Party Golf Explained

Like most people, I have never been interested in golf. Not watching, not holding the club, not even playing it in video game form. Honestly, the only time golf ever appealed to me is mini-golf, however, I think Giant Margarita have managed to capture that same appeal.

Usually, golf is tedious, repetitive and to top it off, long-winded. You have to wait, you have to strategize, and if you’re not “good”, then you’re doomed. Luckily, Party Golf has really gone down to the pure fundamentals of what golf really is. What is it? You may ask, to which the answer is quite literally hitting something with a stick towards a hole.

That’s right, not even a ball. Do you want to hit some fruit? An ice cream? Maybe even just a random shape? Then go ahead because what Party Golf brings to the table is utter customisation. Even bragging that there are “Trillions. Trillions. Trillions” of combinations to mess around with in the options.

The premise is simple: two to four players are set on a procedurally generated course. They can choose the lighting, the balls, the gravity, the sizes, seemingly anything about the course. All players then hit their balls at the same time, so there’s literally no waiting, and the winner is usually the first to get their ball in the hole (Though this depends on the host’s choice of level customisation.)

Party Golf, created by Giant Margarita has around 25 days of backing to go. So far they’ve achieved $4,000/$14,000 (AUD.) which is a very respectable feat thus far.

Returning To Uncharted Land: Drake’s Fortune

Welcome to what will most likely be a three part series of articles – This one of course focusing on the first game in the Uncharted franchise, Drake’s Fortune (One), followed by Among Thieves (Two) and ending with Drake’s Deception (Three.) This means I have a very generous month to run through the Nathan Drake Collection before Fallout 4 comes out. If I still have time to spare, then I’ll reward myself with my eighth playthrough of The Last Of Us. Now, on the PlayStation 3 I finished Among Thieves and got about an hour into Drake’s Deception, the great part is, I remember almost nothing of either. I’m not trying to say they’re forgettable, Uncharted 2 is fantastic, it’s just been a very long time. I’m actually really glad though, as now I can experience the entire series from arguably a new-player’s perspective. People dream of video game lobotomies and I’m glad mine occurred for a run through of every Uncharted game..

I’m going to leave a small side-note before starting this article. Naughty Dog is great at creating sheer beauty; their titles are so damn picturesque, similar to that of any other game on cinematic steroids. It’s because of this I’ve decided to take as many screenshots as possible on my journey through the Nathan Drake Collection. I’ll litter them throughout this post and give a link to the album here. Although, it is my first time using any kind of photo mode, so bear with me on the angles and overall quality.

Having never played Drake’s Fortune, it really is refreshing to see the origin of Nathan Drake’s smarm. He’s a sarcastic, yet charming man-child who makes remarks at everything he possibly can, a bit like if Lara Croft wasn’t so dull. Unfortunately, my only comparison graphically, would be Uncharted 2 on PS3, or maybe The Last Of Us. Out of fairness, though, we’ll stick with franchise, not developer. I don’t want to say “The game holds up surprisingly well” because that implies I’m putting it beneath the rest. But you have to understand, the other two games are going to look better, that’s a fact. That’s okay, though, we don’t have to panic, the game still looks incredible. I mean, have you seen the water? From rapids to puddles to waterfalls, the water look amazing. I don’t know if those are my low expectations talking (I’m sorry, Drake’s Fortune), but I’m very impressed by the graphics.

I don’t know what exactly it is they remastered. Obviously the graphics have been up-scaled to some caliber, I just don’t know the specifics. It’s certainly possible that some of the mechanics have been tweaked, although I’m fairly certain swimming and fast-covering didn’t make that list. You really can’t fault Naughty Dog, they’ve remastered an eight year old game which honestly looks great. However,  Drake’s Fortune understandably isn’t going to be where we get the meat of our graphical meal. This is why, in terms of visuals at least, I’m looking forward to playing through two and three.

One thing I’m remembering about Uncharted is the body count. I’ve now finished Drake’s Deception and wow – The amount of people Nathan Drake has killed is unbelievable. Sure, these guys struck first, but pacifism is just not in this man’s vocabulary. Forget Sir Francis Drake, I’m pretty sure Nate is a descendant of Adolf Hitler. The guy gives no shits; his goal is of course finding the statue, yet he clearly gets some kind of thrill out of being borderline genocidal. At one point he actually tries to use the line “I couldn’t live with your death on my conscience” and the audience just sits there, baffled at the acknowledgement of a conscience. I would love to know any other video game character you think could even compare with the amount of people Nathan Drake has killed, it’s ridiculous.

On a lighter note regarding our main protagonist, this is Nolan North at his absolute finest. You can literally hear where he’s taken parts of Nathan Drake and put them into other games, like Deadpool for example. One quote that made me laugh was something along the lines of “La da da, they took my map, shot my plane down and left me in the middle of nowhere, great start, Nate, good job.” The humour to me comes from the fact he is his own audience. No one really finds him funny, or even laughs for that matter. He may get a chuckle from Sully, but he’s usually just talking smack at gun point. His comedy is based upon making himself laugh, or even making good of a bad situation. Instead of being pissed about everything, he’s funny, he’s a smart-ass and that goes so well with the theme of these games.

After completing the first of three games, my biggest gripe is with the covering system. I can get past messed up swimming animations, or some of the weird facial expressions Nate makes. What I can’t get past is that, at times, he just will not go into cover. Maybe that’s too harsh, he will go into cover, but on the completely opposite side I hoped for. “Oh, you wanted me to crouch behind this box, safe from the enemy? Fuck that, I think I’d rather lean up against this wall and await the firing squad.” Another recurring factor is the game’s assumptions. Assuming you want to be facing one way, so your body will lean into cover, leaving the other half of your body completely exposed. Then, if you want to rectify this, you’ll have to leave cover and re-position. At a bad time, this can end in you taking a few bullets, which can cause crucial damage on some of the higher difficulties.

