Tuesday, 31 May 2016

"It's Stupid To Collect Original Games. Pirated Ones Are Cheaper!" Seriously??

As a game collector living in Malaysia, I grew up playing pirated games. I'm not sure if this was the case in any other country but it was here. It was incredibly rare for anybody to purchase an original game. Be it on the PS1, PS2, or PSP, they we're all pirated. They were cheap, yes, very cheap in fact. They were priced at an average of RM5 (pronounced 5 Ringgit, Malaysian currency) which is about 80p if you're reading this in the UK or around $1.50 if you're in the US. They came in plastic sleeves or, in the case of the PSP, would be downloaded straight into the memory card.

          When the PS3 launched, the main thing being discussed was the fact that there were no pirated games for the system. Since then, original games on newer consoles have been accepted and are the norm in all game stores. Still, it is considered odd to purchase original games from older consoles. People have said to me that it's stupid to buy original games when pirated ones are so much cheaper. "You'll get to play the exact same thing", they said. "You should spend your money on newer games". I recently heard similar remarks when I went looking for original PSP and Nintendo DS games. Yes, well, as a collector, I would much rather spend my money on original games. Owning an original copy of a game which I loved so much as a kid just makes me really really happy and nothing anybody says can change that fact. I appreciate the work that has been put into making such great games and owning a pirated copy just doesn't feel quite right. I still look forward to the day I acquire an original copy of Final Fantasy XII on PS2.

Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Monday, 30 May 2016

Bad Graphics = Bad Game.. Seriously??

I was recently told by the owner of a game store that a game with "bad" graphics isn't worth anything. In this case, the game he was referring to was Dissidia Final Fantasy on PSP which isn't a horrendously ugly game! 

          According to him, if a game doesn't have great graphics it isn't enjoyable to play. I would normally just nod my head politely when somebody has an opinion I don't quite agree with but this time, for some reason, I felt I had to express my views on the matter. I tried to explain that the worth of a game couldn't possibly be purely based on it's graphics. That would be absurd! However, the "extremely knowledgeable" store owner just laughed it off and stuck with his previous statement. 

          I'm sure not everyone would agree with me when I say that graphics isn't nearly as important as it's made out to be. Modern games are all expected to look insanely pretty but does that promise a really good game? In my opinion, NO! It doesn't! Good graphics improve the experience but if the actual gameplay is boring then it's not a very good game. My point is, stop putting graphics at the top of the priority list. A truly great game must be thoroughly enjoyable to experience not just a feast for the eyes.

Danial Aziz
Instagram: @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

Saturday, 28 May 2016

No Man's Sky Delayed : Good or Bad?

As you've all probably heard by now, the highly anticipated game by developer Hello Games has been delayed and will now be released in August of 2016. The game was previously announced to be released on the 21st of June 2016. However, the founder of Hello Games, Sean Murray has stated on his post on PlayStation.Blog that he feels the game could benefit from a bit more care before being released.

"..as we approached our final deadlines, we realized that some key moments needed extra polish to bring them up to our standards. I have had to make the tough choice to delay the game for a few weeks to allow us to deliver something special." - Sean Murray

         A delay is never a pleasant thing but, all things considered, is it actually a bad thing? Games are often being released in an unfinished state nowadays. Developers try to develop games in the least amount of time possible so they're able to sell their games and then start on the next game as soon as possible. We've seen this with multiple other franchises which receive new installments on a yearly basis. Many of the games developed in this manner turn out to be horrendously broken at launch. Some taking months to fix with multiple patches and updates having to be downloaded by the players. This should not be the case. Game developers should make sure that their games are working correctly at launch. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out, does it?

          The game in question, No Man's Sky, is a game of truly unparalleled proportions. With a universe made up of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 explorable planets, this game's scale dwarfs any other open-world game we've ever experienced before. Taking on such a massive task would be daunting for even the largest developers. Hello Games is a relatively small studio which has never attempted to create anything of this magnitude before.

"The universe of No Man’s Sky is incredibly vast. More than you can imagine. This is a type of game that hasn’t been attempted before, by a smaller team than anyone would expect, under an intense amount of expectation." - Sean Murray

         In my opinion, the decision to delay the game and give it some extra care and attention before being released is a good one. They are attempting to create a game the likes of which none of us have experienced before. If Hello Games is able to release the game without any significant bugs, it would be a massive achievement for their studio. To produce one truly great game is more notable than to produce many mediocre ones.

Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Friday, 27 May 2016

The DLC Plague

Downloadable content (DLC) is a means to enhance games after the initial release. DLC allows developers to release additional content which can be downloaded by players who own the original game. This means that there will constatly be new updates or add-on features for the player to enjoy during the game's lifespan.

          Now, however, some developers are deliberately taking out portions of a game before releasing it and then later charging extra for it on the day the game is released. "Day-one DLC". This practice serves no other purpose than to increase the profits received by the developer. There is absolutely no other reason for a developer to sell an unfinished game and then give players the option of purchasing the missing portions online. That's like charging full price for a car with no wheels or an engine. It's ridiculous!

          Sadly, this new "business trategy" is being practiced more and more nowadays. Entire story arcs, multiplayer maps and missions all readily available at launch but not included in the game due corporate greed.

          The only solution for this is for us, the players, to stop purchasing these games. We must demand that the game being sold at launch is a complete product. Otherwise, just don't buy it.

          I hope that developers who are curretly engaged in this practice realize that all we want is to play great games and if you provide that, you will definitely receive substantial revenue. Don't just think of gaming as an industry, think of it as a community. If you develop a genuinely good product, the gaming community will be more than happy to purchase it.

Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games
Facebook: @beyondjustgamesblog

5 PlayStation Exclusives Still To Come In 2016

The PlayStation 4 has already received multiple great exclusives this year with the latest being Uncharted 4 which has been described as a near perfect game by reviewers and fans alike. There are even more games set to be released for the PlayStation 4 within the year. Here's a list of 5 games you can expect to be able to enjoy on your PS4 later in 2016.

1. Gravity Rush 2

          Gravity Rush was a an action-adventure game originally released for the PlayStation Vita in 2012. It featured a very unique gameplay concept which allowed players to manipulate gravity. This meant that the main character, Kat, would be performing movements unlike any other character from any other game. The sequel will feature the same unique gameplay mechanics and continue the story where the first game left off. Gravity Rush 2 is set to be released sometime in 2016.

2. The Last Guardian

          The Last Guardian is possibly the most mysterious of all the games Sony has ever developed. It's amazing how little we know about it considering it has been in development since 2007. This is a third-person puzzle game in which the player controls a boy who has a companion bird/cat/griffin creature as his companion. The story will be based heavily around the bond between the boy and his companion as they go about their adventure. The Last Guardian has been officially announced to have a 2016 release.

3. Horizon Zero Dawn

          Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic future in which the world has been overrun by robotic creatures. In this action role-playing game, the player takes control of Aloy, an archer who takes on these gigantic "mecha-dinosaurs" as she travels through the stunningly beautiful, uniquely futuristic world. The gameplay of Horizon Zero Dawn has also been said to posses similarities to The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim as well as Assassin's Creed. Horizon Zero Dawn is due for release sometime in 2016.

4. No Man's Sky

          Although there have been rumors stating that No Man's Sky will be available on Xbox One, it will launch as a console exclusive for the PlayStation 4. This game takes the open-world concept that countless games have adopted in the past and takes it far beyond the the absolute extreme. We thought that being able to travel around an entire planet would be extreme. No Man's Sky allows players to muck about in an entire universe consisting of about 18 quintillion planets with different landscapes, lifeforms and weather patterns. This is truly an amazing undertaking and one that I an definitely excited to experience for myself. No Man's Sky was announced to be released on the 21st of June 2016, however, it has since been delayed but is still scheduled for a 2016 release.

5. Gran Turismo Sport

          What's there to say? It's a new GranTurismo Game! PlayStation Access posted a video revealing the details from the unveiling of GT Sport (Go watch that video here). From what Polyphony have revealed so far, the graphics are fantastically detailed with cars looking more realistic than ever before in the GT franchise. The game also includes "Vision" cars which are concept cars designed by GT along side car manufacturers. These cars will remain as GT exclusives and will only be available in the game. There will also be modes allowing players to compete against one another in their respective regions and be ranked accordingly. Each player will also have their own GT profile and activity log. These features can be viewed at any time via the game's companion app. It has also been confirmed that Gran Turismo Sport will support PlayStation VR at launch. Gran Turismo Sport will be released worldwide in mid-November 2016. 

