Happy New Year! I suppose I ought to blog even more in 2016, having slacked off a fair bit during 2015 due to work commitments. What are New Year resolutions on my plate? Do up the house a little bit more (we didn’t have the time to do so during the rollercoaster first three years of Natalia’s life), up the training ante when it comes to running and cycling, and perhaps be a better dad to a rambunctious three-year old who only turns four by Christmas next year.
In any case when it comes to games, I’ve yet to finish both games that I’ve set out to play in earnest towards the end of 2015. Both StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void and Fallout 4 are huge timesinks on their own, and I happen to love both of them. My daughter has been running around with the Fallout 4 disc though (she figured out how to eject discs from the PS4 while I need to Google every single time I need to do so), I should be worried.
Fallout 4 is so awesome it’s worth an additional mention here. Settlement building is a fun take on the game, it’s like The Sims, but with Raiders, Gunners…and whatever other factions out to kill and maim your settlers. And the game is so darn difficult even at normal levels, but it’s addictive that way.
In the mean time, stay tuned for more reviews and news coming your way via Nineoverten.com this 2016. I promise.
The one comment that came out from our mouths when my wife and I finally got to watch Mad Max: Fury Road was somewhere along the lines of “Wow, that was over-the-top”. They don’t make movies like this anymore. Did you know as well that there’s a Mad Max game coming out this September? I heard about it but today’s the first time I actually took the trouble to watch the latest trailer for the game (courtesy of a PR e-mail, we reviewer types get those a lot), and it was an interesting 2-minute pitch.
The upcoming Mad Max game’s Stronghold trailer gives a glimpse of the various fortified outposts, or strongholds, located throughout the open world of the post-apocalyptic Wasteland. In the new trailer, Max visits some of the game’s diverse strongholds and encounters a number of intriguing characters, including Jeet, Gutgash, Pink Eye and Deep Friah. In a world where Max faces both his internal and external enemies, these strongholds hold the pieces essential to the puzzle he tries to solve. Max will need to make some uneasy alliances as he prepares to take on merciless Wasteland tyrant, Scrotus.
Featuring deep car customization, metal-grinding vehicular action, brutal melee combat and a vast desert landscape waiting to be explored, players will be fully immersed into the deadly Mad Max universe like never before. Mad Max will be released on Sept. 1, 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC
Sierra has revealed today that the first chapter of the new King’s Quest – titled King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember – will launch as a digital download in North America on July 28 for $9.99 on the PS4 and PS3, as well as Windows PC. It will arrive on July 29 for the same price on Xbox One, and the Xbox 360. It is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and Up) by the ESRB.
In addition, Sierra today announced that a bundle* of all five chapters, including a future bonus playable story epilogue, of the new King’s Quest – named King’s Quest: The Complete Collection* – is now available to pre-order on the PSN and Steam for $39.99. Xbox One pre-orders on the Xbox Games Store will begin on July 7 for the same price.
Developed by The Odd Gentlemen, King’s Quest rekindles the classic feelings of exploration, wit and wonder that have always defined this family-friendly series since its introduction over 30 years ago. The first entry in a planned five-chapter arc, King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember sets the stage for an unforgettable journey to come with original places, puzzles and personalities to discover.
As an aging King Graham reflects on a life of adventure with his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, King’s Quest transports players back to the untold tales of Graham’s youth to experience a story that bridges generations. Stay tuned to Nineoverten.com for further details.
*Chapters and epilogue can be downloaded in-game upon individual release throughout 2015 and 2016.
Boxing has given us some truly memorable moments over the years. The much loved sport is one of the most exciting to watch, that is of course if you happened to miss the bore-fest between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. A sport like boxing is very lucky, not only does it make for compelling viewing in the real world, it is also superb when moved across into the virtual realm. The sport has been a near-constant presence in the gaming world since the 1980s, although in recent years the game has been neglected due to EA Sports opting to prioritise their UFC game. This was a move that left a sour taste in the mouths of many.
Due to the popularity of boxing and boxing games it can come as no surprise that the public have been inundated with boxing games over the years. For the most part, these games are usually knockout victors, but there are some that should just stay on the canvas. Below are some of the best and worst boxing games to have ever made it to market.
