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Thief Outlast Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and more...

OffColour

Seek the Stick of Truth...

Prepare to Fail Things get even tougher in Dark Souls 2

Consequence... World-altering choices in inFamous: Second Son

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A Step Forward

Exciting developments at Mobile World Congress 2014

Keeping safe with wearable technology

Self Defence

R evi ews i ncl udi ng Par r ot, Asus, S ony , Ge n iu s , T r it t o n , S a n Dis k a n d m o r e . . .

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Tech Evolution

I S S U E 4 1 / Vo l . 4 March 2014

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Battleground

The fight for SA’s mobile computer market

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Simplicity in information!

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Inside 6 From the Editor 8 Game Write No PvP, thanks... 10 Angel or Demon? Tough choices in inFamous: Second Son 16 Previews Nine upcoming releases investigated 30 The Price of Pleasure Get ready to die again in Dark Souls 2 36 The Soapbox Oh, Michael... 38 Going Down to South Park Role-playing with Kenny in South Park: The Stick of Truth 44 Reviews Ten games under the microscope 70 A Year in Games 1998 brought some wonder to the world 72 Hardware Some awesome gadgets and gizmos 86 Ramjet’s Rantality Are you? Really?

THIS MONTH’S COVER inFamous: Second Son takes on the real world. See our feature on page 10.

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Competitions 37 Thief gamecca57


Previews

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The Elder Scrolls Online

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

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Mario Kart 8

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LEGO: The Hobbit

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Amazing Spiderman 2

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The Golf Club

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Bound By Flame

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Lifeless Planet

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2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

GAMECCA Vol. 5 Issue 57 March 2014

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

Reviews

Letters: letters@gameccamag.com

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Thief

50

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

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Tomb Raider Definitive Edition

Competition Entries: competitions@gameccamag.com Newsletter Subscriptions: www.gameccamag.com

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Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst

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Outlast

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Rayman Legends

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Dragonball Z: Battle of Z

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Fable: Anniversary

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

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The Pinball Arcade

Design & Photography: 1337 Media cc Marketing Contact: Katia Taliadoros katia@1337-media.com

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

GAMECCA is published by 1337 MEDIA

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Copyright Š 1337 Media CC 2009 - 2014

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From the Editor

have developed a firstworld problem. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to turn on my Xbox 360 and PS3. I have, quite frankly, been spoiled by the PS4. I have, through necessity, had to play a number of games on the older consoles during the last few weeks, and I am finding it very difficult to see what it was that I loved about the previous generation of hardware. Sure, I get that they are still viable platforms, and that there are a number of great games on the way that won’t appear on the new generation of console hardware. I accept that, and I acknowledge it. But it still doesn’t stop me from indulging my preference for the PS4 and – I am assuming – the Xbox One once it is released here in South Africa. The thing is – and this is another first world problem that virtually everyone who has bought one of the new consoles is facing – there just aren’t all that many games available for the PS4 and Xbox One yet. We are in a state of transition at the moment, a condition that arises every time a new console generation comes along. Because of what I do I have to be an early adopter. Keeping up to date with things

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as important as a new batch of consoles is something that the journalist in me insists on. But the gamer in me doesn’t like the fact that the games are taking their time to hit the shelves… and a number of games that are arriving are ones that I have already completed. It is the way of things, though. I have lived through many new generation releases, and they are almost always marked by a lack of games during the launch window. Sure, game publishers aim for it, but sometimes they can’t get it right. It could be the new systems, or that they have to get used to working with increased power, new coding ideas… whatever. The fact remains that every new generation will see two things: a slow-roll of game releases, and a fairly steep climb towards improved experiences. That, of course, is another thing that each new generation brings; it takes time for developers to start producing the standard of games that new hardware is capable of. I understand all of this in principle. It all makes logical sense. But the part of me that is addicted to the awesome experiences

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by Walt Pretorius

Patience...

gaming brings into my life isn’t necessarily rational. It’s more like a spoiled brat wanting everything now, now, now! The success that these new consoles are meeting in terms of sales does provide one with a lot of hope, however. It is possible that developers will move towards the new platforms sooner, spurred on by the idea that they will be able to sell more games in a market that is desperately in need of greater variety. So, in a weird way, the dearth of titles combined with high sellthrough rates is good for the consumer, at least in theory. The situation won’t last forever, of course. Soon more and more games will start landing on these platforms. That, in turn, will drive hardware demand… which, once again, will see more games being created. So before very long, the new consoles will be central to a healthy, vibrant market, just like their predecessors were. And that’s going to be great. In the meantime, I will just stick to what I have, and be grateful for it… and play those older generation games when the need arises. Patience… the key is patience. It’s a pity that most gamers have that particular virtue in short supply. g


On Hating PVP by Tauriq Moosa

Game Write

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

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ultiplayer is a strange beast to me. It seems a place I want to have as little contact with as possible: the weird dudebro environment I wanted to escape from in high school, where worth is measured by arbitrary points acquired by adhering to made-up rules. Ironically, this is games in general: all games. Whether one’s involving your meat legs or your thumbs. The difference of course is that the opposition in the case of the thumb games are themselves not real. They don’t hustle you after, swear at your family, or make racist/homophobic slurs. We all know that gamers can be horrific people: entitled, whiny children, threatening and hateful, bizarrely protective and selfdesignated gate-keepers of who may love the creative form (the idiot idea of fake geek girls, anyone?). It’s these sorts of gamers, this sort of environment, that

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I want to avoid. Multiplayer seems to invite that directly into your ear. Of course, this isn’t true of all multiplayer indeed, I spent many years playing and loving Left 4 Dead. But here comes the split between co-op and PVP (or PVE vs PVP). Player vs Player to me is awful, because I’m terrible at games and I’m terrible at engaging directly with people. So it has all the ingredients of something I’d never like. Player versus Environment (or Co-op) is much better and a unique engagement with a game that could otherwise get stale. For example, Left 4 Dead didn’t have particularly long levels nor that many of them. However, due to new people engaging with you, due to different styles of play (aggressive, smart, etc.) that conflicted with your own, completely unique gameplay experiences were expected. Having never been

someone who engages that much or was ever excited for multiplayer, I do find myself squeeing in delight for two upcoming next-gen titles (I will continue to call PS4 and Xbox One “next gen” until more than three people in South Africa own one and there are more than 5 games). Destiny is a Bungie title, which is as meaningless to me as the Latin name for elephants. For someone who never had Xbox, I suppose I never saw the importance of the title – and today it (the latest one) still looks like a generic, albeit very pretty, shooter. However, what I do know is that Bungie is highly regarded and make quality games – so this studio legacy pouring itself into a new IP sounds exciting. Especially as the franchise looks this gorgeous, this big, this involved. Travelling through space, visiting different planets and environments, witnessing someone’s legacy as a Destiny player by virtue

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of their guns alone, is simply incredible. As is the new trend with next-gen multiplayer, there is an eroding of the usual “kill anyone who isn’t you and call them homophobic slurs” mindset: here, Destiny is about exploration, co-op play and, if you so wish, PVP. Similarly, The Division (what’s with the D names?), is a third-person, postapocalyptic squad shooter, set in New York. When I first saw it, it seemed reminiscent of Spec Ops: The Line. Except, the graphics engine, Snowdrop, looks more real than my own life. Fluid, gorgeous, also with RPG elements that convey evolution. These games look amazing because they invite you to participate in a world with your friends; not merely kill others. This is what multiplayer should be about and that’s why I’ll be participating. Also, I probably won’t suck as much at the games.. g


Feature

Angel or 10

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Choic e the co , n cept a fra nchise was b u i l t on a

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by Lein Baart

r Demon?

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Feature

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sequel that looks to be proudly following in the footsteps of

its predecessors

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pen-world styled games aren’t exactly known for their plots. One of the fundamental underpinnings of

any good story is the sense of drama and urgency it builds, two emotions that can be particularly hard to translate to players that are busy turning random strangers into interesting blood coloured wall murals. That’s not to say it’s impossible, as the likes of Far Cry 3 have shown, it’s just exceedingly difficult to balance a mix of driving narrative and near unlimited freedom. When equilibrium between these two seemingly disparate concepts is achieved, however, the results are undeniably awesome. Such was the case for Infamous, which received a fantastic reception upon its launch in 2009. Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, which at that point were only known for their work on the stealth based Sly Cooper games, the idea for Infamous came about when the studio decided it wanted a change of pace, and to make something, as long time producer Nate Fox put it, more “brazen and loud”. What this notion eventually lead to was the creation a superhero origin story, a game, like its predecessors, that drew huge inspiration from various comics, and sought to encapsulate the struggles of a man coming to terms with his powers. Caught at the centre of an explosion he inadvertently triggered by following instructions to open a package, Infamous told the story of Cole MacGrath, a man transformed from an ordinary bike messenger into a being capable of controlling the life force of a city, electricity. The core of the plot of was suitably epic and superbly written, and saw Cole battling to free a quarantined Empire City from the clutches of three gangs. Eventually facing off against Kessler, the leader of the First Sons and the mastermind of Cole’s troubles, it was revealed that Kessler was actually Cole from an alternate future in which a being simply known as “The Beast” had plunged the world into chaos. Kessler, having awoken his powers later in life than Cole, chose to travel back through time to prepare his earlier self for the struggles to come. It’s a story that sounds riddled with comic-book clichés, but what made the narrative truly compelling though is the choice it gave to gamers, and how every action players took affected the city around them, either turning Cole into the saviour of the populace or their most abhorrent nightmare. Everything mattered, from how players chose to take down enemies (avoiding innocent casualties or unleashing a rampage of slaughter) to the manner in which missions, even sidequests, were completed. Coupled with a Cole’s newfound abilities to glide from building to building, skate along power lines and scale almost every wall, Infamous achieved the impossible, giving gamers an almost unprecedented freedom to explore whilst still keeping the narrative central to the game. This same blend of story and gameplay made Infamous 2, released in 2011, just as captivating as the original. Following a defeat at the hands of the prophesised Beast at the beginning of the game, Cole was forced to flee to the city of New Marais with his best friend Zeke and NSA agent Lucy Kuo, both to regroup and give himself time to build up enough strength to face the Beast once more. What made Infamous 2 standout from its forbearer though was that the choice between good and evil was placed first and centre this time. Various missions would unlock according to your alignment, and the second elemental power Cole would

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this is

not a

Feature

title you are going to want to miss 14

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

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Previews Highlights 18 The Elder Scrolls Online Awesome fantasy adventure for all! 20 Murdered: Soul Suspect Solving your own murder... 22 Mario Kart 8 Back on track! 24 LEGO: The Hobbit No surprises here 26 The Golf Club Getting in the swing of things

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e’re in the third month of 2014, which means that E3 is just around the corner. And we expect a huge number of great announcements to come from that wonderful event. But from what we can see thus far, 2014 will be a more balanced year, with releases spread more evenly through the remaining months. Sure, the first two months were a bit quiet, but the games are starting to arrive now. And in this section we take a look at a few that are already on our radar... g

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The Elder Scrolls Online

Ultimate Open World Taking gaming royalty to a new stage

by Lein Baart

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market, and just how it will challenge the Overlord of Online for its throne. Set approximately a thousand years before the events of Skyrim, and thus about eight hundred years before Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls Online will see players battling in a Tamriel torn by three-faction war, all the while Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination, seeks to merge the world with his own plane of existence. It seems to be standard RPG plotlines, though the inclusion of a third faction to the traditional two-way struggle, while not original, should add a depth to a story that ZeniMax Online Studios, the developers, have stressed will be every bit as important to the multiplayer element. Indeed, single-player seems to have been given a vital,

Preview

n age where the internet has become all but integral to modern gaming, The Elder Scrolls series has truly accomplished something unique. It is the antithesis of multiplayer thinking, the proof that a massive online community filled with pock-marked, foul-mouthed teens is not necessary to call a game a success, and that a single-player experience can be every bit as rewarding as an online one. But then Bethesda announced The Elder Scrolls Online and we promptly forgot all about that, lost in day dreams of hordes of Dragonborn fling Shouts in epic raids and PvP battles. Now though, with a launch date just around the corner, thoughts are turning to exactly what TESO will bring to the seemingly saturated MMO

