Review – Ryse: Son of Rome

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As one of the premiere exclusives announced for the Xbox One earlier this year, Ryse was met with some considerable push back and scathing comments from gamers and journalists alike for it’s gameplay demo. Crytek took those criticisms and ran with them looking to fix as much as they could in a relatively short amount of time.

Ryse puts players in the control of Marius Titus, who witnesses his family get brutally murdered by a band of Barbarians. In an act of rage and vengeance, he seeks out a role in the Roman Army. Marius’ story unfolds as he quickly rises through the ranks during the bloody conflict with the Barbarian masses. I liked the story. It was a little cliche…OK a lot cliche at times but who cares? If it’s entertaining and makes you want to keep moving on to see what happens next, then it’s effective.

As a premiere launch title for Xbox One, it was important to show off why we need to spend $500 on a new console and Crytek handily proved the Xbox One’s graphical prowess. It’s absolutely GORGEOUS. The environments, lighting and character models are top notch. Every little detail from the water, to the fire to the cracks in the marble columns and floors. Every little detail was painstakingly addressed and it did not go unnoticed by me. I must admit that it didn’t take long for me to notice that there are really just 5 or 6 enemy models which was a little disappointing but forgivable.

The game itself is very much on the rails in that there really is no way you can go from point a to b in one direction. At times, the player is also given command of his army, using voice commands, Marius can call in the archers for support or take a stance with other troops and in a phalanx formation. When fighting the masses, Marius can initiate a bloody and visceral execution to dispatch his enemy once and for all (children need not apply here). This is really where much of the early criticism stemmed from. In early demos, a big colored button popped up on screen in the form of a QTE. These can be rather distracting and really take away from the game – Crytek has righted that wrong by subtly outlining the enemy in a color that directly corresponds to the colors of the controllers face buttons. So really, the QTEs are still there they’re just a little less in your face and it works well.

The saying “K-I-S-S” or “Keep It Simple Stupid” is the mantra of the day when referring to the 2 player cooperative battles in Ryse. It is nothing more than putting the 2 players into an arena or Colosseum to fight out a scenario in front of thousands of blood thirsty Romans. Play through the scenarios, with the love of the crowd and you earn money which can be used to buy “Booster Packs” to outfit your gladiator with. It’s simple, fast and fun. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

I quite enjoyed Ryse: Son of Rome. I liked the single player story enough to play through it twice in short order and have had copious amounts of fun with the multiplayer. Looking forward to going home tonight to sink my teeth into the free DLC that was just released earlier today. This is another must buy title for your Xbox One.

Feed Your Console gives Ryse: Son of Rome an 8.5  out of 10

Review – Dead Rising 3

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The Next Generation of gaming is finally upon us and shambling in at the front of the line is the 3rd installment of Capcom’s highly successful and popular franchise, Dead Rising 3.

As a lover of all things Zombies, DR3 is a natural fit for me and was a day one pickup for my Xbox One. I was sold the very second I laid eyes on in-game footage – The sheer number of zombies on screen easily eclipses previous installments and I knew Capcom was on to something special here.

Dead Rising 3 gives us a new protagonist in Nick Ramos, a mechanic with a penchant for creating vehicles and weapons of mayhem at a moments notice as he runs around the fictional city of Los Perdidos in an effort to rescue survivors and perform tasks all with the final goal of escaping the city alive.

The gameplay is pretty well cookie cutter to the series with very little refinements done to to overall control scheme or the typical errand boy type missions. That’s not particularly a bad thing though – Dead Rising has never been about being serious or innovative new gameplay mechanics. It’s also not about incredible story telling (though they have been fun stories)..Dead Rising 3 is about the adventure of getting to your destination. Ducking, dodging and smashing your way from point A to point B as endless hordes of zombies threaten to stop you. And that is where the game’s true brilliance is. A new addition that should be note is the ability to make some truly visceral vehicles to help add to the carnage and flying body parts. We’re talking steamrollers + motorcycles destruction. It’s fantastic. You can also ask a buddy to join the frackus cooperatively as “Dick”. I found the cooperative game made DR3 considerably easier especially when fighting the deranged bosses where one can attract their attention while the other attacks from the side.

My favorite addition to the game comes in the form of Kinect interaction. When a zombie grabs you for a snack, you can push towards the screen and Nick will shove the zombie off him. It’s a natural motion that just works really well. Also with Kinect, when you say “over here” your voice can be heard by zombies in the immediate area will hear you and begin shambling their way to your direction. This can be helpful when facing the masses – Just climb up on a truck call out to them and then jump over them…orrrr…..toss down some form or explosive and BLOW THOSE EFFERS UP! (My personal favorite).