James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing
Release Date: 1988/1990
Platform(s): Sega Genesis
Final Blow was a game released by Sega in 1988 that was available on all of the ported platforms. However, in 1990 the game was renamed James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing and released on the Sega Genesis.
At the time of the game’s release, Buster Douglas was riding a wave. Earlier in the year (February, 1990) the American stunned the world, knocking out the unbeaten Mike Tyson in the tenth round – Douglas was priced at 42-1 in the boxing betting. Unfortunately for the slugger, he was defeated by Evander Holyfield in his very first title defence. He was lucky to cash in with Sega when he did.
The side scrolling boxing game was your typical rock ‘em and sock ‘em style game. If you managed to time your strikes correctly, you could unleash a knockout punch on your opponent. You could even enjoy the spectator mode if you wanted to.
Sega were genius in the marketing of the game. Douglas featured in their “Genesis does what Ninten don’t” – the game was considered by many as a response to Nintendo’s Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! The game also took a thinly veiled swipe at Tyson with the in-game character of Ironhead, an obvious reference to “Iron” Mike Tyson.
Wii Sports Boxing
Release Date: 2006
Platform: Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii really did change the way we game. Had it not been for the success of this gaming upstart, would Microsoft and Sony develop Kinect and Move respectively? Probably, but were it not for the Wii then it would have surely taken far longer. You couldn’t help but be impressed by the Wii. At one time it was the must-have console, as proven by the fact that Nintendo has sold more than 100 million units.
Granted the graphics were not worth shaking a stick at, it was 8-bit gaming brought into the 3D world, but the gameplay was innovative and highly enjoyable. Despite its childish nature, it is hard not to enjoy seeing the punches that you are throwing in the living room land on the opposition chin in the virtual world. By nature boxing games are hugely competitive. On the Wii they were even more so. Although you would hopefully never knockout your best friend in the real world, you can’t help but enjoy putting them flat on their back whilst playing on the Wii. And to put the cherry on the cake, all the while you are playing you can pretend to your concerned parents that you are simply working out.
Fight Night: Champion
Release Date: 2011
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Publisher: EA Sports
Fight Night: Champion may draw the ire of some boxing fans who thought that the fighting mechanisms were not as realistic as EA Sports had promoted, however, these folk were certainly in the minority. As of writing, there is yet to be a boxing game that has bettered the quality of graphics and gameplay possessed by Fight Night: Champion.
Many who played the game were left hugely impressed by the “Full-Spectrum Punch Control” that allowed gamers to throw punches by simply flicking the right analogue stick. You could still throw punches by pressing buttons as well. The addition of “Full-Spectrum Punch Control” eliminated the complicated controller manipulations (calculated button mashing) that were essential for the “Total Punch Control” system of previous Fight Night instalments. Moreover, secondary controller buttons (triggers) allowed for uncommon and power punches. The blocking and leaning system was also modified.
What left many amazed was the depth of the Champion mode, something that most sport games neglect. Storytelling is more often amiss within sporting games which made the Champion mode all the more refreshing. The story sees you play the part of Andre Bishop, a boxer who is currently serving time in a correctional facility for a crime he did not commit. After serving his time inside, in which he has numerous unlicensed boxing clashes, he goes to work for his brother, Raymond, another heavyweight boxer. It doesn’t take Andre too long to get back his licence and return to the professional arena, where he makes a very good account for himself with some convincing wins.
All this leads to Raymond challenging his brother in a fight to be named the number one contender. This is a fight that Andre intentionally loses. Raymond goes on to fight the nefarious Isaac Frost, who knocks him out cold with a devastating punch, prompting Andre to challenge Frost to a title match. Andre goes on to claim retribution, beating Frost for the World Heavyweight title and also witnessing DL McQueen, the man who framed him, investigated and eventually jailed. As you can picture from reading this, it is a story mode full of character and one that keeps you glued from start to finish.
With a roster that included Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao, and Roberto Duran, to name just a few, there were plenty of competitors for you to chance your arm with.
Online play was also at the forefront of the game. It was awesome.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Release Date: 1987
Platform(s): Nintendo (NES)
If you were to ask anyone of a certain age – anyone old enough to have owned a NES – what the best boxing game of all time is they would reply in a matter seconds, telling you and anyone else who cares to listen that it is Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out via unanimous decision.
