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Street Fighter V Review

Street Fighter V Review

If we wanted to set the record for the world's shortest review all we have to say is that unless you're a big fan of the series, you should not be buying Street Fighter V right now.

However since you're here expecting a review and not just a "tweet", you'll need a whole lot more to go by.

Street Fighter V, as the name implies, is the latest in the long-running series of fighting games. It has an eclectic set of characters, a number of varied stages, and a more than competent soundtrack that complements some of the most addictive gameplay around.

From detailed backgrounds complete with Bollywood movie posters, to hilarious belly physics on obese (but surprisingly powerful) fighters, the production values we've come to expect and love from the series are present, for the most part. The game's single-player story mode is bookended with water-coloured panels between matches. These do a decent job of conveying the plot, but they pale in comparison to the rest of the game, having an almost half-finished look to them.

(Also see: How Capcom Is Making Street Fighter V for Newbies and Hardcore Fans Alike)

On the topic of story, if you were expecting a narrative-heavy fighting game, you're better off playing Mortal Kombat X. Street Fighter V lets you play as any of the available 16 characters, but its story has no coherence. It only serves as an excuse to hone your skills against a few AI-controlled opponents. Speaking of which, the story mode is the only way to play against AI opponents – you can't do this in an arcade or player vs CPU mode.

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If you're looking for a purely single-player experience, there's Survival Mode that lets you pummel through a a bunch of characters, and after each match you can choose to raise your health or your offensive capabilities, at a penalty to your score. It's a fun little distraction but isn't enough to keep you hooked for more than a few sessions.

So what can you do if you're seeking more single-player hijinks? You could modify AI behaviour in the game's Training mode. This is traditionally where you practise moves and combos. But the lack of a fail state or win conditions do very little to keep you involved. The lack of a player vs CPU mode is a perplexing omission and something we hope Capcom rectifies sooner rather than later.

And this isn't the only thing missing. Usual features such as challenges, trials, player lobbies for more than two people, a meaty story mode, an in-game shop, alternate costumes, and Spectator mode, do not ship with Street Fighter V. Capcom has stated that a cinematic story mode will be available later in the year, and that Spectator Mode, an in-game store, and Challenges will all be added soon after launch. All these absences at launch make Street Fighter V a surprisingly anaemic Rs. 4,000 purchase on the PS4.

The glaring lack of content is only somewhat countered by the actual fighting. It's nowhere close to the pace of other fighting games like BlazBlue or Guilty Gear: Xrd Sign, but those familiar with Street Fighter IV will be right at home. It's just as deliberate and feels all the more weighty with each punch and kick delivering a sense of feedback that makes it as immersive as its predecessors. That's not to say its slow. Thanks to a generous learning curve, newcomers will be able to string together 20-hit combos with ease while old-timers should have no problem getting accustomed to the basic controls and gameplay elements.

(Also see: Street Fighter and Resident Evil Will Be Available in India Officially)

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And then there's metre management. Aside from trying to beat your foe into submission you'll want to pay attention to two gauges on your screen aside from health. There's the EX Gauge that fills up every time you dish out damage, and the other is the V-Gauge that increases with each hit you take. The former lets you unleash a gorgeous Critical Arts move when it's full, and can completely turn the tide of battle. The latter lets you launch a counter-attack, nullify assaults, or simply augment your existing moves. Our personal favourites are Indian fighter Dhalsim's Yoga Sunburst that scorches rivals, and series staple Ryu's Denji Hadouken that fills the screen with beams of light.

Each character has a unique set of skills to be used when the V-Gauge is filling up such as teleportation or poison attacks. This allows for an immense amount of variety and depth in gameplay that truly allows Street Fighter V to live up to the classic game design tenet of being easy to play and tough to master.

Layered over and above robust core gameplay is an in-game economy not too dissimilar to many free-to-play mobile games. As you play through the game's various modes you earn currency that you can use to unlock characters and other items when they're available. Keep in mind that you need to be online to do this. If you're offline you earn nothing, and even if you go online later, you'll need to play again to earn anything.

To link unlockables and progress to online play, even for single-player, is annoying. It ensures that you're dependent on the stability of Capcom's servers. If games like Driveclub and Halo: Master Chief Collection are any indication, you might as well hold off.

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As for online multiplayer itself, it was a mixed bag. We were able to connect and play matches against fighters the world over without a hitch. It did take a lot of time to find one though, presumably due to the lack of people with access to the game prior to launch. When we did, the experience was smooth and lag-free, something we wish other fighting games are unable to do even a month after launch. We felt we were in the same room as our opponent; yes it was that good. On the other hand, creating a player lobby (or Battle Lounge as the game calls it) was an exercise in frustration. Invites to our friends would not go through, and at times, the game would crash at the Battle Lounge screen right after, forcing us to restart the game.

