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5 times DLC was so good it would make you regret not buying the season pass

It’s safe to say that DLC is one of the most divisive topics in the gaming world today. Some people love it, some people hate it. It’s also safe to say that no matter on which side of the fence you sit we can all agree that some DLCs are definitely better than others. In light of this, why don’t we take some time to set aside our differences and discuss some of the times that DLC was so good it would definitely make you regret not buying the season pass.


5: The Crew: Calling All Units

Image result for the crew calling all units

Base game: The Crew

Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE, PS4

Price*: £20.99

The biggest problem for me with the base game of The Crew was that it was quite frankly incredibly boring. A generic racing game with an admittedly enjoyable online open world that suffered from a severe lack of anything real to do. Luckily, The Crew: Calling All Units is a surprisingly expansive DLC that remedies that issue.

Calling All Units feels much more like what The Crew originally should have been, taking a leaf or two from games like Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Picking a side; either as a police officer or a criminal, transforms the vast open world of The Crew from a boring inconvenience you have to navigate between missions into a dynamic arena jam-packed with activities. As a policeman, you can patrol around urban the map participating in engaging police pursuits with any wrongdoers you happen to encounter and as a criminal you can cause as much vehicular chaos to your heart’s content while avoiding the watchful eye of the law.

Coming bundled with the previous expansion, The Crew: Wild Run, that £20.99 price tag feels like very good value for money – especially considering the base game is frequently free on Ubisoft’s store Uplay. As well as the online play to player content, the pack unlocks a set of very nice police and off-road vehicles, a host awesome customisation options and a even two whole new story campaigns to follow for people who aren’t too keen on the online aspects of the game.


4: Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep

Image result for Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep

Base game: Borderlands 2

Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE (HD Ed.), XBOX 360, PS4 (HD Ed.), PS3

Price*: £7.99

Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep may be only one of the numerous DLC available for Borderlands 2 but it is certainly the strongest of the bunch. Offering an interesting twist on the Borderlands formula, Assault on Dragon Keep takes you to the world of an endearingly over-the-top parody of tabletop role-playing games.

With a distinctive artistic flair accompanied some of the funniest dialogue in the franchise, Assault on Dragon Keep stands out from the crowd. Although admittedly quite short, it’s length is certainly appropriate for the under £10 price tag and the co-op modes combined with the game’s inherent strong level of replayability means you’re certainly getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Whether for a fan of the franchise as a whole, a fan of the titular narrator Tiny Tina, around whom the whole DLC is centred, or just someone who wants to squeeze a couple more hours out of Borderlands 2, Assault on Dragon Keep is an absolute necessity.


3: XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

Image result for xcom 2 war of the chosen

Base game: XCOM 2

Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE, PS4

Price*: £34.99

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is the most expensive DLC on this list and for very good reason. Originally conceived as a fully fledged sequel to the superb XCOM 2, War of the Chosen packs a jaw-dropping amount of content.

War of the Chosen adds a renewed level of threat to the Advent regime; with a huge number of new enemies paired with never before seen mission locations and deadly new hazards but most importantly the inclusion of several new mini-bosses; the titular “chosen” who can appear randomly throughout the campaign and transform an already brutally difficult game into a nightmarishly tense desperation fuelled bid to save not just your squad, but the whole of humanity.

On top of all this, a new faction system adds a host of potential allies in the form of other human resistance factions. These potential allies however can also be potential enemies, and an in-depth level of micromanagement allows you to carefully control and monitor your relationships with each group.

Although its immense difficulty restricts this DLC exclusively to XCOM  2 veterans (seriously if your first playthrough is with this DLC you have zero chance of success) it is the rejuvenating boost the game needs to keep its experience fresh, even many years after its release.


2: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Rise from the Ashes

Base game: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Platform(s): PC (HD Ed.), XBOX ONE (HD Ed.), PS4 (HD Ed.), NINTENDO SWITCH (HD Ed.), NINTENDO 3DS (HD Ed.), NINTENDO DS

Price*: £29.99 (Trilogy pack)

Whilst technically not a DLC in the modern sense, Rise from the Ashes – a special bonus episode added to the DS port of the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – was certainly too significant to overlook.

Rise from the Ashes fills all the check-boxes for a perfect DLC, with a length rivalling that of almost a third of the base game, a stand-alone story which introduces some of the series’ best characters, new and excellent additions to the base OST and most importantly a set of new forensic themed game-play additions which despite being all new to the series managed to fit in seamlessly with pre-existing game-play elements.

Despite being a bonus case, Rise from the Ashes is by far the strongest, most tightly written and deeply engaging of not just the first game – but arguably the whole original Ace Attorney trilogy.

If you missed this case first time or simply overlooked it, it is most certainly worth picking up a more modern variant of the game – I’d recommend the HD remasters with which it is included as standard – and see what all the fuss is about.


1: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Image result for far cry 3 blood

Base game: Far Cry 3

Platform(s): PC, XBOX 360, PS3

Price*: £12.49

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is unique on this list as the only truly stand-alone DLC. With a seperate launcher, menus and even steam store page; Blood Dragon is very good at presenting itself as a very different take on the Far Cry formula.

Whilst Far Cry 3 was an exploration of vulnerability, putting you in the shoes of a fragile protagonist and watching their struggle to overcome insurmountable odds and cope with the emotional impact of the sacrifices you had to make along the way, Blood Dragon is a power fantasy, playing as an almost indestructible cyborg power-commando in a mission to slay legions of robot troopers and occasionally the titular Blood Dragons.

Where Blood Dragon truly stands out however is not its gameplay, which is effectively just late-game base Far Cry 3, but rather in its presentation as an over the top parody of 80s action. With plenty of references, a brilliant synthwave soundtrack and many little details from the CRT overlay, the VHS tracking loading screens and ridiculously cheesy over-the-top dialogue which demonstrate that Blood Dragon is far more than just a basic Far Cry 3 reskin but rather an extremely well crafted love letter to all things 80s action.


*Prices are Steam store prices (excluding discounts or sales) as of April 2019.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – How corporate greed stole a potential gem

It’s safe to say that for many, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was a tremendous disappointment. Despite not being truly “bad” per se (although I am admittedly guilty of unfairly labeling it with the humorous portmanteau: Mirror’s Edge Catastrophic in conversation surrounding the game) but was a product that so truly wallowed in complete general mediocrity it brutally and prematurely ended arguably the most original franchise ideas to ever emerge from the creative black hole that is studio DICE – and one that I personally would have loved to have seen continued for years to come.

In order to fully explore the tragedy that was the development of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst it is first vital to understand why the original Mirror’s Edge exists in the first place. It’s no secret that around the start of Mirror’s Edge‘s development DICE was struggling to establish independence from EA – after the recent acquisition DICE by EA – with then CEO of DICE Patrick Söderlund saying that “there was a push inside the studio to do something different” and that “we were still an independent company. We wanted to push for a new IP”1. For all intents and purposes, the original Mirror’s Edge was nothing more than a tech demo – a proof of concept that became such a striking example of unique game design not by choice, but by necessity.

Mirror’s Edge‘s hybrid FPS parkour gameplay wasn’t chosen because a particular developer really wanted to make a parkour game, or that there was even a strong market demand for one, but rather because such a feat had never been attempted before. The game’s iconic art-style too was chosen almost mathematically to make a game that stood out as much as possible from the crowd, with Senior producer Owen O’Brien saying that they deliberately  “wanted a game where I could look at a screenshot and say, “Hey, that’s ‘Mirror’s Edge'”2. What better way to establish a clear division between your studio and its parent than by attempting something so risky and different – something that would never be attempted by the methodical EA – that it would surely receive a large amount of press coverage, helping to remind everyone that “yes indeed, DICE was still separate from EA”… kind of

In addition to that, the financial success of Mirror’s Edge was not ultimately necessary. DICE had the backing of EA in addition to the Battlefield franchise, which was (and still is) a reliable money maker. With the majority of the studio focused on the production of a new Battlefield game, Söderlund describes setting “several small groups of three to five developers beg[inning] workshopping pitches for something new”1. It was one of these small teams that created the concept that would soon become Mirror’s Edge.

After the 3-5 man team demo attracted a large amount of attention within the studio, wow-ing all that saw it Mirror’s Edge was greenlit and began production now with a far bigger, but still relatively small, team. The story was tasked to brilliant Writer’s Guild of America outstanding achievement in videogame writing award winning3 writer Rhianna Pratchett4 and whilst the story of Mirror’s Edge was by no means fantastic, it is veritable masterpiece when compared with what’s to come.

The musical artists selected for the game’s soundtrack were Swedish composers Solar Fieldsand Lisa Miskovsky6 and was their respective debuts into the gaming soundtrack scene. Miskovsky‘s creation, the game’s main theme Still Alive, being the stand-out track even becoming so popular as to spawn its own album of individual remixes7. Choosing composers that had done no prior work within the gaming industry was a particularly clever move considering that the unique nature of the most important aspects of Mirror’s Edge: gameplay, visual style, soundtrack was paramount to the developer’s criteria for the game’s “success”.  Miskovsky and Solar Fields both did absolutely stellar jobs in the creation of a soundtrack but for DICE that was pleasant surprise. The overall quality of the tracks didn’t matter, only their ability to stand out from the creations of other EA studios and this was likely their top priority when selecting composers.

