• Review: Destiny

    Reviewed in a vacuum, Destiny would be the most competent of shooter experiences. If the merit of a game was based solely on its fundamental mechanics and whether or…
  • This headline has Destiny in it

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Hello Nagarians. As you are no doubt aware, the Xbox One launched locally today, so if you’ve been hankering for the Jelly Green Giant you can now get it for the love of money. Tarryn wrote a primer for the system in the latest issue of the NAG magazine, and suffice to say she’s pretty happy with it.

So where can you acquire such a device? Good question: fortunately, we have a list of all the available offers in a single spot for your convenience. Keep in mind that many of the consoles deals are being bundled with DIGITAL downloads of the games listed, meaning you’ll have to download them in addition to a number of updates for the system itself; so be mindful when you’re looking at the deals. Fifa 15‘s clocking in at 12gb, while Dance Central 2014 is somewhere in the region of 22gb, so those short on bandwidth beware.

Fortunately, Heritage Day’s tomorrow, so it’s not like you need to do something responsible like sleep, or celebrate our country’s glorious past and traditions. No, just watch that progress bar crawl across the screen while you dream of Fifa 15‘s and Forza‘s and Ryse‘s.

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If you thought that two Assassin’s Creed titles in one year was a little too much, know that Ubisoft has a third one in the works as well. This one will only be out in “early 2015”, and it’ll be quite a bit different to Unity and Rogue. It’s called Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, and it’s a 2.5D platforming game coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In the standalone game, players will take on the role of female Assassin Shao Jun in a journey set in 16th century China. Jun is the last Assassin left in her order, and she travels back to her homeland to exact revenge on those who have killed her fellow Assassins. If she sounds familiar, then you’ve been paying attention as Jun made her first appearance in the animated short Assassin’s Creed: Embers from 2011. Consequently, when we take control of Jun she will have just finished her training with Ezio Auditore. She’ll be able to combine typical Assassin moves with martial arts close combat.

Now for the catch: the standalone title is part of the Season Pass for Assassin’s Creed Unity. As it stands the only way to get hold of this game is to buy Unity’s Season Pass. No word yet on how much that might cost. It will, however, include two additional pieces of content for Unity.

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Brainline

Have you ever heard of Brainline Learning World? They deal with school-level (Grade R to 12) distance education, and they are making their rAge debut at this year’s expo.  They also have a host of giveaways lined up. Hit the jump for details.

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It’s called the Crescent Bay prototype, and it’s the follow-up to the current dev kit 2, which was dubbed Crystal Cove. The most immediate addition to this new prototype are the built-in headphones, which according to Oculus VR will add “high-quality” audio to the device.

In addition to adding headphones, Oculus has licensed software code by RealSpace3D. This technology has been developed over 10 years at the University of Maryland. When utilised by Oculus VR, the software will add “high-fidelity VR audio with a combination of HRTF [head-related-transfer function; basically how ears hear sound in a 3D space] spatialization and integrated reverberation algorithms” to the Oculus Rift experience.

In addition to the new integrated audio, the Crescent Bay prototype boasts new but unspecified display technology, full 360˚ head tracking (so presumably the camera can now track the back of the unit), and greater positional tracking. It’s also significantly lighter. Still no word on a consumer release date or when (if) this new prototype might be made available as a Dev Kit 3.

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As I write this first coverage article, I took a minute to think of and salute the ex-PC Format Magazine SA lads, who had their publication shut down a few months ago. Their absence is definitely felt in the industry and on the magazine racks. With that, let’s lead into the first of the stands that I’d like to introduce to you. Evetech is no stranger to the rAge expo and has been attending for a number of years now. This time, there’s a lot of new hardware to show off and sell, which will make things rather interesting.

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destiny_alpha_impressions_screenshot_2

Reviewed in a vacuum, Destiny would be the most competent of shooter experiences. If the merit of a game was based solely on its fundamental mechanics and whether or not one has fun engaging with those mechanics, then this would be the shortest review you’d read this year; Destiny would get 100% and I’d tell you that you couldn’t possibly go wrong.

