Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.

Test Tube – 2 hours with Metro Redux

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Wednesday 20 August 2014No Comments

Welcome to Test Tube. Not to be confused with our full reviews, these ‘two hour test’ articles see us tackle remakes, ports, expansions, mobile games and other titles of interest.

Available on XBO and PS4 l Published by Deep Silver l Developed by 4A Games l Classified R18+ l Supports 1 player

4A games first hit my radar with the release of Metro 2033 in 2010. Based on the bleak post apocalyptic novel of the same name it was a depressing yet appealing ride through a nuclear wasteland Russia. It was let down however by some dodgy game mechanics and more bugs than I could poke a stick at. 4A took this on board and with the cult success of 2033 meaning they had a bigger budget to work with, fixed the problems with the sequel Metro: Last Light. I loved Last Light and there have been few shooters in recent memory that made me feel a part of a fully realised world like it did. Both games have developed a following of dedicated fans but neither reached super success on the sales charts. Well, new franchise owners Deep Silver and developers 4A have put their heads together to try and fix that with the release of Metro Redux. Read the rest of this entry »

Shadow Realms goes for that D&D feel

Posted by Peter Nickless On Tuesday 19 August 2014No Comments

Remember to validate your ticket… and your crossbow.

Shadow Realms, the new announcement from BioWare, is a 4v1 action RPG set for release on PC in late 2015. It takes inspiration from old school pen and paper role-playing games by having one player take on the role of the Shadow Lord, placing traps and enemies around the map and four players as heroes tackling their creations.

There appears to be a strong emphasis on combat, with the hero players being able to choose from amongst six classes, each with individual skill-sets.  Action takes place in real-time from a third person perspective as players tackle multiple enemies, which must be defeated for the “Shadow Barrier” to be lifted and new map areas accessed.  BioWare will deliver the persistent worlds of Earth and Embra for players to combat in with extra content being promised in episodic form.

Players tasked as the Shadow Lord will experience their own upgradeable abilities and view the action in real time too. The Shadow Lord can also possess and control enemies or appear directly to players from time to time.  This old-school “Dungeon Master” approach is one that Shadow Realm’s creators see as a way for groups of friends to have continuing co-op adventures each time they play.

I must confess that every time BioWare announce a new game I get excited.  To my mind they have pushed storytelling in RPGs to the point of triumph and have achieved great mainstream success for doing so.  BioWare has become a brand of quality for many gamers.  Hell, I even loved Dragon Age 2.

Strange announcement

Posted by Stephen Foote On Monday 18 August 2014No Comments

That’s Max, our heroine, on the left.

Given the lukewarm reception received by French developer DONTNOD Entertainment’s ironically titled Remember Me last year, it’s not surprising to hear that they’ve parted ways with publisher Capcom and have instead struck up a deal with Square-Enix to deliver their upcoming “episodic narrative experience” Life is Strange.

The game is billed as a murder mystery set in small town America, and DONTNOD have chosen once again to champion female characters in their product. Assumedly in no small part due to the enduring success of the Tomb Raider reboot, it’s encouraging to see Square-Enix take a chance on a property like Life is Strange and demonstrate a focus on promoting diversity in gaming protagonists.

While this sounds fairly straightforward, the developers have also chosen to incorporate what sounds like a repurposed version of the ‘memory remix’ mechanics present in Remember Me, allowing Life is Strange protagonist Max to instead rewind time and alter the course of the narrative experience.

Boasting a hand drawn art style, the screenshots and concept art available thus far are reminiscent of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Portal and Mirror’s Edge in terms of design and perhaps the abundance of the colour orange.

Although no release date is currently set, Life is Strange will be available on current PlayStation and Xbox consoles as well as the PC platform.

Gamescom Roundup: The Rest

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Sunday 17 August 2014No Comments

Microsoft l Sony l EA l The Rest

ITEM! Zombie slasher Dead Island 2 was shown in greater detail and looks to be displaying more promise than the two games that came before it. A tonal shift towards dark humour, a refined combat system and amazing graphics may improve on the mediocrity of the past. The only problem I have is it is set in California, which last time I checked, isn’t an island… Read the rest of this entry »