Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Review - It got me back into reading books.

By Sam Coles:

If you know personally or on Twitter you will know that I love The Witcher series because of its rich lore and characters. What if I told you that The Witcher 2 got me back into reading books? The reason why I say this is because I studied English Literature for A-level and it put me off reading books for pleasure for a couple of years, but in 2012 I saw the Witcher 2 and it looked cool because at this point had no knowledge of the series. I bought the game on Xbox 360 when it came out and I loved it, the only problem was is that I had no idea what the characters were talking about. I did more research on the series and I found out that the games are based on a set of novels so I bought The Last Wish and The Blood Elves then I went back and replayed The Witcher 2 and I loved it more because I knew what was going on and I had an investment with the characters.

You play as Geralt of Riva who is a Witcher, what his profession specialises in is hunting and killing monsters for the right price of course. This game however with its story has more of a political focus in its world rather than the fairy tale fantasy we have from the first and third game. Not to say it’s bad but you can get lost in the story depending on how much you have read.

The game begins with Geralt in a dungeon because has been framed for the murder of the King of Termeria, he is then questioned by Roach the head of the Termerian special forces. The prologue chapter is a flashback where Geralt discusses what happened on the day of Foltest’s death. It is later revealed that the king was killed by a Witcher, but it was not Geralt but someone who claims to be Geralt’s friend, but the White Wolf is still recovering his memories so he is uncertain about these claims. If you’re not into to politics you probably won’t like this game’s story because there is a lot of fictional political tension and it does go on a bit, but it is very interesting to see how Geralt is sucked into all these situations.

The gameplay has been improved from the first Witcher game, but it does have its flaws and I’ll talk about why. The combat has been changed to a brawler like system sort of reminding me of a faster paced Demon’s Souls, but the problem is that the game has collision detection issues from the player and enemies so; you’ll take damage for unfair reasons. The game also emphasises preparation so you have to drink potions before battle, but what potion you’re supposed to drink is a mystery because you don’t know what you’re going to come up against outside the safe zone.

I know it sounds like I hate this game in the gameplay department, but I still love this game there are aspects of the gameplay I adore. I like the fact you have do research on the monsters you’re hunting to find out their weakness or find ingredients to make positions that will make you immune from their poisons, it feels really organic and you feel like a Witcher on the job when you’re on a monster hunt.
The game splits into two at the end of the first chapter because you’re given to help either Roach the head of the Special Forces or Iorveth the leader for the Elven rebellion to follow. This is great because the game basically has two campaigns because both parts play out radically different and it gives you an incentive to playthrough it for a second time.

Visual presentation is beautiful considering that this game came out on PC originally five years ago, the character models are still have a high amount of detail and the environments are beautiful to look at especially Flotsam forest at the start of the game with the detailed trees and foliage. The lighting in this game is wonderful with the god rays shining through the trees as you tread carefully through the forests to the dim glows of your torch lighting the deep and dark caves.

The Witcher 2 is a good game with a few flaws, but none the less kindled a love that I have developed for the series from this instalment whether it be the novels or the games. If you haven’t played this game pick it up it’s cheap on PC and Xbox 360, and if you own an Xbox One it’s backwards compatible.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Sleeping Dogs Review - John Woo eat your heart out.

By Sam Coles:

For those who aren’t familiar with this game’s history, Sleeping Dogs was originally a sequel to the True Crime series simple titled True Crime: Hong Kong. However Activision felt that the game wouldn’t sell well and cancelled the project, it wasn’t until Square Enix picked the studio up and wanted them to carry on with the game, but of course they had to change the name of the game as Activision own the True Crime name. Sleeping Dogs was revealed and released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC at the end of August of 2012.

Sleeping Dogs takes place in Hong Kong where you play as Wei Shen an undercover police officer who is trying to infiltrate the ranks of Triads to take down the heads of the gang. The story of game takes a lot of twists and turns and can get very tense because you’re not sure if the gang members have figured out if Wei is a cop or not it will make you sweat. The voice acting is top notch because as it is set in Hong Kong people will speak English and Cantonese so some sentences will have them speak English with some words (mostly explicit words) will be said in Cantonese or they will strictly speak in Cantonese. I appreciate the effort with the voice work to make it feel authentic it really sucks you in and makes you feel as if you’re in Hong Kong with the characters on screen.

