Sunday, 30 June 2013

CeX @ MCM Manchester Comic Con 2013

That's right CeXy peeps, we’re coming to MCM Manchester Comic Con 2013. 

Drop by to say “Hi!” at our Pop Up CeX-Shop and buy, sell & exchange to your heart's content!

Held at Manchester Central on the 20th July, MCM Manchester Comic Con is the Norths biggest festival of popular culture and all things delightfully nerdy. It's the perfect place to indulge your inner geek!

Whether you're into Anime, Comics, Cosplay, Games, Robots, Stalls or Special Guests there is definitely something there for you!

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CeX buy at your doorstep

Live in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai? CeX can now come straight to your doorstep!

You can now choose CeX to come to you. Sell CeX your old games, phones, movies, gadgets & electronics. We buy everything a CeX store would buy, even larger items like desktops, consoles & TV's. Whether it's at home or at your workplace we'll come to you and pay by bank transfer OR with CeX vouchers instantly. 

See how much your stuff is worth and start selling here or find your local CeX here.

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

I Give It A Year

I Give It A Year is a new film about some really awful people, realistically drawing attention to the fact that even the nicest guy is, not always, but most probably just being nice so you don’t realise that he is in fact a 12 gauge prick.

*Avast, ahead ye be spoilers*

The film’s intro credits start off demonstrating the grotesque way we behave in the first few months of a passionate affair.  When brain breaks down and allows us to forget ourselves, and behave abnormally under the guise of delusional optimism and genuine happiness.  The healthy dose of self-awareness and shame that we have all had drilled into us by determined but underachieving parents, teachers, friends and colleagues throughout our lives gets tossed aside for a seemingly endless period of kissing, terrible jokes, distancing of close friends and relatives and for some reason writing notes.

The problem with this kind of evolutionary backfiring is that once we have peeled our faces off the mouth of our individual significant others, we have to actually start talking and listening to each other.  This can often lead to disappointment and most couples cast aside listening in exchange for having a pair of monologues occurring at the same time, sometimes in the same room or building.

I Give It A Year is based after those few months, the lusty rose tinted sunshine has thus departed and been replaced by a hailstorm to the frozen eye balls of reality.  In this case the suddenly sobered couple are Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne).

The ball starts rolling with the pair of truly detestable individuals mere moments from being assigned the government and church approved titles of ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’. Unfortunately the Vicar doing the marrying has just had a flick through the script and plot and started choking uncontrollably, barely able to offer any of his lines out of life threatening depression.  The whole scene is ‘intentionally awkward’ and therefore genuinely awkward in a different way and is topped off by someone uttering the title of the film, in what I can only pray was a decision of irony on part of the director/script writer.

Stephen Merchant comes out and gives a truly amusing speech as the best man, but the whole thing stinks of him begging to be included in the film, so they crowbarred him in as a favour to Ricky Gervais.  His impossibly autistic social awareness is used to break tension by introducing a whole different wave of tension.  The whole film is tearing you between a shit version of curb your enthusiasm style humour and the depressive memories of relationships falling apart in front of your eyes.

In short the whole plot is like a propaganda film for wife swapping communities, as Josh and Nat both fall in love with two other people, (Chloe and the truly charming ‘Guy’). As Josh and Nat watch their relationship fall apart they convince Chloe and Guy to start dating, then at the last minute the men decide to ‘give away their women’.  Mix the whole thing in with some mid 90’s cringe-porn humour, splash in a couple of supporting actors from successful British sitcoms and there you have it.

The only really entertaining bit for me was the Tim Key’s character talking through the events that would have to occur before Josh and Nat would commit euthanasia on each other.  Just imagining them both dying alone, frightened and confused in a hospital bed really helped to lighten the mood.

It’s actually watchable though but it has you walking the tri-directional tightrope between giggling, cringing and suicide pretty much the whole way through.  Perfect for fans of ‘I love you, man’ and ‘Requiem For A Dream’.

David Roberts, CeX Ann Street, Belfast

I Give It A Year at CeX

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Resident Evil: Revelations

Resident Evil: Revelations is a game about two people and then some other people.  That’s about as much of the plot as I had managed to gather in the first hour or so.  Partly because my throat and ears started to get a little dry and sore, for seemingly no reason.  I did come to realise thirty minutes later this was due to me screaming in terror once every ten minutes or so.  Though it isn’t as scary as other games in the series, or even other games on the market, such as ‘Condemned’ (drills right into the fear centre of your brain and take a piss in it) and ‘Project Zero II’ on the Nintendo Wii (the first time a ghost appeared on the screen it may as well have appeared on my lap as I was immediately rushed to the emergency room and sedated with a punch to the face), it still gets you in a cold sweat from time to time.

The Resident Evil series, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, originally looked and sounded terrible with some of the most famously bad dialogue and acting ever created, it made up for all this by causing all your bones to disintegrate with fear.  They progressed through the initial horror and intensity of zombies, through a two-sides-of-the-story idea with the fabulous Resident Evil 2 and then with the more traditional Code Veronica.  The series then went out with a bang with the sudden appearance of the most intense enemy, Nemesis, who unlike the zombies and mutated beings (that were dumbfounded by complex tasks such as pushing a door or looking through a window) would chase you down and kick through doors like they were semolina and command to be scared, and you would, of course, obey. 

Ah, classic trouser-browning Resident Evil.

Though it has been said Resident Evil 4 was pretty excellent it doesn’t fall into the category of survival horror.  I don’t disagree with its excellence it just wasn’t particularly scary.  I remember completing it and thinking that it must be, that I was getting too used to the fear elements in the games, and went back to replay the second one to test my theory.  Contrary to what I believed however it wasn’t long before I was strapping myself into my ‘adult diapers’ before pressing ‘ON’ on my Gamecube. 

