Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour Review (PS4/X1/PC): “Come Get Some”

In 1996, Duke Nukem 3D splashed onto the scene of PC and console gaming like a megaton. The brash, X-rated humor was breaking down the walls of traditional gaming narratives. Duke was in a class of his own with dialogue and gameplay that blasted through the standards of yesterday. Twenty years later, Gearbox Software has decided to release Duke’s best known adventure once again. The epic Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour is intended to appeal to both new comers of 3D Realms’ hero from the 90’s, as well as fans of old. Originally when it was released back in 1996, Duke Nukem 3D was one of the most significant titles in the FPS genre’s history. Its intricate level designs set it apart from its contemporaries back in 1996. What exactly makes the 20th Anniversary Edition worth trying out? Let’s dive in to find out!The great thing about this anniversary edition is that the original designers, Allen Blum III and Richard “Levelord” Gray, have returned to craft eight brand new levels for Duke Nukem 3D. The new episode takes Duke everywhere from the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, to Moscow, and finally to Hollywood for a final boss battle. However, rather than use current design technology, the pair decided to design each of these levels the exact way they would have done in ‘96. The result is amazing, playing these levels feels like they were always part of the original game. Nerve Software’s team understood what made the levels of the original game so entertaining. While these levels are not as large as the true original levels, they are still pretty large considering. Duke 3D famously had huge maze-like levels and made you want to explore each section of the map.

The gameplay holds up pretty well considering it has now been 20 years since its original launch. I feel part of the magic that kept this game’s gameplay current and not dated was its simplicity. 3D Realms created such a well put-together shooter that 20 years could not dilute it. I recently got to co-op a sizeable chunk of the game with Marcello (which can be viewed here for some good laughs). We were both reminded of how detailed and labyrinth-like the levels were. These twisty, but carefully crafted stages are not found often in today’s gaming. Too many modern day games simply create big levels, but overlook that larger does not necessarily equal a better level.

In addition to the single-player campaign, this release also features some good multiplayer action. You can face-off with others online in a mode called Dukematch, or you can team up with some friends to engage in online co-op. Much like the single-player campaign, these selections feel like a remnant from the old days of gaming mode choices. Duke’s simplistic gameplay is fun for playing single player, and is just as pleasing on the multiplayer side. The idea of playing 8-player co-op online with friends from a game released over 20 years ago is neat, and certainly adds longevity.

For the Anniversary Edition, Gearbox has given the original Duke Nukem 3D a minor restoration. Gearbox created a True3D Rendering mode specifically for Duke. The title still runs on the same game engine from ’96, however several visual aspects have been improved. The lighting has been considerably upgraded, and textures are just cleaner to look at now with my 2016 eyes. Instead of looking like a game from 1996, it can maybe pass for a game a few years newer. A feature that I love is the ability to toggle between the original’s visuals and the remastered’s visuals. Videophiles who want the original visuals can switch between the two modes with a press of a button.

The audio factor of the game also received several tweaks. Gearbox has brought the original voice actor of Duke, Jon St. John, to re-record his original dialogue, as well as record some new lines too. Even if the series of famous one-liners begin to dull after a while, St. John’s distinct voice is seamlessly right for the character of Duke. There is new music composed by Lee Jackson, which fits the heavy action that is constantly happening around you.

Another great feature added into this edition is developer commentary that has been placed in various points throughout the game. Several members of the Duke team recorded their views on it. It’s pretty interesting to hear some of their thoughts two decades later with a retrospect from the people who actually created Duke and launched him into gaming history. You will find some funny stories in these commentaries as well. Whether they’re discussing the making of it or the game’s impact, these little bits of commentary are fascinating. For those looking for a lengthy commentary spanning the entire single player adventure, you will be disappointed. Unfortunately, these audio logs are only found in a few levels. I am by no means expecting all the levels to have commentary, but it would have been great to have more great stories from the developing pioneers of 90’s gaming to listen to.

