Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag review

Yo Ho a pirates life for me

Assassins Creed 4 left a lot to be expected after playing through Assassins Creed 3. The previous game really was the black sheep of the entire franchise, suffering from so many issues and just overall not being much fun. It is not just me that thinks that, many a fan of the Assassins Creed franchise agree that 3 was not as good as it could have been, and that Black Flag had to be the game that redeems the franchise. While I will say that Black Flag has many issues of its own it does redeem the franchise and turns out to be a good new entry.

The first matter of business in this respect, was ensuring the main character wasn’t as boring as Haytham or Conner. The person you play as, is often very important in whether you will enjoy a game or not, that was half of Assassins Creed 3’s problem, it had pretty boring characters, for Assassins Creed 4 we see an entirely different character to what we have seen before. Edward Kenway is not out to do things for honour or even revenge, all Edward wants is money, and throughout the entire length of the story he often goes on about money and the right price, but still this doesn’t make him a bad character his dedication to the pirates and his ambitions are what help to drive the game.

For the full review of Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag click here.

 

 

 

The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker HD review

Set Sail for a glorious HD remake.

Platform: Wii U

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

Score: 9.5

Remakes are often a great thing for the gaming industry, they allow developers to provide an experience that has been previously enjoyed by many before but also fill space between major releases. A better part about these remakes is that new players get to experience the game for the first time and receive the best version of the game. Developers also get to use this chance to fix any issues that both the developers themselves and the general public had with the game and add anything that they feel could improve the game, as is the case with Wind Waker.

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker was already an amazing game on the GameCube with plenty of features going for it that just made it fun. Arguably one of the most iconic features of Wind Waker was its presentation, the beautiful mixture presented by the cel-shaded cartoon-like characters mixed with the beauty of the cel-shaded landscape that existed upon the great sea. It was hard to believe it could get any more beautiful but yet this HD remake has added so much to the look and feel of the game. The skies and the oceans have never looked better, providing beautiful blue textures to the world. Most of the time it was almost impossible to not just stop and sweep around to look at the beauty of the world’s many islands, flowing oceans and fluffy clouds.

For the full review head over to Gameluster.com, you can find more reviews, news and opinion pieces by myself and a series of far better writers for you to read there. Or to more precise you can find the full review of this game here.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze review

 This review was originally published on Gameluster.com on the 11th of March.

Platform: Wii U

Players: One to two

Developer: Retro Studios

Publisher: Nintendo

Score: 9.5

I must be the odd one of the Donkey Kong fan base, while many praised Donkey Kong Country Returns in 2010 on the Wii I found I couldn’t have cared less about it as I didn’t really enjoy it. In fact it has been 15 years since I last really enjoyed a Donkey Kong game and that was Donkey Kong 64. But even with that I still felt compelled to give the ape another shot and I am glad I did as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze recaptures the magic of the older games while adding to it to create one of the best 2D platformers in a long time.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze begins with Donkey Kong and friends Diddy, Dixie and Cranky celebrating Donkey Kong’s birthday. During this little bit everything seems at peace on DK island but as you would expect this peace is short lived as suddenly from across the water comes a new series of arctic animals which are the enemies known as the Snowmads. In the blow of a horn they freeze Donkey Kong’s island and send Donkey Kong and his friends flying across the ocean and they must start their journey back to save their home.

DKC-TP-1

Level design is key to creating a fun and stable 2D platformer and at all turns Tropical Freeze does this right. Set across 6 islands, each island provides a diverse theme from the other islands and this continues into the very design itself for each level. At no point does any level feel repetitive or like you have been there previously as each level usually adds something new to keep things interesting right up until the end of the game. As you journey across islands levels hold the theme of the African savannah, the traditional jungle, the frozen Donkey Kong island, an island filled with fruit based levels from a fruit factory and even the return of underwater levels. It is a little thing but I was glad to see Donkey Kong able to swim again and so fluently that it makes levels more interesting.

