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11:24 PM on 09.03.2015

Invokers Tournament: Should be burned in the fires of Exort [strong language]

Name: Invokers Tournament

Price: Free

Format: PS4,PS3 and PSVita

Review bit:

I like MOBA games.

I really like MOBA games

Invokers tournament made me want to scrum my PS4 hard drive clean with concentrated industrial bleach to try and remove any evidence I'd even been near this absolute abomination. I'd love to be able to come up with something nice to say, I do like to try and be fair to games but this one I'm just going full grumble on it.

The question isn't so much what score to give Invokers tournament but how many times, without a break, should the developers of this game be forced to watch Uwe Boll's worst critical failure film while fire ants attack their genitals to show them comparatively what kind of abomination they've put out into the world.

Invokers Tournament isn't a good Moba, it's not even a good Game even without the Moba label. It's a huge disgusting Pay to Win pile of shite that somehow escaped onto Sony's store. This doesn't merely make free to play game seem bad it actively makes Sony's entire market feel polluted for it's presence and the fact Sony regularly put stuff from this festering pile of crap into the PSplus discounts section. This game is so bad having it's items presented as PSPlus discounts makes PSPlus look worse.

I suppose it's only right I actually point out what's wrong with the worst fucking game I've played at least this year. The convention in Moba games is simple, creeps spawn and go toward the enemies tower. You want to farm the enemies creeps by getting last hits. After you're farmed a bit you want to push your lane of creeps to the enemies tower and while the creeps tank the towers fire you can destroy the tower itself. Incurable Tetanus doesn't do this. Oh no, you have to spawn the creeps yourself. To do this you have to run out into the garden that have exactly 5 statues, and compete against the enemies to try and smash the statues getting the last hit. Once destroyed who-ever got the last hit gets a creep for their side, the creep then automatically paths to the enemies tower. It's rare if ever the creeps of each team will meet anywhere and actually fight. So the game boils down almost to 1 person of the 3 on the team trying to defend against the enemies push, 1 trying to get creeps onto the field and 1 helping the creeps push in and varying up the number on each side as needed.

Unlike most Mobas in Invokers tournament you don't pick a single character to play all match everyone starts as an "Invoker" and you can bring with you 2 rings each allowing you to transform into a different "champion" when your fury bar is filled. However your fury bar drains so most of the match you'll spend as a basic Invoker only sometimes transforming for a short while for a fight. Everyone starts with the same two basic "Champions" there is no weekly rotation,  no hidden free way to get others. The only way to get more Champions is to grind. Oh and it's about a 5 hour grind to get enough for a single unlock, which there's no way to test out before hand so you might buy something you hate. There's no rental system like in other games you can buy outright and that's it.

With most other Moba game there is some kind of advantage or buff. In Smite it's the fire giant which gives a large attack power boost and healing / regen boost. In Dota 2 it's the Ageis which lets people respawn where they died after 3 seconds with no penalty. In League of Legends it's the Dragon and Baron Buffs. In Invokers tournament it's the tome. An item which hugely boosts the attack power of a single person on the team (the person who picks it up) with certain Champions moves this can mean your damage becomes a 1 hit kill and as a normal Invoker it's 2-3 hits to kill. The seeming idea being having the Tome lets you push easier. Let me say that again there's an item in the game which lets you 1 hit kill anyone and it respawns every minute or so.

Add to that unlike most other MOBA games where you buy equipment and items throughout the game in IT you don't, you get random loot drops after each match if you win along with a considerable amount of gold. You can literally go to the games store and buy more powerful items with gold and then start every match from then on with said items. No balance, no progression just whoever can buy the most powerful items gets to start the match more powerful.

Also because of course a product that shares its initials with a Stephen King Monster wouldn't be done there you have to buy consumable items to take into the matches and you can't buy them in match. To the games credit each day you drag yourself kicking and screaming into this vomit inducing slice of what , if I were religious, I'd assume hell is meant to be, it does give you a few item or two. The problem is to heal up in the game without a potion you have to stand by your own tower for around 15 seconds or so. Add to this some of the more insane purchasable items (which you can bring into the game in large numbers). How about an item that lets you spawn a giant high health minnion that can spawn poison clouds around it to stop people getting near? Or how about an item that spawns a freaking deployable turret that cuts down enemy creatures in seconds. You can literally win matches merely by spending gold to buy deployable creatures and just swarm the enemy base and spawn all the minions while the enemy is forced to defend.

As if the game wasn't bad enough it has its own version of killstreak rewards. Unlike in other games like say DOTA 2where a killstreak is a risk reward thing as you get more gold for kills but have a higher worth if killed. In Irritable Tarantula after your team gets 10 kills you can spawn a Darkoim which is a high health high damage creature that can help defend or push towers and clear the 2 lanes very quickly. So those higher stats people start with by spending more money can easily convert into kills as well. Oh and killing someone in Invokers doesn't stop their killstreak thing filling up.

Add to that that despite being next gen the game offers up graphics that honestly would make even the PS2 look at it as a mediocre title. The special attacks look so pathetic it's almost laughable.

Oh but this showcase of the depths of ingrained Smegmata on the industry still isn't done yet. You see if someone quits the match, there's no penalty for them other than not getting the meagre end of match gold. You can just exit the 30 minute long matches when you want and face no repercussions. Worse still if someone does, the game doesn't rebalance or fill the spot, not even with an AI character. No the game forces you to fight 2 vs 3 and you're lost, even in one match where an enemy went 19 deaths for 1 kill my team of 2 still lost . Oh but just like some fucking horror film the game isn't done with this you see it has to have one last giant fuck you to consumers and try to kill off yet more faith people have in gaming. You see when you die your equipment gets damage, if it gets too damaged it can break (and yes you can have the ring you use to summon your "Champion" destroyed if you're not careful) so after each match you have to repair your items. If you lost you get considerably less gold and at times it can cost you more than the match earnings to fix your gear. Add to that being 2 vs 3 means you'll likely die more having less combined attack power and the game actively punishes you for staying in a match when someone leaves. Let me say that again IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE QUIT THE MATCH, STAYING IN IT CAN ACTUALLY REVERSE YOUR PROGRESS.

