Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It’s a Big, Gaming World


Is a gamer someone who only plays Xbox or PS3 Games, like Call of Duty and Madden? Sure. However, gamers have diversified over the years. In the early years, gamers were, by and large, mature adults. Sure, children and teenagers played Pong and Space Invaders, but casual games that catered to younger audiences didn’t really appear until Nintendo released the NES.

Over the generations of consoles (and the PC, the poor thing), gamers have largely been mature, male adults and teenagers. Now, I’m not saying they composed the entirety of the gaming community, but they were most often stereotyped into the title “gamer.” Why males are more likely to become gamers isn’t something I can sum up on my own. Nowadays, gamers can be defined in much more diverse terms, even if said gamers don’t consider themselves “gamers.”

With the rising popularity of the Wii console, iPhones and their Android competitors, gaming has diversified. If you play Candy Crush with every second of your spare time, you’re probably a gamer. If you only play Call of Duty and Madden, you’re probably a gamer. If you play indie games, you’re probably a gamer.

“Gamer” is still a term portioned out to more “hardcore” players. People who play any MMO are considered gamers. For the most part, spending more than 4 hours a day playing games marks you as a gamer.

So, what does that mean?

Today, as I’ve said, most people who own a smartphone, Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC, or any game-carrying device can be given the title “gamer.” Yet, that’s not how most people view the term. Imagine you meet a new person. You’re sharing info about your lives, when they ask, “What do you like to do?” You respond non-chalantly, “I play games.” The response you receive can vary wildly, from enthusiastic “Yeah! That’s awesome!” to “What a waste of time.”

I am of the opinion that games have been a benefit to the cultures of the world. Creativity is fueled by gamers and developers. It’s an art of expression, story, and visual experience. That is how I feel.
Do I sometimes think, “Man, I could be doing something else.”? Sure. However, I don’t regret the many hundreds of hours I put into SWG, World of Warcraft, and countless other games in my life. I’ve learned from them, if nothing else.

So, if you’re a gamer, you don’t need to feel shame from non-gamers (whomever they are). Gaming, and what you gain from it, is entirely up to you.

On that note, if you stay up 24+ hours playing video games and drinking energy drinks, I am not responsible for any health problems. It’s all up to you, after all.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The GTA V Game Being Satisfactory For All Players


It supplies you major adaptability to check out an incredibly well realized world as well as notifies a story that’s grasping, thrilling, and darkly comic. It is a jump forward in historical class for the series, as well as there is no mechanical aspect of the gameplay that hasn’t already been enhanced over Grand Theft Auto IV. 
Yet every one of that gets all new point of views this year, as GTA V makes its method to the Xbox One and PS4. There was lots of hype around Grand Theft’s brand-new first-person perspective on next-gen gaming consoles, and the attribute meets all that babble. It changes the ways you play Grand Theft Auto, and also probably also transforms the method you think about killing in computer game. In addition its a bold move for Rockstar to get involved with the occurrence of GTA 5 money cheat and related stuff in the game. Still, you could just quibble a whole lot with those troubles, provided the overall size of GTA V, and the PS4 obtains a spectacular modicum of touch in that the controller speaker is taken advantage of for mobile phone calls, making factors simply a modicum of a lot much more immersive.


This stays the exact same huge game it was a year back, with 3 protagonists, its durable Los Santos as well as the suitable story in the franchise activity. It’s an exceptional tale that pokes ingenious fun at an excellent many subjects, keeping you continually mesmerized from beginning to complete. There’s a lot to do, from playing paparazzi to your regular car chases to some far more engaged tale objectives. You will get as many gold as you want as gold are the most important resources in Game Of War we make sure that the user will get the best Game Of War Gold Hack so he won’t try to buy gold anymore. You can add up to unlimited gold in your Game Of War but we will ask you to use two or three times before you will add all that amount as if you will appear in the game servers as you have unlimited gold it will be kind strange.

