Top Ten Call of Duty Maps

With the recent release of the Advanced Warfare multiplayer gameplay trailer, I thought it was about time to roll out the ten greatest maps in Call of Duty history.  Hopefully the newest game will be choc full of great maps waiting to be explored, if not we still have the classics.  Obviously this list is subjective; so feel free to rant in the comment section below.

In no particular order, other than the games original release date.


Top Ten Call of Duty Maps:


Carentan aka China Town – Call of Duty, Call of Duty: United Front, Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

               There is a reason that Carentan is the most remade map in COD history.  It stands out as one of the most balanced maps, while offering a great blend of environments.  It was just as easy to be picked off by a sniper in the distance, as it was to be massacred by a player running around the center of the map with a shotgun.  There was even a mounted machine gun for those that were brave enough to risk using it.  Here’s to hoping we see this classic map once more.


Crash – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

               I have never met anyone that disliked Crash, and for that reason it deserves one of the top spots.  With several buildings, plenty of flanking routes, and offering an amazing array of action, there was never a dull moment.  Each and every time I played this map, I would experience something new.  It also served as one of the only maps in Call of Duty history, where I actually enjoyed played various game types on it.


Overgrown – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

               I had a blast on this map.  It is probably the only one on this list that I never skipped.  It had a special something about it that screamed for you to play on it.  The long grass was perfect for crawling around in, hay bails offered much needed protection, and “grandma’s house” was the meeting grounds of many battles.  This is where I cut my teeth in Search and Destroy, and after all of these years, it is still the finest map of any kind to play S&D.


Bog – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

               Few maps in Call of Duty’s history made me as paranoid as Bog.  Set at night, players had to carefully scan the whole map just to make sure that there wasn’t someone randomly lying in the mud or dead center of the map.  The small field didn’t take long to cover, but when everyone is shooting at any type of movement, you had to make use of the tanks, buses, and other sources of cover.


Pipeline – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

               Decrepit buildings, grey skies, and rusting train cars made this map the creepiest of the lot.  With verticality in multiple buildings, you were constantly a target for snipers with a clear shot, especially if you were running down the main drag in the center of the map.  However, this isn’t to say that you were entirely helpless.  Grass covered hills allowed to blend with the environment, while the train tracks had plenty of areas to hide.  This also made for one of the best maps to play custom game modes, like “Michael Myers.”


Castle – Call of Duty: World at War

               The Eastern architecture, mixed with some of the best building layouts in COD history, made this one of my favorite maps in WAW.  Similarly, colors were different from most other maps, which was a welcomed break from the dull greys and browns.  The two main buildings offered completely different play styles.  The castle at the top of the hill offered a snipers perch, but underneath, a close corridor room was the cause of many deaths.


Terminal – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

               Set at a Russian airport, Termial offered Modern Warfare 2’s best map for Search and Destroy.  The indoor area is filled with luggage, shops, counters and tables, all of which were perfect for sneaking around and getting some quality kills.  Finding your way outside you come across an accessible airplane, where most gunfights would occur, and some large crates that provided cover.  Terminal was so popular that it was remade for MW3.


Favela – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

               When Favela was released, it was quite different than the maps found in previous Call of Duty’s.  It offered players many different routes to take, while also allowing for any style of play.  Snipers were keen to prowl the rooftops, while run-and-gun style players were able to move around the alleys at a rapid pace.


Standoff – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

               Standoff was easily the best map out of BLOPS 2.  Being the most well balanced map in the game, it was easy to see why Standoff was a favorite among players.  A close game of Hard Point was always intensified whilst trying to make your way through the middle house. Out of all of the remakes that appear in COD, Standoff will surely get one down the line.


Raid – Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

               If there were one map to rival Standoff as the best in Black Ops 2, it would have to be Raid.  Frantic firefights in the center of the map, holding down the kitchen, and manning the statue were all aspects to ensuring victory.  If one of those were lost, more than likely you were in for a world of hurt.  Similar to Standoff, Hard Point was easily the best game type to play.  With CTF being a strong choice as well.

PC Reviews Reviews

Ascendant Review

One commonly used phrase, “rouge-likes,” has been thrown around a lot over the last two years or so.  So it was only a matter of time before a game like Ascendant came along.  A game that is so frustratingly difficult, that I only made it through the first couple of levels.