Now onto the business model.  It's so bad an anti consumer I'm surprised to not see Ubisoft, Warner Brothers and EA's name on it as some kind of unholy trinity of complete shit. If you want to claim other companies and just making sure they don't leave money on the table Irritating Testicles developers weren't even leaving the table they were taking that too just to make sure. Instead of say Smite which lets you pay a flat amount to unlock all the present and future characters Ingrowing Toenail makes you buy them all with gold at about £4 (about $6) for 7,000 which is enough to unlock 2 lower cost champions or just one of the more expensive ones. Or you can pay  £8 (about $12) for 17,000 which can buy you about 3 with some change. Oh but the game isn't done yet you see you can also buy a £2.49(~$4) a month subscription to get priority match making and a bigger inventory as well as  make items cheaper to buy with gold anyway. Oh you think it's done? Nope guess what they also sell skins which at the cheapest are £0.79 (~$1.23) and go all the way up to £5.84 (~$9). Let me say that again this is a game that is selling skins for some skins for $8-$9 each and has a subscription and still requires you to buy characters or spend 5 HOURS  Grinding to unlock each one.

 
This was taken from a video I did of the game. Yes the game is so bad it even doesn't work properly with playsations capture system.

The game has 3 main game modes. The standard 3 vs 3 lane pushing mode. A second Team King of the Hill style game without creeps  and with random health drops etc appearing and it gets old fast. The final mode is a challenge mode which I can best describe as a cross between Diablo and Gauntlet but infinitely worse than either of them. You fight through the level clearing objectives and trying to survive with the limited pick ups and then fight something meant to resemble a boss. This earns you a little bit of extra gold to use but unless you have highly upgraded equipment or are damn lucky chances are you struggle with these levels which are just as much of a slog as the main game. Part of the reason is the general mechanics. Playing as an Invoker is pretty dull, you have two spells which can't be changed (a fireball and an ice shot which has a chance to slow enemies movement and attacks) the other things you can do are dodge roll and hit things with your staff Your "Champions / Summons" also have attacks but on some the cooldown is insane and with others using one attack puts all the others on cooldown meaning you can either transform back or sit wasting fury while the ability recharges.

I've just realised I haven't even mentioned the thing about the summons / Champions. Each has elemental strengths and weaknesses and if the enemy happens to have a summon that uses your weakness they're rip through you meaning you're reduced to 1 of your two champions / summons each fight if you want to stand a chance.

All the bullshit of the game might possible have been fine if the matchmaking worked but I regularly found myself the most experienced person on the team with two total beginners vs a team of 3 enemies all with top 5,000 gold summons and nice full sets of high end gear. The game doesn't do anything to match people based on total item worth or seemingly even time played so it very much becomes those who pay have access to better more powerful items and summons / champions.

The game even starts off with a giant fuck you to the player as reading this review, you've learned more than the game teaches you at the start. I'm not even joking here's the full tutorial for you to watch.

 Verdict:

I'm gluten Intolerant. Invokers Tournament is the kind of shit I'd take after gorging myself on wheat for a week. It's digital gonorrhoea. Invokers Tournament isn't a game it's a monument to every shitty practice in video gaming that's appeared in the past 10 years. It's an active environmental disaster in the heart of the PSN Store. This game is so anti consumer and full of pure grade A 5 year old Smegmata that it's thrown my whole scale off and made me look back atZombies Zombies Everywhere and think "Ok it wasn't quite that bad". This is a game so bad if I had a Sheldon Cooper esc list of enemies the developers of this would be at spots 1, 2 and 3. This game is so bad that after the 5 hours I spent on this game I want to take those little pineapple chunks of on a stick at most parties and slowly insert some under the fingernails of the developer, without removing the cocktail sticks. This game is so bad even Desert Bus may be a better experience than it. If someone told me this was a game cobbled together out of free unity assets I'd actually believe them.

Do not Play it

Do not even install the putrid piss on your console you don't want this thing to have ever been near your account.

Invokers Tournament is an abomination that seemingly tried to combine all the whale shit of the mobile market and somehow put it on console. This is an idea that should have been aborted before finishing it and the person who came up with these decisions put into a mental Asylum to make sure such ideas could never come into contact with anyone stupid enough to try them out.

Invokers Tournament isn't a game it's everything every gamer has feared will be brought to console gaming from mobile; almost every anti consumer piece of bullshit ever shown on the Jimquisition; it's the existential horror of video gaming and it is staring into a void of sheer darkness and knowing that the darkness itself not just something in it is staring back at you.

Score

Yes it's so bad It doesn't even deserve me making a custom score picture for it. 

Oh and well done to the exactly 2 people who probabaly got the terrible joke in the review title.

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11:43 AM on 08.29.2015

Review: Unrest

Name: Unrest

Price: £9.99 / $14.99 / € 11.99

Format: PC (See FAQ for specs

Review Bit:

Ok Unrest was a game I'd initially not heard of at least not more than a passing comment and I probably wouldn't have heard of it if not for the#Gamesmatter people who help distribute codes for indie developers to try and help them gain honest feedback. Now I didn't get my code from#GamesMatter I bought unrest in the Steam Sale for a little over £3 with the soundtrack.

I think it's fair to say the following for Unrest: "If you can, don't pay full price". That's not to say the game is inherently bad but it does have some quite big flaws I'll talk about later on.