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games 

Kingsglaive Movie Screenshots Revealed

Kingsglaive is the movie tied to the upcoming game Final Fantasy XV which will be released later this year. The events of this movie are said to play out along side the story in the game. New screenshots have recently been posted by SquareEnix showing off various characters from the upcoming CGI movie. Kingsglaive will be released before Final Fantasy XV's release on the 30th of September.

View all the released screenshots posted on the Final Fantasy Movies Facebook page.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Need For Speed (2015) Review

This was a game that I was extremely exited for. I remember watching the trailer for the first time, thinking "Wow, this looks like it could be going back to the Underground concept!". Nighttime street Racing, detailed modifications and an enormous city for me to have innumerable crashes in. "This could be the game that I've been waiting 10 years for", I thought. Oh, how I wish that were true.

          Let me start this off by saying that this is one of the most beautiful racing games I have ever played. The textures are rich and the lighting highlights everything perfectly especially on the cars. Environments look great as well. Everything is very well detailed which makes driving through the city an absolute joy. The game get's even prettier when it rains, leaving little droplets of water on your car which look so real it makes you want to get a towel and give it a good wipe.

Even the damage on the cars after a major crash look realistic, with the scratches and dents being picked out by the lighting in the most beautiful way possible. I admit that I have spent an incredible amount of time in the game's photo mode taking pretty pictures of my pretty cars in pretty locations. The cars sound fantastic too which greatly contributes to the driving experience

           This game has a single player story mode which is decent at best. The story isn't very exciting and doesn't really build up to anything great. The characters are well acted but the script is very poorly written. I never found myself caring about any of these characters who are supposed to be my comrades in this street racing crew. I wanted to care for the characters, to feel a connection with them and I don't. The constant calls from them every 30 seconds don't help either. The story is helped by slightly by the appearances of famous racers and car builders but it lacks length and substance. Even the soundtrack isn't nearly as memorable as previous titles in the franchise.

          Now, the game has a decent amount of cars available for the player to purchase and modify. Even more have been added by updates released after the initial launch of the game. The thing I was really looking forward to in this new Need For Speed game was the modifications. It's somewhat disappointing. I was expecting it to be close to NFS: Underground 2 levels of modifications with the large variation of parts for every vehicle in the game. Instead, all we get is a handful of options for each part. I want to be able to choose between 20 different body-kits and 40 different types of spoilers. I want to be able to have underglow neon and change the colour of my engine accents. I want to be able to do ridiculous things with my car like install hydraulic suspension and spinners. I can't do any of that. 

          The races themselves are, in a word, fun, despite some of them making no sense at all. Why would a group of street races ever have a drift race in the middle of town in an area with heavy traffic? Anyway, the game allows you to set-up your car for either drift or grip. This changes the way your car reacts to corners. Obviously you wouldn't want to enter a drift race with a car set-up for grip. Since it's release, new race types have been added on top of the initial few, the most interesting being drag races which should have been included in the first place.


          I'm not sure how I feel about this game. The story is shallow, yes, the modifications are limited, yes, but I really thoroughly enjoyed driving and racing around the city. I love the way the driving mechanics feel in this game. I could spend hours driving around for no reason in my R35, crashing into unsuspecting pedestrians and then being chased by cops. It's fun, and at the end of the day, that's what counts. 

          You're probably expecting me to conclude this review saying "This is a game that I've grown to love despite it's flaws". Well, no. I'm not going to do that because Need For Speed has one very big flaw that drives me up the wall. This game is ALWAYS ONLINE. This means that in order to play the game, you must have good internet connection at all times otherwise it kicks you back to the title menu screen. Maybe the developers aren't aware of the fact that good internet connection isn't something everybody has or maybe they just don't care. This also means that there are always other players on your map. These other players might decide to join a race which just so happens to run in the opposite direction of the race you're currently in which just results in a big crash. Happened a few times during my 30+ hour playthrough. The faults don't end there. Always online implies that once the company shuts down the servers, the game is then rendered useless. You wouldn't even be able to play it anymore. Call me old-fashioned but I want to be able to still play a game 20 years after it's initial release. The thing that annoys me the most about this is that a racing game has no reason whatsoever to be always online in the first place. At least give us the option of playing offline. I can't imagine that would be very hard to do. 

          So, all things considered, this is a slightly above average game you can play if you have a good internet connection. It's like a delicious bowl of ice cream that you can only enjoy if you have a golden spoon. Driving feels great as it should in a racing game but everything else just leaves too much to be desired.