The arcade game Punch-Out had been around since 1984 but Tyson didn’t get involved until 1986. Minoru Arakawa, the founder and former president of Nintendo of America, was in attendance of an early Tyson bout. After watching what was a routine demolition job by Tyson, Arakawa was adamant that he needed to get the ferocious young American on board for the upcoming port version of Punch-Out!!, believing that Tyson’s inclusion in the game would help the game sell. Although it remains very hush-hush, it is widely reported that Tyson was paid $50,000 for a three-year period for his likeness. It is one hell of a deal for Nintendo, a little later on in the year Tyson went on to win the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship from Trevor Berbick, which would have subsequently seen him command a much higher fee.
Playing as Little Mac, a fighter who was grossly undersized in this world of heavyweights, your challenge was to rise to the very top of the sport and topple Tyson to claim the world title. Infuriating would be an apt word to describe this game. Losing a fight, something you end up doing more often than not, sees you fall down the rungs of the ladder, whilst losing to Tyson, the match you have been building up to for ages, signals instant game over.
This was a time when Tyson ruled the world, there were still a few years before he lost to Douglas. It was after that that his career started to seriously decline. First it was his imprisonment, then it was the Evander Holyfield ear bite, and then at the end you had embarrassing losses to journeymen like Danny Williams.
There is no other boxing game quite as beloved as Punch-Out!!, and it is testament to the game’s overall quality that it frequently ranked in the top-10 best NES games ever.
George Foreman’s KO Boxing
Release Date: 1992
Platform(s): SNES, NES, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive
George Foreman was a hellacious boxer. His victory over Michael Moorer in 1994 made him the oldest heavyweight champion of all time at the tender age of 45. Despite his boxing prowess, Foreman has actually made more money from his grilling range, a cool $200 million, than he did from boxing. Foreman won’t mind being remembered for the grill over boxing, at least that way he can distance himself from the diabolical boxing game named after him.
If you have ever had the misfortune of playing KO Boxing, we are truly sorry. The game, which can be classed as a cheap Punch-Out!! imitator, was a horror. The gameplay was stoic and unresponsive, while the graphics were uninspiring to say the least.
Mike Tyson Boxing
Release Date: 2000
Although Tyson was involved in the best loved boxing game of all time, he was also involved with one absolute stinker. Mike Tyson Boxing ties in perfectly with “Iron” Mike’s boxing career post-millennium. It was terrible.
The graphics were shambolic. It looked like a game that should be played on the SNES and not the PlayStation. But you can learn to live with shoddy graphics. Downright awful gameplay, though, is simply unforgivable. Boxing is all about speed, with counter punching being imperative. The 1987 game that featured Tyson vested itself heavily in developing a counter punching style, which added to both its realism and enjoyment levels. However, in Mike Tyson Boxing speed does not exist. If you are to throw a punch you have to wind your arm back as if it were a sling shot. This is an arduous affair that takes at least a second, which in the boxing world would see you put on your back. As a consequence, effective jabbing and counter punching were all but missing in this game.
OMG, Tony Hawk is back! But why does the upcoming Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 look like crap…and there’s no PC version? I just gone through the screenshots, and the video and came away unimpressed. Normally I would get all fan-boy over games that I really like, but this, this looks bad. Someone please tell Robomodo to stop grabbing assets from their PS3 library and move on with the times. The skate parks, apparently based on real-life locations, look so unimaginative (especially the surrounding environment) and downright ugly you might as well think you are playing Counter-Strike Source
According to the press release, it has been 13 years since Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, and Activision, the publisher for this new title, took the trouble to come up with a trailer (the aforementioned video) for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 that includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from developer Robomodo, as well as Tony Hawk and other in-game pros. You can check it out over here, but fair warning, THPS5 is ugly.
Check out the rest of the horrible screenshots below.
The game will be available for the PS4 and the Xbox One on September 29th 2015 for USD 59.99. No release dates have been confirmed for the Xbox 360 and PS3, and I don’t think there’ll be a PC version of the game since the PR doesn’t mention it….and that’s just sad.
In case you missed it, there were are a whole bunch of interesting gadgets announced this week, with one of the announcements made at E3. First up would be Gunnar, the world’s leading creator and manufacturer of computer and gaming eyewear, with its new line of cooperative styles in partnership with Razer…yup, the very folks responsible for bringing cool gaming peripherals like the mouse I’m using for my StarCraft/Diablo sessions.
