Max Payne 3

Initially I started playing this game under the belief that it was free roam. I'm a huge Rockstar fan and one of the main reasons for this is because they understand how to make a sandbox environment and they know how to make it incredible. So, when I found out that this was NOT a free roam game I was a little bit upset about it. 

 

The first mission was a little bit frustrating. Whilst I did want to know the story, I also wanted to play the game. The 10 minute FMV at the beginning didn't make that easy. Max is an awesome character. He had this "Breaking Bad" moment where he shaved his head and kept the beard and I must say he looks quite badass. Once you get into the game you find out that you're on a mission to protect some people from danger. Usual story line ensues! You are there to protect them from danger so they are immediately put in danger by some sort of local terrorist group.  

Your first mission on the game is a tough one. They kept the health system basically the same. Knock back a few pain killers to recover health. If you're like me, though, and decide to play this in hard mode then it does not help much. 3 shots and you're dead, usually. So, I did this Mass Effect style. I turned Max Payne into a cover based shooter! I love the new techniques in killing. When you kill the last enemy in any area the game will go into slow motion and show you a very graphic explosion from where the bullet went through the bad guy. 

Pushing through the game you learn some of the unique abilities to help you get through some of the tougher areas in the game. One I particularly like is the slow motion dive. You basically dive in slow motion and kill as many people as possible. I think my record dive is 8 seconds but I'm sure people have probably beaten that score. The integration of Rockstar's "Social Club" makes the game that little more intense as you are trying to compete with your friends scores and survive to the next checkpoint at the same time! 

The next ability is just to slow down time. Each time you kill an enemy a little bar will fill up. The more juice you got in there, the longer slow mo' will last. If the bar is full you have roughly 6-8 seconds of slow motion, which is helpful when enemies charge at you with a shotgun or AK-47, and ohhhh boy do they charge. So many times I was on the last enemy in an area and he just charged at me and got me while I was reloading.  

The game is mission based. You go from mission to mission and slowly fight your way across São Paulo, Brazil. Along the way you can pick up pieces to assemble golden versions of your weapons. Each gun requires 3 pieces and they are scattered everywhere. So not only are you fighting enemies but you are also looking in the corners of every single area and looking for weapons or clues. Clues are usually around the place as well and they just give you more information about the people you're after or the area you're in. You can also watch tv, there's something that Rockstar seem dead set on putting in every game! 

All-in-all the game is not what I expected but it still incredibly good. Whether you like dual pistol slow motion from behind cover or you just like to charge in with a shotgun and destroy rooms filled with gun-toting lunatics, this is the game for you. Rockstar brought their A-game with them and presented an awesome game. My ONLY complaint is the constant wavy screen. Every time there's a new sequence or you take pills or anything happens that's not running, shooting or reloading, it causes the screen to go wavy. Mostly for memory sequences too. The fact it is not sandbox is sad to be too because I like a game with good replay value and realistically, other than to collect the golden gun parts, this is not a replay game. This is a play it once and trade it in style game! If you can rent it for a week, I would suggest that more. Besides this I actually have no fault with the game, it's certainly an awesome game to play.

Overall Score: 8/10

- Ken Seiler

League of Legends

Based on the recent controversy with League of Legends (click here to read) I have decided to give it a try and see what it was like. Overall this review is very negative but keep in mind that this is just my own opinion based on my own experiences.

Straight off the bat I dislike the levelling up system. It is a very very slow process. I played for 6 hours to get to level 5, granted I'm not very good and it took a while to get to the point of knowing what I'm doing. I'm not really sure if that's a good thing or not, but still. It takes a long time to get the hang of the menu and figure out how to navigate to game play and even then it takes a while to figure out what each game play mode is. Saying that, if you have a handle on the online experience then you will probably get it much better than I did! But enough of this solid negativity, the game itself is actually quite good! I enjoy the character selection and the overall powers and ability's of the game. You do have a HUGE variety. Each week you get a new set of characters to choose from and you can select one that suits your own style (and there will ALWAYS be one that suits any style) which makes it quite fun and unique.

I like that when you play each round you can level up your character and buy equipment and then when you're done and start a new round with a whole new selection of equipment. This is a unique way of playing that I've never experienced before. It is a very good game, I can't stress this enough but I do have a lot of bad points about the game that makes it lose a lot of points in my book. But do keep in mind that this is, of course, just my opinion!

I really and truly dislike how difficult the people playing the game make it for you. If you have a style that doesn't suit theirs they will make it known. They rush you when you're making your character selections and they truly made learning how to play quite difficult and frustrating. I didn't encounter any one who just took the time to help me out so I could benefit the team better. My friend (Pure Parkour) did offer his services and in doing so I did get a better score and enjoy the game a lot more but I think without him I would of enjoyed that game a lot less. 