After playing Resident Evil 5 for a mere twenty minutes I started to experience a specific kind of exciting-boredom usually explained by the phrase ‘Directed by Michael Bay’.  I abandoned it as fast as my hands would allow and avoided all instalments thereafter.  If you’re a fan of the games, or have even asked anyone about Resident Evil: Revelations they have probably uttered a variation on the following phrase.
“It’s brilliant, it’s just like the original ones.”

It’s not.  At least not in the ways you might expect.  It plays from an over the shoulder camera, shoot-fest camera angle and has absolutely no typewriters, or ink ribbons to be found, though there are plenty of bullets and green herbs (now in a handy pill form) available.  It makes for mild amounts of Horror, little amounts of Survival.

The ways in which they are seemingly the same is in the case of the acting and dialogue.   You start the game off playing as two characters simultaneously ‘Jill Valentine’ from Resident Evil fame and a new recruit (to me anyway) ‘Parker’; allegedly incredibly intelligent and skilled practitioners of zombie fighting and in Jill’s case, ‘unlocking’.  However they come across as so tiresomely stupid that they frequently require other people to finish their sentences for them, in even the most obvious logical situations.  An example:
“If their coordinates are in the ocean then they can’t be in the mountains…that must mean…that they are….”
“On a ship”
Oh yeah, on a ship, I was just gonna say ‘on a ship’.
Yeah it's the 3DS version but check out dat dialogue.

Mere moments later after watching Jill collapse suddenly to the floor in a room with a plastic mannequin version of her old partner as it fills up with gas, Parker eventually offers the insight ‘It’s a trap’.  There are also many uses of the old school Resi favourite ‘What is this?’ in situations where the ’What’ and the ‘This’ are so blindingly obvious you could write a short story about it.  I swear I wouldn’t trust these two to pull a cracker and then read out the joke.

A personal peeve is the control system; this won’t bother anyone who doesn’t live in the upside down brain world of inverted axis.  For some reason my brain thinks it makes perfect sense for me to pull down to raise my head (as if grabbing the hair of your character and pulling it down) and up to face downwards (pushing it up, still with a handful of hair, forcing the characters head towards the ground to eat mud, as a punishment for talking so much nonsense).  While Revelations offers you the opportunity to invert the axis while aiming your weapon, it does not offer you this opportunity when controlling the camera causing flipping between aiming and looking for an escape nearly impossible.  It doesn’t help that my muscle memory seems to suddenly change at random anyway, so this becomes like learning a whole different language.  A weird tribal one with clicks and whistles and no Latin roots.

The other thing that sands out is the disproportionate strength between the bad guys and the severely bad guys.  I could take down the standard enemies holding the controller blindfolded while trying to untangle three wires and a shoelace, and eat a sausage roll.  The ‘boss enemies’, though understandably more difficult, are so difficult that my strategy guide started to visibly weep.  

Eventually you get to play as Chris Redfield, and he has become replaced by an appallingly unlikable character that you will find yourself wishing that the red goop Barry found in the original Resident Evil really was Chris’s blood.  Every time he pretends not to notice his partner hitting on him with less than subtle hints like ‘I bet all the girls give you an S rating’ and ‘Did you ever ‘do it’ with Jill in the first game?  Making both Chris and Jill absolutely nothing like what we were led to believe in the earlier games.  I even wrote a short poem describing my feelings on it.
Moron Employing
Please Stop This
Childhood Destroying

The game is ok, and not without merit, the weapon upgrading is fun and the hunt for handprints is acceptable, nothing amazing though.  Still scares the crap out of you if you play in the dark at 4am with a headset on.  I never finished the game though because the character, Raymond, made me kick my TV screen in half out of irritation.  Give it a go if you want to know how it feels to be bored and petrified at the same time.

David Roberts, CeX Ann Street, Belfast

Resident Evil: Revelations at CeX

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Monday, 17 June 2013

Remember Me

With E3 over and the announcement of the next generation of consoles on the horizon, it's easy to forget that there is still an assortment of new games to be released for the old - but faithful - guards of gaming that are the PS3 and Xbox 360.

One such game is the generic and easily-forgotten titled Remember Me (I know bad joke). So the question we as gamers must ask is whether or not Remember Me is good enough to keep us entertained until the PS4 and Xbone make their appearance? Read on to find out.

Overview and Plot
Remember Me is an action-adventure stealth game developed by  newcomers to the gaming scene, Dontnod Entertainment. You assume the role of Nilin Cartier-Wells, an "errorist" in the year 2084. Living inside a futuristic version of Paris aptly titled Neo-paris. At the start of the game, Nillin is locked up in the bastille having had her memory wiped by the Big Brother-esque corporation Memorize. Then an odd voice from the void starts talking and guides her escape from the techno fortress and into safety. The mysterious helper is the Errorist leader Edge, bit-by-bit he tells Nillin who she is, who the Errorists are and what her purpose was before she caught a case of machine-induced amnesia.

It's a fairly by-the-books tale of a group of anti-corporate anarchists going against the monolithic overseers, in a future where the rich and powerful laud it over the lower-class - which can be a little on the nose for anyone familiar with the trope. However, the way Nilin's journey is framed against her slowly returning memories is where Remember Me shines through as something special.

Sadly, the combat of Remember Me is nothing to write home about. Nillin may not remember much at the beginning of Remember Me, but it only takes a brief overview from her partner Edge to jog her memory. Remember Me’s combat system appears – and to a certain degree plays – as you would expect. One set of attack buttons correspond to attacks with your hands, while another guides Nilin’s feet quickly into the jaw of an enemy. Different applications of these two buttons lead to different combinations leading into secondary effects you can use to cause extra damage. As you get better at the game, Nillin gains access to more combos for you to assign. It's all rather standard for the genre, but still has a satisfying feel.

