Saturday, 8 October 2011

[Event] Post-Expo

Wowzers...what a weekend!

As expected, Eurogamer was a whole lot of fun. Between myself and Processor Mike we got plenty of gaming done, footage shot and people interviewed. We've been posting lots of videos over on, but I'll link an article which has all the different bits and pieces in one big post once all the videos are up.

So anyway, what did I enjoy most gaming-wise while down in London?

That award, goes to Final Fantasy XIII-2.

Yes..alright...XIII wasn't the greatest Final Fantasy game money can buy, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Perhaps it was the new Paradigm battle system, the characters, the set-pieces... I did miss the open-world feel of other FF titles however.

Using feedback from fans, Square have opened up the world in which XIII is set, as towns/hubs return to the series. The battle system returns, however this time its been tweaked to include the option of summoning some of the enemies you've previously beaten who can help you in various ways depending on your Paradigm. For instance some will dish out direct damage, while others may assist in healing. After a period of time, your new little assistant can unleash what can be best described as a 'Limit Break' attack.

Further into the demo I plunged and soon came across another new battle feature, Quick-time events (QTEs). During the boss fight I came across points where I'd have to implement quick button presses to cue an over the top attack, thus bringing more interaction and action to the games feature fights.

Lastly, I'll mention another new companion. Well...I say new...these little creatures have been a staple in most Final Fantasy games. It's a Moogle!

He follows you around, happily chatting away (although I admit, his voice could soon become a little irritating), dishing out advice and so on. He also has quite an important benefit, and its because Square have changed something else.

While in XIII enemies were visible, most enemies in XIII-2 aren't. They'll randomly appear while your walking between point A and point B. What your little Moogle does for you however, is give you a moment to quickly get an attack in before the fight commences, giving you a Preemptive attack. Personally, I preferred seeing the enemies out in front of me, but I can fully understand why they've made the fights more random like the Final Fantasies of old.

With the more open, less linear approach to the game and the random fights you can tell Square want to entice some of the older Final Fantasy players back into the series. Along with the further improvement to the battle system, this could well be the perfect sequel...fixing its predecessors core faults.

However, some gamers who were left with a bad taste in their mouth after XIII may not feel the changes made are enough, and instead see XIII-2 as a cheap sequel to a poor title.

Me? Hell, I can't wait.

During our weekend, we got to meet some fantastic people, some of which agreed to appear on videos with us (see I've got to give a shout out to Robin from Romino Games (the creators of Awesomenauts) for allowing us to interview him during the event. Hit this link for the video interview.

Another person I'd like to give a shout out to is's Johnny Minkley, who also allowed us to interview him. I originally met him briefly a few years ago at the last Eurogamer Expo to be hosted in Leeds. I spoke to him about my growing interest in video games journalism and he happily gave me some advice to help me along my way. Although he had a hectic event to run around, he still found the time to chat to us on camera, so thank you very much Mr Minkley! And if you click here, you can see what Johnny had to say about this years Expo.

I couldn't leave this post without talking a little about London itself. Man, that place is busy. Not a moment went by without a car honking its horn at another car, or a siren from a police car whizzing past. The pavements are just constantly crammed with people, and don't get me started on how busy the Underground is!

But, when all is said and done, I really enjoyed staying there for the weekend. While many people feel claustrophobic being surrounded by so many people, or frustrated by how busy it is, it all didn't really bother me. Perhaps if I lived down there and had to go about my daily business amongst the madness of London I'd feel completely different, maybe one day I'll find out.

Aside from my weekend in the capital, it's worth noting a week earlier I got to spend a few hours at GAMEfest at the Birmingham NEC. While I didn't get to play quite as many games at GAMEfest as I did at Eurogamer, I did get my mits on Zelda: Skyward Sword (which is looking very good, although the Nunchuck doesn't make for a great shield mechanic), Saints Row The Third (which is just, crazy...) and the fantastic Super Mario 3D Land.

Zelda Ocarina of Time is currently the only 3DS game I spend hours playing on so I lept at the chance to try out the latest Mario Kart and Mario land games. Mario Kart's visuals are incredibly sharp and the game plays as well as any of the other kart titles, but it was completely overshadowed by the other Mario game on display.

Super Mario 3D Land feels like the perfect combination of old school Mario Bros with Galaxy. The levels are fun and varied, the 3D works a treat and the gameplay is very addictive. It nods at some of the greatest moments of Mario games while still feeling completely original. It'll sell 3DS consoles, I have no doubt.

I also got to meet and have a chat with Xbox UK's community dude MrPointyHead (Dan Maher):

These couple of weeks have proved a few things to me, one of which is that I'll be skint thanks to all these videogames this Christmas!!

I did get to play a whole heap of other stuff, of which I've posted about on I'll post an article with all the Eurogamer content up once its all online.

Friday, 23 September 2011

[Event] Final Prep

Todays the day... I'm off to London for my first event with a press pass!

This weekend it is of course the Eurogamer Expo, so along with Blast Processor Mike we're going to cover as much as we can! Interviews, first impressions...

