Entertainment |

Call of Duty: Warzone Season 3 Reloaded review: new updates mean new strategies

By Joshua Appadoo May 28, 2021

Call of Duty: Warzone has had quite a few updates recently, so I decided to jump back into the world of battle royale games and see what’s new!

If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest and greatest in gaming news, Warzone Season 3 changed up the map and the way we play with the introduction of Verdansk ‘84. Whisking the entire area back in time and giving us a killer 80’s aesthetic, there are new changes to how you play, where you play, what you play with, and who you play as!

As for the ‘how’ and ‘where’ you play the game, the recent Season 3 Reloaded changed my strategy for making a plan of attack or route through the map. One of the first things you’ll probably notice – is one of the newest additions to the Verdansk skyline, *the* Nakatomi Plaza.

Part of the big overhaul of Season 3 Reloaded is the 80’s Action Hero event, which adds the iconic setting of the first Die Hard film as a location you can pass through on your adventures.

But not only can you use it as a place to set up camp (if you play like me, that is), but five levels of the interior will be familiar to fans, so get ready to re-enact your favourite scenes from the movies!

In addition to this behemoth of a building, throughout Verdansk you’ll notice a bunch of new survivalist-style camps that come as part of the Rambo side of the Season 3 Reloaded update.

Chock full of new and valuable loot that’ll help you along your way, they’re also filled with new dog tags which will eventually be worth a reward, so it’s definitely worth your time to find them while you can. The last action hero-themed location that I came across (as it’s very easy to miss) is the CIA outpost, which can be found in one of the air hangars – itself themed after Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Now for the even more exciting ‘what’ and ‘who’! For ‘what’, we have a brand-new Combat Bow – added as a new kill streak reward – that you can find during your travels and exploration of the new survival camps throughout Verdansk.

Each of these survival camps will have chests and/or supply crates with a pretty high drop rate of this bow, but you might need to try your luck at a few camps before you find it. Thankfully, this bow only requires a three-kill kill streak. So it should be worth the effort – it comes equipped with explosive arrows dealing ridiculous damage to your enemies.

The ‘who’ of this update might be pretty obvious if you’ve either been following the news – or at least following this article! Costing 2400CP (CoD Points) each, both John McClane, the Christmas-Holiday-hostage-rescuing legend from Die Hard, and the behemoth of a man and action star, John Rambo, are available as new operators – letting you unleash the inner action star you’ve always wanted to!

However you play, make sure to get into Warzone while these heroes are available to play – who knows when they’ll come back, so get involved while you can!

Entertainment |

Our favourite Bethesda games have just landed on Xbox Game Pass

By Joshua Appadoo April 7, 2021

Something momentous in the history of gaming has occurred! Xbox has welcomed Bethesda, maker of some of the best games of recent memory, into its crew of studios, developers and gamers. What does this mean for us Game Pass fans though?

Well, it’s pretty simple – it means that the Xbox Game Pass library of games you can download and play to your heart’s content has expanded yet again, giving us even more new adventures to embark on!

I’m a huge Bethesda fanboy – they’re right up the top of my list of favourite game developers, and some of their titles are in my top ten games of all time, so you can guess I’m pretty stoked.

If we’re talking about gaming as a whole, the original DOOM can’t go bywithout mention. Dating all the way back to 1993, DOOM cemented the fundamentals of how we play FPS games today. Even thinking back now, I can remember playing the original DOOM on my family’s first PC – it was running Windows 95, with a big chunky CRT monitor – it was an incredible experience!

In case you missed it, Bethesda expanded on the DOOM franchise with the latest instalment, DOOM Eternal, delivering an insane soundtrack, fast paced gameplay and so many guns. Seriously, I recommend you go download and play all of the DOOM games today! Now, if only there was a convenient way to play them all on one console…

Bethesda has always had a strong line-up of games since it began developing them way back in 1988, from all The Elder Scrolls games to Brink (it’s an underrated gem of a game, by the way), so for me they’ve have always stood out as publishing some of the most amazing games. But in 2008 they took the world by storm yet again, with a re-invention of a classic title! Fallout was already a seminal post-apocalyptic role-playing game, but Bethesda’s Fallout 3, New Vegas and Fallout 4 brought that gritty world to a new era of gaming.