The game is set in a decent recreation of Hong Kong that you can explore with loads of activities you can take part in such as street racing, fight clubs and even Cock fights, yes I’m serious you can place bets on Cock fights. The gameplay is very familiar if you’ve played any open world game based on the Grand Theft Auto formula, but it sprinkles elements from Hong Kong films from directors like John Woo.

The hand to hand combat is similar to the Arkham series except you have a habit of putting people’s faces through work top saws. The martial arts is great in this game you feel every blow you deliver and you feel each bone crunch as you snap someone’s arm in half. It’s brutal and gloriously over the top with blood and sweat flying everywhere.  

Gunplay is satisfying with the guns packing a good punch as you see brain matter fly everywhere when you nail a headshot, it also has a mechanic when you slide across a table you go into a bullet time mode and you have more time to take down multiple enemies as you see bits of wall and other bits of debris fly all over the place.

The driving sections are fantastic it takes the over top action set pieces from movies and elements from Just Cause where you can stand on top of your car jump to another car where you can then highjack them. You can also shoot out of your car and when you shoot out their tyres the car will flip over in a ridiculous fashion.

When you’re completing story missions the game will be keeping score in two categories you have your cop score which will decrease if you cause property damage or kill innocent people and you have a Triad score which will increase if you kill enemies in brutal and horrific ways whether it be in hand to hand combat or gunfights. These points contribute into two skill trees, the Triad skill tree is mostly offensive options which will give you an edge in fights, the cop tree will give you skills which help your investigation skills or make unlocking cars easier etc. The skills are nice and varied which complement their respected categories.

The visuals of this game are a marvel to look at especially when it’s night time and raining with the neon lit streets with the puddles splashing when you drive or run through them. The character models have superb detail even with moist skin textures when they’re out in the rain or when they’re sweating after an intense fight the detail is nothing short of amazing. The car models are fantastic with great damage definition when you crash into things with individual dents showing up to blood spatter on your bonnet when you run someone over.

The only problem I have with this game is that I wish the story had more of a moral dilemma where you had choose between being a cop or a Triad, there are parts where the game sort of has elements of this, but it’s swiftly dropped in the latter half the game.

Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic game taking influence from Hong Kong cinema with over the top action and violence that is viscerally satisfying. If you’re looking for a good open world game with a dark and gritty crime thriller story then pick this game up. It’s very cheap on 360 and PS3 or if you want a shinier version then get the definitive edition on PS4 and Xbox One. 

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Red Dead Redemption Review - Spaghetti Westerns Come to Life.

By Sam Coles:

Westerns have to be one of my favourite film genres, but that wasn’t always the case because before this game came out I had no interest in them. It wasn’t until I picked this game up on day one back in 2010 and burned most of my summer away on it, I fell in love with the genre. After finishing the game I went through my parent’s film collection and started watching the Dollars Trilogy which are fantastic with good action and tension which you can tell Red Dead Redemption took a lot of inspiration from.

You play as John Marston a former outlaw who is being blackmailed by the Federal government to take down his former gang members in exchange for his wife and son. You’re sent to New Austin as you’ve got word that one of you former gang members is held up in an abandon fort. This turns out to be true and Marston confronts Bill Williamson one of his former fellow gang members and he is then shot and left for dead in the wilderness. He’s then rescue and nursed backed to health by a female farmer named Bonnie, he then repays her by helping out on her homestead. After that he is back on the hunt for Williamson with the help of a US Marshall named Johnson. The story goes through many twists and turns with engaging characters especially John as you see him transition from outlaw, mercenary and loving father.

This is an open world game where you can explore small towns interact with the residence or shoot them if you get bored like me. There are huge wide open plains that you can explore on your horse where you can find treasure or strangers you can help or kill and rob them. The game does sprinkle a bit morality because it almost tests you as a person because you could help this person and get a reward, but you also need money and supplies it puts you in a tough situation. You can partake in many activities such as throwing horse shoes, getting drunk, braking in horses, hunting down bounties and main story quests there is so much content that this game offers.

