42 Level One

Alister Kennedy

Alister Kennedy

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Call of Duty : Advanced Warfare Review [PS4]

Call of Duty. The game people love to hate. The Michael Bay movie of the gaming world, everyone will complain about it but everyone will play. This year’s addition to the franchise Advanced Warfare is brought to us by COD new comers (not including their help on MW3) Sledgehammer games. In this COD Sledgehammer have brought the franchise to the future. Exo skeletons and Minority Report stylisation galore.


From the offset you can be sure…this ain’t your daddy’s COD. The introduction of the double jump alone has created a whole new beast, let’s take a look shall we?


The campaign mode, while not any different from any previous year’s campaign weighs in at around 6 hours gameplay (for the average gamer) and this is what we have come to expect from the Activision shooter franchise. However this time, more than applicable to any previous iteration, it is advisable to play through the campaign first before delving into multiplayer as Sledgehammer have shaken the very foundations of the COD series that have remained relatively unchanged since the first major shake-up in Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare.
Story wise it is more or less the same length as previous CODs, you have your team, you have your buddies and you have your mission. While not quite as engaging as perhaps the Ghosts campaign, the jump to the future certainly changes the game significantly in location settings and looks, and also the equipment available. While playing the story, even in the opening chapter, you are witness to a ‘Matrix’ esque swarm of drones and walkers that look plucked straight out of Metal Gear Solid 4. A standard tale of power and corruption helmed by Kevin Spacey himself is enjoyable, but it won’t take the whole weekend to complete.

COD AW UN-Speech


In campaign mode, visiting the pause menu will greet you with a set of EXO challenges such as, get 50 kills or, collect 5 pieces of Intel. This gifts to the game a set of side quests to accomplish alongside your main objective. The introduction of the new arsenal such as the threat detector grenade, gives Advanced Warfare’s campaign even more reason to be played as it gets the player fully comfortable with the changes this time round. A short stealth section aside and some ninja like grappling, the campaign is an easy 6 hour blast, needed this time before hitting the multiplayer. While short and sweet like most COD campaigns, the main story proves more as a necessary training ground for the COD elite.


Controls are shaken up a tad with the dodge mechanic, clicking L3 down and flicking down, left or right will make your character dodge in the corresponding direction. While a nice touch, having it in the multi-player is quite redundant giving the fast paced antics you find in there. Clicking R3, knife kills are replaced with insta-death punches which feels immensely more satisfying than knifing. Finding the beam weapon instantly brings the Ghostbusters theme to your head and is gratifying to use to cause more devastation.

COD AW Biolab-EM1


Weapons are much more fun to handle, the aiming and feedback are a whole ton better than we had in Ghosts last year. Bringing the franchise to the future has seemingly brought the fun back to COD. Getting used to the new mechanics and the level layouts is a breath of fresh air to the series and something that needs to be recognised by the teams making next year’s iteration.


Onto multiplayer, while it’s always nice to play your favourite COD map (Nuke town right?) having a complete fresh feeling set is always better. Yeah sure most new CODs have their own set of maps, but never before has such as sense of freshness occurred in venturing into online multiplayer. Thanks to the ingenious (and about 5-10 years overdue) double jump mechanic, playing COD online is a very different game from ANY game previous. Maps have suddenly become much more open as reaching high places is as simple as a double tap of X. That one guy who used to be carefully placed in an unapproachable nesting spot can be quickly dealt with by a few timed double jumps.


Multiplayer seems a lot more frantic this time around. While standing pumping rounds into the guy in front, his buddy is generally only a corner away with a loaded fist. Fast paced has never been a more astute phrase, but this time you will need your wits about the multi layered levels. As granting players the ability to leap buildings and walls means you are never a minute away from the action.


For the old hard-core, online mode does feature a classics section, where you can play online with all the new-fangled young kids double jumping is negated for good old fashioned shooting and being shot at. The extra mile has certainly went into making Advanced Warfare feel as different while familiar as possible.