Final Rating : 6/10

Need For Speed is one of the most disappointing games I've played in a long time.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Unexpected Goodness : Ghost Rider (PS2)

          This game was released in February of 2007 in conjunction with the first Ghost Rider movie starring Nicholas Cage. Ghost Rider, if you're not familiar with him, is a Marvel comic character who had sold his soul to the arch-demon Mephistopheles in order to save his father's life. Now, at night, in the presence of evil, he is engulfed in hellfire which burns away his flesh leaving only his skull and bones. Really interesting character, in my opinion. We've all learned over the years that movie tie-in games are never that good. So imagine my surprise when I played this game. 

          Ghost Rider is a beat-em-up developed by 2K Games in which you play as the Ghost Rider as he takes down numerous demons who have escaped from hell in order to avoid a possible apocalypse. The game adopts gameplay concepts that have been made popular by other beat-em-ups such as God of War and Devil May Cry. However, don't assume that this game is just another clone of the more popular titles. It uses similar systems, yes, but it possesses a totally different kind of charm. The game also includes sections where Ghost Rider rides his Hellcycle towards a destination while being chased by demons while at the same time maneuvering past the obstacles in his path. There is also an upgrade system which allows the player to enhance Ghost Riders stats and weapons similar to God of War. After beating the game on a certain difficulty level, other characters are made available to the player. These characters include Vengeance, Blade and my personal favourite, Ghost Rider 2099.

          I'm not saying this is a perfect game, it's not. Most reviewers have it rated at a 5/10 on average. However, if you enjoy a good beat-em-up you should probably give this game a chance. I had my doubts at first but eventually I tried it and went on to completing it 4 times. For some reason I just found it to be extremely charming and enjoyable. It just goes to show that sometimes, poorly reviewed games have a way of riding a Hellcycle straight into your heart.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Monday, 23 May 2016

5 Underrated RPGs Worth Your Time

          We often get bombarded with coverage of the newest upcoming AAA games. Every major publication releases their coverage of every bit of information they can get their hands on. When the game is finally released, everybody is aware of it. It explodes on the internet. Streams, gameplay footage, reviews, all highlighting various aspects of this new game. However, some games don't get this kind of overwhelming coverage. Some just slip under the radar while everybody is still engulfed in another major release. Some just get swept under the rug for whatever reason. Even if they do get a bit of coverage from major publications, they're not taken as seriously as the AAA releases. Here's a list of 5 RPGs (yes, because I love RPGs) that are worth your time!

1. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

          This was a recent release that received very little coverage. Even now, there are no video reviews by any major publication on YouTube. Many of the fans who have played this game say that it's the best Digimon game ever made and I agree! I have personally spent over 100 hours playing this game. The gameplay, graphics, character design, battle system and story are all far above average. Fans of the Digimon franchise will appreciate how much care has been put into all the Digimon designs. Even if you aren't a Digimon fan, this game is still worth your time to play.

2. Final Fantasy XIII-2

          Final Fantasy 13-2 is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy 13. While Final Fantasy 13 was considered sub-par by a large portion of it's audience due to the more linear nature and odd battle system, Final Fantasy 13-2 is a more refined experience. The maps in Final Fantasy 13-2 are more open, allowing for more exploration. The concept of time bending also allows players to experience the same location in multiple different time periods. For example, an area that used to be a peaceful village could be left in ruins 200 years later and players get to explore both variations. The battle system has also been greatly improved. It is now faster, more intuitive and allows a more strategic play style that Final Fantasy 13 lacked. Final Fantasy 13-2 is a great game. Don't let your feelings towards it's predecessor keep you from experiencing what it has to offer.

3. Brutal Legend

          I just had to include Brutal Legend. A game that since it's released has been dubbed a "Hidden Gem" by many who have taken the time to play it. Brutal Legend is an action RPG with some real-time strategy aspects set in a world of Heavy Metal! This game puts players in the shoes of Eddie Riggs, voiced by Jack Black. Other voice actors involved in this game include Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, Kyle Gass and the late, great Lemmy Kilmister. This is a game that is unlike any other. If you're a fan of heavy metal music, this game will surely put a smile on your face.