Similar to DR1 and 2, throughout the overall story are some interesting “boss” missions. The bosses are just as over the top and insane as you’d come to expect from Dead Rising. From the roided out female body builder Cherii to the Dom with a flame thrower that resembles an over-sized erection(hilarious all the way).

Graphically DR3 is a massive step up on it’s predecessor. The zombies are more varied in their appearance and their movements. Did I mention just how many of these bloody things can be on screen at any given time? My god it feels as though there are times where there has to be 1000 zombies on screen at any given time. It’s especially impressive when you come up over a hill on the highway and there’s just a sea of zombies shambling around as far as the eye can see.

If there’s any one title you bring home for your Newly minted Xbox One, this is it.

Feed Your Console Gives Dead Rising a solid 8.5 out of 10

 

Xbox One – My First 48 Hours With Microsoft’s Shiny New Console

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I’ve just finished a long gaming session with my brand new XBox One. At my fingertips, I have Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, Lococycle, Assassins Creed 4, Zoo Tycoon and Powerstar Golf. I’ve spent time in only 3 of those titles but it’s logged in roughly 20 hours of my life in the past 36.

I have to say…It’s a great system but it’s not without it’s faults. I found some glaring holes but am confident that these issues will be addressed in due time. Hopefully sooner than later. Here are my impressions.

Kinect  – I’m going to really love voice command. I actually caught myself starting to issue a command to the TV in my bedroom. I’m also digging the voice commands that I’ve had the opportunity to express in Ryse and Dead Rising 3. As long as developers don’t just shoehorn these functions into their games for the sake of having them, I think that with the newly advanced Kinect, we’re going to see some awesome implementations. The camera has incredible picture and the microphone is outstanding. I haven’t yet had the chance to play anything that’s 100% reliant on Kinect, but I’m looking forward to it.

The New Dashboard – It’s different…That’s not to say it’s terrible but, it’s not incredible. It could be though. I find that I’m stumbling around looking for things in this OS. They’ve streamlined so much that the pieces of the OS that I like to access or use religiously on Xbox 360, feel cumbersome on the Xbox One.

Mandatory Installs – I’m no fan…In fact, mandatory installs suck…there…I said it. It’s one of those things I rarely if ever did on the 360 especially if it’s a new game that I’m chomping at the bit to play. I want to put the disc in the drive and play the goddamn game. I don’t want to wait for 10+ minutes for it to install enough of a game before I can play it. I Know 10 minutes sounds like a short time but as any gamer will tell you, when it comes to a highly anticipated title, 10 minutes seems like a lifetime. When I put Ryse into my system yesterday, I was immediately greeted with a need for a 1.2GB update (someone told me that Forza was 6GB – HOLY CRAP!). How wonderful. My crappy rural wireless internet is so consistently inconsistent, that the update took the better part of 2 hours.

The New Controller -while it’s not as radical a change this time around as it was from the original Xbox to the 360, the differences are noteworthy. The D-Pad received a much requested change, the size is a shade smaller, the triggers have vibration, the shoulder buttons have been slightly modified and the battery pack is smaller. At first I was concerned about the size change but all in all, I love the new controller.

Game/Party Chat – Party chats have undergone some changes and not necessarily for the better. One glaring omission is the inability to engage in voice chat with people who are still playing on the 360. I recall them stating this would be the case some time ago but somewhere deep down I was hoping they wold have made it work somehow. The system does give you the option to invite them to a party(but the invitation doesn’t actually make it to them) so that leads me to think that perhaps they’re working on a solution. I can’t be the only person out there who would like to stay in contact with their 360 friends who aren’t jumping in right away.

The New Audio codec used  by Xbox One chat is noticeably leaps and bounds better than the 360. Another note about chat/party chat, to invite people to party chat, you open your friends list and click on either one person or multiple if you like then you hit the send invite button. I like that but what I don’t like is having to physically turn chat on. I invited these people to a chat..obviously I want to chat with them so why make me activate the chat? Pretty silly if you ask me.

The Hardware – I love the look and feel of my new Xbox. It’s actually not as large or heavy as I had expected.  The system as a whole is whisper quiet. If I had one major complaint to make about the hardware as a whole, it’s the power brick. It’s big, bulky and extremely difficult to hide.

Xbox Live – I’m not sure if this is an issue with my ISP, Xbox Live or by design of how gaming is handled but I’ve noticed some quirky behavior. For example, when playing Dead Rising, sometimes the game will allow me to invite a friend into the game, and other times it doesn’t. After one particular case, my friend invited me to join his game but I never received the invitation and then 10 minutes later while in the middle of a boss battle, I was magically whisked away and thrust into his game without so much as a notification or an acceptance on the invitation by me.

