October 16, 2011

Bungie Reveal Destiny

Bungie have finally revealed their new cross platform game. We haven't had a drink of Bungie goodness since the brilliant Halo: Reach game was released three years ago (it seems so long ago!).

Now, after lots of speculation about the title, hints and long bouts of silence, Bungie have officially  revealed xxxxxDestiny xxxx as their new game.

As people have long surmised, it's a massively multiplayer online game. And it's like nothing that has ever been before. Destiny's concept is simply amazing.

It will take a lot to top the Halo series (only cross platform war games with serious advertising budgets such as Call of Duty / Modern Warfare beat it sales wise) and people will be looking to Bungie to do just that - especially as some quarters are fearful that 343 Industries will murder the series with Halo 4.

So while the ideas behind Destiny sound epic, the realization of it will be in the game's execution, and indeed the winning over of Bungie's long time fans.

Indeed it will also be interesting where the classic Halo fan now goes. Will they stay with the Halo series or will they be tempted to the Dark Side by Bungie's new wares? I imagine the guys at HBO will be torn (well actually not, they already have destiny.bungie.org all prepared).  I for one will be dipping my toes in both pools.

Perhaps it's too early to say but my heart is with Halo, my head is with Destiny.

So dear Gears of Halo fan, what do you think of Bungie's announcement?

October 15, 2011

Where are the skulls found on Halo Anniversary?

Where are the skulls found on Halo: CE Anniversary?

One of the additions to the Halo: Combat Evolved has been skulls. These friend of Yorick were introduced in the Halo 2 game and have been a feature of Halo games in some way or another ever since.

Here's a list of where the Skulls are located or 'hidden' - you can find them in all sorts of strange nooks and crannies....


October 13, 2011

JJ reviews: Gears of War 3

This conclusion to the Gears of War trilogy has been a long time coming. Three red rings of death a marriage and a mortgage later, I've had the absolute pleasure to play and now review Gears of War 3.

I orignally purchased GOW1 as a filler game waiting for Halo 3 to arrive as I'd heard good things about it and that game sure delivered a fun filled kill fest and despite the nonsensical plot, ending General Raam's grubby run was a sweet deal. GOW3 has proven to be a sweet a deal as was the delight that was Halo 3 and dare I say it, a more enjoyable game to play than Halo Reach.

I thought I'd divvy this review up into the Acts of the game and give my thoughts as the game progressed.

Big ass spoilers follow.

Act 1. A big boat collides with the cole Train

So Chairman Prescott wasn't such a prick after all and may have the key to ending this whole nightmare? Such is the set up of the game - the new stranded onna boat must face new lambent horde who have no rhyme or reason for their actions, just killing. So that's what Marcus and his team of soldiers and secretaries get up to - if it's not taking down a giant Leviathan a la a Gears 2, it's the player taking the role of the Cole Train touching down on the face of some angry b'arch. At this point you begin to remember how corny GOW is but how fun the game is to actually play. It's time to find Adam Fenix!

Act 2. Like a band of hobbits, we're off to a Big Gate

Grist for the mill this level, a long journey to find Hoffman who may hold the key to finding Adam Fenix, the father of this game's hero Marcus. This leg is a bit of a slog but has a few novel features such as new guns that are quite kick ass. Baird, though always annoying, is given his dues as a true COG soldier and appears to be getting a bit more love and screen time than the prior games.

Act 3. Drop it like it's Hoff or 'meet me at the front gate'

It's often in the third act of a play where the shit hits the fan. As we all know, the Gears universe is a Mad World - so it's no surprise when in the most epic moment in Gears of War history, Marcus' brother till end end, Dominic sacrifices himself so Marcus and Anya can carry on to find Hoffman. It's possibly the finest gaming moment Gears of War has delivered thus far - how can the ending top this moment? This moment makes Seargeant Johnson dying in Halo 3 seem like a goldfish dying.

Act 4. Dom is dead, there's a dude that think's he's Ving Rhames or Simon Phoenix or something.

Marcus is a bit grumpy, his brother is dead and now he has to get some oil for a dude that's taken Dizzie hostage. The dude is some kind of cross between a pissed of Ving Rhames (the real life version) and Simon Phonix from Stallone's Demolition Man - it's epic cheese and one were GOW is let down by it's faux 'fuck you all, in your face attitudes' - it works for 12 year old gamers but not this player.

The Locust Queen turns up, flys around and pisses off - which leaves our heroes to fight their way to Dizzie's rescue - it's a good sequence and with the gnasher shotgun a fun chance to take on some Queen's guards at close quarters.

Act 5 or 6 (I'm Lost). We take the Sub Way

We'll it's more of a way to a Sub. Our heroes need to get to Azure. I've already forgotten why - but luckily Gears of War has always worked well without a comprehensive plot so I'm happy to run around dodging big electric centipedes while I get fuel for the submarine and some parts so Dizzy can take us to wherever.

