Posted by Ben at 05:47
Not that we're giving away tickets or anything, you can pay for yourselves, I'm not made of money.

Slightly surprisingly, although I guess it shouldn't be given there's already multiple books about the game, there's a film out soon all about Football Manager

Titiled 'An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary', it will "examine the gameís enduring appeal and how it has seeped into and influenced the culture of the worldís favourite game".

While a documentary about a game half the world dismiss as a spreadsheet might seem an ill fit, any one who has played the game will know it inspires some good stories and definitely gets people talking

An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary is getting a cinema release, but only for 1 day, Tuesday 7th October, and only in selected cinemas (MyVue cinemas)

Birmingham Star City
Bristol Cribbs
Bury the Rock
Cheshire Oaks
Edinburgh Omni
Glasgow Fort
Leeds Light
Manchester Lowry
Westfield White City
Westfield Stratford

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Posted by Ben at 14:14
Well, this trailer might have won me over a bit. I've only ever played the original Fatal Frame game, but I've a huge amount of respect for the series based on that one experience. They're very J-horror, and the mechanic of having to face your fear made Fatal Frame/Project Zero dread-inspiringly brilliant.

This new trailer for Fatal Frame 5 looks to not only nail the ghostly happenings, but also uses the WiiU gamepad exactly how you'd want

Let's hope Nintendo are desperate enough for content that this makes its way out of Japan

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Sep 07
Posted by Ben at 14:10

If you look above this sentence, just above the header image, youíll see the words ĎPlaystation 3 Reviewí. I want you to remember that because this is very much a review of the PS3 version of Risen 3. Iíve no experience with the PC or 360 versions, Iíve no idea how well they run or play, all I know if that the Playstation 3 version is a mess.

Thereís probably some universal truths, like I donít think Risen 3 does a good job of setting you up for whatís ahead or filling in the blanks of whatís gone before. You start off in an Ďepicí pirate battle fighting against an undead pirate, youíre not told who he is, at least not really, or why heís important. You arenít really even told who you are. Once you get in to the core game itself the mechanics arenít particularly well explained either. It seems like thereís no benefit to sleeping, or if there is itís passed me by at least. Even the combat, extraordinarily simple, leaves you with a sense that youíre missing something, as itís just the wrong side of difficult. Youíre presented with magic spells early on, but many hours in to the game I still donít have a regular enough source of magic to want to waste using them, and the shadow swords Iíve equipped seem to do absolutely nothing.

While the game doesnít exactly judder along as a framey mess, Iím sure itís not running at 30fps. Thereís something sluggish about the control, a real problem in combat. The parrying and dodging could really bring something to Risenís combat, but because you simply donít have time between seeing an incoming attack and having your input recognised and acted upon itís useless, better to just hammer the roll button until an enemy has finished its attack chain then land a few shots of your own.

The game will just freeze as you enter a new area and it autosaves, itís not just a momentary thing either, weíre talking 2-3 seconds every time. Even when you manually save, you wait for it to start and finish saving, then it tells you to hit O to go back, which you do and more often than not it just sits there. The draw distance is Dreamcast era, the smoke effects not out of place on the PS1. Oddly thereís skulls and the like laying around that can be kicked about, which just seems out of place, incidental physics in a game that feels creakingly ancient. Character models are poor, and when a character who isnít the focus creeps in to shot theyíre downgraded to look like blurry jpgs (think the people who stand at the side of the track in old rally games and youíre not far off). Itís not an exaggeration to say that I canít think of a worse looking game Iíve had to review than Risen 3 on the PS3, relatively speaking.

The missions are not exactly inspired either. Generally itís just walking to a point and fighting some creatures, heading to a point, talking to someone, then coming back, at best youíll probably have to steal something. Some of them are set up pretty well though, and the script isnít without its moments.