Unfortunately, publishers and marketers ensure that games can never be reviewed in a vacuum, and contemporary big budget titles are always more than a primary game mechanic. Still, it would be nice to review Destiny without the rubbish preamble that overhyped the game’s eventual release. It would be nice to play through the game without that cloying mantra from marketers and PR representatives saying, “Judge Destiny by what it will become, and not what it is now.” I don’t buy that. We’ve all bought Destiny now, and we’re reviewing what is in front of us – that’s how video game reviews work.

Yes, in the future there will be more content for Destiny, and features will be added as the game continues to evolve. If that model sounds familiar, then you’ve played MMO games before. This game should have been marketed as an MMO, and not some new industry buzz-genre known as a “shared world shooter”. But Activision didn’t want to do that (probably rightly so) because they wanted to get the console shooter fans firmly on board. MMOs are a hard sell these days, but for all intents and purposes, Destiny is an MMO. Here’s the thing though: I HATE MMOs, but I had (and I still am having) terrific amounts of fun with Bungie’s new baby.

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destiny

Yoyoyo NAG-wizzles, and thanks for coming back, homies. I’ve spent the morning listening to rap music and getting in touch with my inner gangsta. Meanwhile, in news, Destiny has a big impact in the UK, Microsoft cheekily tries to dodge marketing sanctions, a Kickstarter project actually gets released while another one does the more popular trick of ceasing to exist. There’s all kinds of videos this week, with a few new gameplay trailers getting sprinkled in with the regular news – stuff like The Order 1886’s guns which are trying to kill you. There’s a lot of other stuff I’m too tired to write about, so click the read more button you lazy bugger.

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It’s amazing how far we have come.

Ten years ago South Africa’s best Defense of the Ancients (DotA) players would head over to their favourite local LAN, where no more than a handful of teams would battle for bragging rights and, in rare cases, they’d win back a small portion of the costs they incurred attending the event.

Competition rules were decided by individuals with little understanding of the game and often ended in controversy. Spectators were limited to a small group of people standing behind the PCs of their favourite players, trying not to disturb them.

These days, competitions are very different. This weekend, the last of four online qualifiers for the NGL AORUS Corsair Dota 2 Clash are taking place. Three teams so far have secured their spots in the grand final, so let’s have a quick recap of what’s happened and what’s still to come.

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In Episode 09, we invite game devver Ben Myres, who occasionally writes something for the site and magazine in between learning about developing video games. We also try to completely avoid movie references (we attribute this to Rick still coming out of SuperAIDS and Chris trying not to say anything that Rick will copy and EVERYONE making sure they don’t allow Matthew and Chris to start on puns).

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borderlands_the_pre_sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is Coming Soon™. And by “soon” we mean 17 October. The events of The Pre-Sequel take place between the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2. Makes total sense, doesn’t it? In The Pre-Sequel, you’ll get to pick between four new characters, including Claptrap. The game takes place on Pandora’s moon, Elpis. That means there’s low gravity so you’ll be able to jump really high and fire guns while floating through the not-atmosphere.

I got to play Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at Gamescom and found myself gravitating (moon pun!) towards the setups where Claptrap was playable. Claptrap is a chaotic force on the battlefield; his special ability allows him to run a file in his programming called VaultHunter.exe with varying results. You never know what’s going to happen when you activate his ability. On one occasion it made my guns fire entire clips at once, so you’d be able to pour an entire clip worth of damaging into an enemy in one shot. Of course that meant reloading after every shot, but the high risk, high reward nature was amusing. On another occasion his ability made him throw grenades automatically and non-stop. Add in the fact that his ability affects everyone in the party, and Claptrap becomes a most amusing character option.

