Super November – The Salad Take

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November is a big big month in gaming releases. Everyone and anyone is releasing something, or several somethings, to get a chunk of the Christmas market. Here’s my thoughts on some of the biggest, and a few smaller, names coming out this month.

Assassins Creed Unity

Unity-Gate I kinda want to call it. A game full of so much promise. Heck, they even delivered most of what I asked for in my post Mulling Over Assassin’s Creed.

They really mucked it up though, as has been well published across the gaming, and even mainstream news, internets. Ubisoft shares have plummeted, just like the reviews of their games.

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Unfinished is probably the kindest way to describe the Unity-Gate farce. The game has literally dozens of game breaking glitches that make it next to unplayable. Even on semi-official gameplay videos you see fairly serious glitches popping up. So much for the fantastic new revolutionary game engine!

Quite honestly though, having watched a fair amount of gameplay (I must admit to not actually having played it) it looks pretty darn boring as a game. The world somehow still falls flat, even with the big crowds. Go off the beaten track and you could be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference between Arno’s Paris and Ezio’s Florence of AC2.

I wanted to like Assassin’s Creed Unity, I wanted it to make me want to buy it. It even gave me most of the things I asked for and yet it still mucked it up. It did everything right and then tripped flat on its face at the very last hurdle. It’s kinda sad to see, and I do hope they managed to get it properly fixed in a decent amount of time.

Farcry 4

I’ve never really been big into Farcry as a gaming series, but Farcry 4 – whether you like the series or not – is a really beautiful game.

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The gameplay really shines through. The Farcry series has consistently refined its core gameplay, and it works. Ubisoft take note!

The RPG style skill tree elements are still there and still relevant, which I like in a game that could otherwise be a very flat and dull FPS. I also like that there’s a decent co-op mode, even if it is online only. Too many games shy away from co-op when it could suit them wonderfully – just like it does with Farcry – so kudos to them for going for it.

Farcry 4, for a game series that makes a big fuss about its story, doesn’t really seem to have struck many chords with its story. Personally I’ve never got on with the stories of Farcry games, and that’s probably my biggest gripe. They leave me with a feeling of ‘why bother trying’ when faced with x y and z to save characters I don’t really care about.

On the whole though, Farcry 4 is a good offering this November, and deserves to well – if only because its a decently polished game!

GTA V 

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GTA V is still GTA V.

It knows its the best game out there and its still going strong. The recent release on the next gen has actually surprised me with how much energy its still got behind it as a release that’s over a year old.

The graphical updates are amazing on the next generation. Whilst not always immediately noticeable, look a little closer and the world shines even more than before. GTA V next gen is by far the most alive gaming world out there.

I guess it was always going to be though, Rockstar take their time to get things right.

The one thing that doesn’t really float my boat though is the new first person mode. It just doesn’t feel like GTA to me, more like some knock-off mod slapped on to the original game.

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I know a lot of people really like it, as a novel change to the resolutely 3rd person series, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m happy for it to be there for those that like it, but I’ll stay away from it mostly.

All in all though, GTA V next gen has been a dependably good release.

Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire

This is the November release I’m most excited about, no questions.

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As a real late-comer to the series with Pokemon X/Y, I’ve immediately gelled with the series. A true legend in the gaming world for good reason.

Because CakeBoxFox and I pre-ordered the game, we also got hold of the free demo version of the games. It looks set to be just as good as hoped.

An interesting mix of more modern Pokemon gameplay & lore ideas from the X/Y generation mixed up with the classic world of Ruby and Sapphire. It looks like they’ve pulled off another fantastic release and I can’t wait to get my copy.

Just to put it out there, Alpha Sapphire is going to be my choice. I’m a Kyogre fan-boy and proud of it!

Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros is another game I’m seriously excited about. The best bit? It comes out on the same day as Pokemon. Well done Nintendo on officially stealing my next weekend!

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I’ve always loved SSB but never actually owned one. Such a fun and crazy game, it’s unparalleled for pure fantastic fun; and this new version will be no different.