In fairness, I am on hard-mode, so I don’t know if this second remark is biased – I’ve found on a few occasions, some enemies have the amazing ability to shoot through objects. This could be a wall, a box, or just a column. The most common occurrence of this is as they’re running; the bullets won’t stop when an object is in their line of fire. Which is another annoying little bug than can have major repercussions.

Although not strictly action-based, one more area Naughty Dog do excel at is audio, or soundtracks. Soundtracks which play into the game’s atmosphere, pacing and environment so well. When exploring a cave or abandoned laboratory, it can be eerie. At other times it will mimic that of the animals residing in the jungle. It’ll get gradually louder when enemies are nearby by, quickly launching into a fully-orchestrated battle score for you to zone into and murder everyone. What I like is that it’s not just one transparent score to accompany the game, there are layers to it. These layers contribute to the game’s overall feel and more importantly, immersion.

I’ll wrap the first part up with talk on the trophies in the Nathan Drake Collection. Unfortunately they’re still at the Uncharted level of horrendous we know and love. They’re not difficult, just extremely boring. Kill “X” amount of people with this, kill people in “X” manner, finish the game on “X” difficulty. As I’m trying to collect as many as possible in one playthrough, I did notice something: at around chapter 19, the game just starts throwing trophies at you. The 50 kills are being reached, treasures are being found and you encounter an abundance of enemies to experiment with, so keep an eye out for that. There are some interesting trophies, too, such as the complete chapter “X” in “X” amount of time. Which sounds quite generic, but due to the openness of the levels can actually be quite a challenge. I’ve finished my overall mop-up of trophies in Drake’s Fortune and will now continue on to Among Thieves. However, one day I’ll come back to do three things: collect all the treasures. Finish the game on crushing-mode. And of course, massacre yet another generation of pirate henchmen.

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The Bible Videogame, Five Month Update

It took five months, but the Tornado Twins have kindly blessed us with a new update for the Bible Videogame. Get it, blessed? Over the summer the development team endured a lot of problems – Unfortunately a lot of these were personal issues, ultimately slowing down the creation of the Bible Videogame. However, instead of leaving us clueless, the Tornado Twins and co. havw created a reel to show us what they’ve been up to.

In fairness, it’s actually a very respectable amount of work, varying between aspects such as physics, artificial intelligence and environments. You’re able to view the video update above, but I’ll also give a few basic examples. Players can now reach checkpoints, climb, wall jump and interact with boxes, ziplines and ropes. They’re also able to take damage from a plethora of hazards such as water, spikes, heights, boulders, fire and weight.

On top of this, there are a few more interesting aspects of development that caught my eye. My favourite is the transitions of depth between levels. This will absolutely come in handy when creating devious puzzles and challenges for players to wrap their heads around; similar to Fez. Another more immersing addition would be the implementation of background environments full of characters that interact with one another. Or, animal AI such as sheep, who now act like sheep.

A release date is still unknown by the development team thus far, and they’d prefer not to guess. They have a long way to go, but the creators of the Bible Videogame have made it clear that they want to spend their time progressing as opposed to speculating.

Surface Explanation

With over a month to go, Surface has jumped onto Kickstarter and nearly doubled its mandatory stretch goal of $35,000. 3TC Studios clearly have some pretty enthusiastic fans, and rightfully so as their latest project Surface seems extremely unique. This intrigue doesn’t just spawn from one aspect, though, but from several – For example, the art-style, game mechanics, play-style and most fittingly, the environment of Surface City itself.

Simply put, you play as Ben Sharp, an undercover agent of SURFACE attempting to avenge the death of his fallen partner. The company SURFACE, which is strangely abbreviated from Source Flash Bainite Corporate is a corporation located in the centre of the city. However, due to its growth, it’s now become a massive part of the city’s infrastructure; absorbing not only workers, but the corruption and sleaze that lies within the city itself.

Surface is a 2D side-scroller at heart; you’ll wander through city streets, woodlands, slums and the insides of bars, all in the quest for knowledge. However, unfortunately for Ben, the killer won’t stop with the death of his partner. As you progress through the game, the killer, and what other enemies you make on the way will be out to get you. Therefore it’s up to you to prepare yourself for not only your partner’s murder mystery, but also the hostility of the city’s suspicious and dangerous characters.

Quick-time events, exploration, player choice, clue finding, interrogations and an engaging, deep narrative are just a few things that await you in Surface City. Estimated for a December 2015 release, Surface has only just gone live on KickStarter with about 30 days left for backing. I have to say, it really has peaked my interest and hopefully it’ll intrigue you to, particularly as there was a short trailer released with the announcement that can be found above.

Read Only Memories Reveals Dave Fennoy

What do Read Only Memories, Batman Arkham Knight, The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us all have in common? Dave Fennoy would be the correct answer. GaymerX revealed in their most recent “Cyberpunks” trailer that the esteemed voice actor would be present in their upcoming crowdfunded game, Read Only Memories.

It’s unsure just yet how big of a role he’ll be playing in Read Only Memories, but it was stated that he’d be narrating several in-game sequences. Like any good developer, instead of just announcing the voice actor, they went above and beyond; giving us a little taster of how Dave would sound and the release date of Read Only Memories.

As you can hear in the trailer below, his dialogue reads “This story is dedicated to all those cyberpunks, who fight for a better future, every day of their lives – Read Only Memories, coming October 6th 2015.” This is obviously very big news for the cyberpunk adventure, releasing in around three weeks for PC, Mac and Linux.