The visuals what can I say about the graphics? Considering that this game came out six years ago it still holds up visually with dust drifting under your feet to horse shoe prints left in the sand when your horse treads in it. The detail is outstanding with fantastic animation especially with the horses, I haven’t seen great animations with horses since this game I do believe that they did motion capture horses in order to make them look believable with their movement. The sound and music are superb with eerie music tracks that play as you explore empty deserts and ghosts towns it really makes you feel isolated as the hot sun shines down on you as you watch your back when you journey through the wilderness. The sound design with the weapons is fantastic they really have grunt to them and echo when you fire into the empty wastes from the sharp and short revolvers to the meaty shotguns which tears enemies apart.

The only annoyance I have with this game is that the physics can be a pain when you’re in tight spaces because John has a habit of getting stuck in door frames or starts mating with a wall.

Red Dead Redemption is a beautiful game utilising a genre that isn’t used often in video games and I don’t understand why. You can pick this game up for cheap these days and I would recommend getting the Game of the Year edition as it comes with the Undead Nightmare expansion.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Goldeneye Reloaded Review - 007 fits the Call of Duty formula.

By Sam Coles:

James Bond has to be one of my favourite set of action spy films with the over top antics of 007 with great action and ridiculous villains. You would think that it would translate well in video games right? Well there have been a lot of good Bond games after Goldeneye on the N64. Games like Nightfire, Agent Under fire and hell even the movie tie in for Quantum of Solace. In 2010 Activision thought they would remake one of the most beloved Bond games on the Wii which was good but it was let down by the Wii’s graphics and controls, so they did the sensible thing and polished it up for Xbox 360 and PS3.

You play as 007 where you are investigating a corrupt Russian military general named Ourumov who is under investigation for selling military grade hardware on the black market. There is also and EMP weapon known as the Goldeneye to wipe out Europe’s banks so he can syphon the accounts. The game has a typical plot of any Bond story but it always works because it’s back up with great action and fun and over the top characters.

The gameplay is a first person shooter like its N64 counterpart but has been tweaked for modern times because to be honest the original N64 Goldeneye has aged terrible with muddy textures and awful frame rate. You have your standard point and shoot at things where you can carry three weapons at once, it also has stealth sections where you can sneak through and gain the advantage or if you’re like me you go through like a mad man and gun down anything that moves. In my opinion the controls have a similar feel to Call of Duty which doesn’t surprise me as it’s published by Activision, the COD formula fits James Bond because 007 has the scripted sequences like COD but it works here because unlike the Call of Duty series it doesn’t take itself seriously.

The presentation is great and varied with different locales from across the globe from the rain soaked Dam in Russia to the neon lit night club in Spain. The graphics have been an extra boost with HD visuals so the weather effects look more believable even down to the moist skin textures on the character models when it’s raining. Sound design is a mix bag because some guns sound awesome, but others sound absolutely pathetic especially your standard issue P99 pistol which sounds like someone slap cardboard against a wall.

There is a multiplayer mode online and offline, but the game is pretty much dead online and you’ll get more fun out of the local multiplayer like the old days. It’s fun to grab three friends and gun each other down as you eat pizza and chug a few bottles of beer which is endless evening entertainment.
The nit-picks I have with this game is that the auto aiming system is really annoying because it sticks to targets like super glue and you end up aiming at something you don’t want to be aiming at, I would advise turning it off.

Overall Goldeneye Reloaded is a bombastic and over the top shooter which takes elements from Call of Duty and executes it well.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Alekhine's Gun Review - A Colossal Mess!

By Sam Coles:

You know when you play a game that is really bad when you can only say one or two positives about it; Alekhine’s Gun is one of those games. The titular title is name after a chess move, but this game is far from clever and tactical because it is marred with issues such as graphical problems, audio and A.I.

You play as Alekhine a KGB agent working for the CIA who must take on various missions to infiltrate, assassinate and gain information on the enemy during the 60’s in the height of the Cold War. The first mission takes place in a German castle in style of Wolfenstein where you must assassinate a Nazi officer and scientist. It had potential but is immediately staggered by the first problem I have with this game and that is the lighting, the game has terrible lighting effects because it’s either too bright with the sun or in darkness you can’t see a thing. You would think that there would be some visual options to tweak this problem right? No! There are no visual options at all, something that is so basic in every game under the sun like a gamma slide bar, but it is not present and turning the brightness up and down your TV will not help.

