My most anticipated games for 2016

Written By: Jacob

I’ll be honest, 2015 was not the best of gaming years for me personally. Sure, we had some breakthroughs such as Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but we also had some pretty big games that did not live up to the hype (such as Batman deciding to go all out in a massive tank? How stealthy…) Nothing made me sit down for hours on end and enjoy in complete capacity what I was being offered, in fact, I found myself plugging in the Gamecube and playing games such as The Wind Waker and Mario Kart: Double Dash to pass the time. However, 2015 is now over and we now have a huge range of new games for players to overhype about and likely be disappointed by *cough*, I mean which will certainly live up to the anticipation and please all gamers 100%. So here is my personal list of games I am anticipating in 2016 which hopefully live up to all the fully rendered E3 videos that were likely nothing to do with the final product!

1: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Say what you want you Xbox Fanboys; Sony owned company Naughty Dog know how to make a damn good game, whether it be an narrative driven rollercoaster of emotions set in an apocalyptic world (The Last of Us, 2013) or a game series that is basically an interactive Indiana Jones movie.

The Uncharted franchise may not be the most “grounded” of games but its amazing sequences of gun battles, puzzle solving and set pieces (this time involving you grapple hook your way across a train to then leap to a motorcycle chase against enemy jeeps) keeps me coming back to see what will happen next. This game sees retired treasure hunter, Nathan Drake team up with his long-lost brother, Sam in a globetrotting adventure which will supposedly be the last in the series, so I hope they end it with a bang.

2: No Man’s Sky

If you pitched the idea of this game 10 years ago, gamers would have thought you were insane, and they would be right to do so. A game where you, the player can travel a world which is technically never-ending, where you can discover planets that only you may come across and in if you find something which has not been discovered yet, you can name if after yourself. The scope behind this game is remarkable and as of this moment, I believe this may be one of the most interesting games of 2016. How cool would it be to find something in this game that has never been seen by another player before? Or to go to a planet which is completely different from the last one you just visited. This is a game I hope lives up to its anticipation and does not end up as a game where a planet is considered “new” because it has a different shade of blue to the one you just visited. Either way I’m naming something “FelphamFM4Lyfe” when I discover a new plant or whatever.

3: Horizon: Zero Dawn

Question, what is cooler than you playing as an archer in a post-apocalyptic land which is infested with dinosaurs? The answer is if those dinosaurs were also robotic. Robot dinosaurs… I don’t really know what to say about this game, all we know is that Horizon: Zero Dawn is an action role-playing game that is created by Guerrilla Games (known for the game franchise Killzone) and has been described as having elements similar to Assassin’s Creed and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; two games that I have thoroughly enjoyed playing throughout the years. The premise of this game sounds really cool and I’m looking forward to seeing how a single survivor of the human race can defeat a mechanical Godzilla with what is basically a stick with string on it that shoots arrows. Also Robot Dinosaurs, can you get any cooler?

4: Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Mirrors Edge has a cult following, which includes me. The idea behind the original game was awesome! However, running from rooftop to rooftop whilst jumping, sliding and swinging from industrial objects to get from one location to another whilst using hand to hand combat to disarm artillery-carrying mercenaries (breathe) sounds great on paper, but that doesn’t mean it will transcribe perfectly into a videogame.

DICE for some reason thought that a game to do with “rooftop running” would benefit more with a linear gameplay style with the majority of the game being inside… yeah. The original Mirror’s Edge was far from perfect, but the parts of the game where you could choose you own path, use the environment around you and take leap of faiths of buildings were breath-taking. It seems that the company realised this whilst developing the prequel Mirrors Edge: Catalyst as trailers and gameplay for the game show more variety of environment and now allows the player to roam freely across the futuristic representation of Tokyo. Let’s pray this game doesn’t miss a step and stumble as much as the original did.

5: The Last Guardian

Now this is Anticipation at its highest. Eight years in development, silence on its progress for the last three and suddenly a reveal at E3 2015, well played Sony. For now, all we know is that you play as a young boy who is venturing through an empty mystical land with his companion a “eagle-lion-dog” (no I don’t know where they came up with that idea either) who helps you solve challenging puzzles along the way. Why does this game have me excited? Well because it is by the developers of Shadow of the Colossus which is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. The premise, graphics and the years of hard work put into the game are finally paying off. The game is still shrouded in mystery and yet my most anticipated game of 2016.