There is nothing inherently wrong with punishing games.  In fact, the likes of Dark/Demon Souls, Spelunky and Super Meat Boy have been some of the most popular games of the last few years.  However, where those games allow you to learn from your mistakes, Ascendant is condemnably unfair.


When you begin your journey, you are given the choice of two gods, each with their own fighting power.  This god is seemingly tasked with fighting sword-wielding grunts, overpowered bosses, and side stepping around spike traps.  Each stage you encounter is named and styled after the seasons of the year.  By beating these stages and besting your opponents, you can improve your character to become more like a god should: powerful and ultimate.

As previously mentioned, Happa Games fails at delivering the experience of playing a god.  Within the first few levels, I was killed by an overwhelming amount of enemies, some damnable spike traps, and bosses so powerful that you will most likely be killed in two or three hits.  Nevertheless, the developers still managed to create smooth gameplay, a unique art style that is endearing, and a charming soundtrack that continued to be appealing each and every time I died.

The gameplay, although frustrating when you are dying, does allow you to parry enemy’s attacks, and with success, knock them into other foes.  This core mechanic is the basis of your survival.  You can block incoming attacks or launch your own brawling fists of fury.  When you manage to stagger your enemy, you can than launch them into the air and fling them at your opponents.

The upgrade system can be of some help when you finally get the ball rolling.  Along the way, you will also encounter better weapons and spells, special one-use breath attacks, enchantments, and blessings.  These are usually hidden pretty well, so you will have to explore a bit to encounter most of them.  You can also purchase items at various shops, but I never encountered enough Influence (in game currency), to actually buy anything of use.  Additionally, the upgrades never seem to correspond with the level of enemies that you are going up against.  You can spend all of your time working on building up your strength, just to encounter a level, which are randomly generated, with more enemies than you could ever think of defeating.


When everything is said and done, Ascendant is restricted by its unreasonable difficulty.  If you are truly dedicated at mastering this game, then you will be treated to one of the most beautifully rendered worlds I have seen in any indie title.  Similarly, the characters, at least the two that I managed to unlock, seem to perfectly fit within the design of the game.

Perhaps if Happa Games allowed you to carry over your progress from one playthrough to the next, than Ascendant could really shine with potential customers.   Yet, as it stands, I don’t know too many people who will enjoy the brutality of this title.  Unless you are the most hardcore of gamers, for the stress that it will likely cause you, you may as well keep your ten dollars and try something else.




Playstation 4 Reviews Reviews

inFamous: Second Son Review

Even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as others, the Infamous series has always interested me. Putting players into the role of a modern-day superhero, the original Infamous was built on a pretty solid foundation. The sequel made a number of improvements, but the game still didn’t reach its fullest potential.  However, Infamous: Second Son finally places an emphasis on the remarkable powers that are at your disposal.


The series’ strength is emphasized with the power of the PlayStation 4.  This allows Second Son to trump the previous games, while showcasing the breadth of Sucker Punch’s abilities to create a living open-world for Delsin to explore.  In the process of building a new game, all of the frustrating elements from the series have been stripped away, such as the climbing element, while focusing on what works best: the superpowers.


Delsin is the star of Infamous: Second Son, a young man who is struggling with authority, as well as, his identity.  Delsin begins his journey when he encounters an overturned truck transporting super-powered individuals to a new prison facility.  Delsin finds one of the prisoners, called Conduits, trying to escape the scene.  Delsin absorbs the prisoners’ smoke-manipulating ability, in turn becoming a Conduit.


Conduits are perceived a little differently since Cole MacCrath’s adventures in Empire City and New Marais.  Similarly, everything that occurred to Cole doesn’t seem to have much affect on Seattle.  The Department of Unified Protection has declared Conduits as “Bio-Terrorists.”  As you can imagine, this term doesn’t sit well with Delsin or other super-powered individuals.   With the escape of the prisoners, Seattle is placed under martial law until the Conduits are brought to the DUP.


At this point, much of the oppressive vibe has already been set in stone and this is the foundation for the rest of the game.  While making your karmic choices, you can stake your claim as either a savior or a destructive antihero.  Either way, your major goal is to remove the DUP presence from Seattle.


You clear the map of DUP by destroying surveillance equipment, freeing or killing suspected Conduits, removing makeshift DUP bases, and beating enemies in certain locations.  When the district has finally been pulled from the DUP’s grasp, you get the sensation that your work has made an impact on the world.  Depending on how you go about it, civilians will either thank you, or they will cower in fear as you make your way through the streets.