I feel bad completely writing off Risen 3 because Iím sure a lot of the problems Iíve had with it wouldnít be there in the PC version. That said I will adamantly state that if you want to play Risen 3 you should not play the PS3 version, itís really not worth your time or your money. That all being said, I didnít despise the game, Iím not sure I ever had fun at any point during my play through, in fact it was mostly hard work, but I didnít hate it. Which is why Iím a little reticent with the score, itís a terrible game in every way except the gameplay, which is so-so. If youíre desperate for a janky-euro-adventure then Iíd say Bound By Flames might be a better bet, and that was hardly a classic
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Posted by Ben at 02:06
I've been looking forward to Shin Megami Tensei 4 for a while, as Europeans we've not had a lot of choice other than to look forward to it. Well good news, we get to look forward to it for a little longer as John Hardin, Atlus' PR Manager, has posted on Twitter that the European version is now delayed until October

I dare say the delay itself isn't an issue for most people, we've waited this long, more that it's gone from being up against Destiny, to being up against everything that isn't Destiny in October, we only have so much time

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Posted by Ben at 14:20
and the last post of our JRPG news blitz, and probably the biggest, is that Persona 5 is coming to PS4.

There's actually 3 parts to this news, the first is that the game, as already said, is coming to PS4 as well as PS3. The second is that the game had been scheduled for the end of 2014 but is now down as 2015. And third, there's a new teaser below

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Posted by Ben at 14:14
In the 2nd of our 3 news stories about JRPG series we like, Dragon Quest is coming to Playstation 3 and PS4. Well, sort of anyway, it's not going to be a traditional Dragon Quest game, nor a Dragon Quest Monsters game, instead it's something more akin to a Musou game.

Called Dragon Quest Heroes, it's been described as an action-rpg, and not a Musou game, but watching the trailer below, you can certainly see the similarities

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Posted by Ben at 13:38
Spoilers for the Bitparade 'Game Of The Year' article 4 months from now, thanks to it's release in Europe this year, Ys Memories of Celceta is probably going to be in it*.

So, it's safe to say that we'd be fairly interested in a new Ys game, especially one that's just been announced for the Ps4 and PS Vita

Well that's a coincidence, Sony today announced that a new Ys game from Falcom is heading to the Vita and PS4 in Japan in 2015. Hopefully, as the last few have got a release in the west either on steam or Vita, we'll get it too, and hopefully without too much of a wait.

More details as we find out more

*It's behind etrian Odyssey Millennium Girl, which is unlikely to be shifted from No.1 tbh
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Aug 28
Posted by Ben at 16:16

The way Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux have released poses a bit of a conundrum as to how best review them. We've been sent review codes for the PC versions, so 2 separate games, and they sit sandwiched between the original versions of both games on my Steam library. By rights I should probably review each game separately. However, if you're looking for a review of Metro Redux then it's probably because you've never played them and are looking to pick up both games. So that's what this review will be, a review of the Metro Redux package as though you've never played the games before.

But I have, 2033 at least, and my enduring memory of Metro 2033 is how much atmosphere it had. The first time I walked through my home station was staggering, I couldn't believe how busy and bustling it was. Scores of people, multiple conversations going on at once, it felt lived in. Time maybe hasn't been kind to those early moments, but some of the other stations, the Communists for example, do bring back that sense of awe.

There was another type of atmosphere Metro 2033 excelled at, and that was tension. The monsters that roam the metro's tunnels and Moscow's surface pose a real threat, particularly with your creaking weaponry. Your character is supposed to be apprehensive, on edge about the appearance of these creatures, and it translates to you too. A big part of this is that ammo is scarce, if you dump rounds into each enemy you encounter you won't make it through the prologue, you have to learn to control yourself.

This paucity of supplies is a regular occurrence. To go to the surface you need a gas mask, which can be shattered in combat. You'll also need filters to put in your gas mask, each one you find will boost how long you can stay in contaminated air, although you'll still have to change your filter when prompted. Then there's the torch, which must be pumped to charge it throughout the game.

Metro 2033 was infamous for its currency system, refined bullets that could be spent or shot. Really you should be spending them, but they do pack more punch than your standard rounds. The problem, and this is something we'll come back to, is that it's quite easy to accidentally switch to your special rounds and fire a bunch of them without really noticing.