While many of the levels in the game do feel diverse there are definitely a few standouts among the bunch. In one particular level you must ride a mine cart through a sawmill which builds the obstacles out in front of you and halfway through turns into a raft ride, another has you running through a burning savannah requiring that you at times put out fires to proceed, another has you running across a savannah with it dancing to the music and another that literally builds as you go through the level. These may be the standouts for me but each level holds a special place that makes them all fun.

donkey-kong-country-tropical-freeze-10

One of the best additions to the game is the dynamic camera which adds new depth to each level it appears in. It doesn’t appear very often but in a selection of levels it adds a new challenge as well as providing some great views. For the purposes of barrel blasting, rocket barrel riding, and riding mine carts the camera added to each level by providing great opportunity to see the amazing design and also provide new challenges such as changing rails and barrel blasting across locations.

The music in the game is also very good. Retro Studios has gotten hold of Donkey Kong Country music master David Wise to create some beautiful and well done scores behind each level. Most levels have some fantastic music to them which is a joy to listen to and make me want to stop just to listen to each one. Particularly when I came across themes I recognized from the older games which have been brilliantly redone, such as the beautiful Aquatic Ambiance.

Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-Official-Screenshots-Nintendo-007

The ability to change supporting characters is one of the best changes Retro has made to the games as we got to see new ways to play and new opportunities for challenge. As usual we got to see Diddy as a supporting character, but we also got to see the return of Dixie and the introduction of Cranky as a playable character. At different points each character has their use but mostly they are used for their additional jumping abilities. Diddy helps to keep you hovering for longer, Dixie adds a form of double jump and Cranky uses his cane like a pogo stick to jump on enemies and little spikes in the ground. Through most of my playthrough I spent my time playing with Dixie as her abilities far surpass Diddy and Cranky’s. In fact I only ever used Diddy if that was my only choice or by accident as I otherwise never actually had a reason to choose him over Dixie.

Retro has hit the perfect difficulty spike for Tropical Freeze continuing from  what Returns did right. The early levels in the game are never overly challenging and are more to teach you how to play, and any deaths are usually just stupid mistakes. Further down the track the levels do start to get challenging, filled with timed jump gaps, tight spots and careful jumps. Even the enemies themselves add to the challenge with new types recurringly added that change up the way you play and even at times being almost unavoidable. Further the levels themselves with the many platforms and the rocket barrel levels provide a decent challenge in timing movements.donkey-kong-tropical-freeze-seal-boss

Likewise, the boss battles in the game are equally challenging. They never get to a point where they are unbeatable or almost impossible but they do put up quite a fight. From beginning to end each boss battle keeps you on your toes as they are often unpredictable and often they are quite hard to hit, requiring adequate timing to launch a throw or jump on a specific part of them. Also it was nice to know that the bosses never repeat themselves and each one is as unique as the last.

Retro Studios did miss out on a few opportunities with Tropical Freeze, namely my biggest issue being the use of the Gamepad. If you are playing on the TV then the Gamepad’s screen is completely blank which makes it feel mostly useless. This was actually my preferred controller though, and because this annoyed me I ended up using the option to play solely on the Gamepad, as it gave the controller more meaning though I do wish Retro had found some significant points for the controller.

Multiplayer also fails to really get anywhere often the second player has a character which has its individual abilities at a better standard then the player that is playing as Donkey Kong. Often I found lead to deaths for myself as Donkey Kong because the other player was faster then myself and in other levels the paths would crumble away under my feet because they would get there first or even or the opposite way around. The multiplayer can work but only if the two players can work in sync and when they’re not it is a travesty, but working together and looking out for one another is the key so hopefully you can find a good partner otherwise I would recommend the single player only.

DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreezeScreen27

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a definite stand out in the Wii U’s library and in my eyes a true return to what made the original Donkey Kong Country games so fun. In future I would like to see a Donkey Kong game in the same vein as Donkey Kong 64 but for now this is enough of a tide over that is still fun and reminiscent of the past. If you own a Wii U this game can’t be missed and we must give our thanks to Retro Studios for making this excellent game.

Score breakdown

Gameplay: 10

Presentation: 10

Replayability: 9

Story: 6

Sledgehammer Games confirms Advanced Warfare not coming to Wii U

After month of will they, won’t they the fate of a Wii U version of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare has been confirmed and might I just say I am not happy with the end result. Sledgehammer games co-founder Micheal Condrey has officially made confirmation that no Wii U version will be made of this entry. This was all said in a quick statement:

no, no WiiU. That was an Activision decision. We are focused on XboxOne, PS4, and PC.