All these factors almost inadvertently contributed to the finished product – a superbly promising game that still delights today. It is important to differentiate between comments and observations of the circumstances surrounding the game’s development and critiques of the finished game itself. I personally absolutely adore Mirror’s Edge, as you can see here in my shamelessly plugged reviewand as such can reconcile the idea that the game may have been created in circumstances some would consider cynical. The brilliant nature of the end product, I would in fact argue, was solely due to cold careful calculation and the splash of edge provided by a certain level of studio desperation that a bold idea was able, not just to be greenlit, but to come to fruition.

After discussing the circumstances that culminated in the success of the first Mirror’s Edge, it is now time to move on to the circumstances the culminated the failure of its successor Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.

DICE by this time was under new management, with Söderlund vanishing into the upper echelons of EA’s management, now under the eyes of the then EA director Karl Magnus Troedsson – with roots very firmly in the Battlefield franchise. It was also announced via twitter the writer Rhianna Pratchett would not be returning8 and instead was replaced with Christofer Emgård in his return to the game writing scene after a hiatus of over nine years9. Much like the new director, the writer also had his roots firmly in the war genre, previously helming the World in Conflict franchise and going on to write the two most recent Battlefield games, the confusingly titled Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V.

In addition to confirming her departure from the franchise, Pratchett also revealed that almost the entirety of the original team behind Mirror’s Edge was now gone. It was likely that the new team was far bigger and composed of yet more veterans of the Battlefield franchise – likely resulting in the change in game engine from the original’s Unreal Engine to the in house Frostbite 3 Engine 10– with which the Battlefield devs had the most experience and resources.

The aim of the original Mirror’s Edge was never to create an engaging plot, and it at most needed to be serviceable and facilitate the gameplay. Despite floundering under one of the greatest writers in the gaming industry DICE announced that Catalyst would be far more story focused – a recipe for disaster particularly in hands of a much less capable writer.

The reason for developing Catalyst in the first place was also unclear. This coupled by the strange details surrounding the true nature of the game at launch; with many unsure if the game was a prequel, sequel or a reboot – a confusion not helped by the developer’s insistence that it was none of those11. To this day the Wikipedia page for the game erroneously states that “the game is a prequel to Mirror’s Edge, showcasing the origins of Faith”12.

This confusion of direction reflected a developmental confusion surrounding the game’s purpose. DICE no longer had anything to prove for it was firmly within EA’s grasp and anyone who did have something to prove had been taken away from the project. The new team had no experience with the IP and the change in director lead to the vast majority of the central visions from Mirror’s Edge being compromised. The most glaring example of which can be seen in the very setting of Catalyst. Söderlund stated that in Mirror’s Edge he was very careful to not name the city in which the game takes place. It was intended to be an amalgamation of already existing modern cities, one that would be relatable and could serve as a warning of the increased prevalence of surveillance and corruption throughout the world. Catalyst throws all of this subtlety and clever design away with the laughably named extremely futuristic “City of Glass”.

There are many other examples too, just read some original interviews with Söderlund and compare his vision to Catalyst but for the sake of time, I’ll just leave the direct comparisons there.

Without a clear vision, Catalyst became a strange mess of unfinished mechanics; the meaningless skill trees, the unbalanced combat, the boring collectibles, the redundant trial modes. Catalyst reeks of a game that didn’t want to be made which eventually just became a conduit to test developer’s ideas at the expense of the end product. It is no secret the Mirror’s Edge sold well above expectations and the whisking away of the property from a side team to one of the EA DICE titans of development was likely entirely financially motivated.

Under the full control of EA, such a promising franchise couldn’t be allowed to remain in the hands of what they likely viewed as an unreliable team. All the data shows that under the main Battlefield team, Catalyst would surely sell well, everything that team produced would have certainly seemed to sell well. The open-world design of Catalyst, the skill trees, the new focus on combat all of it was carefully chosen not to defy convention but to follow it.

Unfortunately Mirror’s Edge was never about convention. It was about creating an experience that was truly unique. In trying to water down the original ideas in order to create something more “consumer friendly” and more heavily focused on market demands EA created something truly awful. A product that did nothing different. A new game that would be lost in the seas of time and one without any notable legacy.

The more cynical side of me would want to argue that this was a deliberate choice – an act of sabotaging the product if you will. For EA, the Mirror’s Edge franchise was a liability. The first game had sold just well enough to warrant a sequel, but was nowhere near the level of Battlefield or Fifa, and we know from recent news surrounding EA’s latest slice of mediocrity, Anthem13, that EA values that importance of a franchise solely on how much money it can reliably make. For EA, deliberately killing Mirror’s Edge with a very poor follow up would quell demand and shift focus towards the major EA franchises. Although there is no evidence for this, it is quite a compelling theory and one that many gamers would have no trouble accepting considering EA’s reputation for anti-consumer business decisions.

Overall, even if Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was not designed to fail, it was definitely doomed to. The lack of creative vision demonstrable from even the earliest stages of the game’s development and the lesser amount of talent that was allocated to the game meant that it’s a miracle the game was even mediocre in the first place. Catalyst is most valuable as a  prime example of how utilising purely motivated financial decisions can destroy the games we love.


References:
1https://www.polygon.com/2016/5/25/11758974/designing-mirrors-edge-the-making-of-a-franchise
2http://www.mtv.com/news/2456471/ea-discusses-mirrors-edge-sickness-concerns-lack-of-color-green/
3https://web.archive.org/web/20160321080636/http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=6147
4https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1578126/
5http://solarfields.com/disco/other/
6https://www.discogs.com/Lisa-Miskovsky-Still-Alive-The-Theme-From-Mirrors-Edge-The-Remixes/master/152213
7https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/still-alive-the-theme-from-mirrors-edge-the-remixes/293058880
8https://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/01/08/mirrors-edge-writer-isnt-working-on-reboot
9https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2602734/
10 https://www.engadget.com/2013/06/10/mirrors-edge-2/
11https://www.polygon.com/2015/6/17/8795003/mirrors-edge-catalyst-open-world-game-ps4-playstion-4-xbox-one
13https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror%27s_Edge_Catalyst#cite_note-19
https://kotaku.com/how-biowares-anthem-went-wrong-1833731964

5 timeless stealth games you should definitely check out

Ever since man first killed man, man has dreamed of killing man in quieter and more sophisticated ways. Although it would be very difficult, quiet messy and of course extremely illegal to pursue these dreams in real life, the gaming industry has you covered. To try to help you find the most suitable game to quench your bloodthirsty desires we’ve made a little list of five of the most genre defining stealth titles that have each managed to withstand the test of time.

Do bear in mind however entries are in no particular order, restricted to one per franchise and must be over 5 years old  (sorry HITMAN 2).


5: Thief II – Metal Age

 

Image result for thief metal age

Platform(s): PC

Price*: £4.99

Developer: Looking Glass Studios

Few other franchises have been as influential in the world of stealth games as Thief. For its time, Thief II was impressive both technically and graphically. The vast sprawling urban mazes that comprise the majority of the levels demonstrate some of the best level design seen in gaming to date. Everything in Thief II feels just perfect. From the logical placement of loot, the unique aesthetic – a striking mix of gothic and steampunk, to the variety of stealth tools at your disposal everything works in conjunction to create a stealth experience as meticulously crafted as it is engaging. Whilst the game does go completely off the rails a few hours in; with traditional guards switched out for gruesome zombies, weird ape people and spooky skeletons amongst a whole host of other lovecraftian horrors.

Although this thematic shift from equal parts realistic and gritty to equal parts fantastical and frightening isn’t for everyone, for the right player this complete tonal variety only serves to keep you engaged. Thief II is a game with no limits, and it makes damn sure you know it, keeping the basic mission structure of “go here and steal thing” as fresh in the tenth level as it was on the first. If you want a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wonder what kind of  unspeakable horrors from a dimension of pain might by lurking around every tight corner of a unfathomably vast clockwork mansion, look no further for Thief II: The Metal Age is certainly the game for you. If that doesn’t quite sound like your cup of tea, well just keep reading.


4: Alien: Isolation

Image result for alien isolation

Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE, XBOX 360, PS4, PS3

Price*: £29.99

Developer: Creative Assembly

Turning five years old this year, thankfully Alien: Isolation just manages to scrape its way past my arbitrary restrictions and firmly on to this list – because it would be a huge loss if it didn’t. Alien: Isolation is a very radical take on the stealth genre; combining the terrifying sci-fi horror elements that made the first Alien film so great and the deep level  of immersion that only a first-person video game could offer.

Alien: Isolation puts you head to head with an alarmingly intelligent AI Xenomorph. Apart from the odd human or  android enemy; it’s just you, a deteriorating space station and the monster. The most fun stealth aspects of the game arise when trying to circumvent an alien that, although partially blind, has an advanced sense of hearing and unprecedented predator instincts. The alien is also an ever-present threat and, ignoring a few scripted sequences, is always present nearby on the station just waiting to dart over at the sound of a gunshot or a generator powering up.

Of course, such an organic AI has its fair share of jank, sometimes hilariously getting itself stuck on a table, or somehow not feeling you accidentally standing on its tail. Alien: Isolation is certainly not perfect, but if Thief II was a moist stealth cake with a few horror sprinkles, Alien: Isolation is just a huge pile of sprinkles with chunks of cake thrown in. Although its approach may not be as nuanced and sophisticated as Thief II, but much like the allegorical pile of cake chunks and sprinkles, it is delicious all the same.


