Friday 28 February 2014

The LEGO Movie Videogame

I think it's safe to say that most of us grew up with Lego in our lives. From building wonky houses or vehicles that had different sized wheels, to even steeping on random Legos by accident (I know, worst pain ever, right?), Lego as a brand has always been with us. And of course this eventually spread into the world of videogames. Since the release of Lego Island for Windows back in 1997, Lego based games have been hitting the shelves now and again. However, once Lego brought out Lego Star Wars: The Videogame in 2005, the games have been coming out hard and fast, and have tapped into big film franchises such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Marvel and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Now with The Lego Movie out, a videogame tie-in was expected. Aptly named The Lego Movie Videogame, does it do anything new, or is it just the same old Lego videogame formula?

Developed by TT Games, The Lego Movie Videogame pretty much follows the storyline of the film from start to finish. The game focuses on Emmett, a guy who lives the boring and mundane life of a simple Lego construction worker. That is until Wildstyle comes into his life, a girl who believes that Emmett is a Master Builder; a powerful Lego capable of creating anything without the need for instruction manuals. Now, with a Lego tyrant planning to glue all Legos together, Emmett must join up with the other Master Builders in a bid to stop him. The story is pretty basic but fun, and ultimately makes for a great set up for a game through its many action set pieces.

The formula largely remains the same in The Lego Movie Videogame. Throughout the course of the game the player controls various characters, starting with Emmett himself. Through levels the player needs to solve various puzzles to advance further. These puzzles generally call for Emmett to build, break or fix something. For instance, the player might need to fix a bridge, which will have them venture through a level looking for a missing screw. This is of course blended with some expected Lego enemy bashing, but above all construction is the key here. However, The Lego Videogame Movie changes it up slightly in that way that there are now two types of characters- Regular Builders and Master Builders. Controlling a Regular Builder requires the player to find the instruction manual of an object or structure before they can construct it, while as a Master Builder that isn't a problem. Master Builders aren't usable right off the bat, but finding these instruction manuals can be pretty damn fun in of itself.

The Lego Movie Videogame is a game for all ages. Kids will love it, parents playing with their kids will share in a wonderful experience together and gamers playing it by themselves will have a lot of fun with it. But it's a by-the-numbers Lego game. The formula remains the same, which is a problem. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed some of the past Lego games, and yeah, I enjoyed this, but I felt like I was playing Lego The Lord of the Rings merely re-textured, as opposed to a brand new game. Nearing the end of the game I felt bored, basically. If you're looking for a game that will challenge your skills you're barking up the wrong plastic tree here. But if you're looking for a fun, cute and often hilarious time sink then be sure to check out The Lego Movie Videogame. Sure, it ain't Ico, Batman: Arkham Asylum or Grand Theft Auto 5, but you'll probably smile more playing this game instead.

The Lego Movie Videogame is fun but has some dust on its blocks and gets a 3/5[]

Denis Murphy

The LEGO Movie Videogame at CeX

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CeX Blacktown Wins Best in Mall

We suspect you're already a believer in CeX. If not, best get down the clinic sharpish, you must have picked up some terrible disease. If you needed any reassurance CeX in the Westpoint Shopping Centre, NSW, has just won the award for the most awesome store merchandising, beating some of the World's other leading brands. Make sure you settle for nothing less than the best, find your nearest CeX here.

Congrats to the Kaylee Brooks and CeX heroes at Westpoint, NSW.

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The Hangover Part III

I’ve just finished watching The Hangover Part III. The last part in the trilogy of easily the most over rated moment of history since Hitler’s Sauna House opened in the 1940’s. If you thought the first two were fantastic then you may be disappointed with this one, as they have seriously dialed back everything about the film that made it iconic. If you thought they were terrible, really really terrible, you’ll also be disappointed because it isn’t even worth getting annoyed about. It’s just very plainly boring.  It is beyond clear that the motivation for making this film had nothing to do with plot resolution or the love for making films and was more than likely, a cash-grab. Straight off the bat the film reeks of a higher budget but absolutely no creative flair, or creativity at all.

The film starts 2 years after the end of the last one, with Chow escaping the prison he got banged up in. A slight reference to the Shawshank Redemption is made in what Todd Phillips would try and convince you was very subtle and clever way, but really was about as interesting as walking into a closed brothel and watching someone’s coffee go cold.

Zach Galifianakis, as Alan, is driving up the road with a giraffe in a trailer that he’s just bought. This is to remind us that he is rich and eccentric, though I personally find him so close to genuinely mentally disabled that laughing at anything that he does or says elicits the same feeling I would get watching someone with Cerebral Palsy fall out of a chair.  Anyway, he drives under a low bridge and decapitates the giraffe, but you knew that because you saw it in the trailer.  When he gets home his dad gets quite frustrated with his constant fuck-up-ary and then promptly dies, and Alan sings at his funeral like a castrato, which is funny to someone apparently. But you knew that because you saw it in the trailer.

Alan agrees, after an intervention, to go to a rehab facility because he’s gone off his meds but only if the “Wolfpack” from the first two films go with him.  It’s almost immediately that the film moves from boring into boring again, in a boring way, as John Goodman runs them off the road.

So it turns out Chow has stolen all John Goodman’s lunch money for the week to the tune of about $42,000,000.  So he kidnaps the boring one of the four characters so the people you would recognise on the poster are all that’s left.  He tells them that they have to go and get his gold or they will execute the other guy. It’s at this point, I’m starting to worry that my review is going to be meta-boring in an all too accurate parody of the film itself.  If it had been shit I could have been annoyed at it, or if it had been great I could have praised it with buckets full of shock and incredulity. Anyway.