GTA identifies its bodily brutality a whole lot a lot more visibly than Space Invaders as well as Halo and hence has a far better angle on not simply being intense, nevertheless reviewing violence itself. In previous installments the game was set up on parody, indicating the physical violence in American culture as well as our very own gleeful skepticism the exceptionally inclinations that make GTA computer game so popular. However this newest variant has actually included an aspect that carries it through apology and also over another thing. It appears crazy, possibly, yet Grand Theft Auto IV introduces a reliable declaration on the immigrant experience, as well as the violent procedure of adaptation.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

SSX EA's classic gets back on board

It's all downhill from here - and we couldn't be happier

Every score could be higher. Every race faster. Every combo extended. EA's thrilling stunt racer reboot delivers dissatisfaction like little else - fuelling bittersweet OCD-style replay loops of thrilling depth.
The main solo mode, World Tour, lasts seven hours, yet acts as a glorious tutorial. No sooner does the 'final' cutscene roll than Explore mode taunts you into a fresh challenge: 0/153 drops completed. Each drop is a three-minute-ish track, split into bronze, silver and gold challenges. The original SSX had just eight tracks, and still offered near-limitless replay potential.

Quantity is no substitute for craft, however, and after 20 hours we're unsure if SSX offers the sculpted track genius of its predecessors. In SSX Tricky, we were finding previously unthinkable shortcuts and ramps months after release. Our gut says the gargantuan new SSX must lack such nuance, but most tracks are yielding surprises multiple plays later.

Initially, SSX is intuitive and bewildering. We plump for the new control scheme, holding the right stick down to 'charge' jumps, using the left stick to pre-wind twists. In mid-air, the right stick grabs the board for tweaks - for example, tap right to use your right hand, and rotate the stick 90 degrees to grab the nose. It makes sense, plus you can perform wild tricks without remotely mastering its subtleties.

Tracks have never been so intense, pulsing with ramps, ridges and rails. No sooner do you land than you're jumping again - in the milliseconds of reaction time, combos are made or broken, races won or lost. The seamless transition of thought into deed creates an almost Zen-like flow - over-think your grab or spin, and a clumsy slam often follows.


SKI TRIPPING

SSX thrives in its intensity, rewarding skill with seamlessly integrated audio and visuals. Run DMC's iconic 'It's Tricky' hijacks the soundtrack when you land a dazzling Uber move, as flares and scenery glow.
Nail a Super Uber trick and the scenery reforms ahead of you, creating subtle yet useful new ramps to maintain your combo. Imagine PS2's hypnotic-music-shooter Rez - with it's 'union of the senses' - allied to the twitch-shooter, reflex feel of multiplayer Call of Duty... only with fewer robot babies and swearing Arizonan preteens.

Wiping out really hurts - the colours bleed away, the soundtrack crashes and your senses mute. Handily, you can rewind time and keep the combo flowing, but it also rewinds your score, avoiding spamming of key scenery. In races, rewinding only affects you, allowing rivals to surge ahead. Combos aren't multiplied by the number of tricks you perform in a row, but by your 'flow' - the faster and more varied your run, the higher the multiplier. You get more points for one lengthy, stylish grab than three fiddly grabs in one leap.


World Tour features nine real-world regions split into multiple tracks, with a signature deadly descent. They're like boss battles against the elements, and mostly provide welcome variety to the race / trick structure. Highlight? Fitz Roy, Patagonia, gives you a squirrel suit so you can glide, Batman-like, over chasms - it sounds absurd, but it's well balanced, and surprisingly challenging.

Mt Everest is less fun, asking you to tackle thin air with an oxygen tank. It amounts to pressing R1 every few seconds to stop blacking out - more annoyance than challenge.

Veterans will sail through World Tour, and only three tracks out of more than 30 gave us extended problems - look out for Zombies With Jetpacks in New Zealand. Nailing a bronze medal is hard enough, while a gold medal seems impossible.