3: Gunpoint

Platform(s): PC

Price*: £6.00

Developer: Tom Francis

Few indie games have managed to steal my heart as much a Gunpoint. Despite being made by developer Tom Francis for initially less than £20 in his spare time, Gunpoint is almost perfect in every regard. Visually, it’s beautiful with pleasing pixel graphics taking great inspiration from cyberpunk and film noir. The music is very distinctive and matches the visual style perfectly. The writing is very unique; expertly managing to be self-aware enough to carry some of the funniest fourth-wall destroying dialogue I’ve ever seen in a video game and yet keeping the story grounded and the stakes high.

You must be wondering what the gameplay is actually like though. Well, if you completely set aside the fantastic music, lovely visuals and brilliant dialogue you find an equally amazing puzzle sleath-’em-up. Infiltrate highly secured buildings using high-tech hacking to rewire doors, disrupt patrols or even make guards comically shoot each other by accident. The hacking mechanics are not just the surface level mechanics found in the likes of Watch_Dogs. Obviously you can keep things basic, but the most fun comes from creating Rube Goldberg Machines of interlinked lifts, buzzers, trap-doors and alarms just as complex as they are deadly.

Gunpoint is also significant for truly living up to its name. Although you do unlock a pistol late in the game, it only has five rounds. That’s right, five rounds. And not just per mission either, no, these have to last you the whole game – and the overwhelming rapid police response to gunfire renders these bullets almost useless anyway. Instead of a weapon, your pistol is more of a tool. When pointed at an alerted guard, it stops them dead in their tracks preventing them from firing at you and giving you just enough time to make a daring escape.

There’s so much more to Gunpoint that could barely fit in here, like the best autosave system in gaming or the way the music adapts to what’s on-screen, but time is short and you probably stopped reading a few paragraphs ago. Instead, I’ll end this section with this; dear two people still reading, go buy Gunpoint. I’m serious. It’s a brilliant game that’s always cheap as chips, not to mention supporting a fantastic independent developer’s future projects.


2: Dishonored

Image result for dishonored

Platform(s): PC, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3, PS4

Price*: £7.99

Developer: Arkane Studios

Dishonored may borrow many elements from Thief: namely a few aspects of the steampunk setting; some gameplay mechanics and a profound focus on the occult. Despite this Dishonored overcomes the obvious parallels by providing its own unique experience that feels more like its own thing, rather than a Thief rip-off.

Dishonored‘s world feels almost storybook, with characters fitting common faery-tale archetypes and graphics, a kind of cell shading, which help frame the game as one ever-moving illustration in a picture book. Despite looking like a picture book, the city of Dunwall is hardly a setting suitable for children. Ravaged by plague, constant civil unrest and the murder of its leader before your very eyes; Dishonored thrusts you into the shoes Corvo Attano: a former royal protector granted dark magic by a malevolent god and tasked with recovering a young kidnapped princess.

Nine missions await you on your quest, which may not sound like a lot but believe me they are big, with a variety of lethal or nonlethal approaches. Dishonored presents a difficult moral choice with by far the easiest way to finish missions being quick and bloody. This reduces the game to a six hour long action-packed romp with plenty of swashbuckling sword fights, gripping gunfights and brutal beheadings. One of the main themes of the game however, and one that you are shown through your targets (having all committed some form wrongdoing in the past) is that actions have consequences – and Corvo’s violent actions certainly do have consequences. With every kill the state of the city worsens: plague rats become more common, conversation you overhear are more tense and afraid and guard patrols and equipment are stepped up. The true consequences of your actions however manifest themselves at the end of the game, with the merciless bad ending.

In light of that, I think it’s safe to say that it’s definitely worth committing the thirty or so hours for a full stealth playthrough. While you don’t have to be entirely nonlethal (with a leeway of about 70% of enemies being left alive per mission) to get the good ending, you certainly get extra stealth brownie points and it definitely makes the overall experience far more rewarding.


1: Hitman – Blood Money

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Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE (HD Ed.), XBOX 360, XBOX, PS4 (HD Ed.), PS3, PS2

Price*: £6.99

Developer: IO Interactive

Sleek and sophisticated accompanied by a refreshing level of piercing cynicism, Hitman Blood Money is a dark globetrotting spy thriller. As Agent 47, proud holder of the humble title “world’s best genetically engineered assassin”, you’re sent to a variety of locations across the world. From the Paris opera house to a hillbilly wedding in the Mississippi, every mission feels incredibly unique and presents its own set of challenges to overcome.

Unlike a more traditional stealth title where you would try your hardest to avoid guards and crowded areas, Hitman Blood Money‘s focus is on hiding in plain sight. With the ability to choke out a security professional and don their blue garbs to infiltrate an event or being able to casually stroll past a police patrol with just the thin wall of a foil-lined briefcase between them and your high-power compact sniper rifle, Hitman offers a gripping game of cat and mouse needing you to always stay one step ahead of site security to survive.

This dynamic is superbly supported by the intelligent and vcery well coordinated AI. Guards patrol, take rests in break rooms and talk over their radios all in their native languages, giving each setting a truly authentic edge. If your cover is compromised, by either being seen by a guard or over a CCTV, a description of your appearance and clothing is circulated via radio. Guards give you funny looks, observe your actions more closely,  attempt to follow you or hold you at gunpoint if they think you’re armed.

Each mission is loosely connected with the plot of an interesting spy thriller, but it’s honestly best to forgo the plot entirely and focus on mastering the countless approaches to each mission. As the game progresses, you unlock a verity of new toys; silenced pistols, stealth SMGs or remote mines, which can be brought back to previous levels adding an even greater level of replayability.

The award-winning score is another factor that contributes to the game’s overall brilliance and its subtle but witty social commentary gives a dark comedic edge to its world.

Hitman: Blood Money is certainly unique, and its huge variety of playstyles – with the prospect of flat out bloody violence, James-Bond style silenced pistol runs and even the option to make every kill look like an accident and become a complete ghost – means there is truly something for everyone.


*Prices are Steam store prices (excluding discounts or sales) as of April 2019.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Multiplayer Modding

Bethesda’s 2011 open world RPG is often regarded as one of the games of a generation. Whilst the company’s most recent games (The Elder Scrolls Online and the dreaded Fallout 76) have attracted harsh criticism and dwindly player numbers, Skyrim remains a community favourite and still has a dedicated base of players constantly replaying, modding and exploring the expansive fictional world of Tamriel.

The prospect of a multiplayer Skyrim experience, one where this wonderful game can be experienced with a friend, has become almost the holy grail of gaming especially after the huge disappointment many people felt with The Elder Scrolls Online (which is not necessarily a bad game per se but absolutely not the kind of game the fans wanted). As a result of this desire numerous modding projects sprang to life, all with one common goal: Skyrim multiplayer.

Even as I am writing this, a new Skyrim online mod is teetering on the edge of completion – the greatly anticipated and much talked of Skyrim Together project, now in a closed beta phase. The imminent release of an online multiplayer mod got me thinking, surely such a thing had been attempted before. A brief search yielded details of hundreds of Skyrim multiplayer projects, most of which just being concepts which never actually reached a playable state. There was however one mod which stood out. The Tamriel Online Skyrim multiplayer mod (not to be confused The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited).

tamriel online
The Nexus mod page for Tamriel Online

Initial impressions were good. The set up was quick and extremely easy, with a host of available tutorials that are very simple to follow. The editing of some files is required, and if you want to play with a friend online you both need to configure some things but it is a simple as a a drag and drop of some files shared over a file sharing service.

Once all the setup is out the way, you can jump right into a game of Skyrim online. An important thing to note however, is that starting a new game is recommended. Save files do tend to become quite severely corrupted and broken, so it’s probably best you don’t lose your endgame 1000 hours+ character for the sake of killing some chickens with a pal.

Once you’ve sat through the excruciatingly long introduction cutscene, an introduction with a vast length and providing a level of boredom only rivalled by Fallout 3, it’s time to create your character. It’s best not to spend too much time doing this, the mod certainly isn’t going to be your next playthrough of Skyrim, for reasons discussed later, and you’ll likely have a friend on the edge of their seat desperately waiting for you to finish so you can both connect to the server and let the multiplayer fun commence.

After sprinting through the well rehearsed and ever-repeated dragon attack set piece, rushing into the caves below Helgen, hurriedly dispatching some guards, spiders, a black bear and you’re finally free. You come to the end of the dark cave blinded by not just rays of sunlight, but also an overwhelming sense of freedom and childish excitement. The open world of Skyrim is now your oyster.

A rapid tapping of the tilde key informs you that you are now “connecting to the cluster” signally that the magic is just about to begin. And those first few moments, seeing your friend’s character smoothly popping into your world (in my case a very stout balding breton), are just that: magic. There was something so surreal and indescribably amazing in seeing another human pop into a far too familiar world that was, until now, completely isolated. Akin to seeing man step foot on the moon, seeing another player in Skyrim feels like a monumental achievement of human progress, something that was once relegated to the confines of dreams has become reality through the wonder of technology and the blood, sweat and tears of a modding community.

