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I played OverWatch for the First Time and it was Hard to Kick old CoD Habits.

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Overwatch is currently enjoying a major gaming boom as it celebrates its one year anniversary since release while surpassing the 30 million registered players mark.  To celebrate the one year milestone, Blizzard Entertainment opened up the game for everyone to play a “try before they buy” session, offering a weekend of free play to those not yet submerged in the world of Overwatch.

While I didn’t partake in the free offer, I did go out and purchase a physical copy of the game (50% off thanks to the one year celebrations) and it turns out, this game is not like any game out there on the market.

Overwatch is a first person shooter that offers only a online multiplayer mode and falls somewhere between the grittiness of Call of Duty, the team based game-play of Destiny and wackiness of Grand Theft Auto V Online.

Coming off a heavy dose of Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered, I was not ready for how different and difficult to adjust to, Overwatch was going to be.  Don’t go off alone, don’t expect solo based kill streaks, don’t assume you get all your characters information just off what’s in-front of you on screen.  I learned the hard way that there is a right way and a wrong way to play this game.

There are currently 24 playable characters on the Overwatch roster, each one different from the other yet grouped together in their base class skills.  From healers to tanks, offence and sharp shooters, the character you choose to play will have a vast effect on how the team unites to win the match.

A character like Ana for instance, is equipped with a sniper rifle, stun pistol and a biotic grenade.  While her rifle can inflict damage to opponents, it also, when targeted at team mates, heals them.  The same applies to the biotic grenade and can be useful for a quick burst of health to ailing team mates earning you bonus points.

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The other sniper wielding character – Widowmaker – offers no health support, though she’s more nimble in her ability to reach high sniper nests and has a stronger damage count on her rifle.

Knowing just how your character works will enable better team participation though be prepared to substitute a high kill rate for high team health regeneration or damage blocking rate.

There are certain characters that will always be picked by other players – bow master Hanzo, scrap gun wielding Roadhog, robotic defense unit Bastion and ninja Genji are guaranteed to be in a starting line-up but it’s how you use your character to bounce off those selected ones that can make a difference.

Unlike CoD, going out as a lone wolf with a sniper rifle is not going to ensure a high kill streak or a grand team win.  Overwatch is all about team play – which characters have been selected, how they interact with each other and how you put your best foot forward to ensure your team wins.  The game modes in Overwatch aren’t aimed for high kills, it’s all about zone points and that’s how the characters within the game have been created.

I will admit, after two hours in, I was ready to give up.  Some characters like Genji, McCree and Bastion felt way overpowered against my Tracer or Lucio with their seemingly perfect hit rate and bullet strength.  It wasn’t until I stepped away from the console and researched into just how certain characters played that I began to understand.

I was drawn to Ana from the get go with her brooding hood and long scattered rags but couldn’t get a hang of why her sniper rifle wasn’t as good as widowmakers, and that was because Ana was more about team support versus solo kills and just like her, I learnt Pharah works better from above than on ground level and Tracer requires lightning quick reflexes to get the kills. These things that I couldn’t pick up from game play  were discovered from seeing and reading how other experienced players used these characters.

Once I understood the purpose of Overwatch, I began to enjoy it more and more.  Sure Bastion’s turret is like the most inanely annoying thing on a map but there is a way around it (Ana’s sleep dart!!) and I’m now OK with not aiming for that high kill streak because I know that’s not necessarily going to win us the match and yes, loot boxes are incredibly frustrating especially when you like to use Ana but keep unlocking items for Winston who you never use – but that’s another discussion all together.

Overwatch’s free weekend of play is over, but is available for purchase in digital and physical copy formats for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Friday the 13th: The Game, see’s Jason Gain a Fast Warp Ability.

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Not for the squeamish, the up-coming Friday the 13th: The Game coming soon to consoles and windows dropped a new trailer showcasing some more of the classic killer and his new ability to ‘fast warp’ to certain locations within the camp ground map.

