Sevens to feature in Rugby Challenge 3

Rugby Sevens is set to feature in a video game for the very first time when Rugby Challenge 3 launches later this year.

(Photo credit: CGR Trailers via Google Images)

After kiwi owned studio Sidhe developed the first two games of the series, Melbourne-based developer Wicked Witch Software comes on board to deliver the latest instalment in the franchise.

Rugby Challenge 3 features ‘Be a Pro’ mode, allowing players to develop their own superstars in any position and take them through a 13-year career mode.

The addition of Rugby Sevens is a big win for Rugby Challenge 3, and this time round South Africa and English rugby have official licenses.

Super Rugby, ITM Cup, and Curry Cup will be officially licensed alongside eight other competitions that are yet to be revealed.

Rugby Challenge 3 has a lot to live up to after fans were left disappointed with Rugby 15 which came out late last year, and was viewed by some as the worst rugby game ever released.

Rugby Challenge 3 launches closer to the RWC later this year on all platforms.

Project Cars PS4 Review

Project Cars is finally here – and it was well worth the wait.

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The first thing that sticks out with Project Cars is its challenge in driving.

Every car doesn’t feel the same – wether driving GT or Open Wheel – there will be a decent learning curve before gamers will get wins under their belts.

All the usual driving assists are available to be used – but Project Cars isn’t a game that was built to be easy to conquer.

Project Cars is meant to be a challenge.

Graphically, it could be argued that Project Cars has the most stunning visuals ever seen in a racer.

Racing around Donington in the twilight will present a beautiful but challenging glare as the gamer races down the back straight into the chicane – where really only the distant glows of red from the car in front will show where the braking marker is.

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The weather system in Project Cars is another strength, but the visuals of rain do need a little work before they could be called realistic.

Racers have the choice to set various weather tendencies during a race.

A race will start out in clear sunlight, then the racer can drive into a storm which will present tyre and handling challenges.

Project Cars boast arguably the most impressive collection of cars and tracks ever seen in a racing game. All unlocked from the get go, some of the most famous circuits and cars in racing history will be able to be accessed and tested in some of the most unlikely scenarios where races will feature different classes.

In terms of the career mode, while Project Cars falls flat.

The gamer is able to jump into single player weekends with the ability to drive all the cars previous racing games have made the player work through a tedious race-to-race career mode to get access to.

Project Cars could have been packaged with more – the omission of rallying in particular seems like a surprise given all the other types of motorsport available.

Pit stops also leave a bit to the imagination as well.

In conclusion, Project Cars has delivered most of what it promised and its challenge behind the wheel is not only impressive, almost impossibly challenging at times, but also a game that will keep hardcore racers coming back for more.

THE REAL MICHAEL PULMAN RATING: 8/10

Black Ops III set for November release

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will release in November and features a campaign designed for four player co-op and replayability.

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The third instalment in the Black Ops franchise, Treyarchs new shooter will take place in a “dark, gritty future where a new breed of soldier emerges”.

The official reveal trailer was released today and can be seen below.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III will be available on November 6th on all major gaming platforms.

Sony’s gesture following Christmas hacks is not enough

With the PlayStation Network back up and running after the Christmas hacks, Sony now find themselves unpopular with a large part of the gaming community after a successful 2014 with the PS4.

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A group of hackers known as Lizard Squad took down both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live over Christmas, forcing gamers to be offline for several days in the worst cases.

Lizard Squad hacked the network by putting fake traffic in which overloaded the system, causing a crash.

Sony and their PSN network were majorly affected.

Some gamers were unable to log into the PlayStation Network for up to four days during the Christmas period.

Christmas is a time where gaming is usually at its busiest so the hit was damaging for Sony.

2014 saw many new PS4 consoles purchased for Christmas. All of those new buyers impacted by the outage were left with a brand new console that was unplayable due to the network being down.

The communication from PlayStation at first was satisfactory, but as the number of people on social media were tweeting their issues grew, the AskPlayStation twitter page quickly became overrun.

Sony’s first instruction was for gamers to restore all default settings on their PS4’s, and when that failed, gamers started toying with their MTU settings.

Changing the MTU setting to 1473, 1472, and 1450 seemed to work for a lot of PlayStation users, but at this time Sony themselves were claiming that the network was back online on their official blog, when for many gamers it wasn’t.

Soon thereafter the changed MTU settings trick proved not enough to stop the PSN going down yet again.

It wasn’t until Sony made another network update that everyone started getting back online again. Four days after the initial attack by Lizard Squad.

After things had died down a little, Sony were left with the task of somehow making it back up to the gamers.

Sony have offered a five-day extension on all existing PS Plus memberships and a token 10% discount on any purchase made on the PS Store.

Really? Is this the best Sony can do?

Considering the impact that this hack had on the PlayStation gaming community in particular over Christmas, this gesture by Sony is laughable. Completely laughable.

