Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Preview - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag


Despite how you may feel about the Assassin’s Creed franchise, you have to admit that it is proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with.  Ever since the release of Assassin’s Creed II there has been a new title every year and somehow they manage to keep things solid.  But the question is, "what is Ubisoft doing to avoid the sixth installment from becoming boring and repetitive?"

In Assassin’s Creed III we played as Conner, a young Native American.  In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag however, we will play as Captain Edward Kenway, the father of Haytham Kenway who is the father of Conner.  The real kicker is that Edward is a pirate and he seems pretty Boss.  

The game is set during the “Golden Age of Pirates” in 1715, when the pirates had a lawless republic in the Caribbean and had control of everything on, and off, the land.  The pirates ruled with an Iron Fist and took what they wanted, when they wanted it.  Edward Kenway was a loose cannon, with practically no limits to his ferocity.  He excelled in every skill under the sun; he was vicious with a sword, deadly with a pistol, and just crazy with the hidden blade. He was so widely acclaimed for his skill and brash, unpredictable behaviour that even Blackbeard spoke highly of Captain Edward Kenway, at times fearfully.

The main appeal in Black Flag is that we will get to play as a pirate. The clever integration of the Naval Warfare system in Assassin's Creed: III so far has been well received, and it will be interesting to see how they go about improving  this already solid system. The main difference we know is that you can now upgrade Jackdaw, Kenway’s ship, and advance through dangerous waters and scour uncharted terrain, in search for treasure and upgrades.  Another new feature to the series is the ability to free-aim instead of the questionable auto-aim system from the previous games; this will steer in a new importance for gunplay in Assassin’s Creed.  Additionally, we can now seamlessly chain together attacks combining multiple weapons via the new combat upgrades.

Sure enough the game will still play like every other Assassin’s Creed game, as the Pirate era is so rich in history and excitement that I believe Assassin's Creed: IV will have more than enough new gameplay elements to make the game exciting. But as to how will the storyline progress without Desmond? We will just have to wait and see…

- Frank Van Der Merwe

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

RETROspect - Freedom Fighters


In 2003 Freedom Fighters came out on every available console at the time, but I played the PS2 version and remains in my collection today.  The story begins with the invasion of New York City by the USSR and drops our hero, Chris Stone, into the thick of an attack that leaves him no option but to join up with the resistance.  It begins rather simple but the story develops into a much deeper and twisted tale filled with murder, war and an epic battle for the people’s freedom.

You’re tasked with completing missions that are set out on a map, each section has its own number of missions to complete and usually somehow tie in with each other.  The first missions has you attacking a police station but you are stopped to help some officers who are pinned down by Russian snipers (stepping outside is an instakill).  A cop gives you C4 explosives and instructs you to blow up the snipers nest from behind; this has you back track to your entry point and jump location to the other mission map.  Once you have planted the explosives and killed the snipers you can head back to the cops and continue on with your attack on the police station.  It was a fantastic way to make the world seam more dynamic and made you feel like you were affecting the environment and other freedom fighters as you played.

You can take control of these units during battle very simply and you can have a quite few of them under your control at one time.  This gives you the advantage of group attacks for quick kills and also decoys to take the heat off you when you are getting hammered and possible sickled by the Soviets.  Each mission you complete and how you approach them affects the amount of charisma you gain which in turn gives you more followers, providing you with a sense of leadership and accomplishment.

There is a level of progression in Freedom Fighters that is lacking in today's market; as you push on in your war against the Red Army you gain allies and status, building up your forces by your acts and losing friends in the wake of these choices.  You gain a real understanding of what Chris stands for as a Freedom Fighter while you invest yourself in the struggle that will ultimately break his people free, regardless of the costs.  

Sadly, a Freedom Fighters sequel was planned but never came to fruition.  I hope that one day IO-Interactive will pick the franchise up again and give us a next gen Freedom Fighters game; the fan base is out there and waiting, so keep your fingers crossed  I know I will be. 
- Will Flynn

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blog and Facebook and YouTube, Oh My!