4. Final Fantasy XII

          Final Fantasy 12 isn't as highly regarded as other Final Fantasy titles for some reason. It does stray away from the traditional turn-based battle system and replaces it with a more active style. Enemies don't spawn randomly like they used to and characters can still move around during battle. The player can also flee from battle at any time by running away from the enemy. The graphics were stunning for it's time and can even be considered good by today's standards. The world is truly beautiful. Some locations that you visit throughout the course of the story are jaw dropping. The amount of detail put into designing this game is properly remarkable. Characters are also very well designed and animated. This is one game that is overdue for an HD remaster. If you still own a Playstation 2, I invite you to go on this journey. 

5. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

          Kingdom's of Amalur: Reckoning is an open world RPG in which you play a person who comes back to life and is thought to no longer have a destiny. This game was released in February 2012, just 3 months after another open world RPG which had taken the gaming world by storm. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This might be the main reason why Kingdoms wasn't as highly regarded as perhaps it might have been. However, Kingdoms of Amalur is superior to Skyrim in some aspects. The battle system is more fast paced, more complex and more strategic. The armor and weapon designs are astounding. Even lower level weapons and armor look good. This game is a joy to play from the very beginning. The game didn't sell very well and was considered a financial failure but if you can find a copy of it, try it. This is a game that needs to be experienced by every RPG fan.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Nintendo NX : What are you up to, Nintendo?

          When Nintendo first revealed that they are working on a new console, I was quite excited. I began imagining a new more powerful console that would spawn greater games for the franchises I have loved since i was a kid. My dreams of having a truly open world Pokemon RPG possibly coming true! Oh, such joy, such excitement. After my initial jolt of excitement, i regained the ability to think realistically. Nintendo hasn't made a properly good console since the Gamecube. I know, that may seem harsh for me to say but it's true. Nintendo have been so focused on gimmicks that the quality of games that they produce have plummeted at a truly amazing rate. Out of all the games released for the Wii and Wii U, how many can actually be classified as "great"? 5%? No wonder the company's profits have been decreasing. 

          When asked by a journalist from Asahi Shimbun about the NX and whether it would affect the Wii U's retail performance, Tatsumi Kimishima said,

"The NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS. 
It's a new way of playing games, which I think will have a larger impact 
than the Wii U, but I don't feel it's a pure replacement for the Wii U". 

After reading this, the first thought that popped into my head was "Another gimmicky console?" So it's supposed to be "a new way of playing games" which leads me to think it wont be just a controller with buttons and an analog stick or two like what their direct competitors have been getting so much success with. I hope you know what you're doing, Nintendo.

          There have also been a large amount of rumors surrounding this mystery console. Most of which are shots in the dark made by fans, while some come from industry professionals. There are some prevailing rumors that worry me a bit. Firstly, the Nintendo NX might not be using the X86 architecture which has become the industry standard. If this is true, it would make it harder for games to be ported onto this platform besides pushing away third party developers. Secondly, the NX might not be as powerful as it's direct competitors (Playstation 4/Xbox One). This trend of constantly releasing consoles that are a generation behind the industry is quite worrying, honestly.

          Nintendo haven't revealed much regarding the console at this time but they have announced that the console will be released in March of 2017. I don't know what Nintendo are up to but I really hope they manage to make a console that I would want to purchase.

- Dnial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Saturday, 21 May 2016

5 Games That Need A Sequel

          Some games are so good that it just makes us want to play more of it. Sometimes, the developers decide to give us more of it, in the form of a sequel. They make another game, building upon the foundation which the first game had set, allowing us to enjoy even more of what we loved so much in the first game. Sometimes, however, they don't. For whatever reason, the developers decide they don't want to make a sequel to this game which has an enormous world wide fan base. They decide that they would rather develop an entirely different game than give the fans what they want. Here are 5 examples of games that are more that good enough to have a sequel but don't.

1. Red Dead Redemption

          Developed by Rockstar Games and is considered a masterpiece by many, Red Dead Redemption allows players to experience the vast open world western in the shoes of John Marston, a former outlaw trying to escape his past and become one of the good guys. This game is still deemed to be the best Western game ever made. The map is huge and well detailed. You could spend hours just riding your horse around, picking fights with outlaws or whatever cowboys like to do in the wild west.There was also an expansion for the game called "Undead Nightmare" which added new weapons, outfits, treasures and zombies. Zombies in a western! It's been 6 years since this game was released and still there has been no official word on a sequel.