One fellow journo actually felt the Explore mode challenges were unfairly hard, and the opponents too cheesy - you seem unable to keep up, even by following the same line. Having sunk hours into Explore mode, we can confirm this theory is, to put it politely, bollocks. They're supposed to feel that way, certainly at first. After sinking in a few hours, levelling up the right characters (Alex is best for races, for instance, or Mac for tricks), then unlocking the double-perk slots, buying stat-boosting boards, hitting every speed-pumping flare and every obscure shortcut... after all that, we creamed 30 seconds off times we once thought unbeatable. That's not to say it can't be frustrating - maddening, even - and many won't have the gumption to persevere. Shame.

Other gripes? Too few moments really stick in the memory. It's all good - often excellent - but there are few dramatic tonal shifts, either visually (like SSX's mental Tokyo Megaplex) or structurally (like SSX3's astonishing 30- minute final run). Plus, it's hard to bail unless you really hog a grab, and your rider 'snaps' to rails too magnetically.

The loading times between tracks are minimal, but still puncture the flow; the Thin Air challenge is duff, and the trick system - while incredible - is only as exciting as it was back in 2001's superb SSX Tricky.
That's the bind. As a reboot, SSX teeters between nostalgia and evolution, and perhaps falls fractions short either side. Tricky fans will miss leaping through windows in the skyscrapers of Mercury City, yet feel slightly numbed by the familiarity of board-around-neck Super Ubers.

It's pitched between Tricky's insane stunts / contrived architecture and the quasi-reality of SSX3's mountains, and it almost nails the best of both. Office buzz says newcomers will adore it, seduced by the speed and sensory impact - think Burnout meets Skate. Whatever your skill, SSX makes you feel insanely good, flattering your skills and rewarding improvisation. Its old-school core has been invigorated by the right stick controls and audio-visual makeover, with the Ridernet (like Autolog) system keeping you up to date with friends' scores, times and activities - there's always something to do.

Whether this is worth 90 percent or more depends on your appetite for perfection - to strive for gold, to find every Geotag, or to spend weeks crafting combo lines when online foes edge you out. Until the community grows, its impossible to tell if it will gather that momentum, or if a handful of elite players will score so freakishly high, no one else will want to compete. The Clash Of Kings Hack Tool is currently the best hack service available on the net which allows players to start generating free Gold, Silver, Wood and Stone in their Clash Of Kings in game accounts.

We can groan about minor quirks, or the contradictory forces of nostalgia and ennui, but that would be overthinking it - and if SSX preaches anything, it's to commit to your instincts.

In the moment, when you're busting out some lunatic set of flips and grabs over a 200ft dam in New Zealand, the screen flush with colour as Flux Pavillion roars through the speakers, it's hard not to think that you're playing the most exciting game, well, ever. Innovative yet familiar, accessible yet deep, realistic yet absurd - it's a game torn between risk and reward. You know - the place SSX always felt best.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Asura's Wrath A glory to behold - but more anime than game

In many ways Asura's Wrath is a passion project for the studio; a rare opportunity to break out of the confines of working with licensed material to create something original. It's all the more surprising then to find that it doesn't actually stray too far from its wheelhouse with this new found freedom.


Like it's previous titles Asura's Wrath will truly strike a chord with a very specific audience; the type that grin with a semi-psychotic glee every time Bruce Banner loses it, the type that punched the air when Goku turned super Saiyajin for the first time and smacked Frieza around, and most of all the type that stared slack-jawed as Naruto finally unleashed his Bijuu Cloak to stomp Orochimaru.

But that doesn't mean others should dismiss it, Asura's Wrath is a game that relishes in its own ridiculousness, it seizes every opportunity to jump to next illogical extreme and does it with such gusto that you just have to respect it. While you might not be able to appreciate the oddball characters and melodramatic story you'll find it hard to tear yourself away from the visual spectacle, and on those grounds nothing comes close to what it offers.