Hello Blog Followers!

Today is just a general update for you all concerning this blog, and our YouTube and Facebook pages.

Our Facebook is off to a great start with over 50 people liking it so far. If you haven’t already please do, as we have some giveaways lined up!  We update Facebook regularly and all Knights have access and can/will respond. - FACEBOOK

Will and Mitch have been playing Resident Evil 4, and are currently uploading Let’s Plays for it, which is pretty exciting.  The first four rounds are online and ready to watch, so check it out here - Round 1

Lastly our Blog!
June is going to be a pretty awesome month; there are a few big titles such as Remember Me, Last of Us and Deadpool.  Finishing off this month is Grid 2, which I personally am quite looking forward too.  There will also be more Top 10s, Overtimes and RETROspects, so you can get to know who we are and what we like to play.

Give us a shout on Facebook, YouTube or here, we would love to hear from you!

-Steff

Friday, 24 May 2013

Resident Evil: Revelations - Final Round Review


The Resident Evil franchise has hit a rough patch in the last few years and many people have been calling out to Capcom for a more horror focused entry to the series.  Thankfully they have listened, to a degree, in the form of a HD port of the highly praised 3DS original: Revelations.  Players once again have the chance to embark upon a fight of survival through Monsters, violence and scares as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of the Queen Zenobia.
                      
The main story focuses on Jill Valentine and her new partner Parker Luciani, who become trapped on the cruise ship ‘The Queen Zenobia’ while looking for series favourite Chris Redfield; things spiral out of control and it becomes a scramble to work out what the hell is going on.  The game is split up into episodes, like the 3DS version, giving you an overview on the missions prior.

This port has had some major alterations that make it more than just a simple copy and paste of what was; this includes new enemies, weapons, rearranged enemy layouts and the introduction of some visual and audio tools to help the game become smooth in its HD transition.  The games score in particular sounds even more impressive now that it can be heard in 7.1 surround sound and it builds apprehension in moments that really get your heart racing.  Revelations doesn’t looks as slick as some more recent titles such as Resident Evil 6, but this proves yet again that style does not make up for a lack of substance.

Each area on the ship has its own distinct features that still retain a dark and murky feel, even when the area you are standing in is entirely illuminated up you never feel safe.  Character models have also been touched up to gross out and scare unsuspecting victims: with dripping maws ripped into the sides of what would have been a human, or eyes growing where they shouldn’t.  All the creatures have some sort of resemblance of sea life, so if you have no love for the ocean or what lives in it you’re in for a treat.

One of the major features for Resident Evil: Revelations is the introduction of Raid Mode, also available on the 3DS version, which is an extra mode that gives players the objective of getting from point A to B as fast as possible.  What makes this so fun and addictive is that you are rewarded for exploring every room and fighting every enemy.  Of course you are able to replay missions as often as you like to max out your score; these missions are also available in co-op for double the fun.  Topping it off, Raid Mode offers a loot and level based unlock system, giving you better weapons and customisable parts the more you play.  You can find some insane weapons during play such as a legendary weapon named the Pale Rider, my personal favourite, which is a three round heavy calibre magnum with a barrel length of more than 2 feet (think the Jokers gun in the 1989 Batman movie)!  So far the amount of hours I have put into Raid Mode could very well be considered medically unsafe.

Resident Evil: Revelations is the title we have been asking for; it returns to the survival-horror element that made the franchise so popular in the first place but gives it the necessary updates to make it fresh and playable by today’s standards.  With a plethora of unlockable content and multiple difficulties I found myself coming back to Revelations.  If you’re still unhappy with how Resident Evil 6 turned out then grab a copy and jump back into what made you love the horror in the first place. 