If you're not feeling up to the fight you can try your hand at sneaking past enemies - however this can sometimes take just as long as pummeling them into dust. The enemies walk in a pre-determined patrol, so it's simply a matter of watching their pattern and running through when their focus is elsewhere. There are also a few basic door-puzzles, which involve running from highlighted spot to highlight spot but these quickly get boring and repetitive. If you're the hoarding type there are various collectibles around neo-Paris to snatch, but outside of this there's not much reason to explore and Remember Me pretty much points you where to go to progress the story.

Presentation and Soundtrack 
The one area above all else that Remember Me deserves merit is in its portrayal of a future where technology is king. It's very clear Neo-Paris has been painstakingly plotted out by a very passionate design team. The city portrays a perfect blend of "the world of tomorrow" and what we have with us today.

The world itself seems realistically plausible; you could very much imagine a future where this city actually exists. Robot helpers scrub shop windows as Nilin's gadgetry overlays little bits of information on top of anything that you happen upon, pointing out environmental hazards, restaurant menus, and quirky holographic advertisements. You could imagine this kind of tech would be the ultimate progression for something like the google glass technology we have today. The world is far from paradise however, there are certain areas that are horrifically dingy and you can clearly see where the newer architecture has been built on top of the old in a rush to  push forward. There are parts of the city that look like a kind of lived-in dystopia that really add character to the world.

All of this is accentuated by an art direction that really is something to behold. The fact the game is running on seven year old hardware only goes further to prove that polygon counts aren't what makes a game look spectacular. It's the high level of craft implemented that makes this title a feast for the eyes. Similarly, the audio is very fitting for the aesthetic, Cut-scenes are punctuated by the accompanying music, which ranges from eerie harmonic chords to the more intense moments that indulge in electronic beats. Composer Olivier Deriviere has very much created a soundtrack that perfectly expresses the overall feel of the city in a way that makes it much more immersive.

Remember Me is a bit of a lesson in wasted potential. The art design, the game's intriguing story, and the fantastic musical score are ultimately betrayed by Remember Me 's generic gameplay that just doesn't quite stand up to the big boys of the genre. Sadly, I felt just as Remember Me looked like it had something awesome to bring to the table, the fascinating moments were broken up repeatedly by mechanics that just aren't much fun to slog through.

If you're anything like me and are obsessed with all things futuristic, I would definitely still recommend giving Remember Me a try. While not a candidate for game of the year by any means, the visual splendour of Neo-Paris makes it worth trudging through the harder to stomach gameplay segments in order to see and experience everything.

The atmosphere, backdrop and gorgeous surroundings of this game are worth remembering, but ultimately the lacklustre gameplay will probably mean that it will be forgotten by the majority of gamers.

Story - 7 out of 10
Gameplay – 5 out of 10
Presentation – 9 out of 10
Verdict – 7 out of 10

Chris Heeley

Remember Me at CeX

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Thursday, 13 June 2013

E3 2013 Sony

We have finally arrived at what was considered the most anticipated event of E3 2013. Showing off their haul last gave Sony a massive advantage to trump Microsoft and set the pace for next generation gaming. By far the longest of the conferences, read below to find out what went down.

The Conference in short: 
Sony began their event with emphasis on the PlayStation Vita – a host of big titles including Batman: Arkham Origins and Killzone Mercenary are some of the games we will be expecting this year. The Vita clearly has an important role to play in Sony’s plans for the PlayStation 4, so it’s very cool to see the console itself put to the forefront of their conference. Fans of The Walking Dead by TellTale Games will be happy to know that the next episode is coming this Summer and to the PlayStation Vita as well. 

Next it was the PlayStation 3’s turn. Continued developer support for the console showed that just like the PlayStation 2, its older brother is planning to stick around for a while yet. Blockbuster exclusives like The Last of Us, Rain, Puppeteer and Beyond Two Souls will all be making their way exclusively to the PlayStation 3.

The moment everyone was waiting for was upon us. Sony unveiled a sleek looking new console that wowed the audience. The PlayStation 4 will be using various Media Entertainment Platforms to ensure that the media section of current games consoles will be met. 

Now onto the good stuff: the games. Sony’s Worldwide Studio Network encompassing over 12 studios have a variety of different projects in development with a few glimpses revealed at the event. Santa Monica Studios The Order 1886 depicted an old Victorian England setting as a group of guards found themselves surrounding by what looked like Werewolves – the trailer left the crowd wanting more.

A PlayStation 4 game montage was up next after the exclusive reveal of The Order 1886 and this showed off Killzone: Shadow Fall, Drive Club, inFAMOUS: Second Son and Knack – all titles we have seen before but nevertheless was still very thrilling. Quantic Dream followed by revealing an amusing tech demo titled The Dark Sorcerer. The purpose was merely to show off the incredible graphical power of the PlayStation 4 and boy did they succeed in that department. 

It’s hard to believe that despite the unveiling of the PlayStation 4, my favourite part of the whole conference actually followed the reveal. Starting with Supergiant Games announcing a new title called Transistor that looked like a turn-based RPG like Final Fantasy Tactics, Sony highlighted all of their impressive partnerships with indie game developers. It’s these guys that truly create genius game ideas and with titles like a re-mastered Oddworld, Ray’s and Outlast all coming to Sony’s console, it’s clear how much these developers mean to them. 

A surprise gem of the conference was Square Enix who via video message announced that the eagerly anticipated Final Fantasy versus XIII is in development and has a new title, Final Fantasy XV. Then out of nowhere Square Enix also revealed that Kingdom Hearts III was also in development (it’s about bloody time). To finish their little presentation, Square Enix also announced that Final Fantasy XIV would be coming to both PlayStation 3 and 4.

The conference continued with huge titles including comprehensive gameplay of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch Dogs. Then trailers for NBA2k14, The Elder Scrolls Online and Mad Max were revealed but little detail was given about those games. 

