Category Archives: General

General news and opinions

Brand New Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay Trailer!

Check out the brand new trailer released today (22/04/2014) for the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition slated for release on October 7th this year.  I’m really excited for this one!

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Upcoming games that I’m excited about: 2014 and beyond

One of the best things about being a gamer is the future.   As the game industry grows so does the potential of video games and while high def graphics and massive open worlds don’t always equal fantastic games, the future is certainly bright for video gaming.  Here are some of the games I am most excited about.  I’ve labeled which platform they are going to be available on in terms of my focus which is only PC, PS4 and Xbox One.   While some of these titles are coming out on last gen consoles, I haven’t noted this.  These titles are in no particular order but I’m going to start off with the game I am most excited about.

DestinyDestiny-Box-Art-Reveal – September 9, 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

From the creators of Halo, Destiny looks to be one of the most promising games of 2014 and certainly the one I am looking forward to the most.  Featuring character creation, and an experience that resembles an MMO, you will explore multiple worlds once part of a great human civilization while fighting enemies using powers from various classes.

The Last of Us: Remastered – 2014 (PS4)

The PS3 version of The Last of Us became one of my favourite games of all time thanks to it’s story and characterization.  The remastered version will have full native 1080p support as well as more pixels and enhanced lighting and shadows.  The PS4 version will also be getting some gameplay enhancements although these are not known at this time.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The latest installment of the popular Ubisoft franchise will thrust players into the midst of the French revolution.  Not much else is known about this game at this time.

world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-logo-1920x1080World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor – 2014 (PC)

I left WoW a few years ago but I still miss it from time to time.  The thought of going back in and grinding through the levels again really put me off, especially as I don’t have as much time to do that sort of thing as I used to.  The fact that with the release of the latest WoW expansion you can get a level 90 character boost makes me very interested in returning to Azeroth, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Deep Down – 2014 (PS4)

I am of the opinion that if you buy a console you should definitely make use of it’s exclusive content and Deep Down is no exception.  When it was revealed it intrigued a lot of people, including me, and I am interested to see what Capcom’s dungeon crawler will turn out to be like.

NHL 15 – 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

In my opinion EA’s NHL franchise is one of the worst at the moment, mainly due to stale gameplay and presentation.  Compared to NBA 2k and FIFA, NHL is far behind and they really need to come onto current gen swinging.  Improved visuals, new commentary, and gameplay overhaul are musts for this series.

Halo_5Halo 5 – 2014/2015 (Xbox One)

The past few months have shown that the PS4 is selling better than the Xbox One right now.  Titanfall wasn’t really an effective weapon in the console war and inFAMOUS Second Son was a successful and popular title for Sony.  Master Chief could be “the One” to save the Xbox One.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – October 7, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Although gaining press for its similarities to the Assassin’s Creed franchise in terms of movement, Shadow of Mordor actually looks really promising and I am actually more excited for this title than I am for a new AC game.

Guns of Icarus Online – 2014 (PS4)

I loved playing this game on the PC and am really excited that it’s coming to PS4 so I can play it with friends who aren’t PC gamers.  Check out Total Biscuit and Angry Joe playing this game on YouTube to see for yourself how fun this game can be!

Alien_IsolationAlien: Isolation – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

After the huge disappointment and PR mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, fans of the Alien universe were worried they weren’t ever going to get a truly authentic Alien experience packaged in a good game that doesn’t just make use of the movie license.  So far Alien: Isolation promises just that, but the fans have been burnt before.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – 2014 (PC)

I recently reported that Sid Meier’s Beyond Earth was announced at Pax East 2014 and I couldn’t be more excited.  I am a huge fan of Sid Meier’s titles and while the developers have stated that this isn’t an Alpha Centauri remake, I live in hope that the title does echo that game in certain ways.

Evolve – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As soon as I found out that this game was made by the creators of Left 4 Dead I started to get excited.  Add the fact it is sci-fi based (a genre I particularly love) and you have yourself one excited game blogger.

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The Crew – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I’m not a huge fan of racing games and haven’t really enjoyed one, except for the F1 series, since Need For Speed Underground.  That said, I’m really excited about The Crew.  I really like that it lets you play and race with friends in groups and I can’t wait to test it out.  For a racing game to have peaked my interest, it’s special.