RAGE OF THE GODS

The game follows the rage-driven quest of betrayed demi-god Asura, who falls victim to the twisted ambitions of 'The Seven Deities', a group scheming to rid the world of the impure Gohma by harvesting souls from their human followers and powering a giant laser beam firing space Buddah. Yes, you read that right.

The only problem is that Asura's daughter, a powerful priestess named Mithra, is the key to the plan, which doesn't sit well with him. His protests earn him a murdered wife, kidnapped daughter and a trip to the underworld all courtesy of the maniacal General Deus. This is best Game Of War Hack - cheats app ever made! You can get unlimited Gold very fast and free by using this amazing app. Centuries later the sheer intensity of Asura's anger brings him back to life, and he returns to a decayed world where people pray to cruel gods and blindly offer themselves up as sacrifices.

Someone inclined to could make a case that there's an underpinning message about religion and god, that despite his frightening power Asura is relatable as a father that will let nothing stop him from rescuing his daughter, but ostensibly it's all set up to let Asura hunt down his wrongdoers and wantonly destroy anything and everything in his path. Which is exactly what he does. During the six or so hours it takes to see the campaign through you'll partake in some of the most ludicrously awesome set-pieces ever put into a video game.


You'll have a punch up with a rotund god that grows so big the tip of his index finger can crush the planet. You'll square off on the moon with a battle-hardened warrior wielding a sword long enough to pierce the earth all the way through. You'll fly around space firing lasers out of your six mechanical arms to thin out space faring Ghoma forces. In one of the game's quieter moments you'll drink sake and battle the urge to ogle the ample bosoms of a hot spring attendant, but that brief interlude nonchalantly segues into chunks of a planet being cleaved off.

ANGER MANAGEMENT

It all looks absolutely stunning thanks to the mash-up of sci-fi and Asian mythology that informs the blindingly colorful world and bad ass character designs, and also because of the incredible animation work. If nothing else, CyberConnect2's Ultimate Ninja games are known for their visual fidelity and animation quality, and Asura's Wrath's is undoubtedly the studio's best effort to date.

This impeccable level of presentation comes at the cost of serious gameplay sacrifices. Calling Asura's Wrath a game in the traditional sense is a stretch. You'll be watching more often than playing, and when you're given agency it's mostly in quick-time events. Even then failure to match the on-screen prompts never impacts progression, so you're only doing it to avoid poor grading at the end of each episode, or because you might find it satisfying.

Asura's Wrath's reliance on cut-scenes is a shame because tucked away in between these lavishly produced cinematics is a very competent third-person brawler. It might not be as deep as contemporaries such as God of War 3, Bayonetta or Devil May Cry 4, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in style and fluidity.

During these arena-based segments Asura has light and heavy attacks as well as projectiles. Hammering light attacks dishes out a flurry of attacks usually ending in launching the enemy across the battlefield. Holding the light attack button down sends Asura chasing after to deliver follow up attacks. It's a simple mechanic but it looks cool and feels good thanks to punchy sound effects and plenty of feral grunting from Asura. To see more detail and try this Game Of War Hack Tool visit our website http://gameofwarhackcheats.com/

Heavy attacks are used sparingly, usually only for crowd control due to a cool down period. Its primary use is to deliver cinematic attacks on downed enemies to finish them off, so being overzealous with it can needlessly draw out battles and run the risk of getting killed.

All of this is in service of filling up a bar which represents Asura's rage, once completely filled the Japanese Hulk flips out and activates the Burst ability, kicking off the next cut scene. In effect this means that battles only last as long as it takes for you to fill the bar, and if you're good enough to quickly exploit patterns, avoid damage, and land counters regularly that can be not long at all.

Asura's Wrath also has plenty of Panzer Dragoon-esque on rails segments peppered in, they add a little more variety to the experience and introduce a few amusing scenarios of their own. Our favourite is chasing down a demon gorilla that's nabbed a damsel; an unintentional homage to Donkey Kong perhaps.

