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Elden Ring | The Best Game Of The Year So Far

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From the onset, you are thrown into a vast and mysterious world. You will also die almost very sudden, and also very often.

The beauty of death is what makes this AAA title stand out. We were all fully aware of the hype surrounding this game, a combination of Director Hidetaka Miyazaki (of Dark Souls fame) and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, which culminated in what we are covering here today.

I waited until I had fully explored this enigmatic world before I decided to give a full scale review. So here we are, after hours upon hours, and dying upon dying, I have finally come to a conclusion on my time in a world that truly surprised me, and at many times throughout the game — shocked me.

If you have played the Dark Souls series, you had clear expectations for what a Miyazaki game was going to bring to the table. However, we got something different this time around.

Miyazaki has a formula when it comes to gaming, you die very often, and in very much sadistic and dramatic fashion. But in Elden Ring, what we received is not the typical style of gaming from the director. In terms of difficulty, it definitely has its moments where you feel as if you want to tear your hair out, but it seems to be a tad bit easier than most games in his daunting titles of death and misery.

The Dark Souls series always seemed to be lacking a bit in narrative, and not to give away too much here, but this game seems to add just that in terms of a story, which is probably due to the inclusion of Martin, which is a pretty big deal. Think about if Tolkien was able to collaborate on a video game, not making a comparison between the two, but this is just how large of a figure Martin is within our generation of storytelling.

I never found myself knowing what was going to come next, and I think what made this game so diverse and different than anything I had ever explored — was how it kept me guessing at nearly every corner.

Elden Ring does a great job of providing various degrees of exploration, surprising you at every corner as a different enemy appears, or something or someone interesting to tell a tale or provide you with a bit of entertainment as you can lose yourself outside of just side and main bosses.

The ability to use runes to level up is refreshing, and truly causes (and possibly forces you) to explore its vast lands.

With a fantastic leveling up system, which truly makes you feel accomplished after taking down a huge foe, as defeating a side boss that may seem as hard as a main one, gives such rewards in terms of runes and also equipment, you feel as if this game not only motivates you to explore, but also makes it worth your while.

What the game also brings in terms of switching up styles here, is the classes that are available upon starting this game. It is a fun and tasking dilemma to pick which class you will enter into this world as, and to this day, I think if I made the choice that truly fit my preference.

You have the ability to pick a samurai, astrologer, confessor, prisoner and vagabond. Each class has its perks, some are more geared towards magic, while others value strength and mastery of swords. I won’t get into which each brings, just because each comes with something that will surprise you and give you something more that another just will not.

The game also does a wonderful job of not sticking to just “one class”, through exploration and meeting various characters, a said physical character still has the ability to add magic to his stable of attacks. This is what also makes this game stand out, you get to a certain point where you do not even recognize your character, you have the ability to build a character that has multiple avenues of attack and abilities.

Exploration is the name of the game here, and we have not received a game with such grand exploration options since BOTW (Breath of the Wild), but this game is larger, much larger, and also much more difficult, and at every corner you must be prepared because you never know what you are up against, or what may appear literally out of thin air.

To say there is a game that rewards you this much for exploring is something I struggle with. In may open world games, the world just seems to become a repetitive mess of rinsing and repeating, just in a different looking city or next environment. Elden Ring erases this system altogether, and every new city, castle or cave looks different, and gives you a new challenge you never faced before.

Tactically, this game really tests your ability to adapt, and also gives you a sense of patience that is unlike anything we have ever seen before, rarely are you going to take out that boss the first time, no matter your level or ability. Each boss has a set of moves that causes you to memorize and adapt. This is not a new system, and many games have these level of bosses, but the diversity and options of bosses here is what sets Elden Ring apart from its competition.

There are not many games I have played in all of my years of gaming that are this rewarding, and after seeing such sparkling reviews, I was skeptical this was just one of those AAA titles that many reviewers had just become too excited for, however I am here to tell you — the hype is real, and not only is Elden Ring , but one of the best in recent memory.

You are doing yourself an injustice by not exploring the realm that is Elden Ring, if you even have a passing interest in gaming, this is the game you must dive into now.

