Dirt Rally Review


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Pete

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Release Date: December 7th, 2015 (early access)

Genre: Simulation Racing

 

Don’t. Cut.  This is a phrase frequently mentioned by your co-driver, and also on various loading screens throughout Dirt Rally.  It’s a tempting prospect, but when cutting a corner invariably means completely writing off your car for the sake of shaving a few milliseconds off your time you’d do well to listen to the brave man in your passenger seat.  How he stays calm when I plunge off a cliff at 80mph on my roof is beyond me.  That aside he is the most important noise you’ll hear whether you’re driving a banged up Mini from the 1960’s or the beefy Subaru Impreza, and every now and again he throws caution to the wind and advises you to “be brave.”

This is the beauty of Dirt Rally.  One second you’re being screamed at not to cut, then the next you’re barrelling towards a jump and your co-driver is telling you to hit it at full speed.  You as the driver will need to alternate between pin-point precision and balls-out aggressive driving amidst split-second reflexes and decision making, or else you’ll… well, plunge off a cliff at 80mph on your roof, as I have more than once.  You’ll need to be daring, and you’ll need to be cautious, but favouring either decision at the wrong moment will cost you precious seconds.

dirtrally1222151280jpg-0d6e1a_1280wDirt Rally is first and foremost a racing simulator, so you’ll need the correct setup to get the most out of the game.  As with most games a control pad and those cheap speakers you paid less than a burger for will do the job, but to get the most out of this game you need either a good set of headphones and most importantly a wheel, my recommendations would be either the Ferrari Italia Thrustmaster, which I own, if you want a budget wheel or if you’re more of an enthusiast the Logitech G27/G29 is the one to go for, which is what Alan has recently splashed the cash on.  A good setup really adds to the immersion as there is nothing quite like sitting on the starting line with a wheel in your hands being able to hear the roar of a V6 engine before you put your foot down and hope for the best.

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Now I Feel Silly Wanting Turn Based Battles Back In RPG’s


PeteI’ve mentioned Final Fantasy a few times over the last few months, either about the incredible news of a Final Fantasy VII remake or my cautious optimism concerning Final Fantasy XV.  One opinion I had was, as it turns out, a rather silly one – I believed a return to a turn based battle system in both games would be for the best.

I now appreciate that I’m wrong.

In my defence I didn’t mean a direct cut and paste of most 90’s RPGs with prettier graphics; more like turn based with a few added features thrown in – a little like Final Fantasy XIII’s battle mode, which was about the only thing that game did right.  After watching gameplay footage of Final Fantasy VII recently I was starting to think maybe a more action-oriented approach was the right decision (especially armed with the knowledge that the game is a ‘re-imagining’ rather than a straight up remake), but after seeing the following footage from Final Fantasy XV I now appreciate that this way of fighting is the only way forward.

This just looks incredible, and we’re hopefully approaching a release date too – rumours are rampant for a Summer 2016 release, with the announcement hopefully being made at the end of March.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of The Duelist Review


yu-gi-oh-legacy-duelist-676x380Pete

Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Release Date: July 30th 2015 (Xbox One), July 31st (PS4)

Genre: Card & Board Game

Legacy of The Duelist is the latest in a long line of games based on the Yu-Gi-Oh card game phenomenon, a strategic game in which players battle with decks of cards.  It’s based off a manga, or comic if you will, which spawned a long running anime TV series and a real life card game which is by far the most popular in the world of its kind.  It all might sound like a game based on a specialist interest or even a niche title, so how does Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist appeal to both fans and non-fans alike?

I’ll start by saying I’m in that ‘non-fan’ camp, I’m not into the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise overall as I’ve never read the manga nor watched the anime.  Even as far as the video games are concerned I’ve only played Forbidden Memories from back in the original PlayStation days and Duelists of The Roses on PlayStation 2 – the latter of which I really didn’t get along with.  So after 14 years I decided to try the latest game mostly because the story mode consists of four ‘arcs’ and follows key moments of the manga and anime series – the original Yu-Gi-Oh, then GX, 5D’s and finally ZEXAL, which all meant absolutely nothing to me before I bought the game.  What appealed to me most is that the original card game can be played – the one I enjoyed – and then for people like me who don’t have a clue what’s going on it gradually introduces the rules to each new game mode and gives a short narrative on key parts of the story as well.

Legacy of The Duelist costs £16 in the UK and I believe $20 in the US, and for those on the fence a demo is available that covers the opening tutorial of the absolute original card game in the story mode and you can then play the next match unaided too, which is plenty to help you decide whether or not to buy the game.

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Rock Band 4 – Ready For A Comeback?


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PeteIt’ll be almost exactly five years to the day since we saw a Rock Band game before the release of Harmonix’s next offering in the music game genre. In fact it’ll be five years since we’ve seen anything in the music game genre, as the two titans Rock Band and Guitar Hero haven’t given us any new games whatsoever since 2010, and both are making a comeback this October with Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live respectively. Is now the time for a comeback?

The reason why we’ve not seen a music game in so long is a direct result of the developers’ own doing. Over an initial period of five years between 2005 and 2010 we saw a ridiculous number of Rock Band and particularly Guitar Hero games – eight main titles (six Guitar Hero, two DJ Hero and Band Hero), five expansions and several more spinoffs for the PC and Nintendo DS such as Guitar Hero: On Tour. Add to that the three main Rock Band titles and their spinoffs including Beatles, Green Day and even Lego Rock Band and what we had was a hugely oversaturated market, contributing to the swift downfall of the genre starting in 2009.

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Final Fantasy XV – Still No Release Date *UPDATE* Now There Is, Almost


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Pete

This week at Gamescom Square-Enix showed us another new and frankly strange trailer for their upcoming title Final Fantasy XV (15), which you can view below. Entitled ‘Dawn’ it’s more like a hugathon for nearly half of its duration than anything worthwhile:

The idea here is to give a little back story to the game, 15 years before we’re introduced to it, but little was given away in terms of… Anything really. There’s nothing in the way of general story progression and most importantly a release date, which at this stage wasn’t expected but most definitely hoped for. Instead we got main character Noctis hugging it out with his old man King Regis for nearly two minutes of a 3:14 video and little else that could be considered relevant.

Square also put together a presentation teasing a few story details and showing a little more gameplay footage, but there wasn’t even a hint of a release date for Final Fantasy XV – only that they were still ‘on schedule’ to finish the game by a set date. That date could be damn near anything they please as now the game had been in development for more than a decade, anything from three months to another three years probably wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows. The original plan was for Square to kickstart a marketing campaign starting with Gamescom and presumably building from there, fans were hoping they would at least start with a release window and gradually share more information throughout the PAX Event in three weeks time and then end with a solid release date with a ton of new info/gameplay at the Tokyo Game Show in September, aiming for a release sometime between winter this year and summer 2016. As it stands it looks like Square-Enix has the intention of doing nothing more than showing that trailer again at PAX. Then again at TGS. And that’ll most likely be it for this year, so it looks certain we won’t be playing the game this year, and even next year is looking doubtful if the rate of new information that has been made available this year is anything to go by.

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