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muninreview_002

Wits must he have who wanders wide,
For all is easy at home.
At the witless man the wise shall wink,
When among such men he sits.

So ends Munin after thirteen hours of tricks and tenacity, and I’m all the better for it. Munin is a puzzle game in which you play the titular character Munin — one of Odin’s crows — who, according to Nordic myth, travels the globe each day with his brother Hugin to report all that they have seen and heard.

In a cruel trick by Loki, you’ve been cast into the body of a rather dour-looking human and your memory scattered throughout Yggdrasil in feather fragments. Munin sees you bedeviled throughout nine realms, each with a number of stages inspired by locations within Nordic legend, in search of your memory.

Munin is quite minimal in its presentation. Opening with a short poem (based on the poetic Edda, a collection of heroic ballads that serve as the primary source of Scandinavian mythology), each area is presented in a semi-animated watercolour style that provides a certain ambiance to the stage without being too distracting. Whether traversing the spiritscape of Hel or the frozen wastes of Niflheim, each area captures an austere mood very much in tone of the epics on which they’re based.

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rAge.

Issue.

rAge issue.

Issue of rAge.

October, also.

That’s it. You can all go home now.

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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_traveler_earth

Why are you reading this? Why aren’t you playing Activision’s Destiny – the biggest baddest bestest shooter that ever big-bad-best-shot – right now? Have you been watching the live streams of the game that are floating around the ‘Net? I bet you have, since clearly you don’t already own it. Clearly you’re not engaged with the gaming zeitgeist and are culturally barren. We can’t review it yet, because… well, because it’s a game that requires a bit of time to critically assess, and because we’re in the same boat as you.

Also, there’s one review copy and it’s totally not going to me and I’m totally not miff about it. Activision’s Destiny isn’t an MMO but a shared-world shooter, which means that if you shoot something, someone else will cry about it. But who cares about that? We need to write something about Activistion’s Destiny. It’s launched today, didn’t you know? Unless you’re a True Gamer and got your copy early and changed the servers to Australia so you could stream about your experience and tell everyone that they should totally wait for your review, the one you’re working on in between having so much fun playing right now HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT WOWZERS.

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UPDATE: Most stores in Cape Town will only be receiving their copies of NAG on Friday the 5th of September due to a distribution niggle. Sorry!

Spring! September is a month for getting in touch with friends you’ve not seen in a while. And by in a while, we mean since around 8 o’clock this morning. And by friends, we mean the next Calls of Duties. And by not seen, we mean seen everywhere, all the time. It’s called Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and it’s got double-jumping Exo suits in it. We’re not sure where the dog’s gone though. Perhaps they ran out of space for bearded bullet points and had to cut the canines. Anyway, it’s on our cover. Yay!

September’s also important for being the month before rAge 2014 (and every other rAge ever, really). It’s coming people. Best prepare yourselves.

Delve deeper to discover more September issue info.

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The_Witcher_3_Wild_Hunt-Crossroads

While we were at Gamescom a few weeks back, we got to check out The Witcher 3. We also managed to pin down Michal Stec, the game’s art producer, who was kind enough to answer a whole lot questions.

Here’s the thing: we did something a little different in this interview. Those of you who were paying attention on NAG’s Twitter, Facebook and Forum pages will have seen a call for reader questions. We went into this interview armed with the best questions that you lovely lot wanted answers to.

Some of your questions were a little tricky, so the ones that Michal wasn’t able to answer have been left out of this transcript. There are, however, a lot of interesting snippets of information to be found, including some odds and sods that haven’t been covered anywhere else online. Exclusives!

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crimsonland

MUST… KILL… GAH

Coming home from a long, hard day at work, the last thing you want to do is think. You want to sit down, relax, shut the brain off and get involved in some mindless, stress-relieving carnage. There are more than a few games that sate this desire, but one in particular from 2003 won the hearts of a lot of gamers: Crimsonland. It was one of the earliest examples of blood-soaked arena shooters and one of the first games to move the action to a 2D plane in the wake of Serious Sam.

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Hexcells V0 2013-07-22 13-23-38-28

I absolutely hate Minesweeper. That tiny piece of fluff-ware that seems to be bundled in so many operating systems simply irks me to no end. I feel this way because, while there is some strategy involved, most of the gameplay boils down to blind luck. And when chance takes preference instead of direct influence over the outcome, I simply lose interest. With this bitter taste in my mouth, I was cautious when I approached Hexcells, whose description bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous ‘sweeper. Thankfully, my prejudices weren’t realized and I found it to be a rather delightful puzzle experience.

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enemy_starfighter_header

It’s rather embarrassing you see, because this game has been around for over a year already. I’m tempted to throw in an obscure Star Wars reference about ships this small not having cloaking devices, and then liken Enemy Starfighter to the Millennium Falcon, but in explaining that analogy I have inadvertently obviated its need. So let’s carry on then!

Enemy Starfighter is another upcoming space simulator that’s gleefully riding atop the crest of the genre’s resurgence. I for one welcome our new space sim genre overlords because they remind me of my youth when I’d while away the weekends playing Wing Commander and X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter. I’m waiting for EA’s inevitable realisation that space simulators are a thing once again, and for them to go on and announce a new Star Wars space simulator. That distant shrieking you’ll hear shortly after that announcement will in all likelihood be me as I spin around in circles, get dizzy and puke from excitement.

Enemy Starfighter, however, is not big budget. It’s nowehere near as gargantuan a project as Star Citizen, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something that should be ignored. Allow me to put this game firmly on your radar (assuming you were, like me, fast asleep and completely oblivious to its existence because we’re terrible, terrible human beings) by describing it as such: it’s pretty much Homeworld but you fly the space ships as well. OH GOOD GOLLY BUT IT HAS MY ATTENTION NOW.

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shadowgate5

Remakes have always been a touchy subject, but lately it seems as if the topic has ignited a whole new inflammatory debate, with all manner of sanctimony attached to every side’s argument. Our very own Chris Kemp decided to tackle this controversy recently, and suffice to say things weren’t exactly rosy. It becomes even more of a problem when you’re dredging up a really old game like Shadowgate, giving it a new paint job and trying to simultaneously appeal to both a new generation and old fans alike. Is this modern remake of a 30 year-old classic up to the task?

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