The original IT girl returns in Tomb Raider Chronicles

Why do people always berate her and her tomb raiding escapades? Mario and Sonic have had just as many games released on their backs.
Well, that’s true. But the gripe most people have with the Tomb Raider franchise is that the sequels are released with exactly the same game engine behind them. There’s no dynamic redesigning when follow-ups are issued.

I could never finish the last one anyway. Every time I thought I was near the end some damned spider came and bit her.
Doh! You did reach the end then. Everybody knows Eidos killed her off – or, at least, they left us with a ‘is she/is she not dead’ mystery.

So she’s raiding her own tomb this time?
Eh? Or are they using this blog for unlimited SimCash?

Well she can’t come back from the dead surely?
Surely not, which is why the story is more a collection of reflections on previously unknown escapades – or, indeed, chronicles. It starts with Lara’s family and some well-known friends attending her memorial and reminiscing about the lost soul. As they reminisce about certain exploits, you’ll find yourself shot back to the time of their occurrence to re-enact the episodes yourself.

Cool. Do we get to see her pre-pubescent without those polygon pounding peaks?
Things don’t go back that far. But you will be pleased to hear that there are a total of four episodes for you to play. The first is based in Rome and is, reputedly, standard Tomb Raider fare, full of weapons and bosses. The second is more action-based and takes place on a Russian submarine, requiring a good deal of stealth. The third sees a young Lara (16 in fact – it’s her birthday party) trapped in a haunted castle, and the nice twist here is that you’ve no guns. Dodging, outrunning and outwitting the ghostly ghouls is the name of the game. Finally, Crofty goes all Matrix-stylee (another cash-in!) as she grapples against sophisticated traps that demand sophisticated puzzles.

Wow, it’s progressed from simple switch-switching then?
Allegedly, though I wouldn’t hold my breath. It seems they have tried to vary the gameplay a little through each scenario though, which is something considering the total lack of imagination displayed by its predecessors.

Bah. Stop being so cynical. The bottom line is that people enjoyed playing them.
And Eidos enjoyed making buckets of dosh without having to put in much effort.

Whatever. Anyway, tell me about weapons. Any new additions?
So excited I can barely write! There’s a sniper rifle chucked in there, and, I hear, you get to learn some nifty hand-to-hand combat moves. But she does have a total of four outfits to strut about in, making her a contender for the title of Li’l Kim of the Gaming World. And what’s a game if the main character always looks the same?

Have you anything constructive to say?
Okay, okay. Having seen the screenshots I’d have to admit the graphics on this DC version do look like they’ve been worked on. They’re bright, polished, detailed – I was pleasantly surprised.

Do say:
It’s the fifth Tomb Raider title in as many years.

Don’t say:
And it’s hardly changed a bit.

Final Fantasy 15 The Ultimate Action Adventure Game

After so many painful delays adding up to ten long years of development this project has at last been completed. But the question is was it really worth the wait? It seems square enix is attempting to totally reinvent this already amazing series and turn it more into an action-rpg moving away from its turn based routes. That means we’re getting a fresh combat system and awesome style of open-world storytelling in a very different cast of characters. Let’s start by taking a look at the struggle that lies at the heart of Final Fantasy 15. Our plot unfolds during an extremely bloody war. The Empire’s been sweeping the lands with their deadly robot soldiers dominating every city that dares to resist them. The only people with the strength to hold them off for the royal family of insomnia. While we played a world filled with some pretty modern technology this town is unique because they actually have the powers of magic. Our hero Prince Noctis is where the Lords of this kingdom gifted with the spells and might needed to protect his citizens. One day he sent to go Marry a young woman from a neighboring land as an act of peace between realms. During this short trip though the Empire somehow manages to make it inside insomnia and take it over. Now Noctis and his friends are stranded out in the wild searching for a way to save his homeland and seek revenge against these dark invading armies. In the past, Final Fantasy has mostly been a franchise of straightforward old-school role-playing games. Characters would walk from place to place link monsters and generally progressing towards their in gold. 15 throws this idea of the window introducing a fascinating freeform style of open-world questing. Each chapter the game leaves are heroes in a new zone and telling us that mean objective but giving players the option of hailing things however they want. Let me give you an example, this swampy region is where I needed to find a stone that would unlock the ability to use an immensely powerful new summon but before I did that I decided that travel in the area would be faster on a chocobo. Driving to the chocobo farm, I found that the owner wouldn’t let us rent one until we kill the giant local demon who did eating is birds. Following a trail of clues I track down the beast with the help of my trusty teammates i managed to defeat it. This made it so i can now write a speedy feathered friend for the rest of the game if I wanted instead of dealing with this bounty I can go into the hills and ask a woman about her missing husband. Checking around the area i find that he was trapped in a cave rescuing him can earn my party better gear which could greatly alter the outcome against an upcoming boss.