The gameplay is like Hitman, but only if Agent 47 was suddenly hit by a heavy goods vehicle and he forgot the concept of stealth and assassination. It does remind of Hitman 2 and Blood Money where before each mission you can prepare what tools and weapons you’re going to take on the mission and the levels are sandboxes where you can approach the mission anyway you want to, but the mechanics of the game fail it over all.

The A.I is laughable I haven’t played a game with such terrible A.I since Mindjack because you could shoot someone right in front of a guard with an unsuppressed weapon and they will act like nothing has happened. I can be right in front of a guard with a garrotte wire in my hands trying to kill them and they won’t have a care in the world. This a stealth game the A.I plays a key role in these types of games, even if the A.I is basic with their patrol routes I would of taken that over what I have with this game.

The audio also a problem because when you start the game it starts with a stylised static cutscene which is extremely quiet, like any logical person would do I turned the volume up. However when gameplay started the game is extremely loud where it almost perforated my ear drums, whoever was the audio engineer on this game needs to be fired because the audio has no balance at all.

The graphics look like an early PS2 game this game could of easily ran on a Xbox 360 and PS3 and yes I get why it was released on Xbox One and PS4 to move with the times, but the game doesn’t look like it belongs on these systems. The textures are blurry and bland where it looks like I’ve rubbed excrement in my eyes; this unacceptable for a 2016 release to have graphics that are this bland. The character models are poor with terrible animations and lip syncing with movements being unnatural, it looks like a bunch kids acting in a school play, that’s how bad the animation is.

Alekhine’s Gun had some potential with its Cold War setting because that period of history was all about espionage which a stealth should of worked. Due to the poor controls, terrible A.I, horrendous sound design and abysmal graphics it fails on every level. Do not buy this game there are better stealth games out there even games that are older than this game. Save your money for something else.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Final Fantasy XIII Review - A good recommendation from a close friend.

By Sam Coles:

If you told me to go out and buy a Final Fantasy game four years ago I would have told where the door is and given you a swift boot up the arse to help you on your way. I was never into J-RPG’s I kept on trying them but I just couldn’t get on with them, but as I’ve gotten older and matured I’ve warmed up to them because I’ve learnt patience. A good friend of mine who I talk to everyday helped me get into them. I was in town one day and I saw Final Fantasy XIII for £3. Despite people disagreeing with me buying this game I gave them the middle finger and bought anyway and honestly I don’t understand the hate and I ended up loving it.

The game takes place on the planet Cocoon in the town of Bodhum where the residents are being evicted or purged because they have been contact with a pulse which is linked with a Fal'Cie which happens to be the main character  Lightning’s sister  Serah. It turns out that Lightning has been branded as a Fal’Cie as well and has now been branded as a criminal although she was a soldier in Cocoon’s military. You’ll meet a vast array of colourful and interesting characters with deep and interesting back stories of loss which helps you sympathise with them.

The gameplay is still turn based in this game although the animations during the battles do keep you engaged because they’re action packed so it feels less static compared to earlier games. You can build what you’re going to use in your cycle during battles or you can use the auto battle system which assess the situation for you. You have Paradigm Shifts which adjust your stance during battle whether it be defensive, offensive or a balanced shifts which changes up the battle and makes you take into consideration of what the situation is, so it keeps you on your toes.

After battles you’ll get a start rating out of five depending how quickly you’ve defeated enemies or how much damage you have inflicted per second in the battle. You get experience points which you can invest into the Crystarium where you can sink points into various roles which can give you new abilities, added strength and HP etc.

The presentation with graphics and music is superb and considering this game came out six years ago it still holds up. There aren’t many games that I can say have aged well in terms with visuals from 2010. The character models are extremely detailed with excellent voice acting, lip syncing and animation. The environments are beautiful with bright and vibrant colours and are just a joy to look at and this is during the time when drab and grey colours were the norm in triple A gaming so it’s nice to see a bright and colourful game from this time.