Watch_Dogs – May 27, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

What was supposed to be a launch title, Watch_Dogs has a lot of promise and hype surrounding it but still has a question mark over its head.  Will it be worth the wait?  The fact that Ubisoft held the game back because it wasn’t ready is a good thing in my opinion.  Too often we see games being released in an unfit state.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – February, 2015 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Talking of games that have been held back, I was sad that The Witcher 3 was moved to next year but again, happy because I know that the game will be better for it.  Wild Hunt will be the last in The Witcher story and I am a big fan of the previous two games in the series, especially Assassin’s of Kings.  This game has a lot of promise and will hopefully be a Game of The Year  contender in 2015.

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Batman: Arkham Knight – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Set to be the final game in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, Knight is shaping up to be a great game.  The studio is taking back control of the franchise after WB Montreal released the solid Arkham Origins. Rocksteady’s game is set after Arkham City and will allow players to drive the batmobile for the first time.  They have also created a brand new villain (pictured) but on first glance I swore it was Wrath (which would also be cool by the way).  I’m a big fan of the franchise and I am looking forward to the final installment.

Mad Max – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Ok, I know there are a ton of post-apocalyptic games out there but Mad Max is a pretty bad ass license (if you haven’t seen the movies, go watch them…now…I can wait) and I am excited to see how this game turns out.

Lords of the Fallen – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Comparisons to Dark Souls aside, this game looks very promising.  Just read what the game is about and I dare you to not get excited: “a challenging Action RPG set in a medieval fantasy world ruled by a Fallen God.  Fight against the formidable Lords and Generals that command a demonic army, Lords of the Fallen rewards skill and persistence among dedicated Action RPG fans.”

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Tom Clancy’s The Division – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Not a huge amount is known about the latest Clancy title except that it looks awesome and will be multiplayer.  A pandemic has swept across New York City and sleeper agents from “The Division” have been activated to “prevent the fall of society”.

Kingdom Under Fire II – 2014 (PC, PS4)

This game will combine RTS, RPG and MMO elements set in a fantasy world.  Players will control a hero who acts sort of like a general, commanding troops in battle.  It looks really promising but western gamers will have to wait till the game has been released in Asia before getting their hands on it.

Star Citizen – 2014 (PC)

I first heard about this game on Kickstarter and, like many other people, was impressed by its promise.  It could potentially be the best space flight game ever made, enabling players to do jobs such as smuggler or bounty hunter in a sandbox environment.  A lot of people believe in this title, as referenced by the amount of donations Chris Roberts received.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I personally preferred Dragon Age Origins to II but I liked both titles a lot so Inquisition is definitely on my radar.  The developers have promised that a players decisions will have a big impact on the story which really appeals to me.  It’s going to be set in Thedas, the same as the previous titles but the world will be larger.

Galactic Civilizations 3 – 2014 (PC)

This game has been released in Alpha on Steam but I’m not really into buying games that are in this state so I won’t comment on that.  What I will say is, I’m looking forward to the full release of this title.  A sci-fi 4X strategy game? What’s not to like about that?

Uncharted 4 – TBA (PS4)

The Uncharted franchise is a good reason to pick up a Playstation 3.  The characters and writing are both solid and fans of the series have every right to be chomping at the bit for a new title.  Very little is known about this game so far but I will keep my eyes open and ear to the ground for any news relating to it.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – 2015 (PS4, Xbox One)

While I don’t agree with charging $30 for a short prologue, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes did show that The Phantom Pain, which is the full game following on from Zeroes, will be something to sit up and take notice of.  Metal Gear Solid is one of the best franchises in gaming and any MGS release is worth playing.

Wolfenstein: The New Order – May 20, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As well as being a gamer geek I am also a huge history nerd.  In fact, my first University degree was in history so I am naturally drawn to anything in gaming that I can relate to.  Wolfenstein: The New Order is set in the 1960’s but in an alternate history where the Third Reich managed to win World War II.  I can’t wait to see how MachineGames and Bethesda have created this world and I will try and review this title for the blog when it comes out next month.

Let me know in the comments if there are any games that you think I should add to this list!

 

 

 

EA Sports predicts a Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 2014

nhl-14-playoff-simulation-header_656x369Fans of the NHL and the EA Sports NHL franchise will be used to the yearly prediction from EA as to who will win the top prize in North American hockey.  So far they haven’t done a terrible job, predicting that the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks would win as well as the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.  In 2011 they also predicted correctly the Final matchup.  Last year they guessed wrong with the New York Rangers but this year they might just be right if my own predictions are correct.