Warning, this next paragraph is going to make the more immature of you giggle to yourselves.

So they go and find Chow and Todd Phillips finally remembers that it’s supposed to be a comedy film. Alan accidentally unleashes Chow’s Cocks, from his cock fighting cages, which attack everyone in the room wherein absolutely no hilarity ensues.  Chow then shoots his Cocks and suffocates the last one, but you know that because you saw it in the trailer.

It’s about this point where the tremendous lack of entertainment will make you start counting roof tiles, or seeing how long you can hold your breath, or trying to see if you can make yourself ejaculate only using your mind, because it’s just terribly dull. As I said before, if it was significantly shitter than it is I could at least rant and rage but I can’t and this makes me sad, it’s made about as much of an impression on me as a Mini Chicken Kiev would leave in the roof of a Ford Fiesta.

I’m not going to patronise you much further as literally every entertaining moment in the film is in the trailer, and within the context of the film they are much less entertaining.  Do yourself a favour and go and get your forgetful, elderly relatives to count to 100.  It’ll be much more satisfying and a lot less boring.

I’m truly sorry if this reads as boringly as I felt, but I’ve saved you roughly one hundred minutes, and for that you are welcome.

The Hangover Part III gets a 2/5, []

Dave Roberts

The Hangover Part III at CeX

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Thursday 27 February 2014

Toukiden: The Age of Demons

Before it’s release the hype around Toukiden: The Age of Demons was that it was going to be the PS Vita's Monster Hunter, with some going as far as to say that it would bolster the PS Vita amid disappointing sales. It was clear that the hand-held needed a must-have title, and with an actual Monster Hunter title hitting Japan sometime this year, it needed that must-have title now. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite sold 5.41 million copies on the PSP, and remains the highest selling entry in the franchise, so I guess we can't blame Toukiden for attempting a Monster Hunter impersonation. Then again, as far as impersonations go, this does it pretty damn well.

Developed by Omega Force who are most widely known for their critically acclaimed Dynasty Warriors series, Toukiden: Age of Demons has landed on the PS Vita. Toukiden is set in a fantasy world that borrows heavily from medieval Japan. The plot focuses on Oni Slayers, demon hunters whose sole reason to exist is to kill demons. After demon activity begins to increase, the player, taking the role of a new Oni Slayer recruit, is sent to help with the problem. Your mission is to kill the demons outside and around the small village of Utakata, and ultimately prevent the demon menace from destroying the mortal world.

Much like Monster Hunter, Toukiden is a third person hack-and-slash game with a heavy emphasis on customization. But before you set out into the hunting areas, the player is introduced to the village. This village is your centre of operations between hunts, and is the only truly safe location in the game, much like the safe haven that was the Save Room in Resident Evil. The most important aspect of the village is that this is where you will find and accept missions, which naturally focus on hunting a particular demon. These hunts come in many forms too, with some aimed at hunting small minions, while others require the player to face off against huge, hulking strong foes. Also accessible in the village are the vast customization options. They allow the player to tailor their armour, skills and weapons according to their own taste. Beyond the nicely in-depth character creation tools at the start of the game, there are enough weapons and amour in Toukiden to make your character look somewhat unique.

But the real meat of the game is in the battles. Using a simple lock-on, evade and attack formula, on the surface Toukiden doesn't seem to be doing anything new. However, there are six types of weapons (Long Sword, Twin Blades, Bow, Spear, Gauntlets and Kusarigama) with each style having its very own move-set. This opens battling up into a very multi-layered and ever changing experience. Furthermore, by drawing mitama (souls) from dead foes the player is able to upgrade certain abilities back at the village, with these often proving vital during certain battles.

The player can also choose to team up with a group of fighters either consisting of AI or real players connected via ad-hoc. This is when the game truly shines, as there's nothing quite like working together to take down a huge demon during a boss battle. A smart player will go for the demons limbs first, cut them off, stop them from regenerating, then and only then go in for the kill. This dismemberment mechanic is incredibly fun, and beyond the expected enjoyment there is to be had with cutting off these demons' limbs, it can also get quite tactical.

Visually it isn't the best on offer in the PS Vita's library, but it looks pretty great throughout, especially during the epic boss battles. From the safe village of Utakata that you'll find yourself just resting in from time to time, to the hunting grounds that are littered with imaginatively designed demons, Toukiden looks lovely on the crisp, bright PS Vita screen. 

Overall Toukiden pretty much rips off Monster Hunter- and that that's OK. At least it rips it off in an interesting way, which ultimately makes for a fun, challenging and excellent portable experience. Add this to the ever-rising pile of why you should consider buying a PS Vita.

Toukiden: Age of Demons slays the competition and is awarded 4/5[]

Denis Murphy

Toukiden: The Age of Demons at CeX

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Wednesday 26 February 2014


There's a scene in Filth in which detective Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) and his colleague kick down the door of someone they want to question over a murder.  Once illegally entering the apartment they find the suspect with a young girl.  While Robertson’s colleague questions the suspect, Robertson himself takes it upon himself to figure out if the girl is under-age.  Once her real age comes to light (15) he takes enjoyment out of the fact that her father will find out.  Then, in a way of letting her off, he zips down his pants and takes out his penis.  She crawls over, begins to pleasure him and Robertson quickly jumps back in pain and says, “Who though you that technique, a fuckin' cheese grater?” This is Filth is all its disturbing, funny and unpleasant glory.