Final Fantasy 15 clearly aims to give you the ultimate action-adventure and what makes it stand out the most is the interesting new combat system noctis is main magical talent as teleportation making a city can warp around in fights to deliver strong hits. Shift the enemy attacks or even pull blades at a thin air at any time you can equip up to four weapons to use in battle we’re giving a huge range of tools to use here from tiny daggers for quick damage too massive to Anders they can strike multiple monsters with a single swipe. Each one of these is assigned to a direction on the d-pad and whenever you need by simply tapping a button you can scroll through all your equipped weapons. This makes you can change things up in the middle of a combo or as new threats appear keeping you locked in the center of combat even a situation shift. I was completely blown away by how simple but fun of this style of fighting is. Being able to teleport hit and nasty demon Dodger blow that would have killed me and then grab a blade to start hacking away the next creature across we can all be done in one fluid motion. Everything about this system works perfectly and even I was tackling the hardest bounties I felt like I could win as long as I fought smart and use my skills well.

Another aspect of battle that you need to keep in mind during some of the rougher encounters is team commands. By working together with your friends your energy that let’s you directly shout out orders to your buddies making prompt oh shoot his gun while a monster’s weekend to could deal a critical hit or you can do things like till ignis use a fire spell on a plant creature like this mall borough. Tiny touches like that can quickly turn the tide of an insane conflict. Learning to shift your tactics to react to different kinds of Beast is shockingly easy in this new gameplay. If you’re the type of person who enjoys tossing magic around more than just bashing bad guys to bits that you’re gonna want to level up Ellimanse. The way you use spells in Final Fantasy 15 is quite a unique thing you essentially crap them yourself by searching for raw elements in nature and combine them to form different skills to cast. Mixed together a bit of frost energy a chunk of lightning and hi-potion can make an ability the shocks pose and boost your health points at once. these are then equipped just like normal weapons let you cheat magic in together with your regular physical attacks. While I love the idea behind this it does bring me to my only major gripe with this game. I just don’t think we got nearly enough magic overall. Being able to customize how basic spells work is cool but after a few hours i just wanted some big fire balls to throw around like I could in classic final fantasies. It’s also slightly disappointing that we can’t just directly cast summons anymore. Earning the favor of the gods and growing in power is a large focus of the main story and yet these beings are rarely seen in battle which seems kinda lame. That being said we have so many other options in combat that I didn’t get a chance to miss majic much especially as I got higher level by killing stuff completing quests and taking a few silly selfies and gorgeous locations you’re an experienced. This is all saved up until the next time you rest either by camping or staying in a hotel with each new level you gain our characters get ability points allow you to further upgrade them to the way you like to play. Personally I love Noctis is teleport strikes so i put on my early efforts in making sure its warp with landed devastating amount of damage. You’ll rely on these enhancements a lot because the photos we have two phase are very very dangerous. Taking on an entire army by yourself isn’t a simple task but our team of Heroes manages to do it by being wise about when and where they attack. In their journey across the world they sneak into basis delve into ancient tombs at one point even explore a hidden castle underneath the mystical lake. There are so many moments this game that took my breath away as they watch these friends grow closer together with every struggle they went through. Perhaps the biggest surprise though and the thing I do wanna warn you about is only the first two-thirds of Final Fantasy 15 are really open world. At a certain chapter you basically get trapped going in just one direction towards the epic conclusion. Thankfully the developers added in a special way of sort of a winding time to go back to earlier parts of the game whenever you want in case you mr. Questor event. As a whole this game is incredible i’m just done the square enix was able to take my favorite franchise and rework it into an all new experience that is still so fantastic but in a bold new way. So we’ve heard some good and some bad blessing over the rating sport and put a big number on it. I am giving final fantasy 15 a 9 out of 10.

MotoGP could very well be the two-wheeled cousin of Gran Turismo

Yet another PlayStation racing game it may well be, but Namco’s MotoGP is certainly a little bit special. It’s graphically superior to pretty much everything we’ve played on the machine thus far, it zips along at breakneck speed and get this: it’s really good fun!

Choose from 32 authentic bikes, including that lovely one with the Red Bull paint job, and tear up the tarmac on five of the most famous tracks in the world, including Suzuka and Donnington. Other tracks can be unlocked in the Challenge Mode, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the licence tests from Gran Turismo. We spent more time in this mode than any other, trying to shave hundredths of a second off a single corner in order to progress. It really is compelling stuff. Later challenges really do get rather tricky and you’ll find yourself tearing out handfuls of hair before trying again, and again (repeat to fade).