So those are my most anticipated game of 2016. Now I’m not saying these games are going to be good (I’ve learnt from my mistakes by being hyped up for Assassin’s Creed 3) but they’re what I am thoroughly looking forward to and what I hope will be games that I don’t play once and they leave to gather dust on my shelf. For now all I can do is wait and pray that 2016 will bring me some games that I cannot put down. 

Why Gaming Used To Be Better

Written By: Kieran

Now look I’m not a hipster or anything like that I just genuinely believe that gaming used to be so much better than it is now. Nowadays there is an 8 gig download for every game that you buy which takes an age to complete. I am sick of it! I long for the days when you could buy a game and play it straight away. Life was so much easier then. Cartridges worked and any cd based console didn’t make you download crap it just had loads of disks. And I miss that, all the disks I mean. It was more of an adventure when you had to take out a disk and put in a new one to play another part of a game you had. It was just more exciting. Speaking of downloads, there never used to be DLC you brought the full game. No locked content just the whole thing all at once and it was great wasn’t it? Apparently not because now if you buy a game half the content is locked on disk. And what if you get a broken disk now, what can you do? Nothing much. If the disk doesn’t work you have to buy a new one. Way back in the 90’s you just had to blow into a cartridge and it instantly worked again. You could fix them yourself, and it was great. You didn’t need fancy equipment to do it either. Another thing that used to be better in the olden days, video game box art. It was so much more epic in scale. It used to be that the cover of a game was supposed to get you intrigued and the amazing amount of detail was brilliant. Nowadays the covers are all minimalistic and rubbish. Give me back my cool covers. Another thing I miss is the humble manual. Remember those things? Yeah they told you how to play a game and all the codes for combos, or the locations of secret areas were inside. They had character information and they held so much extra cool stuff. The nearest thing we get to a manual now is the few bits of paper that are just chucked in the case. They hold no information at all, and are largely just to market more crap to you. There aren’t any secrets anymore, the moment anything cool is found people post it all over the internet. Gone are the days when reptile was a mere myth spoke about in whispers on the playground. And gaming is worse due to people’s inability to keep secrets. There aren’t any surprises anymore. And finally what ever happened to couch co-op people! Online gaming now has taken away the need for this feature, but me personally if I want to play a game I will play by myself. I don’t want people I don’t want there, constantly in my ear talking away. If I want to play multiplayer with someone then I will invite them round to my house. Then we at least have some form of social interaction. So yeah video game industry, please just give us a console that has all this stuff and games which are good. It’s the least we deserve. 

Agent 47 on film - what seems to be the problem?

Written By: Kieran

Let me begin by saying that I do not have a problem with the video game version of agent 47, in fact I love the Hitman games, and I don’t think that a film version of this character should be all too difficult to pull off. So why hasn’t Hollywood been able to do the big bald master assassin justice? I have absolutely no clue. When I look at the adaptations of the Hitman games to film, 2007’s Hitman and 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47, I don’t see something that is worthy to carry the same esteemed title as the games.

Now when I saw the first trailer for the more recent Hitman: Agent 47 I will say, a tiny bit of me was mildly optimistic. I knew of the poor reputation of video game movies, but I thought that there was a small chance that this film could be the one to finally buck that trend and actually be good. Oh how wrong I was. The film was boring and just kind of ridiculous to be honest. And that got me thinking. Thinking about how I would make a Hitman film and I have come up with some things that I would do were I to direct or create a new Hitman project. In the end I came up with so many that I have decided to make a whole article out of this and list them all here for everyone to see. So listen up 20th Century Fox because you can have all of this stuff for free. Here are six things that I think should be done to make a good hitman film.

Number 1: don’t make Agent 47 a superhero.

As I said earlier Agent 47 is the world’s finest hitman. And when he kills he does so with ruthless efficiency. It could be done from some roof top far away from his target with the longest and largest gun he can find, or whilst holding them by the scruff of the neck, looking them in the whites of their eyes as he shoots them with his trademark silenced pistol, it doesn’t matter to Agent 47 as long as it is done. He always hits his marks and he never leaves a target alive. But what filmmakers seem to have yet to realise is that he is still very much a man. A human being, who whilst he may have increased physical strength and a heightened mental awareness he is not a damn superhero, ok? He isn’t some action hero who dodges every bullet that comes his way through the power of lazy script writing. He doesn’t get shot and killed simply because he meticulously plans out every single scenario and problem in his head. He hasn’t got amazing powers, he is just prepared for anything you can throw his way. He should be fully in control of every situation he is in and everything that happens should be to plan and in whatever order that he so chooses.