Check it out below.

   

The game, due for release later this year, is a third person horror/survival multiplayer game which will see players take on the role of a (more than likely doomed) counselor or the monster himself Jason Voorhees.  It is your aim to either escape or kill, and while playing as a counselor allows you to work together to try and take Jason down, if you have to kill off your camp mate to save yourself….you’ll be able to do that too.

The devs have taken inspiration straight from the long running series and have carefully crafted the environment of Camp Crystal Lake, Jason and the camp counselors to remind us of everything we remember about Friday the 13th, right down to the visual fidelity of the 80’s.

Starting out strictly as a multiplayer game, Friday the 13th has now evolved into including a single player aspect thanks to increased interest from fans and extra funding.  It is this new addition that has seen the release pushed until “sometime early 2017”.

“Single player will consist of objective-based missions where you take control of Jason. You’ll get to see missions that will remind you of the movies, as well as entirely new scenarios to sink your machete into!”

To get a feel of what to expect – and what can be done, check out Pax West 2016 Kill Montage trailer below.  Be warned, even for digital content, it’s graphic!

For all the news on the games release plus extra videos and behind the scenes info check out the official website.

Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance Bundle Goes Live For PS4

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Classic console game series Marvel Ultimate Alliance has been given a re-birth as Activision and Marvel bring the classic series to next gen consoles but it’s not all good news as fans balk at the costly price.

Boasting one of the biggest rosters ever seen in any Marvel based game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and it’s follow-up Ultimate Alliance 2 have been brought to next gen consoles allowing old fans to replay the classic games and new fans the chance to finally play those games not available on current consoles.  The first Marvel Ultimate Alliance features 22 playable characters including Captain America, Black Panther, Storm and The Invisible Woman and included more than 140 iconic Marvel characters such as Psylocke, Winter Soldier and Loki spread across its story.  Players can customize and upgrade their squad of heroes in the single-player campaign, co-op and competitive online and local multiplayer for up to four players.

It’s successor, 2009’s Ultimate Alliance 2 followed the Marvel Civil War story line and included an impressive roster similar to the games first outing.

From Executive Producer Mike Jones, “The team did work really hard on improving performance, some UI and graphic enhancements as well as making the games compatible with modern platform features.” Jones adds that the games “play really smooth.”                                                                                                                                                                                                 Upon original release, both games included DLC that included extra characters, alternate outfits and comic missions but since the bundle’s release, it’s been noted the DLC that was part of Ultimate Alliance is missing while UA2 does include the DLC.  It’s a bit of a kick in the face for fans who weren’t told about this prior to purchasing the bundle.

Speaking of which, both games, currently available on the Aussie PSN store can be bought separate for $50 each (yes $50 per game!!!) or as a bundle for $60.  While most are excited about seeing the games available on their next gen console, the high price point on decade old games – some of which are missing dlc – is another misstep.

 

 

 

The Marvel Ultimate Alliance bundle is available for PS4 and PC now and is set for a July 28th release on Xbox 1

Fallout 4 DLC Content Calendar Revealed

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Fallout 4 DLC has been announced

News on Fallout 4 DLC has been pretty scarce since the games release late last year and while we knew it was coming, just how much was coming and what we would get was being kept a surprise but yesterday, Bethesda let the cat out of the bag and let us all in on what’s to come.

In an update on their blog, Bethesda revealed the first wave of DLC content, announced a price hike for season passes and confirmed that mods were in fact on their way.

The first of the three announced DLC packs titled Automatron (March 2016 release) will see players hunting the wasteland for evil robots that have been released by the mysterious Mechanist. As players go about finding and destroying these robots, we’ll be able to harvest parts and build and mod our own custom robots that we can assign as companions. From Bethesda: “Choose from hundreds of mods; mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons like the all-new lightning chain gun. Even customize their paint schemes and choose their voices!

