Month: October 2015

New PlayStation Store Releases: Assassin’s Creed 14

So, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate comes to the PlayStation Store this week. Incredibly, this is already the 14th Assassin's Creed game to be released on consoles since the series debuted in '07. That's an average of nearly two releases per year. Not quite as ridiculous as the 15 Guitar Hero games that all came out within a five year span, but I think you get my point. At exactly what point does the market become oversaturated with Assassin's Creed? Also, is that really something that Ubisoft is in a hurry to do?

Activision (wisely) decided to shelve the Guitar Hero franchise for five years after the fans stopped caring about it. But Activision still had Call of Duty, and then Skylanders to fall back on. So what is Ubisoft going to do when they can't milk AC anymore? Personally, I'd be okay with them simply having a yearly rotation between Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six, but they are basically doing that now. I guess when Assassin's Creed finally does die, they'll just have to come up with some other new property that they can beat well past the point of death.

A few other new entries to established franchises that are out this week include Tales of Zestiria, Overlord: Fellowship of Evil, and Just Dance 2016 (that's another Ubi property). Let's just hope that Syndicate won't be as broken as Unity was. Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.

PlayStation 4

[Image: Ubisoft]

Rocket League: A Goal Keeper’s Guide

So if you're like me, you love yourself some Rocket League. Sometimes though it's difficult to pick a role you'd like to play in the game. Whether it be the all-around player, the striker, or as was in my case for quite a while, being a full-time goalie.

Choosing to be a full-time goalie can be kind of intimidating. You're effectively putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make sure you can stop the other teams advancement while taking yourself out of an offensive role. Here in this guide I'll attempt to help with some quick tips and visuals to get you started if you're considering a move in this direction.

First thing everyone needs to know is that as a goalie, you're going to make mistakes. End of story. Don't let it deter you from keeping at it. As your skill in the area raises you'll become a force to be reckoned with and able to help turn the tide of a less than successful match. Secondly a lot of being a goalie is common sense that's just been honed in to skill. For most it's not that hard to get in to, and it's a very satisfying role. So without further ado, let's get started.

Okay so whether you've just started playing Rocket League or you're in to it already it's important to know that the game's tutorial is your friend. I think lots of people just skip the it because they want to just get right to playing. But the tutorial teaches some pretty helpful fundamental items that you'll be able to use very quickly.

Once you're through with the basics in tutorial mode It's a good idea to get some game time practice in. I would suggest starting out in some bot matches at whatever skill level you feel comfortable with before moving to online matches.


title logo

Here's a list of tips from my own experiences to help you become a successful goalie.