While today’s gamers may be turned off by the very basic gameplay Duke provides, they need to remember that this title is part of the forces that ushered in today’s modern day shooters. Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary Edition World Tour is a nostalgia trip that recalls many memories for gamers that were around when this hit the stores. The fast-paced, crazy shooting is as strong as ever, and the extensive level design is still exceptional. For those that have never experienced the classy charm-filled Duke “sarcasm”, this is a tour worth experiencing.

Overall Score: 7.5 out of 10

A special thank you to the publisher for providing us a review copy for Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour! Copy reviewed on PS4.

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Hitman: Sniper (iOS) Hands-On/Interview – “47 On the Go”

Hitman Sniper

At the Square Enix press event prior to NYCC, I had the pleasure of meeting Ollie Sykes, Game Director of Hitman: Sniper. After meeting him, I was able to demo the first level of this new IP from the Hitman franchise launching on IOS and Android devices this Winter. Back in 2012, Hitman: Sniper Challenge was a mini-game bonus that was offered when you pre-ordered Hitman: Absolution. It amazingly created its own fan-base that still has an active daily user count of 50K players. Eidos saw this fan-base and decided to create a game solely on this type of mission. I took control of an iPad Air and began my unique experience into the dark world of assassinations.

Your mission starts in Montenegro, at a mountain top mansion surrounded with bodyguards. Visually, I was impressed that a handheld title was running so smooth and console like. If I had to compare the visuals to the rest of the franchise, I would say it has the visuals of 2005’s Blood Money, with the animations of 2012’s Absolution. When combined, it makes a great looking handheld title. The set up for the demo was straightforward; kill as many targets as you can with little detection. In the beginning, you don’t have many choices for sniper rifles or custom ammo and scopes. As you progress and gain money, you will have access to more powerful arsenals. Using your fingers to zoom in and out are simple and effective. Tapping once at the target will fire the rifle. You also have options for slow-mo and a multiple target system ala Hitman: Absolution, depending on the rifle you use. There will always be a primary target that must be killed in order to complete the mission, but there will also be secondary targets that can be killed in order to rack up more money. The amount of kills you pull off without being detected will multiply your final score. This final score with be uploaded to the online leaderboards that will create a high level of competitiveness with your fellow online community.

Additionally, you can cause accidental deaths by shooting certain objects that will cause kills. For instance, shooting a glass wall that two bodyguards happen to be leaning on will cause the glass wall to shatter and the bodyguards to fall to their deaths. You will have successfully gotten rid of two enemies, and hid the bodies, which will multiply the points. You feel a sense of Godlike power zooming in and out observing numerous different enemies and innocents in the level; with you choosing who lives, and dies. Enemy AI reacts realistically to the noise of bullets whizzing by them as well as when their fellow AI is dying in front of them.

Lastly, I must say in my playthrough with Director Ollie Sykes, I realized the amount of replayability and fun the title has is astonishing. Trying to outscore your friends through the online leaderboard system will have many replaying the same levels literally hundreds of times. In addition, the laughs you will get (YES, the laughs) from play Hitman: Sniper will be equally fun. Shooting one enemy off the roof and sending him landing onto a bodyguard three floors below is hysterical as that bodyguard then proceeds to fall onto a car, setting off the alarm and a gas tank explosion. One kill has now become a triple chain affair of murder and high score multipliers, while also becoming hilariously satisfying to see it play out. 

Hitman:Sniper will be releasing sometime this Winter on Android devices and IOS. This will be a free-to-play game, which only adds to the excitement of this already promising looking handheld title. Special thanks goes out to Mr. Ollie Sykes for giving us the time to check out his latest project.

The Walking Dead Game Season 2 Coming This Month

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Telltale games has stated that the highly anticipated The Walking Dead Game: Season 2’s first episode will be launching this month! To everybody’s surprise, most were expecting this title to release sometime in 2014. Walking Dead Season 2 will pick up right where the 400 Days DLC left off, which was a bridge between Season 1 and Season 2. It has now been confirmed that Clementine will be the main star and protagonist of the game. Some time has passed and Clementine will be more mature and resilient than in Season 1, according to a developer. The episodes will be releasing for iOS, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, X1, and more platforms in the future as well. For more Walking Dead news, stay tuned!