Although plot and graphics are really nice when they work well, gameplay is what will ultimately decide whether the game is fun.  Fortunately Second Son excels in the latter category.   The gameplay was frustrating in the previous Infamous titles.  I didn’t like the camera, nor the way Cole would make his way around the city.  However, Delsin freely flows from street level to rooftop in some of the most fluid motions imaginable.  While inheriting new powers from other escaped Conduits, Delsin almost becomes a completely new character.  Just when you think that smoke is the epitome of awesome, the next few powers make smoke an afterthought.

These powers have a limited use.  However, since there are recharging locations scattered throughout the map, you will never go far without a superpower.  Delsin wields one type of power at a time, requiring you to switch them by charging your powers at whatever form of matter you decide to use.


Although the new powers affect the way you move around the world, their most notable changes are in the combat.  Smoke is amazing to manipulate at the beginning of the game, but the further you advance, the more you will want to experiment with the later superpowers.


Delsin collects Power Shards throughout Seattle, which you can then expend on an expansive skill tree. Power Shards in the earlier games were a burden to collect, but finding them in Second Son is easy and fun.  Since there are far fewer shards this time around, you only need a couple dozen to upgrade Delsin’s arsenal.  These powers upgrade your fighting abilities as well as your ability to traverse around the map.  Also, since Delsin is more of a glass cannon than Cole, your upgrades should reflect the guerrilla-warfare than you will need to master to beat the harder enemies.


While the gameplay is smooth and satisfying, the enemy AI is far from intelligent.  More often than not, I would kill DUP agents that were running around a car, seemingly in circles.  Likewise, when I would be pretty close to death, the enemy made it extremely easy to escape and recoup some of my health.  Although this was helpful, it certainly wasn’t intentional.  The enemy will not pursue you further than a few yards outside of their immediate radius.  Even on the hardest difficulty, it is rather easy to make a smoke dash out of danger, just to come back to the fight a few seconds later and finish off lingering DUP agents.


Although it is not horrid, the story within Second Son is not great either.  Some areas are extremely strong, such as the relationship between Delsin and Reggie, while other areas, such as the motives behind the DUP, is rather weak.  Ultimately, the gameplay is so strong that the story doesn’t have to be masterful, but that doesn’t give it an excuse for lacking in certain sections.


Overall, Second Son is polished and refined in most of the major areas.  Although there are a few hiccups, Infamous sets the bar high for future titles coming out on the PlayStation 4, particularly in terms of gameplay and graphical fidelity.



PC Reviews Reviews

Knightmare Tower Review

Fast, fun and simple; is probably the easiest way to describe Knightmare Tower.  The story is minimal; you are a knight who must battle the enemies of a dark tower and save several princesses along the way.  Although it sounds uninteresting, the story really doesn’t matter anyways.  The addictive, vertical-scrolling, gameplay will keep you coming back for more, long after you have ascended the tower.

Amassing currency should be your first priority.  Each time you kill an enemy you are given gold coins that can be used to upgrade your character through various power-ups.  These power-ups range from magical potions that make you invulnerable, to boots that allow faster character movement, and swords that increase your attack strength.  Finding the perfect common ground is key to surviving the first couple of levels.

In addition to ghouls, there is also lava that fills the tower. The lava is an instant-killing enemy, but if you are fast enough, you can avoid it.  Escaping the tower and avoiding the lava is controlled through the directional keys or WASD.  This causes your knight to move side-to-side, or downward to slice through your enemies.  At first it will take a few swipes to kill the monsters, but after some upgrades, you can pretty much kill anything in one attack.  With every kill, your knight will speed up the tower until you reach the ceiling.


Failing is as easy as being hit by an enemy, reaching the ceiling without having the appropriate key, or falling into the lava.  Afterwards, you are sent back to the bottom of the tower and must do it all over again.  However, since there are a slew of upgrades, you can keep your adventure interesting.

There is at least one glaring issue that I ran into multiple times.  The game would crash, which in itself is annoying, however, when the game crashed, my saved data would be deleted.  The first time this occurred I was annoyed, but when this issue happened two more times, I became fed up and stopped playing all together.  It only takes about three hours to max out your knight’s abilities, but when the crash persists this much; it is infuriating to say the least.