Back in my day, if you wanted to play a Fallout game with your friends, you had to have two consoles in the same room – but not anymore. Fallout 76 spins the MMO genre on its head, allowing you to build, explore, survive and make new friends in the post-nuclear wastelands of Appalachia. Just try not to make too many enemies.

Speaking of resurrecting old titles, they’ve done it again with Wolfenstein: The New Order. You may remember this game from way back when having a similar visual style to the original DOOM and also including a mecha-Hitler battle – that’s not included in the remake.

Today, it’s a beautifully written and tastefully violent adventure through an alternate history post-World War II. Trading up to some mecha war dogs and revolving around a plot of colonising the Moon with a secret military base, Wolfenstein: The New Order is an adventure in a league of its own, and boy is it a fun one!

Whichever Bethesda title you choose to start with, you’re guaranteed hours upon hours of lore, character development and enjoyment! My honourable mentions for Bethesda favourites of course go to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Prey and The Evil Within. From FPS games to sprawling RPG mammoths, they’ve got you covered.

Entertainment |

Revisit the Japanese underworld with Yakuza Remastered Collection

By Joshua Appadoo February 24, 2021

A high quality remaster of Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5, restored in glorious HD, has landed on Xbox Game Pass. These flashy, brutal brawling games also dive deep into individual gangsters’ stories within the heart of the murky Japanese underworld.

The Yakuza series has been a timeless gaming series, spanning many main line games and tonnes of spinoff titles, which for a long time were unavailable to Xbox players. But now, thanks to the miracles of remastering, it’s now available on Xbox Game Pass – allowing an entirely new generation of players to experience the emotional and incredible world of Yakuza!

I really cannot get over how satisfying the combat is! It’s easy to pick up and hard to master; from not only getting to know and then fluidly utilising the combos and weapons strewn around the environment, to unlocking all the different fighting styles that each had new and different combos of their own, you’ll have a fun challenge ahead.

The styles do change a little bit from game to game, but you can expect to see some similarities so you won’t have to re-learn the combat system entirely as you progress through the series. The ‘Brawler’ style is a very rough array of attacks balancing out speed and power, ‘Rush’ style really hones in on the speed of your strikes, and the ‘Beast’ style is a powerful combat style to really pummel your enemies and really deal as much damage as possible! Personally, I default to the Rush style to really feel like Jason Bourne.

I very rarely see such well-written characters with such interesting backstories in games. It really shocks me that any of the Yakuza titles haven’t won a Game of the Year award yet – but I still have hope for future titles! The dialogue, while obviously silly at times to provide some contrast to the very serious life inside the yakuza, deals with betrayal around every corner, sees every member fighting for a leg up, and you fighting to protect your loved ones. The entire series of Yakuza weaves a tale of Kazuma’s struggle with his family as well as within gang politics; I promise you it’s much more riveting when you play!

This is one of those narrative driven games that I just can’t hype up enough. Grand Theft Auto might be the old school king of open-world crime games, but any of the Yakuza titles beat it in story any day of the week! The sixth entry in the franchise, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, comes to Xbox Game Pass in March, so get playing now to prepare yourself for it. If you play from now well into March and don’t sleep there’s just enough time (…I’m kidding, you need roughly 210 hours!) to catch up. Grab the popcorn and witness a game narrative unlike any other with the remastered Yakuza series, remastered for this latest generation of gaming.

Entertainment |

Immortals Fenyx Rising review: how to become a gaming god

By Joshua Appadoo December 3, 2020

It’s time to experience Greek mythology how it was supposed to be experienced! Many games in recent history have tried to bring the player back in time to travel the pathways of Olympus and battle with the gods – but few have done quite as well as Immortals Fenyx Rising.