2. Vanquish

          This is a third-person action game developed by Platinum Games. When it was released in October of 2010, this game was praised for it's beautiful visuals, unique gameplay and over-the-top style. It was very well received and went on to receive multiple awards from various publications including IGN, Gamespot and RamesRadar. Since then, the game's developer, Platinum Games, have been involved in the development of other titles such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which was released in February 2013 to positive reviews. However, to this day, there hasn't been any official announcement of a sequel for Vanquish.

3. L.A. Noire

          L.A. Noire is one of the most unique gaming experiences to date. As a Los Angeles police officer in the 1940s, players will visit numerous crime scenes, some just slightly messy, some bloody and gruesome, all of which are based on real cases from the 1940s. At times it adopts a slower pace, requiring an eye for detail in order to uncover vital clues. It also has it's fair share of car chases and gunfights. At the end of every investigation, the player will have to question the suspects and judge their answers based on their facial expressions. Fail to detect a lie and you might be putting the wrong man behind bars. This game is truly a gem. One I'm proud to have in my collection. It annoys me quite a bit that there hasn't been any talks of a possible sequel.

4. Burnout Paradise

          Burnout Paradise took the over-the-top racing style of previous Burnout titles and put it into an open world setting. In this game, players were free to drive around Paradise City and engage in races, time trials and even stunt jumps. It was just pure fun. It didn't need to adhere to the traditional rules of a street-racing game, It was just unrealistic and a bit wacky and we loved it. Criterion Games did tease a sequel to this game but that was way back in 2008. It's been almost 8 years and we still haven't heard back from them. Hopefully, this doesn't end up in "development hell" like some other unfortunate games.

5. Need For Speed: Underground 2

          This game was released back in November of 2004. The game wasn't very complicated. On the surface, at least, you had to win races, upgrade your cars to achieve a rating that allowed it to be featured in a magazine, get paid and repeat. This game focused heavily on modification. The amount of modifications available for each car was quite outrageous by today's standards. Almost every part of the car could be altered according to your personal preference. There is so much potential for a sequel to be properly amazing. Imagine what could be achieved using the classic Underground concept coupled with modern day technology. Obviously, there hasn't been any news of even the slightest possibility of a sequel, but I, for one, will keep hoping.

- Dnial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Friday, 20 May 2016

5 Games We've Waited An Insane Amount Of Time For

          We all get excited when a developer announces a new game they're working on. We read about it online, we watch the trailer and watch it again and then again giggling with excitement thinking we'll be able to play that game quite soon. We tell our friends about how great this new game is going to be. "My next holiday will be spent in front of my telly playing this game", we said. Oh, how wrong we were. Here's a list of games that have kept us waiting for far far too long.

1. The Last Guardian 

          The Last Guardian was formally announced at E3 2009 and has supposedly been in development since 2007. It was supposed to be released in 2011 as a PlayStation 3 Exclusive. The game's development has since faced multiple setbacks causing it to be delayed. Fumito Ueda and other team Ico members have also left Sony during the development of this game. However, Ueda and his team still remain as creative consultants for The Last Guardian. The game was revealed again at E3 2015, this time as a PlayStation 4 exclusive title and is set to be released sometime in 2016. No definite release date has been announced at this time.

2. Agent

          A game being developed by Rockstar North, surely that'll be good. It might be, not sure if we'll ever find out at this point. In 2007, Sony annouced that a new PlayStation 3 exclusive was in the works but they didn't go into detail until E3 2009. The game is supposedly a stealth action game set during the Cold War. Last we heard of this game was that it was still "in development". Not sure what that means anymore. Maybe they're just "developing" some coffee and looking at cute kittens on the internet. Hopefully, we'll get some news regarding this Rockstar North title even if they have decided to cancel it. Let us have some form of closure, at least.

3. Kingdom Hearts 3

          Concepts for the highly anticipated sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2 has been around since 2006. However, the game wasn't officially announced until E3 2011 where it was also revealed that the story of Kingdom Hearts 3 would take place after the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D : Dream Drop Distance. In November 2015, gameplay footage was released showing the main protagonist, Sora, fighting multiple enemies with his trusty Keyblade. The combat has clearly been tweaked from Kingdom Hearts 2 with some new additions which add to the combat experience. Tetsuya Nomura has announced that the team have a release window they are aiming for but an official release date has yet to be announced.