The music oh god what can I possibly say about the music that hasn’t already been said? It’s amazing, even the music at the main menu is beautiful and I will sit there and listen to it before I do anything every time. The battle music in this game has to be one of my favourite battle themes from any Final Fantasy game, where it starts off slow and subtle then speeds up as the battle intensifies. The music fits all situations and scenes and hits it out of the park.

Final Fantasy XIII is a good game, yes it’s linear but that doesn’t stop it from being a good game because linearity isn’t necessarily bad sometimes it works. I just don’t understand the hate and I want to thank a close friend of mine for getting me into it because I’m very grateful. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Gaming Buying Guide: PS3

By Sam Coles:

The PS3 was the dark horse of the 7th generation of consoles where it didn’t start off too well, but then rose from the ashes and pushed back against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 with a great selection of exclusive games. I’m going to go through the different models, accessories and games that I would recommend for the system.


PS3 Fat

When Sony releases a console they have a habit of making them bulky and expensive and this is no exception for the PS3 fat. The good thing about the original PS3 is that it is backwards compatible with PS2 games, but they’re not all backwards compatible with PS2 games and how you recognise the ones that can play PS2 games is that they have 4 USB ports on the front. These models have a habit of overheating and they are very bulky so I would not recommend getting this model if you want something that is reliable and if you’re saving space.

PS3 Slim

This is a more compact PS3 and is very quiet compared the to the fat, but they took away the ability to play PS2 games on it, the reason why they did this is because with the original PS3 they pretty much put a PS2 in the PS3 that’s why it’s bulky. However all models of the PS3 can play PS1 discs so you have a whole different library to collect for. This model has a nice mat finish with a smooth and slick design and this model can be bought with a 120 GB hard drives but you can upgrade further.

PS3 Super Slim

Then you finally have the super slim which is the smallest one you can get and the one I have which you can buy with a 500GB which I would recommend for the Hard Drive alone. They have gotten rid of the disc slot but instead have a hatch that opens on the top, however it does feel like it has been cheaply made because the plastic they used feels a bit unstable.



You have to take into consideration what controller you get because Sony thought they were being geniuses by getting rid of rumble in their controllers. How you identify the controllers that don’t have rumble is that they will be called Six Axis and not the Dualshock 3 so go for the Dualshock 3.

Hard Drives

You can put any PC hard drives into the PS3 like the PS4 so if you really want a lot of space slap a 2 TB drive in there and to be honest in my opinion the 500 GB hard drive will do because save games and updates etc. don’t take up that much room on the PS3.

Longer USB charging cable

Now this seems like a no brainer right? However a lot of people never really think about and I would highly recommend getting a longer USB cable especially when you have the console in a living room space so you can play and charge at the same time. Sony for some reason ship a teeny tiny cable that is laughably short so get a long cable they cost pennies.

Recommended Games

The Uncharted Trilogy

Yes I know you can get these games on the PS4, but the collector in me says get it on PS3 because it’s nice to have each individual disc. The Uncharted games are fantastic action adventures with great action, puzzles and stories that don’t take themselves seriously. Think of it as a mixture of Indiana Jones, Nation Treasure and Tomb Raider.

Killzone Trilogy

Before you say anything I know the first Killzone is on PS2, but if you get the trilogy pack you get the first game remastered in HD to give it sharper textures and it just looks better compared to the PS2 version because PS2 games don’t look great on HD televisions. This was Sony’s answers to the Microsoft’s Halo and they did succeed to a certain extent, it does take a while to get use to its controls because it has unconvention first person shooter control scheme but you’ll get the hang of it. These games have heart pounding action with brutal close quarter’s combat where you can poke enemy’s eyes out to blowing their heads off with a shotgun.

