and Mektek selected UE4 because of the ease of content creation and programming the engine enables. “We’re pleased to provide the world-class tools that are being used to breathe new life into the Heavy Gear game universe,” said Joe Kreiner, Epic’s head of North American licensing. “Unreal Engine 4 is the ideal technical foundation to use for making PC games, particularly with its rendering capabilities and speed of development.” Stompy Bot also hit its $100,000 milestone of their $900 000 crowdfunding campaign goal. To ensure mecha fans will see the revolutionary new title, Stompy Bot Productions is planning a Kickstarter campaign that will run concurrently alongside their on-going crowdfunding efforts on the Heavy Gear website. “With a rebirth of interest in mecha games, we feel the time is right for a new Heavy Gear game,” James Taylor, President, Stompy Bot Productions said. “We’re all gamers and fans of giant robots at Stompy Bot and are dedicated to bringing a revolutionary game to the community. With our crowdfunding campaign, we are appealing directly to the community and are soliciting their participation in the birth of a new era.”
29 >> Review
“Slam Bolt Scrapper” and “Go Home Dinosaurs!” is reviewed by James McIntosh
March has been a good month for indie games, with a whole slew of new titles being released and older titles making the move to steam. Some of these games such as the infamous Fez had a lot of hype when the announcement was made, others slipped by almost unnoticed. Fire Hose Games (who you may be familiar with as the company that created Splosion Man, Ms. Splosion Man and Rock Band Blitz) have been busy working on two games, both being released on the same day. Slam Bolt Scrappers and Go Home Dinosaurs! are the games in question. The first is a rather unique little game that fuses Tetris with big gun, lasers and drills. The aim of the game is to destroy the other player’s tower while stopping them taking chunks out of yours. Combining blocks of the same colour result in the creation of weapons along with other useful things such as shields for your blocks. The players float around picking up blocks to build their tower while fighting off pests and the other player. It plays very well and the variety of levels (each with their own little gimmick) that make the game really appealing. The game also features cooperative multiplayer where up to four players work together on one tower. Along with the party gameplay there is also a single player campaign where it is possible to unlock customisations for the characters along with new characters all
together, including a couple of familiar face such as Minecraft’s Steve (who seems right at home paying a game about gathering blocks and building them up). Throughout the campaign there are boss fights that break up the repetitive gameplay by making you avoid attacks, give the weak spot a whack and allow your defences to tear it to shreds, making it all in all a fun game that only has one apparent downside. As mentioned before the game has a great multiplayer arsenal, But the big problem is the lack of online multiplayer. With only local multiplayer you will often find yourself missing the company required to fully enjoy this gem of a game.
The second game is aptly named Go Home Dinosaurs, a unique take on the tower defence genre. Playing as a dedicated gopher you have to stop dinosaurs stealing your barbeque. To achieve this goal you will have to harness the power of ice, lasers, lightning and most importantly rocks. You directly control a simple gopher that can dig around and stop on any free space. Unfortunately this won’t hold the hungry dinos back for long. So, in order to hold them back you need to gather coconuts in order to play cards. Cards have many different effects. Some are tower, they can be placed on empty spaces and remain there for the duration of that level. The other type of card are the power up cards, useful for quick saves but will last a limited duration and will leave you open without a strong set of towers. After each new level is finished you are awarded with a new card, coins, or an increased maximum number of cards the player can take into levels. As someone who enjoys tower defence games, I really enjoyed this game. The moveable character works well and keeping it snapped to a grid means it maintains a nice level of simplicity. The range of defences and dinosaurs keeps the game interesting and the coins introduce a nice way to pace the game without getting too mundane. The shop also stocks alternate outfits for the playable character and a nice little alternative to the steaks on the barbeque: the “veggie mode”. The game has no multiplayer but it doesn’t seem to be a problem. The game is a sufficient enough game as to not require extension through multiplayer, and making a tower defence work well for multiplayer is not an easy thing - very few games have pulled it off well. There was one little ‘bug’ I noticed which was the positioning of the cursor was slightly left of where it should be, meaning I would often pick up the wrong card, but this isn’t a huge problem and cards can be placed back before they are played.
The two games overall are certainly an interesting pair. Both are available on Steam and can be bought together to save some dosh. Both games feature a Tetris-like game mechanic and the cartoony graphics fit them really well. The sound and music is also very fitting with nothing being too serious or complex. Overall I would definitely recommend both games and together they give a game for a single player or several, however if you don’t particularly like the genres then the games will likely have less appeal.
This Issueâ€™s Picture Winner goes to Liam Edge who submitted this picture of a dedicated DOTA 2 Player obviously getting his priorities right.