Directed by Jon S. Baird, Filth is based upon a novel by Irvine Welsh, best known for his other novel Trainspotting, which was brought to worldwide attention by the Danny Boyle’s film of the same name.  Though Trainspotting was hard to watch, many have considered Filth to be unfilmable, as it’s subject matter is so out there.  But it finally got made.  The film that was deemed impossible to make was released, and is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD for your viewing (dis)pleasure.

Filth centres around detective Bruce Robertson in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He's sexist, homophobic, racist, violent and abusive, and throughout the course of the film we witness his spiral out of control and eventual downfall.  Bruce is desperately trying to make Detective Inspector, and over the course of the film he does his best to trip up the competition with what he calls his “games”.  After he's put in charge of solving the brutal murder of a Japanese student, Bruce's life begins to unravel bit by bit.  Add drug and alcohol abuse to that mix, and you have yourself a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.  However there's more than meets the eye here, and despite what the viewer may assume, Filth has enough twists that make this story of self destruction interesting and tragic.

It was always going to be a tall order pulling this film off, but it's done with such reckless ease that you never know whether to laugh or pull back in horror.  From James McAvoy as Bruce Robertson, a man who exploits a friend’s hidden shame about having a small penis to all of his co-workers, to Eddie Marsan as Clifford Blades, a meek friend that Robertson absolutely loves shitting on, the cast here is absolutely fantastic.  But half of Filth's genius comes from McAvoy and how much he propels himself into the role.  His performance is so out there, so unhinged and so fucking insane that it's like watching a train crash, a train that is hurtling towards a brothel and is smacked out on cocaine, cigarettes, booze and chips.

The other half is the visual style and direction Jon S. Baird brings to the film.  From scenes of violence to pure grotesque hilarity, to a genuinely moving scene in which Robertson breaks down while thinking about his wife as he masturbates during a sexually charged prank call, Filth pulls you along through it all by the neck at a hurried pace.  I won't spoil anything, but the underlining problems Robertson has are deep, and near the film’s climax it all really comes to ahead.  And while he's so depraved that we can't really forgive him, he ultimately up being a pretty sympathetic character.

Filth takes a chance.  It's not politically correct as the amount of homophobia, racism and sexism spewing out of it is alarming, but it's not just trying to be edgy, as it is ultimately trying to make a very important point.  Plus, we need films that aren't treading between the lines, afraid of exploring uncharted territory.  Filth has balls, big balls, and it ain't afraid to show them.  People will judge it without seeing it, so give it a watch and see where you stand.

Filth gives the finger to the sensitive viewers and gets a 5/5, []

Denis Murphy

Filth at CeX

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Tuesday 25 February 2014

The Call

Being a 9-1-1 operator must be a pretty tough job. I mean I can't stay on the phone with a telemarketer longer than five minutes without wanting to jump off a bridge, let alone trying to deal with life and death situations in a heartbeat. To convey this is a film was always going to be tough, and would greatly weigh on the acting chops of the lead star, but, I'm pleased to say, The Call pulls it off pretty well.

The Call stars Halle Berry as Jordan Turner, a 9-1-1 operator. One day Jordan receives a panicked call for a young girl named Leah. An intruder has broken into Leah's house which leads to Jordan suggesting that Leah finds hiding spot. Once she does the call is disconnected. Jordan calls her back, but this only leads the intruder to Leah's hiding spot. In the days afterwards a distraught Jordan watches on the news that Leah was found dead. This takes its toll on Jordan, as she vows to turn her back on the job.

Now, 6 months later Jordan is working as a 9-1-1-operator trainer when a trainee comes up against a difficult call. Reluctantly taking over, Jordan is once again pulled into a similar situation; only this time with a girl named Casey has been abducted, and is calling from the trunk of a moving car. With no initial evidence to go on, Jordan must not only try and save Casey, but also face up against the traumatising memories that happened 6 months ago.

The success of The Call for the most part rests upon the shoulders of Halle Berry. Berry, who shot to stardom for her role in the X-Men series and for winning an Oscar for her performance in Monster's Ball, is absolutely fantastic here. Instead of coming across like some kind of action hero, her portrayal is fragile and honest. Even when the films reaches it's climax, don't worry, no spoilers, and Jordan decides to take a direct approach to finding Casey, she doesn't feel untouchable or indestructible to the viewer. This is something that's hard to get right on film, but thanks to Berry, it's convincing.

After the opening scene that shows a birds eye view of the city as a background chatter of numerous 9-1-1 calls play, it hits a steady and unrelenting pace. It doesn't feel rushed; it's the kind of film that knows how to use its time perfectly. Blending a superbly simplistic plot with heavy tension, The Call just about ticks off everything that makes for a successful thriller. This also includes Michael Eklund who plays the kidnapper.  Despite the fact that Eklund is probably typecast to hell and back as a murder, kidnapper, rapist and general scumbag, he's terrifying here as he is believable. Though his back-story is a little more cookie cutter than unique, he still comes across like a real threat. He's like a blend of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and The Spider from Along Came a Spider - you know, just without The Spiders husky voice and Buffalo Bill's method of tucking away his manhood.

Sadly it's a film that may be overlooked by many, as it doesn't star the cast of The Avengers or cost $500+ million. But these types of films work better on a low budget, as with smaller productions often come more interesting ideas that are willing to take a chance. The Call may be by the numbers to a certain degree, but it ultimately ends up being a thrilling, nail biting and often terrifying peek behind the receiver of an 9-1-1 call. Backing up the simple yet effective concept with two fantastic lead performances in the form of Berry and Eklund, The Call is a great film that's not to be missed.