Knightmare Tower is addicting and fun. Just when you think that your going to quit the game, you will come across a new upgrade that keeps you playing for a few more rounds.  Nevertheless, it has severe issues, and thus its full potential is never within reach.



PC Reviews Reviews

Sid Meier’s Civilization V – Review

I have never played a *Civilization game prior to jumping into **Civ V.  To be honest, I don’t have much time playing strategy games either, but the series has always intrigued me and been in my backlog for a while now.  I was told by some friends that I will lose dozens of hours of my life building marvelous structures just to watch them come crumbling down around me if I make a mistake.  The task was daunting, but I was more than willing to give it a try.


Jumping into a game without using the tutorial; which I will admit wasn’t very smart, I was quickly over powered by the five other nations that seemed all too willing to plunder my land and sack my cities.  Now that I look back on it, I suppose my first mistake was trying to dedicate all of my technology to militaristic purposes, when I should have dedicated some time to other key factors such as science and agricultural needs.  My second mistake surely came when I tried to use my units to attack Babylon while it was in alliance with the Zulu people.  My units didn’t last long, and neither did my main capital.


Having my first taste of Civ. V was bitter sweet.  I enjoyed the hell out of trying to expand my empire, but it clearly didn’t go well when I began the attack.  It wasn’t until I sat down and read some tactics from the expansive Civilopedia that I realized what I had been doing wrong, and where I needed to improve.  Civ V is without a doubt a strategy game, and part of that strategy is seeking help from other players.


I figured out pretty quickly that part of the goal in Civilization is to exercise your adaptability while the game throws one of its many tricks at you.  Building your city into a mighty empire is but one part of your global dominance.  You need to explore different avenues, such as creating a scientifically superior civilization, or a cultural powerhouse that exudes its power over foreign citizens.


Civilization V is all about leading your nation through the eras of history, starting with a single city and building it into an empire that spans the map.  Before you start a new game, you choose one of 18 leaders from the course of history, each of whom possesses a particular benefit that helps your empire.  This benefit may range from cultural theming bonuses, as is the case with Napoléon and the French, or military focused ones such as America’s sight bonus for ground units.  From this point, your goal is to collect resources, manage your economy, make diplomatic decisions with other civilizations, and protect your empire from the enemy before you get a chance to attack theirs.  As mentioned before, there are various ways to win the game: defeat your opponents through militaristic means, win the space race, win a diplomatic victory through votes at the United Nations, become the culturally superior civilization, or by possessing the highest score by the end of the turn limit.


Each victory condition feeds off of one another.  It is difficult to manage a military victory without being scientifically superior to the enemy AI.  If your empire is in the Medieval era and your opponents are struggling to get out of the Ancient, you will most likely sack at least one civilization’s capital and possibly its whole realm.  Even so, nothing you do in civilization should be without a solid cultural foundation.  The culture you gain is spent on social policies.  Each time you reach a cultural benchmark, you select from a policy list, which is then split into more policies with separate sub-trees.  Policies are essentially benefits that you use towards upgrading your empire in one-way or another.  They allow you to focus on certain aspects of your strategy, such as building a science-based civilization. However, they also allow you to balance certain aspects of your empire that may have fallen behind.


The user interface is pretty easy to navigate, even for a Civilization novice like myself. Advisors appear each game and give you hints as to what your next turn should be.  This setting can be turned off manually, but for your first couple of games, it is best to leave it alone.  Between these hints and experience, your time is spent strategizing, rather than fumbling around with the screen trying to figure out what everything on the user interface means.  Equally as helpful, the game does a wonderful job at managing all of your vital information within a click or two.  The only negative aspect of the UI is that once you have a large number of units, it is a chore to keep an eye on them.


Tactical combat is an aspect that you will spend quite a bit of time on.  Since stacking units isn’t allowed, with the exception of workers and special units, it forces you to strategize on the field.  The strengths and weaknesses of each unit should be studied before sending them out for battle.  A ranged unit being placed behind front line soldiers seems simple enough, but understanding how your enemy is positioned is also critical.  Attacking an enemy while they are on a hill, expect to receive a combat penalty.  Trying to cross the river standing in your way, you guessed it; your soldiers are going to be vulnerable during the journey.  These may seem like normal things to take into consideration, but during the thick of things, you may forget that your enemy’s horsemen will completely demolish your bowmen.  Being mindful of your actions is great, but being mindful of your opponents, now that is something special.


