5 Reasons Everyone Must Buy God of War III Re-mastered

From my original listing at The Average Gamer (check out the site!)

God of War III, released for PS3 in 2010, is a thing of beauty. Bloodthirsty, brutal and brilliant beauty. Easily one of the finest games to grace the PS3, and now, thanks to the power of the PS4, it will be re-mastered and re-released, no doubt more beautiful than ever. Following Sony’s announcement, many are sceptical about yet another re-mastered last gen title. So, here are 5 reasons why, whether you have already sampled this pinnacle of persecution or not, it’s time to get your cash out this July.

1. The glorious, satisfying violence

If you haven’t sampled a God of War video game before then, spoiler alert, they are violent. Veryviolent, which is the point of the series given it’s a ohgod_of_war_3_helios so very angry vengeful ex-god (also a spoiler) trying to take down the mighty Zeus, et al. Unlike the Mortal Kombat series, whose disturbingly obscene fatalities mean less and less as the years go by (try Injustice as a better alternative), here it is of significant importance and relevance, given the nature of the mythos the God of War series is based upon. It is brutal but never out of context or character; particular highlights being the death of Helios and my personal favourite, the final QTE segment with Poseidon, the best use of the L3 + R3 buttons if ever there was one.

2. The beauty will be even more beautiful

Although few details have been announced so far, Sony have stated it will output at 1080p HD and the developers are targeting 60 FPS, so fingers crossed the fierce brutality will somehow look even better. The original was a beast of game in terms of graphical detail; Kratos himself was often heralded as the finest looking character in video games. If it has anything close to the graphical detail of the series prequel God of War: Ascension (and we all expect better from the PS4 as a given), then it will look incredible.

3. It was the best game released on PS3. (No really, it was)

Ok, so this is my opinion, and make of that what you will, but God of War III is not just renowned for its violence; the whole series is a fantastic fusion of fluid combat, awe-inspiring visuals and dignified storytelling. The combat is so fluid and accessible that the only comparison to give is the Bayonetta series; for me it’s the only combat mechanism that can claim victory over Sony’s Santa Monica studios achievements here. The pacing of the campaign is delivered to perfection, with the opening and ending acts among the best I’ve ever experienced. Oh, but don’t forget the violence too.

4. It’s a celebration

The release of this re-master is to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the God of War franchise, so it’s only fitting that the best game in the series is the one to be re-packaged. I’m hoping there will be a recap included for newcomers to the series, to widen its appeal, and of course plenty of extras for long-time fans to chew on, of which is usually a certainty.

god_of_war_3

And finally… That sex scene

I always find that of the very few sex scenes present in video games, they tend to feel a bit awkward (I’m looking at you Fahrenheit/Heavy Rain), but God of War III’s take on Kratos’ carnal desires is arguably more interactive than either of David Cage’s efforts. I expect a wry smile as you read this (for those that know it well), as it is a moment that is as provocative as it is hilarious. It is a moment that, alongside its famous brutality and chaos, is the embodiment of the series’ character.

As more details surface between now and its expected July release, it’s difficult not to be excited by this. Although the PS4 is probably one more re-master away from emulating Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance, this is my most anticipated re-master so far. As I am yet to even own a PS4, this is seriously making me consider my options. I cannot wait.

God of War III Remastered is coming to PS4 in July 2015.

The Benefits of Kids Playing Video Games

Kids and video games is an often talked about subject in today’s world. My teenage son’s gaming habits are growing just as the industry is becoming more appealing than ever before. On the flipside, I also have a young daughter, being brought up in a world where technology is growing faster than the human race developing it. With so many games and devices to play them on today, I’ve been asked if and how I limit my kids’ playtime, or more specifically their overall ‘screen time’.

I was both surprised and amazed by such questions. Some parents seem to think that if their child spends long periods of time doing just the one activity, then something maybe wrong, as they would not behave that way themselves as an adult. I’m a firm believer that children need to be able to make good choices on how they spend their free time, and that choices are they for them to do just that.

Kids shouldn’t be brought up on ‘do this, don’t do that’ rules, except for those instances where they are instructed to complete a share of chores, or that they must not do things that will hurt themselves or others. Kids should be free to play and explore in the many possible ways they can, and if that results in them only doing so in only the one way, then that just means they are getting something out of it, and are comfortable with it. The last thing we should do is put up a barrier that says: “I don’t think you can control your own life” before they have even had the chance to.

Kids also need to learn to know what is best for them; after all, we are all different with different tastes. Why would anyone want to limit our children’s computer or video game time? Today’s computer technology provides the most important tools in modern society, and children today are born into this culture. This is only good for our children, who are born designed to take in what is around them, in order to decide what is best for them, or what they need to succeed. It’s instinctive.