So for those who don't know Unrest sells itself as an adventure RPG game. In truth I don't think these fully describe the game really a better description would probably be an adventure Visual novel with elements of choose your own adventure. The game has a combat system but it's rarely used and in my playthrough I never ended up using it. The majority of the game is spent talking to various people and making a number of choices along the way.

Unrest is very much a cultural product of an Indian developer, it's plot involves the ideas of the caste system and a section relating to the idea of arranged marriages. Throughout the plot you take on a number of roles each of which has their own motivations and play their own role in the larger story. The story of Unrest is of a mythical race of snake creatures (Naga) whose large empire helps step in to save a human city whose draught has caused problems growing enough crops for its people. The problem start when the diplomat from the Naga empire and the cities own rulers (also its monarchy) are killed off by an advisor in an act of betrayal. The main story revolves around the chaos that ensues as Immigrants from the Naga empire try to make a home in this new city which already struggles to cater for its own people's needs. None of this is helped by a radical temple preaching hatred against the Naga complete with its own militia in the streets. During the story you play a number of characters and the actions you take as each can influence elements of the story later on and even the endings you get.

I won't spoil much of the story but in narrative terms this isn't a nice happy little fantasy tale. It's almost comparable in terms of tone to Game Of Thrones. Due to the design decision of multiple characters it allows much more freedom and means that in the narrative it's possible for the game to just brutally cut down other protagonists. Also should you wish you could have your own Game Of Thrones esc moments as you can use underhanded tricks you can play the characters a number of ways and you don't have to play all of them as inherently good. This is a game where your own actions can lead to the character you play being killed and it impacting the story. The ending itself even the best ending isn't a truly happy one but it was one I was fine with though again some people may be rubbed up the wrong way without a true happy ending.

For a quite new indie studio the art style is rather beautiful and rather a change from the now almost expected Pixel Graphics indie studio. The art style isn't some super complex thing such as that of Dust and Elysian Tale it's more simplistic however I feel this works a bit more in the games favour and provides a unique style to the art itself.

Ok I've waxed lyrically about the game enough I said the game had problems and it does. The first and biggest problem (and most talk of on the Steam Forums) is the instability of the game when you launch it for the first time. Personally running on what is not a hugely underpowered laptop (See FAQ) I had the game crash 3 times while initially starting it up. I have no idea about what causes this crash but it seems to be some kind of error in creating some initial save file for the game. During one of the sections in the game it slowed to a crawl in some large open spaces while birds flew across the screen. This is not some high end game, I shouldn't be having the frame rate and game itself drop to a crawl on my machine not in what is at least partly a 2D game with animated sprites.

In terms of options there are a few graphics options such as fullscreen and resolution, there's also the important option to confine the mouse to the window in windowed mode. You can also choose to have the trees animated or not. There however isn't an option for anti aliasing. There is V sync though should you want it. Also it has separate audio sliders for the games music and it's graphics.

Honestly  I'm going to suggest that to me it seems like a problem that the game is selling itself as an RPG. While technically correct it does feel far more like the next level of visual novels and like it would most likely find itself more at home with visual novel fans than with people expecting a 40 hour RPG with stats and levelling.

I'd also say maybe the pricing is a little high as I finished the game in a little over 3 hours and I think maybe it could bare a second play through but it would still seem quite pricey. More so for those in the USA with the $15 price tag.

I do think the game tried an interesting approach by letting people look into the lore etc at their own leisure with information about the characters appearing in the Traits section. The Journal also allowing you to read about the deep lore and story about the locations and people you meet. It lets you look into the world as deeply as you want or ignore much of the additional depth.

Also I have to give the developer serious credit for not only providing modding tools but detailing on their own site how to work it with a very detailed tutorial. Honestly this game allows modding to the level that if someone wanted they may be able to make their own entirely new stories and tales that radically differ from the main game. I will say the modding is at least in part going to require people willing to learn to code (or at least to manipulate existing code) or with experience in it to fully take advantage of it but credit to the developer for laying quite bare how the game works and hopefully someone will be able to use this somehow.

Also I'd say the games system relating to conversation actually really help with the world building and building up the character of some NPC characters in the short time you speak to them. As you talk and pick conversation options you get to see how the person reacts via their words and the changes in the NPCs three bars. The three bars being variations on: accepting, appreciating and Wary or various other versions including comfortable vs hostile  etc. As you speak to NPCs and these bars change  it gives you a very visual display of how they're reacting and thus their personality. For example as a Naga character you might find some characters very resistant and angered to the idea of Naga and Humans sharing and working together. You'll find some characters who'll respect you more for bold claims and actions or others who very much dislike you challenging their world views. I'd say this is a really interesting mechanic and quite different to the more RPG like stats building found oddly enough in many visual novels.

Verdict:

Unrest is a very nice game with some rather unfortunate issues both technical and in terms of decisions around selling it. What it presents is a very interesting and unique world worth experience especially for those who constantly claim gaming should be presenting and showing more experiences and cultures. I unfortunately can't recommend it at present due to the pricing and technical issues however I can suggest people pick it up and try it when it's on sale and the two scores given will represent this.

It's a really nice first title from an indie developer which is mostly bogged down by a few rather nasty technical problems and a few questionable choices. Honestly I'd love to see the developer do a few more games using this engine and maybe work out some of the engine related problems that seem to be present. I think the engine and systems seem like with some work they could be very versatile and adaptable.