There are ways of increasing your units’ chances of surviving conflicts.  One of which is actively engaging in conflicts.   Each time your unit attacks an enemy, or is attacked by an enemy, they will gain experience points.  Whether it is through attack, sight, healing, exploration, or an instant heal, there are several bonuses for your units once they reach a new XP milestone.  Furthermore, you can always spend some of that hard-earned gold and upgrade the unity completely.  For example, if you have the correct research path, you can upgrade a trebuchet into a cannon.


It may sound a little hectic at first, but it is extremely easy to navigate around the battlefield.  Before launching an attack, if you move your cursor over an enemy, it will give you a preview of what the outcome will be.  Although, this doesn’t take into account what consequences lay in front of you once you destroy that unit.  You might win the battle, but now you’re so close to an enemy cities’ barrage attack that your battle-tested unit is wiped out in one turn.  In fact, you should probably be taking into consideration all that is going on around your hexagons.  The AI is more than willing to surround your units and unleash hell on you.  It just so happens that if this does occur, it will most likely come down to the user not paying attention, rather than the AI blindsiding you.


Needless to say, gaining allies will help secure your place on the map.  You can bypass an alliance with another civilization, thanks to the neutral city-states placed around the map.  Although they wont actively attack you, unless provoked, you cannot just romp around their territory without the consequences.  If they happen to be under the protection or in an alliance with an opponent, keep in mind that they will join their allies and attack whomever goes to war with them.  For example, if Montezuma has wooed a city-state near your borders, and you go to war with Montezuma, be prepared for the city-state to start attacking you simultaneously.   This can be replicated vice-versa, and it is also recommended you do so.


City-states can be won over by offering them gold or units, completing side missions for them, or offering your protection from other civ’s.  By gaining their favor, you can freely move through their territory, have them join you in war, or on occasion they will send you various items such as resources.  They also serve the purpose of securing a diplomatic victory.  They will offer you their vote in the United Nations, making them invaluable if you’re trying your hand in that method of winning.  However, your alliance with city-states should be another part of your overall strategy.  Since your alliance with them decreases over time, you must consistently send them coins or units to maintain your pact.  This is costly, so managing your alliances wisely around diplomatic meetings is always of importance.


Although diplomacy is interesting and at times can help secure your empire, it often feels hollow, particularly when dealing with competing civilizations.  Nations are fastidious at best.  The AI will often do one thing that completely contradicts a previous action.  On one of my turns, I asked to open borders with one nation, just for that nation to turn me down.  However, their next turn they came to me and offered me gold to open my borders with them.  Obviously it worked out in my benefit because I got a fiscal reward and what I wanted in the first place, but it still doesn’t make sense.  The same can be said during war.  If you offer peace to a nation, they will most likely turn you down and then offer you peace in addition to one of their secondary cities. Also, don’t get me started on the moods of certain leaders – yes I am looking at you Ghandi.  You never know where you stand with another civilization, because the leaders are impulsive.


Although the gameplay is what most people will stick around for, it goes without saying that Civilization V has some remarkable visuals, as well as, one of gaming’s best soundtracks.  The environments are glossy and remarkably sunny, while the great leaders are noteworthy, because of their detailed looks and elaborate backdrops.  Each leader is remarkably different and memorable.  Wu Zetian has a glare that cuts right through you, while Montezuma manages to captivate with his over the top appearance and antics.  Orchestral tunes are constantly in the background, often turning a frantic battle into a serene masterpiece.  It is important to mention how little the game replays the same music.  Obviously you will here the same classical pieces over time, but that is to be expected when some games can last into double-digit hours.  They never wear out their welcome, nor do they become overly familiarizing.


By nature, you will spend dozens of hours in each game you play.  So it is important for a strategy title of this magnitude to remain fun each and every game.  Random maps, numerous civilizations, and many other advanced options allow you to stay in control of each game you play.  The options, while not endless, are extremely flexible.  You can remove barbarians from the map, set a maximum number of turns, or even start in a completely different era of the game.  There is also an option to randomize leader attitudes, such as the aggressiveness of the Aztecs, and adjust the game speeds to meet your match preference.


Multiplayer games are available, but the few that I have tried weren’t for me.  If you are prepared for the challenge, make sure that you have a few hours to spare, because each game is played in one sitting.  You can set a turn timer to limit how long players get to consider their next move, but even so, the game is still taxing.  Should you want to play online with friends as opposed to complete strangers, you must invite them through Steam’s overlay.  The games ran smooth, with the exception of minimal lagging.  But it wasn’t anything to fret about.