The Call doesn't hang up on tension and gets a 4/5, []

Denis Murphy

The Call at CeX

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Monday 24 February 2014

The Colony

This was one of those movies that I thought would be absolutely awful. You know, considering at times it looks like it was made for the SyFy Channel, the channel that brought us the glorious disaster that was Sharknado, I didn't have high hopes. But with names like Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton on board, surely it wouldn't be that bad, right? Well when it comes to the action horror genre, we're not talking Predator tier quality here, but it's still not an absolute waste.

What do you get when you take The Road, 28 Days Later, Mad Max and The Day After Tomorrow and whizz them all together in a blender? You get The Colony, of course! That's not to say that The Colony is a perfect mishmash of those films though. In fact, it's a bit of a Frankenstein's monster of a film, but ultimately ends up turning into a fun romp through a post-second ice age wasteland. 

In 2045 climate change has gotten out of hand, leading humans to build weather-changing machines. These huge machines clear the skies and fight off the extreme cold weather that is trying to take over the planet. However, clearly these future scientists didn't have brain between them because, of course, the weather machines stop working... because of snow! Yes, the very thing they were preventing. Nice one, nature! The film doesn't explain why, nor does it say why they didn't just fix the machines, but the effects of climate change soon turned the planet into a frozen rock in space.

The snow never stops though, and the film focuses on the struggle of one underground human colony. This colony has two leaders; Briggs and Mason. Briggs, played by Morpheus, is basically the good guy, while Mason, whose insurrection you can see coming from a mile away, is the bad guy. There's no subtlety to these characters. Then there's Sam. He's the hero of the film, and is as bland as a box of crackers. After picking up a distress signal from a nearby colony, a team is sent to check it out. They find out that the colony has been wiped by a group of cannibals, and in entering the decimated colony have unwittingly put the cannibals on their trail. The chase is on.

The Colony is one of those films in which the characters are cardboard cutouts and nothing more. There are two types of characters here, ones that look pretty and smile, and others who aren't that pretty and don't smile. But you know what? It doesn't matter! Watching The Colony isn't an exercise in how to win an Oscar, but rather an exercise in watching cannibals eat the shit out of people to a backdrop of explosions, basically. It's from the same school of films such as No Escape and Deadly Prey, and while not perfect, is pretty damn fun

The best part of the film are the cannibals themselves, and rather than look like a bunch of hobos eager to get into a soup kitchen on Christmas morning, they're viscous, deadly and, thankfully, fast! Yep, in taking a page from the book of 28 Days Later these flesh eaters sprint. Even when that couldn't get more awesome, they're led by this fucking huge main cannibal. He can take a stabbing and still get back on his feet. His final showdown with Sam is actually pretty great, and doesn't hold back on the gallons on gore.

The overall design throughout the film is pretty good too. From the nicely realised new world that is completely snowed over, to the grubby old world that peeks through untouched areas, The Colony isn't lacking in the visuals department, considering it’s small budget. But the real problems come in the script as the film progresses. It's almost as if the writer thought, “Screw it! Let’s just finish this up already. The Breaking Bad finale is on!” It just falls apart near the end, and ultimately leaves a whole bunch of unanswered questions. It just stinks of them holding out for a sequel!

The Colony is far better than how it should be. I mean, sure it has an awful script, bland as hell performances and one of the worst female leads in history, but on the flip side it has cannibals, Bill Paxton, fucking Morpheus and more cannibals!

The Colony isn't perfect, but survives the chilly apocalypse with a 3/5, []

Denis Murphy

The Colony at CeX

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Sunday 23 February 2014

Zoo Tycoon

When I heard that Zoo Tycoon was being revamped and released on Xbox One, my inner child squealed. Having played the first two to death (expansion packs and all), I was excited to see what the new instalment would bring. I was sceptical, however, as business simulation games are seldom seen on consoles and perhaps the reason for that is that they don’t adapt well. But curiosity and the 10 year-old inside got the better of me and I picked up the launch title slightly after launch day. So over 10 years after my first dose of Zoo-creating, I plunged blindly into the colourful world of Zoo Tycoon.

I wasn’t expecting much to have changed since Zoo Tycoon 2, released 10 years ago. That would have been okay with me, as the original was simple yet effective. However, Zoo Tycoon (XOne), has changed vastly. You are no longer required to construct paths between your exhibits, shops and decorations, instead they connect automatically as you place one of the aforementioned - a subtle change that sacrifices creativity and control for simplicity, a change that may suit a younger audience over and older one.

It’s not all dictated however, the shops can be customised with the use of themed props such as bins, benches and paths, and the paths themselves are shown before you place the concessions, giving you the option of placing it elsewhere. A large range of shops to research will keep you busy in that department, and the same can be said for decorations like fountains and statues. While there is variety here, the variety of animals is perhaps the game’s Achilles’ heel.

Before release, Microsoft and Frontier boasted a roster of 100+ animals, which on the face of it is certainly something to boast about. However, the reality of the roster is rather disappointing. There are over 100 animals, but most are different sub-species. For example, there are 9 sub-species of giraffe, 13 sub-species of bear and 7 sub-species of lions. For me, if I have one type of lion, I have enough, and the same goes for many of the others. Granted, Grizzly and Polar Bears are very different, but at times it just seems like a clever marketing ploy.

That being said, the inclusion of some animals did appease and pleasantly surprise me. Meerkats, Tortoises and Red Pandas offer some consolation but all of these are suited to mini-exhibits, meaning you cannot interact with them and cannot edit their exhibit.

