Category: Console Gaming

Building a Better World…One Brick at a Time.

Building a Better World…One Brick at a Time.

I love Lego games…more accurately, I love the idea of lego games, as do Pinky Pie (8) and Groot (5) . Groot’s barely contained excitement and antipation as the game installs, has him bouncing off things and firing off questions about who he can play as and what he has to do, at a rate that often makes me wonder if he is breathing through gills.

The Excitement soon fades, to be replaced with frustration as he struggles to progress through the prescribed, story arc. ” I need help”… small and thoroughly disheartened voice cries out…. “DAD TO THE RESUCE” …I cry, as I stride over to the couch with a completely overinflated sense of my own ability, a feeling which, disappears rapidly as I discover that I have no more of an idea about what I’m suppose to be doing, than does Groot.  Pinky Pie keenly observing all of this, offers helpful advice  but not long after, we collectively give up and play Forza Instead. (if you ever wondered how much damage you can to the  Australian Outback in a Lambo, keep an eye out for some game footage I’ll post of Pinky Pie at the wheel !!!)….  “why can’t we just run around and build things and fight bad guys dad ?” ask  Groot….” I don’t know son….I just don’t know”

FEAR NOT GROOT OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED !!

 

Travellers Tales, subsidiary of Warner Brothers Interactive, have been bringing us Lego games, based around our favourite movies  since 2005s. 2017 see’s a departure from this with the release of Lego Worlds, a single or multiplayer sandbox platform which lets your imagination run wild as you explore and craft worlds in your own image. This game is available on PS4, Xbox one and via steam.

It is a free play style game as with most sandboxes, but there are quests you can complete on the worlds, which reward you with a variety of different rewards, There are “studs”, which are the standard in game currency of the Tt games, franchises, as well as gold bricks which you accumulate to level up and unlock new worlds to explore. As well as special Lego pieces or objects. There are also treasure chests, which spawn randomly around the world, many of which, you need to use the landscape tool in order to get to. They could be buried  far under ground or on at the top of a mountain.

There are NPC’s around which will give you quests to complete, and plenty of special items to discover which adds to your repository of items…everything from  dinosaur bones to a horse and carriage can be scanned and replicated.

The initial tutorials progress you through the use of the various tools at your disposal which will let you shape the worlds you explore, buy giving you one tool at a time and then providing a series of quests in which you much use that tool to complete the quest and again your reward, before unlocking the next tool.

These tools allow you to reshape the landscape, cut and paste objects and structures, paint the world, or build things one brick at a time, using brick shapes you collect during your adventure.This is a multi player platform which lets you visit the worlds other people have created and lets you create and populate your own worlds and share them with other people.

At the time of writing this I have not had a chance to try out the online play, however the general feed back on the single player mode, from Pinkie Pie and Groot was extremely positive. A game that lets them each focus on their strengths and preferences for playing in sandbox environments, I except to see massive complex structure including many statues in praise of Milo, our Tokenise…(or as he likes to think if himself…our household god !) Groot will need to a little more practice with the some of the tools but that didn’t stop him from thoroughly enjoying himself.

All in all we each had at lot of fun with game and look forward to seeing what worlds we will forge.

 

When big brands make love: Lego Star Wars and ‘The Force Awakens’

When big brands make love: Lego Star Wars and ‘The Force Awakens’

The marketing department assigned to Star Wars is probably as large as The First Order, and merchandise is a big part of Disney’s plan for galactic domination. So  it’s no real surprise we have a new Lego Star Wars game to go with the latest movie.

Most serious Star Wars fans by now will have seen ‘The Force Awakens’. By June, those who are content to watch it at home on DVD will probably have had their chance to see it too. That means by the middle of the year, the plot of ‘The Force Awakens’ will be as well known as the weak spot on the Death Star. Throw in the bonus of most US schools being on vacation, and June 2016 seems a reasonable time to launch Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Retelling the Star Wars stories with their signature quirky humour, the Lego Star Wars games are among the most played games on our XBox 360.  Jetite has conquered all the existing games, and unlocked a staggering amount of characters – including  Indiana Jones. The Lego Clone Wars game was also our first attempt at playing something like an RTS against each other. 

As a parent, the Lego Star Wars games have a lot going for them.

  • They’re easy to pick up and play – which means even non-gamers in the family can join in the fun.
  • Cartoon style combat, no bad language and no (obvious) adult themes – makes them suitable for a wide range of ages.
  • Adult ‘in jokes’  – although sometimes quite subtle,  there’s more humour to these games than just the slapstick stuff that makes the kids laughing out loud.