Here in New Zealand, the yearly membership fee for PS Plus is $90 and what good is a five-day extension on that going to give gamers here? Most people don’t even get paid from work within five days, and a 10% discount in cart on the PS Store is perhaps the most useless idea Sony have had in their history of issues with online services crashing, being hacked, or going down.

Do the math readers.

A game that costs $100 to download and a 10% discount – what is the point really?

The point is this Sony – gamers are paying for a service that you continue to show is easily targeted by hackers.

Maybe it is time for both PlayStation and Xbox to go back have free online gaming, the microtransactions in games these days is bad enough, stop making gamers pay for the joy of playing online with their friends.

Isn’t the revenue that Sony makes from software sales enough?

GTA V Review: More of the same

The newer version of GTA V is a solid investment, but don’t expect it to overly wow gamers who are returning to Los Santos on the new systems.

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First with the positives.

The all new First Person Perspective style of gameplay is one of the coolest additions to GTA, and without doubt the strongest game changer for the new version of a game that is already a year old.

Driving, gunplay, and free roam all feel fresh and can be adjusted to easily after an hour so of play time.

Combat feels a lot more like traditional shooters as well, and while not being as hardcore compared to the likes of a Call of Duty or Battlefield, shooting in FPS on GTA V feels much more like how combat in the game should be played.

Another thing is the level that Rockstar have gone to with detail.

Graphically, the new version of GTA V is absolutely stunning, and a big noticeable improvement on the old versions on PS3 and Xbox 360.

New details are many, especially with the interiors of cars in GTA V. Active dials, gauges, radios, and even the blinking on the dash as you start the cars engine are all clear and easily noticed from the First Person view. Even the radio station and song names come up on the radio LED screens in some vehicles.

Flying and skydiving are also amazingly immersive in First Person as well and are certainly worth a go.

The open world feels somewhat improved as well, especially in the small but noticeable little nuances as you drive through the Los Santos and adjoining desert countryside.

While playing through the game, I noticed that over in Blaine Country and near Trevor’s airfield there is actually dust blown on the road and up into the air, where as in the city of Los Santos traffic seems to be a little more bunched in, with cars having minor accidents or pulling out randomly in front of you at what feels like every second intersection.

There is also a noticeable increase in the amount of litter on the road and sidewalks throughout the open world.

The whole environment, unsurprisingly, just feels a lot more cleaned up and slightly more vibrant in the new version of GTA V.

Other improvements are frame rate, the games plays much smoother while still having the occasional issue here and there, with the new 30-player cap in GTA Online a cool feature allowing for more player interactivity.

But does all this justifiably say that GTA V on Next-Gen is worth the investment for players who’ve already experienced the game back on PS3 and Xbox 360?

Sadly not.

While the new First Person style of playing is such a great new way to play the game, the experience on the new version of GTA V is really nothing more than that with a handful or beautiful graphic improvements, with the power of the PS4 and Xbox One consoles being enough to allow Rockstar to fill the world of San Andreas up a little more and make it all feel just that little bit more polished and refined.

What really stuck out was how much better the game looked and played.

But after a few hours game time and once the exploring has been done, the experience is generally just more of the same.

For those who have invested hours and hours into this game already through single player, and the countless days and nights spent with friends creating mayhem in GTA Online, the upgrade is worth a go but not exactly worth a buy considering the other options on the market right now for both PS4 and Xbox One.

GTA V Next-Gen: The new features

It is always hard to gauge how successful a reboot of a game will be, but in GTA V’s case the upgraded version will be everything the original was as well as adding something new.

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Rockstar’s latest entry into the GTA franchise was one of the hottest selling games in history, selling hundreds of thousands of copies within the first 24 hours after the September 17th launch date.

While the newer updated version of GTA V probably won’t sell as well, there are a number of reasons for gamers to invest in the upgrade.

First is the much anticipated debut of First Person Mode in a GTA game, allowing gamers to experience combat, driving, swimming, flying, and just walking around in free roam from a whole new experience.

Other features in the upgrade see the online player cap has been extended to 30, and classic cars from the GTA franchise are available for players to find.

The graphics have been remarkably improved, over 150 new songs have been added to the game, a new special set of missions for Michael’s character.

All GTA Online data from the original versions of the game will be able to be transferred over, allowing players to pick up from where they left off with their online characters and missions.

A big controversy for Rockstar has been the absence of Online Heists in GTA V, a promised feature which had been due to go live shortly after the original launch. Over a year later, Online Heists still are not playable as yet, but Rockstar promise that the mode is close.

Arcady driving mechanics won’t hurt The Crews’ launch success

Ubisoft’s big open-world racer is just a few weeks away, but it has been met with some controversy following the latest run of closed betas.

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Much talk has been about the handling physics brought by Ubisoft to The Crew especially since the last closed beta.