Yakuza 4

This is a game that caught by absolute surprise thanks to a friend of mine I’m really getting into Japanese games whether they’re RPGs etc. Yakuza 4 is a fantastic game as it’s a mix of a J-RPG and a brawling beat em up action it’s an odd mix but it works. The story is a gritty crime thriller where different factions of the Yakuza fight each other in a brutal fashion and as you would expect this game is very violent. It is all in Japanese with English subtitles so if you don’t like reading subtitles you won’t like this game, but the gameplay is fast and visceral.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

I’ll keep this brief because otherwise I’ll be repeating what I said in my review. Metal Gear Solid 4 is a great game if you’re already a fan invested in the series but if you’re a first time player I would not recommend starting with this game because you’ll be absolutely lost with what is going and who the characters are. This game is very verbose but I really enjoyed because in my opinion it concluded the series perfectly compared to Metal Gear Solid V.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

I know what you’re thinking what’s so special about this version of Oblivion? Well it wasn’t developed by Bethesda because they had no clue how to develop for the PS3 so they handed it to a third part developer called 4J Studios who recently did the console versions of Minecraft. This is the best console version of Oblivion because it blows the 360 version out of the water with better graphics, draw distance and frame rate, this really shows what a talented group of people can do with the cell processor when they know what they’re doing. This game has faster loading times and in general it looks nicer than the 360 version.

So there you go the PS3, a fantastic system that is fairly cheap to pick up these days and the games that I’ve listed aren’t expensive either so go get a PS3 and enjoy a great selection of both PS1 and PS3 games so you have a wide selection of gaming to choose from.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Rise of the Tomb Raider Review.

By Sam Coles:

Tomb Raider has been an icon in video games for over two decades alongside characters like Mario, Sonic, Link and Snake. Rise of the Tomb Raider is the sequel to the 2013 reboot that came out on Xbox 360 and PS3; however this game for now is an Xbox exclusive which has ruffled some feathers, but it doesn’t stop it from being a good game.

Rise of the Tomb Raider takes place a few years after the events of the other game where Lara Croft discovered a Sun cult where they were crazy and worshipped a sun goddess. Lara is trying to finish what her father started by finding an artefact that grants the user eternal life, she is not the only one because an ancient organisation called Trinity are after it as well. The story goes through twists and turns as Lara finds out how her father actually died. The acting in this game is great for the most part, but some of Lara’s lines are delivered awkwardly but the performances are superb most of the time.

Gameplay is very familiar if you’ve played the reboot back in 2013, but they have tweaked it in terms of how Lara controls, combat and the crafting. For once crafting and collecting resources actually has a purpose rather than it being an optional side quest. The reason why I say it has a purpose because sometimes there will be areas that are set in open ended forests where ammo is scarce and you only have tree branches to craft arrows or plants to tend to your injuries. It gives a real Bear Grylls feeling where you have little resources and you have to use your wits and use stealth to take down your enemies, but it does throw this atmosphere out the window in the latter half of the game. Combat has been given an improvement as you can craft different arrows on the fly rather than going through a menu, although taking cover does still seem to be an issue.

The presentation in this game is fantastic the facial animation is remarkable where you can see each eyebrow rise to the spot on lip syncing; even Lara’s hair has an insane amount of detail put in to it. The environments are beautiful and breathe taking with wide open vistas for you to explore and even destroy as you go through a daring escape. The sound design can be hit and miss, the dialogue is great and ambience is great too, however the some of the weapon noises sound a bit lacklustre because the assault rifle sounds like some attached a playing card to a bicycle and started to pedal.

The only nit-picks I have with this game is that the climbing controls can be a bit fiddly as sometimes I’m not sure what direction Lara is going to jump which sometimes end up with me plummeting to my death.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a great game with good action, an interesting story and spectacular graphics. If you’re looking for a good action adventure game to play on your Xbox One then I would highly recommend getting this game.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Mortal Kombat XL Review - The Ultimate Package!

By Sam Coles:

Mortal Kombat X was one of my favourite games from 2015 because it set the standard again of how fighting games should be made for home consoles and shows that fighting games are still relevant on consoles. Mortal Kombat XL gives you what was in the vanilla game, but with more characters and features.

Mortal Kombat XL adds characters from Kombat Pack 1 and 2 and they’re all unique and fun to use. Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th is a great character because he has quick moves but very slow and powerful slashes from his machete. The subtle details that I like about this character it will play musical ques with him when he performs his Fatalities and Brutalities, which is a shame they didn’t do it with the other horror characters that feature in this game.