If I'm honest, I'm a little nervous about the whole event, however I'm more excited than anything!

Over the course of the weekend I'll be posting Twitter updates via my Twitter feed (@telduruk) and via the Blast Process feed (@blastprocess). Also keep your eyes on as we'll have bits and pieces going up on there too.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

[Update] EA Roadshow

Thought I'd just quickly post that I've written up an article about the games I got to enjoy at EA's Roadshow in Manchester last week.

Oh...and Deus Ex is worth buying.

That is all...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

[Impressions] For The Emperor!

Tonight I sat down and played through the first part of the Space Marine demo. The mission I accepted was called 'The Inquistor'. What did I think?

Now...I'm going to try and not be too biased, as after all, I'm a massive fan of Warhammer 40,000. I've got lots and lots of Warhammer models dotted around, including Orks and Space Marines.

The development of Space Marine (SM) was a different step for the videogame studio Relic, of whom have spawned some fantastic stradegy games in the past (Company of Heroes, Homeworld and of course the Warhammer 40K Dawn of War games). This is because SM has you, the player, controlling a single marine from a third person perspective. Essentially, think Gears of War but with 40K stylings and characters.

Although it's going to be compared with Gears of War in many areas, it does try to set itself apart by choosing different approaches to gameplay. Take for example cover. Traditionally, and not just in GoW, you can dip into cover to protect yourself from incoming gunfire. Not so in this title though! You just smash through it.

Not including a covering system means your constantly on the move, blasting away enemies with your various assortment of range weapons or taking the fight closer with your chainsword. You've got to keep fighting back the waves of enemies that can spawn at various points during the gameplay. Pause for a moment, and you'll get over-run and will find yourself cutting through too many Orks than you can handle.

It's at this stage of this write-up that I'll mention its difficulty. The menu before the demo level kicks off asks me which difficulty I'd like to go for, which as per most games I went with your run-of-the-mill Normal setting, ignoring the easy and hard options. Now the level was a...moderate...length for a demo, however I did find myself dying no fewer than 4 times. This surprised me...I don't think I was expecting to die so many times in what I though was going to be a straight-forward hack and slash kind-of game.

Its easy to get yourself to involve in a big group of Orks, and while they chip away at your health you'll be happy to know you've got options to counter-act this. Pressing the Y button on your 360 controller stuns a normal Ork, which then displays a B icon above his head. Tapping B when this happens cuts to a special move which usually involves your chainsword meeting a part of the nasty Ork before being kicked in the face by your boot. Not only is this visually nice, it also gives you a bit of health back. This is great, as you won't find any health packs floating around anywhere. I put my many deaths down to not stunning and recovering enough health...

Combat is pretty fluid. As mentioned Y stuns normal Orks, although not the bigger ('arder) Ork Nobz. If your surrounded by the blighters Y will cause a slight area of effect damage, giving you a little more breathing space. X is your standard melee attack, which causes your chainsword to slice around in front of you, turning into a combo of swathes if you tap X a couple of times. When you've killed enough enemies the Ultramarines logo in the bottom left corner glows which allows you to press both thumb sticks, causing your character to activate Fury which deals a good amount of damage to creatures around you and beefing up your attacks for the next few seconds.

The left and right triggers, like many games of this genre, are your Aim and Fire controls. The D-Pad lets you switch between the weapons your currently holding (in the demo these are the ever faithful Bolt Pistol, the Bolter, a Bolter with a scope and a Vengeance Launcher - sticky grenades!). The right bumper button reloads your weapon and its fellow bumper button throws a grenade. Holding in the left thumb stick makes your character run.

Visually it looks good. This game isn't for those who don't like seeing blood in their videogames, as this one has plenty! The level was well thought out, if a bit too linear for my liking. Textures, lighting and architecture were all faithful to the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Playing as a bulky marine felt right, with the screen bobbing around when you ran to give you even more feeling that your a walking mini-mech. With many demos I did encounter some glitches, including one which cause an Ork to disappear in front of me and reappear behind me. None of them were game breaking, however I hope the full retail release smooths out the little niggly issues.

So...all and all...I enjoyed my time spent on Space Marine. I have got the 2nd playable mission to try out, which is a level involving jump packs, but that can wait for another evening.

I hope they smooth out some of the magical disappearing Orks while making sure the game does ship with Co-op multiplayer (which is rumoured to be dropped). I also hope you can unlock/use different melee combos, as I could imagine switching between the takedown and general melee attack throughout the whole game getting a little boring.

Then again, I'll buy this anyway...

The demo for Space Marine is available to download now via Xbox Live and Steam, with PSN coming soon.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

[Reviews] Tackling the Beast

So far I've written a lot in regards to news, apart from the odd event coverage or preview. One thing I've yet to fully finish writing however, is a review.

Why is this? What is it about reviews that puts me off?

I'm starting to tackle this problem, as I need to have some form of reviewing ability. If I do manage to break into videogame journalism at some stage in the future, chances are I'm going to need to put in words what I think of 'Game A'. Perhaps its in the putting my thoughts into writing that worries me. Over the years I've attempted reviews only to find that I was struggling to put across my feelings about a game in the way my mind intends.