A bit of administration followed, or should I say direct body blows to Microsoft. Sony confirmed there will be no used-game policies on the PlayStation 4, it will not need any form of always-online Internet verification, the console is region free, will cost £349.99/$399/€399 and gamers will now need to be PlayStation Plus subscribers to play online multiplayer. Sony’s acquisition of Gaikai clearly suggests the importance of creating an online infrastructure to rival Xbox Live and they’re certainly heading in the right direction.

To conclude Sony revealed for the first time, gameplay footage from Bungie’s highly anticipated Destiny … it looked like Halo.

The Verdict:
Sony had a few jobs to do at this conference. They needed to come out with plenty of games, confirm that they won’t be carrying out the nonsense Microsoft have pushed forward with DRM technology and emphasize that the core gamer is the priority. It’s safe to say that they accomplished these goals with flying colours. The game reveals were remarkable, the new console is gorgeous, the price point is reasonable and ultimately it’s no nonsense gaming. Well done Sony and enjoy winning this generation’s console war. 

Igor Kharin.

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E3 2013 Ubisoft

This generation Ubisoft have clearly established themselves at the forefront of video game development. Bringing a host of AAA franchises across all platforms, it’s obvious why everyone always anticipates press events from these guys. After Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs stole the show last E3, would they be able to repeat and top one of their most successful E3 ventures ever? 

The Conference in short: 
Ubisoft clearly misunderstood what opening with a bang meant because Rocksmith 2014 Edition wasn’t exactly the dramatic beginning everyone was hoping for. Nevertheless the conference quickly moved on to the highly anticipated Splinter Cell: Blacklist although a lot has already been revealed regarding this title so it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise.

Ubisoft then turned their attention to another up and coming title Rayman Legends. It’s definitely fair to say that Rayman has once again come into his own over the past couple of years and despite the release delay fans across the world are clearly anticipating this platforming adventure.

Finally it was on to a title that I have not yet seen: The Mighty Quest of Epic Loot. Little was really drawn out here but it looked potentially like some sort of RPG adventure that you will be able to play with friends. Fans of quirky role-play and RTS stay tuned for more information as we begin discovering what this is really about.

Since Ubisoft acquired the rights to South Park: The Stick of Truth fans all over have been concerned that this potential comedy gem would never see the light of day. Fortunately it was given an opportunity to shine with a few comical snippets from your beloved cast. This may turn out to be an absolute disaster but at least we will be able to laugh along with Cartman and co. 

A racing game trailer was up next and since all racers seem to pile up into the same experience this day you wouldn’t have been wrong guessing if it was any of the blockbuster franchises. Titled The Crew, this racer showed groups of friends joining together online seamlessly and completing missions Fast & Furious style. With so many racers coming out in the next gen (Forza 5, GT6, Need for Speed Rivals) The Crew will have to really impress in the upcoming months to get attention from a clearly dominant market. 

Returning to their most anticipated title Ubisoft proceeded to demo Watch Dogs. Little can be said other than it looks absolutely incredible. The futuristic Grand Theft Auto and Deus Ex like mix will be an absolute joy to experience. It’s also really cool that Watch Dogs will be available for current and next generation consoles. 

A new Just Dance was next on stage quickly followed by a new Rabbids interactive TV show called Rabbids Invasion, which will likely appeal to a much younger audience. 

More information on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag arrived, yet again however it’s nothing particularly new or breathtaking. Most gamers are aware that the game looks incredible and there will be on-sea action: more hands-on time will help give us a better idea of how this is coming along. 

One of Ubisoft’s most successful Live titles Trials exploded (literally) onto the screen next with Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier – fans of this incredibly frustrating biking experience will surely be left drooling at the sight of these colourful new entries into the series. 

The conference finished with a teaser for a really cool looking idea, called The Division, similar to the mobile app game Plague Inc. A trailer depicted the consequences of a worldwide viral outbreak and what would happen but absolutely nothing was story or characters. Nevertheless, it was cool to see that an interesting idea is currently in development. 

The Verdict:
Ubisoft are certainly a big power in the video game industry currently and rightfully so. The conference clearly showed a consistent list of good to AAA titles with very little to fault or moan about. It was obvious that we weren’t going to see an announcement as huge as Watch Dogs last year but with the aforementioned, Assassin’s Creed IV, Rayman Legends and Splinter Cell: Blacklist all not far away, being a fan of Ubisoft is definitely not a bad thing. 

Ultimately their conference wasn’t huge but the things they brought to the table, matter. 

Igor Kharin.

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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

E3 2013 Xbox One vs. PS4

So it's finally over, E3, the flagship event for gamers all over the world. With a long history of reveals under its belt, what better place for the two gaming giants, Sony and Microsoft, to duke it out and announce their next-gen consoles? But little do most consumers know that this console war also concerns their rights, with one of these big corporations trying to set in place policies that are, quite frankly, a whole load of bullshit.

The internet has been rife with concerns regarding certain practices and policies that Microsoft has adopted and Sony has not. These take away your power as an end-user and give it almost wholly to Microsoft and video game publishers and include such things as restrictions on buying and selling second-hand games, and even lending games to friends.

I have strong personal feelings regarding these practices and policies, mainly that Microsoft should shove them so far up their ass they'll never see the light of day again. We'll cover these, as well as an overview of what each console, the Xbox One and Playstation 4, have to offer.

Microsoft’s Xbox One

Right now I’m not a fan of Microsoft. Don’t get me wrong, I have been in the past, I’ve got an Xbox 360 and a Windows-based Gaming PC. Until recently I couldn’t fault Microsoft – they delivered a good, gamer-centric service and reasonably-priced games. BUT all that is about to change with the Xbox One.

First presented to the world on the 21st of May, Microsoft began the reveal of the Xbox One with a strange focus: television. Oddly, games took second place to the new TV and multimedia features of the Xbox One. This left many gamers oblivious to Microsoft's machinations, but thirsty for gaming news and content, which they would not receive substantially till E3.