Score

At present price

On sale at about £6

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8:56 PM on 08.26.2015

Responding to Jonathan Holmes about "trigger Warnings"

Spoiler Warning for Life is Strange

 Warning the following article contains:

Capital Letters

Grammar

Punctuation

Images of violence

Images some viewers may find disturbing

Images of dogs

Discussions of trigger warnings

Discussions about sexual assault

Items in a list

Gendered language

The use of gendered terms (e.g. He , She)

Mocking the idea of trigger warnings

Toast

Jam

Discussions of fearful situations

Discussions alluding to suicide

Feet

Strong language

Ideas

Ideas you may not agree with

Trains

Discussions about Higher Education

Links to videos

Some sexual content

Psychonormativity

Heteronormativity

physionormativity

White people

A picture of a knife

Politics

Culture other than US culture

Discussions relating to PTSD

Links to an image which contains a gendered slur

 Well I was going to write a nice little blog about something silly that we could all have a laugh at like the sheer number of video game developers information present in the Ashley Madison hack. That however will be a blog for another time. Yes I'm back on the politics temporarily for a few more blogs and this time it's once again the idea of Trigger warnings. Now I don't make it a habit of writing whole blog posts to respond to a tweet but in this case I think it's warranted.

Trigger warnings are something in theory I agree with, I agree with plenty of things in theory. In practice however the idea of trigger warnings is becoming a joke. The joke being if you look at the list of trigger warnings for this blog.

The original use of trigger warnings was pretty much to warn people with actual conditions that they may have a problem in the game.

 Now here in the UK at least there is a vague idea of content people may find they dislike in games.

 See. Now the big problem comes in (and this is where my objection is) when the idea of potentially upsetting psychological incidents caused by serious trauma are conflated with "I don't like this". Certain groups will claim all the warnings (and more) above have a perfect place here on this blog and the defence is immediately to refer to actual more serious incidents of triggering such as PTSD (and no not Twitter PTSD because people said mean things you disagreed with). The idea that anything that could in any way illicit and negative emotion should have a warning no matter how small the actual impact.

 So when Mr Holmes you suggested that people asking for less trigger warnings were hypocritical for asking for spoiler warnings. There's a very big difference. The big difference being those who want trigger warnings want to avoid feeling said emotions while those asking for spoiler warnings are embracing humanity and want to feel said emotions to their fullest without potentially being shielded from the impact of a twist in the story. One example of a game triggering someone that comes to mind was Dtoid's own Laura K talking about how she was distressed after a section in Life is Strange where a character is trying to kill themself and how it brought back memories of a similar incident in her life. Later on, I believe on a Podquisition after having initially said the section was a problem in the game. Laura K said she'd thought about the game and that moment and realised she had to face that part of the past sooner or later and while she didn't appreciate having it trust on her as such but could see it as a positive thing to deal with said issues.

There's an argument for vague warnings about potentially more serious "triggers" people might have being identified as present in games in a vague way. However dealing with every possible thing people on Tumblr have claimed could trigger them is kind of an insane task. I mean look how many I've added for just this blog and the one about capital letters, yeh that's not a joke.

I'd even say to the extent that phobias shouldn't be counted into such warnings as phobias are very personal things. I can get the whole "Informing the consumer" argument but at the end of the day you can't attempt to inform everyone of everything in the game that could be relevant to them. Oh and on phobias I'm the guy who was petrified of dogs and yet went with my then GF to Crufts because she wanted to go there. Let me say that again. Me the person who was petrified of dogs went to one of the world's largest dog shows. So if you want to claim how a game made you feel fearful and you should have been warned just think if an idiot like me can go out and face his fear in real life it maybe isn't that tough with some help.

The concept of trigger warnings is one that's still debated a bit in higher education and well it seems now that academia is rejecting said warnings as they can undermine the impact of teaching. Presenting a shocking thing can help hit home information being said or outright challenge the preconceptions of students and force them to face other ideas and views.

I can understand the idea that someone who was sexually assaulted could be triggered by sexual violence in something.

I can understand how someone who has been to war and seen horrific things could be triggered by war games and imagery in some of those.

I can understand how someone who has had someone attempt suicide in their life being triggered by such things in a game.

I CAN'T understand how people can claim their dislike of Jam is as serious or applicable to being considered a trigger just because they don't like it

 Being triggered has almost been adopted by certain people as an all purpose term for things they don't like and to use its original meaning as a way to make people feel bad, or make others out to be a villain and make it seem they're committing almost mental abuse by bringing up said subjects. I've even heard of one indie developer attempting to claim it wasn't right and was triggering that they were stopped from trying to use the 7 days to die game forum after they chose to use it to try and push for it's community to target a charity site. A site which at the time was hosting the fund rasing page for Officer Darren Wilson to fund his defence costs in court.

So Mr Holmes when you say Trigger warnings are a good thing. I think you'll need to be specific if you mean all trigger warnings or if you mean ones that make sense like say the Epilepsy trigger warnings etc and some of it ,lets say "This game requires you to have two working hands to play", are kind of on the consumer to become informed of themselves via other methods and sources of information.

Oh almost forgot

  

There we go that's addressed every trigger warning I think.

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9:29 PM on 08.23.2015

Well Konami did ask. I wonder if I'm blacklisted in advance now? [img]http://i.imgur.com/beeDHgZ.png[/img]

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10:40 PM on 08.20.2015

May or may not have had to wipe my computer recently due to a messed up HP driver update (yeh thanks HP) I'm getting back on track slowly

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5:24 PM on 08.20.2015

This is not my review of Batman Arkham Knight


Name: Batman Arkham Knight

Cost: £40 / $60

Format: PS4

So in Batman Arkham Knight you play as a rich guy going round beating up poor people just doing what they have to get by even if it means resorting to desperate levels, in a way very similar to the conservative government here in the UK.

You see here in the UK in an attempt to alleviate the debt the conservative government has launched an attack on people benefits including those who are legitimately disabled or unable to work and need said support. Furthermore it continues to refuse people from other countries medical treatment or asylum here in the UK in a disgusting display of racist bias. Shown most recently with David Cameron calling migrants in Calais a swarm in a dehumanising way.