I haven't seen a lot of variety in the mission types but what they have is actually quite fun! You can go against robots or humans and you can set it to beginner or expert so it gives you a lot of challenges when you need it and you can certainly take it at your own pace. You can upgrade abilities too which is great so while you're playing you will eventually get faster, stronger, stronger magic and better health. You earn money (per wave) quite quickly which will let you buy those special upgrades and therefore get more kills and make more money and the cycle continues. However, you don't keep the abilities once the round is over. This is something (as i said previously) that I like and find unique but I can imagine it would wear thin.

I know that they probably make their money from Micro-transactions as this is a free to play game but I think it is far far far too difficult to earn money to buy characters and upgrades. To summarize; This game may have good qualities but it certainly has bad ones too. If you can ignore the people and you just play for fun then this is the game for you. It has a lot of variety, characters and abilities and once you figure your way around then it becomes a really fun way to spend your time! If you are easily bothered by difficult navigation, generally bad sportsmanship and a really difficult levelling up system then this is not the game for you.

Overall Rating: 5/10

- Ken Seiler

Steam

For those of you who don't know, Steam is an marketplace for buying and downloading games for your computer. Every member of KJBcast uses it on a very regular basis (and plug it every chance we get!). It's a free service that allows you to purchase games online.

Their library is insanely huge and they have amazing prices. We all got Supreme Commander 2 and it's DLC for a total of €9 the other day. They have specials and discounts all the time which allows you to get your favourite games for crazy cheap. 

They also have a system of achievements for their games (not unlike xbox) which allows you to get points in the same way you would on Xbox Live. They also have a party system so you can talk or type to your friends whilst playing games. This, along with a very easy-to-navigate system makes Steam the perfect, user friendly, gaming market place. As a Mac user I love their game selection, they even have a Mac friendly section filled with games, video and DLC suited just for the apple computers. There are a lot of games I wish were on Mac but that is not Steams fault. They offer as much as possible (if not more). 

Another great feature is that they store your purchases. If you should get a new computer or remove a game that you previously purchased you can download it once again! It makes it a lot easier to keep your games and gets rid of the need to keep those stupid disks and unlock codes safe. Steam does all the heavy lifting and storing for you! You can even back up your game save files (which is strongly suggested) whenever you like. I generally do this at least once a month to make sure that I'm never losing some valuable game saves. I know that Jack, another member of KJBcast, lost his whole computer a few months back and could re-download his games but could not get his saves back so it is also suggested that you store your saves to an external hard drive or USB key and keep that safe. 

You can add your own games to Steam too, even if they are not on Steam themselves. This makes it easier to access all your games and programs when you need to! I do this so that once I boot up and it logs in to Steam I can access my game files immediately. No fuss - No muss. It's a really effective system that just keeps going! They are currently adding a new feature to mobile version that allow you to download your games remotely to your computer. So, if your computer is on and you are out then you can begin the download process so that you don't have to wait when you get home! 

Steam are constantly growing. Their library contains almost all the best games and certainly all the newest releases. If you haven't gotten it yet, I suggest you go to their website and download it immediately. Click here to go to their home page. Once you create your account you will never go back! This is really the best addition to any computer. 

Overall Rating: 10/10

- Ken Seiler

Draw Something!

My friend messaged me frantically and suggested (Ney, demanded) I get this app and let me tell you now. I do not regret it for one second! It is basically Pictionary. I play it on my iPhone but you can play it through Facebook too. The idea is basically that you get to choose from one of three words and then you have to draw a picture to explain what that word means and if your opponent guesses correctly then you both win coins. They must then draw a picture and send it to you for you to guess. There is no time limit and you can play against friends through Facebook or Username or simply play against a random opponent!

This game is both fun and challenging! Yesterday I got the word "popular" and had to describe it which is near impossible to explain in one picture. Usually you get an option to pick between three words. One easy, one medium and one hard! I find that they usually always give you at least one option that you can definitely draw! What makes the game that bit more fun is that the other player can see you drawing on their screen! This can include you deleting the entire image to start again, But pauses are taken out! If you stop to change colour or do something else, it will ignore that pause on your opponents screen! You can also watch your opponent making their guess which is sometimes quite funny when they start guessing before the picture has completed (and sometimes after). 

The game continues indefinitely until someone cannot figure out a picture and forfeits. It then will start over again (on turn 1) on the next turn! There is no real winner as such, it just seems to be an addictive game with a simple premise. I do hope to see updates soon with more words as I've started encountering duplicates and a lack of variety. My friend and I were both playing against my Girlfriend and we both got the same word against her which took some of the fun out of it at the time. Once they resolve the lack of words issue then I'm positive that the game will be flawless! 

