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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Murasaki Baby (Review)

The Colourful Heart of Darkness

Sony has repositioned the Vita as a champion of indie titles and Murasaki Baby has been on our radar for what seems like forever. The wait is over though and we finally get our hands on one of the most visually-striking games to land on the handheld in ages.

The aim of this 2D puzzle platformer is to help this incredibly creepy, yet somehow adorable, little girl find her ‘mummy’ as we guide her through the nightmare-like environments via a multitude of touchscreen and rear touchpad controls. Early Vita adopters may hear a few distant alarm bells ringing if they remember the infuriatingly clunky launch title Escape Plan. Thankfully, the controls in Murasaki Baby are much better. Mostly.

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The Sunday Seven: Under the Radar Releases This Xmas

The Christmas release line-up has a long tradition of being ridiculously packed every year. After one of the driest gaming summers in recent memory, this is all the more frustrating. The big publishers will often drown out the marketing efforts of any releases that aren’t Call of Duty, FIFA, Halo or other major console branded spots, so this list is for seven games that deserve a little boost and ones we hope won’t get brushed aside in favour of the usual suspects. Keep your browser aimed at Dealspwn as we’ll be aiming to review the lot of them.

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Velocity 2X (Review)

Futurlab may have just gone and made one of the best games of the year. And for anyone on PS+, you can download it for free now on PS4 and Vita.

The original Velocity title on the Vita was a cool retro shoot ‘em up that had you teleporting through barriers to reach other parts of a scrolling stage. We would have been happy enough with more of the same, but Futurlab really went the extra mile by adding in on-foot 2D platforming sections when you leave the ship. The game effortlessly shifts between the two modes with no loading screens to complete one of the slickest experiences we’ve seen on PS4.

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The Sunday Seven: Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition Adventure Mode Starter Tips

If you patiently waited all that time for the new-gen version of Diablo III you may be wondering what all the fuss is about Adventure Mode. Well, after you finish the campaign mode, you’ll be wanting to bag some serious XP and loot to keep the game feeling fresh and getting to Level 70 so you can explore the Paragon system and maybe start on a few new characters to share the additional benefits of your first demon slaying hero. So why not take a look at this week’s Sunday Seven which has a few starter tips to get you going on the next part of your quest for epic loot in Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. Naturally, we’d love to hear any hints you’d like to share too.

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The Grass Is Always Greener… I have a PS4, so why do I really want an Xbox One?

The grass is always greener on the other side. Early on in a new generation of consoles, you usually have to pick between two big rivals. It’s been like that throughout all of my formative gaming years. Sega vs. Nintendo. Nintendo Vs Sony. Sony Vs Microsoft. Whatever side you choose though, chances are your console is going to have a slow start during the first 18 months, especially with development time of the big Triple A titles getting longer and longer.

As a PS4 gamer I’ve had plenty of games to enjoy since launch from exclusives like Infamous and Killzone to the compelling third-party efforts like Assassin’s Creed IV, Wolfenstein the Lego games and more recently Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition. After E3 and Gamescom though, I have to admit I’ve been getting itchy feet and the feeling that I’m missing out by not having an Xbox One, like I said, the grass is always greener and all that.

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Brendan Plays Surgeon Simulator on PS4 – Is this PS4’s most broken game?

Brendan Plays Surgeon Simulator on PS4 - Is this PS4's most broken game?

It doesn’t look like that medical career is ever going to happen for me. That said, I’d like to think that I’d be able to hold medical equipment with more conviction portrayed by the downright awful controls in Surgeon Simulator on PS4, where my dainty grip would indicate I’m holding a piss-soaked towel rather than a bone cutting electrical saw.

‘But that’s part of the fun’ I hear you say. Admittedly, anyone in the room that watched my increasingly futile attempts at a heart transplant were in stitches, probably because they know how angry I was getting. When you’re trying to control the action though, the joke wears thin pretty quick, especially when one of the multiple glitches sees sheets get stuck to your fingers or your hand gets trapped in the rib cage or on a table rail. There might be a review coming soon, but I should probably stop using Dr ‘Hi everybody!’ Nick videos for tutorials if I want to make any more progress. If that bunch of mindless plebs in Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy are supposed to be surgeons, I really should be doing better. For now I’m going back to having nightmares about having to review an Octodad/Surgeon Simulator crossover.

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Sony let the Vita and Move die. Is Project Morpheus already doomed?

Sony let the Vita and Move die. Is Project Morpheus already doomed?