Leatheface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a brute character as he moves slowly but once he locks you in a combo he outputs some devastating damage with his chainsaw. His moves are brutal which will make you wince when he drives a chainsaw through his foes and that also goes for his Fatalities and Brutalities.

Predator use guerrilla tactics to take down his enemies with stealth and traps that he can put down during the fight, his fatalities and brutalities involve him getting up close and personal. Alien is a fast fighter using acid to blind enemies coupled with fast swipes that can cause a lot of bleeding, Alien also likes to pounce on enemies and continuously swipe at their face before taking a bite out of their neck. Alien’s Fatalities range from him getting up and person with his mouth to summoning the Alien queen.

Triborg is a mixture of the cyborg ninjas from MK 3 so you can pick move sets that will mimic Sektor, Cyrax, Smoke and Cyber Sub Zero. This is great because it’s like you have four characters in one because each variation represents each of the characters which gives Triborg a huge advantage because he has a huge and devastating move set.

All these new characters are great new additions to the game and fit Mortal Kombat X’s over the top violence and I would love to see more characters from popular film to be featured in Mortal Kombat. You also get access to new costumes and Stage Fatalities which were not featured when the game was first released.

It could be me where I haven’t played the game for a while but I swear the visuals have been touched up a bit or it could be my eyes playing tricks, but what I’m saying is that this game is a looker with the graphic detail of the violence,  character models and environments.

Overall Mortal Kombat XL is the ultimate package if you missed it the first time round, so if you’re looking for some over the top violence and you can stomach it get this game!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Gaming Buying Guide: Xbox 360

By Sam Coles:

The Xbox 360 is a brilliant console which has lasted for over 10 years which is a really long time for a console life span, the last console to last that long was the Atari 2600. I wanted to do a buying guide on the console that got me back into gaming. It’s hard to believe that the Xbox 360 is over 10 years old now and I want to walk you through the hardware, accessories and games I would highly recommend. Let’s get into it!


Now you have to be careful with the different models especially the early consoles. The reason why I say is that the 2005-2008 models don’t have HDMI ports you had to use the HD component cables and plus these models had a habit of overheating and melting the motherboard.

The models I would recommend are from 2009 and onwards I have the model from 2009 and it shares the same design as the early ones but it has a HDMI port and were more reliable, but the disc trays have a habit of getting stuck over time. These are cheapest models you can get but make sure you test them because people for strange reason didn’t treat them well. These models come in a variety of colours and different packages such as the Arcade which don’t bother because it doesn’t come with a hard drive, premium which comes with a 60 GB hard drive and the Elite which is black and comes with a 120 GB hard drive. I would recommend getting the elite for the hard drive space alone.

The next model is a slimmer and quieter model because the old 360’s are very loud when disc drive starts spinning and fan can get really loud as well. This model came out in 2011 with a nice black and shiny finish. They are very quiet and are very reliable, however they do not have a protective buffer for the disc tray so if you bump when it’s spinning the disc will get knocked out of place and will leave a ring mark on it. Just bare that in mind. This model has a 250 GB hard drive at most so get that version if you are interested.

Then there is a final model which came out in 2013 just before the Xbox One launched and it has a striking resemblance to the Xbox One in terms of its look. This is a good model as it comes with a 500 GB hard drive and is very reliable, but if you’re are tight with cash at the moment this is the most expensive model as it is the most recent, so I would recommend getting the models before it if you doing this on the cheap.


The controllers aren’t that different from each other but there is the wireless one of course which came with every 360, these take AA batteries so I would recommend getting a recharging pack or some rechargeable AA batteries like I have. You can get a wired controller if you’re not bothered about wireless which a decent reach if you’re playing in a living, plus it doubles as a controller for you PC if you game on that.

Hard Drives

Now what you have to bear in mind with this generation of consoles is that save games take up a lot of room compared to the PS2 era so get a hard drive and plus you can download game digitally. I would recommend having a 120 GB at least for your 360 with the older models and they are very cheap these days. The hard drives are not universal with the different models as they changed the input with the updated consoles so bare that in mind when you’re out buying and specify what version you have. If you don’t want to get an official Xbox hard drive you can get external hard drives which I would recommend getting a 1TB hard drive.