 

Slowly piece by piece they plan to sell off the NHS and destroy the health system while also raising university fees to restrict access to higher education from lower class people thus pushing the poor to get worse off all while selling of things like the national post service to their university friends who now happen to work in investment companies. Also selling off the shares in the banks the government owns at far lower than their market worth to let friend profit off this. While also not restricting large bankers bonuses being paid out at banks that are failing.

Oh and fuck allowing fracking of areas which could potentially damage the stability of the area and has been suggested to have a link to possible earth tremors. Oh and fuck cutting the green energy allowance subsidy to encourage green energy you backwards ass right wing political fucktards.

Verdict:

So on Batman Arkham Knight I say ..... FUCK the conservatives........ Fuck the Corpse of Thatcher...... and FUCK YOU capitalistic pigs buying premium entertainment products and not helping save the world.

 Score:

   

Am I a Garms Jurnalizt yet ?

I decided to write this because after my 99% subjective review I had some people  claiming said review had merit and showed 0 objectivity wasn't a bad thing in reviews. Admittedly most people who commented on the article directly found it funny and saw the point so thank you to those people who did and this piece was not aimed at you, or anyone else who got it before with the last piece I did like this.

So this was not my review of Batman Arkham Knight, this was a review of Arkham Knight for those who keep saying "Everything is political so talking politics in reviews is how it should be done and you should stop oppressing people's opinions" So did you like that? Did you? Did you like your review of Batman Arkham Knight created for you? Because it certainly isn't a review using my normal standards. It's the perfect example of the review you wanted. It's totally opinion and almost totally politics. Great wasn't it truly the future of video games journalism you've just seen right?

Oh and for the record. I hated pretty much all the parties output for the most recent election so there you go I'm just not under any illusions are to the tories being some saviour hence despite voting for themI can still express the faults (some of which I've hyerbollically blown up here a bit) 

Failblogs here I come for this piece of crap.

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12:54 PM on 08.09.2015

Was Uplay hacked ?

So Steam had a huge security hole recently. Also Uplay seems to have got hacked some-time earlier this year by what appears to have been a bunch of Russian Hackers. How bad does the hack look? Well a number of peoples email addresses and Uplay account information including password and games on it has been posted online on a Russian hacking site.

  

Now it would be entirely wrong of me to link to the website in question which contains this list as it also contains the passwords (the bits I've censored out on this picture), so it would be a bit wrong. And not being a Gawker Journalist I've chosen not to link to it. However I've copied the list and removed the passwords for people to check over and see if their email is the list of compromised accounts posted online so far. Most of the passwords weren't simple ones either so this doesn't seem to have been a brute forcer collecting passwords that worked.

 

If real this hack will mean people have yet another reason to be a bit annoyed at Ubisoft.

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1:28 PM on 08.04.2015

Review: Detective Grimoire - the antidote to Broken Age


Name: Detective Grimoire

Available on:  PC, IOS, Android, Amazon app store

Price:

Steam: £4.99 / $6.99

IOS: £2.99 / $3.99

Google play: £2.39 / $3.99

Amazon app store: £2.40 / £3.99

 

Reviewed on: PC

Review bit:

See you thought I was done with SFB games but no it's time to rake them over the hot coals of critique again. Yes damn you SFB games you totally ruined Broken Age Act 2 for me...... Yes I know that sounds completely insane but to an extent it really did. Detective Grimoire is a crime puzzle game very much in the vein of older point and click puzzle games (Except in difficulty) and it puts Broken Age to shame for the most part. I wish I were joking but animation wise it seems as good as Double fine and the backgrounds seem almost as vibrant and detailed and this isn't a game that received millions in kickstarter fuding, it received $29,000 infact . While the game only took me around 3 hours to complete (I did look up the location of one items after getting fed up looking and the hint system deciding not to work). It felt on par if not better than Broken Age act 1.

 

 
Would you look at that art work

The voice acting is competent if a little over the top from some characters (though it comes off more comical or deliberate than anything else). The two stand out's are the voice the little girl and the voice actress behind the character Sally Spears. Both of whom seemingly nail their performances perfectly. Which I'm going to suggest in a small part may be thanks to the script which for Sally Spears kind of makes me want her as a recurring character turning up in future games randomly with a new job each time or something. Sally Spears interactions with Detective Grimoire just added such a comical twist really with the mix of genuine interest and snarky comments.

The Puzzles in Detective Grimoire for the most part I have to say are kind of incredibly easy and solving the murder mystery isn't a huge challenge even without using the hints system. However the reason to play is more uncovering the mystery and backstories behind the characters along with their dark secrets and motives behind the murder. It's a testament to the story that while you might have an idea who the killer is quite quickly you'll still have doubts and suspicions of other characters for quite a while into the game. 

The game also has a very nice mechanics where you have to help Detective Grimoire put his thoughts together to make important realisations. This seems like a really nice mechanic but I think this led to much of the easy feeling to the game as it felt very directed by interrupting standard gameplay to confirm the important revelation. If possible I'd love to see this idea returning in future games but built upon so it becomes almost like part of the hint system. Say if you're feeling majorly stuck you can click on a button to "collect your thoughts" and trigger sort of extra puzzles which give you clearer direction of how to progress. So for example when you find out an important piece of information the extra dialogue options with relevant characters etc unlock but it doesn't explicitly tell you to go and talk to that person unless you then choose to collect your thoughts. This way you could progress without needing guiding so much but the option would also be there if people felt the need to use it.

The Audio options are quite impressive (though numbers on the slider wouldn't go a miss) but it's clear the developer did think about audio quite a lot to help give an ambience to the locations in the game.