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the possible builds. What’s more, in true Elder Scrolls tradition, TESO will place no restrictions on armour or weapons, meaning that a greatsword-wielding sorcerer is a definite possibility. With the PC release date of 4 April looming large (consoles gamers will have to wait until June), there is undoubtedly a huge amount of pressure bearing down on the shoulders of Bethesda and ZeniMax. With the whole of Tamriel to explore though, in addition to a game that promises an intuitive and involving combat system beyond the usual “click button to whack”, there is hopefully a plethora of reasons to justify the monthly subscription fee, and more than enough to get excited about. g

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

MMORPG

There are a lot of expectations for Bethesda’s first attempt at the online market, but TESO looks to be shaping up into a fantastic experience Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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ZeniMax Online Studios Bethesda Softworks Ster Kinekor

ETA

Apr / Jun 2014

Platforms

if not primary, role in the development of TESO, with the studio attempting to recreate as faithful an Elder Scrolls experience as possible given the game’s online nature. With promises that there will be plenty of content for solo players to immerse themselves in, and given the vast lore that The Elder Scrolls has to call upon, those that wish to remain as faithful to past Elder Scrolls titles as possible should have little trouble doing so. The meat bones of any RPG though, and even more so in an MMORPG, lie in its gameplay mechanics, and more specifically its RPG system. With a choice of nine playable races split evenly amongst the factions (ten if you buy the Imperial Edition) coupled with four different classes, there should be plenty of variation amongst

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

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

Your Own Murder You would think you know who stabbed you in the back

by Charlie Fripp

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Going by the unofficial tag line of “What is the hardest case to solve?” the story revolves around Detective Ronan O’Connor who takes it upon himself to solve his own murder – through the use of ghostly powers that he picked up while in the afterlife. Making use of the highly popular Unreal Engine 3, which has been widely popularized by the Gear of War franchise, the title will sport great graphics. But the fact that it’s being released on the old generation of consoles isn’t something that Airtight’s vice-president Matthew Bruner is concerned about. “Next-gen is always a publisher choice and sometimes it’s strategic. It really isn’t the developer’s

Preview

quare Enix, known for spectacular titles such as Thief, and Tomb Raider, will be venturing a bit outside of their usual game portfolio by throwing their weight behind Murdered: Soul Suspect – an action-adventure game developed by Airtight Games. Opting to go with Airtight Games is in itself a bit of a gamble, as they haven’t exactly been known for top-notch titles. Out of the five games they have released so far, the most popular were Dark Void and Quantum Conundrum – both which didn’t exactly receive stellar reviews.

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choice to choose whatever platform you go on. But to be honest with you, a lot of times games that come out at the end of a console cycle really have learned how to use the hardware, how to use the code to maximise what you get. I think in many ways, our game being at the end of a console cycle looks better than a lot of the games which are going to be coming out on the next-gen consoles.� Not an incredible lot is known about the title at this time, and the game’s official website is only populated with a few items, including very short synopsis, a couple of images and a handful of trailers to accompany the original teaser.

With stunning graphics, action-adventure titles have of late been reaching a rather high benchmark in terms of entertainment. Titles such as Uncharted scored incredibly high with console players, and openworld titles such as Grand Theft Auto have raked in the cash. Thinking of action-adventure titles and detectives, the first title that springs to mind is L.A. Noire - and we are hoping that it will be similar in feel. But then again, if Airtight Games are going with the Unreal Engine 3, we might be completely off. But judging from the trailer, it will be an interesting title nonetheless. g

AT A GLANCE: Action-adventure

Playing as a detective, players will have to solve their own murder. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Airtight Games Square Enix Megarom

Jun 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

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

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Mario Kart 8

The Definitive

Enjoy the culmination of past series in one revamped beauty! by Nthato Morakabi

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number 8 as a play on the eighth instalment of the Mario Kart series. Much of the typical Mario Kart features will be present such as the power boxes sure to give players an advantage by either knocking opponents down with turtle shells, spinning them with banana peels or notching it up with a speed boost to rocket past opponents. A new gameplay mechanism to be introduced to the franchise will be the ability to defy gravity with the all new anti-gravity gear fitted into the wheels. This will allow players to duke it out sideways along walls or turned upside-down for fun, innovative racing. Returning in this newest instalment in the Mario Kart series are the various vehicles and features seen on the

Preview

t’s-a-Mario time again, this time leaving the intricate puzzles and dungeons of the Mushroom Kingdom for the exciting, fast paced, quirky and zany racing action that is Mario Kart! Delivered in stunning full HD and running at 60 frames per second, this Wii U title looks to spin its predecessors off the track. Players will have to race through various landscapes and stages, designed to test the mettle of each racer as they look to become the best. The all new racing circuit designs will range from a stretching desert and inner city track to various underwater areas, the Mushroom Kingdom itself and many other quirky stages expectant from the Mario franchise – a key level named the Mobius Strip will also feature, set to resemble the

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handheld 3DS Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Wii. This means players will not be merely racing about in gokarts, but will be able to speed through the courses on motorbikes, sail through the air with hang-gliders, race underwater with propellers, defy gravity with the new gear and see their vehicles transform on the fly with each terrain change. Intense online racing will pit players against each other in the return of 12 player online competitive play, which will also be available in offline local play mode. Players will also be able to submit and share their best races to players and friends around the world through the Miiverse by using the in-game Mario Kart TV, sure to bring a new edge to achievement boasting. Through

the use of Miiverse, players will also be able to host tournaments for both friends and others in the Miiverse community. A list of familiar characters from the Mushroom Kingdom will be returning to the roster for selection including Waluigi and Toadette. Classic characters such as Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi and many others will also be tearing down the courses. This title hopes to rise far past its predecessors by combining a host of past features, and modes from both the handheld and the Wii version and by including brand new gameplay mechanisms into one definitive culminating experience sure to whet the appetite of both old and new Kart racers. g

AT A GLANCE: Racing

Strap yourself in for another exciting adventure into the world of kart racing as one of your favourite characters from the Mushroom Kingdom. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Nintendo Nintendo Core Group

Q2 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

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

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LEGO: The Hobbit

Another There & Back Again LEGO ready to revisit the old haunts

by Lein Baart

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AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Action-adventure

LEGO The Hobbit should be everything gamers and families alike have come to expect for the long-running series. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Traveller’s Tale Warner Bros Ster Kinekor

ETA

Apr 2014

Platforms

Preview

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013 was nearly a year of disaster for TT Games. In a never before seen moment of creativity the developer released what many thought was the impossible: an original game. The almost suicidal bundle of innovative design and imagination that was LEGO City Undercover saw TT Games rocked by waves of novel ideas and inspiration, a calamity the company only just managed to avert. But it’s a new year and a new start, the frontal lobe lobotomy was a success, and it’s back to hoping on the bandwagon of whichever movie franchise is currently raking in the millions. Enter LEGO The Hobbit stage left. Set to take advantage of the massive resurgence of popularity generated by Peter Jackson’s bloated take on the beloved 300 page children’s fantasy book, TT Games will once again be rolling out a tie-in which will see players take Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves through the vast expanses of Middle Earth, including locations such as Mirkwood, Rivendell and Goblin-Town. While the game will only cover the first two films, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, those with their hearts set on the full LEGO The Hobbit experience should fear not, as there are already indications that the third instalment will be released as DLC. Despite hints of a crafting system and the ability to “build immense new LEGO structures”, TT Games are keeping their cards close to their chest with regards to gameplay. The Hobbit though is almost certain to follow in the footsteps of its forbearers, so expect a blend of charming humour and puzzle-based exploration that should appeal to the entire family in what will likely be a quality addition to the franchise. g

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


Amazing Spiderman 2

Hero or Menace?

What you do defines who you are… by Nthato Morakabi

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AT A GLANCE: Action-Adventure

Reprise the role of the amazing Web-slinger as he seeks to find his uncle’s killer while being the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman he ought to be. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Beenox Activision Megarom

Q2 2014

Platforms

Genre:

ETA

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

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Preview

equential to the devastating viral events of the previous instalment in the Amazing Spiderman video game, the web-slinger returns for yet another high swinging, action packed tale of a young man coming to grips with the great responsibility thrust upon him. This third person action adventure title will take on an alternate storyline to the upcoming feature film of the same name. In this unique tale inspired by the film, Peter Parker will put his investigative abilities on the line as he looks to find his uncle’s murderer. In the midst of it he will encounter a new threat to his beloved city, forcing him to take on a menagerie of foes from the Marvel Universe that will be sure to test his skill and resolve. Players will be able to explore a greatly expanded New York City with an extensive revamp of the Manhattan cityscape, allowing for some truly sensational free-roam web slinging. The expanded city will allow players to experience a richer, livelier Manhattan with more engaging opportunities for crime fighting escapades. There will also be parts of the title in which players will move about the city as Peter Parker himself in order to do investigative work. A new gameplay mechanism will be incorporated into the title, rewarding players for either being the diligent crime fighting “Hero” they ought to be or have negative consequences for letting crime fester and being deemed a “Menace”. The up-close-and-personal combat system will see players engaging with enemies in a variety of ways with new features sure to bring Spidey’s combat abilities to the fore. This title is set to coincide with the release of the feature film. g


The Golf Club

Design a Golfer Taking the game to the creators

by Charlie Fripp

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AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Sport

Taking on Tiger Woods, players will be able to design their own courses. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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HB Studios TBC TBC

ETA

Q3 2014

Platforms

Preview

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A’s franchise of Tiger Woods-inspired golf titles has squarely cornered the market for serious and casual gamers alike. Besides for one or two titles, no other developer has come close to replicating the Gentleman’s game. But one thing that has been lacking, is a course creator – something that HB Studios’ The Golf Club would like to change. While it will have golfing at the heart of the title, players will be able to randomly generate new courses, as well as create their own. “No more getting bored of the courses given to you by the developer. With four clicks you can generate a unique course never seen before that’s ready to play. If you don’t like the course that’s been generated, one click and you can generate a new one,” HB Studios states on the game’s website. In terms of graphics, it seems to be on par with EA’s offering, which will play a huge role if it is hoping to gain any traction in an already established market. But what sets good golfing games apart from great ones, is the ability to replicate the actual motions of the game, such as swing mechanics, ambience and interaction. Here HB Studios also promise to deliver the goods. “We’ve created and fine-tuned a swing mechanic that is more about feeling and fluidity above the users’ accuracy of hitting a marker on a power bar. While anyone will be able to pick the controller up and play comfortably, the best players on the global leader boards will be those with the best feel for the different golf shots.” It’s looking good as far, but one can only hope that it will be fantastic. And no jokes about a golfer walking into a club... g

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


Bound By Flame

Possessed …but at least it’s warm

by Lein Baart

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014 is shaping up to be a year that will send RPG fans’ hearts into dizzying spirals of stat-maxed delight. With titles such as Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquistion, Destiny and The Elder Scrolls Online all on the horizon, stalwarts of the somewhat recently underserviced genre are no doubting slavering in anticipation. There has, however, been a title lurking in the recesses that has been stirring up its fair share of curiosity, and as gamers of every stripe gear up for yet another year of epic releases, Bound by Flame is definitely looking to leave its mark. Developed by small French studio Spiders (who worked with Cyanide on Of Orcs and Men), Bound By Flame will be a dark fantasy action RPG set in the world of Vertiel, a land plagued by the ravages of the seven Lords of Ice and their Deadarmy, where players will take up the mantle of Vulcan, a mercenary possessed by a flame demon.

AT A GLANCE: Action RPG

Bound by Flames should be a game that every RPG fan keeps his/her eyes on. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Spiders Focus Home Interactive Apex Interactive

Q2 2014

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

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Preview

Despite being seemingly mired in clichés, where all the current staples of the genre (such as crafting, companions, romances and a threepronged approach to combat) all have their boxes ticked, Bound by Flames appears to have a genuinely compelling mechanic at its core. Players will have to choose whether Vulcan will let himself slide further into his possession, sacrificing his humanity for power, or take the high road, resisting the temptations the demon has to offer. Spiders have promised that these choices will not only be critical to the gameplay, but to the plot itself, as the game will feature multiple endings, and companions and enemies alike will react according to these choices. g


Lifeless Planet

Anything Out There?