There are two versions of the game (on Android and on Apple devices), one is an ad-supported free version which just fine, and the other costs the minimum price of an app (79c in IRE , 69p in the UK, 99c in the US) which has no ads and gives you a bonus 400 coins which you can spend on colours and bombs in the in-game store. Colours give you a better ability to draw pictures in more detail and bombs help you get rid of the letters that are not involved in the current word. You get five bombs to begin with but getting more will cost you. It's all those micro-transactions that any game offers to make them a little bit more money. 

If you have an iPad then I would suggest playing on that as a large screen is much more suited for a game like this. I generally use my phone to play while I'm on the move and it has been great! I strongly recommend this game! It's fun to play with friends or strangers and it's always worth a laugh! I have to take points from it due to the fact it tends to give you a lot of stupid words that aren't in the average day vocabulary, but beyond that it is a great game! 

Overall Rating: 6/10

If you wish to download it in the iTunes App store, click here

If you wish to download it in the Android store, click here

- Ken Seiler

 

SSX

It's kind of hard to pinpoint the exact moment I realised I loved SSX. It may have been the first time I had to race down the pristine yet geometrically impossible slopes of the Rockies to the relentlessly feel good tunes of The Naked and Famous. It could have been the first time I totally smashed the record on a Trick It event. Or it could have been when I found out how much fun it is to carve out your own little niche in the global online competitions. Whatever the timing of it, I realised prior to writing this that I love SSX to an almost inappropriate extent. 

I may be slightly bias. The original PS2 SSX was the very first game I properly owned, as opposed to scabbing the odd afternoon or lunch break off my friends. I followed the franchise with gusto right up until SSX On Tour. The lack of a true current gen SSX has been a huge disappointment for me over the years, but luckily, patience prevailed. SSX is a delight to play, and a true successor to the pedigree it comes from.

The game can essentially be split into three self explanatory modes: Race It, Trick It and Survive It. The former play much as they always have. The latter is a new addition to the franchise that adds a very different dynamic to the game. Racing downhill at breakneck speed while attempting to avoid the myriad perils that assail you, whether they be rocks, trees or gravity itself, is exhilarating and not a little difficult. Survival Mode has drawn the most flak due to this aspect, but I find it refreshing that a mode can prove so trying in this current gaming epoch, where often you have to play on the hardest difficulty just to get a modicum of a challenge (I'm looking at you, Space Marine). It can be occasionally frustrating to pour 30 minutes into a single course, but it makes the victory so much sweeter. The soundtrack to the game has maybe a little too much offensively shite dubstep but is otherwise a perfect boarding collection. If you REALLY can't handle you're Skrillex, SSX allows you to make your own mix. In tandem with the survival mode, SSX has an avalanche (eh? eh?) of new toys. Wingsuits, armour, and headlamps are all required for certain matches, adding new mechanics to established modes. At times this can seem a bit gimmicky, but thankfully the game never gets buried in these

add ons. And besides, wingsuits are fucking cool. The multiplayer is perhaps where this game makes the biggest of its changes. Instead of traditional, lobby based races, the game allows you to set your times or scores on a level and then challenges your friends to beat them. At first, it gave me pause. The original SSX was a killer couch game that you and your buddies could sink hours into, as with any racing game. It was immediate, and it was fun. How could this new system be better. While it might not truly replace the on-the-spotness of the previous titles, it does drag SSX into the online era, and does it exceptionally well. It allows you to remain competitive with your friends while not actually being online. Logging on to find your buddy has smashed your score is all the incentive you need to drop an hour or two trying to claw it back. I speak from experience. The global aspect of the multiplayer has managed to craft a distinctive, and more importantly fun online community. Events can be bought into, or you can engage in free events too, although if you do you'll find yourself up against a Trick It score of 130,000,000, or a frankly inhuman downhill race time. This, combined with the ability to create and manage your own custom events means you can become a little or as involved with the community as you desire. EA have as usual drawn fire for their online pass scheme, with stores all the points you make online in a sort of digital vault until you're ready to pay up. With an online pass included in every new game however, this shouldn't prove too daunting unless you're dead set on getting it second-hand.

Despite all these changes, at it's heart this is still the SSX we know and love. It's still chock full of awesome moments. Tricking off a helicopter at the last minute in order to bump your score from silver to gold comes to mind. Its courses are a bit less wacky (anyone who's ever raced Tokyo Megaplex will understand) but no less thrilling and complex. Races are still frantic and tense, Trick Its are still gravity and physics defying in their awesomeness. It has been 9 years since the last properly good entry into the franchise, 2003's SSX 3. It finally feels like we're back on course, and it's never been sweeter. SSX is a truly delightful experience that reminds you how much pure fun you can have while gaming.

- Jack Whelan