Which brings us to the trailer for the new game. It really does suggest the latest instalment to the Lego Star Wars franchise will be sticking to the formula they know works – poking fun at the movie.

But what about Disney Infnity? Isn’t there a Force Awakens game for it too?

Yes, indeed there is.

  

And I’ll admit to being a little surprised to see two games going after what I assume will be pretty much the same market.  I can only assume that when Lego rocked up with a bag full of money to buy the licence for the latest game, Disney felt confident they wouldn’t be cannibalising their Infinity product.  It’s even possible the  June 2016 launch for Lego was imposed by Disney, creating a six month window in which Infinity ‘Force Awakens’ could promote itself without competition. 

When Lego finally launch in June, Star Wars buzz will be well past its peak. It’s going to be interesting to see if the strength of the Lego brand, and the legacy of its previous Star Wars games, will be enough to make the game a commercial success. 

From Test Drive to Total Recall: The visual experience of gaming

From Test Drive to Total Recall: The visual experience of gaming

Gaming has changed a lot in my lifetime.

One of my earliest gaming experiences was playing the original ‘Test Drive’ car game on my uncle’s PC. At the time, the Hercules graphics card was the state of the art in home computer graphics. The video below, though it’s an emulation, gives you a pretty good feel for what that experience was like.

Oh how things have changed.

Here’s me driving my little Opel Astra on a rain soaked track in Forza 6.

It’s a world away from the laggy, two-tone graphics of the original Test Drive.

If we’re not yet at the stage of photorealistic console games, one has to imagine they’re just around the corner. Once 4K televisions become more common, we’ll probably see even more demand for console gaming to take its next step forward in visual quality.

But what if we look even further out?

By the time Jetite reaches my age, how far the visual experience of gaming have advanced? How will things like augmented and virtual reality change the gaming experience in the coming decades? Perhaps the TV screen will be obsolete! Will the future of gaming be like Star Trek’s “holodeck”? Or will it  be purely in our minds – closer to the virtual memories of Total Recall?

Interesting times ahead.

Star Wars Battlefront: Nothing like the stomp of an AT-AT

Star Wars Battlefront: Nothing like the stomp of an AT-AT

  
If you’re a fan of the Star Wars universe, you’ll want to check out the eye candy that is the latest Star Wars:Battlefront game.

This week I finally succumbed and bought myself an XBox One. The decision to upgrade was primarily motivated by the desire to play the latest version of Star Wars Battlefront, but other titles like Forza 6 and the upcoming Mass Effect title also played a part.

There may be a longer post to follow on the whole path to purchasing an XBox One and getting it up and running. But having just stepped away from a couple of hours of Battlefront, I wanted to take a few minutes to say “Wow”.

Let’s get something out of the way up front. I suck at first person shooter (FPS) games. I suck badly. My reflexes and hand eye coordination are pretty ordinary, even for someone my age. So what you’re getting here is the first impressions of someone who isn’t a regular player of this genre. But what I am a fan of is Star Wars.

So what are my first thoughts?

A lot of hard work has gone in to ensuring this game feels like the Star Wars universe fans know and love. (Check out this article on the making of the game for why this game looks so good).

This game is beautiful. From the way the wind whips the snow up on Hoth, to splashing through streams on Endor, the environments you do battle in are gorgeous.

There’s also lots of little things done well. Running across the snowy landscape of Hoth, you leave clearly formed footprints behind you. If you charge out of a dimly lit bunker in to the full glare of Tatooine’s twin suns – you’re temporarily blinded by the glare.

But better than that, the battles I’ve experienced so far feel just like you imagine they should.

I’ve spent most of the previous hour playing the ‘Walker Assault’ mode, which involves fighting alongside or against an invading AT-AT force.

When you’re fighting against the AT-AT’s as they trudge across Hoth’s snowy white plains, their size and firepower make them seem like almost invincible machines of death. Which is how it should be.

On the flip side, fighting as an Imperial soldier alongside an AT-AT is terrifying in its own way. Using the AT-AT’s legs for cover, the controller vibrated in my hands each time the At-At’s heavy steel feet stomped against the rocky desert of Tatooine.

Although its very early days yet, I’m loving Battlefront. After I’ve spent more time playing, I may have more to say about the gameplay. But for now, I’m still just enjoying being wowed by the world that DICE has managed to create for fans of the Star Wars universe.