The GUNNAR Designed by Razer collection unites GUNNAR’s patented i-AMP® lens technology, precision-engineered to reduce eye strain and improve the sharpness of high-resolution displays, with sleek signature black-and-green frames inspired by Razer’s iconic credo: “For Gamers. By Gamers.”
Next up, is SteelSeries, which happens to be a competitor to Razer and a leading global manufacturer of gaming peripherals. They introduced six new console gaming headsets. Combining more than a decade of global gaming expertise with tournament-tested insights from eSports professionals, SteelSeries Siberia headsets are designed to deliver a new level of comfort that console gamers have never felt before.
For Xbox One gamers, SteelSeries is introducing the Siberia X100, Siberia X300, and Siberia X800, each featuring a SteelSeries Xbox One adapter giving gamers fingertip control of volume, chat, and settings. For PlayStation gamers, the Siberia P100, Siberia P300, and Siberia P800 are designed for audio and communication on PS4.
The Xbox One models come at a slight premium compared to their PS4 counterparts, probably due to the adapter and support of Microsoft® 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound on Xbox One. Having said that, for price comparison of the latest gadgets and electronics like the SteelSeries Siberia headsets, check out shop2day.
For more cool peripherals coming out of E3 (or post E3), be sure to stay tuned to Nineoverten.com.
For fans of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, it’s time to update the game as Sierra has released Geometry Wars™ 3: Dimensions Evolved, a free title update which nearly doubles the content in the title originally created by Lucid Games….and oh yes, there’s a Hardcore mode! Check out the screenshots below:
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved ignites the single-player Adventure mode of the original game with 40 additional levels, featuring new boss battles, 3D grid shapes and objectives, as well as a new drone (the Sweeper) and super ability (the Detonator). Adventure mode’s progression requirements have also been rebalanced to make it significantly easier for players to unlock and advance through the full experience.
In addition, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved introduces a “Hardcore” mode featuring 20 dedicated levels with individual leaderboards for die-hard, no-loadout Geometry Wars™ purists to tackle without a drone or super. The game now offers over 100 stages of rapid-fire action across several game modes, including an expanded Classic mode, Bonus challenges, local co-op for up to four players and online competitive multiplayer for up to eight.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved is available in North America as a free download for current owners and $14.99 for new users on the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems through the PlayStation®Network; Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft via the Xbox Games Store; and Windows PC, Mac and Linux via Steam.
Check this out, Final Fantasy fans! The 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCAs), the premier peer-based awards celebrating game development, will be honoring Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the bestselling Final Fantasy series of games and the founder and president of Mistwalker, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the world of gaming. The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday, March 4 at 6:30 pm at the Moscone Convention Center during the 2015 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) in San Francisco, and will be streamed online and open to all GDC pass holders.
At Square Company, Ltd. (now Square Enix), Sakaguchi served as Director of Planning and Development and created Final Fantasy, a groundbreaking role-playing game (RPG) that has since gone on to spawn 13 sequels, numerous spinoffs, films and TV series. The famously prolific series was titled “Final Fantasy” as a reference to Sakaguchi’s plan to leave game development, should the title prove unsuccessful, a plan he ultimately decided to scuttle.
In his tenure at Square, he also helped produce a plethora of iconic titles, including Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve, Kingdom Hearts and many others. In 2004, Sakaguchi founded the development house Mistwalker, where he helped with the creation of Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, The Last Story and Terra Battle. Since its initial release in 1987, the Final Fantasy video game series has sold more than 110 million units worldwide and has received seven Guinness World Records.
“Over his illustrious and thriving career, Sakaguchi-san has established some of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time, and helped cement the RPG genre in Japan and around the world. But the gaming world owes an even greater debt to Sakaguchi-san and team for making a compelling game narrative as important to game development as its graphics and sound,” said Meggan Scavio, General Manager of all GDC events. “Final Fantasy helped pave the way for game stories that dealt with death, regret and character development in a mature and significant way, and we’re proud to honor Sakaguchi-san as a true leader in the space, and an inspired game developer.”
Lifetime Achievement recipients are chosen by the Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Committee, which includes game industry notables such as Doug Lombardi (Valve), Harvey Smith (Arkane), Raph Koster (Independent), Chris Charla (Microsoft) and Erin Robinson(Independent).
