Star Wars Battlefront II – 3 mins of Gameplay

With less than a week until the release of Star Wars Battlefront II and to prove we really are the nerds we claim to be here at Retro Ramble; we took part in the Pre Release BETA – which for all you normal people means we were able to trial the game before anyone else (well anyone who didn’t also sign up that is!).

The video below offers 3 mins of gameplay from one of the Multiplayer game modes, Galactic Assault as Retro Ramble’s Charlie McGhee tries to take out a many AI controlled enemies as possible before a human opponent can spoil his fun. There is a noticeable improvement in the graphics and gameplay which considering how good the first game’s were is really saying something.

Galactic Assault – 3 Mins of Gameplay on Fondor

First Impressions

Last time we were speaking about Star Wars Battlefront it was to have a little whine and moan about how EA DICE were drip-feeding all the decent levels by way of a season-pass-only-DLC (aka Downloadable Content). Well, the good news is that from the first glimpse of Star Wars Battlefront II, It seems that our concerns, shared by many other Star Wars/EA DICE fans, have finally been answered.

Not only does Star Wars Battlefront II come with a more in-depth single player arcade mode than the last iteration but the game itself spans every Star Wars film in the known saga.

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Does this make up for the prequels themselves?

Probably not, but it does go someway to lessen the damage done. Will there still be a massive amount of DLC that you need to pay extra for?

Probably!

However, given that Star Wars Battlefront II finally offers players the ability to reenact every battle from every Star Wars film, it does make the game more attractive and a worthy investment for any Star Wars fan.

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Star Wars Battlefront II – Darth Maul Naboo Palace Work Out

Not only did we check out starfighter levels but we also had a few goes on the Darth Maul level set in Naboo Palace. Lots of fun to be had but it should be pointed out it takes a while to get used to the concept that Maul can’t deflect any laser blasts for some reason. Maybe, as this video shows it would make things totally imbalanced, yet more inline with how Sith are portrayed in the films.

 

Extras:

EA DICE recently confirmed Jar Jar Binks was going to be added as a playable character. As one might expect a fan has already been kind enough to render an image of what they hope this could mean for us all!

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GAMEPLAY: GTA V Online – Recent Updates / DLC

Grand Theft Auto V was first released on the PS3 back in 2013 so the game is itself quite retro to consider this worthy of our attention here on RetroRamble.

Despite being around for so long the game continues to draw an enormous online gaming community and was the 2nd top selling game of 2016 which is unprecedented.

Having being upgraded for the PS4 with improved graphics (first person views, improved draw distances etc) not to mention a bunch of impressive updates and more recently DLC (downloadable content) its clear that Rockstar not only had big plans for the game from the outset but also had the skills and in-house techies to successfully pull it off.

Rockstar, not one to rest on their laurels have released a steady amount of DLC and most importantly for gamers have done so completely free of charge.

Here’s an overview of some of the best DLC Rockstar have provided for free (for a full list go here):

  • Import / Export Update
  • High Life
  • The Heists
  • Bikers Update – Motorcycle Clubs
  • Stunt Series
  • Gunrunning
  • New Adversary Modes – Tiny Racers, Land-grab, Bunker Series etc
  • plus many more seasonal updates

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Obviously, if you want to get your hands on all the DLC has to offer and don’t have the hours to invest you may be forced to invest in the in-game cash they offer through their Shark Credit Cards. To be honest I think this is one of the fairest uses of DLC I’ve seen on the current generation of consoles.

Its for these most recent updates that we felt it necessary to revisit the world of Grand Theft Auto V, the most recent update Gunrunning has brought with it a host of new features with are most definitely worth a look. What’s great about these updates is that they seamlessly integrate themselves into GTA Online and heavily weighted towards players working together and minimising the load times – the only real complaint anybody could level at the near perfect game.

As per usual, I’ve compiled some gameplay videos – its worth pointing we at RetroRamble are only casual gamers and not heavy Youtubers so don’t expect any voice over or killer moves in these videos. They are simply an attempt to show some of the highlights these new updates bring with them.

Before we delve into these new updates if you’re wondering how else to quickly in-game cash one nugget from RetroRamble would be to get involved in any of the Rockets vs Cars adversary games which are a lot of fun and come with big payouts for the winning team.

Here’s a quick look at what to expect.