Playing as the Wii Fit Trainer and some other odd new additions will be interesting, adding hours more fun to the already addictive formula.

Well done Nintendo on wrapping up November/December 2014 with two very solid releases.

Mount & Blade Warband: Viking Conquest

Somewhat off the main radar, but I was super excited to hear that a surprise new DLC is coming to Mount & Blade: Warband.

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I readily admit to being a fanboy of the series, who would buy anything from the team regardless of what it was, but I thought it deserved a note on the list of Super-November. I really hope the developer all the best and try to support them as much as possible. It’s not easy for a small developer out there, even when you have a really good game concept.

And that’s it for now! I know I’ve missed a few recent releases, but forgive me. A Salad has only so much spare time! When time allows I hope to be able to look into all the recent releases in a little more detail, but for now, that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed.

Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

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Driving Digital Salad Crazy

Although I passed my driving test years ago, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I picked up my first car. I hadn’t needed a car up until now, and could still probably survive without one (one of the perks of having fairly decent public transport where I live), but it’s been really handy since I got it. Now, flatmate CakeBoxFox and I can pop to the shops whenever we have a craving for something!

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Driving has been going well and I’m really growing to like my first car. Its nothing special, just a 2006 Ford Ka. It’s simple and effective, just what I need. They do say you’ll always love your first car more than any other, and it seems true.

What really made me want to blog about my adventures with driving was a trip we did a few weekends past. It was a long trip on the motorways that turned into a quest worthy of the most epic RPG. Here’s our driving quest story.

We did the planning beforehand, we knew the route we were going to take. 150 or so miles and a duration of probably about 2 and a half hours depending on the traffic. All set; what could possibly go wrong?

The one thing we forgot was the most important. That Saturday wasn’t just any Saturday; it was the Saturday where everyone in the UK who goes on holiday in the earlier part of the summer goes on holiday. Usually people head south, to the supposed home of the sun, sea and sand. We were headed south as well, so traffic was going to be a problem.

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We set off early at least. If there’s one thing holidaying families don’t do on the whole, its get up early to travel. Perhaps we’d beat the crowds and traffic chaos of the great summer migration.

Sadly, the weather had other ideas, and after weeks and weeks of baking heat the heavens eventually decided to open catastrophically that morning. Most drivers were fantastic in the driving rain, slowing down and leaving plenty of space. Sadly, enough drivers remained in dry driving mode to cause chaos. It became a little something like this GIF:

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About 15mins into the rain we passed a classic car worth probably tens of thousands with a newer car attached to its bumper on the side of the motorway. The weather didn’t care about that guy’s priceless classic car; it looked like a write-off. We battled on valiantly though, developing a sort of camaraderie with those brave souls still on the road next to us.

The rain eventually passed though, turning what should have been an hour section of the journey into about 1.5hrs. So far, not so bad. I felt a little bit like this for making it through some of the worst conditions I will ever drive in:

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That delay from the rain was our killer though. From then onwards we hit heavy traffic going southwards. Caravans were everywhere and the average speed started to drop like a brick. Caravans in particular started to irritate me. It’s a pretty infamous thing that most drivers hate caravanners; and I’ve begun to see why. I wouldn’t be sad to see most caravans meet this kind of end after that day:

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The traffic was horrendous. What should have been a 1hr 30min section of the journey eventually ended up at somewhere around 3hrs – and that was with a little detour to avoid some of the traffic. CakeBoxFox proved her metal as an awesome co-pilot, navigating me around some of the worst bits of traffic. Even though it only made a small difference overall, every little advantage of time you get in a gridlock situation feels like a major win.

We eventually arrived, somewhat frazzled and had a good day catching up with my family. Batteries recharged by early evening, it was time for the return journey.

The return journey was the prize for having made it through the hellish morning. It was some of the most challenging driving I’ve ever done and probably will do for a fair few years. Tailbacks, gridlock, accidents, driving rain and wind – it had it all. The journey home was bliss in comparison, with hardly a soul on the road besides us.