NHL 14 has the Bruins making their way through the Red Wings, Canadiens and Rangers to skate out in the Finals against the San Jose Sharks, who themselves bested the Kings, Ducks and Avalanche.  Only time will tell if EA has predicted correctly, but one thing I will say is, my money was on the Bruins from day one.

nhl-14-simulation-eastern-conferencenhl-14-simulation-western-conferencenhl-14-simulation-stanley-cup-finals

Check out the story for more information on the EA Sports website: http://www.easports.com/nhl/news-updates-gameplay/article/nhl-14-playoff-simulation

Don’t be “that kind” of sports fan

I’m going to break from writing about gaming for a moment to discuss something that is equally as important to me.

Growing up I was always asked one question when I told someone where I was from: “Are you from the claret or blue side of the city?”  To many people in the UK this question is easily understood but for my readers who have no idea what this question pertains to, I will briefly explain.  I am from Birmingham, England.  As you probably know, soccer is a national obsession there and one city that demonstrates this perfectly is “Brummagem”.  In the city there are two ‘major’ teams that have an intense hatred for one another.  Aston Villa and Birmingham City.  If you are born in Birmingham, chances are you will be born into eithcroppeder a claret (Villa) or a blue (City) family.  I was born blue and regardless of results or league position I will always be cursed with this.  

However I went to school with (mostly) Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and a couple of West Brom fans.  Most of these “glory hunters” (exclduing of course for the West Brom fans) had never been to Manchester, London or Liverpool and they were viewed by the local teams fans as another level of fan.  A lower level.  “It’s easy to support a team like Man Utd” they would say, “because they are a good team.  Try supporting Birmingham (a then newly promoted Premier League side), now THAT is being a true fan.”  This same sentiment, based purely on georgraphy, was echoed in the stadiums.  I used to be a seaso1549268_10153800048450523_937546990_an ticket holder at St. Andrews (arguably the home of football…OK I did say “arguably”) and whenever we played teams like Manchester United, chants of “at least we support the local team!” would ring out across the stadium, directed at the few thousand ‘travelling’ fans.  I admit, I used to chant this too.  I sometimes needed a break from accusing the referee of self love or singing “sh*t on the Villa” (a popular folk song from home).   It was wrong of me though and the first part f the chant is what botheres me the most: “at least…” I say this after maturing, I know.  This sentiment has bothered me, especially in my early twenties, because I now no longer live in Birmingham and have spent a good chunk of my life loving sports and leagues that are in other countries.  For instance, over the past few seasons I have come to love Bayern Munich.  A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to watch them play VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.  It was a1607018_10153800058635523_1808464125_a hard fought match which resulted in a Bayern win thanks to a magical scissor kick by Thiago after a perfect cross from Rafinha.  It was a moment every soccer fan wants to see and watching Bayern as much as I have over the last few seasons, I have seen magic many times.  I’ve never been to Munich.  I’d love to but I’ve only ever driven through Germany.  Should the fact I’ve never been to the home of Bayern stop me from supporting the team?  No, and here’s why.

I enjoy watching Bayern.  I like the players, their personalities and their skill.  I like the organisation and their “German talent first” mentality.  So there you go.  I challenge you to give me a good reason why I shouldn’t say I’m a fan.  Sure they are the best team in Europe and of course I like that, but so what?  

Bayern-Munich-Champions-League-Winners-2013-HD-Wallpaper

Now that’s settled, I have another example.  I now live in Ottawa, ON and have done for about three years in total.  One of the reasons I chose this city is because of the NHL team here, the Ottawa Senators.  I was a Sens fan before I came to Canada.  I had grown up a Red Wings fan thanks to a combination of visiting Detroit when I was 8 and liking Steve Yzerman, Brenden1620676_10153800072450523_1411100119_a Shanahan and Chris Chelios.  I loved these guys but when they started to retire or leave I felt like I wanted to pick a new team that I wanted to identify
with, and in my thinking, “grown up” support.  By this I mean, follow a team through highs and lows.

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I picked Ottawa partly because it’s a Canadian team (and I love Canada), partly because of Daniel Alfredsson and partly because it was a fairly new kid on the block and didn’t make me think of the knuckle-puck first and NHL second (sorry Ducks fans).   Supporting an NHL team from England is difficult.  When you are far away from the team, you tend to be with people who don’t care about it.  I’d go out wearing a hockey sweater only to be looked at strangely.  I’d talk about how the two line offside pass is no longer in the league, and I’d be ignored.  It was tough not supporting a locaOttawa_3l team, or even a local sport.  Now I’m in Ottawa surrounded by Toronto, Montréal, Pittsburgh, Boston fans etc.  I have gone from being one of those fans that should be told by Blues fans to “support my local team” to being a supporter of my local team.  Cool, right?   I mean, it really makes a difference, right?  Our survey says, EHH EHH!  Wrong.  It makes no difference.  Sure, I know the Canadian Tire Centre like the back of my hand now, which I didn’t five years ago, but apart from that I love the Sens just as much.  It’s made not one jot of difference.  In my opinion, geography is, or at least should be, of little concern to fans.