Another time while playing Ryse, the same friend and I were chatting in a party and I set up a game for some multiplayer – the game immediately told me it found my friend to play with but, he doesn’t even have the game so I was stuck at a menu with my friends name in the other slot. It wasn’t until I left the party and then set up a new matchmaking session that it worked. Another noticeable omission is the notifications that friends have come online.

I love the snap feature but I have to say that it feels a little cumbersome. WHen I say “Xbox Snap TV” it loads the TV app but then the active window becomes the Snapped window. To get back to my game, i have to hit the xbox guide button then move my cursor over to the left to the game window. The screen also felt a little constrained and small. I’m not sure if there’s a limitation with making the screen larger or adjusting he size but it felt needlessly small on my 92″ projector screen when watching hockey yesterday. I can only imagine how it looks on a smaller normal sized screen.

All in all I’m very much enjoying my time with the new system and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store but there is definitely room for improvement.

2 More Sleeps Until XBoxMas

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Ok people, PS4 launched last week and the excitement was intense. For me, I chose to run with Xbox One as my primary console because it holds the most interesting features and intriguing launch games for me. The anticipation is reminiscent to the final days before Christmas from my childhood and I’m busting at the seams right now. There aren’t enough articles or videos for me to go over to keep the kid in me at bay.

Merry XboxMas everyone.

Who’s ready for the PS4 Launch tonight?

Over here at FeedYourConsole we are definitely in the mood. Best Buy Canada dropped by with a number of PlayStations most iconic characters for a visit to the offices today and took this photo.

Can you name them all?

PlayStation Visits

Don’t forget the Toronto PS4 Launch party is at the Yonge/Dundas Best Buy location tonight and it starts at 9PM.

Review – Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

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Where does he get those wonderful toys?  From Lego of course!  Paige and I took a look at Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes on the PS3.  Lego Batman 2 from Traveller’s Tales and Warner Bros. Interactive is available on all major platforms and brings players a ton of great DC content.

The gameplay is consistent with previous Lego titles, so anyone familiar with these games will feel right at home.  As you explore and work to save Gotham you’ll build, break things apart, build again, fight and collect to your heart’s content.  I have to admit that sometimes smashing everything in sight does not feel very “Batman”.

There are two main modes of play to enjoy in Lego Batman 2.  Story missions place you in the shoes of the dynamic duo out to stop the Joker and along with some of the most memorable villains from the DC universe.  Lex Luthor teams up with the Joker and Batman has no choice but to call upon some of his friends…Super Friends!   Like other Lego titles of the past, once a story level is completed you can then play the level in “free play” mode utilizing any other DC character you unlock along the way.  Between missions you’ll have access to an impressively large and detailed open world Lego Gotham City.  So “Batman”!

While the story missions are well designed and make good use of Batman and Robin’s skills and their array of special suits, the open world Gotham is where we spent most of our time.  This is where you’ll find the majority of playable characters to add to your Lego DC roster.  In true DC fashion, some characters are more powerful than others, but overall the characters are well balanced.  There will be times when you’ll want to break out the Penguin and yes, even Aquaman.

Paige couldn’t stop playing as Wonder Woman but Harley Quinn was a close second for her.  As for me, when I first took to the skies as Superman and heard his iconic theme song I was hooked.  I also enjoyed playing as the Green Lantern as his abilities can earn you some pretty quick cash in and around Lego Gotham…always about the green.

Mini games, unlockable characters and Lego vehicles plus a wide range of other challenges are scattered around Gotham.  Helpful and loyal Alfred helps you reveal the map and any Super Villains on the lamb as you find more remote bat computer access points.  When you defeat these villains found in the map, you can purchase them and bring them into the fight.

You can play up to 2 players locally in split screen in either Gotham City or in the story levels.  Lego Batman 2 uses a “dynamic split screen” option as their default in the story missions.  While this gave the gameplay a more dynamic and comic book feel, there were times I didn’t know which part of the screen was mine and the control, especially while flying often fell flat in these situations.

The game looks and sounds great.  The cut-scenes are fun, the story touches on some great DC history.  Overall, it’s a solid game.  I’m still impressed my 7 year old daughter knows who Killer Moth is.

 

Pros

  • A fun story and enjoyable cut-scenes
  • Balanced gameplay with engaging but not overly difficult puzzles.
  • Tons of fun DC characters and vehicles to play
  • Batman!

Cons

  • Some control issues in multiplayer
  • Character selection in multiplayer can slow things down for the other player
  • I walked Aquaman off Gotham Beach into the water and he drowned…wait, what?

For Feed Your Console, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes gets a 9 out of 10 from me.  Paige gives it a stunning 10 out of 10.