COD AW Riot-Slam-Dunk


On to the not so goods – graphically the character models in the cut scenes and in game are absolutely superb. Kevin Spacey being a natural highlight in the story but, each characters facial expressions have had some amount of work put into them. Hats off to Sledgehammers talented studio for that. However the downside is while looking very nice in cut scenes, when the game actually hits the backgrounds just can’t match that cut scene quality and somewhat detracts from the immersion. Getting new items and equipment this time around sadly is not up to the player and is assigned automatically after each online match. This leads to a sense of less customisation than the previous installments that have allowed the player to pick their rewards after matches.


All in all COD is a great package, it’s a big shake up in the way the games played and is visually impressive despite the shortfalls in the way the backgrounds look in gameplay. This is the game to bring back the COD doubters and is the game for any Kevin Freaking Spacey fan to play as he is fantastic in the campaign mode. It’s big dumb fun, but this time… it’s futuristic big dumb fun that might require some getting used to.
For more on COD Advanced Warfare, check out 42 Level One every Tuesday at 9:30pm GMT right here on All Games.
9/10

The Good
It’s the freshest COD since MW 1
Kevin “freaking” Spacey
The guns

The Bad
Campaigns still short and unsurprising
Scenery could look prettier

8 predictions for GamesCom 2013

With Gamescom on the horizon and plenty of surprises sure to spring from the conference here are our eleventh hour predictions to come out of the show!

 

1. Sony reveal a PS4/VITA bundle

With Sony trying to push the Vita as a valid piece of hardware moving into this next gen of consoles, how  better to move a few units than to produce a PS4 bundle with the Vita bundled in at a slightly better price than buying both separate? Especially when you consider the advert to the left Sony have been pushing recently.

 

2. PS3/VITA price drop

With the PS3 far from dead and the Vita not selling as well as it should a price drop should seal some sales for Xmas from those not quite ready to make the step up to next gen.

 

3. XBox One solo pack or free pack in game.

With all the negative press Microsoft have had coupled with the backlash of the public and re thinking of policies having a solo pack at a reduced price, equal to or lower than that of PS4, may claw Microsoft back some support as they have stated that Kinect is no longer a required standard for the Xbox One surely this is a precursor to a full on announcment sans Kinect. If they choose not to go down this route rumour has it that they may go for a free third party “big Xmas release” game packed in with every console.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts seems like the most obvious choice though it could be any of the mulitplatform big releases epected at the end of the year (Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Watch Dogs etc). This could be easily done (provided Microsoft pays the coin) via a downloadable code in the box.

 

4. Gears of War

With most big titles showing face not even a whisper of the Gears franchise has emerged, so expect at least a teaser logo for next gen Gears to get the crowd hyped for Microsoft’s exclusive franchise.

 

5. Battlefield 4 and Call Of Duty: Ghosts

These two titles will be everywhere, the big guns will be playable on the show floor with plenty showing off of the new dynamic environments as the two go head to head for top shooter of the next gen launches.

 

6. Blizzard

Blizzard will be on top form showing off the next World of Warcraft expansion and we reckon WOW on at least one of the next gen consoles as a pack with all the expansions to date day one! I personally would like to see Warcraft 4 but hey we can only dream eh?

 

7. Uncharted 4

Nathan drake and Sony go hand in hand so a presence from naughty dog hot on the heals of their smash hit last of us would easily go toe to toe with our predicted Microsoft next gen gears announcement....the question is where in the world will our pal Nathan be off to next in his travels for treasure?

 

8. Nintendo show up in cosplay and prance around not giving a f!?@

Nintendo seem to be holding on with their finger tips and have shown us their cards for this year in their Nintendo Direct. Expect playable demos of their Xmas line up and not a lot else!

 

So there you have it our 8 predictions for Games com! Do you think Nathan drake will top Marcus fenix? Or do you see Xbox claiming back some needed support with some new info on the console? Let us know and remember you heard it here first folks!

 

Ali

 

CEO

42 Level One

Ali - 42 Level One interviews Pwnee Studios

42levelone cloudberry
Today I had the pleasure of talking to pwnee studios about their brilliant new title - Cloudberry Kingdom !
 