Once the buzz from the gaming equivalent of a religious experience has worn off, you will likely begin the process of careful experimentation; pushing at the boundaries of the mod, trying to find its limits. These limits become extremely apparent almost instantly, with your first encounter with an NPC. As hysterically funny as my encounter with the moonwalking mountain wolves was, it did signal something. Whilst this mod may technically “work”, it is a far from playable experience.

Crashing was extremely common throughout my time with the mod. Almost every area you enter or exit presents a very likely crash to desktop, effectively confining you to the outside world. That would be fine, there are after all many none-quest activities that can be done without entering an area, if almost every aspect of the game was not in some way completely and bizarrely broken. Hunting isn’t too enjoyable when the animals all stand still, and turn invisible when killed. Horse riding loses its charm when the horses can only travel in two of the four cardinal directions. Collectibles aren’t worth collecting if they can’t even be picked up.

All this strange brokenness creates an experience much like a fever dream. That surreal feeling I noted in the first few moments continues throughout the experience, you’re trapped in a strange world with no logic, something you can never comprehend. Tamriel Online feels like a surrealist art gallery, a series of pieces beyond any understanding, but certainly improved by the presence of a friend with whom you can laugh at the bizarre nature of everything on show.

I cannot stress enough the fact that Tamriel Online is not the online Skyrim experience you want, but it’s definitely one you need. It will provide a few hours of laughs and a handful of extremely memorable moments. It will certainly give you a renewed sense of anticipation towards Skyrim Together, which promises to build the best Skyrim online experience, but it remains to be seen.

Far Cry 2 – Review

2008’s Far Cry 2 was a benchmark game in open world design. Boldly defying the linear mission based structure of its predecessor, Far Cry offers one of Ubisoft’s most bold and realistic open world experiences – even today almost 11 years later.

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Image credit: Uplay.com

Far Cry 2 takes the player to an unnamed fictitious nation in the heart of Africa being gripped by a brutal civil war. As a mercenary employed by the CIA, it is your job to track down The Jackal, an arms dealer supplying weapons to both sides of the conflict. After landing at the airport however, the mission immediately goes south. You contract malaria and pass out, awaking in your hotel room face to face with The Jackal. After a brief monologue, you are now free to wander out into the sprawling open world of Far Cry 2.

One of the most first things you will immediately notice in this open world is its striking colour palette. Filled with dark browns, luscious botanical greens and deep blue skies. The plains of the African savanna are visually stunning in Far Cry 2, with a perfected blend of gritty realism and beautiful artistic style. This colour palette is also constantly adapting and changing, due to the game’s real time day-night cycle.

This day-night cycle also affects gameplay in very practical and tangible ways. At night patrols are much tighter, more linear with few guards willing to stray from their posts – if you mind your business, they’ll mind theirs. In the daytime however, patrols are plentiful and more dynamic with guards reacting much quicker and far more aggressively to visual and auditory disturbances. During the day, there are also many more vehicles with convoys of guards moving from outpost to outpost making the roads much more of a threat than their nighttime counterparts.

This day-night mechanic lends itself to a certain formula: nighttime is for attacking bases and completing missions and daytime is for laying low and performing lighter tasks, like searching for collectables in the dense jungle or purchasing new weapons from arms dealer shops. The inclusion of a sleeping mechanic, which can be triggered by using beds in any of the numerous safehouses throughout the map, allowing you to manually input the time you want to wake up further indicates that this was indeed the strategy the developers intended for you to take.

There is unfortunately one colossal problem with this. The game’s stealth system. Stealth in Far Cry 2 is fundamentally unfinished and incredibly broken. Unlike later entries to the series, Far Cry 2 lacks the series’ characteristic awareness indicators (the little circular things that surround your crosshair telling you who can and can’t see you) meaning that you never really know if someone can and can’t see you. Being seen yourself is also incredibly easy, with guards dirty brown camouflage blending in perfectly with the landscapes. Their hearing too is completely unmatched, if any guard makes even the most stifled of yells every single nearby heavily armed murderer and their dog will be able to instantaneously triangulate your position and set off en masse to hunt you down.

The game even teases you with tantalising black painted silenced  armaments. However, even with the quietest of weapons at the dead of night one missed shot, one seen body or even just accidentally tapping sprint will summon the inevitable collective exodus of guards from their posts to your exact location. 

If you can move beyond their unprecedented psychic abilities you will come to find that the AI in Far Cry 2 is surprisingly advanced. In combat they behave realistically, keeping low and darting for the strongest cover around them or dashing for a powerful turret. When shot, they clutch at their affected limb and begin to crawl away, or are picked up and dragged into cover by their friends and comrades. Even when all else has failed, they lie in the dirt or mud, clutching their bleeding wounds and fruitlessly taking potshots with their weak pistols until you finish them off. It is safe to say that the AI in Far Cry 2 is the most advanced in the series and presents some of the most authentic reactions to injury found in the whole of gaming.

Authenticity is one of the key aspects of Far Cry 2 that serves to make it so incredibly engaging. The experience of Far Cry 2 is one of the most immersive gaming experiences ever created. Everything, from the handheld map and GPS navigator to the practically non-existent UI creates a game where you never feel pulled out of the action. The developers went to extraordinary lengths to keep everything ingame, keeping menus and clutter to an absolute minimum. Missions are accepted in person, with documents and payment handed to you in a file after listening to a briefing from a character, objectives are marked on your map and GPS – both of which exist physically as items in your hands throughout the game rather than relying on a cheap traditional map screen. Even the usually immersion destroying menus in shops are worked around, with your transactions taking place over a clunky computer terminal, accompanied by whirring and your character’s clicking of the keys.

Even the weaponry in the game reflects this commitment to realism. Whilst later games in the series favours modern military weaponry (even at times where it makes literally zero sense, like the pirates in Far Cry 3 having access to top grade brand new military hardware) that wouldn’t feel out of place in games like Call of Duty, the weapons in Far Cry 2 are cold-war-era rusted up pieces of junk. The weapons in Far Cry 2 feel clunky, but in the most satisfying of ways. They jam constantly in combat (prompting beautifully animated animation) requiring the frantic clicking of R to unjam and occasionally just break entirely. This jamming isn’t entirely random however, and the general dirtiness and level of rust of a weapon helps indicate how much time it has left. Even the brand new weaponry from arms dealers degrades over time, becoming more prone to stoppages and reducing in accuracy. This creates a lovely feeling of completely desperation in combat. As annoying as it is when your brand new assault rifle snaps in half in the middle of a huge firefight, it makes it so incredibly satisfying if you manage to hastily grab an enemy’s gun and somehow pull through.

It is however the times where you don’t pull through that creates some horribly frustrating moments. In its commitment to realism, Far Cry 2 ditches traditional saving mechanics. You can only save at medical boxes found on the walls at towns or in beds at safehouses. Dying after having all my good guns break randomly only to then be smacked in the face by the reality that I lost 2 hours of progress prompted me to alt f4 in fuming anger at least a dozen times. Even without the unfair save system, the game as a whole is brutally difficult with the bullet penetration systems leading to a complete lack of any viable cover, intelligent AI and the overwhelming numbers of enemy AI contributing to this.

Luckily, this brutal difficulty is not a challenge you have to face alone thanks to the game’s buddy system. Travelling to bars in towns allows you to befriend other mercenaries. Once your friend a buddy acts as almost an extra life: appearing miraculously when you’re about to die to drag your unconscious body to safety, restock your ammo and provide covering fire while you heal up. Buddies also lessen the brutality of the malaria mechanic which, although not mentioned until now, is a fundamental gameplay mechanic.

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Far Cry 2 knows about malaria. It is frequently joked about by the community, and even the developers themselves with Far Cry 3‘s most difficult difficulty setting advertised proudly as “Harder than malaria” (I played it and believe me, its not). For those in the dark, you have incurable malaria throughout the course of Far Cry 2. It basically serves as a constantly rolling number generator. If the trigger number comes up, well then you basically receive the gaming equivalent of a curbstomping. Your screen shakes, becoming green and muddy and motion blur is cranked up to max. If you’re in combat at this point, you’re screwed. Next, your screen becomes black and you fall unconscious – making you an all-you-can-murder buffet for local enemy soldiers. If you’re lucky enough to have recruited a buddy, they help protect you until you wake up again.

The only way to circumvent the threat of malaria is to procure antimalarial drugs, which serve as your motivation to complete many of the games side-quests. With a bottle of pills safely in hand you’re pretty much impervious to the disease’s effects – so long as you remember to take them.

Although being the butt of far too many Far Cry jokes, I would consider the contributions of malaria to the overall game to be very positive. It contributes to the game’s central theme of human vulnerability. With no array of weaponry, no mass of body armour and no volume of bloodshed ever being able to protect you from your own humanity.

This overall feeling of vulnerability is also added to by the complete lack of friendly NPCs (besides buddies that is). Every single NPC encountered outside cease-fire zones are aggressive – even if you are on their side of the war. They’re not just aggressive to you however with the two sides being seen fighting each other quite frequently and very dynamically. The world of Far Cry 2 is decidedly hostile and you are constantly trapped in the crossfire.

Although Far Cry 2 definitely has its flaws, it manages to reach a level of realism and true immersion that hasn’t been accomplished ever since. Far Cry 2 is certainly a landmark game and as the forefather of open world design its contributions to the gaming industry are absolutely huge. If you can grimace your way through its most brutally unforgiving elements, it is certainly a deeply rewarding and extremely enjoyable experience that I would recommend to anyone.