Interacting with animals is a feature that was expected as the developer was responsible for Kinect-harnessing-title Kinectimals on the 360. In Zoo Tycoon (XOne) you can feed animals, like elephants, clean animals, like hippos and even play with animals, like monkeys. The play interaction is the shining light where the Kinect is concerned in this game. It can register facial expressions and arm movements causing monkeys to copy and smile back at you or wave hello. It may seem trivial but it is rather enjoyable and impressive, especially to a child who dreams of being a zookeeper.

This is the other main change. You can now build your zoo through Tycoon View (a top-down editor) or run around your zoo in third-person as a generic zookeeper with devilish good looks. The third-person mode allows you to take photos, interact with your animals and even race buggies, a small yet entertaining feature. Customisation is possible too, showing that the developers have thought about the little things.

Zoo Tycoon was one of the only launch games that held a PEGI 3+ rating, and was thus seen as a children’s game. When we consider it as this, a children’s game, it is fantastically interactive, wondrous and great fun; but to fans of the original series and hardcore gamers, it is perhaps trivial and limited. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lack of variety is leaving room for future DLC or expansion packs.

A fun, vibrant reboot that leaves us wanting more, but not for the right reasons. Zoo Tycoon gets a 3/5 [].

Jonny Naylor

Zoo Tycoon at CeX

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Saturday 22 February 2014

Charity GameBlast with CeX & Groovy Gang Gaming

Do you love gaming and think it's something everyone should be able to enjoy? Well here at CeX we certainly do!

From happy days watching a blue hedgehog run after a diabolical fat scientist, to tears shed when the last of the ancients was killed by Sephiroth and brotastic 360 no-scope headshots - these are moments that we think everyone should be able to share in.  As such we're supporting four 24 hour gaming charity livestreams hosted by some of our lovely folks here at CeX Towers and the awesome guys at Groovy Gang Gaming. They'll be raising money and taking part in a GameBlast for SpecialEffect, a charity dedicated to making sure that disability doesn't stand in the way of gaming.

Interested? You can join them at 12pm (midday) on the 22nd of February at the following channels.  Every donation is very much appreciated and can be made here.

Nittdarko will be punishing himself with 24 hours of Dark Souls [New Game+], praise the sun!

Snarf and Frog908 will be visiting a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Barstewart and Jowwdown will be journey to Rapture, Columbia and back again with Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite, then fight for their survival in DayZ, Battlefield 4 and other titles.

Uchihacharles will be taking on all comers in Street Fighter 4 online ranked matches, outrunning pants-less maniacs in Outlast and building wonders in Minecraft.

Or watch all four at once here for a real gaming overload.

Here's to bringing gaming to everyone, cheers!

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Friday 21 February 2014

Moto G XT1032

This week I've been playing around with a new outing from Motorola, it's budget line smartphone, the Moto G XT1032.

For those expecting a list of specs and technical jargon, you're in the wrong place. Whats it like and how it works, that what you want to know isn't it? Of course it is! ;-)

Visually the phone is beautiful, like the beloved offspring of a Galaxy S4 and a Google Nexus.  
Both its weight and dimensions make it comfortable to carry and easy to use whilst still giving it ample screen size for a decent view of the world and beyond.

It's a Google device, and as such comes with all the latest trimmings. The ultra modern Kit Kat operating system gives you Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, Chrome, Playstore and Maps at your fingertips. The transition between screens is quick, as is the app loading time.

For the music lovers amongst you, The headphone audio output is LOUD, making the commute to and from the daily grind a lot easier to bear.

Front and rear cameras are adequate for a portable device.  It's a budget phone, you're not going to get the quality of the new Lumia Series. The exposure and image quality are displayed in the attached photo, and i must say for a 5MP device and taken in the gale force conditions of winter time Newcastle, i'm happy with the result.

The phone is let down by a lack of expandable memory, the ability to put a 64GB Micro SD into this thing would have really made it a force to be reckoned with,or at the very least giving it a larger internal memory than the 8GB it has to offer.  I like music, i like videos, I like photos so I don't want to have to back my phone memory up once a week.

It's not the greatest Android phone on the market, you get what you pay for folks, but it is definitely way up there in the value for money category. If you keep up the good Motorola the folks at HTC, Sony and Samsung are going to have to watch their backs.

Grant C.

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You're Next

Ah yes another hacky-slash horror fest to feast the eyes upon.  Now less of the introductions and let's get into the sexy violence.  You're Next is a film that I can shamefully admit to being incredibly eager to watch.  Being an impressionable kind of fellow I went into the film with the high hopes that I previously had with a film I deem to be eerily similar (to some degree) with James DeMonaco’s The Purge.

With The Purge being a (metaphorically speaking) can of excrement mixed with Tesco brand cat-food, I decided to give You're Next a try in the slim hope it could exceed my expectations and hump my eyeballs with fantastic sexy violence and spectacle as one woman proves the incredible human survival instinct.

The film starts off, as many of these types of films do, with a bed getting a well good christening.  Consequently the two involved in our early start hanky panky get their just reward; an axe to the face.  The opening then centres on our protagonist, Erin and her boyfriend.  As they come together with the rest of the family for the annual battle between siblings in the general case of “I am more successful than you”, so on and so forth.  Bored yet?

The next couple of minutes are spent characterising the father and the eldest son as complete tits obsessed with status and money, the mother, as someone trying to keep everyone together, the daughter, in a relationship with a hipster and the other younger son currently engaging his time with some woman fashioning herself to a French prostitute.  Finally when they have sat down to a feast of King Henry the 5th proportions, one of the subsequent boyfriends notices something going on outside while everyone else is arguing and is rewarded with (wait for it) a crossbow bolt to the head.