have one more point to make before I get off my soap box.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that the Seattle Seahawks are currently Super Bowl Champions, and they are a team I’ve been watching and supporting lately.  I used to be really into the NFL but stopped following it until this season when I decided to start watching again.  I used to like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (due to many a holiday in Florida when I was young) and the New England Patriots, but decided on a  fresh start.  A new team.download

I chose the Seahawks for a few reasons.  Here they are:
1) They are in a different conference to the Patriots, a team that my friend really likes.
2) I played as them on the Madden 25 demo before the season began and won my games using them.
3) Seattle is the nearest team to where I used to live in Vancouver, BC.
4) The personalities of players like Richard Sherman.
I shouldn’t have to justify myself, but there you go.

The term “bandwagon fan” is being thrown about all over the internt right now and I really don’t like it.  Sometimes being a fan from afar is hard.  Seahawks gear is really hard to come by; your friends are most likely Brady fans and your team is never on local TV.  Sometime20110820_SEAHAWKS_MINN_1060s it takes more work to like a team that is thousands of miles away.  You have to keep up via NFL.com (or it’s equivalent in NHL, Premier League, etc.) and you have to pay for viewing packages or cable to watch the games.  You have to go out of your way to find fans of the team you like to stay part of that community.  It really isn’t easy.  I chose the Hawks before they were Super Bowl bound, but even if I didn’t, why should it matter?

I’ll end with this.  Next time you see a guy or a girl wearing a Manchester United jersey or a Sidney Crosby sweater, don’t judge them.  Sometimes these people are hard core fans who might know more about the sport or the team than you do.  You being an idiot about it will only make you look bad.

 

My top 5 favourite gaming YouTube channels

A while ago a friend asked me for recommendations of gaming channels on YouTube so I figure it makes for a pretty good Blog topic.  While PewDiePie is the most popular YouTuber, I don’t really like his style or channel so here is a list of my favourite gaming channels on YouTube.  If you have some recommendations that you think I should check out, leave them in the comments below!

angry-joe1. Angry Joe Show

My favourite gaming YouTuber is without a doubt Angry Joe.  His reviews are honest and thorough and his ultimate aim is to safeguard fellow gamers from bad business practice and money grabbing tactics.  I find myself agreeing with his reviews more often that not and I usually hold off on buying games I’m not sure about until I’ve watched one of his reviews.  Recently he has launched his gaming community, The Angry Joe Show Army, which is pretty active and the forums on his website are a pretty friendly place.  http://angryjoeshow.com/ajsa/

220px-totalbiscuit_godfather2. TotalBiscuit (The Cynical Brit)

The number 1 PC gaming critic on YouTube, TotalBiscuit, breaks from conventional review practices with his WTF is…? series.  He doesn’t give games scores, he just tells you what he likes and dislikes about the games he plays.  He is also known for his Hearthstone and Blood Bowl gameplay verses other YouTubers.  In fact, he is the main reason I got into Hearthstone, so thanks TB!  http://www.reddit.com/r/Cynicalbrit/

3. JonTrJonTron_Smirkon

Along with his friend Jacques, JonTron makes videos concerning older titles or games that may not be considered mainstream.  His content is both informative and funny and I’ve certainly learnt a lot from his reviews, especially from some of the older games that came out when I was a kid and before I viewed them with a critical eye. http://normalboots.com/


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4. Melonie Mac

Active on both YouTube and Twitch, Mel Mac plays all the latest and greatest games.  She is passionate about PC gaming and loves Razer gear in particular.  She is also a talented artist.  If you are looking for someone who is a geek and proud of it, then look no further.  She is who she is and doesn’t apologise for it.  Her “let’s plays” are really fun to watch and she communicates directly with her community.  Make sure to enter her giveaways too! http://www.meloniemac.com/

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5. Boogie2988

Along with his characters, the most notable of those being Francis, Boogie reports on gaming news, does “Let’s plays” and weighs in on current issues and topics.  His is straight talking and honest, opening up to the internet about his personal issues and life.  Boogie has lately shot to fame and has been recognised by the heads of both Microsoft and Sony as an influential YouTuber.