So there we have it the fate has been decided and Wii U players are left disappointed that Activision is showing it’s true colours and not even providing the best console platform for Call of Duty the latest Call of Duty game.I am now annoyed as I have said quite nicely in the past the Wii U provides the best experience for a Call of Duty game and this abandonment might just lose some of the new players who started on the Wii U.

However all hope may not be lost, if another studio can step in and make a Wii U port then we will be in luck, however this close to release the chances are unlikely and now we may as well go into a corner wrap ourselves up and cry like the banana fairy in Donkey Kong 64.

Super Smash Brothers Picture of the day 8/19/14 Zero Suit Samus alternate costume

You know what I think Sakurai is trying to get quite a bit of male attention in Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U and 3DS as today’s picture is quite well suggesting. While strictly Sakurai is explaining that Smash Brothers will feature some alternate costumes for Zero Suit Samus I can’t help but have my own thoughts turn towards what many males will be thinking, trust me I have read enough random game articles to know primarily that people believe that Zero Suit Samus is one of the most attractive Video Game characters constantly insinuated by the nice personality references made about the character. So here is Sakurai’s latest picture of the day for you to see and I am certain if you are a male stare at.

Pic of the day. Looking at the number of days we have left for development, it would be an impossible task to create this… That’s what I told my staff. But thanks to the determination of her female designer, these Zero Suit outfits got completed in time. From the ending of Metroid: Zero Mission, here’s Samus in shorts!

See do you see what I am talking about. I know this costume decision is strictly because of a Metroid game reference but still it is an interesting costume choice that I didn’t see coming particularly from Nintendo. I now wonder what is next?

Ubisoft says Nintendo players don’t buy Assassins Creed games

Prior to the Wii U my interest in the Assassins Creed franchise was basically nonexistent, I found them boring and not of interest. However when I finally played Assassins Creed 4 earlier this year on my Wii U, I was in heaven the game was a perfect fit for the Wii U providing a map on my screen and a mostly great game. Following this I was hoping for the next Assassins Creed game to hit the Wii U but as it seems my hopes are broken and basically are never going to be repaired with Ubisoft now telling us that Assassins Creed is not coming to the Wii U at all because Nintendo players have no interest. This is basically why we won’t be seeing either of this years releases.

While speaking with Game Informer at Gamescom last week, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained:

“It’s very simple. What we see is that Nintendo customers don’t buy Assassin’s Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers.”

Guillemot also spoke about Ubisoft’s shift in focus on Wii U:

“What we see is that they are very interested in Just Dance, very interested by other kinds of games. So what we are trying to do is to focus more on the types of games they are interested in.”

And what of Watch Dogs, which has long been planned for Nintendo’s console? Fortunately, Guillemot once again confirmed that it’s still in the pipeline:

“[Watch Dogs] is coming to Wii U. It will be the only mature game we publish on it.”

It really is a shame that Ubisoft has no intention for Assassins Creed on the Wii U, I bought both games and played them and similar to my thoughts on Call of Duty I believe Assassins Creed has its best place on the Wii U and by not giving Nintendo players Assassins Creed Ubisoft are once again isolating Nintendo fans with the franchise. Maybe part of the problem is that Nintendo players have never had a reason to buy Assassins Creed and some only want to play on a certain platform. My recommendation for Ubisoft is that they maybe make an exclusive Assassins Creed to fully test the waters and if it fails then sure take it away from us. So Nintendo it is up to you maybe you need to talk to Ubisoft and organize an exclusive or even another Assassins Creed.

Toy Box Starter Pack announced for Disney Infinity 2.0

Disney Infinity 2.0 is set to be big we already know that with some of the worlds biggest characters stepping out into figurines ready to jump into a videogame that might actually be fun. When Disney Infinity launched last year I believe it was the toybox mode that stood out above all else that people wanted to get their hands on and make their own own world instead of the more scripted playsets. Disney Interactive has now announced that Disney Infinity 2.0 toy box adventure pack is coming and is set for release this November. Even though the game won’t include any of the games playsets this version of the game will still remain 100% compatible with all of the 2.0 playsets.

By purchasing the Toy Box Starter Pack, consumers can experience the most popular mode of Disney Infinity, unlock Disney-themed content, and buy additional figures and Play Sets separately.

The Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack will include the following:

  • The Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) video game – The Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack and Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack both include the same video game disc
  • Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) base
  • (2) Disney Originals Figures (Merida and Stitch)
  • (2) Disney Originals “Toy Box Game Discs” – Stitch’s Tropical Rescue and Brave Forest Siege
  • (1) Web code card
  • (1) poster

Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition) will be available on November 4 for $59.99.

Source: Disney Interactive PR

Rumour: Nintendo Remastered Classic coming next year

Remastering big games is a big thing at the moment giving players a chance to replay some of their favourite experiences from over the years, on top of this it also gives new players their chance to experience the classic. According to a new rumour we are set to see a new remastered game from a past generation delivered by Nintendo next year, this rumour actually has quite a likeness to be true given the reporters past history if what they were right about this year. This is what the guy had to say

“It’s perfect to fill gaps in the line-up,” and “You’re gonna love it, but it’s a Remaster,” . This is apparently a source that has been correct in his predictions of other Nintendo titles in the past, NeoGAF credits him on predictions about Devil’s Third for Wii U as well as Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Heres hoping that this person is correct and that a remastered classic is in the works to come to hopefully the Wii U or maybe the 3DS. Going through it my head is filled with possibilities and at the current moment the most likely candidate is Majora’s Mask and if not that a Wii or Gamecube game otherwise seem most likely as upping them to a HD game if much easier. Personally though I am really hoping this is true and it is a Nintendo 64 game as there a great library of games that I would really like to play again or for the first time, but mostly it is Donkey Kong 64 that I most hope for as that is one of the best games ever made.

Watch Dogs Review

Platform: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, PC, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

Score: 8

When games are highly publicized or even a follow up entry to a major franchise they bring with them a lot of expectations, due to these expectations we come to often expect a certain level of quality and enjoyment particularly if we look at the history of the developers. With this example we must look at Watch Dogs for the past two years at least Watch Dogs has been on a little thing called the hype train where the developers and gaming community talk the game up and in the end often result in unrealistic expectations, the way Watch Dogs was spoken of by Ubisoft it was set to be a perfect game that should have scored perfect 10’s all around of course this is not the case and Watch Dogs has resulted in actually being not as good as possibly intended. The reason this is a problem in a sense is just how well Ubisoft has done with other games of a similar style to Watch Dogs such as the Assassins Creed franchise and unfortunately it seems Ubisoft’s flare is not as great as it could have been in this game.

One of the key things that Ubisoft has done in the past is develop fun and interesting stories for their games that the player can follow with quite a lot of enjoyment. The big red flag immediately is present from the very beginning of Watch Dogs story, essentially trying to play on an idea that a wrong can be amended by another wrong which essentially leads us to the plotline of Watch Dogs where you as supposed protagonist Aiden Pierce are performing a further wrong to deal with the second wrong. The plotline never gets very deep and while at the start it is somewhat easy to follow the events presented within the game leave the story of Watch Dogs with very little appeal. But to at least give an idea of what is going on, after messing up at a job trying to steal money from people Aiden is attacked by a gun for hire who kills his niece. One year later you are on a revenge streak to find the people who killed her using your selected skills of hacking and the story just becomes much more convoluted and tricky from there.

watch-dogs-screenshot-2

The story really falls short and does not provide a reason to stick with the game but at least at this point the gameplay jumps in and really gives you a reason to keep playing. Watch Dogs follows the standard tradition of Ubisoft franchises dropping us in a big and enjoyable wide Open World for you to explore, the city of Chicago is evolved into a futuristic area that is ripe for exploration and plays primarily into the incredible gameplay. Although the world of Watch Dogs primarily is set a few years in the past it still seems so futuristic and the abilities play into a future that seems not to far away in this modern era. As phones and other technologies are built up and more of our identity is transferred across the internet this is primarily where Watch Dogs comes in, the city of Chicago is essentially a playground of technology and the identity’s of people that plays into how the world is changing, and in a way this is what Watch Dogs does it carries over a view into where the future is going and the capabilities that a selected group of people could have on the world.