Gunrunning & Bunker Series

To get started in Gunrunning you’ll need to either be a CEO of a business as per the High Life update, a VIP with SecuroServ or the President of a motorcycle club. Each of these requirements cost cash but if you log in to GTA you’ll no doubt be rewarded by Rockstar with a cash boost simply for playing the game – its obvious they’ve recognised that many people who love the game simply don’t have the hours available to open these new features and not everyone is happy with paying for the Shark credit cards to speed up this process.

Once you’ve achieved one of the above you will get the option to buy your own bunker and once you’ve bought one of these you’ll be able to purchase a Mobile Command Centre (basically a rip off of the lorry that Knightrider used to drive into or more recently what the bad guys in series 3 of Fargo drive around in) see below.

Many players may be put off by the cost associated with purchasing these items, worry not since you don’t need to have them to enjoy them since you can simply team up with players who already have access before making your mind up.

Gunrunning – Dawn Raid Adversary Mode

 

Bunker Series – Bunker Series Adversary Mode

CONCLUSIONS

The result of these updates is that other players you bump into in the Los Santos may well have upgraded their SuperCar for a Armoured Personnel Carrier or Tank and you’re frequently offered the opportunity to take part in / or completely disrupt movement of guns, drugs or other nefarious items being organised by other players.

This new dynamic, not to mention the addition of challenges (mini games that don’t require any lobby screen loading to take part in) are a welcome move for Rockstar and something I believe breaths new life into the already proven game.

At a tempting £25.00 on Amazon and even cheaper second-hand, if you’ve not already checked out GTA V, there has never been a better time to do so.

GAMING: For Honour

What is it?

Hack and slash fighting game where you get to fight as a knight, viking or samurai in 4v4, 2v2 or 1v1 dueling battles.

Initial release date: February 14, 2017
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Action game, Fighting game, Hack and slash

What works?

Ubisoft definitely spotted a gap in the market for the type of fighting game we’ve not seen for a while. It’s also a clever move for them to capitalise on all assets and IP they’ve already developed in titles like Assasins Creed and The Division. Graphical Design is of the usual high standard you would expect from Ubisoft, as are the fluidity of movement and controls whilst playing.

As expected, it was the 1v1 duels that I find the most enjoyable when playing this game but its worth pointing out that once I felt more comfortable with the controls I decided to try out the 4v4 and 2v2 modes and have to admit that there is a lot of fun to be had in Dominion if you play on a team that has half an idea.

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It’s also worth pointing out that Ubisoft have given players as many options to play as possible when choosing what sort of FIGHT they want to hop into. In addition to playing multiplayer games against other online teams of 4v4, 2v2 and 1v1 you also have the option where you and 3 other players see how well you fair against the CPU or “AI Bots” as they are referred to. Maybe this abundence of choice is not generous, maybe its actually an attempt to hide the fact how content-lite this game is, who knows?

The control system or “moveset” has obviously had significant thought and testing behind it and once you get the hang of it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable battle making attack and defense as important as each other and making you think twice about which type of warrior you decide to fight each Battle. There’s plenty of opportunity to get to gets with the controls since the game offers a mixture of other online players to choose from or “bots” should you decide to practice your moves by playing the CPU.

Like we saw with The Division, the pairing up of players in the multiplayer lobbies is both rapid and robust, however in today’s age of established inexpensive cloud servers coupled with real time analytics of how many people are installing the game on their consoles, there really is no excuse for a game developer not having enough server capacity to deal with how many people end up wanting to play on them.

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What doesn’t work?

  1. This is a multiplayer game and should have been priced accordingly.
  2. This is a multiplayer game and multiplayer games require dedicated servers to work.
  3. Not only are there no dedicated servers, the server side of things is not even managed by Ubisoft??

The result, the best part of a mediorce game, namely the multiplayer, doesn’t work because the developer is too tight to invest in a suitable network environment to host everything on.  As they say in America, go figure.

In terms of content, this game falls foul of all the same problems as many other Ubisoft titles; looks and plays great but you quickly work out there is no substance to any of the characters and the gameplay is going to be formulaic and repetitive

Conclusions

Looks and plays great in the awesome multiplayer (when Multiplayer actually works) but terrible single player experience.

Ubisoft and EA Games may have the biggest releases but they are both guilty of causing the biggest problems we all experience with gaming today. We need game publishers that put the fans first and invest a couple of years making (and testing) a game so it stands the test of time. Good examples are the likes of Rockstar (GTA V) and Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us) who care more about the final experience and the legacy of the games they create for players rather than simply churning out title after title that perform well on release but dive in sales shortly after.