The Game Developers Choice and IGF Awards are also excited to reveal the hosts for this year’s award ceremonies. Returning as host for the Choice Awards is Tim Schafer, noted game creator and founder of Double Fine Productions. Tim Schafer has previously hosted the Choice Awards in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. In addition, Capybara Games president and co-founder Nathan Vella (Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Super TIME Force, Below) is returning as the host of the Independent Games Festival Awards after his successful hosting stint in 2014.
Prior to founding Double Fine, Tim spent a number of years at LucasArts where he was responsible for several award-winning adventure games, including Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, also co-designing Day of the Tentacle, and working on the seminal The Secret of Monkey Island 1 & 2. At Double Fine, he has helped produce such acclaimed titles as Psychonauts, Brutal Legends, Broken Age and Once Upon a Monster.
IGF Awards host Nathan Vella is the co-founder and president of Toronto-based independent studio Capy (short for Capybara Games), the developer best known for their work on Critter Crunch, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Super TIME Force and Below.
The Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, March 4th at 6:30 pm at the Moscone Convention Center during the 2015 Game Developers Conference® (GDC) in San Francisco. The ceremony is open to all Game Developers Conference attendees. The show will be held immediately following the Independent Games Festival Awards, and for the fifth consecutive year, those not attending GDC can watch both sets of awards shows live online via GameSpot.com and Twitch.tv.
I’m in the midst of preparing to review Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (which is out now for a whole bunch of platforms), but in the meantime, let me clue you in on the soundtrack. If you are a fan of EDM or electronica, dubstep and the ilk, the official soundtrack warrants a listen right over here:
Have you heard of the Madden Curse? Apparently NFL players featured on the cover of the Madden NFL games would experience a decline in real-life performances, often due to injury. I’m not too sure whether the same applies to the FIFA soccer games on console and PC, but the last guy on the covers (Lionel Messi, FIFA 14) had an injury prone 2013/14 season. In any case, the successor to Maradona is set to be the face of FIFA 2015 (why EA, Ronaldo doesn’t want to tempt the curse?), and Konami has recently announced that World Cup winner Mario Gotze is set to be the face of the upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 2015.
Yup, he’s the dude that scored the World Cup-winning goal during the recently concluded finals. Check out the following press release for futher details on PES 2015: Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced today that Mario Götze is to be lead pack star of PES 2015, with the publisher also confirming that the new football title will be released across North America on all platforms on November 11, 2014.
KONAMI has previously announced a focus around on-field gameplay, with PES 2015 centered on the mantra of ‘the pitch is ours.’ This mantra sees the game faithfully recreating the heart-pumping and nail-biting tension of top-flight football through all-new control elements, including the most authentic close control system ever, new shooting routines, realistic player and team AI that mimics that of the game’s real life counterparts, and enhanced goalkeepers. Based on the focus of PES 2015, KONAMI chose Götze as a player that epitomizes the pace, skill and moments of incredible brilliance that elevate modern soccer with his eye for a pass, intelligent runs, and goal-scoring abilities and the all-round play of the midfielder. Götze will also be prominent in all marketing materials.
Götze heads up PES 2015 on the back of his most successful season to date. The skillful midfielder helped his club team, Bayern Munich, win the German league this year. At just 23 years old, Götze is already a vital player for his club and national teams, and has been described as “one of the best talents Germany has ever had.” By looking at key facets of modern soccer, the PES Productions Team has completely reworked the game’s features. The shooting and goal-keeping mechanics benefit from a new system that allows precise aim and control over a shot’s power and also unlimited shot styles. Similarly, the goalkeeper’s intuitively close angles are capable of an amazing number of ways to react to any situation.
Passing and goal-scoring has also been expanded, allowing for little knock-ons and powerful daisy-cutter passes that use new physics routines to ensure the ball behaves realistically. The close control system also steps up the realism, with the user governing the positioning of a player, but with greater options of how to dribble into space or beat a marker.
The announcement also comes as KONAMI confirms that the game will be released in the Americas for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC (Microsoft Windows) on November 11, 2014. This marks the first appearance of the seminal series on the new wave of console hardware. A free demo will also be available on September 17 across the PlayStation®4, XboxOne, PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360 consoles, where users will be able download and experience the most accurate, satisfying and enjoyable football game to date.