Number 2: he doesn’t need to talk.

This is just obvious. I mean come on, we are talking about a character who was never really known for his great conversation. Agent 47 is more of the strong and silent type. So why, oh why does he need to make highly detailed conversations with people. If you have a character who just doesn’t talk for most of his games then why would you make him speak in the films? It just doesn’t make sense. For example if you were adapting a book for the silver screen and the main character didn’t talk for one reason or another would you make them talk? No of course not, it would spoil their character and make them pointless. And this is my exact point. Agent 47 doesn’t talk so don’t try to force him to.

Number 3: do not try and make us sympathise with Agent 47.

Ok, trust me on this one. I know it may seem a bit farfetched to base an entire film around one guy who the audience can’t sympathise with but hear me out. For those of you who have seen it, and if you haven’t please do so, cast your mind back to the film No Country For Old Men. Who was your favourite character in that film? Its Anton Chigurh right? Now what actually was he? What part did he play? He was essentially just a roaming killer who stopped at nothing to get his money back. He shouldn’t have been so likeable but he is all everyone else remembers from that film. So why not try this same thing with Agent 47? We know that he is a killer and that’s what he is good at. So maybe instead of trying in vain to make us sympathise with him why not try and humanise his targets instead. I’m not saying that Agent 47 should be slaughtering innocents but maybe trying to add a layer of sympathy to their character might help in making the scuffle between them and 47 a far tenser affair. Make the ‘villains’ more like normal people and we would see a more compelling story. An example of this in another film series which suffers from the same problem with their villains would be Le Chifre from Casino Royale. He feels very vulnerable and slightly out of control when things begin to turn south on him. And it’s these and many other traits which make him a good example of this strategy. When, spoiler alert, Le Chifre dies in Casino Royale I felt quite sad, he was just a guy who was trying to pay off the money which he owed some very dodgy people and he was genuinely scared in the end. And I think that this could be a good direction for the hitman villains to travel down.

Number 4: don’t make the entire thing an enclosed affair.

One of the things that sets the Hitman games apart from the likes of Metal Gear Solid and other games of its type are the large and deeply layered maps upon which the jobs are carried out. So when you make a film translation of this, don’t place every other scene in a tightly packed corridor. Make the set design very open, to allow for fluid movement. There should always be alternative escape routes to put into use if required and Agent 47 should know about them all. Also if the sets are very big it would give room for larger set pieces and for the scouting out scenes that 47 would have to do to gather Intel on the interior. However when I say large I don’t mean characterless. The locations still need to feel like the real thing which it’s difficult to grasp sometimes when the sets you are working with are so large. Save the tight corridors and small box rooms for things like metal gear and the raid and give us grand halls and mansions in which our scenes can take part.

Number 5: special effects?

No. no special effects. I want no CGI it should all be practical. Nothing that Agent 47 ever does should be too physically difficult it’s just all about training. All the stunts should be practical and there should be practical blood squibs, for those of you unfamiliar blood squibs are the small bursts of fake blood that come from people who are shot in films. Most films now a days use digital blood squibs and they just don’t look right. Nothing looks as good as the practical effects. It would also give this film another selling point as it would be one of the few films made today with genuinely impressive stunt and practical effects work. If a big set piece does happen it should be done with good choreography and solid stunt work which would give it more of the slick feel of the games themselves. In a film where we seem to be striving for realism why not use the most realistic effects?

And finally number 6: the tone and pace.

Now this really is an interesting bit. The tone of the film shouldn’t be jokey, it should by all means be an incredibly tense and serious business which would hook audiences through the doors and keep them there with buckets of suspense. The pace could be done in one of two ways: fast gun blasting action movie, or a slower more methodical and efficient film. Personally I would go with the latter as it allows for all of my aforementioned ideas to further develop and create what I think could be a good film that deserves the title of a hitman movie.

And there you have it, those are my six steps for creating what I believe would be a better quality of Hitman film than we have recently been given. Please feel free to take these tips and incorporate them into any future Hitman films that are to be made. Just please, please, please make it good.