Regardless of their intentions, Microsoft announced some very interesting features and some nice additions for its next gen console:
  • 3-in-1 Operating System – The Core OS which then boots two side-by-side OSs; an Xbox OS and Windows-based OS. 
  • Snap Mode – Allows players to run multiple programs/apps at once, such as Skyping while gaming. 
  • Instant Switching – Impressively fast and smooth switching between programs/apps, a marked improvement over the Xbox360.
  • Live TV – The ability to watch Live TV through Xbox One like a Set-Top Box.
  • Sports Features – Live fantasy league updates and pay per view events, great features for those who would use them.
  • Built-in DVR Functions – The ability to record and upload/stream gameplay to the cloud/web for sharing with others with an intuitive editing and uploading interface.
  • Xbox Live Account carries over – Xbox Live accounts will carry over to the Xbox One, bringing Gamerscores, and using the same subscription.
  • Free Games with Xbox Live Gold – Gold users will receive two games a month to download and play when using a Gold subscription (like the existing PS+). These appear to be Xbox 360 titles and will start with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3.
  • SmartGlass integration – Tablets appear to play a much bigger role in the use of Xbox One features and games.
  • A Continued Relationship with Entertainment Distributors – Netflix, Amazon Video, and all those services will remain available and still require a gold subscription.
  • Content Authorization for up to 10 Family Members – Content that’s bought must be authorized for a user to enjoy, you can do this for up to 10 family members.
  • Expanded Friends List – Gamers are now able to have more than 100 friends at a time on Xbox Live.
  • Local Currency Pricing – Content will now be priced in your local currency instead of Microsoft Points.

Despite being packaged in a case like an old VHS player, all these new features are powered by hardware on par with most modern mid-tier gaming PCs:
  • 8-core x86 AMD CPU.
  • ATI Radeon based Graphics Engine.
  • 8GB DDR3 System Memory (shared between CPU & GPU).
  • 500GB Hard Drive.
  • Blu-Ray Drive.
  • 802.11n Wireless with Wi-Fi Direct.
  • Gigabit Ethernet.
  • HDMI In/Out.
  • USB 3.0.
  • Kinect 2.0.
  • New Gamepad Design.

Some hardware, such as the Kinect 2.0, plays a much bigger role with the Xbox One. The Kinect has been confirmed as mandatory for everyday operation, while it appears that SmartGlass is necessary to achieve the full Xbox One experience with certain games. One thing I must admit is the game-pad, which has received universal praise, looks and feels fantastic. With the upgrade in hardware, the games shown at the reveal and E3 appear pretty damn good on the new system.

Everything up to this point is pretty much what you would expect from a new console: new features, better hardware, and the promise of better games; but this isn't all you're getting. After the Xbox One reveal and prior to E3, troubling rumors began to spread. Later confirmed as facts by Microsoft's own sources, they told of a console designed to stop the end-user from:
  • Playing games, even single-player, unless you connect to the Internet to authenticate with Microsoft's servers once every 24 hours.
  • Disconnecting the Kinect sensor, keeping it active at all times (especially worrying as Microsoft is a member of PRISM).
  • Playing rented games at all.
  • Trading-in games, unless using Microsoft approved retailers.
  • Selling games, unless the recipient has been on your friends list for at least 30 days (each game only capable of being sold once).
  • Buying and selling on second-hand games, as they cannot be sold again after you are finished with them.
  • Lending games to friends easily.
  • Using content at the same time as another authorised user.

Even these meager rights could be taken away at the discretion of game publishers, who Microsoft has given the power to bar trade-ins and lending completely.

Most regular consumers would be worried by now. This is an unprecedented move by Microsoft to change console and game ownership, reducing the disc or purchase you'd make to nothing more than a ticket to play a game on Microsoft's terms. It is not a practice in “fighting the pirates” or “bringing a connected experience”. It is turning your games into nothing more than extended rentals.  You don’t own your games, you license them, with the disc simply a means of installation, and you may wonder how that is different from PC gaming; PC games are significantly cheaper than console games and in the end you still have greater freedom on platforms like Steam.

Want to take your console away with you and play somewhere without a stable Internet connection? Tough
Want to sell a completed game on ebay, for that new game you desperately want? Fine, but you'll have to wait 30 days with a stranger on your friend list.
A Hacktivist group decides to take down Microsoft's servers because they don't like the way they are acting? Well you're shit out of luck then. 
Retro Xbox One gaming, what's that? Without Microsoft's authentication servers the games won't work in the future!

So, say we don't want to buy into this bullshit but still want a powerful next-gen experience, what choice is left to us? Well, what about that other new console?

Sony's Playstation 4

If you read the introduction it's pretty obvious how this next section is going to go, but I assure you I am not a Sony fanboy. I tried to play Skyrim on a PS3, hated playing First-Person Shooters using a DualShock controller and I had to change my PSN password following Sony's smackdown by hacktivists. Overall, my Sony experience has not been as good as my Microsoft one this generation. But with Microsoft reaching cartoonish levels of corporate villainy I’m ready to throw in my lot with Sony and the PS4.

Making its debut on 20th of February, the Playstation 4 reveal was widely and rightly mocked for lacking the most important features of a reveal: a bloody Playstation 4. In a seriously genius move *sarcastic eyeroll*, they decided not to show it at their reveal event at all, perhaps because there wasn't actually a physical system to show anyone. Despite this chupacabra console, Sony displayed some impressive tech, including real time Unreal Engine 4 and physics demos. Games also featured heavily during the reveal event, which, if Microsoft's example was anything to go by, is meant to be surprising for a games console.