The second DLC titled Wasteland Workshop (April 2016 release) will see players literally hunting and taming their own wasteland creatures. Raiders to Mirelurks to Deathclaws, players will be able to tame them or set them off in battle against each other. The second part of this DLC looks to address one of the games biggest and most interactive features of settlement building (which I have come to love) and will include a stack of new settlement design options including additional lighting, letter kits and more.

The third and final DLC release is the biggest and most promising of the lot, titled Far Harbor (May 2016 release) is a full game add-on that will see players taking on a new case from Valentine’s Detective Agency to find a missing woman that will see you travel to the coast of Maine to the mysterious island of Far Harbor, where higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world. An unrest has evolved between the townspeople, the synths and the children of the Atom and it’s your responsibility to find this missing woman while trying to evoke peace between the factions.

Bethesda is promising this third DLC will be the biggest landmass add-on they’ve ever created, filled with “new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures and dungeons. Become more powerful with new, higher-level armor and weapons. The choices are all yours.”

While only three DLC announcements have been made, Bethesda are promising much much more is on it’s way and have therefore upped the season pass plan from US$29.99 to $49.99 (£24.99 to £39.99 GBP; $49.95 to $79.95 AUD). For users who have already bought the season pass, you guys are set and no further charges will be given. Those not yet with the season pass will still be able to nab the cheaper pass up until Feb 29th when the price increases on March 1st 2016.

Beyond this announcement, Bethesda have also announced beta testing for these new DLC packs will be open to players who have joined their Bethesda.net website (registration is still open) and those lucky enough to be given the option of playing the beta’s will also be able to level up and keep their stats as they progress.

Bethesda are still working on the highly anticipated ‘creation kit’ modding tool for PC and console users.

For all the info on the upcoming DLC packs click here

More Info Released on Black Ops 3 Character Customizations

As previously confirmed, female soldiers will be playable in both multiplayer and campaign modes
As previously confirmed, female soldiers will be playable in both multiplayer and campaign modes

It’s been some time since the Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Beta was released and we all got to see a small glimpse of just what Treyarch has in stall for the newest installment of the first person shooter series.  With less an a month to go before the full game drops, some more information about the customization in both multiplayer and campaign mode has come to light.

Related Topic: First good and bad impressions of Black Ops 3 

Treyarch’s game design director David Vonderhaar recently confirmed that yes, customization is coming to multiplayer..

The tweet was quickly followed up with a screen shot showcasing the customization screen…

Here, we can see head, body and showcase weapon options with ‘variants’ listed in between each category – no word yet on what that entails – plus a taunts and gestures option included.

When it comes to campaign mode, players WILL be able to play as either a male or female soldier and will also have the ability to customize this character which will also transfer into cut scenes.  Check it out in the video below (3:10 mark) which shows the option to change gender, head and body load outs.

While not as in-depth as Advanced Warfare, the customization options offered up so far do mean that the clone-experience we all went through in the beta will not be happening in the full game!

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 will be available on November 6th for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC. For the first time ever in the series, the game also features a 4 player campaign for PC and current generation consoles.

Hands On Look at Star Wars Battlefront: The Good and The Dark Side

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Just one of the many randomly generated characters in the STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Beta

Star Wars fans unite as the playable beta for the soon-to-be-released Battlefront game is now open for play and it’s FREE for all PS4, Xbox1 and PC users!  While I may not be the biggest star wars fan, I am fond of the series and what it has to offer to both cinemas and gaming and by the looks of it, both are set to make a big impact on fans.

The free playable beta straight up offers three modes of play – a ‘survival’ mode on tatooine that can either be played solo or with a friend in co-op that has you as a rebel fighter going up against hoards of storm troopers, shock troopers and AT-TE’s.  There’s also two multiplayer modes open for play with ‘drop zone’ that is basically a zone wars game and the larger scale ‘walker assault’ which pits rebel soldiers against storm troopers, AT-AT’s, player controlled tie fighters, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Of the three game modes, it’s the ‘walker assault’ that’s the biggest draw card showcasing a ridiculously large free-roam map with a total of 40 players within a single game.  For the most part, I found myself splitting my time between the two multiplayer maps enjoying both game modes equally.