FINAL ROUND RATING  -  9/10

- William Flynn

Sunday, 19 May 2013

News and Announcements - NextGen Xbox



The new Xbox will have its announcements made on the 22nd of May at 3am AEST. Final Round will be doing a commentary of the event and a discussion of each feature and product during the live feed.

So join us nice and early for our video on what we think will be good or not so good about the new Xbox. The video will be made available here when you wake up! à http://www.youtube.com/finalroundgames

You can also check out the whole thing here at 3am just like us à  www.xbox.com.au

- Will

Friday, 17 May 2013

Update Time


Hello Everyone!

We have some news today:

First up – We have Facebook finally (applause)
Like it and see us in your newsfeed, how exciting!!


Next – We have new videos up on our YouTube Channel; if you haven’t already you should check it out.


And finally – If you didn't know, Xbox are revealing their new console on May 22nd at 3am Australian Eastern Standard Time; we will be recording and commenting on this event and posting it up same day.

This is pretty awesome for us as we are just starting our second month of posting and we have a lot more content lined up.  Let us know what you think so far!!   - Steff

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Metro Last Light - Final Round Review



When you think post-apocalypse you think of bleakness and sadness, of the struggle to survive each day, and this is the world that is portrayed in Metro: Last Light. Everything from the tunnels you walk in to the people you talk to, you can feel the ever present dread of a painful death waiting around the corner. The tunnels that once kept you safe are becoming more dangerous by the passing minute and there nowhere left to hide.

It rained so hard i could hardly see at times.
When Metro begins its story, you are greeted with a griping cinematic that immediately grabs your attention. It reveals an important piece of back story to main character Artyom’s childhood and what his life was like before the bombs fell. This opening sets the standard for the level of narrative that has been weaved into the new Metro; unlike the original which would go long stretches without so much as a monolog between the loading screens. Each of the characters introduced to Artyom play a part in building on the strong narrative with both other characters and yourself. 4A Games worked closely with Dmitry Glukhovsky (the author of Metro: 2033) to craft a deep and engrossing story with memorable characters, which is a hard target to hit in any game let alone a first person shooter.

Metro has some of the best controls in a first person shooter I have seen in a while, and this is attributed to the fact that you have lots of options on how you want your gun to operate. Adding in scopes and stocks to your weapons allows you to think about what you want out of your weapon; do you want an extended magazine to go John Rambo style, or would you rather a silenced rifle with a night vision scope to pick off your enemies from the dark? 4A games has built on the weapon types in Metro 2033 and added more features to customise your weapons to your particular shooting style. Stealth is defiantly an option this time around; you can actually approach enemies from behind and kill them without the entire metro finding out your location. I find myself scoping each new scene checking my inventory to see what my options are, and enjoying the hell out of it.

Unfortunately Last Light does suffer from some repetitive moments that can be a pain, namely the ‘defend yourself while waiting for someone to pick you up’ moments. This always seems to happen towards the end of a level while holding a single clip of pistol ammo and no med kits, and is really only an issue when said level consisted mostly of beast and creatures, not allowing you not save your precious ammunition for a hard fight. A plus side to this is that you get to have intense close encounters with the large variety of enemies and creatures.

Last Light can be truly beautiful in a dark sort of way
Metro is a gorgeous looking game, but it is not without its bugs. On a few occasions my lighters flame has become a white block on the screen where the flame should have been; this can also occur while switching to my night vision goggles and firing my weapon. This is not a big issue but it does break the immersive gameplay that is otherwise nearly flawless. While above ground the world is full of more colour and variation then before; the lakes, swamps and cities are slowly being taken back by nature is a sight to behold and the accompanying score is glorious. The voice acting in Metro Last Light is greatly improved over the previous installment  giving most characters a more authentic Russian accent. Occasionally you may come across a bug where the weapons have no sound effects, though this only lasts a second or so, I have no doubt that 4A games will have this cleaned up with a day one patch.