Mirror’s Edge – Review

Electronic Arts’ Mirror’s Edge was certainly groundbreaking at the time of its release back in 2008; offering an extremely unique three-dimensional platforming experience which pioneered first-person parkour game-play, impacting games for years to come. However, although Mirror’s Edge may have been a breath of fresh air when it released almost 11 years ago into a market with zero first-person parkour games, does it still hold up when compared to the likes of modern parkour experiences like Titanfall and Dying Light?

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Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that it was not game-play alone that made Mirror’s Edge so groundbreaking. Mirror’s Edge boasts an impressively unique art direction, especially for its time. For many the 2000’s is a time remembered by its countless brown and muddy looking FPSs. Mirror’s Edge however, defies this trend. Aesthetically, Mirror’s Edge is the antithesis of muddy, offering a crisp and clean pristine white cityscape dotted with the occasional vibrant primary colour. While at the time of its release its running requirements were quite taxing, it is no challenge for even the most modest of modern PCs. Setting graphics settings to the highest possible settings and selecting the very best anti-aliasing mode is definitely recommended. With everything set to max, Mirror’s Edge is nothing short of stunning and its iconic visual flair absolutely still stands out from the crowd today.

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This visual style is not only beautiful but also extremely practical. The white aesthetic of the city allows for greater focus when running, yet not being so minimalist as to not allow for the occasional beautiful vista when you stop to breathe. The colour red is also extremely significant as it is rarely found natively in the world. Instead, it is used for “runner vision”, a kind of inherent intuition which colours ledges or surfaces bright red to help funnel you in the directions you need to go.

This is extremely useful, and definitely helps to reduce the number of times you will stop dead in your tracks trying to desperately work out where to go. This still happens however, and a little more often than it probably should. This is a particularly prevalent problem in the later interior missions, which involve a lot of verticality, often requiring you to make blind leaps of faith to ledges you can’t quite see. There is also the option to hold left alt to forcefully point your cone of vision in the direction of the level’s end point this however, is not as useful as it would appear. Knowing the location of the exit of a level is completely pointless when you still can’t find the ledge which will facilitate you getting there. Having your control taken away so violently also breaks immersion, I would only recommend resorting to this option if you really are massively stuck (although looking up a walk-through would be just as immersion breaking, and certainly more useful).

Mirror’s Edge is divided into levels, separated generally by cut-scenes, and levels often take place on rooftops in vastly different areas of the city. The game still manages however, to have a profound sense of geography. The city in Mirror’s Edge is cleaved in two by a river. Two extremely tall and distinctive buildings are cleverly situated at either side of this river (these can be seen in the last picture). This allows you to always gage vaguely your location in the city, and helps you piece together the journey between the previous location and your current one – which is not often shown in cut-scenes. By the end of Mirror’s Edge, you’ll probably be able to navigate the white city better than your hometown.

Mirror’s Edge also boasts a unique and very fitting score, which makes a great companion to rooftop running and helps bring the cut-scenes to life. Visually however, the cut-scenes are divisive. They have a very cartoonised hand-drawn style, and are quite contrary to the extremely clean look of the actual game-play. Personally, I am a big fan of the cut-scenes and believe that the hand-drawn look is certainly better than anything that could have been 3D animated with the technology limitations at the time.

Unfortunately, the story told by these cut-scenes is extremely lacklustre. With plain characters following a basic conspiracy type plot-line with all the predictable story beats and the obvious eventual twist.

Mirror’s Edge also feature rather pathetic combat sections. Combat in Mirror’s Edge is simply completely un-enjoyable. Whether guards manage to land a hit on you or not seems utterly random. Luckily all combat is avoidable, although due to the random nature of hit-detection your guaranteed to die at least a few times as you attempt to escape. Admittedly it was novel at first to disarm a few lightly-armed officers on a rooftop, later portions of the game which force you into tight indoor environments jam-packed with trigger happy machine-gun toting guards were anything but.

Stealth could also be considered an option, although it is so inconsistent as to be downright annoying. Guards have no cones of vision, you get too close and they become aggressive and open fire – triggering the arrival of more guards from around the level. You can allegedly disarm unsuspecting guards form behind, although I never managed this as they were always four clips into a barrage of fire by the time I got anywhere close.

The first five or so hours of Mirror’s Edge are incredible; a freedom-filled rooftop race around a stunning city. The game just becomes too bogged-down in its boring story, eventually devolving into awful combat sections and restrictive building interiors. Despite all this, for me, Mirror’s Edge definitely still holds up today. Whilst no other parkour game has managed to better it, they have managed to make its few flaws just a little bit more apparent.

The Steam link – Review

Valve was always seen primarily as a game developer. After the launch wildly successful Steam gaming platform however, they began to branch off into new areas of the gaming market. Their first home console system, the Steam Machine, back in 2015 (a sort of Linux-based TV confined hybrid of PC and Console) was met with a reception that can be described as “lukewarm” at best. However, many people seemed to forget a device which was launched alongside the Steam Machine – the Steam Link.

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A Steam Link

The Steam Link is a portable streaming box, allowing you to seamlessly stream games from a PC in another room or upstairs to your TV; theoretically creating the perfect home console – a something with the power of PC, projected onto the TV at a low cost.

Initially starting with a price at around £35, the Steam Link failed to really attract any attention until late 2018, where this price would plummet to about £2 (when bought on the steam store in conjunction with a game). This colossal price drop was likely due to the device’s very poor initial sales and Vavle’s desperate desire just to be rid of the hassle of storing thousands of unsold products.

Physically, the Steam Link is a really lovely piece of hardware, it feels heavy in the hand and robust to the touch; clearly being constructed out of premium materials. The minimalist design is also very aesthetically pleasing. Along the side of the box runs all the different ports and inputs you’d expect from your traditional game console; USB for controllers, HDMI for video output and Ethernet for a fast connection – it’s all here. Even the box it came in is well constructed out of good quality nicely coloured cardboard.

You may now be wondering why exactly the Steam Link failed – it certainly wasn’t, after all, due to any physical defects or obvious design oversights. No, the Steam Link‘s biggest downfall is its performance.

Even on the fastest of internet connections, the Steam Link can’t perform without at least some lag. Input lag, audio lag and general stuttering is near constant and basically unavoidable and whilst I’m sure with a NASA like internet connection the Steam Link would run like a dream; but unfortunately that speed of connection just isn’t available to the consumer.

The best way to run the Steam Link is wired, with one big long annoying Ethernet cable, but I think that really destroys the essence of what the system was trying to achieve. If you’re going to bother setting up numerous cables running all around your house, you may as well just save yourself some energy and move your PC to plug it directly into the TV.

There is also the issue of Steam’s Big Picture Mode, which is required for the set up of the Steam Link. Big Picture Mode is in its early days, and is still extremely slow and clunky. It takes what would have been an already slightly jittery experience (purely due to the nature of streaming over WiFi) and multiplies it by a factor of 10.

That’s really all there is to say about the Steam Link, it’s an excellent idea and a very well built product which is unfortunately held back by the constraints of the speed of currently available internet. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years PC to TV streaming services will be an excellent experience and the norm for TV based gaming – but we’re not there yet. We’re not far off, but certainly not yet there. At its original price, the Steam Link is a complete rip-off – if you were however able to nab it at £2 like I was, well it certainly makes a very well-built high quality paperweight.

Hitman 2 – What’s actually changed?

HITMAN™ 2 is the most recent entry to the rebooted Hitman series, which started the well received HITMAN™ (yes the trademark is part of the name) released in 2016. Although on the surface, both games seems almost identical every regard, gameplay, graphics, story etc. (and this is true to an extent); below the surface there has been quite a lot of improvement done to the Hitman formula – many changes which long time series fans have been desperately waiting for.

Image result for hitman 2The most obvious and welcome change for many will be the new method of release. Everyone still remember the fiasco that was HITMAN™ 2016’s episode based release schedule. Whilst releasing the game episodically doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea, after all it would effectively force the player to commit to replaying the released levels until more came out – tying in one of the best features of the Hitman series: excellent replayability, it still didn’t curb the disappointment of people who had spent hours downloading a new game only to find the tutorial and a fat notice telling them to wait a month.

After splitting from studio Square Enix, developers IOI now have full control over the methods by which they release their games and have opted with their new publishes, Warner Bros., to release one game. One purchase for all 7 maps. Finally.

Speaking of the 6 new maps, HITMANbrings a noticeable change of scale. Everyone remembers 2016’s Sapienza, a glorious fictional Italian town presented in full scale with many fully furnished buildings and countless areas to explore. Unfortunately, the other maps in 2016 were considerably smaller, Paris probably being the closest in size to Sapienza (and that still doesn’t come close). In 2, things are bigger – and bigger means better. Even the first map in the game, the Miami Innovation Race is easily comparable to Sapeinza in scale and later maps like Mumbai far exceed it and are unprecedentedly colossal for the series. More map means more places to explore, more items to find and more disguises to grab. This in turn greatly increases 2’s replayability.

Things have also not just changed in terms of map geography but also in presentation, with a host of new visual changes. One of the first things you will notice dropping in to HITMAN™ 2‘s Miami are it’s stunning bright colours.