4. A New Crash Bandicoot Game!

          This isn't something new. We've been asking Sony for years now. "Please make a new Crash Bandicoot game, we'll pay you so much money", we pled. Well, Sony has teased a possible Crash Bandicoot return multiple times at conferences and on twitter. The latest tease was the inclusion of a playable section of the original Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation 1 within the newly released Uncharted 4. It's also no coincidence that both the original Crash Bandicoot game and the Uncharted
 games were developed by the same studio, NaughtyDog. Just admit that you're making a new one, Sony. Stop teasing us already.

5. Final Fantasy XV 

         Final Fantasy XV. That's 15 in Roman numerals. It was first announced as Final Fantasy Versus 13 in May of 2006. They even released a trailer showcasing some properly amazing combat, granted it was only a cutscene and not actual gameplay. Nonetheless, it left me with my jaw on the floor. "A fantasy based on reality" they said. My mind went into overdrive imagining what the game would be like, what the characters would be able to do, how the world would look like, how amazing the graphics would be. I eventually passed and needed  a phoenix down. The waiting commenced. Despite the game facing multiple delays, numerous complications, and even a name change, it has been confirmed for a worldwide release on September 30th 2016. Let's hope it's worth the 10 year wait.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Gran Turismo Sport Release Dates Confirmed

          The 7th installment in the series has been confirm for release in Japan and North America on November 15th 2016 followed by the UK on November 18th. Gran Turismo has always provided a realistic and detailed driving experience worthy of the title "The Real Driving Simulator". The previous Gran Turismo game, Gran Turismo 6, was released for the PlayStation 3 on December 5th 2013. Now, almost 3 years later, Polyphony Digital are set to release the first Gran Turismo game for the new generation console. Fans of the series expect great things from this upcoming release and judging from the previous installments, greatness is definitely within their grasp. 

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

Friday, 6 May 2016

The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim Review

Skyrim was my first Elder Scrolls game. I was also playing another RPG at the time it was released so I started playing Skyrim a bit later than everybody else. Before I picked up my copy of the game, all I heard about it was "It's such an awesome game!" and "I took an arrow to the knee". It was an odd period. So, let me tell you about my knee.. I mean, my experience with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Graphics (8/10)
Skyrim is by no means an ugly game. I've spent an unhealthy amount of time just looking at the scenery while exploring the vast open world. That being said, I also noticed some sub-par textures and a certain lack of detail. It wasn't the best looking game of the time, but it was beautiful enough to keep me exploring for hours at a time.

Design (9/10)
Skyrim's world is magnificently designed. Travelling from one end of the map to the other feels like a proper journey. You'll find a creek, a lake, peaks and valleys, sun and snow, an underground cavern, a temple at the top of a mountain, a secret room inside a secret room. It is amazing.

Character design is also a strong point. You rarely find two NPCs that look exactly the same. Most NPCs are very well designed, each suited to their role in the world.

Now, the one gripe i do have with the design is with the weapons and armor. There is a massive amount of weapons and armor in this game but too many of them look similar if not exactly the same. Most players end up wearing the Deadric armor set. I felt a bit disappointed that my character didn't look unique to me after a 100+ hour journey.

Gameplay (9/10)
Every weapon type feels different. Some are fast, some slow, some cause more damage per strike than others.... Typical RPG system really. The controls are simple enough, allowing you to have full control of your character during heated battles. I only wish there was a more interesting way to fight dragons.

Soundtrack (10/10)
This game's soundtrack is perfect. I can't imagine anything better. I love it.

Story (9/10)
The story progresses according to the choices you make. There are multiple different ways you could influence the world as the Dragonborn. You could choose to ally yourself with one party and defeat their enemies or ally with everybody and end up killing everybody. That's what I did during my playthrough. I joined the Imperials and the Battle-born and the Theives and you get the idea..
Fun, this.

Overall experience (9/10)

Skyrim is undoubtedly one of the best games of it's time. I properly enjoyed my time playing it. I might play it again. Why not? It has flaws but they are few and far between. If you haven't played Skyrim yet, try it. You might just find yourself 100 hours in with an arrow stuck to your knee.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games

The First Blog Post - Beyond Just Games

Look at that picture right there. What do you see? A pile of games. I see that too, but I also see that they're beyond just games. Each one is a gateway to a different world filled with things I couldn't possibly do in the real world. I can, however, enter a world where I own a garage full of supercars or a world where I'm a soldier or a world where I have superpowers or a world where magic is utilized in every aspect of my daily life. I love games, I love talking about games. So this blog is for me to share my honest opinion of the games I've played.

- Danial Aziz
Instagram : @beyond_just_games