Sid Meier’s Civilization V manages to be fun and complex with just enough difficulty to keep the games constantly entertaining.  AI quirks and a few other minor issues aside, you are looking at an attractive and sophisticated game that melts time away and blends days into nights.  If you’re the type of individual with a lot of time to game, than by all means give this marathon a try.  Conversely, if you don’t have more than an hour to play, you should probably look elsewhere.  This game requires you to dedicate quite a bit of time to experimentation and strategy building, thus Civilization is a game that you must play constantly to get better at.  Picking up and playing every once in a while is not wise.   If you are prepared to take the plunge, there is no better place to do so.




*This review is for the Mac version of Sid Meier’s Civilization V, but for all intended purposes it will be recorded as a review for the PC version as well.

** This review is for Civ V’s base game, without the additions of the Brave New World or the Gods and Kings expansion packs.

News Wii U News

E3 2014: Star Fox heading to Wii U

One of the biggest announcements to come from Nintendo’s Digital Press Event is the reveal that Star Fox is coming to Wii U in 2015.  Alongside of it, two more of Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto developed titles – Project Giant Robot and Project Guard – will be coming out in 2015.

The GamePad will serve as a “first person cockpit view inside of Arwing in Star Fox, which includes a new helicopter vehicle and ability to switch to the Landmaster tank instantly.”

In Project Giant Robot, players will build robots and then pilot them via the GamePad cockpit view from Star Fox.  Custom robots then battle as you try and knock each other over.

Project guard will see players fighting against a robot invasion.

News Playstation 4 News

E3 2014: The Order: 1886 Release Date Announced

The Order: 1886 has been on a lot of radars since it’s showing at E3 2013, and now it officially has a release date: February 20, 2015.

Sony also announced that the game will launch in three different editions.

The European Collector’s Edition is set to come in special black casing and contains a replica pendant of the blackwater vial worn by Knights of The Order. It also contains the exclusive digital content Knight’s Arsenal (including alternate outfits for Galahad and a variant weapon that players will be able to use during the single player campaign, including the Arsonist rifle and the Arc rifle prototype), woven coat of arms patches, concept art postcards and the official soundtrack along with behind-the-scenes footage of the making o the game.

There will be two different Collector’s Editions available for North American PS4 owners.  The first, aptly named “Collector’s Edition,” costs $79.99 and comes with a “7-inch ‘Galahad Under Fire’ statue, steelbook, stickers, Knight’s Arsenal DLC, soundtrack and behind-the-scenes footage.”

The more expensive of the two, the “Premium Edition,” will cost $149.99 and comes with a “3-inch ‘The Endless Duel’ statue, steelbook, art book, blackwater vial pendant, collector’s box, stickers, Knight’s Arsenal DLC, soundtrack and behind-the-scenes footage.”

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Not willing to spend that kind of money for a Collector’s Edition? Anyone who opts to pre-order rather than getting a collector’s edition will get the Knight’s Arsenal DLC.

3DS News News

E3 2014: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Release Date

Nintendo’s cash cow, Pokemon, and its new iterations Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, will be released for the 3DS and will be on store shelves November 21st.  It was announced today during Nintendo’s E3 press conference.

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are remakes of the 2003 hits: Ruby and Sapphire.

Don’t miss a minute of Proven Gamer’s E3 2014 coverage



News Wii U News

E3 2014: Xenoblade Chronicles X Gets A Release Date

The ever-popular Xenoblade series is coming to the Wii U with its newest iteration, Xenoblade Chronicles X.

During today’s Nintendo E3 Digital Event, Monolith Soft revealed that the game will make an appearance on store shelves sometime next year.

It should also be noted that this game is a successor to Wii’s more fantasy oriented Xenoblade Chronicles.



News Playstation 4 News

E3 2014: Ratchet & Clank Remastered for the PS4

Yesterday it was announced that alongside of the Ratchet & Clank movie that will be coming in early 2015, a Playstation 4 remaster of the original Ratchet & Clank PS2 title would ship “around the same time.”

The remaster will be developed by Insomniac Games.