Image result for hitman 2I’m not quite sure how IOI have changed HITMAN™‘s filter, but now all colours (particularly the primaries) are vivid and full of energy. This not only provides a great feast for the eyes, but also assists in the gameplay department: most target’s now wear red clothing, allowing you to spot them for a mile off. This reduces the need to constantly stare at blips on a map to coordinate your deadly plan.

Speaking of maps, the onscreen minimap has changed. It is now higher contrast and noticeably easier to interpret. The whole HUD itself has been changed too, no matching the game’s bright colours allowing for easier reading, extremely important and making it possible to still tell your disguise has been compromised when sprawled across the sofa a good few feet away playing on a console.

A greatly missed feature of Hitman: Blood Money were the on screen live updates as events unfolded. These would cut your screen in two and on one half allow you to continue playing and on the other half, show you something of interest (such as a guard finding a body or a bloodstain etc.). This concept has been reimplimented into HITMAN™ 2 in a far less obtrusive pattern with picture-in-picture. Picture-in-picture shows a small square on your screen (instead of taking up half) with information of interest. This allows you to find out where you’ve made mistakes in your run so on future attempts you can avoid the same pitfalls.

There is also new gear: from new guard rifles and pistols to even proximity stun mines, not to mention the return of the fan favourite briefcase. These create more gear combinations and allow for even more replayability. The backwards compatibility with remastered 2016 maps also allows you to take these new strategies and use them in your favourite HITMAN™ series locations.

Sniper assassin mode makes a return from the depths of Hitman: Absolution preorders (although if you’re still interested in the original incarnation of this mode you can read our review of it here) and is better than ever. A new mutliplayer co-op option is added to the mode, allowing you to snipe with a buddy.

This whole revamped sniper assassin mode seems to be a celebration of the sniper rifle, which is new and improved in HITMAN 2. Unlike 2016’s HITMAN™guards now react properly to sniper shots, and are no longer able to immediately triangulate your position and sprint over in great numbers to put an end to your run.

There is now, however, another way to send great numbers of guards your way with the reinvigorated security camera system. In 2016, being seen by a security camera would mean an annoying detour to delete the evidence from a PC in a guard room, or just suffering a score penalty. Now, cameras are a serious threat. Being seen holding a weapon or in a restricted area will cause a security alert, with nearby guards being sent to your position. My advice for cameras? Stay well away.

These are just some of the many many additions to HITMAN™ 2, which are certainly greater in numbers than you would believe at a first glance. Together, these new additions make HITMAN™2 one of the best and feature rich entries in the series, and a true contender for the coveted spot of “best game in the series” which has been held by Blood Money for so many years.

The Beginner’s Guide – Review

The Beginner’s Guide comes from the creator of The Stanley Parable, arguably the most popular narrative “walking simulator” type games ever made – and for good reason – but this is not The Stanley ParableThe Beginner’s Guide is something different, very different, and, depending on how you view it, may even be something better.

Whilst The Stanley Parable was all about choices: the impacts of choices; why we make them; what a choice truly means and whether you can ever truly have a choice, The Beginner’s Guide is a deep and though-provoking exploration of human nature.

The game initially presents itself as a character study, with a the developer (who acts as the narrator) tells you about a friend of his. This friend, named Coda, is also a fellow developer and you are then taken through a series of small “games” made by Coda. All the while, the narrator tells you what these little games mean to him and how they reflect on Coda’s personality as well as the events occurring in his life at the time of their creation.

As the game progresses you form more and more of a picture of what Coda was really like; his emotions, his tastes, what he enjoyed, how he found happiness or how he dealt with sadness. Without giving away too much of the plot, the ending will really make you reconsider what you’ve been lead to believe throughout the course of the game and acts in some way as a commentary on art and our collective societal attitude towards art as something that must require an explanation.

Gameplay wise, The Beginner’s Guide is a walking simulator in its truest form. The most gameplay found here is the pressing of the “W” key to walk and occasionally the “E” key to interact. It should also be noted that The Beginner’s Guide is extremely short, the whole experience lasting little over an hour.

Although brief it is intelligent and incredibly poignant, The Beginner’s Guide is less a game and more of an artistic and narrative experience – and as such should be approached as one. It is a beautiful experience from start to finish, and one that, for fans of the “walking simulator” genre, would be greatly unwise to forgo.

Hitman: Sniper Challenge – Review

Hitman: Sniper Challenge is an unusual entry in the Hitman series, and one that many people don’t even know exists. Despite being given away as part of the many pre-order bonuses for the incredibly divisive fifth entry to the series Hitman: Absolution, I’ll save my opinions on that game for another time, Sniper Challenge is a surprisingly robust experience and certainly worth a play.

Hitman: Sniper Challenge came entirely stand alone from Hitman: Absolution. If digitally bought on Steam, it has its own little tab in your game library page (similarly it had its own icon with download purchases on consoles) and when purchased physically, came as a special disk with its own box complete with specific cover art. This not only facilitated the clean menu aesthetic found in both Hitman: Absolution and Hitman: Sniper Challenge, but also makes the whole experience feel more like its own thing instead of just feeling like a mode for Hitman: Absolution (which I suspect it would have done if merely placed on the menu of that game).

Gameplay wise, Sniper Challenge is very different from the previous entries in the series; and even very different from the game it accompanied, Hitman: Absolution. Instead of surreptitiously sneaking into secured sectors whilst donning disguises at the drop of a hat (or more accurately, the drop of a guard NPC’s body), Sniper Challenge is (as the name would suggest) focused on sniping. This gives the game a more relaxed feel, fitting of a pre-order bonus – it is, after all, just the entrée for the full game of Hitman: Absolution.

Image result for Hitman sniper challengeThe physics, which is the predominant feature of all sniping games, is very solid. Bullets have drop over distance and a fair bit of travel time. Although, not entirely realistic (this is certainly not the sniping experience of found in an ultra-realistic game like ARMA III) the arcade type feel is fun and gives shooting just enough skill to feel satisfying but not overly frustrating.

One of the key features of a Hitman game is its locations: extravagant parties, lavish buildings and bustling highly public events. In this regard, Sniper Challenge is certainly lacking. It is completely excusable, as a pre-order bonus, for the game to have one map there is, however, no reason for said map to be so boring. An annual company party in Chicago hardly compares to an international fashion show at a French Palace, an Italian vineyard turned drug factory or even the shady underbelly of Hong Kong. Still, despite its small scale, the essence of a good Hitman map is there.

The mission takes place over a rigid 15 minute timescale (counted in the bottom left of the screen) with events set to happen at certain times, such as the deployment of guards or the target taking a phone call. This allows a true Hitman fan to approach the level similarly to how they would a level in a previous game – with meticulous planning. The inclusion of a timer on the UI is also handy, in Hitman: Blood Money I’d often find myself having to jot down the times things happened on a map by pen and paper with a stop-clock.

Speaking of the mission, Hitman: Sniper Challenge has what is probably the best pre-mission briefing in the series so far. Beautifully rendered, voice acted and timed to a very fitting score; the pre-mission cut-scene gets my blood pumping every time. If you are at all a Hitman fan, and missed your opportunity to play this game on release (and don’t intend on tracking down a key on shady sites) I would completely recommend watching the cut-scene on YouTube. It perfectly encapsulates all things Hitman and is like a little love-letter to the series. Ironically, I’m sure if Hitman: Absolution had been approached in the same kind of way as Sniper Challenge it would have been far better received by series fans.

What Sniper Challenge really lacks is replayability. Yes, there are numerous easter-eggs which can be unlocked for a score modifier and a fair few number of sniper upgrades up for grabs there is little else in the way of incentive to come back for more. Despite this lack of replayability however, it’s a very nice addition to your library (certainly a must-have for any self-purporting Hitman fan) and I do still find myself occasionally booting it up for just a couple of minutes more of sniper fun.

Tennis – Review

Priced at just under £5 Tennis is one of the cheapest games on the Switch eshop. Boasting simple controls and promising to bring you “the joy that tennis brings” surely even a cheap game by a tiny developer can capture at least some of the fun of tennis? It’s not that hard… right?

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The promotional image for Tennis

First impressions were poor. All 139MB of game loaded almost instantly, a sure guarantee of quality, and I was greeted by the main menu. Problems arose almost immediately when I attempted to navigate said menu. Controlling the very erratic and overly sensitive select pointer with a joystick is an immensely frustrating experience.

 

You are offered a choice of “Rally challenge”, “Tournament” and “Custom play” (although good luck actually being able to select any of them with the pointer). All three modes are pretty much the same. In “Rally challenge” you try and keep a long rally and if you miss the ball you fail. In “Tournament” you need to hit the ball back and forth and if you miss twice you fail. “Custom play” is just the tournament mode except you can choose the map you play and your opponent.

After you’ve picked a mode you are subjected to Tennis‘ “gameplay”. Gameplay is so barebones it may as well be a skeleton. You have one button. The A button. This button serves and hits. This will be the only button you press in the course of a match as your character is piloted by not you, but an AI. There isn’t much in the way of challenge. You just press the A button. Forever. The game is also touchscreen compatible, so once your A button breaks from overuse you can tap until you have RSI.

In the music department, things are just monotonous royalty free loops which slowly bore into your brain with every minute spent playing. The voice acting for characters is awful, each character has a grunting noise for hits and a line they say when they win. Every character is uniquely cringeworthy and painful in their own rights.