With its mix of atmosphere and explosive action, Metro: Last Light will have you traversing its tunnels for hours on end; if not for the refreshing narrative then for the awesome shoot outs and crazy monsters. This is a refreshing approach to the first person genera which has become rather stagnant in the last few years. If you are a fan of post-apocalyptic settings, or even just first person shooters in general, Metro will have you covered.  

FINAL ROUND RATING:   9/10


– William Flynn

Monday, 13 May 2013

Top Ten - Most Annoying NPCs


Throughout gaming there has been no shortage of annoying NPCs. For some reason, no matter how smart the AI gets, there is always some lunatic that makes you want hurl your controller/keyboard at the screen. This is my personal Top 10: Most Annoying NPCs let me know yours in the comments.



Number 10: Noober from Baldur’s Gate

Now this guy creeps in at number 10 for being the first annoying character I encountered in my life. Noober feels it was important to pin me into a corner, open a dialog box (which has to be closed before play continues) and ask me dumb questions like “Am I annoying you?” Yes Noober, you are annoying me.


Number 9: Cooking Mama

To this day I still don’t know why I played this game… This lady thought it would be great to yell incomplete sentences at me while I try to peel carrots and cook gnocchi at the same time. “A little bit” she would say. A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT?!?!


Number 8:  Sticky from Fallout 3

Sticky is a character in an Escort missions, but is the type of person that you just want to strangle. Seriously, he’s like a modern day Noober: “Are you sure you know where you’re going?...” Yes I know where I’m going, I have damn GPS on my Pip-boy! The great thing in Fallout 3 is you have the option, if you hate him as much as I do, to just shoot him in the face. Now that is true freedom.


Number 7: Mr. Bigpig from Spy Fox in “Dry Cereal”

I’m just going to start off by saying that this is the reason why I love eating bacon. I wanted nothing more that to annihilate this damn pig. Not only was he frustratingly hard to beat at Go Fish, but he was just plain rude. “Give me a four!” he’d yell. No please or thank you. What a douche. 

Touch the Demon inside me…
don’t worry, he’s not a bad Demon

Number 6: The Maiden in Black from Demon’s Souls

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for badly translated dialog and awful voice acting, it’s part of what makes games fun. But I draw the line when it’s a continuous drone of mispronounced words and sentences that just don’t make any sense. That being said I still didn’t have the heart to kill her, even if it meant the world might be mended… the world might be mended.


Number 5: Everyone in Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls games are just wonderful. To this day I still play Morrowind and Oblivion, even Daggerfall at times. Skyrim on the other hand was different; the gameplay was great, the graphics were wonderful, the freedom was something to behold but the NPC’s were questionable at best. Stop telling me what you think is wrong with people, and shut up about your damn knee!


Number 4: Kaepora Gaebora from Ocarina of Time

This is arguably the greatest game ever made. Everything about it was ground breaking but somehow familiar. I know a lot of people will instantly say Navi is the most annoying character, but I honestly feel that damn Owl was the biggest troll I have ever come across. All I know is that when he started explaining things to me all I wanted to do fall on my sword. Damn birds.


Number 3: Those damn Homeless/Drunk Lunatics in Assassin’s Creed

Let’s face it, anyone who played AC1 knows these guys and hates them with a burning passion. When I’m running through the streets being awesome and what not, I don’t want some drunk pushing me into guards resulting in a long tedious chase sequence; only to then be pushed by another lunatic into my pursuer’s oncoming blade.


Number 2: Aku-Aku from Crash Team Racing

Ok, I know he’s a good guy and what not and is actually really helpful in every other Crash Bandicoot game, but in CTR he is nothing more than an irritating floating plank of wood. After just about every race he feels the need to explain to you what a trophy is, or something in that vicinity. The real kicker is that you can’t skip any of it… Dude, just let me race!


Number 1: Moneybags from Spyro

This guy is undoubtedly the most irritating NPC that I have ever come across. The sheer hatred I have this guy is unparalleled. Who has ever heard of charging someone to be able to breath underwater? It’s a slap in the face. But, alas, Insomniac made it all worth it in Year of the Dragon when you get to beat the living crap out of Moneybags and take back all the gems he took from you, so satisfying.