Ok so I have two negatives one very nit picky and one which I think the developers might expect if they read my previous review.

The biggest problem would be the lack of resolution or graphics options. This is a PC game and while it should run on most things being a 2D resolution options beyond simply windowed mode  are something PC games should have by default.

The rather nit picky problem was the location of the lock pick. For a game that was so clear on the direction for many things, I felt with the lock pick there wasn't much indication of where it was. For example there was no real reason to click on its location. No-one says about when they dropped something into the swamp something happened to the swamp water in that area until they fished the item out. There was no real indication of anything being hidden there like say a glint in the light or something.

That's really my only problems with the game personally. I also loved the ending which I won't spoil but it closes the present case but shows the starts of an overarching storyline that I'm guessing will run through a number of future cases. It's a very nice format for future games with each being a case on its own but tied together by a larger story.

Verdict:

less than 100th the budget of Broken Age

Just over 1/4 the selling price of Broken Age

Close to the same gameplay time as Broken Age Act 1

As good if not slightly better than Broken Age Act 1 (only held back by fairly minor issues) and as a package overall it's far better than Broken Age.With beautiful backgrounds and well done animation. Good to excellent voice acting. A good story which remains consistently good with plenty of twists throughout the game with plenty of interesting characters to talk to and uncover their dark secrets. It puts Broken Age and many other game in the point and click genre quite to shame. While it may be short clocking in at around 3 hours or so it's so high quality it more that justifies its present asking price on PC for such high quality. It does have its issues such as the lack of graphics options (but in unlike Haunt the House these do not cause problems at any point). It could also be said the puzzles are a little on the simple side (though innovative and enjoyable). I'd say part of the lack of difficulty comes with how well most of the game directs the player maybe a little too much such that some of the, very well done, mechanics around directing the player could be put as optional things to help the player, rather than mandatory aspects of the main game.

For anyone who has recently finished Broken Age and was left disappointed or wanting something to play. Detective Grimoire is the game to play. I give it my recommendation and suggest you go and buy it now.

More of this series please SFB games

 

Score 

5 out of 6

Additional:

After originally publishing this review on my site the developer did actualy respond to the issues I'd pointed out in this review.

The hint for lock pick location is meant to be the same as for one of the other clues. The problem is I kind of found the other clue by a random click and the hint vanished after so I never made the connection as such.

As for the resolution options the developer said they'd tried to do a sort of resolution option but the engine / program the game runs in (I believe it was Acrobat Air) doesn't have programming options which allow for different resolution options to be used. Essentially the game is made in a very unusual way in a program not normally used. The developer said the attempt at a work around was mostly unsuccessful and made the game actively worse. So now you have all the information.

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2:57 PM on 08.01.2015

Review: Haunt the House Terrortown

Name: Haunt the House: Terror Town

Format: PC, IOS, Android, Amazon play store, Playstation Vita

Price:

Steam £3.99 / $4.99
IOS:   £1.49 / $1.99
Google Play: £1.32
Amazon play store : £1.31 / $1.99

Reviewed on: PC (For full specs see FAQ section)

Review Bit:

So Haunt the House: Terrortown is one of two games I picked up recently at the Gadget Show Live event. They were actually on sale by the developer them self on the stand and hey two indie games for less than £10 I'm not going to pass up on that at a convention.

So Haunt the House: Terrortown puts you in the role of a ghost, whom disturbed from his slumber sets out to quiet the town down by scaring everyone away from the local attractions. I'd I had to compare it to another game the closest I would say is either the upcoming AfterLife Empire or an old favourite of mine called Ghost Master. The key difference between Haunt the House and Ghostmaster being you have more direct control over a single ghost in Haunt the House and I'd argue a few more interesting interactions . In terms of similarities though both require you to build up energy levels to be able to use more and more powerful scares. You aim is quite simple drive all the people from each of the 4 locations in turn.

Initially you start with a low amount of "energy" (which isn't consumed I should make clear) meaning you can only activate smaller level scares to make people nervous say making things move or bars and chains etc rattle. As you do more of these things an un-nerve some people your energy level goes up letting you do bigger scares. Scares such as opening a seeming void to hell in a boiler room or causing massive spectres and ghoulish apparitions to appear even bringing the furniture to life. Some people seem to have higher tolerance and require more powerful scares to drive them away giving a small tactical element beyond going to rooms with large amounts of  for maximum effectiveness. The level of expression on the people is quite impressive with them being nervous right up to screaming and running in fear and steps in between. You can force the people to be sweating with fear which causes them to leave or screaming in panicked fear which can cause them to leave via any exit including jumping out of windows.

On each level there are certain interactive feature that help "Free" other ghosts either by killing someone on the level or in a few cases releasing trapped ghosts. These freed ghosts give a slightly different look and sound effect to the ghost but beyond this they're mostly  for aesthetic purposes. The game itself looks beautiful an  d really nicely animated with an impressive range of object interactions.

The controls work well and are clearly displayed, also additional credit has to go to the developers for allowing a seamless switch between keyboard and mouse and controller without having to change settings in the options menu to switch between them. However the controls are not rebind able which if it were just on the controller could have been a lesser issue but even the keyboard controls are not rebinding at least in the game itself (as yet I haven't found a way to edit the controls though it may be possible be editing the config files)

OK you knew this couldn't go on forever it's time to address the poltergeists in the room. The game is painfully short even with the newly released free Christmas themed expansion. I've played through the main game 3 times and the expansion twice. and I've only put in just over an hour and a half.

You can finish the game in around 25 minutes with the expansion being about 10 minutes extra. It's woefully short.

