Umbra: Kickstarter Campaign

Well this sure looks interesting, a brand new action RPG built in Cryengine with some very ambitious goals. Umbra is currently just a Kickstarter campaign, but what has already been built looks pretty fantastic.

It looks a lot like Diablo but with some very high end graphics. The developers promise some very ambitious features, but if they can pull off what they have planned then this promises to be a great game. Check out the features below:

  • Open World : Discover the world and enjoy it at your own convenience
  • Exploration and experimentation is rewarded with new powers, attributed according to your play style!
  • Free character development – No class limitation. You have three resources: Rage, Stamina and Mana, and they all interact with each other in order to balance gameplay.
  • Apocalyptic Form: According to your play style, you will develop special powers for your character, changing their abilities and look. Fierce melee warriors may gain a third arm to equip with a new weapon; a fire caster will have their skin turn into lava and heal from fire. Even wings and horns might appear on your character depending on your actions!
  • Tons of Loot: Weapons, Armor, Potions and randomly generated magic effects for more gameplay diversity!
  • Semi procedural Weaponry: Blades, pommel and guard details can be randomized for more unique gear in the game!
  • Advanced Crafting mini-game: Build your own weapons and armors thanks to a complex and challenging module in Umbra
  • Tons of Destructible environments: From small walls to complete parts of an area. We hope you enjoy it!
  • Housing: Create your own house and proudly showcase your special gear!
  • Mature story full of secrets to discover exploring the world
  • Kythera AI system: The automatic real time navigation adaptation of Kythera adapts to any change in the physics of the world, allowing us to create exciting scenes including large portion of levels collapsing or moving and fighting on the back of giant creature, creating never seen before gameplay situations!
  • Dungeon challenge (Stretch goal): Transform a special part of your house into a dungeon and challenge other players to survive the onslaught!
  • Multiplayer mode (stretch goal): Multiplayer is an ambitious goal we would love to achieve, but it must be done correctly.
  • We plan to have different interesting stretch goals for you that will allow us to build the foundation of the multiplayer. In the best case scenario, we would like to have the following mods: Dungeon Challenge (see above), Co-Op mode, and Competitive Plaver vs Player vs AI.

Check out their Kickstarter campaign page here and their promotional video below.

Cheaper VR Gaming

If like me, you’re looking to experience the intrigue of VR gaming, but you don’t want to invest in the short term solution of an Oculus Rift developer kit then I may have the solution for you! For a while now I’ve been following VR, especially when it comes to gaming. I love the idea of immersing myself in a game, but the VR headsets out there aren’t built for the consumer yet and they come at a price.

We either need to fork out our hard earned cash and pick up a developer kit, which will get a consumer release at some point in the near future, making our purchase almost redundant, or we can try a different route. Now I need to point out that this isn’t going to supply you with the perfect VR solution, but what I have to tell you does give you a pretty good idea of the future of gaming!

For this to work you’re going to need a few things:

  • Android Handset
  • Google Cardboard type headset
  • Trinus VR
  • Limelight Streaming
  • Nvidia GPU

So how does it all work? Well I picked up a relatively cheap Google Cardboard equivalent from Amazon and combined this with my Google Nexus 6. With these two devices alone you can have some good fun with apps downloaded from the Play Store, but the real fun comes when you download Trinus VR.

Trinus VR is an app that you download for both your gaming PC and your Android handset. The app allows you to customise how your PC and Android handset communicate, giving you different levels of connection options, e.g. wifi direct, USB etc. It will also give you a number of different options so you can chose how your games are streamed to your device, either in VR or non VR.

The great thing that Trinus VR offers is the ability to work alongside Limelight. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Limelight it’s basically a reverse engineered version of Nvidia’s Gamestream software. Limelight turns any Android device into an Nvidia Shield and allows you to stream your games from PC to your phone or tablet. Trinus VR takes this and turns it into VR.

