All posts by Brendan Griffiths

I've set up this Video Games blog to display my articles that I've written while at University for assignments and the student newspaper / magazine, Pluto / PR1. Now that Uni's finished I'll be updating regularly with lots of new articles too. At Uni I studied Film & Media with Journalism (grade pending). I'm going to write about anything games related, including reviews, previews, news, interviews and occasionally the odd rant I imagine. I'm new to blogging and this software so hang in there while I experiment with a few layouts and hope I don't accidentally destroy it from within...again. I have recently started to submit articles here: http://www.game-hub.co.uk/ too but it's pretty much the same stuff as I'll be putting here. You can see my profile at that site here. My aim is to get work for a magazine or website, so don't be shy you hiring types. If you'd like to offer any feedback, laugh at any dodgy spelling or grammar, or find a broken link, feel free to message me or add a comment to the article. *I only set up the blog in May 2009, but I've back-dated some of the articles to match when they were originally written at Uni. Hence the massive gaps between the early articles.

7 Ways to Stop Hackers Ruining Your Christmas Gaming

Hackertards have once again screwed over gamers by hacking into PSN and Xbox Live just in time for one of the busiest times of the year. Sure, the hackers think they’re punishing the big companies, or ‘sticking it to the man’, but in fact, they’re affecting regular folk who want to enjoy a bit of online gaming with friends over the holidays before heading back to work. Let’s face it, Destiny is more useful as a coaster when offline. Rather than list the painful punishments we wish on the hackers, we’ve come up with seven things to do with your consoles that the hackers can’t interfere with.

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The Sunday Seven: How Assassin’s Creed Rogue smashes Unity

assassins-creed-rogue-vs-unity

Assassin’s Creed Rogue has been living under the shadow of Assassin’s Creed Unity since it was announced that both games would be sharing a release window. When both were moved to the very same day, faithful and eager new-gen fans of course opted for Unity. Sadly, that loyalty was rewarded by a broken and oddly dull entry. But now that we’ve had time to play through both games, it’s clear that Ubisoft has released a fantastic Assassin’s title this year, but one you’ll have to dust off the PS3 or 360 for. So then, here are seven reasons why Rogue has absolutely smashed Unity.

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The Sunday Seven: Top 7 Influential Brands on PS1

Earlier this week, the PS1 (or PSX for our US readers) turned 20 years old since its Japanese birth in 1994. Think about that, we’ve been playing PlayStation for 20 years. There have been some incredible innovations and games from the multiple generations of PlayStation. But let’s take a look at seven of the most influentialbrands that shaped the original PS1’s success and turned the gaming world upside-down.

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Never Alone (Review)

never-alone-review--Never Alone is an indie platformer about the adventures of a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox. The Iñupiat are a native Alaskan tribe, whose culture has inspired the setting and story of the title. This culture is no mere window dressing either, throughout the game you’ll unlock video interviews with Iñupiat folk who discuss various elements of their culture, usually neatly setting up the next part of the game.

Unlike most mini-documentary videos in games, these are incredibly interesting and perfectly woven into the experience. You don’t have to watch them in between levels, but I found the warm anecdotes allowed me to appreciate the new environments and characters much more than I would have done if I watched them after finishing the game.

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Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Review)

lego-batman-3-boxPlaying Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham after Lego Marvel does little to hide the comparative paucity of star power in DC’s lineup. Beyond the Batman and Superman universes, you’re almost constantly left shrugging your shoulders at the characters on your screen.

This is notable from an early cutscene with a selection of naughty Lanterns messing about in space, which will have all but regular DC readers shrugging their shoulders with indifference until the Joker and Lex Luthor show up to add a bit of class to the villains stable. Continue reading Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Review)

Are Ubisoft Taunting Gamers With Female Assassins in Unity?

Are Ubisoft Taunting Gamers With Female Assassins in Unity?

Remember when Ubisoft said they didn’t have the resources to include female character models for the co-op mode Assassin’s Creed Unity? Well, Ubi, what the hell are these two doing? I’m pretty sure those are boobs.

It would seem Ubisoft found enough ‘resources’ to include a bit of eye-candy around the Brotherhood. To be fair, it doesn’t look like these two are using the 8000 animations that apparently would have been required to include female character models in the co-op mode.