Five-Nights-at-FreddysCertain media outlets are among that side against video games through fear; they cause depression, attention disorders, even obesity, and more. This has been happening since video games first entered our world and isn’t letting up. But the very same negativity was branded upon mediums that came before: television, music, reading and even writing.

Now I’ve never known a parent admonish their child for spending hours reading a book, and why would they? Furthermore, if you look at research literature and surveys, they not only debunk those very claims, but in fact show that regular games players are less likely to be obese, enjoy outdoor play more, and are more socially engaged and well-adjusted.

Then there is the matter of violent content. I find it hard to believe that pretend murder of characters in video game stories should be likely to provoke real murder; certainly no more than reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet for example, a piece of literature often placed as compulsory for students in our schools. It is my view that video games actually reduce hostility – for me there is nothing better than to forget a stressful day at work by unwinding with a game of FIFA, or maybe something combat oriented which serves as my punch bag of frustration.

My daughter, an avid Thomas & Friends fan, spends some of her time on iPad activity apps, such as Thomas, which haveThomas-and-Friends-App certainly helped her develop speech, recognise colours, and she can easily count to 50, all at the age of 3. I see her playing out her own Thomas adventures with her engines, which comes naturally, but has also been benefitted from YouTubers’ own uploaded adventures, expanding her imagination to the point of playing out her own adventures.

I’m not saying screen time is solely responsible for this by any means, but she often wants to pursue more of these activities, of which today’s technology can provide. It goes without saying of course that any such use and behaviours are supervised; that’s when parenting comes in, as and when required.

For my teenage son, he has a steady social balance; multi-player Minecraft team sessions that benefit from group chat, with the very same friends he will then socialise with at his football team training sessions and other gatherings in between. He isn’t a huge gamer (unlike me) but I believe his participation only to be positive as he moves forward into adulthood.

So should anyone ever ask if I (or should I) restrict my children’s screen time, my answer would be NO. They make their own minds up whether to use the technology that is there, I don’t encourage or discourage either way. I believe they are both better prepared for the world’s social pressures, and only benefits their development, just like any other medium can.

How about you? What are you views on this, do you feel the same? Do you do things differently for your children? Or the parents to-be amongst you, will your approach be the same?

Wrestling games; fun, but shouldn’t be {Part 3}

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 – At last, a step in the right direction

Although few new features were introduced in the 2009 instalment, Smackdown vs Raw started to feel a little more polished to play, along with graphical improvement and visual accuracy, which is always welcome. Signature moves were introduced. These are performed the same way as Finishers, but are available sooner, and are considered the stepping stone to unlocking the use of the Finisher. For example, Triple H’s signature is his patented spine buster, which then leads the way to pick up the opponent for his Finisher, the Pedigree. The main PR focus on the game were the changes made to the tag team mode, such as the ‘Hot Tag’, where if in trouble you can call for a tag once your meter is charged, using the taunt action from the ropes. This initiates a 2-piece QTE section, where, if successful on both instances, it will knock the opposing tag partner off the apron to the floor below, and allows you to perform your finisher on the opponent left in the ring, with a good chance of victory. There are also opportunities for your untagged partner to help double team an opponent from the ropes, or even blind tag yourself into the match (i.e. ref didn’t see it therefore illegal) to try and gain a slight upper hand. All these are, of course, regular occurrences on WWE television, and are quite welcome, although it’s taken long enough. We’re into 2009 here, long after WWE TV’s best days have (arguably) ended.

Another new introduction is the Inferno match, which isn’t as explosive as the title suggests, unfortunately. The ring is surrounded by fire, a temperature meter is added to the HUD, and the goal is to raise the temperature to 300C by performing the biggest moves your character has, then dragging them into the flames near the ropes. Once they’ve caught fire, victory is yours. Yay.

There is also the gauntlet match, which consists of 1 wrestler against a team of others, but one after the other, not at the same time. Some modes received the chop in this incarnation, ones that are still the case even now; create a pay per view, create a championship and general manger mode.

General Manager Mode was dropped in favour of Road to Wrestlemania mode; character driven storylines much like WWE TV, each culminating in a match at the Wrestlemania PPV. These are reserved for the franchise’s biggest stars, such as John Cena, Triple H, and even a tag team driven storyline with Batista and Rey Mysterio. Road to Wrestlemania basically involves take your chosen character through each week of Raw/Smackdown, having a match each week, building up to the next PPV event, with twists and turns along the way, the chance to power up your wrestler’s attributes, etc. There are also lots of extra collectibles to unlock, by meeting certain conditions in matches, which are an incentive for achievement grabbers also.