CyberConnect2 has clearly taken a gamble and consciously opted to shove gameplay aside to tell a story with no expense spared in its presentation. This is most apparent in the way it's structured; Asura's Wrath is comprised of 19 episodes, each lasting around 20 minutes with mid-episode breaks complete with bumpers on both sides, a preview of the next episode and gorgeous artwork accompanied by text to provide context or alternative perspectives for the episode's events.

While we can confidently say each episode of Asura's Wrath offers an unparalleled cinematic experience, its gameplay is too transient and insubstantial, which makes it a hard sell at £40. Were it not for the steep asking price we'd recommend this unequivocally, especially to fans of manga, anime or anyone interested in seeing what true masters of Japanese animation can do.

Dynasty Warriors VS The Marmite of video games

Few games divide opinion like Dynasty Warriors. This isn't Marmite gaming; this is Marmite smeared on floral gums being eaten by Val Kilmer (to a Randy Newman soundtrack).
Detractors dismiss Koei's battlefield sim as button-mashing with men in silly hats. Fans, on the other hand, like being a one-man army and doing it in a silly hat. Good/bad news: with its four-player focus, Dynasty Warriors VS has more silly hats than ever.

Dynasty Warriors VS is a companion series to Samurai Warriors (of 3DS's Chronicles fame). Where Samurai focuses on Japanese history, Dynasty retells China's Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. It retells it in the medium of hack 'n' slash, rendering complex battlefield manoeuvres as A-to-B murder sprees. Churning through generic troops whittles down the rival warlord's influence on the battlefield, making him vulnerable in a climactic one-on-one.

With battles traditionally lasting upwards of 20 minutes, the format isn't a natural candidate for multiplayer fun. To remedy this, Omega Force re-imagine the battlefield as a race to kill an AI general. Should warlords leg it to reach the target first? Or should they focus on seizing garrisons and strengthening their support army? Commanding certain buildings grants statistical boosts to the entire army - or can the effect be simulated by getting to power-ups first?


OMEGA MEN

Striking a balance of speed and power is at this game's heart. But what good is a heart without formidable fists to pump blood to? Recognising that their combat is too broad to satisfy as a straight man-on-man fighter, Omega Force introduce Musou Rush. Launching this special attack on a rival triggers a race to input a sequence of button prompts and analogue stick tweaks. The limber-fingered warlord who taps through first lands a devastating hit.

Co-operative play is also supported, with two-on-two and three-on-one options. Though who's stupid enough to volunteer to be the one against three? Allies can launch team attacks, special magics triggered when two characters stand side-by-side.



Whether you're a fan or not, there's no denying the Warriors games treat their followers well. Samurai Warriors is the only3DS title to deliver regular SpotPass content a year after release, a trick Dynasty Warriors promises to continue.
Fingers crossed we'll be inundated with a steady flow of silly hats...



Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beyond The Labyrinth 3DS's prettiest dungeon-crawler

Also clever: the turn-based battle system, which allows you to moderate the strength of your attack. Naturally, there's a caveat to you selecting 'total obliteration' every time - a more forceful blow means you need to wait longer for your next turn. In theory this should allow you to get a feel for a foe before dishing out the pain.


Elsewhere, combat reverts to the JRPG formula - every enemy belongs to one of three elemental alignments, with each element strong against one type and weak to another. Handily, everything seems to be colour-coded, so you can plan attacks in advance when approaching a gang of nasties.

THE CLOTHES SHOW

The one exception to the elemental rule is the white-haired girl seen in all the screenshots so far. Curiously, you escort her at times and control her at others. Occasionally she'll look out of the screen and address you directly, while battle scenes are viewed from a first-person perspective, your attacks flying from the side of the screen as if hurled by unseen hands. Then you'll get to control the flimsily attired heroine, guiding her through labyrinths she seems entirely ill-equipped to inquisitively skip around.