All said and done, barebones content, inconsistent online performance, and a dependency on being always online do Street Fighter V no favours. Despite Capcom's plans to address these issues for free, it begs the question, why even release it in this state in the first place? Make no mistake, there's a good game here, but there isn't enough to it to warrant a purchase right now especially at its current price point. If you're not a hardcore fan, you're better off buying it later, probably for less money, with a lot more features than it has right now.

Pros:

  • Great production values
  • Fantastic core gameplay
  • Accessible to novices without alienating veterans

Cons:

  • Dependency on being online
  • Not enough content
  • Inconsistent online performance

Rating (out of 10): 7

We played a review copy of Street Fighter V on the PS4. The game is available at retail at Rs. 3,999 for the PS4 and at Rs. 1,999 on PC.

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Original article from NDTV Gadgets

The Order: 1886 Review – We Played This Game So You Don’t Have To

The Order: 1886 Review - We Played This Game So You Don't Have To

The PlayStation 4 (PS4) has had a year of up and downs in India and it's still to have a monster hit along the lines of last generation's fantastic Uncharted series of games, or The Last of Us. We'd mentioned that there were two games that could turn the PS4 from into a must-buy, and one of them – The Order: 1886 – is hitting the shelves on Friday.

On the surface, the premise of the game sounds remarkably cool. It is a third-person shooter in the mould of Gears of War, set in the backdrop of Victorian era London, but in a world of steampunk sensibilities replete with 19th century automatic weaponry and werewolves. The narrative borrows from Arthurian legend, placing you in the role of Sir Galahad (who here bears a striking resemblance to minor Bollywood celeb Milind Gunaji), a knight of the Order – a group sworn to keep humanity safe from werewolves, vampires and all sorts of nasty monsters that inhabit the world. There's very little not to like in that outline.

Before the game released though, a leaked playthrough of the game raised concerns because of its apparently short length. There's no denying that The Order: 1886 is not Skyrim. It took us not more than six hours to complete the game. Considering that the game costs Rs. 3,999, that is legitimately a cause for some concern, but it's not the biggest – or only – problem with The Order: 1886.

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The pacing of events in the game is terrible, and it fails to keep you invested in the action. Nothing shows this more than the game's creaky opening. You do very little in its first five minutes apart from watching a seemingly endless number of cut-scenes. Unfortunately, it is a sign of things to come.

For a third-person shooter, there is very little shooting in the opening chapters. Instead, you'll find yourself harassed with stealth sections where a single wrong move means dying and restarting, annoying quick time events (QTEs) – scenes that compel you to press an assortment of buttons in a given order, and all sorts of cinematic effects in the name of plot progression.

This could still be forgiven if the core of the game was enjoyable. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay of the gunfights itself is forgettable. In most levels, you'll start off exploring an area, then jump across a few ledges, get into a firefight that has you running and gunning from cover, finding the odd lock to pick or electronic power unit to circumvent. All of this is peppered with the aforementioned extra-long cut-scenes.

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Playing The Order: 1886 feels as if developer Ready at Dawn spent more time on the choice of camera angles instead of gameplay. The gunplay is lacklustre. There's no sense of satisfaction or weight to the weaponry; the handling of all the weapons is too similar and taken together, it makes the gameplay off-putting. Only a few weapons are actually interesting.

The dragoon pistol feels like it packs a punch, and the highly amusing thermite rifle that lets you light up your foes after spraying them with an explosive mist. Most other weapons though are forgettable albeit overpowered. So much so that key features like Blacksight, which lets you gun down your opponents by slowing down time, and Blackwater that lets you heal yourself in battle were barely needed in our entire playthrough.

"In-game features you'll never put to good use" could well be the slogan for this game. Early on in The Order: 1886, you can use the PS4's trackpad to tap in morse code for air support. It's fantastic idea that's used just once in the game, reducing it to utter pointlessness. The game has a host of audio logs, documents, photos, and objects to find and inspect – but very few of them have any explanation for what's going on, and seem to exist purely to allow you to get more in-game achievements.

At the same time, there's the audacity to use a boss fight with similar QTE prompts, twice. For a game that features just two boss fights, it feels lazy. All of this results in The Order: 1886 being painful to play, particularly because you can see how much potential there was in the ideas.

In terms of production values there's very little wrong with it. From stellar art direction to some of the best graphics outside current PS4 posterchild Driveclub, it's a treat to look at. Coupled with almost perfect voice acting, character animations, and a suitably grim soundtrack you have a technically brilliant game. The sheer superlativeness of the game's production values makes its plentiful flaws a lot more apparent.