The ultimate result is your Android device becomes the screen, that when inserted into your VR goggles gives you a pretty good virtual reality experience. As I mentioned, it’s not perfect, but it’s an awful lot of fun. While you’re stuck waiting for the final consumer versions of VR to hit the market this is a pretty good solution.

So why not check it out? You’re in for a lot of fun, and maybe some motion sickness, but hey, it’s worth it!

South Park The Stick Of Truth Review

Introduction

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve followed news of this game for some time, wondering if it would turn out to be a disaster like so many game adaptations of popular franchises before. I saw the previews, they all said great things and my hopes were high, but I was still concerned. Launch day came and I took the plunge, loading up the game, my nerves getting the better of me as I worried about my disappointment that I knew would surely hit.

So the question is, did the game meet my expectations? The answer is no, it blew them away. I quite honestly never expected a game of this quality. It’s just a must play for anyone, regardless if you’re a fan of South Park or not. It’s clever, hilarious and above all it plays well.

Gameplay

I don’t really know how to describe it, a side scroller, RPG with combat the resembles something from old school Final Fantasy titles. You create your character, the new kid, and embark on your journey into South Park. Your aim throughout the game is to make as many friends as possible, unlocking new abilities and levelling up as you do. You’ll find yourself in all sorts of crazy situations, exactly what you’d expect from South Park.

The combat works amazingly well. It’s simple, like I said above, working like an old Final Fantasy title but with a little more interaction. You take turns in deciding what attacks or special moves you want to use, and have to try to deflect your enemies attacks. There are a whole host of special abilities available for you to unlock and you get to select your partner to battle along side of you, all of whom have different abilities that will help to mix your battles up.

Selecting your equipment and choosing your skills is actually pretty good in South Park The Stick of Truth. I was expecting extremely weak levelling, but to be honest your skill set and load out can make all the difference in your battles. My favourite weapon was a broken bottle, you get to throw them at your enemy, grossing them out and causing them to bleed every turn. It’s random, fun and adds to the combat.

Graphics

I can’t really say much about the graphics, the game looks and plays just like an episode of South Park. There are no fancy attempts to make it anything other than a long, interactive episode of the series fans have come to know and love. The fact that it feels and looks exactly like the show only adds to the hilarity.

What I liked

The attention to detail really makes this game stand out. There are so many little things that hold the entire experience together. Sound effects are obviously based on Skyrim and fit into the game so well, creating an absolutely amazing satire of the popular game franchise. Skill sets, weapons, abilities, it’s all a twisted version of games we’ve played before, and that just makes it all so much more amusing.

South Park is absolutely hilarious, but all of these little extra touches add to the entire experience. They are clever and very well thought out, turning this into a pretty good gaming experience that will keep you laughing all the way through.

What I disliked

To be honest there is nothing that I disliked about this game. The total experience was fantastic and I can’t really fault it at all!

Conclusion

For anyone who likes South Park, or is just up for a laugh, this is the game for you. From start to finish I was in stitches. It’s such a clever game, with absolutely absurd stories and quests, exactly what you’d expect from the creators of South Park. Above all the game plays well and is enjoyable. It’s not just a load of gimmicks thrown into a poor excuse for a game, it’s well thought out and designed exceptionally well.

I cannot fault the game. It really is a must have.



South Park The Stick Of Truth Impressions

So I’m four hours into South Park The Stick Of Truth and so far I’m impressed. I’ve been following the news leading up to the game’s launch and was feeling pretty apprehensive about the title landing on my machine, so much promise, could it really deliver?

The short answer is yes. I know I’m only a short way into the game but I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much. Transferring the style and content from the TV show, and putting it into a much longer and open-ended game experience, was always going to prove difficult. What worried me was the potential for this game to grow dull in some areas, slowing down as the player is forced to trawl through filler, repeating the same content over and over again. So far there has been nothing like this.

South Park The Stick Of Truth has nailed both the gameplay and the content. Considering this is a South Park game I was expecting relatively basic and dull gameplay, the content keeping it afloat. However the gameplay holds its own, offering a turn by turn based combat system that wouldn’t look too unfamiliar in a Final Fantasy title. I’d even go as far to say that the combat in The Stick Of Truth holds up better than a lot of other turn based combat titles I’ve played in recent years.