Sound and visual storytelling reminiscent of old school sci-fi. by Nthato Morakabi

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AT A GLANCE: Genre:

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2014

Action-Adventure

An astronaut is rescued from a deadly phenomenon by a mysterious woman, the only other life on a barren planet – and the means for survival. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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Stage 2 Studios Stage 2 Studios TBC

Platforms

Preview

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n astronaut is sent on a mission to a distant world, along with a crew that is hoping to discover life on the chosen planet. The mission goes horribly wrong and the astronaut finds himself as the sole survivor on what seems to be a barren planet. As he explores the expansion of land about him, he comes across an abandoned Russian laboratory and various structures proving that others have attempted to live on the planet. Doubt begins to creep into his mind, figuring the mission to be nothing but a hoax. However when a peculiar and deadly phenomenon ensnares him, he is rescued by a mysterious young woman: seemingly the only inhabitant on a planet filled with silent structures and abandoned buildings - remnants of a failed civilization. As his only means of survival, he follows the woman, attempting to figure out how one could survive on such a desolate planet and thus begins his journey across the lifeless planet. Players step into the astronomical boots of the sole surviving American astronaut traversing through uninhabited towns, abandoned mines, forlorn desert landscapes and various derelict areas of what was once a human colony. A series of interactive puzzles await, guiding players through the lifeless planet in order to help solve the enigma that is the mysterious young woman. In an effort to capture the atmospheric and dramatic visuals of old-school science fiction, Lifeless Planet looks to be more than just story. The title will look to convey as much as possible through visuals and sound while throwing in text logs, documents and other items that will reveal more about the world. This Kickstarter funded title has no release date yet. g

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


2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Kicking the World in the Cups Prove to be the best ball kicker in the world

by Charlie Fripp

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AT A GLANCE: Sport

Making an appearance every four years, this one should be just as good as the annual version Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

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EA Canada Electronic Arts EA South Africa

Apr 2014

Platforms

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

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Preview

he FIFA World Cup is arguably the biggest sporting event in sporting calendar, and with record numbers glued to their television sets every four years to watch the greats in actions, it is to no surprise that a video game will accompany the tournament later this year. Just as with South Africa in 2010, Brazil will be feeling the FIFA World Cup love when Electronic Arts releases another version of the stand-alone title. While the South African version made use of the technology available in 2010, this one promises to naturally be better. For ball control, the new title will use an allnew control system which includes additional dribbles and flicks. New passing animations, including both ground and outside of the foot curling passes, will open the door to more attacking options, while players can use the D-pad to command teammates and strike fear from set pieces and corners. Just as the previous version, this one will also feature a Road to the FIFA World Cup mode, where gamers can choose from any of the 203 National Teams sanctioned by FIFA and play with up to 32 players locally through the qualifying rounds, and proceed on to the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. For those wanting a more one-on-one experience, the Captain your Country mode will also be included. “Work your way through the squad list and lead your country through qualifying and to FIFA World Cup glory,� EA explains. Given the advances that have been made in terms of the FIFA titles annually produced by EA, this one should be a highly-entertaining version of short-form tournament. g


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Price Pleasure

The

Death is an old friend by Lein Baart

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live in a day and age in which games are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The requirements of success means that any mainstream title has to appeal to the widest audience possible, and beyond a few select genres that remain mostly niche, one of the core fundaments in this approach is a gentle difficulty curve that allows players to feel as if they’ve mastered the game. Play any title released prior to 2000 though and you’ll immediately see and feel the difference in the unforgiving nature of an era where almost every gamer was “hardcore”. gamecca57

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however, been those brave few studios willing to defy convention and release a game designed to tempt only the most masochistic, and of those Japanese developer From Software seems to be leading the pack. Now, with Dark Souls 2 to about to be unleashed on a public ignorant of true despair, those few courageous individuals that managed to persevere through the first game are once again gearing up for hours of rage quitting, hurled verbal obscenities and sheer frustration. The true origin of Dark Souls 2 lies not with the original game, however, but rather with Demon’s Souls, a title released in 2009. Set in the kingdom of

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Boletaria, Demon’s Souls was an action RPG that told the story of a lone adventurer on a crusade to save a land plunged into utter chaos and misery due to the machinations of its greed obsessed king. Ravaged by hordes of soul feasting demons and the crazed human remains they left behind, and confronted by the terrified rumours of a being known simply as the Old One, Boletaria was a world conjured from the darkest depths of imagination, and one that Demon’s Souls brought to life in stunning and forsaken glory. It was not the plot though, however intricately written, that caused the game to become immensely popular in markets across the globe. Rather, it was a level of fury-inducing difficulty that left players completely stupefied at first. From start to finish Demon’s Souls was a game that sought to kill you in every encounter, a

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title where your death was demanded a hundred times over as a toll to continue onwards. No enemy was ever a casual challenge, no matter how many times you faced its like, and every second was spent in the terror that all the souls you had worked so hard to collect could be torn from you in an instant. It was this very same feeling though that was Demon’s Souls greatest strength. Every triumph in a boss battle, every victory earned through the string of death leading up to it, was a moment of incomparable exaltation where you basked in the knowledge that your skill alone had allowed you to survive. This was only half of the game though. Demon’s Souls introduced an online mechanic that was probably the most innovative of its time. Instead of direct multiplayer, Demon’s Souls allowed other players to influence your playthrough in a subtle but profound

manner. Ghostly apparitions would materialise to guide you to a hidden area or item, and gamers could write notes that would appear in another player’s world to provide invaluable hints. You could even drop into another game, either to provide desperately needed support or to pillage a fellow adventurer’s souls. It was a fantastically implemented feature that gave a sense of community to a title that was otherwise crushingly desolate. Dark Souls, which launched in 2011, took everything that made Demon’s Souls great and improved upon it. Set in different universe from its forbearer, players were thrust into the role a human bearing the curse of the Darksign, the mark of the undead. Escaping from an asylum, Dark Souls saw gamers embark upon a pilgrimage to the kingdom of Lordran in order to fulfil a

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plot spelled out for you though. Primarily told through the dialogue of NPC’s and the lore you cobbled together from your journeys, this was a game that left the world open to your interpretation. Dark Souls was first and foremost about the gameplay however. It was brutal in its execution, ramping up the difficulty to a level unseen in Demon’s Souls through small but drastic changes. Switching to an open-world style of play, no longer were players afforded the luxury of a safe and secure hub. In its place Dark Souls introduced bonfires that acted as the most perilous of saving graces, as while your health and potions would refill when resting there, all enemies except bosses would respawn as well. Magic was no longer the fallback it had been, and foes were more varied and capable than ever before. Once again

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death was a constant and wearying companion, and any moment of victory was bought in blood. But with the increased difficulty came even greater highs, the joys of survival were impossibly sweet and satisfaction of skilful play was made all the more greater. Online interactions were much the same, still providing indispensible camaraderie in a land designed to render you incapable with hopelessness, and the thrill of co-operative play was well worth the depredations that some gamers would inflict on you. This then is the legacy that Dark Souls 2 will be inheriting, a franchise that has become known for providing its fans with flashes of unbridled ecstasy mixed with times of pure anguish. Taking place in the same world as its predecessor, though now in the land of Drangleic, the game will once again see players take

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up the mantle of a cursed, though this time in search of means to restore his humanity. The plot will be revealed in much the same manner as Dark Souls, with hints and lore given to you piecemeal as you slowly build up your understanding of the world. Fans of the series will be relieved, and probably slightly alarmed, to learn that From Software is aiming to make the sequel even more gruelling than before, despite the fact Dark Souls will initially be more accessible than before. Health will be scarcer, enemies smarter and you can now be invaded by other players while in hollow form. Online interactions will be as pervasive as ever, though those gamers that opt to hinder rather than aid might find themselves penalised for it.

When Dark Souls 2 is finally released, terms like “old-school” and “nostalgia” are almost certain to crop up somewhere. However, this has never been and likely will not be the case. The Souls series was never about difficulty for difficulties sake. It’s about pushing player to the absolute limits of their endurance and skill and then beyond, forcing them to learn through the often painful errors of their past actions. It’s a constant struggle, a trial by fire that never lets up. But when you reach that point where your slow accumulation of knowledge finally reveals the opening through which you can struggle towards victory, it’s in that moment where all tears of frustration you shed before are paid back in full. Dead Souls 2 will never be a game for the fainthearted, but for those willing to endure, the rewards will uncountable. g

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Destroying the Classics The Soapbox

by Suvesh Arumugam

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equels are generally the rocks that sink a good title or movie. There are a few exceptions, notably the Godfather series, where I personally believe the sequel was even better than the first. Though my point was proven when the third chapter was less than average. But a new trend has been to remake and reboot series and movies, and even games, which has generally been an exercise is futility and expression of awfulness. One of my all-time favorite movies of the ‘80s is Robocop, which I still enjoying watching. Director Paul Verhoeven envisioned corporate influence and control of everyday life (including the media), and the savagery it would unleash within people. He also commented on the ephemeral nature of consumer culture. The 2000SUX symbolized the meaningless pursuit of “stuff”, while corporations clamor for power and

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profits. The film’s use of violence also showed how people would become desensitized, to the point that they would crave the brutality (think reality TV). Alex Murphy, disconnected from his family, his friends and even his body, is the very embodiment of the human struggle for identity in a world that is increasingly superficial. Of course, someone in Hollywood decided that this classic needed a remake. The result is somewhere between that weird grime you get between your toes (even though you’ve been wearing shoes and socks all day) and horse manure. Firstly, there is no real subtext to the film other than special effects, futuristic tech and slick action. Murphy is now a seasoned officer (read 2D stock cop type) who hardly says 20 words before he is blown up. Hardly the idealist we see in the original. In the original we only see glimpses of Murphy’s wife

and child (who he never sees again or reconciles with), in flashbacks, so we feel his isolation at not fully remembering them. However, today’s Murphy actually gets to hang out at home for a bit, give his son a high five and even a little intimacy with the wife. In fact, where our original hero is reluctantly thrust into his role as cyborg protector of the city, our new hero relishes it. Many of the other themes are played down – the inherent violence in society, the rampant corporate corruption and moral vacuum, and how it’s not actually the cyborg, but the human who eventually gives the city hope. This was not meant to be a review, but to illustrate that a reboot just for the sake of updating the graphics and some of the fashion sense destroys the value of art. Imagine if writers starting rewriting Shakespeare or Dickens to be more hip. Dog show. For gamers, there is no

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clearer case than the tragic tale of our beloved Duke Nukem. One of the most awesome games to ever hit the PC, Duke Nukem pwned the first person shooter market from 1991 to 1996, culminating in the release of Duke Nukem 3D. The third installment was a perfect blend of ultra violence, humor, porno and plain old foul language. Somewhere between 1996 and 2011, the franchise was purchase by Gearbox Software who proceeded to take 15 years to craft one of the biggest gaming flops of our time. To land a popular franchise like Nukem straight in the toilet took some doing. Now the original creators, 3D Realms, are involved in a lawsuit against Gearbox for rights to future titles. And all I’d like to say to them is “Stop the madness!” It will be a sad day indeed when more games get “rebooted” and let’s hope we can maintain the originality that is so lacking in other mediums. g


Win a PS3 copy of Thief! Courtesy of Megarom TO ENTER: Send an email to competitions@gameccamag.com Tell us the name of the Master Thief. Insert “Thief” in the mail’s subject line Subscribe to www.gameccamag.com Become a fan on Gamecca’s Facebook Page

Competition closes 31 March 2014. Gamecca subscribers only. South African residents only. Prizes may not be exchanged for cash. Competition closed to employees (& employee’s family) of 1337 Media CC and Megarom Interactive. The judges’ decision is final. co mp e t i t i on • c o mp et it io n • c o mp et i ti on • com pe ti ti on • com pe ti ti on • com p etition •

com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com p e ti ti on • com pe ti ti on • com petition • c omp et itio n • c ompetition • co mpetition