A large sum of Xbox One and PS4 players have aired their displeasure at the arcady and unrealistic driving style, some even going as far as calling the Crew’s driving physics the worst they’ve played in years.

Bradley Jenkin, a teenage gamer from Auckland New Zealand walked away from his closed beta experience satisfied.

“It’s a pretty good game, the graphics are pretty good and the gameplay is pretty nice.”

Responding to the controversy, Jenkin compared the handling in The Crew to an NFS style rather than a more hardcore simulation that the likes of a Forza brings to console gaming.

Just this year Ubisoft were slammed for the handling physics for driving in hit title Watch Dogs, and it appears at this stage that players can expect a similar driving physic in The Crew.

Though he only played the beta version, Jenkin said that the damage mechanic in The Crew was only cosmetic.

Without doubt, Ubisoft have created a racer that features one of the biggest open worlds seen in a video game.

Jenkin says the map in The Crew is two to three times bigger than GTA V’s vast open world in comparison. Ubisoft have opened up the entire west to east coast in the game, allowing players to drive through and visit some of the most popular towns and cities in America.

“I like how massive the map is, you can drive pretty much from the corner of New York all the way to Los Angeles.”

Confirmed cities in The Crew are New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and more.

Train stations and Airports in The Crew are also interactive.

Players can use these as fast travel options if they don’t want to invest the time it takes to drive from coast to coast in game.

“From what I saw and from what I did there was a lot of customization. You can change all the different bumpers and side skirts, stuff like that.”

Looking ahead to the games launch, Jenkin says that not much could be improved to The Crew and believes that Ubisoft will need to ensure the servers that the game runs on are polished and running properly come launch day as the game requires constant online connectivity to be played.

The Crew is set for a NZ launch on December 2nd and will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Day One patch required for GTA V on new consoles

Rockstar have released the launch trailer for the new version of GTA V, and have also announced that a day one patch download will be required.

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The launch trailer can be found here:

The patch download includes fixes for optimization. Rockstar say that the download will be required if gamers wish to experience gameplay at its best, and it will run for both the PS4 and Xbox One versions.

The new version of GTA V launches next Tuesday, the 18th of November.

Updated GTA V on PS4 and Xbox One looks worth the investment

Rockstar have confirmed that the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One versions of critically acclaimed GTA V will feature a First Person (FPS) experience.

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The rumor of FPS has been around since the newer version of GTA V was revealed.

From a FPS experience, players will be able to drive, shoot, walk around, and fly all from the new camera angle that Rockstar say they have wanted to put into a GTA title for a long time.

Footage if the new mode can be seen below:

The updated version of GTA V will also feature classic cars from the franchise, new missions, and all GTA Online data from PS3 and Xbox 360 versions will be carried over through the Rockstar games club.

GTA V on PS4 and Xbox One will release on November 18th.

Reaction: Strong E3 for Sony but nothing mind blowing

E3 was another strong outing for Sony in 2014, but it didn’t leave gamers with anything too memorable, and it certainly won’t see many go rushing to the pre order stands.

2013 was arguably Sony’s greatest E3, but with no new hardware reveals or groundbreaking sequels on the horizon for this year, PlayStation’s conference was never going to be as strong as last year and it was pretty much a case of interesting new announcements, games that look cool, but nothing that has bettered Sony’s position over Microsoft going forward.

Destiny is Sony’s big release this year, and the game will launch with a white PS4 bundle on September 9th. The white PS4 design looks amazing, and it will sell well.

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No word was mentioned about DriveClub which surprised many, but the announcement of Dead Island 2 was one of the most memorable moments from this years conference. Like it did last year, indie developers took up much of the conference, too much in fact, with some cool looking games coming to PSN but nothing that had anybody terribly overcome with excitement. There was no mention of the rebooted Abe’s Oddysee either which had me a little disappointed. Other games which were shown yesterday include BattleField 5, The Order: 1886, Last Of Us Remastered, Mortal Combat, and Metal Gear Solid.

One of the most pleasing moments of the conference was the announcement that GTA V was coming to PS4, and it was confirmed that GTA Online data will carry over to the next gen systems, and that will no doubt see the higher quality version of GTA’s most popular installment ship many copies.

It wouldn’t be a Sony conference at E3 without Naughty Dog making an appearance, and to close out the show, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was revealed. It seems that the next game in the series may be the last, as much of the trailer showed Nathan Drake, a seemingly older Nathan Drake, be going back to Sully for “one last time”. If this is to be the final chapter in the Uncharted series then it will be a sad but bittersweet release for the PlayStation faithful, but hopefully A Thief’s End will be just as enjoyable and groundbreaking as all the other games the series has given.

In closing, Sony had another strong E3 in 2014, and their conference clearly outdid Microsoft’s. The PS4 is in a good position as Microsoft continue the fightback for brand surpremecy with Xbox One, but despite a strong E3 which promises some great things in 2014/2015, Sony haven’t really improved on anything that they came into E3 with.