Next is the problem that there's no real progression or challenge beyond score attack. The game presents no real opposition. In Ghost Master there was a deliberate opposition in the form of psychics , Exorcists, mediums and ghost hunting teams all of which forced you to watch out around them or absolutely blast them with insane things all at once. In Haunt the House there is no such opposition so you don't feel like you're fighting against the game in any meaningful way but you just feel you're drifting through it with no real challenge.

Now the biggest issue is the lack of graphics options. OK the game does try to pick the best graphic and resolution options automatically but this is PC gaming, having at least resolution and window mode options is almost a requirement. Add to this even with the game automatically selecting the "best" setting for my laptop I still had this graphical error show up.

Verdict:

Clearly attention to detail and work went into the game, it's very well made, the big problem is there's so little of it for the asking price on PC. It feels like a nice proof of concept but as an actual game it just feels like it needed more of things: more options in the options menu; more levels or areas and most importantly more evolution and development of the gameplay to actually progress the game and give the player some kind of challenge to overcome.

For the price while the quality is there mostly it feels woefully short and as such I can't recommend it not at its present price and I feel it's score reflects the length present. Now because I'm guessing the developer will most likely want to ask something like this, I'd say at a lower price point say the £1.99 price point the game would do far better and score far better out if it.

It might not get a recommendation at that price point without a little more work but it would still score higher than it is now. 

Score

2 Ghost buster Traps out of 6

I'm not done with SFBgames yet though. Soon it will be the time for Detective Grimoire to be reviewed Or you can read it on my main blog now.

In the interest of providing readers with other opinions and points of view beyond just mine Indie Gamer Chick did check out Haunt the House on her site.

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1:29 PM on 07.26.2015

Steam Security gaff left users vulnerable to anti gambling vigilantes

So most of this is a write up of a reddit thread where these events first happened. On the 25th of July part of Steam's own security system stopped fuctioning. The part in question was the pasword reset code verification system as shown in this video by a Steam and Youtube user showing the now fixed exploit.

The Vunerability as you can see was that you were able to reset any account's password without needing access to their email. So now before everyone goes off in a panic don't worry your Hats should be safe as to log in from using a new device you need the validation code sent to your email otherwise your accounts ability to buy things on Steam or even trade or use the market will be locked down or your own protection. This code system was still functioning so while some nefarious Russian (yes its been suggested it was Russians) did get access to accounts for the most part they were unable to do much, unless the individuals in question had turned off their Steam Guard system (which is on by default do again don't worry).

Another suggestion has been as well as the exploit people had found a possible exploit in a well known CSGO gambling site which uses part of the Steam API to let you log in and uses some information from your Steam account to allow you to bet using your CSGO items and skins. The suggestion is the majority of those hit by this exploit have been steamers who also have been shown using Counterstrike betting sites. The rumour so far is these streamers were targeted in an attempt to stop the unregulated betting problems becoming rampant in parts of E-Sports. 

Now it might shock you to learn I've previously bet on E-Sports. I bet a whole $0.20 of DOTA 2 items. Items that I got free from playing DOTA2 as random drops and I either didn't want or already had a spare copy of and wouldn't be worth selling on. A lot of people do this and have done this for a while. I mean it's not some huge bets and it was a good way to dispose of items or try to get value out of them.

The problem and what the recent group targeting people have alledgedly been objecting to is the unregulated nature of the site such that essentially kids can bet on them, which is a problem. Added to that the idea that kids would use their parents money to buy high priced items from the Steam Marketplace an then put these up on betting sites only to lose them and essentially have lost their parents money. The claim is that this was leading to higher toxicity in matches with abuse sent to losing teams from people who bet on them. In DOTA2 the betting problem has definately lead to some problems most notably the real money betting scene. With past instances of match fixing and more commonly and more recently a rise in pro teams in onine tournaments getting DDossed or even servers DDossed, the present E-Sports betting rules stating that if the servers are deemed unstable or teams internet is a problem while they throw the match most betting sites won't pay ut and will refund all bets. The claim being that people with large bets worried they were going to ose wold pay for botnets to DDoss either pro teams or in some cases regional Valve servers if pro teams were behind Proxy protections. people seeing the small cost of a DDoss from a bot net as a more acceptable loss than their large bet.

The Betting problem is in part not helped by recent developments in the E-Sports world such as Beyond the Summit (a fairly big DOTA 2 competition) having a betting website of a kind sponsor them and having large segments shilling for the site. It appears The Summit may have thought better of it for the next tournament but it did get a bit Wayne's World there for a bit.

All of this brings up a number of questions and potential problems that both Twitch (as the main E-sports viewing platform) and E-sports leagues and groups themselves need to look into addressing. I mean betting websites being heavily plugged in sports Streams open to younger viewers could present a fairly big problem. Heck I've heard it suggested that it could be seen as an issue that Twitch allows you to watch Live Poker and people betting in digital poker as ar as I'm aware without the need to verify your age to do it. There's a reason that Football clubs and other sports have been quite careful with their sponsors and advertising (yes some are still sponsored by betting sites I know, but they don't shill them half as much).

Either way it seems those most impacted by the Steam Security Gaff and almost targeted where those streamers who have regularly shown their participation in CounterStrike betting. Luckily the exploit was fixed within hours of being reported but some well known streamers are likely going to be spending a few weeks unable to do much other than play existing games on their accounts at-least until Steam Support gets back to them and lets them unlock their account restrictions. 

So the big questions from this.

Will this shake consumer confidence in Steam that such a public error happened ?

Do you think the "hackers" were right or wrong to use the exploit to target people they saw as promoting betting in an attempt to stop the betting problem ?

Is E-sports betting set to become an even bigger problem in the future or will regulation step in first ?

 

If anyone has found themselves unable to login due to this Steam Exploit being used on you it should be possible to reset your password again and this time have the reset go to your email to recover your account. If you have for some insane reason diabled Steam Guard you may have to contact support to recover any lost items or undo any transactions if you have payment details saved on Steam.