WIN


Going Down to Feature

That’s where the ad

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dventure begins‌ gamecca57

by Charlie Fripp

o South Park

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“They killed Kenny! You bastards!”...

is probably one of the most famous lines spoken in the animated cartoon series South Park, but the skillfully-written bad-taste jokes and off-kilter animation style goes way beyond simply “going down to South Park”. Created by long-time friends Trey Parker and Matt Stone in 1992 and 1995 as two separate animated short films, the ’95 version became one of the first Internet viral videos. Through its online success, the duo eventually spawned their creation into the South Park animated series that everybody enjoys in 1997. Over the course of the show’s 17 seasons, there have been 247 episodes, with Parker and Stone performing most of the voice acting. The franchise has been doing so well, that the series is scheduled to be aired on Comedy Central until at least 2016. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the series about the misadventures of Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick are merely for teenagers – among their number of accolades, the pair has managed to scoop five Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and has been feature on countless Top 10 lists across the world. Not being restricted to only developing episodes for television, South Park saw its first feature film being release only two years after hitting the small screen. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was launched to rave reviews, while some critics panned it. Besides Parker and Stone once again doing most of the voice acting, the film also attracted a large number of guest voices, which included George Clooney as Dr. Gouache, Brent Spiner as Conan O’Brien, Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields, Eric Idle as Dr. Vosnocker, and Dave Foley. gamecca57

In a play on the film’s title, the premise surrounds the dangers of censorship. According to news sources, “It uses the execution of Terrance and Phillip as the Seventh Sign in a parody of the Apocalypse. Cartman’s use of foul language helps to avert the disaster.” But the majority of the film’s themes take a look at refusal of people to accept responsibility for failure and their tendency to look for scapegoats. Speaking of guest stars, the show is known for including real-life celebrities in the chaos, as Malcolm McDowell, Natasha Henstridge, George Clooney, Jay Leno, Ozzy Osbourne and Jennifer Aniston (among a very long list of others) have lent their likeness and voices to the show. Even entire bands have been featured, such as Ween, Korn, Primus, Devo and Rancid. And as with anything hugely popular, comes a video game tie-in. Out of interest, South Park has been credited by Comedy Central executive Doug Herzog as “putting the network on the map.” The first South Park video game was released in 1998 on Nintendo 64, and a year later on Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation. Simply titled South Park, it was first-person shooter video game where the town was invaded rabid mutant turkeys, deformed clones of the townsfolk and other horrid creations. It was up to the player (and the various characters) to free the town from the invasion. In 1999, the famous Chef made his first video game debut with South Park: Chef’s Luv Shack on Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PlayStation and Windows. A year later, the fearless

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foursome entered the realm of kartstyle racing with South Park Rally. South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! and South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge was released in 2009 and 2012, respectively – with Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! being the first South Park game to be released on Xbox Live Arcade, developed by Doublesix, in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios. It was also the first title in the franchise to contain uncensored audio. Since the series has been growing bigger than ever, it will surely come as no surprise that 2014 will once again see the release of a South Park title. Titled South Park: The Stick of Truth, its developed by Obsidian Entertainment, in collaboration with South Park Digital Studios and THQ. The upcoming role-playing game will focus on The Stick of Truth, which has been the source of war between humans and elves for thousands of years. “But the tides of war are soon to change as word of a new kid spreads throughout the land, his coming foretold by the stars. As the moving vans of prophecy drive away, your adventure begins,” Ubisoft explains, referring to the player as the main character. The costumes and class names were derived from the episode The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers from season six, which also appeared in the three-episode story arc formed by Black Friday, A Song of Ass and Fire, and Titties and Dragons. The reverence to Game of Thrones should be apparent to fans. But a huge task lays ahead of potential underpants gnomes slayers… being a loser. “Discover the lost Stick of Truth and earn your place at the side of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny as their new friend. Succeed, and you shall be South Park’s savior, cementing your social status in South Park Elementary. Fail, and you will forever be known… as a loser.” The game releases this month.

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There is absolutely no doubt that South Park has made its mark on history and imprinted its bad jokes on society. But there seems to be no stopping the cut-out animation franchise, and nor would one want to. While crude in some parts, it’s provides a satirical look at social issues, which often hits home harder than some would like to admit. The show’s disclaimer probably sums up the entire franchise rather nicely – although very tongue-in-cheek. “All characters and events in this show even those based on real people - are entirely fictional. All celebrity voices are impersonated.....poorly. The following program contains coarse language and due to its content it should not be viewed by anyone.” g

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Reviews Highlights 54 Thief The Master Thief is back in action 56 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Being Dracula 58 Outlast Change of pants required... 60 Fable: Anniversary Revisiting the classic 62 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII The journey’s end

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h, finally! There are some games arriving, and the terrible drought is almost over. This month we have ten games on review, including the long-awaited Thief. There is still a bit of a gap in the next generation market, with games for PS4 and Xbox One coming out rather slowly. But fear not, there are options for next gen owners too, to keep them busy while the market builds up. As always, there is something to keep busy with in the world of video gaming‌ g

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Thief

Stay Hidden This reboot misses some crucial notes‌

by Walt Pretorius

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it is supposed to, but it manages to do some of those things poorly. The result is a game that certainly feels like Thief, but still manages to have a few disappointing aspects that may sour fans of the previous games. The player takes on the role of Garrett as he explores an environment simply called The City. It is the the dark alleys and on the rooftops of this steam-punk inspired metropolis that Garrett plies his trade – stealing stuff. And there is tons of stuff to be stolen, ranging from expensive and rare pieces of jewellery right through to pens and ashtrays. The smaller items make it seem a little like Garrett is more of a kleptomaniac than a truly expert thief, but they do help to keep the cash coming in. Thief also offers tone of side missions, which lead the player all over the sprawling City. And these side

Review

hen the new Thief was announced some time ago, it was met with a lot of excitement. The Thief franchise did much to define the stealth genre back when it first came out, and the idea of Garrett, the Master Thief, making a return to our PCs and game consoles was a truly exciting one. There were, however, a number of people who expressed concern over whether the new game would live up to the well-loved titles of yesteryear; would the new Thief be able to fill boots made even bigger by nostalgia? Certainly there would be obvious improvements to looks and the like, but would the new game still carry the essential spirit of the older ones? The answer is, quite frankly, a little complex. As it stands, the new version of Thief does everything

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missions are often the best part of the game, because they are much less linear than the main story quests. The player can exercise a wider degree of freedom here, with multiple approach choices letting the player make the missions their own. The City really is very big, but unfortunately is manages to feel small at the same time. The levels are often quite claustrophobic and the entire game is marred by copious, often long loading times. That doesn’t really belong on a next generation console like the PS4. In addition, the levels can, at times, start looking a bit repetitive. The gloomy City leaves almost everything grey, and the often low light that the player has to navigate in makes establishing strong locational links difficult. Sure, there are a number of levels that do stand out, but for the most part, this game is dark.

Another issue that crops up is navigating these levels. Unfortunately, as much as the developers built in a free-running system (which you’ll hardly ever want to use) movement tends to be inconsistent. Sometimes Garrett will battle to use areas that make climbing higher walls easier. That doesn’t work well if you need to beat a hasty retreat. And at other times, areas that look like they should be easily traversable simply aren’t at all. Climbing over a railing when Garrett can get over almost any low structure should not be something that the player cannot do; sadly, this kind of thing crops up from time to time, and damages the idea of free movement every time it does. In fact, often it feels a bit like Garrett is less of a Master Thief and more like a fumbling fool. The grace and agility one would want from this character has not been realised properly.

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options is almost like introducing a non-aggression approach in a war shooter. Garrett goes about his pilfering with a wide range of tools, which can be acquired as the game progresses. These range from wrenches and scalpels (for nicking paintings) through to a wide variety of arrows. Most of these are pretty specific in their usage, and often only in specific areas. Once again, this limits the freedom that the game seems so keen on giving the player. Using a rope arrow to inventively dispose of an enemy, for example, is not an option. Rope arrows work with specific anchor points. And that is a wasted opportunity that truly could have made this game shine. There are some things, though, that are handy, like Garrett’s ability to swoop undetected from shadow to shadow, even if he crosses through lit areas.

Review

Thief’s DNA is all about stealth, and this title does a good job of it, for the most part. Sticking to the shadows and moving carefully will help overcome the generally smart AI. Enemies will respond to unusual movements and sounds, so the player needs to stay conscious of their surroundings at all times, lest they bring the wrath of the City Watch down on them. If that happens, Garrett is able to look after himself, although he isn’t the best of fighters. But this leads to another little niggle that crops up – some aspects of the game (in this case Garrett’s special eye) make combat too easy. With the right augmentation, Garrett can take care of enemies just a little too easily, thereby diminishing the need for stealthy activity. Sure, it opens up different play styles, but this game is meant to be stealthy. Bringing in those

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It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Thief is still an enjoyable game. It features good graphics and a great overall production. The plot is pretty weak, and the voice acting could have been much better – particularly in the case of Garrett, who seems to have been meant to be all dark and mysterious, but rather comes across as snarky and cold. So how does it measure up to the original titles? Not extremely favourably, unfortunately. There are numerous great ideas here, but their varies executions and the inconsistencies that crop up in the game don’t do the experience any favours. Still, it can be an enjoyable game to play, if you manage to look past its problems. There is, for example, a ton of exploring to do, and the thorough player – the one that digs into every nook and cranny – is rewarded

with more cash and completing a fair number of collectable sets. The stealth aspect of the game is enjoyable, too, just like planning the perfect approach to any given mission can be. It is demanding at times, with the player needing to make split-second decisions that could mean the difference between success and failure. The lighting effects are also great, but one would demand that from a game in which shadows are so important. However, it really doesn’t feel like any kind of successor to the older thief titles. It’s simply too linear, too claustrophobic and (at times) too forgiving. Perhaps it has simply been too long for the Thief identity to have survived intact. As a new game, it has its enjoyable moments. But fans of the originals may find the new game wanting. g

AT A GLANCE: First-person Stealth

If this game didn’t have a long, well-loved history associated with it, maybe it would have come across better...