If you want a good (and lengthy… and hilarious) breakdown of the game, then hit the jump and allow Sir Hammerlock and Mr. Torgue to guide you through the features of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

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Sega and Creative Assembly have announced a new Survivor Mode for next month’s Alien: Isolation. The mode will be made available via a five-part downloadable content offering. This is in addition to the pre-order bonus content that was revealed some months ago.

The Survivor Mode will be made available piece-by-piece during the six months following the game’s release. In Survivor Mode, players will take on the role of a new character in each of the five pieces of content. You’ll have to complete a series of mode-specific challenges all while being hunted by the game’s various enemies. Yes, it sounds like certain pieces of the DLC will include enemies other than the vanilla Alien, but so far Sega hasn’t revealed anything.

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maxwell leak memory compression

With the Geforce GTX980 and GTX970 launching pretty much tomorrow everywhere with it almost guaranteeing that the internet will break just like it did today thanks to iOS 8, I’ve decided to hold off on putting my article on the Radeon R9 285 up because of a few details I’ve now seen on the official press slides for Big Maxwell. Nvidia’s also doing a colour compression hardware trick that’s pretty much like black magic, but that brings much bigger returns for Big Maxwell than it does for Tonga. Nvidia is also talking a little more about how it works and why they’re doing it so at the risk of being late with my Tonga coverage I’d much rather have the right information about how the two implementations differ than just suck it out of my thumb and spend time revising it later once its published.

So the GTX980 and GTX970 is launching soon and Tonga’s analysis will be in this weekend! So there’s still going to be something to read and I’ll have to talk for about 20 minutes straight on next week’s podcast in addition to my Podcast challenge.

Someone asked me what rAge was all about and I was super-tempted to answer “Seeing Deadpool make friends,” as well as “Seeing three Deadpools imitate each other.” But the reality is that rAge is the biggest gaming expo of the year and things are gearing up as we have less then three weeks to go before the main event. Here’s some refreshers for you about what’s going to happen with our coverage and what you can look forward to in the next few weeks. 21 days left!

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Oh hey, it’s Silent Hills: the PlayStation 4 game that suddenly appeared as the demo P.T. (“playable teaser”) on the PlayStation Store during Gamescom! Did you play it? I did… for about 10 minutes before I broke down in tears.

IF you managed to play that teaser through to the end, you would have learnt that it was for upcoming Silent Hills: a collaboration project between Kajima Productions and director Guillermo Del Toro. It also stars Norman Reedus – aka Darryl Dickson from The Walking Dead.

After the jump you’ll find a brand-spanking-new trailer for the game. Yep, this is another Tokyo Game Show trailer, but this one is extra special thanks to the sheer terror it’s capable of instilling in its viewers. Awww, look, cute little children’s toys! And they’re pottering up this dingy passageway and glowing in the dark! That’s not so scary! They’re all colourful and –OH GOD WHY ARE THERE TENTACLES AND WORMS COMING OUT OF THE CEILING!? WHAT IS THAT!? WHY AM I PUKING MAGGOTS OUT OF MOUTH!? AAAAAH! GARBBLE GARBBLEBAWFKAESAGsvBESBWNGLASG?fawfgavESV/…

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NVIDIA-teaser

You know, I had tried to make a clever lead-in for this news piece, but I’m still picking up my jaw from looking at these pictures. After the jump are some of the most revealing close-ups of Big Maxwell, which is scheduled to be launched either this week or the next. I’ve been waiting on reporting on these images because I was so sure that someone had made a really elaborate Photoshop of various GTX 700-series cards. But its looking like the real deal more and more.

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nvidia_teaser_1

Nvidia is either one day or a few days away from launching their next big lineup of GPUs. They’re putting Big Maxwell out on to the stage and they figure that it’s such a massive jump in power and performance that it warrants skipping the 8-series lineup entirely, moving to the Geforce GT and GTX 900-series. If it’s anything like the incredible change between the Geforce 200 and Geforce 400 families, this one’s going to be just as big and important. Hit the jump to see what we know so far.

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