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The Sunday Seven: Assassin’s Creed Unity Survival Tips

assassins_creed_unity_survival-tips-guide

Assassin’s Creed Unity is seriously tough. Even when the various glitches and bugs aren’t making Arno’s life hell, there are plenty of other factors that make pulling off hits an unforgiving gauntlet of snipers and swordsman. We feel your pain though, and have come up with seven top tips to put you on the right path. And no, one of them isn’t buy Assassin’s Creed Rogue instead. I eventually came up with a seventh in the end. Happy hunting!

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The Sunday Seven: Improvements for the next Call of Duty

The Sunday Seven: Improvements for the next Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been a fantastic return for the mega-selling first-person-shooter franchise. In my review I heaped praised upon both the campaign mode and the fun multiplayer options, mainly because of the excellent shift in style afforded by the exoskeleton. All in all, it’s the best Call of Duty game in years. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. There are still ways in which Call of Duty could blow away the competition and here are seven ways they could do it.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Review)

Call-of-Duty-Advanced-Warfare-PS4Before Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare landed on our doormats, this has been a year to remember for the first person shooter. The likes of Titanfall and Destiny have made vital efforts to push the envelope in terms of what we can expect from a shooter.

Titanfall has been a fun-packed title with awesome mechs, jetpack parkour and some decent DLC, despite server issues that made the early months a little rough. And Destiny, well the jury’s still out a little there as Bungie’s MMOFPS has been a little light on content for many gamers, but there’s a solid foundation. It’s been a year where developers have attempted to shake things up, and for that they should be applauded. And let’s face it, the sequels could be incredible if they take the feedback on board.

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Freedom Wars (Review)

freedom-wars-reviewOh Monster Hunter, why hast thou betrayed us so? After starting life with PlayStation, Capcom’s hit series has gone on to become a huge seller exclusively on Nintendo platforms, particularly the handhelds, leaving Sony desperate to come up with a similar winning formula for the PS Vita.

Last year Soul, Sacrifice made a valiant effort and in many ways succeeded, although it was a little too niche for its own good. And boy was it all sorts of brown. So step forward Freedom Wars, a futuristic take on the genre that sees players trying to work off larger chunks of a 1 million year prison sentence by slaying monsters and harvesting resources for ‘the greater good’. The world is ravaged by war and hunger and broken up into separate cities or Panopticons, with any child born beyond the strict family quotas imprisoned to earn their way back into society via this obscenely long sentence.

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DriveClub (Review)

driveclub-reviewDriveClub’s online issues have been well documented since release, and it was only fair that we held off publishing our review until Evolution had time to iron out the kinks and we could actually play it online. Two weeks since release and it’s ‘pencil’s down’ time.

First up, single-player. The campaign is a lengthy selection of events in which you earn fame points that in turn level you up, unlocking more events and faster vehicles. The events themselves have a heavy reliance on time trials over multi-vehicle racing, making it seem like a very lonely game at times. There are drift events too, but the less said about those the better. There are three star awards for each event based on criteria like finishing position, clean laps, lap times or beating racing line or drift challenges.

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The Sunday Seven: Why Far Cry 4 is Set to Own 2014

The Sunday Seven: Why Far Cry 4 is Set to Own 2014

With one short month to go before Far Cry 4 lands, we take a decisive look at all the available evidence, including our very own hands-on sessions, to make the case that we could be looking at a Game of the Year contender here. So dive into this week’s Sunday Seven: Why Far Cry 4 is Set to Own 2014.

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Bloodborne (Hands-On Preview)

Chances are, you’re either a big fan of the Dark Souls series or you just can’t be doing with their brand of no-nonsense difficulty and downright unresponsive controls.

Me? I’m not a fan and haven’t been since I played the original Demon’s Souls. So why am I the one talking to you about Bloodborne, a game by the same devs and seen as a potential killer exclusive on the PS4 for fans of From Software’s series? Well, after trying out the recent Alpha, I’m thinking maybe Bloodborne will be worth a look after all and those of you that aren’t fans of the Souls games probably shouldn’t dismiss it so soon.