Its clear to me that the only reason Ubisoft tacked on the Single Player mode was to ensure they could qualify in the top tier of AAA game sales. There is no denying that for Ubisoft making money is as important, or maybe even slightly more important than making good games. There is so much focus placed on getting you to sign up for Ubisoft Club or getting you to care about the games currency system of “Steel” all in an attempt to rob you from even more of your money, despite already getting you to pay more than you should for this game.

All that said, the Multiplayer does actually make this a worthy purchase since its addictive enough to keep you coming back to play again and again which defeats any problems I may have had with the following niggles:

  • the cretinous plot of the single player
  • the dodgy menu system
  • the joke of a multiplayer game lobby system
  • over the top, melodramatic voice acting….”I am Apolyon” LOL.

Overall: 6/10

Suggestion: This game is worth playing but not at the current price tag, suggest giving it a go in 6-12 months once all the DLC has come out and can be bought in one purchase.

 

 

 

 

GAMING: Gameplay from Star Wars Battlefront (ft. Charlie McGhee)

Obviously there are the beautifully edited launch trailers from EA to get you really excited about what Star Wars Battlefront is like to play but here on Retro Ramble we also like to give you a taste of what these games mean to us. For Retro Gaming that means showing just how bad we are at playing these games ourselves.

With any luck this will give the rest of you some hope in that playing games is meant to be fun and being awesome is not really a requirement.

Below is some footage of Retro Ramble’s Charlie McGhee trying his best on Star Wars Battlefront, ah bless.

Supremacy Match on Endor

Deathstar DLC (Trench Run)

Deathstar DLC – FPS, given how long Charlie survives shows just how many noobs are playing Battlefront!

GAMING: Battlefield 1 – perfect for casual gamers…

For anyone who wants to know what we mean by Battlefield 1 being targeted much more for the casual gamer, check out the footage below of Charlie McGhee abusing other players with the totally unbalanced Automatico machine gun.

In this video Charlie tries to demonstrate:

  • how satisfying it is to have the option to level buildings
  • for every stupid death there’s a kill-streak awaiting…
  • how unbalanced the weapons – e.g. the Automatico – can be in multiplayer
  • unlike other gameplay videos we don’t mind leaving in evidence of just how easily we get killed on this game

And yes, this is exactly what WW1 in Saudia Arabia would have looked like!

Enjoy, and please feel free to vent your ‘inner troll’ on in the comments below!

 

Hitman Sniper (iOS)

Charlie McGhee has been playing Hitman Sniper on his iPhone and thinks you should too. Here are his thoughts on why its a great smartphone game plus some  videos of Charlie’s own gameplay to give you an idea of what its like to play.

What is it?

If you’re into gaming you’ll no doubt be aware of the Hitman series that dates back to the PC and PS2 in the early 2000s. Since then 6 games have been released spurning a host of games for tablet and smart phones including this little cracker which was released in 2015. The game is a FPS but centres only on sniping activity and as Agent 47 although you are never threatened by counter-attack you can and will fail missions for being too aggressive, alerting the wrong people or not fulfilling the specific mission objective. Rather than a straight forward FPS this is more of a puzzle game where completing the mission requires you to focus on taking out targets in very specific ways. From shooting balcony glass to cause targets to fall to their deaths to shooting patio heaters to cause an explosive death the game continually challenges players to be as creative as possible.

What works?

For me, the production quality of this game is top notch, soundtrack and in game sound effects are 10/10. In terms of graphics these are as good as is possible on current iOS devices which to be fair is currently somewhere between what you’d expect to see on the PS2 and Xbox back in the day.  The game is quite addictive since what starts out as a satisfying point and shoot quickly changes with each mission requiring you to find a new way to take out targets without being noticed or in a particular order. The options available leave plenty of room for manoeuvre and keep you coming back for more.  The best thing about this game is you can have a satisfiying game in 2-3 minutes so ideal for short bus/train/metro rides.

What doesn’t work?

As addictive as the game is, apart from a Zombie survival-type mode that was added later there’s only really one location, albeit there are techinically 3 buildings and surrounding estates where targets will be located. As we’ve said before on this blog wanting more from a game is not necessarily a negative. Square Enix Montreal have done a great job with this title, so more please! As its their most successful game to date let’s hope it’ll be updated shortly.

Who should play this?

Anyone who’s every enjoyed any of the Hitman games or anything similar, plus anyone simply looking for a short gaming fix on their daily commute.

Gameplay (Charlie McGhee)

Wanna see what it’s like to play, well so do the game’s developers since they’ve made it incredibly easy to upload your own gameplay to Facebook and Youtube.