Click any image below to view it full size

  • --Ball Cam-- This is a personal choice for everyone of course but the ball cam can hinder your visibility in the goal box. I tend to play with the ball cam off unless I'm running back to the goal and need to see behind me.
  • --Stay in the Goal Box-- If you're the furthest one back in the lineup just get in the goal box and stay there. Charging forward at kickoff when you're the farthest back just puts you out of reach should the ball be hit directly at your goal. Likewise if you're in a forward position at kickoff, charge the ball and then get yourself back to the goal box as quick as possible.
    Back right in and stay there
    Back right in and stay there
  • --Always face the ball-- This is important because turning your car around before you can challenge a shot takes time you don't always have. Facing the ball means quicker action.
    See that? Straight line to the ball
    See that? Straight line to the ball
  • --Boost-- As a goalie It's very important to keep up your boost gauge. Right in front of the goal box is one boost node, just use it repeatedly. Forward out, get the node, reverse back. Rinse and repeat. Don't be fooled into thinking that those 100% nodes at the corners are safe to go to. You'll leave your goal wide open for a few precious seconds while leaving to retrieve one.
    Get this node here repeatedly
    Get this node here repeatedly
  • --Don't come out until you have to-- A common mistake early on in goal keeping is challenging the ball before you need to. Remember the further you have to go to get to the ball, the further you have to go to return to the goal box. Rely on your teammates to get the ball away before you make the decision to challenge. Early challenges can also open a host of other issues like an opponent touching in a different direction and you not being able to correct for the change. Or even your own teammate hitting the ball while you're out, leaving the goal open while you make your way back. Waiting until the last second gives your opponent less of an advantage to dodge your challenge and increases your chances of a save.
    too soon
    This was too soon. Cost a goal from a teammate.
    proper challenge
    Just right this time. Hit it!
    Take that Suckah!
  • --Commit to the save-- Once you do make the decision to knock that ball away don't stop until you either do just that, or a teammate has possession. Your car will accelerate quickly but not instantly, even with boost. Waffling on a save is almost always bad. Remember if you mess up it's better to do it trying to make the save than to sit just watch the ball go in your goal.
    Wait for it....
    Wait for it....
    Get that thing away
    Get that thing away
  •  --Don't chase the ball-- Remember, you're priority is stopping goals, not making them. There will be cases where you'll be able to hit the ball just right and make a save that ends up in a return and scores for your team. It's a great feeling, but do resist the temptation to make a save and try and follow it up by leaving your position and running the ball back for a score.
    stop chasing
    This is what happens when you chase the ball down the field
    Way too far out
    Way too far out
  • --Surface area-- Your goal box is a big target being guarded by a small goal keeper. Any chance you have to increase your surface area is one you should take. This might mean turning sideways during a save, or pitching up or down to make yourself a bigger obstacle.
    Close one
    Close one
  • --Try and keep it simple-- This is more difficult than it sounds. Certainly not all shots will come at you at ground level. At some point you're going to have make the choice to jump or even fly for the ball. Just try and keep the distance of travel as short as possible and it's usually not worth trying anything complicated while in the air. As direct a hit as you can manage will greatly increase your chances of success.
    Just a straight line jump block
    Just a straight line jump block
  • --Come at it hard-- Almost every shot that comes your way as your ranks raise will be a hard shot. And much of the time your opponent will be backing it up by driving in to the ball. This can easily just push right through your position if you're just casually challenging the attack. Once you're lined up on the ball and close enough, flip at it. This helps counteract the force applied by the opponent and will likely serve doubly to project the ball back down field. At the very least it will throw off your opponent's momentum giving your team the chance to take the ball back.
    Not on my watch Sir
    Not on my watch Sir
  • --Don't be baited by hecklers-- As your skill increases and you're making saves left and right the other team is bound become frustrated. Someone will inevitably decide to attempt to ram you away or demolish your car. I find it best to just jump over them and give them the least attention possible rather than try and ram them back. This allows you to stay in the goal box. Plus what better way to send the message that you can handle it than to be able to make the save even while you're being harassed by an opponent. Another good thing to remember is that while one opponent is busy trying to make things hard for you, they're also leaving their team a man down.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully these tips have given you the confidence to give goal keeping a shot. It's surprisingly addictive and a great way to contribute. And when you do it right you'll have end game score boards something like this one in one of the bot matches I used for most of these examples. Now go make some saves!

end of match
6 saves may not always get MVP but it does stop 6 goals





Back to the Future Day Comes to Rocket League

Way back in 1989 on December 22nd in movie theaters Back to the Future 2, was released and we got to see Marty and the Doc go forward in the future to October 21st, 2015. Today IS  October 21st, 2015 and that means It's Back to the Future day. How cool is that? From this point forward all the Back to the Future films will have taken place in the past. Boom... mind blown.

The fine folks at Psyonix have celebrated this wondrous occasion with the release of the Back to the Future, car pack for their popular title Rocket League. In the form of pure awesome this pack contains access to Doc. Brown's, DeLorean Time Machine. It'll cos you two bucks, but come on people it's the DeLorean Time Machine!

You get the DeLorean, the Outatime Boost Trail, and the DeLorean Time Machine wheels and tires. You'll be locked in to these options when you use the car, and you can only change the colors in the primary paint options, no graphics or secondary paint.

Here are some screens of the venerable Time Machine in action, as always click images to see them full size.

2015-10-21_000072015-10-21_000082015-10-21_00009title featurego fast2015-10-21_000052015-10-21_000042015-10-21_000032015-10-21_00002


Destination Sol: A Review From Scroo

Hey everyone. Do you love AAA games with cutting edge graphics? How do you feel about stealthing your way down a hall, hacking your way in to a locked door and stealing classified documents? Is third person shooter action what you live for? Well if you answered yes then this is definitely NOT the review you came to read.