Exploring the town of South Park offers players a familiar setting to search, offering laughs along the way. I’ve found myself looking for all of the side quests and hidden content, checking out all of the item names I find along the way, purely because it’s all so hilarious and clever.

I’ll post my review once I’m through with the game but I can already tell you that this game is fantastic. If you’re a fan of South Park then you need this game. It really has lived up to all of its promise and potential.

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Zelda A Link Between Two Worlds Impressions

I’ll admit, I’ve never really gotten along with Zelda games. I attempted to give it a go on the N64 when it first came out and I enjoyed it a little but it wasn’t one of my favourites. My 3DS has been a little neglected, growing unloved now I don’t sink much time into Pokemon so I needed a new game. I saw the reviews and user opinions of Zelda A Link Between Two Worlds, and decided to give it a go.

My first few hours have been great fun. It’s a pretty casual game and looks very nice. The puzzles are fun, and the world is enjoyable to explore, a fantastic art style really shining through on the 3DS.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this game but so far I’ve had a blast, wandering the kingdom of Hyrule and battling a range of enemies. I’ll post a full review once I’m done with the game but so far so good! Let’s hope it keeps it up.

 

Counter Strike Go Review

Introduction

A remake of a classic, or rather an upgrade of one. When I first saw Counter Strike Go in action I wasn’t sure if I was excited or terrified, it is a game that I sunk countless hours of my childhood into after all. With the current trend of so many shooters turning into over the top, fast paced chaos I was a little apprehensive. I’m glad to say there really was no reason to be nervous.

Gameplay

For anyone who has played Counter Strike in the past you will be familiar with the gameplay of Counter Strike Go. Chose a side, terrorist or counter terrorist, then fight along side your team mates to carry out map objectives that range from bomb defusal to hostage rescue.

The great thing about Counter Strike is the pace, it’s not too fast, it’s not over the top with Michael Bay style explosions, it’s just right. You’ll work along side your team and use tactics to your advantage, with every shot and kill making a difference. Fire fights in corridors are intense, evenly matching all players and skill counts for something.

For the hardcore amongst you there is a competitive mode where you will need to purchase body armour during matches and your death cam will be limited to your own team. For the casual amongst you theres a casual mode, giving you an open death cam to watch all the players regardless of the team and no need to buy armour, just decide on your weapons and go complete your objective. This separation of players is fantastic as you rarely encounter people who are playing for different reasons to you.

Graphics

The graphics wont leave your jaw hanging open, it’s nothing to really write home about. However Counter Strike Go isn’t about graphics, it’s about simple and balanced gameplay and the graphics fit nicely with this. Character models have an improved level of detail over previous versions and the level design looks pretty good. One major improvement is the number of different character models which vary depending on the level you participate in. The generic four character models are gone.

What I liked

The pacing and combat has me sold. Valve has got this spot on, offering up a solid shooter with amazing gameplay. This isn’t another generic shooter, it’s a team based game with some brilliant competitive play. You’ll find yourself locked in one on one firefights or battling against a squad from the enemy team. This game offers one of the best FPS experiences.

What I disliked

There are so many attempts to get you to spend your cash on in game add-ons. Now I should point out that all the purchases you can make are purely aesthetic, they aren’t pay to win, but they are pretty consistent. At the end of each match people will randomly receive new weapon skins and occasionally stickers or weapon cases. The skins are great but the stickers and weapon cases need keys to unlock, keys you need to purchase.

Conclusion

If you’re a fan of Counter Strike then this game is a must. Valve haven’t destroyed it or altered it beyond recognition, they’ve updated it. Even if you haven’t played Counter Strike and you’re a fan of good solid shooters then I recommend this game. The Counter Strike games are some of the best shooters I’ve played and CSGO doesn’t fail to deliver.