Unfortunately You're Next delivers poorly on every level imaginable; direction, story-telling, genuine surprise and most of all, atmosphere.  Honestly I don't know why I feel I have to explain this every time to horror film makers but the less you see of an enemy the more frightening they are.  Not only that but when you reveal the enemy nearly halfway through... you're left with this deflated feeling of nonchalance towards the rest of the film as is the case here.

Don't get me wrong the ending, one of the few good bits, I thought was hilarious, ironic even, and one of the kills whilst being something that was beyond childish really gave me a chuckle and was one of the few times I actually enjoyed the film.  I won't spoil the plot but needless to say you could probably figure it out within the first 20 minutes, and even by modern standards that's pretty terrible.

Though what truly frustrated me is the lost potential on this film, it had so many things going for it and on every level it failed to capitalise on them.  You're Next is a frustratingly boring, mediocre film, fine perhaps if you have only just started watching hack/slash/horrors.  But like every other medium You're Next hits nearly every cliché' on the head and cuddles next to it instead of doing something truly different and being entertaining to watch.

My advice; for whatever amount you planned to pay for this film, spend it instead on the Benny Hill CD and play it on repeat while the relatives come over to complain about why you’re still 23 and haven’t been married yet.

You're Next gets a 1/5, []

Peter Faulkner

You're Next at CeX

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Thursday 20 February 2014

Fable: Anniversary

10 yeas ago the original Fable came out. Leading up to it’s release there were huge expectations after the promise of a game having a fully reactive world that was alive, which ultimately ended with Fable disappointing many fans. This was solely the developer’s fault, as so many features that were talked about just didn't make into the game. For instance, I remember Peter Molyneux banging on about how the character could have kids in the game once they got married. Sure, this was later added to subsequent Fable titles, but it's something that should have been in the original game. Fable Anniversary doesn't fulfil the promises that Fable originally made, even the ones that later titles added in. Fable Anniversary is more of a celebration of what Fable was, as opposed to giving it the George Lucas treatment. It's the same game... only better.

But wait, I know what you're asking. “What's updated/added compared to the original Fable?

Not much. Like I said, this remastering is not about adding content that was never in Fable in the first place. That said, the visuals were completely rebuilt from scratch using the Fable 3 engine. Other additions include a combat system that has been slightly updated to Fable 3's standards, SmartGlass use to view your map and back-stories for characters, redone menus that are still somewhat clunky, and, most importantly, The Lost Chapters have been added to the game. The Lost Chapters was an expansion to the original game released in 2005, and contains new weapons, spells, towns, armour, expressions, side quests and ending. With it added here, this makes for the most complete version of the game so far, without hacking it to pieces or morphing into something else entirely.

Developed by Lionhead Studios, Fable Anniversary aims to achieve two things; bring Fable to a new audience, and tickle the nostalgia bone of the older gamers already familiar with Fable. The story is simple yet highly effective. Set in the beautifully realised fantasy world of Albion, the game opens up with a prologue that has the player control a young boy in the town of Oakvale. This opening section teaches the player about everything the game has to offer, just on a small scale. From using simple attacks, picking up items, to the Alignment mechanic, the player gets a taste of what the game has to offer. After Oakvale is ransacked and burnt to the ground by a group of marauding bandits, the young boy is found by Maze, a former Hero of Albion, who brings him to the Guild of Heroes, the centre of learning in the land of Albion. While training at the Guild of Heroes, the boy one day vows to take revenge on the bandit that led the attack on Oakvale, the masked villain Jack of Blades. From here the player will control the boy through his life to the ripe old age of 65.

The world of Albion is stunning, and the new graphics hit home. From the reconstructed, small simple town of Oakvale where the hero once lived, to the busy, bustling city of Bowerstone and every forest in between, Albion is a lovely place to inhabit. The only aged aspect of it, is the fact that the roads between locations are quite narrow and linear. This does cut back on atmosphere after experiencing Fable 3's open world areas, but the main locations are what matters here. From the characters, locations, creatures and spells, Fable Anniversary looks truly terrific from start to finish.

While there's a main quest set in place for you to finish, most of your time may be spent on side quests and optional elements of Fable Anniversary. From unlocking demon doors that hide magnificent treasure, wiping out bandits, getting married and buying a house to even choosing a special name that the townsfolk will call out to you, there's a lot of content to enjoy here. Sure, the main quest is pretty awesome, and the final battle with Jack of Blades is pretty damn epic, but most of the fun and charm is to be found away from that.

Hell, sometimes the best fun is to be had doing random things such as kicking chickens, farting near children, running through the streets in your underwear or getting a Fu Manchu moustache then having hilarious virtual sex with your wife or husband. That said, the main quest is fantastic, and the journey your character goes on feels unique and special. The combat, which covers the likes of swords and maces to long-ranged weapons and even to spells, is robust and fun, if a little easy at times. Switching between these three types of attacks is a breeze too, so you'll often find yourself jumping between them in mid-battle.

But the heart of this series isn't the combat or story, but rather the much talked about Alignment game mechanic. This basically means that throughout the game, depending on the moral choices that you make, your character will change physically. From their eyes pulsating red and growing massive horns to a halo appearing above their head, your character reacts to your good and bad deeds. Like luring shop owners into the wilderness to kill them? You body and face will strike fear into the hearts of the people of Albion. Are you good natured and kind? The people will praise the ground you walk on. This body/face morphing also extends to scars received in battle and, of course, the effects of old age. You'll start the game as a young boy, and end it as an old grey haired, wrinkled man. It's really quite a journey.

Overall Fable Anniversary is a gorgeous love letter to the original game. It doesn't mess with the recipe much, but what it does add only makes the concoction sweeter. If you're new to the Fable series, this is where to start. However, if you've played it before, well, you haven't played it like this before! Check it out.