Title image_2

If you're still with me then join me for a trip through a game that this review is actually about.

Destination Sol is a free to play, randomly generated, 2D space exploration and combat rogue-like game. It's got a retro style and as the player you'll be flying around a vast open space sandbox and blasting away at various enemies while looting items and trading with space stations. And there are no microtransactions!

Currently it's available through Steam as a PC version and is also available for free on the Google Play Store as an Android Mobile version. And for a totally free single player title it's pretty cool. Let's check out the PC version.

This title is fairly easy to just pick up and play, but a quick tutorial covering all the basics is available from the start menu.

tutorial screen
Click to view knowledge dropping at full size

You'll start as small space ship at a space station in one of two star systems and are immediately free to explore the space around you. Once you open your map and zoom out you'll quickly notice that the game world is pretty expansive and fully accessible.

While in the map view you'll be able to see your position in real time as well the rest of the available area. Just about everything you need to see is marked, space stations, planets, asteroid belts and quick travel points are most prevalent but you may also see other ships.

However that doesn't mean the map is perfect. Missing are the abilities to create waypoints or markers of any kind; and in an open world it would be nice to have the option to point yourself in a direction. You're also unable to drag the map screen around to see objects off-screen.

Click to a big space map in full size
Click to a big space map in full size

Conveniently, the map also marks what areas are considered too strong for you by flashing skulls on their positions. Who has two thumbs and didn't pay attention to skulls? Oh that's me. I decided on a whim to fly to a near by ship that was flashing as a skull. A clear red flag, warning me to turn away before it was too late. As I neared an actual warning came up on the screen that said bluntly "Dangerous Enemy". Just before I became a smoldering pile of scrap on the ground I thought to myself, "I can handle it. I have the hang of this game already". Afterwards I respawned and went in a different direction.


Skulls are bad mmmk?
Skulls are bad mmmk?

There are no missions in Destination Sol, so happily you can pick a direction and just start out exploring. Soon you'll find yourself  sailing through asteroid fields and battling space pirates who will provide you with currency and items as your reward for their defeat. Speaking of asteroids... Anyone remember the classic arcade space blaster Asteroids? That's how this game controls too.

Now, in Asteroids if you hit something (say, an asteroid perhaps) you blew up and it was GG thanks for playing. In Destination Sol your ship is a bit more durable so it takes some significant speed to blow you up in a collision. It can happen though and if it does...GG thanks for playing.

It's not all as hardcore as sounds though since the only penalty for death is a loss of some currency, and your respawn will always put you back at your original starting space station. As a result there could be some downtime in flying back to your place of demise to recover money lost or items left behind. Not to mention you might run in to more space pirates or get sidetracked by something shiny...

Like a planet. Yes, Destination Sol allows you to seamlessly descend into the atmosphere of an extraterrestrial world. There are three types of planets to explore and you'll know when you're near one because a bar-like feature consisting of several blue dots will appear on the outer edge of your screen. Perhaps just for the sake of argument we'll call it an atmospheric indicator. As you near a planet these dots will move along the edges of your screen to determine your position in relation to the planet and will also glow brighter. Remember that tutorial image at the beginning of this review? Who am I asking, of course you do. In the upper right corner of that image is one of these atmospheric indicator bars.

combat screen
Click to see some combat full size

As you enter the atmosphere you're greeted by gravity, clouds, a sky, some pirates, and even a day night cycle of sorts. It's a small detail overall but I really liked that there was a light and dark side to each world.

In my experience the pirates on planets are far more dangerous than most of those in space. At least early on. They have better weapons, faster ships, and bigger shields. Plus they may be backed up by gun turrets on the ground. But if you can manage to get by them there's almost always a trader on the surface with upgrades, repairs and ammunition.

planet trade screen
Click to see me limp to the trader at full size

Unfortunately this about where planetary exploration hits it's peak. I found planets to be pretty small and once cleared of evildoers and looted for every item and monetary credit it was back to space with me.