If all this sounds too daunting or too much like hard work then fear not, 2033 Redux introduces a new Spartan mode, that focuses less on the conservation elements, although doesnít exactly let you completely off the leash either. Itís not all monsters either, as the game progresses youíll face an increasing human threat, which is where the gameís stealth element comes in. Lights can be shot out or turned off, thereís silent projectile weapons, broken glass to be avoided. Itís a different kind of tension, and one that suits the seriesí tone perfectly.

The stealth and human combat becomes the focus of Metro Last Light, there are mutants to fight, but youíre embroiled in a conflict between ideologies, it makes sense to focus on that element. It creates a paradox though, Last Light is definitely a less tense game than 2033, but itís a smoother one to play, far more enjoyable. Last Light also feels less gimmicky, there's still moments here and there but there's fewer parts where you're manning a gun turret or carrying a child. The scope of Last Light is also increased, the human areas in particular feel big enough to live in now.

The graphics are another area of improvement between the two games. Slightly surprising as the point of Redux was to put Metro 2033 on the new engine, but it still looks a little clunky and stiff in some areas, with Last Light boasting far more detail in its environments. Both games generally ran well for me, although there are moments in Last Light where the framerate plummets for seemingly no reason.

Both games, although Last Light to a lesser extent, suffer from not giving you enough information. In 2033 you aren't told how to charge your torch, how to work your notepad, nor even how to change to your special ammo. It makes the games uninviting, which given how long it takes for both to get going is a real problem.

Still the atmosphere of Metro 2033 Redux is enough to carry it through, and the focus on stealth, coupled with the nice little extra touches here and there, more than carry Metro Last Light Redux through. Individually both games are worth your time, as one package they're outstanding, a change of pace from your standard fps, packed with story, a smart script, and dripping with atmosphere.
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Aug 26
Posted by Ben at 16:17

Given that there's not going to be a score at the end of this article, and given that I'm essentially reviewing a demo, a review of P.T. might seem a bit pointless. I guess it is, you might as well try it no matter what I go on to say, it's free after all, but it's worth talking about because of what it does right and what it does wrong.

P.T. is pretty much the same section of corridor repeated, a few of the details change but it always feels like once you open the door to the basement you start again. This is the genius of P.T.. You wake up, pull yourself to your feet, then enter in to the unknown. You're given no information, no instruction, just go, look around, go through the door and do it all over again.

P.T. forces you in to the mundane. You are becoming bored and frustrated by seeing the same corridor again... and then something happens that completely undermines that boring safety, and all of a sudden everything at any time could trigger something. Spending time establishing normalcy is well worth it, because then they can subvert it, completely unsettling you. P.T. is absolutely terrifying!

There were moments where I stopped dead in my tracks, very definite that I wasn't going to move, and I certainly wasn't going to investigate the horror that confronted me. The sound design is superb, when P.T. first sparks into noise it's hugely effective, again breaking the normalcy of silence. The sense of wincing dread that purveys P.T. is tremendous, although it's also part of its downfall.

You've probably heard by now P.T. is obtuse. The early puzzle is enough to keep most stuck, again terrifying, and it makes sense if you pick up on the clue. The next puzzle took me an age and made me feel very stupid when it was finally solved. It was here though where P.T. began to lose its effect. By this point I'd spectacularly seen the worst the game had to offer and carried on playing, spending an hour wandering around the literal same hall looking for a way to unlock the door meant I'd become accustomed and immune to the screeches and wails the game was throwing at me.

Itís a shame, but thereís precious few horror games that donít fall foul of the same phenomenon. Itís the reason games canít turn you in to a killing machine, as soon as you get stuck, die, complete a level, get stuck on a wall, whatever, youíre reminded that youíre playing a game. Fortunately P.T. works as a curiosity piece. where trying to work out the puzzles and how (and why) it all fits together is as interesting as the horror element.