Fable Anniversary successfully retells a classic tale with a glossy new look and gets a 5/5, []

Denis Murphy
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Wednesday 19 February 2014

The Way, Way Back

The Way, Way Back is out, and you should definitely go buy it if you are a hopeless romantic or a person with emotions, or even an android who can simulate emotions.  It’s my most favourite film I've seen this year. Now I understand it’s not for everyone and it feels like it's been tailor made for me from a mixture of things I enjoy and things I didn't know that I would love, like Sam Rockwell as the coolest guy in the world. Can you say man crush? Yes I can, proudly and loudly.

The film is about Duncan, a young boy starting to discover himself and the wondrous world of young girls (which is only ok if you're a young boy/girl). His mum's boyfriend Trent is a horrible bastard (played by Steve Carrell remarkably well) and his mother Pam is a selfish arse. Which is compounded by her weakness for horrible men and eternal chase for someone to make her feel alive and not like a pointless waste of skin.

Apart from Trent and Pam, the collection of fuck-wits is as follows:

Betty and her children Susanna and Peter
Betty is a raging alcoholic, one of those women who drinks and bitches about everyone as a way of coping with being cheated on by her husband. I get the feeling he woke up every night and watched her breathing silently and sat holding a pillow inches away from her face for a few minutes. Probably crying with an incandescent rage before ultimately masturbating himself to sleep, suddenly aroused for the first time in months at the thought of suffocating her stupid twitching dick-trap into a thick fluffy memory foam pillow.  You know, maybe.

Susanna is a lovely intelligent girl, and clearly a potential love interest from the start.  She is the ‘boring’ member of her group of absolute bitches of friends, who show distaste at her preferring to read than flirt with boys and has a strange but believable bond with Duncan when he first appears. A bond that revolves around their parents’ inability to take responsibility for their actions or act like adults.

Peter is a kid with a lazy eye who has the mind, wit and confidence of a much older child despite his mother berating him every few minutes. Like a drunk, holding a Sainsbury’s bags and yelling at traffic on the motorway.

Kip and Joan

Kip and Joan are ‘the fun couple’ that remind me a bit of Hank and Marie from Breaking Bad, the only reason they are there is for Trent to fuck Joan and for Kip to move the story along by blatantly telling a character a plot point while flirting with Betty.

So Duncan, his mother Pam, and her boyfriend Trent all go on a wee trip to a cabin or house near a beach that has some pretentious name that could be interpreted as 'Midlife crisis cabin, or casa neuroses”.

Eventually Duncan come across a bike and starts exploring the town every day as an excuse to get away from the Houseschwitz he’s being made to stay in. He eventually runs into Owen, the manager of a water park near by who is my most favourite character in recent times.  Everytime he appeared on screen I felt as though my life had been improved somewhat and I could only imagine how Duncan felt, a really genuine character that I found refreshing and believable.

Owen offers Duncan a job and he ends up working every day, at the park where he finds himself genuinely happy to be there, and it’s just a lovely bloody film.  A real feeling of closure at the end, a wonderful story arc and a new man-crush for me made it my film of the year so far. It isn’t going to inspire any rip-offs, theme parks or merchandise and the fact that most of it’s brilliance was on the shoulders of Sam Rockwell doesn’t take away from the fact that it really was a lovely, sweet and funny film and I urge you to watch it as soon as possible.  

It gets a 4/5, []

Dave Roberts

The Way, Way Back at CeX

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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Wii Fit U

Damn Wii U, get your shit together. You're drunk. Go home, just go home...

Ahem! Sorry, but the Wii U was getting rowdy again. Why? How about because even in the short life of the PS4 so far, it has already outsold the Wii U's yearly sales. That's harsh. It seems that most casual gamers out there- the kind of buyer who made the Wii a success- don't really get the Wii U. They think it's some kind of add-on for the Wii, basically. They have no idea that it's a completely new system! I can't blame them though as lets be honest, when the Wii U was announced at E3, everyone was scratching their heads about what exactly it was. So right off the bat it wasn't a great start, and now, over a year after release, there seems to be no real must-have games for the Wii U apart from Super Mario Land 3D. Nintendo are hoping to bring in the big bucks with Wii Fit U though.

Back in 2006 Nintendo set the gaming world alight with Wii Sports, a game that really flung the fitness genre into full swing. A year later they followed this with Wii Fit, a game that was strongly focused on working out and improving your health, compared to Wii Sports' mini-games. Now they aim to do the same with Wii Fit U, a sequel to Wii Fit Plus. The Wii U is a great system and brim full of potential, but does Wii U Fit deliver?

Wii Fit U works in conjunction with various Nintendo peripherals to aim to keep the player fit. The first is the Wii Balance Board. This calculates the players weight throughout a gaming session, and adjusts gameplay according to how much weight you wish to lose. The Balance Board is especially vital for the Yoga, balancing and strength training games. Next up is the new Fit Meter, and is a peripheral for the game that you use when not playing Wii Fit U. It records how many steps you've taken during the day, works out how many calories you've burned and can then be loaded onto your Wii Fit U profile. It essentially makes for a more accurate reading of your fitness progression.

Lastly is the Wii U Gamepad, and games that work alongside with it are the only games that, say, the Wii couldn't have achieved. Some of these games are Trampoline Target, Hose Down and Dessert Course. That said, most- if not all- of the games previously available in Wii Fit Plus are available here, so there's a great selection at hand. Also worth noting is that the Gamepad can actually be used as a TV screen, which means that you don't actually need a TV for this title to work. Nifty!