Away from the dungeoneering you can try your hand at fashion design, with an extensive costume customiser that allows you to transfer image data to and from your PC to decorate the girl's dress. Designs are displayed on a silhouetted mannequin oddly reminiscent of Project Rub, and you can swap costume data with other users. Those so inclined can also change the colour of her undergarments, just in case you'd forgotten you were playing a Japanese game.

Given the lack of genuinely hefty 3DS titles so far (Ocarina aside), we're chuffed to hear that completing the game should take around 40 hours, and there are four difficulty settings to add replay value, with - hurrah! - a skip button to whizz through dialogue and story sequences. It might have been gazumped by Resi and Metal Gear as 3DS's prettiest game, but this promises a winning blend of style and substance.

Risen 2 Pirate RPG is great fun - but will it shine on consoles?

There are plenty of people, though, who run screaming from all the Tolkienesque trappings so often found in RPGs, though. If, like them, you feel nothing but disdain for orcs, goblins and elves, Risen 2: Dark Waters might reaffirm your faith. It's a conventional RPG, but with a welcome pirate theme.

In terms of pedigree, it's not exactly Mass Effect: its developer, Piranha Bytes, is based in Germany, and it will be published by the small but perfectly formed Deep Silver. The same team brought us the original Risen in 2009, which didn't prove to be a wholly satisfactory exercise: Risen was generally acclaimed for its subject matter and RPG-rigour, at least on the PC, but it suffered badly from a hamfisted, ugly port to the Xbox 360. Luckily, we've now managed to play through a couple of bits of Risen 2, on the Xbox 360, so are well placed to assess it in anticipation of its late-April release.



Drunken pirate fun

Before we got our paws on Risen 2, Deep Silver brand manager Pete Brolly took us through some of its key aspects - handily, given that they wouldn't necessarily be obvious when jumping into two segments of the game. He explained that Risen 2 has a standalone story, which takes place a year or so after the first game.
Again, you take on the role of a nameless hero, this time tasked with infiltrating a group of pirates, who appear to constitute the only section of society equipped with a weapon sufficiently powerful to take on the Titans, which are threatening mankind. The action spans three tropical islands, although we only explored one, called Tacarigua. Some storyline continuity from the first game is provided by Patty, who spent the first game looking for her father, Captain Steelbeard - both feature this time around.

Brolly added that there are two factions in the game - Inquisition and Natives. Both pretty self-explanatory, and you can choose to align yourself with either. Since you can only learn new skills from non-player characters, those who want to achieve proficiency with muskets and the like would be well advised to join the Inquisition, whereas those interested in exercising Voodoo should check out the Natives.

That voodoo that you do

Brolly proceeded to demonstrate some of the fun that could be had with a bit of voodoo. You can, for example, take a hair from a character, use that to fashion a voodoo doll and then use that to take control of the character, in order to fulfil quests. Brolly also demonstrated how to use voodoo to get two nearby enemies - he used the example of gorillas - to fight each other rather than you.


He then showed a key element of the game: Dirty Tricks. This proved invaluable in combat: hitting the right bumper brings up a wheel with various abilities that can be easily triggered, such as an auto-aimed pistol-shot when you're in the middle of a swordfight.

Each Dirty Trick has a cool-down period before you can trigger another, and the wheel includes the ability to take a swig of rum, which restores your health. Another, amusing Dirty Trick is the ability to unleash a parrot which flies around targeted enemies and distracts them. You can also send out a monkey kept in your pocket, to scope out areas, access small spaces and stealthily steal items. If he is killed, though, you'll have to buy a new one.

Deep Silver has clearly improved the classic RPG side of the game in comparison with its predecessor: Brolly explained that Risen 2 contains far more equipment for players to collect, each item of which improves different attributes, and through the skills you learn from NPCs, you can specialise, for example in throwing or slashing weapons, or different types of muskets.

You can also pick crew members - who might specialise in melee attacks or healing - to accompany you on trickier missions. The swordfighting has also been rendered much more controllable, with stick movements determining the direction of your slashing, so it's much easier to take on multiple enemies in Risen 2 than in the first game.