Perhaps its biggest misgiving is in its indecisiveness in terms of story. You're teased with introductions to a host of interesting characters from history – such as Rani of Jhansi and Nikola Tesla – and introduced to situations that should ideally be resolved in the game's brief run, but this does not happen. It feels as if the last third of the game went missing or held back as downloadable content or a sequel. In the end, you're left with more questions than answers and a tremendous number of plot-holes that make your average Bollywood script seem like an award winning affair.

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To sum it up, The Order: 1886 is best described as a vertical slice of gameplay. It shows off a lot of features but very few of them come together in a manner that's deemed as cohesive. Throw in the short gameplay length and the wasted potential of its setting, and you have a game that you should squarely avoid. Sony's exclusives are usually of high standard. This is not one of them.

We played a retail copy of The Order: 1886 on the PlayStation 4. It is available for Rs. 3,999.

Pros

  • Great setting
  • Looks good

Cons

  • Unsatisfying gunplay
  • Recycled boss fights
  • Short duration
  • Feels incomplete

Rating (out of 10): 4

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Original article from NDTV Gadgets

BioShock Collection Headed to PS4 and Xbox One: Report

BioShock Collection Headed to PS4 and Xbox One: Report

The entire BioShock franchise is already in development for backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, but you might be able to purchase the game for both current gen-consoles if reports are to be believed.

(Also see: Microsoft Changes How Xbox One Backward Compatibility Titles Are Released)

The series found life in 2007 on Windows PCs and Xbox 360, and has since then been released for PlayStation 3 among other desktop OSes and iOS devices. But on Friday, the Ministério da Justiça – Brazil's ministry of justice – rated BioShock: The Collection as "not recommended for minors under 18" for all major video game platforms, including PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and Xbox 360 and Xbox One; it was first spotted by video gaming blog VG247. What this can mean is that the series has been remastered for today's consoles, and might see release in the near future.

At the same time, one needs to be wary of any rumours regarding 2K Games and BioShock. That's considering BioShock: The Collection made a brief appearance at a digital retail platform as early as last September with an expected release date of 27 November 2015, but nothing eventually came out of that.

For what it's worth, the Brazilian rating board has inadvertently revealed similar information in the past. Upcoming third-person shooter Quantum Break was imagined to be an Xbox One exclusive until this month's official announcement of a computer version, but the Ministério da Justiça had declared and published a rating for both the Xbox One and PC version towards the end of January. The rating was removed soon after, leading people to think it was a mistake but a PC version did indeed exist as is now known.

(Also see: Quantum Break for PC Shows the Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few)

This could all be nothing, but keep an eye here and we'll be sure to let you know what becomes of the matter.

Would you be interested in playing BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite on your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? Or are you an Xbox One owner who will be happy with the backward compatible version? Tweet to us @Gadgets360 with #BioShock or let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Original NDTV Gadgets

Campo Santo Aware of Firewatch’s Poor PS4 Frame Rate, Working on a Fix

Home | Games | Games News Campo Santo Aware of Firewatch’s Poor PS4 Frame Rate, Working on a Fix by Rishi Alwani , 9 February 2016 Campo Santo Aware of Firewatch's Poor PS4 Frame Rate, Working on a Fix

Reviews for the heavily anticipated first-person exploration adventure game Firewatch are finally out and for most part they’ve been favourable. But there has been a bone of contention for most critics on the eve of its launch. The game’s technical performance, particularly on the PS4 isn’t everything it should be what with a choppy and inconsistent frame rate.

It’s something the developers of Campo Santo are aware of and are looking to fix at the earliest.

“FWIW [For What It’s Worth], we’re currently talking to both Sony and Unity and we’re all working hard to to optimise performance of Firewatch on PS4,” posted a developer from the studio on popular gaming forum NeoGAF. The comment explained the complexity involved in solving such a conundrum. Namely because it involves not just Sony, but engine maker Unity (as the game runs on Unity) as well.

(Also see: Firewatch Review)

“It’s tricky, because it really requires all three partners working together to improve — it’s not something we can tackle on our own, unlike a game bug — but we’ll definitely continue to patch all platforms with every content and performance fix we can over time! To summarise: we’re on it,” the post continues.

While it’s heartening to see such a prompt response for a game that not readily available for the general public, it was also met with derision. Some claim it won’t be fixed.

“It’s a Unity game. It won’t and cannot be fixed. I’m positive of that. Not a single console Unity game with launch performance issues has been fixed with a patch,” said forumgoer dark10x.

The skepticism is not without merit. Past titles powered by Unity on console such as Grow Home, Galak-Z, Gone Home, Oddworld New n’ Tasty, and Never Alone to name a few suffered from erratic performance. Some of these were equally poor on PC too. But considering that Firewatch is undoubtedly one of the highest profile releases of the year, we might just see all three parties coming together to make things right.