We haven't talked about items and weapons yet so let's get in to that a bit. Destination Sol advertises over 50 items and weapons to find, buy, and equip. Your ship will begin it's journey with a basic set of gear to get your started and it's all visible in the upper left corner of the HUD.

Items are pretty self explanatory. For instance, your shield will absorb the damage before it fails and your ship starts taking physical damage. In which case you'll see your hit points drop, if they reach zero, GG thanks for playing. Fortunately for you it's possible to buy bigger shields that absorb more damage before failing and thus avert tragedy a bit easier.

Also available are repair kits. These kits will self-use when you become idle for a few seconds and repair a total of 20 damage before being used up. Only need to repair 13 damage? That's ok the kit will stay in your inventory until it repairs 7 more.

Your ships armor will increase your damage resistance allowing your ship to take punishment when your shield inevitably fails under pressure. Higher levels of armor are available for purchase to increase your damage resistance further.

trade screen
Click to see trading at full size

Weapons are varied in both number and effectiveness. Your starting weapon is the good old blaster. As a starting weapon it has infinite magazines meaning it can reload forever. Reloading takes time and takes place only when you're out of ammunition, and only automatically.There is no manual reloading in Destination Sol. A point that I wasn't fond of at all. I don't know how many times my ship needlessly exploded because I couldn't prepare for a fight by reloading before hand.

Other weapons, ballistics, missiles, bombs, mines etc. all take ammunition that you'll have to buy from a trader or space station. In other words, no infinite reloads. Different weapons are more, or less effective vs. shields or ship armor so there's a modicum of strategy involved in what you may choose for a certain situation. Also weapons come in two categories: Light and Heavy. Your ship will show you which is applicable.

Herein we see the balance of the game. The Guardian ship has a light weapon slot, which is able to rotate automatically like a turret to fire. It also has fewer hit points. Whereas the Fighter has a heavy weapon slot which cannot rotate, meaning you use your ship to aim. However it has more hit points allowing it to face danger head on a bit easier. Categories are clearly marked in the trade screen. Combat itself is handled, very simply. Point your reticle at the enemy and fire. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.

Click image to see full size
Woah, Doc... This is Heavy!

Destination Sol gives you the availability of piloting up to 6 different ships, a few are in the image below. Some of these ships have more than one slot for weapons, and each has it's own unique special ability. The guardian ship has the ability to temporarily slow time and comes with one light weapon slot. The larger Hunter ship has the ability to teleport in battle and comes with two heavy weapon slots.

My favorite ship so far is the Hunter class. It's big, intimidating looking, and I put two heavy machine guns on it to rule space with a hale of lead of fire!

You'll have to buy ships from traders and outposts, and they can be pricey. They are worth the buy though and they'll use items you currently own.

Click to see the full size ship exchange
Click to see the full size ship exchange

Also usually available at traders and outposts are mercenary allies. Hiring one of these mercs can be a little expensive but they can be very helpful and each has their own abilities. Plus during boss battles they double as bullet sponges. Meat shield anyone?

"Boss battle" is actually a loose term here. There are no true bosses in Destination Sol, at least none that I'm aware of. I never ran in to anything like that in my play time. What they tend to be are usually just larger more heavily armed and armored ships that give greater rewards for their defeat. But they show up during exploration, not in an encounter type situation with a large health bar and narcissistic monologue.

My own first sighting of a boss ship was while I was exploring a planet and suddenly, there from above, was a relatively enormous pile of guns blasting away at me. I managed to win the fight by the skin of teeth and collect a veritable treasure trove which I immediately unloaded on a trader for a significant pile of cash. It was very satisfying.

So far I see no end to this game. Which is great on the one hand because you can just play and play. In these days of 10 hour titles costing $60 it's refreshing to have free title with a play time as long as your attention span. On the other hand there's only so much exploration and pirate battling one can do before starting over.

Which brings me to my final subject here. Destination Sol, is classified as a rogue-like, hardcore, arcade, space RPG. A mouth full to be sure. Now don't box this in to the same category as a more familiar title like FTL. The similarities are few if any at all. I don't see much as far as an RPG element goes in Destination Sol. Though you're able to aquire and equip gear and items there's no leveling system. There is no dialogue, and there are no quests. Not even a story line to follow.