That said, the beta is not without it’s problems even though the game will appeal to both star wars fans and first person shooter fans.

THE GOOD

*The graphics are just insane.  Like crazy insane.  The snowy, rocky landscape featured in Hoth’s ‘walker attack’ is crisp and lush and textured while the reddish and brooding terrain on Sullust in ‘drop zone’ is equally stunning.  From steaming sinkholes to snow capped mountains, DICE have truly created a beautiful looking game.  Even when in a 20v20 game of Walker Attack, everything is incredibly detailed and sparse and visual.

*Game play is incredibly smooth.  All three game modes available, while mostly standardized within multiplayer games, feel new and fresh and make use of the entire map.  Weapons don’t feel over powered and the bonus cycler rifle is a personal favorite weapon.

*Servers ran well and so far have had no issue with getting kicked out of a game, lagging or even finding a game.  Even the ability to join friends in the same lobby was pretty pain free thanks to the size of the games.

*The multiplayer hub is a neat idea that allows users -while waiting for a game to start – to customize either their star card hands (more on that later) choose their weapons or customize their player without the worry of being ported into a starting game without saving any changes.  Once ready, you can then jump straight into the game and continue on the fight for good…or evil, though don’t linger for too long as there is a limit of being idle before being booted from the server.

*Customization, while not a feature in the beta, will be open upon the games full release and will include male and female characters.  Storm trooper customization will be limited (no pink and purple storm troopers in this game!) but there is an option to remove the helmet and customize your players head/face.  Rebel soldier customization will be more generous in what it has to offer.

*The game feels like it’s Star Wars.  And in general, that’s what fans want.  Battlefront doesn’t feel like a rip-off or even sub-par, it feels like what we’ve known and loved for all these years.

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Multiplayer lobby
STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ Multiplayer lobby

THE BAD

*The Star Cards your player holds ultimately decide what ‘accessories’ your player holds.  From thermal detonators to sniper rifles to jump packs, each one offers the ability to change up game play.  The downside is that at any given time, you can only hold two cards, though I’ve seen some players with three, and it feels limiting to what you can allow your character to start with.

*The blasters are a great addition to the game and the four available in the beta flow across both troopers and rebel soldiers – but, there are no options for add-ons.  No scopes, no grenades, no quick-cool-down feature.  I guess this would keep things pretty even between teams but once again, feels limiting to what one could do when the game starts.

*Walker Attack is a fantastic game mode – when you’re selected to play on the side of the empire.  The only major downside of this mode is that it’s so one sided with the rebels attempting to outrun the empire and their AT-AT’s and AT-ST’s to stop the assault with coordinated airstrikes via controlled satellites that of the 15 or so games I played, the rebels won just once.

For any damage to be done to the massive AT-AT’s, the rebels must control two uplink points at once to call in a friendly attack but when it’s rebels vs empire troopers and walker vehicles…it all becomes too difficult and one sided.

*Spawning, as per the norm, was a nightmare.  With such massive maps, getting killed only to respawn literally in the middle on nowhere kills the momentum, especially when you have to run to the opposite side of the map just to catch up with other players who found themselves in the same situation.  The flip side is finding the enemy spawning directly behind or even beside you in random sporadic moments of wtf?!.

For what’s on offer in the beta, Battlefront actually impressed me to a point where i’m actually excited to see the whole game once it’s released and finally make the decision to add it to my list of pre-orders.  For EA and DICE, I think they achieved what they set out to make – a game that feels true to the Star Wars status.

Black Ops 3 Character Customization is Starting to Look Very Cool.