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2:18 PM on 07.23.2015

Preview: Theo & Lizzy

 

Disclaimer

  • This preview is based on a short amount of time with the game and should not form your entire basis for a purchase or be considered a review. I'd encourage you to check other places for more information and be an informed consumer..
  • Footage recording was done so with an 8 Megapixel phone Camera recording a monitor so the real game will obviously appear far better with less video noise.
  • The Video Audio is muted as the footage was captured at a technology show on the show floor the game itself is not muted / silent.
How to describe Theo & Lizzy ? Well the best way I can describe it is a timing based platformer similar to Super Meat Boy but without direct control over the character. Theo constantly runs forward until he bumps into a wall, at which point he turns round. The gameplay comes from being able to switch which surface Theo is running on from running on the floor to running on the ceiling.
 
Have a look at some of the footage I managed to acquire.
 
        

The first part of the video shows a level which has presently been cut by the developer. Though I'd strongly encourage the developer to try to keep the level in if only as a bonus level, especially considering there was a child of about 8-10 I witnessed managing to beat it.

Hiding Under what, from the poster and other bits of media, looks like what  might get called an "Art game" is actually something that looks like it will be able to blend both narrative and gameplay. The simplicity could work well not just on PC and console but be playable on tablet and mobile devices.

Hint: Even though it's cut throat if it's not much more work then mobile is worth doing if your game has mechanics which would fit the platform. Also remember there's 3 main app stores so while the Google and Apple stores are well known for their volume of titles the likes of the Amazon Marketplace isn't quite that level,

Having played a bit of it, including the level that was taken out, it's very enjoyable to play and I think it will easily find an audience especially if there are a few bonus levels or bits in the game for players who love a bit more of a challenge. Difficult isn't a dirty word or at least shouldn't be in gaming as it makes the success even more enjoyable. The only time people really object to difficulty is when it feels cheap. From what I saw and Theo & Lizzy so far the game does a good job of teaching its core mechanics and slowly ramping up the difficulty. If this is representative of the rest of the game I really think it will be one to look forward to. It seems like it will have both enjoyable gameplay and what could be a very interesting story meaning they'll be something for most people to enjoy.

So with a nice art style, potentially a intriguing story line and simple mechanics which are quite easy to learn yet could provide some quite complex levels and gameplay without feeling difficult. Seriously the game's art style does look great.

For more information you can look at the trailer:


For yet more information you can go to the developers website  or the Game's Website or find the developers on Twitter @_Butcherlab
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9:37 AM on 07.21.2015

Rocksteady - after the asylum?

So I've recently got done with the main parts of Batman Arkham Knight and I'm still debating if it's worth me reviewing it. However I realised something about it and about most of the objections to the game. The idea of this Batmobile tank and peoples objection to its weaponisation; the brutality of Batman throughout the game, this kind of style would really fit one Hero who hasn't seen much quality air. The Green Hornet, for those not too familiar with it here's a quick catch up.

 

So with Rocksteady pretty much done with the Arkham Batman games (short of them making a sequel called Arkham days)  it would be interesting to see what they could do with a franchise which has quite a bit more freedom to it. According to cannon there are and have been multiple Green Hornets so there's plenty of choices. Also other than a the panned film the Green Hornet this character hasn't seen a much attention at all. The Green Hornet doesn't even have much of a rogues gallery beyond mobsters and about 3 colourful characters  so it would be a great opportunity for Rocksteady to be set a bit more free and create a few villains of their own to fill out the rogues gallery.

I think The Green Hornet would be a great fit for the kind of world Rocksteady made for Batman. The Green Hornet is a little more flexible on that no kill policy and is definitely not opposed to guns and weapons as the Black Beauty (His car) has been shown to have machine guns, multiple rocket launchers and a host of other gadgets including smoke screens.

Considering how dark Rocksteady took Batman Arkham Knight it would be interesting to see them take on what was the original far darker character of The Green Hornet who plays up to his criminal / villain persona and even in the TV series threatened and almost tortured enemies for information.

Rocksteady could use a lot of the same mechanics etc from its Batman games with the Green Hornet often using a number of gadgets and with the AI fighting shown off in Arkham Knight it would work well with regularly having both The Green Hornet and Kato in fights. Also the whole remote control Batmobile thing could transfer over with one character in the location and the other in the car.

Oddly one of the best things I found about using the Batmobile was one of the least developed parts and not hugely expanded upon. The High speed car chase sections. In Arkham Knight the game focuses so much upon the battank combat that the high speed car chases seemed to get very much pushed to the back. Sure you have to do the car chase sections to take down the APCs roaming the city and do a few chasing down a villain but other than that it's maybe chasing down the odd Riddler henchman in their car or saving the odd policeman. Car chases play next to no part in the story and yet this seemed very much to be the better use of the batmobile. They'd work very well with The Green Hornet with the option to be trying to escape the police as well as chasing down villains as said previously the car Black Beauty is a rolling arsenal of weapons.

It's also not uncommon for The Green Hornet to be forced to use Stealth tactics to take down larger groups of well armed enemies. So there we go, Rocksteady already have an engine that wouldn't take a huge amount to adapt and it would give them a nice chance to tackle a series that allows  a lot more freedom to it in terms of the stories they can tell. Add in the whole idea of a huge connection to newspaper publishing and there's a number of style options available say for recounting events later on, progress screens or even game over screens. Adding in the elements of the Paper publishing could be a nice touch similar to how in some games radio stations talk of your exploits in this you could have newspaper stands and or radio talking about it.

So will The Green Hornet ride again ? Only time will likely tell. But I'd still love to see what they could do with it.

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