Score: 10/10

 

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Entertainment

‘Return To Monkey Island’ – the beloved franchise is back!

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Devolver Digital / Lucasfilm Games

It’s been 13 years since the last Monkey Island instalment was released in 2009. Going back even further, it’s 32 years since the original game ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ was released on the Amiga in 1990. Created by game designers Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, it helped launch the point and click genre of adventure games onto a global scale, and introduced young and old gamers to a fun, family-friendly interactive adventure to capture the imagination.

You take control of a young wannabe pirate, Guybrush Threepwood, who arrives on a small island in the Caribbean with aspirations of becoming a – well – a real pirate! A whole host of colourful characters await him on his journey, including the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and Governor Elaine Marley. When the Governor is kidnapped by LeChuck who terrorises the entire Caribbean with his un-dead crew, it falls to you to help Guybrush assemble a crew, get a ship, set sail for the fabled Monkey Island, save Elaine and defeat LeChuck!

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island’ (1990)

This was followed by a hugely successful sequel in 1991; ‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ that expanded and improved on everything we had seen before. Years later in 1997 and under new management after Gilbert and his team parted ways, the third entry – ‘The Curse Of Monkey Island’ – helped introduce new blood to the franchise. New styles of graphics, interactive heads-up display and a full voice cast brought the series to life like never before.

In 2000, the fourth entry – ‘Escape From Monkey Island’ – was released that divided fans and critics. The heart was there, but the inclusion of 3D graphics and removal of the familiar mouse controls for PC was a big shift that didn’t win everyone over. It would be in 2009 when Telltale Games developed an episodic entry called ‘Tales Of Monkey Island’, returning some familiar point and click elements, the full voice cast and a very imaginative fantastical story.

2009 also signalled the revival of both original games with new special editions being released for PC and console. This breathed new life into the classics, bringing the established voice cast to record dialogue, new composition of the score and improved graphics and HUD. It also allowed players to switch between classic and special editions whilst playing for a truly immersive experience of old and new.

‘The Secret Of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge’ Special Edition (2009)

 And then…all was quiet.

Fans cried out for more Monkey Island, but when Disney acquired LucasFilm Games in 2012 and the entire back catalogue of George Lucas, it seemed the adventures were well and truly over. However, in 2021 when Disney brought Lucasfilm Games back, a glimmer of hope was sparked. And then on April 1st 2022, Ron Gilbert announced the development of a brand new Monkey Island game. Being this was April Fool’s Day and Gilbert was known for his tongue-in-cheek jokes, there was a huge pinch of salt taken with the announcement. But just three days later, Devolver Development released the teaser trailer for ‘Return To Monkey Island’

 After two years of secret conversations with Disney and the old team including Gilbert, Grossman, original composer Clint Bajakian and voice actor Dominic Armato, a new story had been written for the 5th entry into the series. Described as both a direct continuation from LeChuck’s Revenge but with new elements that honour the previous games not under Gilbert’s design, it seems this is the game fans have been waiting years for.

A striking difference noted by many was the art style. While hardcore fans longed for a return to the classic pixel design of the original games, something of a nostalgic comfort blanket, artist Rex Crowle (of ‘Tearaway’ fame) brought the look into 2022 and then some. Taking a 2D style but with a cartoonish, almost paperfolded style, this entry looks nothing but unique and unlike anything that has come before. In order to keep the game fresh and appealing to new gamers and old, Gilbert couldn’t simply harken back to a game design that kept the series in the 90s. He had to take new, bold risks to be innovative and fresh. This looks just that.

‘Return To Monkey Island’ (2022)

With Gilbert and the team releasing mini teasers each Monday in a self-proclaimed Monkey Island Monday, critics and fans worldwide have lapped up everything the game has offered. It holds nods and winks the franchise as a whole (especially the originals) whilst giving us glimpses of new characters, islands and puzzles. The HUD retains the point and click charm but in a modern way. And with a full voice cast back to bring new and old characters to life, it seems this is the perfect time to hoist the main sails and set sail once more as we return to Monkey Island…

‘Return To Monkey Island’ will be available on PC via Steam, macOS and Nintendo Switch from Monday 19th September 2022.