But, it is very arcade like, and Rogue-like in a way. The arcade elements are pretty obvious when you play. The game is only lightly physics based and there's just that old school joystick and two button feel. Like I need to be dropping quarters in a machine.

Rogue-like elements seem to mix with the hardcore. You have what equates to as infinite continues. Die and you'll respawn and move on more or less the same as you were (minus a few credits), but the game state is never saved. Your ship's build is saved when you exit the game, but the world is different every time you start. From the main menu you'll have the option to start over from scratch or go ahead and use your previous ship with your items etc. I guess you could argue this as being rogue-like since it's a way of having a legacy... to a point. I personally feel more comfortable calling it an arcade space exploration and combat game.

So in conclusion, Destination Sol, is a free to play title with no micro-transactions. It's pretty well put together with a few things maybe needing some polish. For instance I know I didn't mention above in the review but this game has no music. I really think it could benefit from a soundtrack. But it's supported on Steam with updates so perhaps we'll still see improvements where they're needed.

Would I recommend Destination Sol? So I kind of have mixed feelings about some portions but yes, I would recommend it. Why, you ask? Well dear reader, if you're in to a retro style of graphics and a simple character controller I'm sure you're going to dig this. And possibly more importantly, it's free and it's fun.

System Requirements for Destination Sol, are as follows:

Processor: 1 ghz or better

Ram: 512 mb or better

Graphics: Support for OpenGl 2.0 at least is required

Sound card: Any

Hard Drive Space: At least 100 mb free


New Steam Store Releases: Broforce

It must be Bro-tober, because after a year and a half in Early Access, Devolver Digital's most bro-tastically American action game is now available in final release form. Broforce let's you play as one of several "bro" action heroes inspired by numerous bro-tacularly awesome '80s movies. The game supports co-op and multiplayer too, so go round up some bros of your own and take down the terrorist threat together.

Also out this week, a very obscure (but pretty decent) Arcade shooter (G-Stream G2020), now rebranded as DeltaZeal, the second Jackbox Party Pack, and a twin-stick shooter featuring vikings with guns. Put your bro-face on, save America, then proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.

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Some new Nintendo news from the wankers over at the Wall Street Journal

We got some new information on the Nintendo NX. According to the fucking (Pay-)Wall(ed) Street Journal, development kits for Nintendo’s announced but not really console or whatever have been distributed to select third-party developers.

The NX will “likely include both a console and at least one mobile unit that could either be used in conjunction with the console or taken on the road for separate use”, at least according to the fucking Wall Street Journal, who in turn got that info from “people familiar with the development plans”.

Do I need to point out the obvious in that? Who are those people the Wall Humper Journal got their info from? My grandma is familiar with Nintendo’s development plans: Release a couple of Mario games, maybe a Zelda one. Done.
The Tosser Journal then continues with another amazing prediction: Nintendo is aiming “to put industry-leading chips in the NX devices”. Yeah, no shit?! Industry leading? So they are faster than the day-1 obsolete hardware in current gen systems? Wow.

The best is yet to come though, and I won’t even comment on that (that, I’ll leave to you): “We are increasingly of the idea that Nintendo might launch the NX in 2016 because of the softness of 3DS and Wii U.”


no, I won't even link to the article

Picture: Sadly no idea. Let me know if you find out

Opinion: Embrace Emulation

Computer games have a pretty short history when you compare them with other media - books, movies and music all have far, far more works attributed to them than video games could ever have - and yet those media [books, movies and music] don't have nearly the same technological hill to climb as video games.

Whole chunks of gaming history just get abandoned as we march ever onward toward greater polygon counts, better musical fidelity and tonal shifts in gameplay. Where once the platforming collect-a-thon ruled the roost, today, most people only really want to play first/third person shooters.

And in that shift - from one platform to the next - we lose games. Sometimes catastrophically terrible games, but sometimes, we lose wonderful pieces of history, too. Like Banjo Kazooie or Okami.

One of the answers? Emulation. But the industry tends to frown upon emulation, because it requires reverse engineering the original game console [or operating system] and Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft aren't fans of that.

But... Read more