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Eidos Montreal Square Enix Megarom

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Be the Vampire Things are a bit different for Gabriel Belmont these days…

by Walt Pretorius

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astlevania has a rich and detailed history. The story of Gabriel Belmont and his quest to defeat Dracula has been around for a very long time, and has been presented to gamers with varying degrees of success. Despite a few slip-ups, it has always proven to be a decent fantasy-gothic horror hybrid that delivered the goods more often than not. And then a little while ago, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was released, and the gaming world really sat up and listened. It was the first attempt of a new developer with the franchise, and with that came some changes. With a Metacritic score of 85, this game turned the franchise upside down by providing players with numerous new ideas and approaches, turning the gothic horror game into a hybridised third-person action title that was crammed with tense

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moments, exploration and a very decent plot. And people loved it. The response that the original Lords of Shadow got was exactly the kind that spawns sequels – hell, they’ve made follow-ups based on less enthusiasm. In the past. And so developers Mercury Stream ran with the success they had before, and decided to push the envelope even further. Instead of revisiting the basic premise yet again (as has happened many times in the series) the developers decided to advance the narrative, and throw a large spanner into the story’s works. That wrinkle was to explore the relationship between the Belmont family and Dracula more deeply… and what better way than to turn the protagonist of the previous game, Gabriel, into Dracula himself. It is, in itself, a great idea. It really turns things around,

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and allows the player to see the world and its events from a very different perspective. It also makes Lords of Shadow 2 a fairly successful game with a vampire in the lead role – something which hasn’t happened very often in the past. But there were certain other decisions in the creation of this narrative that seem just a little bit weird, and pluck this offering away from its roots. The biggest of these is the setting. Castlevania has always been set in a quasi-medieval, gothic-horror world. This time around, though, the developers have put large portions of the game in the modern day. Sure, Dracula is essentially immortal, so the decision does work. But it doesn’t really work for Castlevania. The over-the-top demon-hunting antics of Gabriel worked when the world was one that we couldn’t relate to in any way. This near-dystopian present, on the brink of

disaster, feels odd. Sure, it’s dark and broody, but it just doesn’t mesh with the central ideas behind the series. Fortunately, the player will do quite a bit of time travelling in the game, heading back to Dracula’s mammoth castle (on the ruins of which the modern city the game takes place in is built) to recover artefacts and powers lost during Dracula’s ten century nap. Similarly, the plot feels a little… well, forced. Dracula has returned to the world at the behest of an old enemy now become an ally, to put a stop to Satan’s plans to take over. But the plot is messy and convoluted, and often heavy-handed. You cannot help but side-line it while you get to the business of beating up bad guys. Speaking of which, the enemies in Lords of Shadow 2 are fairly varied, but are used so often that combat can get quite repetitive. It’s like they throw two too many

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mention secondary weapons associated with each one) makes for intense, fast paced combat. The player will be dodging and striking in no time, as the uncluttered control scheme needs very little instruction for the player to become adept at it. Also reminiscent of the God of War games are some of the movement challenges. Within minutes of starting the game, the player will be climbing up the outside of a massive automaton, doing battle all the way. It’s challenging and exciting, and lots of fun. And then there are great boss battles, too, which break the potential monotony of wading through tons of same-faced minions. Most of these are awesome in scope, and require a special approach that the player needs to learn on the fly. A very welcome addition to this game is the use of an

Review

enemies at you at a time. It is very seldom that you will run into enemies that aren’t in large groups. It is equally rare that you will get mixed groups of enemies, unless you count the slightly tougher variety of all the other guys in the group that you will run into often enough. The combat system, though, makes up for that to a large degree. If you’re going to be hitting the same guy over and over again, at least have fun doing it, right? Using a system very similar to God of War, Lords of Shadow 2 employs direct strikes, and harder hitting area attacks. These are used with three primary weapons – the familiar whip, which fills a middle ground, the life-sucking (but weak) Void Sword and the slow, armour damaging Chaos Claws. These can be switched between on the fly. Combined with dodging and upgradable moves and combos (not to

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open world system. While the original Lords of Shadow was extremely linear, this game allows the player to explore more freely, finding collectables and rewards almost everywhere. A lot of this exploration requires the completion of traversal puzzles as Dracula needs to clamber and climb his way between areas. This process can be unforgiving, as often exact timing is needed to get it right. Fair enough when you’re avoiding dangerous obstacles, but if leaping from one platform to another could have a wider range of success, the developer should have built that in. As it stands, there are a lot of cheap deaths related to that idea – a jump may look feasible, but unless the timing is dead right, the player gets punished. Fortunately the game auto-saves often, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, other than building up a bit of frustration.

With good graphics and voice acting (the cast features names like Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlisle) Lords of Shadow 2 is a potentially enjoyable game. But certain aspects bring it down and, overall, it feels less like a Castlevania title than it should – thanks largely to its modern setting. The direction the developers decided to go in, despite nice additions like free-roaming, doesn’t really seem to gel with the core ideas of the franchise in the best of ways. Still, it’s worth trying out, at least, and action adventure fans who don’t mind a trite narrative, sometimes repetitive combat and often unforgiving traversal areas should get something of a kick out of it. At very least it’s a fairly decent game in which the player gets to control a vampire… something of a rarity. It has a few warts, but more forgiving players will be able to draw some fun out of it, at the very least. g

AT A GLANCE: Action adventure

It can be an enjoyable game, But Lords of Shadow 2 has too many little issues to allow it to rise to the heights its predecessor achieved. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Mercury Stream Konami Ster Kinekor

Parental Advisory

18+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS3 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

75 53


Tomb Raider Definitive Edition

Looking Better A graphic overhaul lets Tomb Raider shine

by Alex Scanlon

I

Put the two together, and you get the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. It is one of the oldest games to make a shift onto the next generation consoles, and it is a very welcome addition to the market (particularly because there is no kind of backward compatibility). So what exactly does this Definitive Edition bring to the table? Quite simply, the lion’s share of effort went into making it look a whole lot better than it did on the older consoles. The graphics are, quite frankly, stunning. The improvements are no less than vast in scope, with every aspect of the game having received a visual makeover. Most of these, of course, went to Lara herself. Everything from improved mud and blood effects to the technology behind her hair movement got redone (although some of the hair movement bits are a bit odd at times).

Review

t was around a year ago that the gaming world was treated to a massive reinvention of the Lara Croft character and her world, when the rebooted Tomb Raider origin story hit shelves. And not a small part of the general sense of amazement that players around the world felt came from the absolutely stunning visuals that Tomb Raider had on offer. And then, at the end of 2013, the next generation consoles arrived. And what they brought to the world was the ability for games to look awesome (among a bunch of other things, of course). What didn’t come with the new consoles, though (and something that a whole bunch of people are complaining about) is a whole big pile of games. And so we have seen a number of games revisited by developers wanting to take advantage of the dearth of titles.

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The environments and characters really come alive in this Definitive Edition. Those that have played the previous versions will realise that saying the improvements are huge is really a big thing, because there was nothing intrinsically at fault with the previous version’s visuals. But Crystal Dynamix have been afforded the opportunity to make their creation even more impressive than it already was, and they have taken to the task with unbridled gusto. The Definitive Edition is really a visual feast. In addition, all the available DLC for Tomb Raider also got included in the package. The sum total of that is… well, one extra tomb to be explored, and a bunch of different outfits for the heroine. Not a hell of a lot, no. But still, the extra outfits, even if they don’t get torn up and show ware like her original clothing, are

pretty cool. And the extra optional tomb adds another fun puzzle to the mix. Other improvements that could have been made weren’t. Like the multiplayer – it is still the same lacklustre, tacked-on experience it was before. But that’s OK, because the single player game is really what this title is about. If you haven’t played Tomb Raider, and you own a new PS4 or Xbox One, then this Definitive Edition will prove to be a real treat. Even if you have played the game before, revisiting the brilliance that is Tomb Raider won’t hurt, if you’re willing to shell out for the game a second time. But you won’t get much more than you did before, if that is the case. They didn’t need to make this edition, but we’re kinda glad that they did. g

AT A GLANCE: Action adventure

A bunch of new visuals and a few added extras for Tomb Raider on next generation consoles.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Crystal Dynamics Square Enix Megarom

Parental Advisory

18+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

90 55


Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst

The Ultimate in Fan Service Get your Konoha forehead protector and strap in

by Lein Baart

N

almost point for point the events of the anime. Given the vast wealth of backstory leading up to the game, anyone who’s not intimately familiar with plot of Naruto is likely to find themselves immediately and utterly lost, as the game offers little in the way of explanation. Even those that have devoured every last bit of lore Naruto has to offer are likely to find themselves bored though. Of the roughly 12 hours it will take to complete Full Burst, more than half of this time is dedicated to cutscenes absolutely devoid of any interaction, all of which is a retread of a plot that, if you’re playing the game, you likely have already seen. To be fair there is some additional content, most noticeable in the reliving of the attack on Konoha by Tobi and Kurama as well as an alternate ending that might leave fans fuming, but this is far more the exception than the rule.

Review

aruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 launched to generally positive acclaim. It was a game that was the very definition of fan service though, aimed solely at the most rabid members of the Naruto audience whilst virtually excluding everyone else, even those that took a casual interest in the anime and manga. Now, barely a year later, Namco Bandai have release the Full Burst edition, containing all the DLC to date as well a new chapter for addicts to sink their teeth into. UNS 3 was always a game that had more to do with story than actual gameplay, and Full Burst is no different. Taking off from where Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 left off, UNS 3 encompasses the events of Shippuden from after the invasion of Pain to the middle of the Fourth Great Ninja War in exacting detail, covering

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The actual gameplay though is plagued by problems of much the same nature. A mixture of combat and “openworld” exploration, the game tends to disappoint on both fronts, though for differing reason. Players wanting the freedom to explore a rebuilt Konoha or the Island Turtle will quickly find themselves slapped on the wrist with an admonishment along the lines “I can’t go back just yet” or some such, all the while railroaded down a linear path that seems requires a load screen every ten steps. Combat is likewise frustrating. From a simply brilliant opening battle that sees you swatting the Nine-Tails out of Konoha, aided by QTE’s that evoke some of the truly mind blowing scenes from the anime, things quickly spiral downwards once you realise one fight is much the same as another. All of the characters use the exactly same button inputs, meaning that fighting as Sasuke is

nearly identical to fighting as Naruto. That’s not to say that the combat is boring, with twitch reflexes and good timing essential for success, it’s just that Full Burst is a classic example of style over substance. Despite all the bashing up until this point, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is actually a decent game. While most of the content in the re-release is purely cosmetic, the addition of the Sasuke/Itachi/Kabuto fight (despite its frankly stupid difficulty) along with its breathtaking updated visuals means that it is at least worth a look from fans who for some reason missed out on the first release. This is a game developed and released for very specific portion of the market though, and anyone not belonging to this group would probably be better off looking elsewhere. g

AT A GLANCE: Fighting

Reviewed on:

While Naruto fans should enjoy Full Burst, this is not a game for those who are not familiar with anime

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

CyberConnect2 Namco Bandai Megarom

Parental Advisory

12+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

PS3 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

64 57


Outlast

Producing Bricks… But not in the way you think…

by Walt Pretorius

S

Even Silent Hill gave the player a fighting chance. In one of those titles, the player was an ex-soldier. But no, Outlast doesn’t even give that. This character is a nosy reporter, armed with a video camera and a massive dose of curiosity. And we all know what they say about curiosity. The player’s main aim is to escape from the asylum after the journalist is trapped inside. It sounds easy enough, but the player has no map to refer to. While this has been criticised by some, it is yet again a powerful tool in the arsenal of a game that gives the player three options: run, hide or die. A panicked run down the wrong corridor is exactly the kind of thing that can heighten the horror experience of Outlast, and if you don’t want to be scared, you shouldn’t be playing it. The player won’t be stranded alone, though. There are hundreds of residents still present in the asylum. Some –

Review

urvival horror games have, for some time now, been a matter of how fast you can pull a trigger. For the most part, they have become creepy action games, rather than being the chilling experiences that they potentially can be. Outlast, though, breaks that mould quite successfully, presenting the player with a game in which horror – even terror – is central. And how does it do this? Quite simply by taking the power away from the player. In Outlast, the player fills the shoes of a journalist investigating an asylum in which some nefarious deeds have been committed. So, creepy setting, check… chilling, mysterious history, check. But there are a lot of survival horror games that have the same elements. Outlast takes it a step further, however. In this title, the player has no way of fighting back.

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most – sit drooling and staring at blank TV screens. Some will occasionally startle the player with sudden movements or essentially harmless attacks. And others want the player’s character dead, and won’t stop until they achieve that goal. The other inhabitants of the asylum are the game’s main source of horror. Even those that aren’t mutated homicidal maniacs are worth a scare or two. The game is steeped in unpredictable frights, during which a character you have walked past three or four times will suddenly leap up and scare the crap out of you. Add all of these things together, combine them with good graphics and a truly creep ambiance, and you get something that most survival horror games fail at these days; a game that is really, truly scary. It clings to traditional horror values, keeping the player uninformed with the lack of things like

maps, and helpless with the absence of weapons. It never really gets predictable, either, which means that by-the-book frights aren’t really something you’ll find in Outlast. Rather, it is a simple but effective way to scare the living daylights out of you, even if you are playing it in the middle of the day. And that’s pretty awesome, because it really is what horror games should be about. It’s not perfect, of course – the player will still find a few elements that don’t quite work, and the eternal hunt for batteries to power the video camera’s night vision mode can get tiresome at times. But the good outweighs the bad here, resulting in a game that really is scary. So if you’re up for a good scare – and if your heart can hold up – Outlast will grant you a truly fantastic experience… no guns, no maps, no heavy hints. Just pure, unadulterated survival horror. g

AT A GLANCE: Survival horror

No weapons, no maps... just a creepy asylum and a ton of scares. This is what survival horror games are supposed to be like. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Red Barrels Red Barrels PSN

Parental Advisory

18+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

Reviewed on:

PS4 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

80 59


Rayman Legends

Play it Again, Ray. by Walt Pretorius

by Walt Pretorius

O

This can be seen as either an attempt to bring more options to the table for PS4 owners, or (on the other hand) as companies cashing in on an imperfect situation. Either way, there have been a number of titles released this way. The upside is that, even though the inflation may be an attempt to cash in on the situation, there are more games available for the PS4. The downside is, of course, that we’ve seen and played these games already. That said, Rayman Legends is still a fantastic game, and one that will provide the player with many hours of accessible platforming fun. Side scrolling platformers are rare these days, so to see the classic genre visited with such quality is a great treat. The action is fast paced and often frantic, but never descends into being unreasonably demanding on the player.