(Source – IGN)

Nintendo’s Thanksgiving Deals

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Thanksgiving will be arriving this Thursday, November 28th, and it marks a perfect time for Nintendo to start promoting their hardware aggressively. Nintendo of America has stated its official 3DS and Wii U sale offers for the upcoming holiday and Black Friday. For the 3DS, you will have the new Cobalt Blue standard 3DS Luigi’s Mansion bundle, launching on 11/28 for $169.99. In addition, there are also two retailer-specific offers. Walmart will be selling a 2DS for just $99.96 and Target will be selling a 3DS XL for just $149.99 on 11/29. Lastly, the Wii U will see Nintendo Land bundled with a custom Luigi Wii Remote Plus for $59.99 on 12/2.

(Source – NintendoLife)

Great Deal For Gamers on Black Friday

Target

Target has posted a sneak preview for its big Black Friday deals. Headlining the weekend for video game savings from November 28th to November 30th are two console deals: a 4GB Xbox 360 S bundle, which includes Kinect Sports Season Two and Kinect Adventures, for $190 and a 250GB PS3 system with The Last of Us and Batman: Arkham Origins for $200. In theory, you can purchase both an Xbox 360 with a Kinect plus games and a PS3 with games all for a cheaper total than the cost of a PS4 or X1. Current-gen games have also had their prices slashed. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Max Payne 3 are both marked down to $10; Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist are $25; and Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Origins and Madden NFL 25 are $35.

Target is giving out gift cards too. For those who purchase a copy of Assassin’s Creed 4, it will grant you a $20 gift card. while purchasing a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts or Mario and Luigi: Dream Team will grant you a $10 card. Whether you are in the market to snag a current gen console just some games, Target seems to have you covered this Black Friday.

(Source – Target)

GTA V Patch 1.06 Detailed

Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay 9

Rockstar Games has released the game’s latest patch update, fixing bugs and exploits in the online component of Grand Theft Auto 5.

“Today’s GTA Online title update, which brings the multiplayer mode to version 1.06, includes ‘Beach Bum’ as well as a host of fixes for bugs and exploits.”

Here’s the full list:

  • Fixed an issue where the game would delete your personal Vehicle if you have another player in it when you add a Tracker and Insurance.
  • Fixed an issue where players could become stuck on the aerial view when entering GTA Online with cloud servers down and having just launched a minigame.
  • Fixed an issue where the mission ‘Damaged Goods’ would start even though it had previously been completed.
  • Fixed an issue where under rare circumstances players couldn’t claim back their personal vehicle in GTA Online.
  • Fixed an issue where under rare circumstances players were able to get the Declasse Sheriff SUV into Los Santos Customs and respray it causing the menus to malfunction.
  • Fixed an issue where in rare circumstances players would lose all personal vehicles after being idle kicked and unable to rejoin an online session.
  • Fixed an issue where players could occasionally get stuck after killing a pedestrian with a golf ball.
  • Corrected an exploit where players would retain their personal vehicle after selling it at Los Santos Customs mod shop by transitioning back and forth between Story Mode and Online.
  • Corrected an exploit where players could keep repeatedly selling a Bati 801 to Los Santos Customs.
  • Corrected an exploit where players were able to duplicate vehicles by accepting a Mission while leaving a high-end garage.
  • Corrected an exploit where a player could start a Team Deathmatch with all players on the same team.
  • Players are no longer able to delete their GTA Online character while the Rockstar cloud servers are unavailable.