This is all Tennis has to offer bar achievements, which are generally variations of “hit the ball X many times”. Collecting all the achievements might do something, but I doubt anyone will ever play more than 10 minutes of this game to find out.

Don’t Knock Twice – Review

Don’t knock twice is a first person horror game by developer Wales Interactive for PC, Xbox one, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It appears to be loosely based of a film of the same and, although more poorly than the film, tells roughly the same story.

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Graphically, Don’t Knock Twice is very impressive. Each individual room of the grand mansion in which the game takes place seems lovingly detailed and is very genuine. The texture work is also impressive and even the Switch version, which appears to have had a slight graphically downgrade, is still fairly good looking.

Unfortunately, the impressive visuals are about the only thing Don’t Knock Twice has going for it and is, at its core, an incredibly uninspired and boring experience. The “horror” aspect of Don’t Knock Twice is incredibly underutilised. Although the story that the game attempts to tell is genuinely quite terrifying it is told through a series of notes or newspaper articles which you may or may be bothered enough to read.

The only other horror aspect of the game are the few incredibly predictable and very average jumpscares, each of which seriously battles against unintentional comedy – and often fails. Having scares with this level of poor execution is to be expected of a crappy Steam Greenlight title cobbled together in an hour or so by a team of IT students for their summer project not a full disc release game.

The game’s audio design is poor and the music is at times quite unpleasant to listen to. Each “scary” moment is accompanied by a mad slamming of piano keys which just obliterates any genuinely tense or scary atmosphere the game had built up.

What a “terrifying” painting.

On the subject of obliterating the game’s atmosphere, what was the deal with paintings in this game? Each room or corridor was practically filled with portraits. After looking at a painting and turning around the painting would change. Figures in it would become zombified or covered in blood. This was at best mildly disconcerting but after you discover that, with the exception of one right at the beginning of the game which opted to fly off the wall instead, literally every single painting does this, it becomes hilarious.

When I deliberately turned my back on a painting and turned around to see it change, the effect was reminiscent of a mother hiding behind her hands to amuse her child in a game of hide and seek. It was almost beyond belief how resoundingly not scary almost every aspect of Don’t Knock Twice manages to be.

The few puzzles the game has to offer were quite interesting and the bathroom steam puzzle was particularly good. Unfortunately, they are very easy to solve and the genuine interest and enjoyment the puzzles managed to create are completely undermined by the general awfulness of the rest of the game.

The plot, which seems to be a skimmed down version of the film’s plot, was so generic and predictable that within about five minutes of playing I had predicted almost exactly how it would end and nailed the ending “twist”. The predictability of the plot isn’t exactly helped by the game’s incredibly short runtime, which gave the story little to no time to develop.

Those first five minutes I played encompassed almost 10% of the game’s total runtime and easily 100% of what it had to offer.

Forget about knocking twice. I wouldn’t recommend even knocking once.

Knight Terrors – Review

Knight Terrors currently sits proudly as the cheapest game on the Nintendo Switch’s estore; but is it worth picking up?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yeeeeees.

With interesting visuals, fun gameplay and a very low price point, what is there to lose in buying this game? At £2.69 Knight Terrors costs less than an everyday cup of coffee, and will certainly last you a lot longer.

Knight Terrors is an endless runner in its simplest form. Much like the infamous Flappy Bird, from which Knight Terrors obviously drew some inspiration, it’s this apparent simplicity which gives this game a strangely addictive quality.

The game also benefits just from being on the Switch. The crisp buttons of the Nintendo Joy-cons make Knight Terrors‘ two button gameplay a treat. Knight Terrors is also a game that is easy and fun to pick up and play, making it a perfect way to kill some time in handheld mode whilst on the move.

There are four distinct game modes to unlock, loads of unique power-ups and plenty of monsters to discover and slay. The pixelated graphics are complimented well by the music, a simplistic yet pleasant collection of various chip-tunes.

Whether you want a game to occupy you for afew hours on journey, want to get rid of some leftover quid in your Nintendo Wallet, or just want an enjoyable endless runner; Knight Terrors is the game for you.

Top 10 games of 2017

As a whole 2017 has been a fairly insignificant year in the world of gaming with most developers opting to play it safe. The fairly predictable annual releases of series like Fifa or Call of Duty did very little in the way of innovation or originality.

These 10 are some of the few titles that did manage to stand out from the crowd.

10: Ironcast

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: £12.99

Developer: Dreadbit

Nintendo seems to be one of the few companies still at least trying to innovate. This was demonstrated this year by the release of their long anticipated console; the Nintendo Switch.  Ironcast was a game that took me by surprise. Taken in by my love of steampunk and the low price point, Ironcast was one of the first games I purchased for the switch. As is it not only a match three game but also an IOS port, I expected afew hours of mindless entertainment, some decent graphics and maybe even a basic story. What I got was instead one of the most gripping and tense combat systems i’ve ever seen in a game, a good plot complete with a fantastic setting and a great art style. Ironcast is the very best of the match three genre and a gripping roguelike.

9: Splatoon 2

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: £49.99

Developer: Nintendo

The original Splatoon was groundbreaking. It redefined the dull grey third person shooter genre with its bright graphics and joyous splatting action. The biggest issue with Splatoon wasn’t the game itself, but instead, the console: the WiiU. The WiiU was one of the biggest flops in recent console history. Splatoon 2 debuts on the infinitely more popular nintendo switch Switch and despite being nearly identical to its predecessor, with the addition of the Switch’s portability, Splatoon‘s formula still feel fresh. Splatoon 2 is essential for anyone who missed out on the first game. Luckily, this constitutes almost everyone.

8: Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 (The Great Ace Attorney 2)

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Platform: 3DS

Price: ¥2,990

Developer: CAPCOM

2015’s Dai Gyakuten Saiban was a tragic case of region locking. Arguably the most interesting entry of the Ace Attorney series probably never seeing light of day in the west. Afew years on and the sequel is here, the aptly named, Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2. Unfortunately, whilst the first Dai Gyakuten Saiban was fairly flawed , the sequel is nothing short of a masterpiece, making the lack of an English translation even more tragic. The award-winning orchestral scores of the first game return, the story winds to a satisfactory close and the characters remain some of the funniest and most interesting the series has ever seen. Although the fan translated youtube playthroughs are still very enjoyable to watch, my collection just doesn’t feel complete without a nice physical copy.

7: Resident Evil: Revelations

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Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, 3DS

Price: £15.99

Developer: CAPCOM

One of the lesser known Resident Evil games debuted on the Switch earlier this year. A 3DS port with new HD graphics, Resident Evil Revelations looks better than ever. The nautical setting suits the Resident Evil formula very well, with the tight corridors leading to claustrophobic and tense battles. Resident Evil Revelations seems to focus more on the survival horror aspect of RE and it works very well in its favour. While the campaign is lackluster in length, the bonus “raid modes” are superb fun and will definitely keep you coming back for more.

6: Sword With Sauce

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Platform: PC

Price: £1.99 – £4.79

Developer: Diatomic

I have never known another early access game with as much potential as Sword With Sauce. Great loadout customisation options, intriguing levels, an interesting art style somewhat reminiscent of Superhot and great parkour mechanics all make Sword With Sauce an immensely enjoyable and varied experience. With the prospect of future updates and an upcoming multiplayer mode Sword With Sauce is certainly one to keep an eye on.

It’s a Sword With Sauce. No ketchup

Just sauce.

Raw sauce.

(I sincerely apologise)

5: ICEY

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Platform: PC, XBOX ONE, PS4

Price: £8.99

Developer: FantaBlade Network

Yes, this is that ICEY, the one that everybody bought just for a £0.80 Steam Link The game itself is even more amazing than the prospect of getting $40 worth of hardware for less than the price of a pack of Haribo. A very linear hack-and-slash with a maleficent narrator, quite reminiscent of The Stanley Parable, with an engaging story and plenty of secrets to discover; ICEY is a very memorable experience.

4: Doki Doki Literature Club!

Platform: PC

Price: Free!

Developer: Team Salvato

A deeply disturbing, morbid and dark parody of the anime visual novel genre; Doki Doki Literature Club! is more of a physcological horror game than a dating simulator. Not wishing to spoil the experience, which is best if experienced first hand, I will say no more. Do be warned though, this game is not for the faint of heart.

3: Okami HD

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Platform: PC

Price: £15.99

Developer: Capcom

The pinnacle of the PS2 era, Okami is back and looking better than ever. With memorable characters, enchanting visuals, a satisfying plot and great music Okami HD is an adventure unlike any other.

2: Slime-San

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Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Nintendo Switch

Price: £10

Developer: Fabraz

Slime-San is fun. Slime-San is a lot of fun. Leaping, from platform to platform, avoiding red spots of insta-death is as fun as it is rewarding. With plenty of collectable currency spread throughout each level and a lot of cosmetics to spend them on, you’ll find yourself  constantly revisiting each level striving for that delicious 100%. The sound effects are unique and although the art style takes alittle getting used to, it’s pretty in its way. Its own red, blue and green way…

1: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Platform: Switch

Price: £49.99

Developer: Nintendo

With a beautiful map, charming graphics and varied quests: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the pinnacle of open world gaming. Exploring the wonderfully detailed world of Hyrule, full of colour and variety, with the orchestral soundtrack caressing your eardrums is a serene joy. The combat side of things is intense, satisfying and deeply rewarding.