 
First off let's set the scene and tell us how you would describe cloudberry...
Cloudberry Kingdom is a randomly generated 2d platformer that will provide you with an infinite number of levels. It's like Mario and Trials HD met one day and decided to have a child. They named that child Cloudberry Kingdom.

What were some of your influences going into cloudberry?
Our biggest influence was Mario 3. There was something just so perfect about that game, we really wanted to re-create it with infinite levels. After we started on the initial design, we realized that we could add more obstacles and more hero physics...so we got a little carried away and added a ton of them!

Tell us about the various modes, my personal favourite is time crisis as it keeps you on your toes even more!
There are a number of modes in the game. We have 3 main modes, Story Mode, Arcade, and Free Play. Story Mode is a classic take on platformers where you follow a simple story, and progress through levels on your way to complete it. Arcade is more of a compact experience, where you start with a certain number of lives, or a certain amount of time - and try to make it as far as you can while the levels ramp up in difficulty. Free Play mode is like a giant sandbox where you can utilize our random generator to create your own levels and heroes to make whatever experience you desire. Love fireballs but hate elevators? You can make that! Want to have a  hero with quadruple jump and super gravity? You can do that too!

How many levels are included in the story mode?
In the Story mode of the game we have placed 320 levels for you to storm through on your way to greatness.

Were there any difficulties in picking the levels you used for story mode?
We were very picky about which levels we used for Story Mode. Every level was randomly generated, so we had to pick and choose levels that would increase the difficulty with the proper curve, as well as introducing obstacles at the correct rate to really learn the game better. We ended up generating thousands of levels to determine the perfect 320 to go into Story Mode. It was a painful process.

Which level is your personal favourite ? 
In the Story Mode, I have a couple of levels that I really enjoy for some reason or another. I like 43 because it's a huge surprise to the player with the insane number of lasers. I enjoy 77 because of the unique challenge it provides with the bouncy hero. I can't remember the number of the next one I like....but it's in very thick snow and contains nothing but very thin platforms. I really, really enjoy that one for some odd reason.

I designed my bob to look like the amazing bagman from spiderman... Is there an official look to bob or did you guys want players to have fun with customising?
Bob's "official" look is the default of green skinsuit and red cape. But we highly encourage customization, he's just not quite yours unless you get to make him how you want him! We have seen a number of very interesting Bobs around, and it is always fun to see how people like to customize their character. Everyone seems to have their own signature look.

Have you thought of including a player level editor ?
That's what Free Play mode is all about! You get to create your own level however you like it. You can control how long it is, how hard it is, how many checkpoints are in it, which obstacles and how many there are, etc.

Tell us a bit about the infinite levels....
Well, what is there to say? There are a lot of them....infinite in fact. Every level in the game is randomly generated, even the Story Mode was all created by our random level generator. The glory of the random generator is that you will never have to play the same level twice! So no more memorization needed, just good old-fashioned platforming fun.

The game is out now on steam , Wii u , ps3 and 360. Are there any major differences between the platforms eg Wii u specific control features?
For fairness, we decided to keep all of the platforms the same. We didn't want to give one platform preferential treatment over another - so we had to keep everything more or less the same across the board.

Ok so I've heard about the vita version coming soon , tell me is there any touch specific controls for the vita and are you planning on utilising cross buy/ cross save for it?
Vita will also be more or less the same as the rest for fairness purposes. We would like to utilize the cross buy aspect of it, but that is something that we are going to have to discuss more with Sony.

Any plans for next gen or other formats such as iOS?
We're definitely looking into the possibility of next gen and other formats. We would love to be everywhere that we can. We would like for Cloudberry Kingdom to spread world-wide and be available on every platform ideally.
 
Thanks very much for your time TJ I'm off to play some more levels as I just can't put it down !
 
 
 
Cloudberry kingdom is available now on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U , Steam and soon on Vita.
 
Alister Kennedy
 
42 Level One
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