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The Sunday Seven: DriveClub’s Ups and Downs

The racing game PS4 owners have been waiting for since launch is finally here and it’s facing a hell of a lot of pressure after a prolonged development that has seen some mixed messages emerge during the course. It’s not been the smoothest of launches either, with the online side of the game being blocked off to most gamers. So, our review is going to be a short while yet as there’s no point reviewing half a game. In the meantime though, let’s have a look at some of the highs and lows we’ve experienced in our first four days with the game.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Review)

With the Hobbit movies proving to be one of the longest train wrecks in recent memory, it’s a relief to see developers looking elsewhere for inspiration of doing Tolkien’s world justice. So, to fill the gap between the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, we find ourselves deep in the heart of Mordor.

Enter Talion, a ranger working on the Black Gate who, along with his family, is killed almost immediately by invading Uruks. Luckily (sort of) for him, an Elven Wraith spirit invades his body just before death. Meaning that a short while later he is resurrected and will continue to do so each time he is killed.

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The Sunday Seven: Shadow of Mordor Tips

We’ve been playing a lot of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor here at tower Dealspwn and have frankly been loving it. As keen Tolkien geeks, the Mordor setting provides an intriguing look at an area of Middle Earth for so long trapped behind those daunting Black Gates. Taking place between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is a great idea and rich with potential. Monolith tells how the one ring was forged and how a solitary ranger can play an important part when paired with an elven wraith. Carl’s review will be ready soon, but to warm you up I’ve put together a few tips to get you started. As ever readers, be sure to share any you might have too.

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The Evil Within (Hands-on Preview)

 

Remember: Burn After Bleeding

Today’s session sees our detective leading man making his way through a sinister mansion full of strange noises, tortured sobbing, wet ripping sounds and a host of nasties sporting dead-eyed barbwire couture. Forget any concerns about the ‘haunted mansion’ cliché, this is the sort of nasty setting we’ve missed in recent years. And don’t forget, this is just one stage of Shinji Mikami’s blood-soaked love letter to the genre he helped to define.

It’s also the first decent taste of horror on new-gen hardware and it suitably impresses on the graphical front from the start. It’s the shadows that really put you on edge though. Be it the flickering shards emitted by your gas lamp as you edge down a dim corridor, the light behind a sheet betraying the twitching silhouette or the gradual pouring of light into a dark room as you slowly creak open a door into the unknown.

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Project Cars (Hands-On Preview)

“Try to catch that car in front or just bring it back in one piece.” These are the deflating words of my pit manager when skidding around in last place on the final lap in Project Cars.

Project Cars is tough. With no driving aids turned on for my first play session with the new racing IP, I can’t help but feel the pressure mount as every time I look up in the Bandai Namco offices, I see a Dark Souls II poster – judging, mocking and not helping my blood temperature one bit.

Things improve though and despite the harsh challenge, which comes mainly from the handling rather than the AI (but more on those guys later), I found myself keen to iron out my racing sim wrinkles and lose those pesky kart racer habits. To be fair, it’s not like PS4 is exactly packed with skill-honing racing sims right now.

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From Bedrooms to Billions (Review)

This year’s hottest ticket at EGX (formerly the Eurogamer Expo) was for the premier of From Bedrooms to Billions, a documentary on the birth of the UK gaming scene and its rise from hobbyist beginnings to world leader and to the shape of things today.

The entire film is told by industry figures giving anecdotes on their memories of how it all began. Chances are, the older a gamer you are, the more you’ll be able to relate to the film. The amount of time dedicated to the Sinclair ZX80s and Commodore 64s vastly outweigh any given to later consoles. This is mainly due to the heavy focus on the British perspective of the industry, where the arrivals of the Japanese machines from Nintendo and Sega are painted in almost villainous colours.

Early on, the anecdotes feel a little dry as the talk is all about programming, entering lines of code, hobbyist meets and so on. This is a film clearly aiming for the nostalgic feelings of those involved in the scene, further carving the film into an even tighter niche and alienating everyone else.

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The Sunday Seven: Destiny Strike Tips

I’ve had Destiny for a week now (thanks to Royal Mail’s usual shoddy service) and have been hitting the modes pretty hard to level up my gear enough to take on the upcoming Raids that are only open to level 26 and up. So, we imagine that you too are going to be putting a lot of time into Strike missions to get in some essential practice for Destiny’s tougher journeys. Well Guardian, you’re not going to last two minutes in the Raids if you don’t take these tactics into your Strike missions.

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