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Ps4

New Hogwarts Legacy Trailer; Pre-Orders Announced, and Deluxe and Collector’s Editions Detailed

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Warner Bros. Games today revealed an all-new trailer for Hogwarts Legacy, the upcoming open-world, action role-playing game in development by Avalanche Software, scheduled to launch on Feb. 10, 2023. The “Sebastian Sallow’s Dark Legacy” gameplay trailer showcases some of the darker elements players will encounter, including a closer look at the game’s more dangerous locales, sinister foes and fearsome magical creatures lurking in the shadows. Focusing on one of Hogwarts Legacy’s optional companion questlines with Sebastian Sallow, the trailer also provides a glimpse at the Unforgivable Curses and difficult dilemmas players will face as they learn more about the Sallow family’s mystery and decide whether to engage with or even embrace, the Dark Arts.

Check out the trailer below that was released during Gamescom Opening Night Live!

Published by Warner Bros. Games under the Portkey Games label, Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, action, open-world role-playing-game set in the 1800’s wizarding world. Beginning as a fifth year, players will embark on a journey through new and familiar locations, explore and discover magical beasts, craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and customize their character to become the witch or wizard they want to be.

Pre-Order Details

Starting August 25 at 4pm BST, Hogwarts Legacy will be available for pre-order on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles and PC via the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Steam and Epic Games Store.  The Nintendo Switch pre-order date will be revealed soon. All players that pre-order will be able to obtain the exclusive Onyx Hippogriff Mount upon completing the relevant quest.

The Hogwarts Legacy Standard Edition will be available for Nintendo Switch™ and PC for £49.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £59.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £64.99 (SRP).  

The Hogwarts Legacy Deluxe Edition will be available for Nintendo Switch™ and PC for £59.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £69.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £74.99 (SRP).  It includes 72 hours Early Access to the game starting on February 7, 2023, as well as the Dark Arts Pack. The Dark Arts Pack provides access to an exclusive wardrobe via the Dark Arts Cosmetic Set, a flying Thestral Mount players can ride, and access to the Dark Arts Battle Arena where players can test their mastery of the Dark Arts against waves of challenging enemies.

The Hogwarts Legacy Digital Deluxe Edition will be available for £74.99 (SRP) across all platforms and includes the Deluxe Edition content as well as the Dark Arts Garrison Hat and cross-gen digital upgrade for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

The Hogwarts Legacy Collector’s Edition will be available for PC for £269.99 (SRP), PlayStation®4 and Xbox One for £274.99 (SRP) and for PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X for £279.99 (SRP) and includes the Deluxe Edition content, Dark Arts Garrison Hat, as well as a physical Life-Size Floating Ancient Magic Wand with Book Base, Steel Case, and in-game Kelpie Robe.

For fans wanting a first look at the contents of the Hogwarts Legacy Collector’s Edition, Avalanche will be unboxing it on YouTube Below.

https://youtu.be/NlPKejj-oEw

For more information on how to pre-order Hogwarts Legacy, visit: www.hogwartslegacy.com

Hogwarts Legacy is scheduled to launch worldwide for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on Feb. 10, 2023.  The Nintendo Switch release date will be confirmed at a later time.

 

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PS5

Robocop: Rogue City – Gameplay Reveal Trailer

Welcome to Detroit; crime runs rampant as the city lies on the edge of ruin, people fighting for scraps as others live extravagant lives of luxury. Control of the Detroit Police Department is given to the Omni Consumer Products corporation in an attempt to restore order. You are that solution. – via: Sony 

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Welcome to Detroit; crime runs rampant as the city lies on the edge of ruin, people fighting for scraps as others live extravagant lives of luxury. Control of the Detroit Police Department is given to the Omni Consumer Products corporation in an attempt to restore order. You are that solution. – via: Sony 

Release Date: June 2023

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 5

Genre: Action game, Adventure game, Adventure

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