The other factor could well be reactions. Maybe if I don't like 'Game X' I'll get pounced upon by man-eating fanboys who disagree with what I've written. What if I don't talk about a particular section enough, or if I talk about one section too much?

Whatever the obstacles, I'm brushing them all to one side. I've got a job to do. I've agreed to write a review for a popular gaming website (that isn't this one or Blast Process!).

This is it. Cars 2...your getting reviewed!

Monday, 1 August 2011

[Update] Ta-da! Shaddai!

So what have I been up to of late?

Aside from appearing twice a week on radio with, we've also been doing quite a bit of filming for the site. Mike put his roller blades on for an introduction to a new First Level video, which was fun...while all three of us created a video regarding a recent announcement regarding a new bit of DLC.

Both videos should be posted online soon.

So what about gaming...I must have been playing stuff too right? Right!

Only just this morning I was trying out a demo of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Like it's makes little sense...

First and foremost, from the word go it's art style is very unique. Anime is very much an inspiration for the general style of the game, from the levels, backdrops and of course the characters. The enemies you face in the demo remind me of Japanese culture and creatures found in classic manga films such as the Ghibli titles. The animation of these enemies, and the character you control move fluidly while the attacks have a nice quick pace about them.

The level design is very linear (at least in the demo), playing out more like a platform game than an action/adventure one. During one portion of the demo you even have a side-scrolling platform section, which was a nice break from the other sections of the demo. It was also during the section that I really found how much I liked its artwork and animations.

The combat, like I mentioned, has a nice quick pace. Square is your basic attack, although holding square builds up a more powerful attack. X is your typical jump, while double tapping it pulls off a double jump. R1 is your block, although if you combine it with an attack button press it uppercuts your opponent into the air so that you can produce a nice air combo. Aside from these two attacks however, I couldn't find anymore. Hopefully the full version of the game includes more combos, otherwise I could see the combat getting very boring.

Something that you can do during your fights however is 'puryfying'. When your opponent lights up (looks almost like a shield has appeared around them) it means you've knocked them back. When this happens press L1 and it'll cut to short combat sequence as you remove their weapon and then purifying its evil. The weapon is then yours to continue fighting with, well, at least until someone else has a weapon you'd rather use. While using the weapon, you'll notice it start glowing red which means it'll need purifying again. Hold L1 for a moment and it'll be as good as new.

So it's art style, animations and the 'pinching' weapons get the thumbs up from me, while the level design doesn't quite. Aside from the portion of the demo I mentioned earlier, the rest of the game has you fighting along what can be best described as corridors, with the odd stair case and bits missing from the floor which you have to jump. You find yourself re-using these 'corridors' throughout the demo and I can only hope that the full game features more variety.

Lastly, I'll talk about its story. I'll be honest, aside from a couple of previews I've seen about the game I don't really know what the whole plot of the game is. Now that I've played it...I still...don't really know. While the demo loads it mentions that the story is based upon old religious texts (hence it's title). Their is a fair amount of voice overs throughout the demo, but for me nothing really made sense! Regardless of this fact, I really enjoyed playing it.

I've just read the review over on Eurogamer, and I must admit, I'm quite looking forward to the full release. It sounds as though the levels do get a lot more interesting and the combat also evolves.

You can't currently download the demo from the Playstation Store. I managed to get it via this months Official Playstation Magazine, as it features on the demo disc alongside Castlevania, Virtua Tennis 4 and WWE Allstars.

Should also mention, if you hadn't guessed's a Playstation 3 exclusive, and has no exact date of release in the UK.

Friday, 8 July 2011

[Radio] Broadcasting over the t'internet

Just recently, as part of, I've started to appear on internet radio.

You can find myself and Tom over at on a Sunday evening between 7pm-9pm

Alternatively I'll be appearing from time to time as a guest on the Reboot Show on a Friday evening between 8pm-9pm on Redshift Radio.

Below is a link to the first Red Shift show that I took part in:
Redshift - 11/07 - Tom and myself join in about half way through the show

Thursday, 23 June 2011

[Celebration] Happy Birthday Sonic!

I've just posted an article up on Blast Process about Sonic's Birthday, go check it out!

Also, you can download the demo of the upcoming Sonic Generations, which I recomend you do.

Monday, 20 June 2011

[Radio] Technical Difficulties

First of all, kudos for Tom and his image searching skills. He used the above image for the Blast Process post about our failed first show.

So, tonight was scheduled to be Blast Process's first internet radio show. I say was for a good reason...

Although my laptop was all setup and ready to go only hours before the show, it decided at the last minute to not stream music (and to barely stream voice).

After an hour or so of tinkering (thanks to Lorcian from G3 Radio) we had to eventually call off the show. Me and Tom did manage just under 5 mintues worth of live talking, only to go off-air because of our voice levels not streaming correctly.

The overall conclusion was that my laptop just wasn't up for the task, so we'll be changing location from next Sunday. Hopefully my desktop PC should be capable of doing a better job than my laptop.

Fingers crossed for better luck next Sunday!