Review

ne of the biggest complaints since the launch of the PlayStation 4 is the lack of games that are currently available. It takes time to build up a strong library of games, but that time has not yet passed for the new Sony console. And so PlayStation 4 owners are left looking for games to play while they wait for new releases to finally arrive. One of the responses to this issue has come in the form of various companies releasing previously published titles for the platform. While this is relatively understandable for titles that came out just before the release of the PS4 – things like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts – there has been a movement towards reworking older titles too. These include the likes of last year’s Tomb Raider and, more specifically here, Rayman Legends.

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Added to this addictive game dynamic is the world of Rayman itself. It is a colourful, humour-riddled fantasy world where nothing is strange… simply because the whole place is so weird already. I mean, come on… the main character has hands and feet, but no arms or legs. Yet it works beautifully, and presents the player with an enticing mythology full of visual gags, entertaining audio and amusing characters. All of this is brought to life by the UbiArt engine, giving the entire thing the feeling of a hand-drawn animated film. That provides even more charm to an already excellent gaming experience. What being on the PlayStation 4 brings to the whole deal is a slicker experience – there are very few loading screens to interfere with the experience, and the whole thing looks just a little better. But that’s really it. It’s

the same game. And as excellent as the game is, if you have played it before, it won’t hold any surprises for you. And that’s really what it comes down to; if you have played Rayman Legends on another platform, there really isn’t any reason to replay it. To be honest, it is a great game to have, and completionists would probably want it for the PS4, purely to have a great side-scroller available should they want it. And, of course, the game is ultimately replayable, so redoing the thing on PS4 won’t hurt. But some people out there will certainly see this as a cash-in, and others may not want to purchase the same game twice. If you haven’t played it yet, though, and you have a PS4, Rayman Legends is more or less essential. It’s a great game, and well worth the effort. g

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Platformer

Reviewed on:

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Ubisoft Ubisoft Megarom

Parental Advisory

7+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

PS4 Platforms

We’ve seen it before, but Rayman Legends is a great game on every platform.

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

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

Score

88 61


Dragonball Z: Battle of Z

Teaming Up! And are ready for an intense battle royal!

by Nthato Morakabi

D

mechanism. As a title based on an existing storyline, this adaptation does change much of the game as the epic battles have now become team battles and have lost their lustre. The various game modes available do rely on internet connectivity and do not have a local multiplayer, which is an oversight considering the addition of team fights. However having random intense fights with strangers does bring an interesting aspect to the online play. Coop mode focuses on the storyline and a battle against computer opponents in order to complete the more difficult stories, while Battle Mode is a player vs player mode offering many game play options. Battle of Z does have intense fights and a great deal of improvement has been made on the gameplay side of it, though unfortunately a few mechanisms can

Review

ragonball Z: Battle of Z is the title of the latest instalment in a long running series based on the manga and anime Dragonball and Dragonball Z, a series that has been running for over twenty years. This time, the battle for the earth sees Goku and friends attempt to fend off Beerus, the God of destruction, a powerful warrior who has been awakened and proves to be too powerful for even Goku to defeat. Goku must now transcend his current abilities and reach a new powerful level never seen before – Super Saiyan God. The title follows the timeline and stories from the anime and manga, beginning with the Saiyan Saga and ending with the Majin Buu saga, with various other storylines thrown in. The stories, however, have been adapted in order to implement the news team fighting

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ruin the fun of it. On the positive, players can fly up or down as they please but now when they touch the ground, regardless of whether it’s the floor, a spaceship or a platform on a mountain, the in game character begins to run. This addition might be small but fans of the games will appreciate this addition. It is also possible for minor power attacks to be pulled off on the fly, such as the Kamehameha, as long as the amount of energy necessary is available, preventing players from continuously spewing off high-power attacks at the opponent. It is also possible now to revive players should they run out of health, with a time limit to ensure fairness as well as being able to share Ki (energy) with others. Character customization sees players utilise various cards in order to improve the stats of their characters, which can make battles easier to get

through. On the negative, one of the defining mechanisms that one can expect to find in a Dragonball Z game is the ability to power up in order to gather energy and unleash super attacks. The other is the ability to transform, as you see fit, into your various states, such as Goku from his normal state to his Super Saiyan state and further. Instead it is possible to populate your team with 4 Goku’s and each one in his different form. Also the lockon system is flawed and, as fun as the battles are, after a while they become somewhat repetitive. Overall Battle of Z captures much of the beauty that is Dragonball Z, from iconic landscapes the quality graphics; unfortunately there is the compromise of story and epic battles from the anime in order to implement team battles. g

AT A GLANCE: Fighting

Reviewed on:

When Beerus the God of Destruction is awakened, it is up to the Z-Fighters once again to protect the earth.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Artdink Namco Bandai Megarom

Parental Advisory

12+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

70 63


Fable: Anniversary

The Old School Taking a trip back to where it all began…

by Walt Pretorius

S

to it, the core of it is still a game that was originally released in 2004. Ten years isn’t necessarily a long time in the real world, but in terms of gaming it is a massive span. A lot has changed since Fable was first released, in terms of technology and the approach people take to making and playing games. And because of this, Fable: Anniversary feels like a dated game, even though it has only just hit shelves. But credit where credit is due; Fable helped refine many ideas that formed the modern role-playing genre, and made large contributions to ideas like consequence and personalisation within a game environment. And besides, those that played the next three Fable games, all released for Xbox 360, sort of needed this release to round out their collection and experience.

Review

outh African gamers have, from time to time, had to forgo certain things, simply because they weren’t released locally. It wasn’t until the previous generation of consoles, for example, that the Xbox line arrived o our shores. The original Xbox wasn’t officially distributed here – the few that did come in were grey-market imports. And so, as a result, most South African gamers didn’t get to enjoy the games that were released for the Xbox. That includes the first Fable game. Well, now the chance to enjoy the original Lionhead title has come up for those that own an Xbox 360. Fable: Anniversary brings the original game back, with numerous improvements and additions. It needs to be noted that even though Fable: Anniversary has had a number of improvements done

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It’s a fairly big game, with tons for the player to see and do. The world of Albion has been given quite a spritz-up in this new version, with graphics and sounds that are far better than the original. In addition, some of the control ideas have been refined, although things like ineffective target-locking still plagues the title. And there are some areas of the presentation and dynamic package that simply feel really old. Some of the voice acting is a bit weak, and occasionally the AI does strange things. None the less, this revisiting of the first trip we had to Albion is well worth experiencing, particularly when considering that the game now has an improved save system, and features achievements for the first time. Additionally, all extra content – The Lost Chapters – now form part of this title, adding a bit extra for those

who have experienced the original, basic game. In the end, this release really is fan service. It provides those who love the Fable franchise with a revisiting of the original on a more modern platform (seeing as how the Xbox 360 is still a viable console) and allows them to fill out the experience. It is a charming, entertaining and sometimes quirky adventure tale, full of humour and action that allows the player to, once again, make use of three weapon types as they please. And, of course, there are those consequences, which allow the player to shape their character through their actions. If you can get past it’s idiosyncrasies and anachronisms, Fable: Anniversary is a great experience. Just don’t expect cutting edge anything, because you simply won’t find it here. g

AT A GLANCE: Role-playing

Reviewed on:

It’s old fashioned and quaint, but Fable: Anniversary serves as an enjoyable experience, as well as excellent fan-service.

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Lionhead Microsoft Microsoft

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

79 65


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Tight Deadline So much to do, so little time…

by Walt Pretorius

F

The thing with Final Fantasy, though, is that over the years it became more or less definitive of the JRPG experience. And a big part of that experience (aside from crazy characters and convoluted plots) was the turnbased combat system that they used. These allowed for a great variety of depth and strategy while taking on enemies. That depth has been lessened somewhat in the later games. In Lightning Returns, more depth is added by granting the player three sets of equipment and skills that can be switched up on the fly. Each one has limited power associated with it, so the player will invariably have to switch between these set-ups while the others recharge. Because the attacks are bound to face buttons, that means the player can have a wider variety of actions available, which reintroduces that depth. The combat is the strongest part of the game – an

Review

or the longest time, the Final Fantasy series was one that didn’t do sequels. In fact, it took 13 instalments of the franchise for a sequel to be made, in the form of Final Fantasy XIII-2. And now there is a third game to round out the Final Fantasy XIII story, in the form of Lightning Returns. But does it do this long and extremely popular line of games any justice? No, not really… The problem is that Square Enix tried very hard to reinvent the franchise with the XIII games. And they had some pretty good ideas. The first two of the three titles were certainly enjoyable, and the more fluid, almost real-time combat they introduced worked well. The good looks didn’t hurt, either, and the strong mythology created by the game’s narrative was highly entertaining.

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unusual statement for a Final Fantasy title. But, quite honestly, the plot is convoluted and often weird (and drops the player into the middle of things) and the overall game dynamic is placed under unnecessary strain. See, the basic plot is that the player has thirteen days in which to save as many souls as possible – the world is doomed, and rescued souls will be transported to a new world. The player doesn’t start with 13 days, though… they start with less. The more souls they rescue, the more time they will get… but never more than thirteen days from the start. Placing that kind of deadline on a game is all fine and well, but then giving players a massive world with tons of exploration options just seems cruel. And when certain missions demand exploration it gets even crueller. And

it simply doesn’t feel like something that Final Fantasy should do. The player spends far too much time rushing around to fully appreciate the richness of the world that they find themselves in, which is a bit of a travesty. Add to that the fact that the production values aren’t anywhere near as high as they should be, and the whole thing starts becoming more and more disappointing. The graphics aren’t great during exploration, and even the cut scenes leave a little to be desired. On top of that, the majority of the voice acting is the typically hammedup stuff we expect from a JRPG; fine if you’re free to do a whole bunch of exploring, annoying if you’re working against the clock. In the end, the overall product feels just as rushed as the player will be in trying to finish it. And that’s a real pity for such a strong franchise. g

AT A GLANCE: JRPG

Reviewed on:

It is certainly one of the weakest Final Fantasy games we’ve ever seen, with strong points that simply don’t outshine its weaknesses. Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

Square Enix Square Enix Megarom

Parental Advisory

16+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

X360 Platforms

Genre:

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

Score

71 67


The Pinball Arcade

Balls of Steel ..and bumpers, flippers, ramps, flashing lights…

by Rob Edwards

P

a freemium title. You can download the game for free, and get given one table to start with. Other tables can then be bought off of a menu, or as part of packs. These include classics from manufacturers like Bally, Stern, Gottlieb and Williams, and bring a massive amount of variety to the table. At present, only one season of tables is available, with more on the way. They’re not too unreasonably priced, but if you don’t want to get them, you’ll be stuck with one table. It’s a good table – Tales of the Arabian Nights – but if variety is your thing, it may not be enough. The extra tables that can be bought tend to be later tables… here’s hoping that upcoming seasons look at some of the older classics too. However, the crop of tables that are presently available – from licensed efforts like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Elvira, through