As gamers, we really hope VR takes off. Oculus Rift has impressed us since we first put the virtual reality headset on and back in March, Sony announced Project Morpheus, their own brand of VR headset that would let PS4 gamers to get involved. Which, speaking as a non PC gamer, was music to my ears as I was getting dangerously close to investing in a rig so I could play with an Oculus Rift.

But is Project Morpheus doomed to follow the disturbing pattern Sony has dragged itself through over the last few years? The main PlayStation consoles have been huge successes of course; I’m talking about the state of affairs for the PS Move controllers and the PS Vita.

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The Sunday Seven – Beginner Tips for Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

diablo-3-ultimate-evil-edition-guide-

So, you patiently waited for the PS4/XO version of Diablo III, or Diablo III Reaper of Souls: Ultimate Evil Edition if we’re going with the full name. This new edition is stuffed with extra content, like the Reaper of Souls expansion, but you’re going to have to do some serious levelling before you can look the reaper in the eye.

For those of you that didn’t play the original Diablo III to death two years ago, we’ve put together seven top tips for all you new adventurers out there to make your life that little bit easier. Naturally, we’d love to hear any hints you might have whether you’re a Diablo regular or a newb with a hot tip.

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The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Review)

last-tinker-city-of-colors-PS4-reviewIt’s a little sad that I begin most of my platformer reviews by stating what a shame it is that the genre has all but disappeared from modern console line-ups, with only Ratchet & Clank doing their best to keep it alive. But with Insomniac aligning their studio closer to Xbox nowadays, it may be a while before the duo return. Let’s not talk about Knack either.

So, when browsing this week’s releases I was pleasantly surprised to see a new IP amongst the PSN releases and a quick trailer search later revealed it to be a new platformer. One download later and I’m in the world of The Last Tinker: City of Colors.

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The Sunday Seven: Gamescom 2014 Videos You Missed

The Sunday Seven: Gamescom 2014 Videos You Missed

Well folks, the doors are closing today on yet another huge Gamescom Expo and just like you, we’re still eagerly devouring all the latest info, trailers and gameplay demos. Carl and Jon have an absolute tonne of previews and interviews to bring you in the near future, so be sure to stay tuned for those. Today is all about the videos though.

Seeing as you’ve probably already seen the videos for the hottest big-name games that you can’t wait to get your hands on (Far Cry 4 and Quantum Break look amazing, no?), we’ve been scouring the net to find those precious gems that slipped through the cracks amidst all the triple A noise. So here’s our picks of the seven best Gamescom videos you may have missed.

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Top 5 Most Important Vita Moments at Gamescom 2014

Top 5 Most Important Vita Moments at Gamescom 2014

Sony’s handheld just gets quieter and quieter each passing expo season and this year was arguably its darkest yet, with Sony barely mentioning their once proud handheld. The Vita is a quality piece of kit, but it never caught the imaginations of the third-party developers in the triple A scene. Instead it has become the champion of niche and indie titles. While we here at Dealspwn love our indie games, they’re never going to be the true system sellers the Vita badly needs. That said, we’ve done some digging around at Gamescom 2014 to see what lies ahead for the PS Vita. Here’s our Top 5 most important moments we took away from this year’s Gamescom.

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Hellblade (Preview) – The Heavenly Sword Connection Examined

Hellblade Preview – The Heavenly Sword Connection Examined

Hellblade was announced to be in development this week during Sony’s Gamescom presser. All we had to go on was a brief trailer (see bottom of article) with no signs of gameplay. But the short reveal was enough to get gamers thinking that the new Ninja Theory game was the long-awaited Heavenly Sword sequel. Join us for a deeper look at what we know so far and we’ll examine the connections between the two games.

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Top 5 Reveals for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Multiplayer

Top 5 Reveals for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Multiplayer

The exoskeleton is out of the bag folks, Activision has finally shown off the eagerly awaited multiplayer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Carl and Jon will be fighting their way through the masses at Gamescom this week to bring you a hands-on report, but for now it’s time to take a look at the five most exciting things unveiled by today’s live stream. As ever, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the new-look multiplayer too.

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The Sunday Seven – Why Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Deserves Your Attention

The Sunday Seven - Why Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Deserves Your Attention

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is going to be big news come November 4th. No surprise there, but could this year’s title be a game changer for the series? As enjoyable as COD has been in recent years, there’s no denying that recent entries have played things a little safe and not attempted to push any large scale changes. Well, apart from seeing a dog take down a helicopter, which was all sorts of stupid, or awesome, I’ll never be able to decide. So, unless the series is going to feature a cat taking on a submarine there will have to be other ways to get us psyched for the new game. Thankfully it would seem there are quite a few reasons; here are seven of the best.

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Gaming reviews, previews and features by Brendan Griffiths

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