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The journey home was just a little over 2hrs. I also made my debut into the world of driving on motorways at night, and it’s an amazing experience. I always loved being on a car journey at night as a kid – all those glowly dials and the miles being eaten away.

I loved driving on the motorway at night time, and I can see why it inspires so much media. An musician I recently found called Kavinsky, a retro 80s kind of artist, was inspired to create his album from driving his Testarossa Ferrari at night time. I felt like I needed some Kavinsky on the radio that night; although we had plenty of alternate music in the car already. Night driving is a time to really enjoy your music.

Then, numerous music albums, many miles and several choice words at my fellow road users later we arrived home. A tiring day, but a day to remember.

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Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com

 

Digital Salad: Steam Sale Time!

In my last post I was talking about how Summer has finally arrived here in the UK. The most sure sign of all of the summer, though, has to be the Steam Sale; on until June 30th.

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Every year in the height of summer Steam launches its infamous summer sale. Prices are slashed and gamers wallets are emptied. Most react a little something like this:

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I’ve been good this year and was trying to ignore the sale on the whole; not that I’ve ever been a massive spender on the Steam summer sale. My self-control went out of the window, though, when flatmate CakeBoxFox bought her first Steam game when she saw that Skyrim was slashed to just a few pounds. That prompted me to get looking at the offers and set the table for what many are calling:large

So, CakeBoxFox picked up a bargain with Skyrim. She also ended up buying RPG Maker, which is exactly what it sounds like. RPG Maker is a fantastic programme (I guess its not necessarily a game as such) which lets you create your own 2D RPG adventure, just how you want it from the story to each piece of music – definitely worth looking into if thats your kind of thing! So, CakeBoxFox went very RPG based with the Steam sale. What about DigitalSalad?

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I did end up giving in to temptation and picking up a few games, although all of which were under £7 – so each one has felt like a real bargain. The real gem I picked up was Verdun early access, a game still in Alpha but very polished already. Verdun puts you into the trenches of the Western Front of World War 1 as either the Germans or French (more to be added later in the Alpha).

Honestly, Verdun is one of the best squad based First Person Shooters I’ve played. It’s highly polished and well thought out; although I was being picky I would personally have prefered them to remove the level up system and have standardised equipment such as in Mount & Blade: Warband Napoleonic Wars DLC (also on offer in the Steam sale and probably my all-time favourite game!). I would definitely recommend it though, especially as we move into the centenary commemorations of the conflict – it feels apt to recognise it more in general media to keep it alive in the public’s memory.

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I also picked up Guns Of Icarus Online, which I had never heard of (or the original one either!). Quite an old game now, but an idea which I loved the sound of – online multiplayer steampunk airship combat. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but for the £3 I picked it up for I’ve had great value for money and great fun messing about with it. Just don’t expect anything spectacular; and I still don’t understand how some of the mechanics work.

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Possibly the strangest game I picked up was Universe Simulator, which literally simulates the Universe or one of your own design. It then lets you tinker with variables to see spectacular results. I’ve always been a massive fan of space and space themed things, as my blog about my long love of Star Trek a few weeks ago gave away; so this was indulging that part of me. It is a beautiful game though, that is well worth the couple of pounds it costs just for how pretty it can be.

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For next to nothing I picked up a copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and also Star Wars Battlefront 2. Both of which are games I’ve played lots in the past on much older consoles, but which I wanted to pick up again on PC for a bargain price. As yet I’ve not installed them as I’ve been focusing on the newer games I picked up, but I can definitely recommend both for hours of fun!

So that’s it for my Steam summer sale spending. Thankfully it’s not left me feeling too much like this:

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I’ll hopefully soon find some more time to put in to my new purchases, but they will also have to contend with my rekindled interest in Planetside 2 – now that I have access to a much better PC that can handle it well thanks to the incredibly generous CakeBoxFox. If you have a PC that can run it, Planetside 2 is great fun and, best of all, totally free to play.

That’s it for now updating everything going on gaming-wise in the world of Digital Salad. Stay tuned for more blogs soon!

 

 Digital Salad – lifeasadigitalsalad.wordpress.com