My Top 5 Video Games

Written By: Jacob

Gaming has always been a large part of my life ever since I got my PlayStation when I was a child. It gives us an experience we cannot receive anywhere else and is constantly evolving graphically, narratively and socially. Even though I have taken a short hiatus from gaming to focus on exams and A-Levels, that does not mean I will never stop playing them. These are the top 5 games I think I have enjoyed the most in playing throughout the years (so far) and defiantly recommend you pick up and play!

5: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

(For the PlayStation 3)


Uncharted was one of the first series I played when I purchased my PlayStation 3 and is one of the only series I would happily play forever. But Uncharted 2 is definitely the high-point of the series so far. With incredible graphical improvements from the first game, a story in which our protagonist, Drake travels from urban cities to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas and amazing action-packed set pieces such as a tank blowing up half a train! (Takes a minute to breathe) Uncharted 2 is basically the Raiders of the Lost Ark in the gaming world.

4: Skyrim

(For Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3 | PC)

Even though it sits at number 4 on my lists, Skyrim is one of the biggest, imaginative and detailed worlds I have ever seen when gaming. When you hear about people racking up around 75 hours and not even starting the main adventure yet, you know you’re in for a treat. The amount of activities this game offers to you is incredible. You could explore the hundreds of dungeons across the world that pits you against the deadliest of foes all so you can gain that new sword or Dragon Shout you wanted. You could become a member of the Thieves Guild and pickpocket your way to glory, or join the Dark Brotherhood and assassinate all those who do wrong in your way. You may want to slay a dragon just for the thrill of it and then relax in the nearest brothel until dawn or even just walk the many mountains and forests the game has just for the sake of the adventure. Skyrim is one of those rare sandbox games where the sky is your only limit.

3: Bioshock Infinite

(For Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3 | PC)

Bioshock was one of the best games to come out in 2007 and Bioshock 2 didn’t really change much but was still a decent game. However, three years later in 2013, Bioshock Infinite was finally released and in my opinion is the best narrative-driven story ever to be released. Even though I love the Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us series, nothing compares to the twists, turns and jaw-dropping ending that is this game. With incredible performances from Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper and the beautiful graphics that bring Sanctuary to life, Bioshock Infinite feels more like a movie experience than a video-game. The game does suffer from some slight repetitive gameplay issues, but they are unnoticeable when you look at the overall brilliance of this cleverly crafted story.

2: Grand Theft Auto: IV

(For Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3 | PC)

GTA is one of those franchises that they say “keeps getting better as it goes on” but I would have to disagree. Even though Grand Theft Auto: V brought a bigger map, more online features and three playable characters to its roster; it compares nothing to the grit of Liberty City and Niko Belic; one of the best characters in video game history. What makes GTA IV stand out is its pacing. You don’t start gunning straight away you have to earn it, no cash cheats, no easy-winnings, you earn everything in this game and just before you know it, you’re robbing the biggest bank it the city. With a colourful cast of characters and a story that takes a minimum of 10 hours to complete, GTA IV is a sandbox that I could talk about for hours upon hours.

Before I reveal my favourite game ever (so far), here are some honourable mentions that just missed the top 5…

  • Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Sonic Heroes
  • The Batman Arkham Series
  • Portal 2
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (Zombies Mode)
  • The Walking Dead: Telltale
  • The Wolf Among Us: Telltale
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Spider-Man (For the PlayStation One)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

1: Half-Life 2

(For PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360 | PC)

Never have I played a game so many times and still wanted to keep playing when that end-credits scene came up. Yes, I’m counting Half-Life 2: Episode One and Two as part of the game as well. Valve has always been known for incredible pacing in games and also just by making incredible games in general. With masterpieces such as Half-Life, Portal, Left for Dead, Team Fortress and Counter-Strike under its belt, none of them compare to Half Life Two. In a bleak, dystopian future, you play as silent protagonist Gordon Freeman who travels through cities, forests caves and more to defeat the Combine. With incredible graphics which still stand even today, an incredible cast of characters, numerous weapons and vehicles to choose from and a tone that feels freakishly reel; Half- Life 2 is still the best game I have ever played.

So there you have it, those are my top 5 favourite games I have played (so far). Just remember this is my opinion and yours could be completely different. Hopefully, you may pick up one of these great games and play them for yourself, it’s always good to break of from working and relax a little by doing something you enjoy. On that note, I think I’ll slay some dragons.