Written By: Frank

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Overtime Gaming - Evoland



Evoland: a beautiful land of countable pixels, dungeon exploring and simple combat – until you open some more chests.

When the adventure begins, it looks like something out of the 90’s game boy range; the world is black and white and very simple.  It was a fascinating game to play, straightforward yet captivating, definitely an instant classic.  Throughout there are numerous references and parodies of some of the most well known games in history, including The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Final Fantasy and Diablo.

You embark on your adventure as a nameless young boy in a strange land, once you reach the first town a potion gives you the ability to name your character, and the story continues as a classic RPG does, vaguely.  Not much is explained as you explore caves, dungeons and towns, fighting different enemies and the occasional boss.  The story climaxes and ends incredibly fast, just as you hit the meat of the game and obtain all abilities/upgrades, it’s over.

 This is okay since Evoland’s main focus is on interacting with the history of video games and only takes into account the major advancements in the RPG genre.  This evolution happens while battling a large variety of recognizable monsters and enemies, who also follow the evolutionary trend.  Combat isn't too exciting and has very little depth as it is all done through the use of spacebar, even when the battle jumps from action based to turn based it continues to use one key.  While there are a few different weapons, such as a bow and also bombs, you rarely use them in anything other than a few of the clever puzzles.  

The soundtrack is probably the most outstanding part of the evolution in the entire game.  From a nostalgic 16-bit tune to a fantastic theme song, full of victory sounds and item pick-up jingles, as you advance.  Even when the gameplay goes back in time and it goes back to 16-bit the theme song doesn't lose any of its catchy melody.  The main draw to the game is definitely the evolving visual, audio and gameplay style and this is all triggered by opening any and all chests you come across.


While looking for these chests, you find yourself exploring vast open fields, random small towns, and dungeons filled with an additional range of adversaries and boss fights.  Of course these chests don’t always contain things which are useful, but it is hard to walk away from a potential upgrade or easter egg, even if that means exploring that cave again, just in case.  You may even find yourself fighting wasp creatures that somehow co-exist with a mutant turtle and his pet snakes once more, just to be sure you have everything you need.  There is such an abundance of hidden collectables and there is certain appeal to finding them all.

It is not necessary to complete Evoland 100% but it is definitely worth it, because everything is filled with nostalgic fun that leaves you wanting more.  It is a fantastic Indie title, and although it only scratches the surface of video game history, Evoland has proven its value in both time and money.    - Frank Van Der Merwe

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Top Ten - Scariest moments in Fatal Frame 2


Welcome to Final Rounds top ten! This time I am looking at the horror epic that is Fatal Frame 2 (also known as Project Zero 2). This is my list so if you think there are scarier moments, comment below and let me know!


Number 10: Executing a Fatal Frame

This is where the player has to wait for the perfect moment to snap a photo of their attacker to vanquish there spirit.  The window is only open for a split second and if you miss, it can end Mio’s life in many horrific ways.


Number 9: The Hand on your Shoulder

When the game fully begins, your sister, Mayu, is trying to comfort you and places her hand on your shoulder, only to have Mayu stroll past you on your other side. It is unnerving to think that these spirits can get so close to you without even noticing them.


Number 8: The Woman in the Box

When you are low on health or in need of some film to keep the creeping horror away, you start to open every chest, draw and box you can find. Unfortunately there is a ghost who is in a special kimono box and as you open it she creeps out and away, looking elsewhere, before clambering after you.


Number 7: The Nail Marks

In a particularly unsettling hallway you can hear the screams of people dying and when you round the corner that leads into another room you see, off in the distance, someone dragging a body around the next corner. Once you have worked up the courage to investigate you find deep clawed marks in the floor and walls, presumably left behind by the people dragged to their deaths.