Mocking aside, Sony has also managed to bring similar, interesting features to the table:
  • Cross Platform Accessibility – Follow gameplay of possible opponents on your smartphone or tablet and challenge them, great for EVO fans.
  • Companion Apps – Keep in touch with your evolving gaming world regardless of location, probably via Social Media.
  • Social Network Integration – Linking gaming profiles with social profiles.
  • Personalisation – Personalise your interface, follow the games and gamers that interest you, predictive game loading.
  • Gaikai based streaming – Access to a catalogue of games for streaming, including PS4 and PS3 titles, the closest thing to backwards compatibility in either console.
  • Social Gaming Network – Making gaming more social than ever, allowing friends to view your gameplay and jump in to help when things get tough or provide feedback.
  • UStream Functionality – Multicasting live video, easily accessed through a dedicated “Share” button.
  • Remote Play – Own a PS Vita? Well it may finally get some use as Sony want all PS4 titles to play remotely on your Vita via an internet/Wi-Fi connection.
  • Sony and 3rd Party Entertainment Partnerships – As well as maintaining a relationship with Netflix, Amazon Video and other services which doesn’t require PS+), they’ll also be providing Sony films, TV and music to user. This includes shows like Breaking Bad, films like the Amazing Spider-Man and access to music distributed by Sony records.
  • Indie Support – Supporting indie game developers and allowing them to self publish, get for people hooked on Minecraft, allowing easy access to low-cost and often high-creativity indie games.
  • Increased PSN Functionality – Cross game Voice Chat, playing a game as you’re downloading it, transferring to a friend's network/server with real world friends.
  • Continued PS+ service – Like Xbox Live Gold, will continue for PS3 user to the PS4 and will even include free PS4 games, such as DriveClub, at the PS4’s launch, though now costing approximately $5 a month.

I know what you’re thinking, “A lot of these features are the same across both consoles.” And you’d be right. Both consoles offer greater functionality from their online services, greater incentives and greater Social Media and Streaming integration. It should be unsurprising to hear that hardware wise, they are also very similar, though the PS4 contains better RAM and has not disclosed its hard drive sizes:
  • 8-core x86-64 AMD APU.
  • ATI Radeon based Graphics Engine.
  • 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
  • Built-in Hard Drive.
  • Blu-Ray Drive.
  • 802.11n Wireless with Bluetooth (2.1).
  • Gigabit Ethernet.
  • HDMI Out.
  • USB 3.0.
  • New Playstation Eye.
  • New Gamepad Design.

Admittedly, compared to the Kinect 2.0 and the new Xbox One gamepad Sony’s offerings are underwhelming, though the new Eye’s functionality hasn’t been shown off yet and the new PS4 gamepad is a step in the right design direction. It should also be pointed out that the PS4 actually looks like a next-gen console and not a VHS player and yes, the games also look great.

At this point you’re probably wondering why you should pick one console over the other when their features and hardware specs are so similar. Unless you are a crazed fanboy you’re probably planning to pick up whichever you feel like or whichever console has the best exclusives, and typically that approach would be best: get what speaks to you as a gamer/user. BUT WAIT! Remember all that bullshit Microsoft is trying to pull? Go back and skim that list again if you want.

If any of those restrictions sound like bullshit to you, like they do to me, then prepare for some good news - Sony made a point of stating that when a consumer buys a disc they retain their ownership and can:
  • Trade in games at retail without restriction.
  • Sell it to another person without restriction.
  • Lend it to a friend without restriction.
  • Keep it forever.
  • Play single-player games offline indefinitely (no connecting to the internet required ever).
  • Play games without ever having to connect to the internet to authenticate.
  • Play games/media from ANY region, the PS4 is region free.

Admittedly these features should NOT be a selling point and Sony will still be leaving DRM up to publishers, which only means that some may use online passes and similar features, like EA used to. In an ideal situation we wouldn’t have to worry about Microsoft’s draconian practices and Sony would not have to play the role of some sort of gaming savior. We’d just have to pick between The Chief and Nathan Drake, or if we had the money to burn, just pick both. When you look at the features and hardware alone there isn’t really enough to argue one console over the other. Want PS4? Get it. Want Xbox One? Get it. But this isn’t the case.

If Microsoft fails to remove these features and ignores feedback from consumers, then in buying the Xbox One we are telling them that we are okay with these increasingly controlling practices. We might as well tell Sony that a consumer-centred focus won’t get them anywhere. Seriously, will you let Microsoft just lube up with nice-looking games, and permit them to have you any way they fucking want?

The Verdict

Look. I don’t give a shit about console fanboyism, or who comes out on top, or what you bought last generation and what your favourite game is. The reality is that THIS generation sees the beginning of a war on your consumer rights and we need to support those who aren’t attempting to take them away.

PS4, Vita, WiiU, 3DS, Ouya, PC; none of these platforms introduce measures as extreme, invasive and frankly fucked up as the Xbox One. Get one of those instead of the Xbox One, support those companies and encourage Microsoft to change their policies.

Oh hello Microsoft, what are you doing here? Oh you want me to bend over, shut my mouth, and to go in dry? Well… to be honest I’d rather cuddle for a while first, thank you… Oh, it’s your way or the high way? Well… then I must insist you go fuck yourself as Sony just turned up with truffles, my favourite flowers and Champagne.

Did I mention that PS4 will typically be approximately 100 $/€/£s cheaper than the Xbox One? Anyway, whatever. "Cool story bro", amirite?

Isaac Sung
Based on information available prior to 13/06/13

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E3 2013 EA

Hello and welcome back to CeX’s coverage of E3. Everyone’s ‘favourite’ company were up next to show off their game line up for the next generation. The reaction to Microsoft’s event was less than positive so read below to see if EA brought anything particularly interesting to the forefront of gaming.

The Conference in short:
EA opened with a game from one of my absolute favourite game developers, PopCap. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare introduced a class-based third-person shooter with an incredible sense of humour and interesting cooperative gameplay mechanics; it was a perfect way to hook the audience. 