The gun battles are fun, a boss battle against some heavily armoured Priests or whatever is a amusing - but as per the Arbiter in Halo 3, I can step back and let my team take some close quarters damage while I sit back from afar taking pot shots. I do however have a strong feeling this approach won't work when I get to a run through on Insane mode... revive me!

The Final Actions....

We battle through Azure's Malestrom and after all these years we finally met the father of Marcus, Adam Fenix, this should be of no surprise to any one who's played Gears before - the prior games have built to this moment and frankly it's a bit of an anti climax. This leads me to believe he's gonna die at the end of the game somehow, but not just before he faces Marcus and they hug it out.

So we battle through some kind of luxury hotel, where people b'arch about Prescott living it up large while the cities burn. I get the feeling this anger is misplaced.

There's some great set pieces throughout these final stages - they are going to really challenging on the Insane difficulty level.

You've read this far, so let's cut to the chase - the final act is a battle versus the Queen of the Locust Horde flying around on some kind of winged horse (if memory serves correct, we first saw it at the end of the first game). The game's final conclusion is obvious if you think about it - Marcus vs the Queen - it nearly happened in the second Gears game and when it happens, it's a fairly straight forward exercise in picking your moments with the Hammer of Dawn weapon.

And the story's conclusion? Well let's just say after 13 odd years of not seeing his father, Marcus gets to face his Dad for 13 seconds before he gives his life to save everyone else and make amends for the sins he believed he had committed.

Overall this was an extremely Gears of War game. If I've been snarky in places during this review it's because I expect great things from great games. Cheesey moments aside, Gears 3 has delivered a polished, bug free (??!) game with a semi coherent plot that answered a few things but created a few questions. The game features an excellent colour palate, interesting new monsters and a couple of good twists and turns. Definitely the best game of the series, my hat of the to the game's designers - they've earnt their pay this year!

So what's next for the Gears of War universe? GOW4?

P.S I was delighted to see the Carmine character live!

October 12, 2011

What could Gears of War 4 offer gamers?

What could Gears of War 4 offer gamers?

Now that Gears of War 3 has been there and done that, polished to perfection and served with a tasty dose of "Bring It!" gamers around the planet could be forgiven for wondering what's next for the Gears of War universe - especially for those who do not intend to give GOW's multiplayer aspects much love.

So is Gears 4 on the cards? Keen readers may recall the whisperings about Gears of War: Exile. Supposedly an Xbox Kinnect based game, it was seemingly yanked from being announced just prior to that supposed announcement. Let's assume that this rumoured game has been canned and ask ourselves what could a new Gears of War game offer players?

There's been three Gears games now, we can't have more of the same 'bromance' story - Gears 3 was a great round off to the the trilogy (and was always intended as such) - Halo 4 is rumored to be changing things up a bit, and any fourth Game would need to do the same. This could be done by a couple of means - and the main way is dare I say it, involves going the Halo route and pulling a Halo: Reach on the Gears Universe.

Simply speaking, Gears of War 4 should be called Gears of War: Emergence Day. 

Exploring the day that the Locust Horde emerged from the earth of Sera to wreak havoc on the GOG government and the people of Sera would be a prime story telling event. Just as Halo: Reach was the story of the beginning of the end for a Planet, I think plenty of gamers would be interested in exploring this side of the Gears mythology.

The plot could explore the the long conflict that was the Pendulum Wars and feature Emergence Day as the main plot driver - it could feature an entirely new cast and crew as they react to the Locust Horde. that said, perhaps the plot could tell about some of Adam Fenix's early days - it's arguable however if that would be an interesting tale game play wise.

As I said above, we can't have another 'bromance' type story a la Marcus and Dom.

Game Play

The original Gears almost managed to kill off the run and gun genre - it's tactical cover based system of game play was a major hit - though not a original idea and a tad glitchy, GOW was the first really popular game to hone the concept to make it a fundamental part of the game play experience.

Now that it's been done and dusted, the game designers will have to go to a higher level and INNOVATE. Yep, you can't pull innovation out of your ass but Gears 4 will have to beyond what it has now - gosh knows what it could be but it needs to be more than new guns, multiplayer maps and other chicanery. Halo: Reach had this problem too - it's no easy task to re-invent yourself - jet packs aside ;)

Maybe that's where Gears of War: Exile comes in by having Xbox Kinect being fully integrated into a Gears game. A game that finally captures the potential of Kinnect would be truly innovative because lets face it - the Kinect games out there suck.

So dear reader, what are you thoughts? What plot elements would you like to see in Gears 4? What about guns and other tools etc? What new innovation do you think is needed? Interesting comments or questions beloooowwwwww.

October 4, 2011

Battle Scared Fem Shep Cosplay

What lurks around the corner Scarface?

Battle Scared Fem Shep Cosplay

As spied at Anaisroberts

More Mass Effect Cosplay and check out Tali.

October 3, 2011

Sweet cos play of Tali from Mass Effect

Here's a pretty sweet cos play of character Tali from the Mass Effect series - she's bound to have a key role in ME3. As found at Nebulaluben.