However this should not deter you from playing the game. In our review we felt that Firewatch’s story is well worth experiencing despite any technical niggles that might come in your way.

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Original Article

Far Cry Primal Review

Far Cry Primal Review

We never asked for Kanye West's latest spate of rants on Twitter, and we never asked Ubisoft to make Far Cry Primal. It's crazy, bombastic, and surprisingly entertaining, and not something you'd expect from a first-person open-world game set in the Mesolithic age.

With most games taking on fantastical or futuristic settings, this seemed like a poor choice. It's a backdrop where cutting-edge weaponry means spears, clubs, and bows and arrows. It sounds weird, but it comes together in a fashion that works brilliantly.

Taking place in 10,000 BCE, Far Cry Primal puts you in the role of Takkar. You're a hunter who belongs to a tribe known as the Wenja. After a series of unfortunate events, you find yourself in the land of Oros in search of your fellow tribesmen. It's up to you to rally the Wenja and stave off attacks from warring factions – the Udam and Izila.

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(Also see: Far Cry Primal Will Take You to the Stone Age)

The first thing that struck us is how good Oros looks. From its snow capped mountains to the tiny flickers as you light a fire, Far Cry Primal is easily one of the best looking games this generation. And that's coupled with an immense sense of freedom as the entire region is open for you to explore from the very outset.

Which is something you'll spend a lot of time doing. The game features the usual tropes that Ubisoft has codified, and you're going to explore the map and capture locations, crafting gear and collecting items of importance along the way. Every now and then, you'll take part in an event that takes the story forward, such as protecting your village from attacks or laying siege on an enemy fortification.

These mechanics are similar to other Ubisoft games including Assassin's Creed and previous Far Cry titles, but Primal ends up feeling fresh for a number of reasons. For one, the combat is superlative. Sure, the weapons are primitive but there's an innate sense of satisfaction in clubbing a raging cave man on the head, or shooting fire-laced arrows at bears.

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As you progress through the game, you can craft rudimentary bombs and train all manner of beasts such as jaguars and sabre-toothed tigers to fight by your side, allowing for options beyond the ordinary. You'll lure predators like wolves with bait, and hold down a button to win their loyalty. Each type of animal comes with a unique skill set, for example, canines are great explorers and gatherers, felines are good for stealthily sneaking up on foes, while ursines are a solid option for out and out attack. It adds a layer of strategy and depth to the game, giving you more choices as you plan your approach. This is an interesting system that works as it should, making up for the lack of weaponry in the game. There's enough variety and polish to keep things fresh even late into the game.

(Also see: Far Cry Primal, Street Fighter V, Firewatch, and Other Games Releasing This Month)

While the absence of guns is solved with a range of new ways to cause mayhem, one other concern remains, which is traversal. Far Cry games in modern settings included vehicles for you to use, allowing you to cover vast expanses of the map with ease. This time around, it appears that Ubisoft has increased the number of areas you can spawn at, and the locations you can fast travel to, by simply accessing your map. This somewhat alleviates our concerns, and as the game progresses, you'll be able to use a grappling hook to get to hard to reach areas and ride bigger animals as well. It's a competent set of solutions and for most part, we never did miss jeeps or helicopters.

This aside, there's a sense of mysticism about the proceedings that feels all too real. While we've seen such elements in earlier games in the series, it works better in Far Cry Primal thanks to its setting. Spirits, beasts, and shamans all have a part to play in Far Cry Primal's narrative and their understated presentation makes all the difference.

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Along the way you'll discover key members of your clan including ace hunters, beast masters, and inventors. Each of them have a part to play, not just in granting you access to new skills and abilities but help furthering the the plot. They're unique, well thought out characters that are a perfect foil to Takkar's straightforward demeanour and do wonders for keeping you interested. This is further heightened by the game's language spoken by the characters. Since it's fictional, you will be playing Far Cry Primal with subtitles.

Our grouses are few and far between. Without spoiling much, series veterans hoping for the usual twists and turns from a game bearing the Far Cry name should keep their expectations in check. The straightforward story-telling ensures that the gameplay and overarching plot don't seem as disconnected from each other as they did in Far Cry 3 or Far Cry 4.

(Also see: Far Cry 4 Review: A Superlative Sandbox)

Far Cry Primal might be the most retrograde addition to a franchise known for vast open spaces and guns galore, but it's also one of the most refined entries as well. It's not something anyone asked for, but it's welcome all the same.

Pros:

  • Quirky cast of characters
  • Beast taming
  • Great combat
  • Looks gorgeous

Cons:

  • So-so story

Rating (out of 10): 9

We played a review copy of Far Cry Primal on the PS4. The game is available on the PS4 and Xbox One for Rs. 3,499 from February 23. The Windows PC version will be available from March 1.

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Original article from NDTV Gadgets