During my time with Immortals Fenyx Rising, I found one thing that wasn’t there during gameplay – frustration! Regardless of if I was stuck on a puzzle for too long, couldn’t quite defeat a boss, or if I just had no idea what I was doing, ‘burnout’ didn’t set in. There’s a good reason for this: the fact that I could view the gorgeous emerald fields and gargantuan stone statues in the distance made it all worthwhile as I traversed the Golden Isle. It’s really hard to get angry while you’re looking at vistas as good as these!

One of the biggest highlights of the gameplay of Immortals for me was listening to Zeus and Prometheus converse in your ear as you go about your quests and tasks. Zeus is voiced by Daniel Matmor, who has lent his talents to the gaming industry in titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Far Cry 2, and Prometheus is voiced by Elias Toufexis in games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

It’s convincing, too; you can see straight away neither of these actors are unfamiliar with Greece’s history and mythos. Apart from their larger pieces of dialogue throughout the story – which are done beautifully – they just tickle your eardrum with little tidbits of arguments and petty squabbles between the two. It’s charming, really, and sometimes funny enough to make even Medusa crack!

I hope you love exploring, because Fenyx Rising has collectibles and secrets to spare! Once I was able to climb atop some of the towering statues and get my bearings, I could see just how much land there was to cover. From experiencing the ruins of Greek monuments, delving through vaults for upgrades to your abilities, or uncovering above ground puzzles to unlock better equipment to grow stronger, I was hard pressed to complete everything – there’s a phenomenal amount of activities on offer.

Do not let Immortals Fenyx Rising’s cartoonish nature make you think this is a game only for children, though. There really is something for everyone here and it is absolutely a title you shouldn’t let pass by! In a world of games where everything seems dark and dismal, Fenyx Rising manages to illuminate its experience with simple yet engaging gameplay and a worthwhile narrative.

Check out the Immortals Fenyx Rising website for more info on the game and how to get your hands on it. I played Immortals on my Xbox Series X.

Entertainment |

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War review: a chilly breath of fresh air

By Joshua Appadoo November 16, 2020

Few things are certain in life: death, taxes and a new Call of Duty game every year. 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot put the game back in a positive light within the gaming community; can Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War continue the positivity?

If you were to ask any avid Call of Duty player which game in the long-running series is their favourite, the first Black Ops game is almost certainly in their top three (and Ghosts is bound to be at the bottom). The original Black Ops really made the series what it is today, improving upon so many features and feeling like a finished, polished product worth sharing with the world. I know that for me, Black Ops came at a time right smack-bang in the middle of high school – and obviously became the perfect after-school entertainment to enjoy with mates online.

Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War is the sixth instalment in the Black Ops series, and the seventeenth CoD game since 2003. Set in the ‘80s and positioned as the direct sequel to the original Black Ops game, Cold War really brings back so much nostalgia, and yet again improves upon already perfected and seamless gameplay. Whether you’re excited to see where the Black Ops narrative will take us next, or whether you really want to keep prestiging and max out the level of every weapon, Cold War is sure to keep you interested.

It also wouldn’t be a Black Ops game without zombies! The cult classic mode returns with Cold War, which means I am going to be getting a lot less work done… Except if that work is fighting zombies. Online or local splitscreen is available for all of us to get back into horde-slaying action and really push to see what round we can get to. (Seriously though, some of the round records I’ve seen for the original Black Ops are ridiculous.)

Building upon what 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot put into motion, Warzone continues its way through Black Ops: Cold War. With the new ‘Military Rank’ replacing the original ‘Enlisted Rank’ (1-55) XP will not only be shared between Black Ops: Cold War and Modern Warfare, but the new zombies mode will also contribute to your overall rank! Whichever game is your flavour you can be assured you’ll be making progress.

In my opinion Cold War is the breath of fresh air the Call of Duty franchise needs to keep on bringing year after year. It’s what 2010-era, high-school-student me always wanted, with a modern twist. With all the new maps and weapons coming to Warzone thanks to Cold War later on this year, it too is sure to keep you happy, immersed and satisfied all throughout summer.