All the usual modes are on offer: Versus, Challenge, Arcade and Time Trial, although the real meat of the game lies in Season Mode. Here you’ll choose one of the smaller teams and then try to fulfil the season’s criteria (for instance, achieve a podium finish in three of the five races). If you do rather well another team may try to poach you, with the offer of a bigger, more powerful bike. That’s incentive enough for us!

With Carl Fogarty out of the way, and a copy of this in our PS2, Daily Radar UK should have a world champion in next to no time.

Incredible graphics and speed
32 authentic bikes
Excellent Challenge Mode
Easily amongst the best PS2 games so far
No AI opponents in Versus Mode

Tasting the Beauty of Clash of Lords 2

The problem some of us have always had with the Clash of Lords 2 is that it is a little too, well, cheery. Many of the series’ characters are almost disturbingly wholesome. Heroes a Pulp Fiction vibe to an otherwise Forrest Gump universe. At long last, someone has had the nerve to put gamers right in the captain’s chair on a Hero Bird of Prey. No more pesky prime directive — we can get right down to bloody oppression

Clash of Lords 2 takes place 70 years prior to the current timeline. So there won’t be any contact with regulars from the crew we’re familiar with. But there will be no shortage of punks to kick around. Clash of Lords 2 puts the player in the middle of power play between bases.  The game will feature both heroes reprising their roles, so it looks like the production values and acting will be top notch.

With Boom Beach and Clash of Clans released, we’ve got plenty of great space sims to play. But Clash of Lords 2 plans to differentiate itself. First off — those pretty nebula you’ve become used to won’t just be gorgeous background bitmaps. Space will be something you can actually interact with. Although ships will have a form of warp drive to navigate the vastness of the map, Clash of Lords 2 captains will have to contend with close range dangers. If you’re not careful, you can run into asteroids, planets, planetary rings, and even black holes.

But if the player can avoid those hazards, they’re in for a comprehensive and, judging by our new screenshots, awesome looking battles. There will be more than forty ships in the final version, including the famous B’rel’ Bird of Prey and the Accuser class capitol ships which measure in at more than 1000 meters. The combat ships will feature all of the weapons Clash of Lords 2 fans are familiar with such as the photon torpedoes, disruptors, and phasers, but the designers also promise some new, more exotic means of mass carnage.

Gameplay is still being tweaked with, and there will definitely be some form of cloaking used in combat. But designers are still not finished tinkering with the balance of combat. One interesting new addition is the implementation of VOS, or Verbal Orders System. This will relieve players from having to jump from bridge to bridge during battle in order to control all members of the fleet. Instead, the VOS will allow players to hotkey certain orders, so that they can be “barked” out in a moment’s notice. This way players won’t have to take their eyes of the screen in order to control their troops.

That’ll be a good thing because judging by some of the shots here, taking your eyes of the screen will be a hard thing to do. Clash of Lords 2 is going to take full advantage of your 3dfx chipset with some beautiful uses of colored and dynamic lighting. When ships get torn open, gamers will be able to see the electrical systems arcing, the plasma venting and the individual decks inside the ship. The fire and explosion effects already look awesome, and the colors are deep and gorgeous without being garish.

Whatever else players may think of previous installments of games, Clash of Lords 2 could be that one killer tool that wins them over. With first rate acting, intense space combat, managing system and crew resources, this could be a game that appeals to a lot of hardcore gamers. Throw in multiplayer and a mission editor, and this could be one tasty Clash of Lords 2 Pie

Pokemon Mania on the Roll for 2015

The year 2015 of this century is going to be a big one for Nintendo. Their plans to continue supporting the Nintendo 3DS / 2DS throughout the year with blockbuster games will face some tough challenges from Sega with their Dreamcast and Sony with their upcoming PlayStation Vita Plus. However, one major factor in Nintendo’s court is a little collection of weirdly named creatures, affectionately known as Pokemon.

These little critters have covered the world with their cute little sounds and happy little battles. The craze started four years ago in Japan with two Game Boy games has grown into a billion-dollar industry, and they’re not likely to go away anytime soon. Nintendo plans on capitalizing on the Pokemania Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire with several new games for both the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS, and that’s not even counting the endless supply of licensed products like lunch boxes, mugs, pencils, pajamas and anything else a child would want.