Something you don’t use often but is very handy if you’re playing a game where you have to name characters or writing signs in games like Minecraft. You can plug in keyboards into your 360 which makes typing messages easier or when you have to name a character in a RPG. If you don’t want a massive keyboard taking up space you can get a small keypad that plugs into the bottom of your controller, but it does limit the use of your headset.

Recommended Games:

Here are some recommended games, now these games aren’t necessarily exclusive to the console just ones I own for the system which you can also get on PC and PS3.

Halo 3

Let’s start off with a heavy hitter, Halo 3. Halo 3 is one of the best Xbox 360 exclusives on the system with a fantastic campaign which can be played with 3 other friends either online or split screen. This game is great if you want to get some friends over for some co-op or vs action with beautiful graphics, awesome gameplay and great characters.

Modern Warfare Trilogy

Now I know we get a sigh from the gaming community when you say Call of Duty these days, but Call of duty was at its best during the Xbox 360 era and the Modern Warfare trilogy is brilliant. The Modern Warfare games have over the top campaigns where you can get into the action with great graphics and tight controls. If you’re looking for something that is loud and dumb pick these games up for some great popcorn entertainment.

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning

This game went unnoticed due to the fact that it came out a few months after Skyrim because it is an RPG in the same vein as the Elder Scrolls. This game was made by one of the lead designers who worked on The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion and it gave me the same feeling that Oblivion gave me when I first played it. It has a beautiful art style which is cartoony and colourful, it reminds of World of Warcraft with its visuals. If you’re looking for a unique RPG then I would highly recommend it.

Dragon’s Dogma

Another RPG like the Elder Scrolls from Capcom of all developers to make a game like this. Imagine this you take The Elder Scrolls, Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter, Devil May Cry and Dark Souls and you get an interesting RPG. The combat is a joy in this game as it has the fast pace action from Devil May Cry and climbing mechanic from Shadow of the Colossus when you fight big enemies. Just take this into consideration this game is very brutal with its difficulty when you start off when you’re a low level that’s where the Dark Souls influence comes into play.

Grand Theft Auto IV

In my opinion I preferred this game with its story and don’t get me wrong I liked GTA V’s story, but it lacked something with its characters. Niko Belic is a great character who you can sympathise with because he is just trying to get by in life and if that means committing crime to support those who he loves he will. He’s not a completely morbid character he is very witty and provides great one liner’s to those who are pissing him off.

Metal Gear Rising Revengence

Now here is a great hack and slash game set in the Metal Gear universe, this was made by Platinum games that are most famous for the Bayonetta games. You play as the cybernetic ninja Raiden and you go through levels cutting enemies to pieces and the great aspect of this game is that you can cut enemies precisely this comes into play when you have to regain health.

Max Payne 3

I bought this game when it first came out I can play it over and over again where I can pretty much remember every line of dialogue off by heart. This is a great action game with John Woo style gun carter with the over the top diving in slow motion as you see bullets flying past and bits of wall exploding everywhere. It has an engaging narrative in a different and fresh setting of Brazil.

Driver San Francisco

I feel that this game underrated because I never hear anyone talk about and I don’t know why because it’s great concept for a driving game. This game takes place after the events of Driver 3 where Jericho is going on trail, but things go wrong and Tanner is in a car accident which puts him in a coma. You play in Tanner’s coma which he finds out that he has the ability to shift into different drivers and take control of them. This makes car chases interesting because if you’re losing them you can shift into a lorry up the road and ram them off the road.

Red Dead Redemption

Westerns is a setting that isn’t really explored with video games, I don’t see why it isn’t gun slinging action is perfect for games. Here is a game that caught everyone by surprise back in 2010 by being absolutely wonderful with its well written story and characters and a vast open world of you to explore. The gameplay is great whether you’re riding your horse or if you’re gunning down bandits or lawmen.

There is my buying guide for the 360 it’s super cheap to collect for these days and you’ll find some gems on it. Let me know what games you would recommend on twitter @samcoles2 or @Bristoliangamer or in the comments. Happy gaming guys!

Blog Archive