While it all sounds awesome and the games are actually pretty fun, the problem with Wii Fit U is that, well, it's a lot of hassle to just, you know, play the damn thing! It kind of ends up like this: You get yourself ready for a nice workout, wearing sweatpants, socks, etc. Then you set up your Wii U, with or without a TV. Then you sync your Fit Meter up to the Gamepad, though that usually takes forever due to the signals never really working together. Then you load up the game and set up the Balance Board. So in your vicinity you have the Wii U, Balance Board, Gamepad and Fit Meter. If you're clumsy like me at least one of these things has either been kicked across the room by accident, or dropped and shattered into pieces. And that's all before you even start working out. ARRGGHH!

The logistics of it are just bizarre, and makes the fun, easy and approachable mantra of Nintendo’s fitness games just seem like bullshit. This, on top of the frankly questionable nature of if some of the games included here could even be considered working out, sours Wii Fit U, and really prevents it from being a must-have Wii U title. Then again, it'll find a good fan-base out there, but some gamers will find it a little too similar to Wii Fit Plus. But overall Wii Fit U is a competent if hit-and-miss title. While some of it is salvageable, it often ends up stinking like a knee-jerk reaction to bad Wii U sales. I'm betting the pitch went like this: “They liked Wii Fit? Give them more! Quickly, before I end up living in a cardboard box and eating dog food!”, basically.

Remember that game you used to play as a kid, what was it called... oh yeah, enjoying the outside world? Well that's better than this, much better. Sure, the real world may not be as good as 90% of games out there, but given the choice between this and the real thing, I'd choose the real thing. You fail escapism!

Wii Fit U doesn't quite shed the pounds after gorging at Christmas and gets a 5/10.

Denis Murphy

Wii Fit U at CeX

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Monday 17 February 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man

Hey, remember that game based on the film The Amazing Spider-Man that was released in 2012? Did you like it? Well guess what? It's out now on Playstation Vita. Yes, the game you probably played two years ago is on PS Vita now. But seriously, what is Sony thinking?

I mean, since hitting the shelves the PS Vita's sales have been pretty damn woeful, and only a handful of games are worth playing. Despite this, I do think it's a great handheld system that has a lot of potential, but now, when Sony should be pulling exclusives out of their asses for the PS Vita, we get this; a port of a game that came out two years ago. In fact, as far as ports go it's not a very good one either, but instead a bizarrely poor looking version of the game that literally looks like it's from the PSP era.

Developed by Beenox, The Amazing Spider-Man on PS Vita takes place shortly after the events of the film of the same name. Though Dr. Connors, aka the Lizard, was locked up after his rampage during the film, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy suspect that Oscorp may be continuing his cross-species experiment. As this was the experiment that turned Dr. Connors into the Lizard, Peter and Gwen decide to sneak into Oscorp and find out if there still remains a threat. They're confronted by Alistair Smythe a scientist working for Oscorp who admits to continuing Dr. Connors' work. Just then, in reaction to the presence of Peter who he is himself a cross-species, the cross-species break out, infect the scientists and Gwen and escape into the city. With no one to turn to and a city full of creatures that are part man/part animal, Peter seeks the help of Dr. Connors, his recent foe. After breaking him out of Beloit Psychiatric Hospital, both Peter and Dr. Connors work together to develop a vaccine for the virus that threatens the very city itself.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a third person open world game, and as expected lets the player swing, climb and shoot web just like Spidey himself! This generally works pretty well, but there's one thing that prevents it from feeling completely authentic. Back in 2004 Treyarch released the videogame tie-in to the film Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi. The game was open world but it was the first Spider-Man game to do web swinging properly. As in, the player’s webs connected to buildings and objects, and Spidey swung around that connecting point. This led to a web-swinging mechanic that felt astoundingly real and authentic. No longer were his webs shooting up into the air. However, The Amazing Spider-Man changes that, and now Spideys webs connect to nothingness. This might seem like a crappy reason to hate on the game, but if you've played Spider-Man 2, you'll know exactly what I’m talking about, and why this is a huge step backwards. Without this level of detail added to the game, you know, the detail that’s key to the very foundations of what makes Spider-Man so awesome, it just doesn't feel right.

Visually it's awful. Seeing as it's a handheld system I didn't expect the visuals to be exactly like its console counterpart, but shit, the games textures in particular are horrid. They're murky, bland, and blurry and make the game look like a PSP title. Seriously. It looks exactly like a PSP game from 2006.

The combat is pretty much pulled directly from Batman: Arkham Asylum, and while many games use that fighting mechanic as the model of perfection nowadays, it just doesn't work here. This is mostly down to the fact that despite the PS Vita being powerful enough, the frame-rate often drops to embarrassing levels. This is most apparent when fighting a large number of foes or simply swinging through the city. When this happens it just kills the atmosphere and any sense of enjoyment in the game. The problems persist even further to the camera. While the controls are perfectly fine, sometimes when crawling walls indoors the camera flips out, and when this happens during intense combat it can be incredibly frustrating. Again, this isn't helped by what an absolute shoddy port this ends up being on the PS Vita.

While there's a fun main campaign in place and a whole bunch of collectibles to find, the PS Vita version of The Amazing Spider-Man is a failure. Coming across like a knee-jerk reaction from Sony due to bad PS Vita sales, it just doesn't do the Spider-Man franchise or the handheld itself any favours. The console versions are much better and would easily get a 4/5 here. Buy one of those instead.

The Amazing Spider-Man gets exterminated with a 1/5, []

Denis Murphy

The Amazing Spider-Man at CeX

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