Review

inball is something that you either love or hate. But these machines, with their flashing lights, skills shots and dynamics based on very real physics, were one of the precursors of arcade gaming, and therefore had an influence of sorts on video gaming. It seems apt, then, that System 3 have paid homage to some of the greatest pinball tables of all time with The Pinball Arcade. The fact that this game is a simulation of other games is amusing enough, but pinball fans will certainly get a kick out of this stunningly constructed homage to metal balls, flippers and bumpers. Let’s get the nasty stuff out of the way first. There are only two real issues with Pinball Arcade, and both of them really are a case of whether you’re willing to deal with them or not. The first is that the game is

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to revolutionary classics like Black Hole and Medieval Madness – is a great selection of some of the best tables pinball had to offer. The next thing that may be a niggle for some is the viewing angle. Pinball simulations never really seem to get this right, but it’s tricky to present a 3D vertical area on a horizontal screen, and System 3 have, quite frankly, made the best of a bad situation. If you can get past those two factors, and you have a taste for pinball, Pinball Arcade gets everything right. The graphics are stunning, the physics feel extremely true, and the recreations of the tables (of which I have played a number of the “real” counterparts) are lovingly precise. In fact, the detail that has gone into this title is almost staggering, from the fonts used in scoring displays through to the crackly sound that comes

from the uniformly crap speakers used in pinball table construction. This game serves as a perfect homage to the almost lost art of pinball. Getting those skill shots just right is as rewarding here as it is on a real table, and the ball thundering around the table has a true, almost palpable physicality to it that has never really been captured by similar titles before. And, just like the real thing, Pinball Arcade is all about timing, accuracy and quick reflexes, thanks to the awesome detail that has gone into the code governing not only the physics of each table, but the balls themselves. So if pinball is your cup of tea, and you’re in possession of either a PC or (preferably, for this game) a PS4, an exciting an exhilarating homage to this classic form of entertainment is just a download away. g

AT A GLANCE: Genre:

Simulation

Reviewed on:

Developer: Publisher: Distributer:

System 3 System 3 Online

Parental Advisory

12+ gamecca57

Violence Language Sex Drug Use Prejudice

PS4 Platforms

Fans of the real thing will find many things to crow about in The Pinball Arcade

Accessibility Hard-Core Medium Casual

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

Score

80 69


Metal Gear Solid

Half-Life

S

ome games set trends. Others define them completely. Reinventing the Metal Gear games to a 3D world did just that, creating a whole new genre. MGS would become a cornerstone of console gaming, leading to lucrative years of fighting over its

Baldur’s Gate

R

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

oleplaying games used to be crap, something pen-and-paper players always rubbed in. Then Baldur’s Gate arrived, kicked everyone in the teeth and ran away with the baby. Its shadow still covers RPGs to this day, but at least we never hear “You must gather your party…” anymore.

A Year in Games

D

isregarding its sequel, is this the greatest shooter ever made? Damn right. Half-Life rewrote the rules of the shooter genre, introduced clever enemy squads, compounded the value of a crowbar and waited just long enough for you to know you tripped a bomb before it explodes.

T

his game is here for one very good reason. No, not because it is one of the best Zelda games ever made. And not because this list would look silly without Nintendo somewhere in it. And not because System of a Down covered the theme tune. No, we are just very scared of Link’s fans...

A YEAR IN GAMING

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1


Grim Fandango

M

StarCraft

ay we impart a piece of wisdom upon you: just because it sells well doesn’t mean it isn’t utter rubbish. And just because it bombed financially doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the 10 games you should play before you die. But if you die, let’s hope the afterlife is exactly like Grim Fandango.

Soulcalibur

I

n the 3D wars of fighting game, Tekken used to rule supreme, with Virtua Fighter jumping around, hoping to take the title. But you could argue that Soulcalibur just went and found its own hill - that of giant weapons and the world’s most bombastic ring announcer. Sooooul CALIBUR!!!

I

t is probably the best strategy game ever made - and if you choose to disagree there is a legion of fans ready to shout you down. But even if you prefer a different game, there’s no denying that StarCraft’s influence on the genre still resonates today. Even the sequel couldn’t live up to it..

Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

D

espite their awesomeness, mechs do not get as much love in gaming as they should. And when they do appear, they are droll, complicated simulators. Shogo is perhaps the lone standout where you spent a lot of time in a mech suit, but using standard shooter controls. A rare gem...

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Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard

W Review

W

hat should you be looking for in a keyboard? It is perhaps one of the more difficult questions to answer, because a keyboard is often one of the least considered options when it comes to putting a PC together. It is almost a case of while the user spends immense amounts of energy identifying the perfect graphics card, RAM, HDD, monitor and even mouse, any old keyboard will do. But there are a wide variety of keyboard options out there, particularly when they are aimed at the lucrative gaming market. And that’s a market that Mad Catz has squarely in their sights. They produce some wonderful peripherals aimed specifically at gaming, and one of them is the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 keyboard. One normally expects a great number of features

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and fancy bits from a Mad Catz product, but the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is remarkably down-toned in that arena. In fact, aside from a few features that define it as a gaming keyboard, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 really is rather “plain”. Not visually, mind you… it certainly looks good, with a striking and unusual design that will certainly draw attention. The design implies that it has a removable section, but that’s just an aesthetic thing. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is all angles and edges, resulting in a device that looks as good as it performs. And that’s really what it comes down too. Sure, it may not feature a lot of added extras, but the performance of the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is excellent. This is in part due to a customised key membrane, that allows for rapid response and a good level of tactile feedback. The keys are well spaced, too, helping prevent accidental inputs. In terms of special features, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 offers

gamecca57


Striking Fe

w

fr i l u ls, b

pe t great

rfo rm

a nc e

by Rob Edwards

a few… the first is seven macro keys, with three profile banks, for a total of 21 macros. These keys aren’t positioned very well, though – they’re fairly far from the main keyboard, right next to the gaming mode switch that deactivates the Windows key. The S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 also features customisable backlighting, although there are no zone separations in this system. Still, it adds to the customisation of the board. In addition, it has a removable wrist rest, as well as an oversized space bar for easy access. When all is said and done, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 is a very decent keyboard, but it falls a little short on the whole “gaming” idea. The poorly placed macro keys don’t do it any favours, and the lack of features like USB ports are also a downside. It does have good looks, though, and is wonderfully responsive. In the end, this one comes down to taste, and personal requirements. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

It doesn’t offer too many frills, but this is still a great keyboard in terms of performance and looks.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca57

Looks good! Excellent keys Performance

Removable wrist-rest 21 macros Customisable backlight Custom membrane

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

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Macro button placement

Score

80 73


Show pro

jecto r on

ve o t he m

Asus S1 Mobile LED Projector

A ver yc ap ab le

W Review

W

hen one thinks of a projector (which may happen from time to time) the mind immediately goes to a big clunky device with a massive lens that hums noisily as it does its job of casting images on a surface. And, quite frankly, that’s what we have mostly been subjected to ever since projectors came out. But not very projector is made the same. This one from Asus, for example, breaks every preconceived notion of projectors; it is sleek, stylish and (relatively speaking) tiny. It could fit into a large pocket, and most certainly any kind of bag. Even that rather remarkable aspect of the S1 is not its finest feature. In fact, this device has numerous other features that make it extremely worthwhile. The first of these is the embedded battery. This

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battery will provide up to three hours of projection time, which is pretty handy. It will also function as a mobile recharging device via a USB port, which adds a practical extra function to the package. This can be done while the unit is projecting, too. Because it uses an LED system, the S1 does not have to spend time warming up. It turns on in around 5 seconds, and turns off instantly. The LED system also provides a 200 lumen performance – that’s not the brightest around, but considering that this is an ultra-short throw device, it works quite well. Being a UST projector means that it can create a larger picture at a shorter distance. At 1m away from the projection surface, it produces an image of 41 inches across, at a resolution of 854x480. A sliding cover keeps the lens safe, while a focus ring is positioned next to it. In terms of inputs, the S1 features an HDMI port,

gamecca57


by Walt Pretorius

which keeps cable clutter to a minimum. The setup is really very fast with the S1, making it a great device for presentations on the go. It also features a headphone output, which is good because the audio produced by the units integrated 2 watt speakers is not the best, even if they are enhanced with Asus’ SonicMaster technology. There is also a power port for recharging, or operation when the battery is drained. It won’t replace a massive projector as a great home entertainment device. But what it brings to the table is portability. While this may not be needed by everyone, those that do need a small, easy to use and effective projector on hand wherever they go cannot go wrong with the S1. It really performs well, all things considered, and will serve those that need this kind of device perfectly. And it looks pretty stylish, too, which never hurts. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

If you need a small, highly portable and easy-touse projector with great battery life, look no further than the S1.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca57

Very compact Extremely simple to use Good battery life

200 lumen HDMI input LED technology UST device 2W speakers Integrated battery Mobile device recharging

A sus A sus www.a sus.c om

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Speakers could be better

Score

88 75


Review

Logitech G700s Rechargeable MMO Gaming Mouse

Looking good in every way

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Style

T T

he finish that they put on your mouse is actually far more important than you think. Sure, if your mouse use comes down to basic office stuff, one of those slippery, ultrashiny devices will probably be fine. But if you’re doing precision work (or play) and you’re going to spend several hours with your hand clutching to the mouse, comfort is important… and materials make a difference. Logitech have applied new materials to their entire new range of G gaming mice. These are hydrophobic palm rest coatings, dry-grip side panel coverings, and finger-print resistant button finishes. Combine those with a decent ergonomic design, and you end up with a mouse that truly is a joy to use. The G700s has all of those, from the advanced materials to an asymmetric contoured design with a generous thumb-rest. But the striking looks and comfort would mean little if the device didn’t perform. Luckily, the G700s delivers in that category, too, with a powerful 8200 dpi sensor at its core. It sports generous feet for smooth gliding, and can be used as either a wired or wireless mouse, with data and charging running over the same cable. Button placement is also important, and Logitech has managed to get it wrong once or twice in the past. But this mouse doesn’t suffer from that problem. It features four buttons at the thumb, as well as three to the left of the primary left-click button. All of these are contoured for easy blind identification. Another button is placed well aft of the scroll wheel, but using it without looking may result in deactivating or reactivating the scroll wheel’s ratchet – that control is just above it. The DPI can be adjusted over a range of 200 to 8200 DPI. That’s a pretty broad spectrum, and allows for all kinds of applications. The G700s also features five on-board profiles, so switching things up on the fly is pretty simple and effective. With all of that said, there could still be a few improvements to the design. It’s a large mouse, and very distinctly not ambidextrous. It’s also fairly heavy, but has no options for weight customisation, other than removing the single AA battery it uses for wireless power. Still, you could do a lot worse. It is generously apportioned of buttons, setting it up as a great all-round gaming device (MMO players may want a few more buttons, in which case the G602 from Logitech, reviewed last month, is a good option). The comfort levels are great, and most of the buttons are really easy to get to. And the performance, thanks to that sensor and wide range of DPI settings, is excellent. g

by Alex Scanlon

Summary

Tech Specs:

The G700s is a solid entrant for those who want a button-rich mouse that could be used wired or wirelessly.