News PC News Playstation 4 News X-Box One News

E3 2014: Troy Baker to voice Far Cry 4’s Villain

Yesterday, the first five minutes of Far Cry 4 was shown at E3.  During the video, players were introduced to the main villain, who was the cause of controversy a couple of weeks ago.  It is now known that Troy Baker will voice the light-skinned, blond haired man that unmercifully killed his own comrade.

Add this to his already impressive resume and Baker may just be the finest voice/motion capture actor in gaming history.

Don’t miss a minute of Proven Gamer’s E3 2014 coverage.

News X-Box One News

Crackdown 3

Microsoft announced during its E3 press conference that there is a new Crackdown game on the horizon for Xbox One.

According to Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, Microsoft has the “right team” in place to develop the title, although the studio has yet to be announced.  Yet, he did reveal that Dave Jones, who worked on the original Crackdown title, would be leading the team.

Until further details are revealed, all we know is that the new Crackdown will have a co-op campaign, online multiplayer, and it will retain the stylized graphics that the franchise is known for.  Furthermore, a teaser trailer also revealed that the game will feature destructible environments.





Video Game Clones

After the announcement of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, many people pointed out that the game looks very similar to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series.  Even former Ubisoft developer, Charles Randall, accused Monolith and Warner Bros. of stealing animations and code from Assassin’s Creed II.

In an attempt to brush off the critique, the team at Monolith responded by claiming that although they looked at Rocksteady’s Batman games for “combat and stealth” inspiration, they didn’t take anything from Ubisoft.  However, the floodgates were open and people decided to attack Monolith anyways.

Many user comments on forums and articles bashed the team at Monolith for “copying” or “ripping off” the AC franchise.  Interestingly enough, although Shadow of Mordor only shares similar animations with AC II, people are quickly writing this game off as an imitation of Ubisoft’s series.


Thinking about the topic, it led me to the question: Are video game clones all that bad?



Almost on a yearly basis there is at least one headline describing how a new game is a clone of a successful game.  One of the more memorable ones, Darksiders, was accused of being a mere God of War and Zelda rip off.  Although the similarities were clear, it doesn’t mean that Darksiders isn’t a fun and expansive journey unique to its own branding.  But there are certain people who will completely avoid a game if it gets a bad reputation in the media.  Because of this, many people missed out on an exciting title.

When Darksiders was announced and the naysayers began the attack, it was interesting that they forgot that, once upon a time, God of War was perceived as a Devil May Cry imitation.  Critics consistently mentioned how God of War’s combat mirrored Devil May Cry’s.  Yet people soon forgot about the comparison, because GOW went on to become one of the largest series within recent memory.

Similarly, Saints Row has grown out of the success of Grand Theft Auto.  At first the series was written off as a mere clone of GTA, yet Saint’s Row has a huge fan base that actually prefers it to the latter.  It may be more niche than GTA, but there is no denying that Volition has created a frantically fun parody of modern society.  There is more than enough room for both GTA and Saints’, titles that have quite a bit in common, yet the third person action genre isn’t large enough for two open-world games of the same ilk?

Even if a new game does copy some ideas from a different series, as long as they add some value of their own to the market, isn’t that enough to warrant a spot on the shelf?  Look at all of the games that share the same gameplay formats as Call of Duty.  Being one of the largest franchises in history, it would be horrible business to not borrow some ideas from the massive success that is COD.

Also, since most people, outside of some editors/writers, haven’t had a chance to play the game yet, shouldn’t we all just remain unbiased until we get some hands on time? I know it is just wishful thinking on my behalf, but it would be nice for gamers to actually play a game before they bash it.


I honestly hope that Shadow of Mordor becomes one of the best games of the year, because the nemesis system and the potential for an awesome open-world Lord of the Rings game has me on edge.


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E3 2014: Batman: Arkham Knight Exclusive PS4 Content

Sony’s press conference had some heavy hitters, but one of the more popular games, gauging off of the huge applause that was given by the crowd, Batman: Arkham Knight easily exuded new-gen luster.  The video begins with The Bat making a breathtaking exit from the top of a tower, showcasing a draw distance that easily topples anything from the previous Arkham entries.

As Batman swooped through Gotham, it was easy to see that Rocksteady has taken their time and added a large amount of detail to the city.  Landing on the street, he then jumped into the Batmobile and became a highly maneuverable tank. In this “battle mode” the vehicle strafed from one side of the street to the other, easily dogging the attacks of enemy artillery.