The hands-on consisted of exploring two areas of Tacarigua, with the starting points defined by launching pre-saved games. The first put us in a village occupied by pirates, with our mission being to infiltrate our way onto Captain Steelbeard's crew by doing the sort of things that pirates do - that is, drinking, fighting and pillaging.

The first striking aspect of the game that emerged is that it is definitely shooting for an adult audience, presumably with an 18 or, at a pinch, 15 rating. That's because it contains some of the finest swearing we've come across in a game for years - as it should, given that it's attempting to replicate the experience of being a pirate. Before picking up a mission from Captain Steelbeard's deputy, Booze, we went for a wander around the inevitable tavern, where we had fun conversing with some gloriously flirty and bawdy barmaids. The barmaids can also teach you conversational persuasion skills.

Eventually, we were assigned to follow one of Steelbeard's crew, who wandered to a nearby bay for an illicit rendezvous with a Sunken One - a half-man, half-sea creature, seeking information about Steelbeard and his crew. After being spotted, a swordfight ensued, and having dispatched both parties, we returned to the village, to claim some respect from Steelbeard. But we still had to perform further tasks to prove our pirate credentials.

A spot of exploring led us to a hilariously deaf old codger who was also a musket expert. This gave us the chance to investigate the game's skills-learning mechanic. Once we had managed to communicate to the old git that we wanted him to teach us how to handle a musket, we were given the chance to impress him by playing a simple shooting-gallery mini-game, in which objects like coconuts and bottles were thrown from the left-hand side of the screen, and we had to hit them in mid-air. Once we'd done well enough in that, some gold changed hands (in Risen 2, you invariably have to pay to learn skills), and we could now shoot muskets. We also bought a musket from the old guy, and could even have purchased blueprints for building our own guns.

On returning to the village, we had to wrap up a couple more missions before gaining Steelbeard's acceptance, one of which involved swordfighting a notably pugnacious pirate (from whom extra swordfighting skills could be learned) and the other involving stealing some rum. Finally, Steelbeard was prepared to grant us the status of fully fledged pirate.

Fraternising with the natives

The second save game took us into the heart of Tacarigua's jungle, on the trail of a native village which had hooked up with another faction of pirates said to be in possession of the only weapon which could take on the Titans. The action started in the company of Patty and Captain Steelbeard; after dealing with monkeys and assorted jungle wildlife, we reached a river on the outskirts of the native village, at which point we were left on our own.

Again, as when we were trying to join Steelbeard's crew, the native village acted as a hub from which to undertake missions which result in gaining the natives' trust, as well as that of the one representative of the other pirate crew stationed in the village. Quests involved things like killing an alligator in order to help native women who were collecting plants and herbs, and panning for gold.

We also embarked on a bit of cave exploration, in search of jade - the usual array of giant spiders and the like had to be dispatched. Even the natives of the Shaganumbi tribe we encountered tended to indulge in pretty humorous dialogue, and once we had gained the trust of the Shaganumbi, we were able to learn voodoo. Although, at some point in the game, you will have to decide whether to align yourself with the natives (thereby acquiring voodoo skills) or the Inquisition (which brings vastly improved firearms skills).

We found Risen 2 deeply enjoyable: structurally, it's a conventional RPG, but it felt like a particularly well designed one. It's also pleasantly amusing, and the pirate subject matter is great - who didn't dream of being a pirate when they were a kid. There was one major question-mark, though: the code we played wasn't exactly the slickest, with notable jerkiness and juddering of animations and movement.

Deep Silver assured us that a newer build already exists which is much smoother, and that between now and late April, when the game is scheduled to arrive, Piranha Bytes will work exclusively on polish and slickness, having finished all other aspects of Risen 2. We sincerely hope that the final game, on the consoles (on the PC, jerkiness isn't an issue) overcomes that problem, as it's undoubtedly great fun to play and should generate a cult following among lovers of conventional yet quirky RPGs.