Itís great when you work out the Ďwhyí of something, why a piece just falls in to place. Which brings us to the end of the game. Thereís a few different ways to finish P.T.. Thereís only one ending, but thereís plenty of dispute about the way to get it. Iím obviously not going to spoil the ending, but I will say the solution I used was unfulfilling. Iíd seen a guide that made sense, in fact I thought Iíd stumbled on my own solution that made absolute sense. I wanted both of them to be the right answer, they made the pieces fit, the whole thing made sense, of course thatís what youíd have to do. Instead though the solution I used to beat the game was mechanical, something I couldnít possibly have worked out for myself, and something Iíve yet to see a satisfactory explanation for. Put simply, I donít think itís the solution for beating the game, that it was the one that worked for me is something Konami and Kojima Productions need to learn from.

P.T. definitely does its job of getting people excited for a new Silent Hill, something that looked a very long way from happening. As a stand alone experience it mostly works, until you get stuck, but christ when itís in full flow it hits the mark. As a pitch for a full game Iím less sure, I think the down moments might kill it. Still, P.T. is something you absolutely should play if you have a PS4, itís not something youíre going to forget in a hurry
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Aug 22
Posted by Duane at 10:27

Those of you who know what Hyperdimension Neptunia is and have played it before, this is the first of the three currently released PS3 games re-packaged for the Vita. Now obviously, I've had to do a bit of reading up on the original PS3 release just to find out what differences there are between the two, and I'm happy to say that its not just a re-packaging as Compile Heart and Idea Factory have done a bit of work on trying to improve the entire game.

My research suggests that whilst fans of Hyperdimension Neptunia loved the concept behind the game (that being a kind of JRPG recreation of various generations of console wars using different girls to represent the major players) the entire thing was hampered by some bizarre design choices, such as taking particular actions out of the hands of the player whilst in battle and leaving them having to rely upon a rather clumsy AI model. So much like how Persona 3's revamp into Persona 3 Portable introduced the ability to control the entirety of your team, Compile Heart have, seemingly, done much the same with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1. Changes have also, apparently, been made to the narrative, mostly in order to help bring the original tale and the events of its sequels more in line with each other.

Now that we've got those people who are possibly returning addressed, its time to actually discuss the game we have here in front of us, because like some, I'm new to the entire history of the world of Gamindustria.

Its not really fair to go into details on the plot here, not because its something one would want to keep secret as not to spoil the surprise, but purely because its incredibly cliche ridden; JRPG featuring a protagonist who is destined to save the world but suffers from a crippling bout of amnesia, insert bubbly girl who happens to be a healer, a rather serious "adventurer" type etc etc. However, whilst this has all been done before, I don't recall any other game doing so on purpose, pointing a finger at its contemporaries and just having rather a lot of fun with what the player expects of it. IT's kind of refreshing but it does allow the writers to get away with a little too much at times, and whilst it doesn't go all out into modern anime fan-service territory, it does ride kind of close to the cliff edge in that respect.

The core gameplay is pretty much a dungeon crawler with Tales of... battle sequences where you're free to move around a limited area once you've activiated the switch from exploration to battle mode. Within the battle mode is where Re:Birth 1 gets more interesting as an actual game (rather than a tongue in cheek comment on gaming). Like most games of this ilk, you're limited to a certain team size, here its 3, however, thanks to the games Lily system, you can attach a further team member to each of those that are already in battle, these extra partners can then, when the time is right, unleash an extra attack, helping in battle, whilst the game also encourages the player to strengthen these attacks by improving the relationships between said partners.

This isn't the only way Re:Birth 1 allows you to tweak with the gameplay mechanics, as you progress you will be awarded Plans, these do things like change the item drops or enemies of particular dungeons, couple these with the extra quests you can take on from the main cities' Guilds, and it makes back tracking through previously finished dungeons much more entertaining.

Theres actually a whole lot here to enjoy, however its certainly not for everyone, those looking from the outside will mostly be concerned with the games appearance, both visually (its not a showboat for the Vita's abilities at all) and its reliance upon rather cutesey anime visuals where the entire universe is seemingly female (aside from a few, non-important, exceptions). But the games light-hearted tone, and its knowing nod at some elements of video games culture and the hang-ups of its own genre make it quite an enjoyable experience for those JRPG fans that, whilst spoilt for choice on Sony's handheld, want something a little off-beat.

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