After Batman’s hunt for Penguin seems to be coming to its climax, the screen crashes and a close-up of Scarecrow reveals a haunting design.  “How many more bones would you crush,” Scarecrow says. “How many lives will you destroy in pursuit of what you call justice? You are the product of everything you fear: violence, darkness, helplessness.”

After the video concluded, Andrew House, president and group chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, added that the Scarecrow missions are exclusive to Playstation.

Batman: Arkham Knight was delayed to 2015 for Playstation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

Keep it locked for more E3 coverage

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E3 2014: The Last Guardian “Not Ready to be Shown”

Sony’s, The Last Guardian, was once again nowhere to be found during the E3 press conference.  According to a GameSpot interview with Playstation software product development head Scott Rohde, “[it’s] because the game simply is not ready to be shown publicly.”  Considering the game was originally announced in 2009 as a Playstation 3 game, it is interesting that there isn’t anything worth showing.

In response to the all of the recent controversy, including speculation that the game was cancelled earlier this week, Rhode said, “It was a fun week of Last Guardian news. At Playstation, it’s really important to us to make sure that the creative process works.  And in this case, [game director Fumito Ueda] has created something that’s great, it’s just going to need some time.  We’ll show it when it’s ready.”

When asked if the game will be shown as a PS3 or PS4 title, Rhode wouldn’t give a direct answer.  Instead he responded, “I’m not going to talk about it more than that.”

Last year it was announced that the studio would be “reengineering” The Last Guardian, but the studio went dark soon afterwards, revealing no signs of progress.

If slow and steady wins the race, The Last Guardian may come out of this thing laughing at everyone.

For more E3 2014 coverage


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E3 2014: Grand Theft Auto V New-Gen Details

Yesterday it was revealed that Grand Theft Auto V would be coming to Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  This morning, Rockstar Games announced in its most recent email, Rockstar Propaganda, that it will take “full advantage” of the power those platforms hold.

It was made clear that you can expect, “across-the-board graphical and technical improvements,” that will deliver a “stunning new level of detail.”  It is reported that the Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions will offer finer textures, denser traffic, enhanced resolution, and increased draw distances.

In addition, the game will see “new wildlife, upgraded weather and damage effects, and an array of new details to discover.”

Grand Theft Auto Online will allow you to transfer your characters from previous generation consoles, including cross platform, to your choice of Playstation 4, Xbox One or PC.

Finally, Grand Theft Auto V for PC will also “feature a video editor designed for advanced movie-making.”


Keep it locked to Proven Gamer for more E3 news.

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E3 2014: Uncharted 4 Running at 1080p

Sony had a strong presence last night during their press conference, especially with the announcement of Uncharted 4: A Theif’s End.  After the teaser trailer was shown, Naughty Dog confirmed on the Playstation Blog, that the game will be running at 1080p and that they are targeting 60fps.

Furthermore, they announced that everything you saw in last nights game teaser was captured completely in-engine.  Naughty Dog’s Eric Monacelli went on to say, “As you can see, the visual fidelity for our character models will reach new heights.”

It is also noted that Nathan Drake’s character model – “during this stage of development – has more than double the number of polygons of Joel from the Playstation 3 version of The Last of Us.”

Although further details remain a mystery, Naughty Dog wrote, “[Nathan Drake] will embark on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. It’s his greatest adventure yet and will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he’s willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.”

Exclusively on PS4, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End launches in 2015.

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E3 2014: Destiny’s Beta Date Revealed

During last night’s Sony E3 press conference, it was announced that the Destiny beta will officially open on July 17 for Playstation 3 and 4 owners.

Playstation 4 owners will also be able to play an alpha version of the game this Thursday, June 12.

There is no word on when the Destiny beta will come to other consoles, such as Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  Destiny launches in full on September 9, either bundled with the White PS4 or without it, across the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 consoles.


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E3 2014: Glacier White PS4 Announced

If you were on the fence about purchasing a Playstation 4, because perhaps the color black isn’t your thing.  At Sony’s press conference it was announced that a “Glacier White” PS4 would be bundled with Destiny for an unspecified price point.  A matching DualShock 4 controller and a month long PS Plus subscription also comes with the bundle.


See other E3 news here on Proven Gamer.

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E3 2014: Diablo III gets Infected

Blizzard and Sony are teaming up to exclusively bring The Last of Us’ infected to Diablo III Ultimate Edition on Playstation 4.


Diablo III Ultimate Edition is due for release on August 19.