Black Ops 3 Multiplayer
                                                      A new screenshot from Black Ops 3 Multiplayer

With less than 2 weeks to go until the Black Ops 3 beta opens for PS4 owners (who have pre ordered the game) more and more information is starting to come out regarding some of the inner workings of the game – more specifically (and what piques my interest) the customization within the game.

With the addition of basic player customization in COD: Ghosts through to the more expanded options in COD: Advanced Warfare, the ability to make your multiplayer character look and feel unique has added an extra layer to the already popular game and with BO3, Treyarch are taking the best of what’s already been offered and fine tuning it to produce a customization aspect that fits more visually with the game.

What would happen in a world without customization.
                                What would happen in a world without customization – a land of clones

From the onset, players will chose one specialist class – Nomad, who can re-spawn from his death spot, Prophet, who has a penchant for guns with electricity shocks, Outrider, who’s bow and explosive arrows offer quick, one-shot kills, Reaper, a robot with a mini gun arm, Seraph, a quick footed powerhouse with a killer handgun, Ruin, who comes with a brutal melee attack and Battery, a tough girl who likes to play with touch exploding frag grenades.  From there, players will have the option to customize their chosen specialist with a selection class locked items.

Taking away from COD:AW the load-outs, gloves, tops, boots, helmets, exos and all the separate customization options and in it’s place, a more appropriate set of customization’s that include head/helmets and full torsos (an exact list of all customization options are still yet to be revealed).  The reason for the bigger/bulkier/restricted change –

As someone who enjoyed the vast amount of options in AW, I can completely understand and support the reasoning behind the change when in reality, the only person really looking at my characters boots and gloves was probably me (though being able to properly check out each players decked out character in the gaming lobby was a cool touch) and during game play, those subtle items are virtually not visible to other players, though just how many options will be available (fingers crossed for more than 5 ugly head options for females that were offered in AW), an option to adjust item color (within reason) and the ability to obtain additional or rare gear (like AW’s exciting supply drops which Treyarch have confirmed are NOT part of Black Ops 3) have not been revealed.

Another change to the character customization is the female base figures.  Where Ghosts and AW finally allowed female soldiers into the game, they were created with the same bulky and muscular body shape as the males….

AW female soldier vs BO3 female soldier
AW female soldier vs BO3 female soldier

While Advanced Warfare toned down (somewhat) the bulkiness of the female form, it was still quite visible to see no real difference between a male character and female character with the exception of the head.  Treyarch have created a completely separate render, graphics and set of animations that, as Treyarch’s studio head Mark Lamia who spoke with playstationlifestyle states “It’s not just a female head on a male body. It’s like a different rig and a different set of animations that they did for the entire game”.  it’s a smart new feature that will allow a form of visual difference to the character and game play without forcing ultimate femininity into the game.

This new gender visual plus customization options also now spill into campaign mode with BO3 becoming the first ever Call of Duty game to offer the ability to not only play the solo story as either a male or female, but also play with various options to fit them out with a unique look – but users must note, PS3 and Xbox users will miss out on the campaign mode as Treyarch are ditching the mode for last gen consoles.

New female specialist available to play in multiplayer
New female specialist ‘Battery’ will be available to play in multiplayer

From COD producer James Blundell (who also spoke to playstationlifestyle) “You can be male, and you can be female. And by the way, that means you’ve got a full female track for the whole thing as well. So male track, female track. Customize that character, change the outfit, weapons, paint job- err, Paintshop, you know, all that good stuff. Equipment that your putting on there. That is all represented in those third-person cameras and you are the hero of that moment.” – this also includes all cut scenes too.

Read about BO3’s new Safehouse feature!

In the end, what we end up with, is the possibility to not only invest time into personalizing our multi-player character, but our campaign character too.  It’s a brand new feature that actually has me contemplating not jumping straight into multi-player for the first time ever and ignoring campaign more for 3 or so months.

Check out some brand new multi-player and campaign mode captures below!