The final notable mode addition is Career Mode. Not to be confused with the above, the main aim of this mode is for the player to fight their way up the rankings for a particular title of their choice, in match types that they can also choose/unlock. After each match, the player’s character is awarded attribute points based on the style of wrestling the player used. Each match is also rated with a 5-star rating system, so performing all the big moves, using weapons where allowed, finishers, etc all add up to being the #1 contender. My take is thus; very tedious, monotonous, and repetitive. Unlocking the achievement for putting FIVE separate wrestlers into the Hall of Fame nearly broke me.

Things are starting to take shape now; hardly perfect gaming but these are games for the fans of a franchise, nothing more. Don’t try this at home.

Don’t try this at home. I did warn you!

Wrestling games; fun, but shouldn’t be {Part 2}

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008

After the introduction of new gameplay and several new features in SVR 2007, this edition delivered very little in addition to that. The main push of this game was the introduction of the ECW brand, and its own roster. The combat system was also altered to include ‘styles’, such as Powerhouse, Dirty, Brawler, etc. For example, a hardcore style wrestler will gain lots more momentum from using weapons instead of regular attacks. These styles unfortunately make for very unbalanced combat (surprise), and were always more fun to be dirty/hardcore anyway. These styles were however tweaked for future releases in a more productive manner.

There were alterations/additions to the game modes once again, with a tournament mode added, such as Beat the Clock, and King of the Ring, which was resurrected in WWE TV that year also. Season Mode and General Manager Mode were merged into WWE 24/7 mode, with the aim being to transform your chosen wrestler into a legend. Training, matches and even rest was manageable, but not without an adverse effect on your character, but once again, it is mostly a breeze for the most basic of players.

“I had onions for lunch”

Roster wise, as usual a few changes here and there, mostly down to the aforementioned ECW roster, but most notably, the first WWE game since SD: Shut your mouth to include Jeff Hardy, as he began his quite remarkable rise through the company at the second attempt.

This game is really only for WWE completion-ists, and, although some of the skills and attributes is the most redundant of the next gen WWE titles.

Wrestling games; fun, but shouldn’t be {Part 1}

WWE games have forever existed on one format or another, or many at once, in the case of the Smackdown VS Raw series, for as long as, well, any of us will probably remember. In the previous generation of consoles, a differently developed WWE title was released for each; the Smackdown series was always Sony’s package, ultimately becoming the Smackdown VS Raw series of today. The Xbox had the largely inferior and clunky Raw series, which was abandoned after 2 titles. Finally, the Gamecube had, in my opinion, the best wrestling game of that generation in Day of Reckoning and its sequel. (I’ve completely ignored Wrestlemania X8, it was that bad).

All the above games from came from THQ, who still have the license to this day, with the imminent release of WWE All-Stars, just in time for Wrestlemania this weekend. So, enough of the history lesson, here is my run down of each next-gen WWE game to date.

WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2007

The first of the next-gen WWE games was a brief reinvention for the series, but not without its problems. Presentation was improved significantly, in line with the jump in console power, and the grapple system had a total overhaul, making analogue sticks the tool for executing quick and strong grapples. It took some getting used to at the time of its inception; but is a system that some may now consider, especially 5 incarnations on, to be largely out-dated. Even with this better control system, the AI was still very easy to overcome, even on Legend difficulty, and the General Manager mode is tedious more than anything, and ultimately, not very rewarding. Match types were increased by bringing in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, now a popular yearly event in WWE television, and is brilliant fun with a few mates round. There was also the introduction of ‘hot-spots’, where in key places around the ring, such as the ring post, a grapple icon will appear. Once activated, a cut-off animation will show your opponent (or even yourself, should you be on the receiving end) being thrown in the ring post, or other item around the ring. This incarnation also introduced fighting ‘in the crowd’, which, in reality, is a weapon-filled area over the crowd barrier in the top right of the screen, but is largely pointless.

The create a wrestler mode is not much different, but instead other create modes have been included/improved. Create an entrance has been improved, allowing full control from the video screen, to the pyrotechnics used. There is a create a championship mode, allowing the creation of any title belts you desire, and then fight for them. Stables can also be created/amended, and can be adjusted based on experience points obtained in season mode, to be more efficient as a team.

As usual, the roster is usually out of date in some form when the game is released, as characters change, leave, be recruited so are missing, and, in the case of SVR 2007, die. This is the final WWE game to feature Chris Benoit, due to his untimely and controversial death in 2007, a few months after the games release.  This is also Kurt Angle’s final WWE game, in fact he had already been released before the game’s release, as well as Lita, who had retired in the month of the game’s release.

Overall the game is still one of the best in the series, and, like most of these titles, plenty of fun on multi player, but far too easy in single player. But these games are all about being your favourite (or not so favourite) WWE idol, not much more.