Titanfall was up next and my enthusiasm for the game didn’t waver since I saw it on Microsoft’s stage. This mech-shooter is definitely a title I’m keeping my eyes on. 

A quick teaser trailer from DICE games showed a new Star Wars Battlefront in development before the conference moved onto a more extensive look at Ghost Games’ partnership with Criterion on the brand new Need for Speed Rivals. A brand new mechanic titled All Drive intertwines single, cooperative and multiplayer modes seamlessly into one open world – a pretty nifty selling point for this arcade racer.

The ‘future’ of role-play games was shown next with a pretty impressive trailer for Bioware’s Dragon Age Inquisition. Whether it’s the future or not, the expansive world of Dragon Age has always been a fan favourite and is sure to impress. 

EA Sports were up next with a whole host of announcements for their upcoming titles. NBA Live made a dramatic return for the ’14 edition. The emphasis was on a new mechanic called bounceTek – the idea that every single time the ball left a players hand it became it’s own separate entity. With this in mind the future of basketball dribbling and player movement could potentially be blown wide open. How it plays is a completely different story, so we will have to wait and see. FIFA 14 was up next with the intuitive Pro Instincts and Elite Technique mechanics that help increase player AI and physical interaction with other bodies and the ball. Madden 25 showed off a similar mechanic called true step that also will potentially help players interact better and in more human ways to plays on the field. Perhaps my most anticipated title saw Dana White, Jon Jones and Benson Henderson arrive on stage to announce EA’s UFC. This dynamic partnership will bring one of the world’s fastest growing sports to consoles but little was really demonstrated other than talk of unprecedented contact with the Full Body Deformation mechanic. EA’s sports games all looked stunning and in principle all the ideas sound astonishing; how much of an impact they will truly make is a question we can only answer with hands-on content. 

Comprehensive overage of Battlefield 4 was up next and a nifty surprise with the announcement of Mirror’s Edge 2 concluded EA’s conference.

The Verdict:
Plants vs. Zombies: Plant Warfare and Mirror’s Edge 2 made EA’s conference seem really good because it began with a high note and ended on a high too. 

All the sports announcement just like every year promise to bring never-seen before life-like simulation of all our favourite sports and then we end up playing them and realising it’s not as different as we all thought. Time and gameplay will truly show how significant these new systems will be to creating a new type of sports simulation but for now we can all agree that regardless we’ll probably buy them as by this point we’re all suckered into it anyway. 

DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront was also a sweet reveal.

So to conclude EA were steady and consistent, which is really all you can ask for at this stage with little gameplay to show off. A few nifty surprises and a constant stream of games made this an ok presentation.

Igor Kharin

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E3 2013 Microsoft

2013’s E3 is without a doubt one of the most exciting events in the video game industry. With new consoles and plenty of incredible games just over the horizon, CeX is here to give you the run down of everything Microsoft during their press event. Check out below for announcements and opinions!

The Conference in short:
Press events are always a flashy spectacle and what better way to start any event than opening with Metal Gear V The Phantom Pain. Beautiful artistic direction and a new story sees Keith Sutherland take the reigns as Solid Snake in his new adventure – excitement level: 10/10.

A new revamped 360 model was also revealed suggesting Microsoft still have plans for their current machine, which is never bad news for gamers not willing to stump out £429.99 for the Xbox One.

The incredibly popular PC MMO game World of Tanks was also announced exclusively for Xbox One bringing destruction across from the PC platform.

Xbox One titles were central to the next segment of the event with the Ryse: Sons of Rome debuting trailer. Astonishing graphics and QTE battle sequences had people awing over the graphics but seeking more from the content. Brawler fans were appeased with the official announcement of Killer Instinct to Microsoft’s new platform. A free-roaming FPS titled Sunset Overdrive captivated the crowd after, while Forza 5’s incredible graphics showed off the raw power of the Xbox One.

Xbox One titles continued pouring out with the exclusive that we saw during the Xbox One reveal Quantum Break next on screen. The futuristic FPS adventure is definitely one to look out for. Project Spark also had plenty of attention with it’s God-like creation powers allowing players to manifest their own environments, characters and worlds with clever voice-controlled creation tools thanks to the new Kinect.

The spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon titled Crimson Dragon was also teased as well as the incredibly impressive gameplay footage for Dead Rising 3, which in my opinion was the most interesting title on display during the conference. The conference finished with gameplay from Dice’s critically acclaimed Battlefield 4, a teaser from 343 Studios for a brand new Halo game and absolutely insane gameplay footage from Titanfall, a new always-online mech shooter resembling a combination of Battlefield and Starhawk.

The Verdict:
Microsoft gave answers regarding their questionable approach to used-game policies and always-online connection on a new website page they opened, which can be found here. Although the wording makes it a little difficult to fully understand, it’s clear that Microsoft will be a lot stricter with DRM technology than their rivals.

As for the conference itself, pretty lacklustre and uninspired is how I was left feeling when the curtain came down. All cross-platform titles will perform at a much better standard on the PC and PlayStation 4 due to specification differences, so that knocks them out the park straight away.

The exclusive titles, well there wasn’t much really to get excited for. Forza 5 is truly astonishing to look at, but is it something we all want from a next generation device? 343 teased not enough for Halo and most content tried to impressive visually without bringing anything particularly fascinating in terms of gameplay. I think Microsoft have forgotten that a game can be visually simple, but if it is fun to play people will still enjoy it. Not enough emphasis on indie developers was also a massive issue for me as most creative talent and brilliance derives from this area of the industry.

Was it worth watching, absolutely? Is it worth buying an Xbox One over the newly revealed PlayStation 4? Well ... anyway.

Igor Kharin

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Friday, 7 June 2013

Fire Emblem: Awakening

“An absolutely stunning title comes to Nintendo’s handheld and blows all expectations out of the water. Fire Emblem: Awakening is a deep, intriguing and challenging experience that’s perfectly suited for fans of the series and newcomers alike.”