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca57

Good button placement Very comfortable Wide DPI range

8200 DPI Wired / wireless 5 onboard profiles 13 programmable buttons

Log itec h Log itec h www.log itec h.c om

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Not ambidextrous

Score

88 77


S S

Review

Genius GX Gaming Gila Gaming Mouse

ometimes, finding everything you want in a single package is possible. It doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but it can happen, and in the case of the Genius GX Gaming Gila mouse, it has happened. This device combines great design, excellent comfort, sensibility and performance, all in a wired gaming mouse. Right off the bat, the Gila is impressive. Its design is striking, to say the least, featuring a matt-black finish complemented by red brushed metal accents. The overall build is a little off of being symmetrical (it’s sadly not an ambidextrous mouse) and features some added accent lights. Looks are not deceiving in this case. The Gila’s design is full of promise and, quite frankly, it delivers. Sporting an 8200 dpi sensor, combined with wired reliability, the Gila, allows a wide range of sensitivity, and when used with associated software, it really allows the user to bring their A game to the table. In terms of buttons, the Gila offers 12. That works out to the two standard buttons, a clickable scroll wheel, three buttons just at of the scroll wheel, two positioned for easy thumb access, and two on either side of the “normal” mouse buttons. Normally, when a mouse has lots of buttons, placement can become an issue, particularly for users with small hands. But the intuitive placement of the Gila’s controls means that every button is easy to access, without being placed in a way that would result in accidental activations. This is one of the highlights of this mouse – the button placement lives up to the manufacturer’s name. The Gila is also built for comfort, with excellent contouring and support sections combining with non-slip, rubberised side panels for effective grip. It also had large, replaceable feet that allow it to glide effortlessly across virtually any surface (and yes, there is a spare set of feet I the box). All this is rounded out with six 4.5g weights, which can be added to the mouse via an easy-access panel. Further customisation comes in the form of six game profiles, which results in up to 72 macros. The mouse also has on-board memory to facilitate even smoother performance. Even the backlighting can be adjusted, in terms of colour and brightness. It really is difficult to find bad points for the Gila. It delivers the right amount of comfort and performance, combined with a decent degree of customisation. There may be other mouse devices out there that beat it in specific fields, but the Gila manages to perform well in all aspects, and the overall package is great. The only real complaint, then, is that it is not an ambidextrous mouse. But right-handed users will find no problems here. g

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gamecca57


Brand new blast from the past...

by Alex Scanlon

Mouse Summary

The Gila has it all: comfort, performance and customisation options, all combined with wired reliability.

Tech Specs:

Very sensible button placement Looks great Very comfortable • • • •

Pros

Ge n iu s TV R C om pu te r s ww w. t vr . c o.z a M a n u fa c t u r e r D is t r i bu t e r O n lin e RRP

Not ambidextrous

8200 dpi Wired 12 buttons 6 macros Weight customisation Backlight customisation

• • • •

Cons

• • • • • •

Score

96 gamecca57

79


Sensible A key

w

r i g ht a

Genius GX Gaming Manticore Keyboard

t the jus ith

un mo

to

T T

Review

bo ar d

here is a wide variety of options available when it comes to gaming keyboards – far more option, in fact, than one may realise. Just like a mouse, a keyboard doesn’t need to be specifically aimed at gaming for it to work as a gaming device, but added extras and features can certainly make a difference. These run the gamut from improved key performance (with shorter travel distances and multiple key reading) through to fancy touch screens and status monitors. What each player requires is a matter of taste and, of course, cost. The more features a keyboard has, the more impact it will have on your pocket. Genius’ GX Gaming Manticore is a good example of a mid-range keyboard, in terms of those aspects. It brings some excellent features to the table, but doesn’t go all-out in terms of possibly unnecessary extras. It gives gamers a good set of key controls without breaking the bank. This full-sized keyboard offers the player eight macro

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f fl as h …

keys. These are arranged and shaped in such a way that “blind” control (finding the keys without looking down at the keyboard) is much simpler. Combined with three profile sets, this adds up to a total of 24 macros, which can intuitively be recorded with an easy-to-access macro recording key. 20 keys, identified as the most commonly used during gaming (and all arranged around the WADS keys) have been given the anti-ghosting treatment. While it would have been great if the whole keyboard was anti-ghosting, these are actually quite sufficient. The mechanical keys have a great tactile feel to them, too, complete with a short (if somewhat loud) movement. The keys are also backlit, with options for 16 million colours to be applied to three key areas – the main keyboard, the direction keys (as well as those directly above them) and the NUM pad.

gamecca57


by Alex Scanlon

The good-looking Manticore also offers a few other features, including easy access to multimedia keys, a cable management system, two integrated USB ports and high grade rubber base pads for increased stability. It also looks pretty good next to the Gila mouse, also reviewed in this issue. With solid construction and excellent performance, the Manticore makes for a good addition to any PC gamer’ arsenal. It may not feature all the bells and whistles, but those that it does have are sensibly implemented and, when used with the associated software suite, the Manticore does an admirable job of delivering crisp, clear control. It won’t make you a better gamer (you need patience, practice and dedication for that) but it certainly will deliver the goods in any gaming situation, at a price that is reasonable. In other words, it is a sensible option for those wanting a gaming keyboard. g

Summary

Tech Specs:

Although not extremely feature rich, the Manticore implements the features is does have well, and delivers excellent gaming performance. M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca57

Good design ideas Contoured macro keys Backlighting zones

Master Record function 8 macro keys 3 profiles 2 USB ports Three zone backlighting On-board memory

Genius TVR Computers www.tv r.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

A little noisy

Score

80 81


W

an

e

udi

o

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il t sa r e ev m e x tr

Crisp a

Tritton Kunai Wireless Stereo Headset Review

82

ity co

W

e have reviewed many headsets and there is one aspect that we keep banging on about – versatility. There are tons of people out there who don’t want truly specific headsets; they prefer to have a device that can be used with multiple sources. Tritton understand that – this statement is proven by the Kunai Wireless Stereo Headset. With what you get in the box, you will be able to use this headset with your PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (component or HMDI), PS4, Wii U, handheld gaming device, mobile phone, tablet and MP3 player. That’s tons of getting around for a wireless headset, but the secret lies in the fact that it doesn’t have to be used wirelessly. For certain devices, it has a cable, for others, it uses a wireless transmitter. So using it with your PS4 may mean that it needs to be wired, but the wire runs to the controller, which doesn’t hamper the freedom of wireless gaming at all. When it is used without wires, it makes use of a 2.4 GHz connection to deliver crisp and clear audio. The 40mm neodymium drivers manage to not only get the high tones and bass notes right, but also provided full bodied mid-ranges that elevate the sound quality beautifully. The headset itself is powered by a pair of AA batteries, which provide a surprisingly long lifespan. These sit in the right earcup, while the right houses simple volume controls for audio and chat – which is provided by a discreet, foldable boom mic, also in the left earcup. The cups themselves are generously padded, as is the headband, and feature a wide range of rotation. While they are over-ear cups, they are a little small, so folks with big ears may experience a little discomfort. They’ll probably have to be unnaturally large, though… the rest of us will find the Kunai to be a very comfortable headset indeed. The discreet wireless transmitter provides a range of up to 10m, which is pretty decent and allows for effortless wireless audio. In fact, effortless is the name of the game here. Even when setting up a more complex system, it’s pretty quick and easy. On the downside, the transmitter only allows for one audio input at a time, so if you’re going to be using different devices with it, that will mean a bit of cable swapping. Still, it’s so simple that it doesn’t really become a chore. Extreme versatility, comfort and great audio, as well as ease of use, all combine to make the Kunai Wireless Stereo Headset a great option for those who want a device that will work with more than one system… and they’re packed with the expected Tritton quality. g

Every gamecca57


om bined

by Walt Pretorius Summary

They work with pretty much everything that produces an audio signal, and they’re great quality too!

Tech Specs:

Excellent audio Very comfortable Highly versatile • • • •

Pros

Mad Catz C o me t C o mp u t in g w w w.c o m e t c omp u t i n g. c o .z a M a n u fa c t u r e r D is t r i bu t e r O n li n e

Only one audio input on transmitter

40mm drivers AA battery powered Wireless / wired options Separate volume controls Stereo

• • • •

Cons

• • • • • •

Score

92 gamecca57

83


P

e

Effective

np w he

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84

Why pa y fo ra dd

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Review

Palit GeForce GTX 750 OC Edition Graphics Card

P

ackaging can be deceiving. We hear that we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but it is always easy – particularly when buying PC components – to get caught up in the hype of a welldesigned package. The flashier the box looks, the better the product, right? Palit’s box designs aren’t bad, but this particular model comes in a box that is small – and that’s not what one expects from a graphics card. It seems that a bigger box is better… but that isn’t the case here. But the Palit GeForce GTX 750 OC Edition is not a big graphics card – at least not in terms of size. Like its packaging, it is also rather diminutive. It’s shorter than the average high-end card by around half, making it an excellent space saver in a cluttered box. Not to mention, of course, that it has far less impact on the internal airflow of the PC case it is built into. That certainly is a big advantage for this compact card. One would expect that a smaller graphics card delivers proportionate performance, but that (once again) isn’t the case. Keep in mind that this card has an nVidia 750 chipset. It might not be the top of the line, but it certainly isn’t a slouch in terms of performance. Armed with a reasonable 1GB of GDDR5 memory, the Palit becomes a cost effective option for those who need to upgrade. It even features overclocking abilities, so it can be pushed a little further by those who choose to do so. The Palit GeForce GTX 750 OC Edition is a solid option for those that want to upgrade without breaking the bank. That said, one must always remain aware of the fact that it is simply not in the same category as some of the high end cards we see from other manufacturers. It is a matter of added extras; the Palit option delivers a card that is strictly on a no-frills basis, with a single fan and a minimum of features managing to keep the price (and the size) down. While its performance is absolutely fine for “normal” people, PC speed freaks may find that it doesn’t quite meet up to what they want. But if you’re more of an average Joe and you don’t obsessively pour the majority of your money into your PC, this really is a stable, effective and (perhaps most importantly) cost effective option. It may not draw the admiration that a bulky, big name card does, but it does the job it is intended for effectively, and keeps things simple overall. And for a great many people, that’s a perfect situation – simple, effective and uncluttered. g


by Walt Pretorius

Summary

fo er

rm

Tech Specs:

This is, when all is said and done, an effective graphics card solution. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done rather nicely none the less.

an ce is

? what you need

M a nufa c turer Distributer: O nline:

gamecca57

Cost effective Small

GeForce GTX 750 chipset 1GB GDDR5 VRAM OC software

Pa lit TVR Computers www.tv r.c o.za

Pros • • • • •

• • • • • • •

Cons • • • • •

Single fan No frills

Score

79 85


Prove It!

by Ramjet

Ramjet’s Rantality

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

S

o here’s the thing… the world seems to be becoming increasingly populated with people who are awesome. That might not seem like something I would say, but wait, the bitch-slap is still inbound. Anyway, all these awesome people surround us. And how do we know that they are awesome? Because they tell us so, on social media platforms, in game chats… everywhere. Do none of them see what they’re doing wrong? Don’t they realise that they’re coming across as arrogant idiots? The answer, I am afraid, is no. No one gets the idea that going around telling people that you are awesome means exactly squat. But perhaps I should use one of my parables to elaborate on what I am trying to get at… Once upon a time, in a faraway country, there was a painter named Alfonso.

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Alfonso was a truly good painter. In fact, everybody knew that Alfonso was just about the best painter that ever lived. Why did they know this? Because he told them at every possible opportunity. Alfonso would walk into the tavern and say “I am an awesome painter”. He would stand in the middle of the town market and cry out “I am an awesome painter”. He would climb onto rooftops and bellow at the top of his lungs “I am an awesome painter”. And so everyone knew that Alfonso was an awesome painter. The problem was that he spent so much time telling the world how great he was that there was no time left to actually paint. So when Alfonso eventually died (of a strange disease involving an overinflated head) everyone that had heard him proclaim what an awesome painter he

was felt sad. They felt this way because the world had lost an awesome painter. But soon, as generations passed, people forgot about Alfonso and his awesome painting abilities, because he left nothing behind to show how awesome he was. He was far too busy patting himself on the back to actually pick up a paint brush and prove it. Understand? No? OK, let me explain. Before the days of mass social broadcasting, if you told people that you were awesome, they asked you to prove it. If you couldn’t, you were basically labelled as being full of shit, and arrogant to boot. The proof of your awesomeness wasn’t in the telling of it, but in the showing of it. Actions, back then, spoke louder than words, and a badly written announcement about how cool you were was a sign

gamecca57

that you were, essentially, an insecure idiot. We live in a world, though, where everyone seems to think that they are special, purely because they exist. It’s like a scene out of Ben Elton’s book, Blind Faith. But the truth is that unless you prove your worth, any claims you make are just noise. To quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club “Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else”. Unless you prove it. Keep that in mind. So the next time you want to try and convince me about how special you are, show me. Don’t tell me. I might not be able to hear the words over your self-aggrandising, self-congratulatory orgy of masturbatory backslapping. g


Gamecca magazine march 2014  

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