Black Ops 3 five-day beta hits PS4 users August 19th to August 23rd, PC/Xbox from August 26th to August 30th.  Beta will provide access to 3 multiplayer maps, 7 game modes, 8 customizable specialists, weapon customization including paintshop,   weapons, perks, equipment and score-streaks can be unlocked (but won’t transfer to the full game) and for those wanting to know more can check out this drool-worthy 10 minute multi-player clip below!

UPDATE: Oct 2015 – Read more about what to expect for customization when BO3 drops in November!

Fallout 4 Officially Coming this year Plus a Reddit User Spills All!

A screen from Fallout 4 Trailer
A screen from Fallout 4 Trailer

The countdown clock on the Fallout 4 website has officially ended, revealing the official announcement of the Fallout 4 game, with a trailer, heading to PC, Xbox One and PS4 later this year.

Bethesda are keeping information very very close to their chest with no official information released on story-line, how Fallout 4 fits into the Fallout timeline or customization options, though that’s not to say there’s no information floating around the web.  Eleven months ago, a disgruntled, former Bethesda employee (who was fired for dishing out confidential game information) took to reddit to spill all the beans about having played the game and what users can expect.

In Fallout 4, you are in Boston, and it takes place in the year 2287, exactly 10 years after Fallout 3. In Fallout 4, mixing things up, we are making the game more “Story Based” and the player character will finally talk, and narrate his story line” – reddit user SandraReed begins.  “At the beginning of the game, you create your character (You can only be a male in the main story), and afterward, you start the game with a blast. After the blast, you awake to see the building you are standing inside blown apart and your wife, Lydia, dead. Robots and Androids are storming the place, killing and kidnapping the people inside. You, known as “The Officer”, must escape and get revenge.”

Other notable claims include the map of Fallout 4 being three times the size of that in Skyrim, Fallout 4 takes place in Boston, you can import your Fallout 3 data and that could have an impact on the story depending on your previous choices and 5 DLC expansion packs have been scheduled.

Obviously, all this information is speculation until Bethesda play their hand at E3 next week, and here’s hoping the company haven’t taken a step backwards by removing the ability to play as a female character (SandraReed does note female character can be played…once you have finished the main story line).  Users like myself who have followed and played the game from dot one as a female character may feel a bit hard done by that they won’t be able to continue on.

What are your thoughts about the trailer and the revelations released by SandraReed on Reddit?

Star Wars Battlefront Release Date Announced

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The newest installment of  Star Wars Battlefront has gotten a lot of people (myself included) very excited.  Since it’s announcement at the Electronic Arts’ E3 back in 2013 by EA Dice, we’ve all been salivating at the luscious movie-like graphics with each and every teaser reveal.

Now, finally, we have a release date here in Australia.

This third Star Wars Battlefront release (the first by Dice) will be officially released November 19th (perfect timing to coincide with the new Star Wars The Force Awakens movie) with pre-orders now underway with EBgames and other gaming outlets.  And while it’s no new news, ps3 users are being bypassed with this game in favor of PC, PlaySation 4 and Xbox One owners.

Star Wars Battlefront is shaping up to be one of this years most anticipated games with key features including the ability to visit classic planets from the original Star Wars™ trilogy, detailed with an unprecedented amount of realism and sense of authenticity that will transport you to a galaxy far, far away.  Experience amazing digital replicas of the original Star Wars movie models, brought to lifelike fidelity by DICE’s use of photogrammetry technology

Players can engage in epic battles on iconic planets including Hoth, Endor, and Tatooine. Also, bring the fight to the previously unexplored planet, Sullust.  Pilot a diverse set of ground-based vehicles including nimble speeder bikes, massive AT-ATs, and more.  Play as some of the most memorable characters in the Star Wars universe including Darth Vader and Boba Fett and encounter a variety of beloved characters from the original trilogy such as     C-3PO and R2-D2

While no actual game play footage has been made available, the stunning reveal trailer below shows what fans can expect when the game drops.

 Star Wars Battlefront releases here November 19th 2015.