Ordinarily I would not find it interesting to know who people are particularly in a game that these characters are meaningless but in the case of Watch Dogs this is one of the best parts about the game. Watch Dogs plays into the idea of a connected world and this constantly evidenced with every person I met along my way, seeing the profile of every person specifying who they are there age and even a key little factoid good or bad about them was quite interesting . This also them played into some of my decisions on how I obtained money from, through the game there are several opportunities to obtain money from a selection of people around the city by hacking their bank account and often to make the decision of whether or not I got money from them. If they had high ambitions and had good intentions I would leave them alone, however if they were known drug enthusiasts or any other bad  sort of thing I never saw the harm in ripping money away from these bad people. Likewise due to these people you can also receive new cars to drive and also new music to listen to based on what some of these people like making the city feel even more real with every person you come across.

Watch-Dogs-Gamplay-Series_Part1_Hacking

The city of Chicago is a playground under your control, you have the power to control the balance of activities within the city and actively mess with the world as a whole, essentially saying Chicago is your world and you have the power to control. The world is certainly changing and Watch Dogs paints a picture showing how the world is going to be and the control technology has over events, from the changing of a set of traffic lights to the power to open a garage door the power to control this world is what makes things interesting and carries you through the game. For me personally the idea of controlling the world is really the draws in point to Watch Dogs and freely making choices and causing mayhem in the world is highly satisfying. Racing through Chicago the world is literally littered with things that can be hacked to cause mayhem and somewhat enjoyment, it is often that I would find myself standing on a street corner setting off traffic lights just to see cars crash into each other for amusement, likewise I would also enjoy hacking bridges to mess with cars.

Throughout the story of Watch Dogs there are countless uses and opportunities for the hacking ability and often through the story hacking traffic lights and unlocking barricades are key parts of stopping enemies in chase sequences whether you are the chase or the chasee. Hacking also comes as a key part of combat and escaping enemies, there are often situations surrounding combat that allow you to take out enemies such as often sitting in the shadows you can find places to hack in order to cause explosions or even distract enemies in order to get past them. The same tricks are often carried over to missions that require you to go undetected and ensuring you make use of these different abilities and places in the environment becomes key to survival, this is mostly because you can’t take many shots before dying. Often because of this weakness it means the cover system while good does not always allow gun play to be a good option unless you know how to quickly line up a shot, in a sense this is where the hacking ability forces you to get creative and use the environment and the people to your advantage.

watch-dogs-oxcgn_screenshot-9

As you go through the game you slowly unlock skill points and these can be used to further your own skills and make use of the pretty cool skill tree, it is only small but the skill tree has four different branches with a small selection of different abilities that can be unlocked. The points of the skill tree include the evolution of the hacking abilities, driving skills, weapon crafting and combat, I enjoyed further extending my hacking abilities with the skill tree allowing me to break into cars without alerting the police as well as allowing a small selection of other abilities to be used in order to make better use of my control in the city and better complete missions.

Extending on the game is the many side missions that fill Chicago, all throughout the city are little investigation missions, criminal convoys, gang hideouts and plenty more. These missions actually extend interest into the game and keep a reason to explore the city from beginning to long after the game is finished, these also keep things going even through the less than satisfying story.

watch-dogs

While I have argued that the story of Watch Dogs remains less then satisfying throughout, the basic gameplay does at least keep things interesting throughout. Ubisoft’s usual flair for storytelling one of the few reasons why I liked Assassins Creed 3 fails to ever be present in Watch Dogs and while is an issue the brilliant ideas in the game help keep things fun and entertaining, as well as this Ubisoft’s history of great game mechanics are seen and enjoyable in the game. On a side note I find the language, nudity and other themes unjustified in the game and pointless and I don’t understand why they had the insistence to include these in the game as they do feel irrelevant.

 

Meta Knight confirmed for Smash Brothers for Wii U and 3DS

Just the other day during one of Sakurai’s picture’s of the day he showed off Mii Fighters and how they can be disguised to a minor extent as other characters, one of these characters shown was Samus an original character and Meta Knight a character that appeared in Brawl but had yet to be confirmed for the new game. However this picture did lead to speculation about Meta Knight appearing in the game and they would be correct as the official Smash Brothers website has now been updated to include Meta Knight as a returning character which for Meta Knight fans is a great thing. The one thing wonder though is whether Meta Knight will be banned once again from competition still to the day I have no clue why he was banned in the first place as he has no moves that I would classify as bad or uneven.