Mechanically, the game is also incredible. With stealth options, a hugely in-depth cooking mechanic, and even a thermometer to keep track of temperature. From how Link’s breath steams in the cold, or how he slips while climbing wet surfaces, every single small detail is lovingly and intricately crafted. Small things matter, and here they work in harmony to create an experience that is, no pun intended, breathtaking from start to finish.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has something for everyone, and so much more.

Lego City Undercover and Lego Worlds – Review

From developers Traveller’s Tales comes two games; Lego City Undercover and Lego Worlds. Both games are vastly different in content yet are similarly flawed.

Lege City Undercover

The Nintendo Switch’s game library can be described as sparsely populated at best and some Lego game ports from other consoles were a much needed addition to help bolster the rather pathetic numbers.

Lego City Undercover was the first Switch Lego game I purchased and after £59.99 of disappointment it was very nearly the last. The problem with Lego City Undercover isn’t the game itself, the WiiU version was hilarious and uniquely charming whereas the Switch port is just a slideshow. Playing in handheld mode just isn’t a viable an option for this game. In handheld mode, Lego City Undercover barely tops 20 frames per second and is quite frankly nauseating.

The docked version isn’t much better averaging around 25 frames per second and dropping as low as 10 at some times. When playing co-op in handheld mode, it runs at 5-10 fps and just about double that when docked. As Lego City Undercover was marketed as a “fun for all the family” co-op was a major selling point, this atrocious performance is unacceptable.

How a game optimised this poorly was cleared for release is beyond me. With no patches, as of writing, Lego City Undercover for the Switch is certainly one to avoid.

Lego Worlds

Lego Worlds was the second Switch Lego game I purchased. Curiously, I couldn’t quite put my finger on Lego Worlds‘s target audience. Young children would surely find the building mode too complex and the missions confusing. Most adults would find the missions immensely dull and repetitive and not have enough free time to master the building mode.

The aforementioned building mode is the main focus of Lego Worlds. Almost all missions reward you with new tools and bricks to create with. The building mode is surprisingly in-depth allowing for a huge range of customisation and creation options, however, the game rarely gives you an opportunity to use them.

Sure, they can be used in the many building based missions but devoting an hour into building a small mission-specific house that you will probably never even come back to is alittle pointless. Lego Worlds could be easily improved with the simple addition of a hub world; a place where you can easily return to and showcase your new building items.

So, with boring missions and a somewhat redundant building mode, what makes Lego Worlds one of my most played Switch games?

The world generation.

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A completely randomly generated town in Lego Worlds

The world generation in Lego Worlds is astonishing. With countless biomes, infinite planets to explore, deep cave networks and hundreds of characters to interact with; you will keep coming back for more. Lego Worlds also excels in the graphics department and is visually stunning. The Switch port also runs perfectly, even outperforming the Xbox one and PS4 at some times. Handheld mode is less impressive but still perfectly playable.

With Lego Worlds running so perfectly, you are left to wonder what exactly went so badly wrong with the, graphically inferior, Lego City UndercoverLego Worlds is by no means great, it is still quite flawed, but it is still a hugely enjoyable experience and one I would recommend to everybody.

Team Fortress 2: Jungle Inferno update – day four – Review 

This is a continuation of a four part review. To read part three, click here. To read part two click here. To read part one click here.

Day 4:

Dawn of the final day, a blog post appears on the TF2 site revealing the grand information that…

Jungle Inferno has been delayed and will be coming out tomorrow. Previous Team Fortress updates have shipped in pretty poor states, so it’s nice to see valve actually trying ensure the most anticipated in update in TF history doesn’t ship broken although telling us at the height of anticipation that it will be delayed was a bit of a let down.

Crushing disappointment aside, day four has yielded one thing, a list of in-depth patch notes (probably intended to ship with the actual update).

Balance changes

Each balance change seems cleverly thought out and aims to increase the viability of the least used weapons and decrease the viability of the most overused items. Not many of the changes are truly groundbreaking but most will have at least a small impact on gameplay.

Steam controller support has, at long last, been properly implemented and some broken animations have been fixed. Overall, day four is just maintenance. Admittedly, much needed, maintenance that will certainly improve Team Fortress 2‘s overall experience.

Is day four of Jungle Inferno the amazing climactic peak at the end of this roller-coaster ride of an update that we wanted? No. But it is an additional little length track that will keep the Team Fortress ride running for a while longer.

And hey, we’ve still got Halloween and Christmas events to come!

Team Fortress 2: Jungle Inferno update – day three – Review 

This is a continuation of a four part review. To read part two click here. To read part one click here.

Day 3:

Three quarters of the way through the Jungle Inferno update and each day has gone from good to great to greater and its still looking up. Day three heralds the highly anticipated arrival of the pyro class overhaul and after the huge wait; Valve, in a generous apology gesture that would put many other AAA developers to shame, gives the community a whopping five new weapons (four pyro and one heavy), numerous overhauls and fixes, even second contract campaign all for free.

The already heavily memed “flyro”. Image Credit – teamfortress.com

The new “pyroland” (free) campaign is a small 5 mission taster of the new “contracker” system (for more info on that, see my day 2 coverage). Each mission unlocks one of the new weapons. This is in stark contrast to previous updates, which had players buying crates, desperately hoping for random drops or paying hugely over the odds on the Steam marketplace all for a chance to try out new weapons.

The new weapons added are each fairly unique, a fireball launcher, a slap and even a jet pack put a new spin on combat. For a full list of changes and some more in-depth info on the new weapons, you can visit the Team Fortress blog, right here.

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Image credit – newburgh gazette

After a long period of stagnation, Team Fortress 2 was in serious need of some seriously cool (or should I say, hot) new weapons and day three of the Jungle Inferno update is a huge game changer, no pun intended. We now eagerly await the fourth day, the final in this epic update saga. Stay tuned folks.

Team Fortress 2: Jungle Inferno update – day two – Review 

This is a continuation of a four part review. To read part one click here.

Day 2:

After a few early morning hours of doubtful waiting, the second day of Team Fortress 2’s Jungle Inferno update is upon us and with it comes a whole host of new and welcome additions.

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The “new” contracker contracts system. Image Credit – Update Page

Contracts, introduced in the 2015 Gun Mettle update, return once more. As a quick explanation for those who missed the Gun Mettle update, it introduced a limited-time £3.99 “contract pass”. Owning this pass granted the user two unique weekly challenges (or contracts), these were relatively simple tasks, “get 10 kills as sniper” or “sap five dispensers as spy”. Completion of contracts rewarded the player with a unique weapon skin. Unlike the Gun Mettle update, however, the contracts from Jungle Inferno are accessed from the “contracker”. Whilst Gun Mettle contracts were plagued by arbitrary time constraints, the “contracker” lets you do any contract you want at any time in a system eerily similar to Counter Strike’s “campaign” system.

Whilst the method of getting contracts has moved towards a much more Counter Strike style system, the rewards system has shifted to a more unique approach. Whilst in Counter Strike (and previous Tf2 updates) rewards consist of a unique weapon skin or a case, Jungle Inferno grants you “war paints” or “blood money” (no not the Hitman game, as awesome as it would be, instead “blood money” is a new type of currency used to buy war paint).

War paints are effectively just skins in a can. As a devout sniper player, the barrage of battered shotguns I received from Gun Mettle contracts that I would inevitably never use, was immensely frustrating. “War paint” eliminates this problem as it allows you to apply the pattern you want, to the weapon you want, a very welcome change.

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Image credit – RockPaperShotgun

For players with more money than sense, two new cases have been introduced. Both contain a set of community and valve created cosmetics, with some being able to be earned via contract rewards. They are all jungle themed and give players access to shed loads of new apparel combinations in the veritable fancy dress party that is Team Fortress 2.

A new set of weapons is teased throughout the update page, including a banana for heavy and a flamethrower for pyro leaving the community waiting, with baited breath, for day 3. Stay tuned folks.

Team Fortress 2: Jungle Inferno update – day one – Review 

Day 1:

After an almost 500 day period of inactivity, valve have ended their apparent hiatus and delivered the newest Team Fortress 2 update: Jungle Inferno.

Image Credit – www.teamfortress.com/

Its fair to say that last year (especially when it comes to Team Fortress 2) valve made mistakes. The July 2016 Meet Your Match update, that introduced competitive matchmaking, absolutely ruined the TF2 experience for many, even the most die-hard fans like myself.

The question on every players mind right now is, “is it time to get back to TF2?” Time to dust off those character action figures? Time to once more proudly display your Mann Co. wall posters. Time to sip on some Bonk! Atomic Punch and boot up Team Fortress 2.

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Time to boot up one of my most played games again?

So far, first impressions seem good. Today marks day one of the whopping four day Jungle Update.  With a fantastic new animated short so rich in lore that it will surely cause any fan to squeal in delight, a lot of new taunts and teasers as what’s to come day one on its own would have constituted a fantastic update.

Why stay cooped up indoors this winter? Venture into Jungle Inferno’s series of tropical themed maps. Say “goodbye” to the stuffy, dusty dustbowls and gravel pits of the USA and say “hello” to the warm jungles of Brazil.

And now begins the waiting game. So far the Jungle Inferno update looks to be one of the best updates in Team Fortress history. What wonders will day two hold? Only time will tell. Stay tuned folks.