Site Update

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It’s been a long time readers and I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for the long hiatus. Life is sometimes what gets in the way when you’re really trying to have fun but here’s looking ahead to a more frequent updates and a long steady stream of new game reviews.

We’ve got an awesome looking fall season of game videocasts, reviews, new hardware and it all starts today with a live videocast of The Bureau: Xcom Declassified, followed by Saints Row 4 and tomorrow evening, another live videocast of everyone’s favorite spy, Sam Fishers new advanture with Spinter Cell: Blacklist.

 

Gears of War Judgment EB Event

This evening EB games Canada hosted an invite for 75 lucky winners to check out Gears of War
Judgment and go hands on with Free for All with chances to play OverRun and be one five lucky
individuals get to play the single player campaign.

The event started with recruits being asked to sign in and declare any positions as they wouldn’t be able
to take them to their last meal, game play and your trial. Next up recruits were ordered to report for
mug shots before heading upstairs to trial.

Once upstairs COG recruits where offered there last meal which was a variety of meats on a stick
because as you know COG’s didn’t abide by food rations like the normal citizens because they needed
their strength to fight the Locust.

Upstairs a green screen was set up for patrons to have their own customer Gears of War Judgment box
art created. Recruits had their choice of lancer and retro lancers available.

Next up recruits had to fight to survive in a game of Free for all which was played on the Library map.
Library only supports Free for All, Domination and Execution game moods. This library was home to
Alexiy Desipich and housed some of the most important documents to him. If your unaware of whom
he is he was responsible for the basis around the Collation of Ordered Governments revolving around
eight guiding principles: Order, Diligence, Purity, Labor, Honor, Loyalty, Faith, and Humility. Having only
a brief single play session before being eliminated from the tournament I can tell you it’s a good sized
map and where the centre of the map also features a long shot sniper rifle which conveniently keeps an
eye on the beloved Boom Shot. I was told by our hosts that there were shortcuts on the level that had
powerful weapons and short cuts to help you escape from being killed. I wasn’t able to find these short
cuts but they sure would have saved me from being killed and finishing in 3 rd place in my heat and being
eliminated from the tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

Review – Tomb Raider

Once the queen of gaming, Lara Croft has fallen from the graces of many games but she hasn’t been forgotten. Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix hope to change that the newly rebooted title in Lara Croft’s life aptly named “Tomb Raider”. We will do our best not to divulge any spoilers so come along with me while we take a look to see if they were successful.

The story features a much younger Lara Croft before becoming a world renowned archaeologist as she embarks on an expedition aboard a ship called “Endurance” with friends a TV production crew and an already well known archaeologist. This isn’t the Lara Croft we all know from games of the past. On the way to their location, a violent storm destroys the boat and leaves them stranded on an island and separated from one another.

The game feels very similar to Uncharted but with a much darker tone to the surroundings and overall feeling to the dialogue. No witty banter between characters, no light-hearted moments either. While traversing the island’s various locales, Lara will find animals to hunt which can be used to salvage parts and earn experience points, she also will come across weapon upgrade pieces and will occasionally uncover hidden locations that need to be explored to discover artifacts in usual Tomb Raider style by solving puzzles to get to the payday. I found the puzzles to be far less engaging and much simpler than I remember from the original series. One thing I was truly thankful for was that the timed switch style puzzles were omitted from this title.

When not spelunking or raiding tombs, Lara finds herself in heated gun battles with the islands mysterious inhabitants. The gun battles are fierce and fast paced but can be slowed down a little by using an automatic cover system that while isn’t as good as the one you would find in Uncharted or Gears of War is more than serviceable and helpful. Killing enemies will also earn you Experience points that accumulate to allow Lara to learn a new survival skill. Not only do the enemy kills net you experience, but if you go through their pockets, you’ll find ammo (copious amounts of ammo in the game. you’ll never actually run out) and salvage parts which can be used to build upgrades for

Lara’s various weapons. The sound and the graphics are gorgeous. These days everyone is talking next gen this and next gen that, but, while playing this game, I couldn’t help but wonder if we really need another generation of gaming console yet. This game looks about as next gen as I could imagine and it’s available on our tired old boxes already in my living room.

The team at Crystal Dynamics have done exactly what the series needed – They took the concept, made it their own and gave it a fresh yet familiar feel without straying too much from what made Tomb Raider so good so many years ago. A survivor may have been born but the Queen reclaimed her crown.  Lara Croft is back and she’s better than ever.

Feed Your Console gives Tomb Raider a 9 out of 10

Pros:
Simply stunning graphics
Great atmosphere
A title worthy of carrying the Tomb Raider title – Extremely enjoyable
Great balance between Tomb Raiding and gun battles

Cons:
Simple puzzles – Beef it up next time
Cover System needs work