Number 6:  Your Twin Sister

As the game progresses, your own sister becomes something of a nightmare. Mayu begins to hear the voices of the dead and starts to follow their orders. I won’t say anymore but it gets rather crazy.


Number 5:  The Dark Room

Fatal Frame has some of the most disturbing cut scenes in video game history; one in particular sees your character walking slowly into an empty room, lightning flashes outside blinding her for a split second in which she stumbles over something. When lightning flashes once again the room is filled with dozens of bleeding corpses and a woman, Sae, standing amongst them, covered in blood and laughing hysterically.


Number 4:  The Spirit Radio

To solve some puzzles you will need clues, and they can come in the form of documents or spirit stones that you must put in your spirit radio.  The Radio then channels energy from the stone and leaves you with an eerie recording from the dead. This is an important part to the game and is horribly creepy to use, the voices which come through are filled with static and are unclear, all together, spine-chilling.


Number 3:  The Fallen Woman

The sound of someone falling to their death is unpleasing to anyone.  Imagine hearing that person relive their fatal fall over and over again.  In one area of the game you hear just that, and, unsure of where the sound is coming from, you push on down the hall where you are greeted by a stairwell and silence.  It’s not until Mio’s part way up the stairs that you hear it again, and in that moment in glorious slow motion you see the cause of such a disturbing sound.  A woman falls past you, catching your eye for a split second, and you then hear her plunge to her death at the bottom of the stairs with that same sickening thud.


Number 2:  Looking into the Abyss

For me, this is one of the creepiest things to have happened in any game ever. At the climax of the story, depending on difficulty level and how you have played, you glance into what is called the “Hellish abyss”. This is so terrifying that you actually go lose your eyesight. THAT IS MESSED UP.



Number 1: DROPPING YOUR FRIGGIN' CAMERA

Seriously, you drop your camera. And on top of dropping it, you have the laughing girl from the dark room scene chasing you relentlessly through the mansion. You have to figure out how to double back and to pick it up again without being caught, as the way you came was one way. All you can do is run and pray that Sae doesn’t catch you, even hiding in a closet in one tense scene. Did I mention that you don’t have your camera? 


Written by: Will Flynn

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Overtime Gaming - Afterfall: Insanity



This week I’ve been putting a lot of time into a new game I picked up on Steam called Afterfall: Insanity. It’s a third person psychological-scifi-horror game developed by Intoxicate StudiosTaking a lot of ideas from Dead Space and adding its own flavor, Afterfall follows a more post-apocalyptic story line.

Our hero is a psychiatrist who has insomnia, and is struggling to keep his nightmares and reality separated. This gives us the early idea that Tokaj (pronounced Toe-kai) might be a little bit unhinged, and this impression escalates throughout the story.  Tokaj has been sent on a mission to find out why people elsewhere in their underground shelter have begun to act strange. It’s simple but gets the game started quickly and is interesting enough to keep you wanting to know more.

Afterfall has some pretty grisly moments
The game play is designed around a fairly well rounded shooter and being able to use a number of melee weapons to whale on your enemies is pretty grand.  There is also a useful dodge ability which is very helpful in the narrow corridors when enemies start attacking from all directions.  This occurs regularly, as the level design is rather claustrophobic, and can make for some tense combat.  There isn’t a massive array of foes, fast or slow and with or without weapons, and you find yourself against the same variation often but somehow I am still enjoying it. 


Afterfall: Insanity grabbed my attention with its B movie horror plot and interesting setting, the voice acting is pretty wooden but it just adds to the atmosphere. This may seem bad but when put together in just the right way you get something special, it falls between the layers of good and bad and somehow becomes charming and enjoyable. It is by no means perfect, or even close for that matter,  but it is only ten dollars AUS on the Steam store, so if you are looking for something with a B movie level of cheesiness  or an atmospheric survival shooter than you might want to give Afterfall: Insanity a look.
-          
            - William Flynn