The gameplay:

Fire Emblem is considered by most RPG lovers as one of if not the best tactical series to date. This intense strategizing experience sees players choose from an assortment of interesting characters with diverse abilities and send them into battle resembling a game of chess. You’re expected to know unit’s strengths, weaknesses, tactical advantages, terrain changes and many other variations that can swing the tide of battle. Veteran fans of the series will enjoy the feel of Awakening that has all the similarities you’d expect alongside some interesting new additions like combining teammates in battle, altering classes with the Seal system and even building relationships with various comrades to change the dynamics in your party. A classic gameplay style and casual are on offer with the former seeing characters die and not return if they are finished in battle while the latter allows a more streamlined ride through the game without ever fearing a character’s untimely demise. This alongside different difficulty levels ensures the option for series’ veterans to enjoy Fire Emblem how it should be while newcomers can settle into the game with baby steps.

The presentation:

Fire Emblem: Awakening is up there as one of the most visually impressive titles on Nintendo’s handheld. The artwork, character models and terrain all look stunning and impressive combat graphics make each and every encounter beautiful to watch. Cut scenes in particular look superb and really invest you into the story. The same can be said for the characters – Fire Emblem has always been known for incredible character development and there are no shortcomings here. An intriguing story intertwined with brilliant character development makes this an absolute joy to play through thanks to the emotional attachment created. Fire Emblem also boasts a beautiful soundtrack that fits perfectly into this elegant world full of Knights and ideals of honour.

The verdict:

It’s certainly been a long time coming that a new Fire Emblem game would arrive but it was absolutely worth the wait. This is not only a perfect tactical RPG experience but it’s also a testament to the quality of games that can come out on the Nintendo 3DS. Up there with the likes of Super Mario 3D Land and Resident Evil: Revelations in terms of sheer quality, Fire Emblem: Awakening is an awesome mobile RPG for fans of the series and newcomers looking for a thrilling and challenging title on their handheld device. Go grab a copy and prepare to invest hundreds of hours into this captivating world.

Gameplay – 9 out of 10
Presentation – 10 out of 10
Replay value – 10 out of 10
Verdict – 10 out of 10

Igor Kharin.

Fire Emblem: Awakening at CeX

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut

I know some people, some pleasant nice people.  But they are young and they like to remind me that I’m older than them by viscously not remembering what a Megadrive is, or by maliciously being unaware of Ren and Stimpy.  Another trait in these normally pleasant but opinionated characters is an absolute distaste and inability to appreciate films where the cool stuff was SFX and not CGI.  I couldn’t get Evil Dead, Nightmare and Elm Street or Star Wars on but hand them a copy of Hostel 3 and it’s the best film ever.  The game Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut is not for this perfectly reasonable but sometimes inconvenient kind of person.

 Despite being an upscaling and a ‘better version’ of the original ‘Deadly Premonition’, it still looks and sometimes feels like a PS2 game that was thrown out because it looked too much like a PS1 game.  The gunshots sound like someone in the next room bursting a balloon and sometimes they don’t even happen at all.  There are frame rate issues, slow down, jumpy textures, weird on screen glitches. The driving is about as easy as go-karting when your drunk and your feet have been replaced with two half melted Cornettos.  Prepare to be shocked however because this game is incredible. Just like the horror masterpieces from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s this game looks awful but my goodness does it pull you into a mesmerising trance beautifully.  Like Derren Brown if he was going to scare your fingernails off your hands by whispering into your eyes.


The thing that absolutely excites me the most about Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut is the intricate details of all the NPCs lives in the small town of Greenvale.  They really seem to have lives going on, as your character, York, everyone calls him that, is interviewing suspects for example, you could find yourself driving to their workplace or their house to find that they aren’t there.  You check the in game clock and realise it’s lunchtime and as expected your inconsiderate suspect has gone to the diner, where you can join them for lunch.  These people are living actual lives which you can ruthlessly interrupt to a very realistic sense of ‘leave me a lone I just want to enjoy my Scotch egg and cheese-strings’.  It’s almost as if they didn’t want to be viciously and frequently accused of murdering people at all.
Your purpose of being there is you are an agent of some American acronym, CIA, FBI, ABC, HBO or something like that, who has been brought in to investigate the murder of an attractive but very much dead young lady.  Filled with sights of creepy ghostly twins, a creepy glowy-eyed Darth Maul in a bathrobe character, a hypersensitive old woman that constantly thinks your trying to seduce her as if you’re David Duchovny in an all girls dorm room, a man in a wheelchair played by Bane from The Dark Knight Rises and his ridiculous carer who speaks to you constantly in rhyme as if he has a song stuck in his head that wont leave him alone.  Like the DuckTales theme does to me.

Unfortunately the cartographers that live in Greenvale are the worst that they could find. The map you have to use to get around looks like a three year old child’s drawing of spaghetti and worms with string and dental floss on top. Anyone who played the previous version of the game will be happy to hear that the enemies aren’t made out of bullet-absorbing-blu-tack anymore and can actually be put down, and navigating York through tight halls no longer feels as cumbersome as trying to negotiate a sofa cushion into a tiny lift while on the phone and trying to eat a sandwich.  The shooting aspect still is only there to allow to move past hallways with creep things in it and isn’t particularly memorable. It’s very fairground potato gun-esque.
One of the creepiest parts of the game however is when you are being chased ruthlessly by a killer you will often find a dual screen effect with the smaller screen emphasising the events from the 3rd person perspective of the killer while the large illustrates your own frantic efforts, leaving you feeling like you are in the shining and Jack is losing his marble faster than…I dunno, someone with loads of marbles and a hole in their pocket.
The game looks awful, sometimes feels awful and has all kinds of problems but despite all that is probably one of my favourite games of the year so far.  Buy it and thank me later.

Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut at CeX

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