The patch also comes with tuning changes to tweak the way GTA Online plays, including rebalancing of rewards:

  • The Bad Sport penalty for destroying personal vehicles has been reduced significantly.
  • Players will no longer receive a Bad Sport penalty when they are in a non-moving tank and other players crash a vehicle into them.
  • The GTA$ and RP rewards for Races, Deathmatches and Parachuting are now based on the average time they take to complete.
  • Players now receive GTA$ and RP rewards when failing a cooperative Job or being a member of the losing team during a Versus Mission, depending on how long the Job / Mission lasts.
  • Players now receive a bonus GTA$ multiplier for Missions when played at the higher difficulty levels (Normal = 1.25, Hard = 1.5).
  • In Team Deathmatch, all players on a team now receive the same GTA$ and RP rewards, with the winning team getting roughly 4-5x what the losing team receives.
  • Removed some instances of debris in specific Races, including the cardboard from the ‘Down the Drain’ Race.
  • Deliveries from Pegasus have been reduced from $1,000 to $200.
  • The cost of removing a wanted level by calling Lester has now been scaled based on the amount of stars you have — at a cost of $200 per star.
  • Restricted cars and vehicles that have been added to player garages through exploits have been removed. This includes tanks, helicopters and police vehicles.
  • The following vehicles have been added to the southernsanandreassuperautos.com website in-game: BF Dune Buggy, Canis Bodhi, Karin Rebel, Maibatsu Sanchez 2, Vapid Sadler, Vapid Sandking SWB.
  • To eliminate any remaining vehicle loss issues, an additional automatic cloud save will occur when purchasing a vehicle or vehicle modification.

(Source – Rockstar Games)

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Spotted

Tomb

A strong rumor has been circulating that Tomb Raider is getting a next-gen edition with all of its downloadable content included. Aptly named “The Definitive Edition” was spotted at an online retailer, listing all of its features included. As of now, it was seen to be listed for PlayStation 4 and one mystery system, most likely being the X1. Aside from the DLC, gamers who pre-order it will receive a special packaging with an art book.

It goes without saying that this title for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 looked amazing, and one can only imagine what it will look like on a next gen platform. The listing has the launch date as sometime in winter of 2014. Stay tuned for more news on the next gen Tomb Raider.

(Source – http://www.shacknews.com/article/82075/tomb-raider-definitive-edition-listed-for-next-gen“>Shacknews)

Nintendo Combining eShop Credits Across Consoles, and Bringing MiiVerse to New Venues

Nintendo Mario

Yesterday, Nintendo gamers received a welcome update that combines eShop credit across the 3DS and Wii U systems, but this came with another great piece of information. The Miiverse will finally be coming to the 3DS and 2DS. Miiverse originally launched with the Wii U last year, and a website version was released shortly after. Smartphone apps are currently in the works as well. A Nintendo spokesman had this to say:

“A December system update will allow users to register their Nintendo Network ID for Wii U on their Nintendo 3DS systems and combine Nintendo eShop account balances…this system update will also mark the beginning of Miiverse support on Nintendo 3DS. With a Nintendo Network ID, users will be able to connect with other players around the world to share their experiences and game tips through Miiverse on Nintendo 3DS.”

(Source – NintendoLife)

The Economy Version of The Wii Heading to North America

Wii Mini Console

The Wii mini is finally arriving in the United States. Nintendo announced the economized version of the Wii will launch in the US for $99.99. Nintendo first released the Wii Mini in Canada last year, and followed with a UK debut this past March. The system is smaller than the original Wii, and comes bundled with Mario Kart Wii. Also included are a Wii Remote Plus controller and Nunchuk, both in red. Sadly, the system lacks some of the core features of earlier versions of the console.

First and foremost, it has no online functionality, so games are limited to local multiplayer options. Nintendo has also removed backward compatibility from the Wii Mini’s feature set, which let it leave out the GameCube gaming feature as well. Finally, the system lacks support for Wii component cables, taking away the ability to output video at a 480p resolution. The highest setting the system can display with be 480i. Is anybody in America going to purchase this system? Sound off below for your thoughts.

[Source – Nintendo PR E-mail]

Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 New Trailer

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An exciting new trailer for Lords of Shadow 2 has just been released, and it sure stirs the anticipation. The final game is planning on setting the stage for Dracula to transform into the villain we know him to eventually become. Konami stated “Dracula’s origins, battles, family and past transgressions are revealed as viewers find him at his most vulnerable,”. Take a look at the brand new trailer below.

(Source – The Sixth Axis)