Here’s a list of all the Pokemon-related products coming up in the next year. Although most of them were already known, there are at least a couple of surprises.

>Pokemon Omega Ruby. The big excitement about this game is the ability to transfer Pokemon from the Game Boy games (Ruby) to the latest 3DS console. All 151 Pokemon will be represented, with full 3D models and unique attacks. For Pokemon fans, this game will be a dream come true — not only can they fight with their precious Pokemon, but there are Pokemon minigames and the ability to transfer Pokemon from one Game Boy game to another via the Transfer Pak, which will debut with Pokemon Stadium. Check out the preview.

The trading card phenomena has been running rampant for quite a while, and now even teachers in elementary schools are prohibiting kids from bring them to class. Collecting the cards seems to be a bigger hobby than actually playing, but this Game Boy game combines both — players can play the game itself as they work their way through this rather unique title, but they can also collect rare cards and trade them with their friends through the Game Link cable. Check out the preview.

One of the surprise announcements; not too much is known about Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. However, we do know that it’s going to be a puzzle game using the Pokemon license and will likely be a departure from the typical Pokemon games. We hope to find out more about this title during a visit to Nintendo at the end of this month.

The games have already been released in Japan, and they’re selling off the shelves. Even import stores in the US were hit hard by the mad rush to get a hold of these games, and Nintendo is still having a difficult time keeping them in stock. There’s little doubt that they’ll do well in the States. Featuring an additional 100 Pokemon, these games will bring the total count up to 251 little critters. Pokerap that!

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’s the announcement wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a confirmation. Tentatively titled Pikachu VRS, it will be an English translation of Pikachu Genki Dechu, a voice recognition game where players can talk to Pikachu and interact with the little electric rat. The game comes with a new peripheral — a microphone — that players use to talk to Pikachu. It’s virtual life lived to the fullest, and we expect Pikachu fans to go crazy for this overly cute title.

MoHo is another god-game?

Like a rubber ball I come bouncing back to… well, to retro bouncing ball games actually. Welcome to MoHo, the first Dreamcast game from hotly-tipped developer Lost Toys.
Lost Toys? Should I recognise that name?
Perhaps not, but you’ll certainly recognise the background of its core team. Founded by three ex-Bullfrog employees – like about a trillion other developers – Lost Toys has people who worked on the original Populous, as well as titles like Dungeon Keeper and Generateur Clash Royale.

Well, no actually. Surprisingly, for their first game, Lost Toys opted to create a quirky future sports game where you play a little fella with a big ball.

That’s enough of the ball jokes. The idea behind MoHo is that you’re effectively a gladiator. You start off as a prisoner, so to win your freedom you have to take part in a series of challenges against, well, other balled-up gladiators. For some reason, you’ve all had your legs replaced by giant marbles. Which means you’re mobile, but have a bugger of a time getting down stairs.

Much like Daleks, in fact?

So what do you have to do – fight each other?
Sometimes, but sometimes you just have to race or play tag. The game takes place in arenas, and each one has its own mode. To complete the game, you’ll need to have mastered the different types of challenge, rather than specialising in just one.

Tell me more…
There’s a few characters to choose from, and a well-implemented multiplayer mode. The game was much hyped before it came out earlier this year on PlayStation, but many of the reviews expressed… puzzlement.

Well, that it’s not to everyone’s taste. MoHo is certainly quirky, and from the in-progress Dreamcast version we’ve seen, that’s still the case. It takes a while to get used to the motion of the marble, meaning that a fair few people will be confused enough not to persevere. But that’d be a shame, since there’s plenty of depth to it.

So tell me about these characters.
Well, there’s five to choose from, each with their own comedy nickname. They are: Apostle, Benny, Lockdown, SO-PH-1E and Angel.

Comedy nicknames?
Well, Apostle is the Bringer of Chaos, while SO-PH-1E is War Machine.

Er.. I see. So how are they different?
They’ve all got vital statistics – speed, strength and so on – which make a difference depending on what event you’re playing in. For example, when racing, you’d probably want to use Angel, as she’s a bit nippy. However, if there’s rumbling to be done, you’d be better off choosing one of the stronger characters.

Right. So how’s it shaping up?
Pretty well – it definitely looks like it’ll be worth checking out when finished. We’re particularly looking forward to seeing the multiplayer mode, which wasn’t in the version we’ve been playing.

Okay. I suppose this is where you close with a comedy ball pun?
We would, but we can’t think of any.

Life’s a ball?
Cheers, that’ll do nicely!

Do say:
Well, it makes a nice change from bloody racing games

Don’t say:
Course, it’s not a patch on Marble Madness…