6 Game Characters that had Unexpected Reactions

Game

Sometimes, you just can’t predict how people are going to react to something.  Game developers create a character with the expectation that players will have one reaction only for them to go the opposite route.  For example, look at Teemo from League of Legends (pictured above).  He was obviously designed to serve as an adorable mascot character for the game.  While he’s had his share of success with that, many know him better as the single most frustrating assassin character in the game and has garnered the apt nickname of “The Devil Himself”.  This list will be looking at six characters that had similar reactions that must have caught their designers by surprise and looking into why they received the responses they did.

great fairy

6) The Great Fairy (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

With her long hair, heavy makeup, and distinctly un-Nintendo attire, there is only one thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Great Fairy: NIGHTMARE FUEL!  Early 3D games were a time where the uncanny valley ran rampant and character models would often just look off.  I’m guessing the reason that survival horror games had such a renaissance during this period is because it was the best time to make something look disturbing.  Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask generally used this to their advantage with truly horrifying models and animations for their enemies.  However, when the team tried to design a character with the opposite intent, the result was the most unsettling monstrosity in the entirety of either games.  Not helping matters is the fact that she lets out a blood-chilling banshee wail every time she appears.  Hyrule Warriors recently tried to update her appearance (pictured above), but the damage has already been done for many and she shall always remain a living nightmare.

silver_the_hedgehog

5) Silver the Hedgehog (Sonic ’06)

I honestly feel bad for Silver.  In any other circumstances, his telekinetic powers could have been revolutionary and he might have warranted his own spin-off series.  Instead, he made his debut in one of the most infamous games in the Sonic franchise and became the poster-boy for most of the game’s problems.  His post-apocalyptic time-travel backstory remains one of the greatest examples of a narrative trying far too hard and yet not nearly hard enough.  What truly sealed his fate as one of the most hated characters in the series was how much Sonic ’06 failed to deliver on the concept of his telekinetic powers.  This resulted in some of the worst controls in a game already built off of terrible controls.  Well, the telekinetic powers do get a chance to shine, but it’s at the worst possible time with the incredibly cheap boss fights you have against Silver.  Sega has kept him around and has tried to make him a mainstay of the cast, but the damage has already been done and IT’S NO USE!

VillagerSSB

4) Villager (Super Smash Bros for Wii U)

The Villager from Animal Crossing was originally considered to be playable in Super Smash Bros Brawl, but he was dropped early on because the idea of seeing such a cheerful and carefree character getting involved in a fight just seemed too ridiculous.  Cue his inclusion in the latest installments on Wii U and 3DS and everyone immediately labels him as a crazed axe-murderer.  People took one look into his lifeless, doll-like eyes and saw nothing but the soul of a bloodthirsty monster.  Maybe he just wasn’t included in Brawl because the developers feared the unholy terror that they were bound to unleash.

aliensoneal

3) O’Neal (Aliens: Colonial Marines)

Everyone hates escort missions.  We can accept when we fail due to our own mistakes, but failing a level simply because the friendly AI that you’re stuck baby-sitting did something stupid is the worst punch in the gut that a game can give you.  Everything from Daikatana to Epic Mickey 2 has been largely undone by the inclusion of these digital parasites that call themselves your friends.  I could have filled this list with frustrating computer companions that only prove to be a greater threat than any actual enemy, but I’ve decided to focus specifically on O’Neal from Aliens: Colonial Marines.

O’Neal is your typical giant teddy bear-type of character; he’s big and gruff, but has a heart of gold underneath.  He’s supposed to be the best friend you could ask for when facing done ravenous xenomorphs.  There’s just one problem: he’s in Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game so historically awful that Sega and Gearbox were actually taken to court for daring to release it on the unsuspecting masses.  O’Neal follows suit with being horrible at everything he does.  Worse aim than a Star Wars stormtrooper?  Check.  Standing in narrow hallways for no reason other than to block your path from critical objectives?  Check.  The worst part is that you can’t even turn him off by having a second player like in most other games that stick you with an AI partner.  Even in co-op, O’Neal will still insist on being the third-wheel and getting in the way of both players.  Don’t you ever wish you could turn on friendly fire and knock the stupid out of these guys?  Well…

dinobaby

2) Dino Baby (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)

While escort missions are notoriously hard to get right, good ones aren’t entirely unheard of.  For example, look at the section of Conker’s Bad Fur Day that has you escorting an adorable newborn dinosaur.  Not only is he invulnerable to damage, but he’s actually more capable in a fight than the character you’re playing as.  While Conker’s frying pan has a long wind-up and only stuns enemies, the dino baby can easily gobble up anything that comes near it.  Yeah, he gets stuck on corners every now and then and generally slows you down, but that’s a small price to pay for essentially playing on godmode.  If anything, he’s escorting you.  Actually, can we just ditch the drunken squirrel and play as this champion instead?

Alas, it seems Rareware underestimated their own abilities and expected people to react to the dino baby the same way they do to most escort characters.  At the end of the level, you are forced to lead your superior onto a sacrificial alter and watch him meet a gruesome end in order for you to progress.  It’s the one point where the game’s dark sense of humor actually goes too far.  Whenever I think of the cruel choice that this game forced me to make, I feel a little less bad about the fact that Rareware is now doomed to make Kinect minigames for the rest of eternity and license out their IPs to more capable developers (like the people who made the Battleship shooter).

foxy

1) Foxy (Five Nights at Freddy’s)

You can never truly anticipate how people will respond to fear.  Some flee while others fight, and others still merely embrace their fate.  And then you have the truly bizarre reactions that can best be described as an extreme form of denial.  Nothing may be a better showcase for this than the Five Nights at Freddy’s series.  Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s is your biggest threat in the game as he’s the only  one that doesn’t rely on catching you off-guard in order to get you.  He can charge directly into your office and attack faster than you can react.  The only way to keep him at bay is to constantly check your cameras and make sure he stays behind his curtain, which makes you vulnerable to all of the other haunted animatronics.  If it wasn’t for this one threat, each night wouldn’t nearly be as difficult as they are.

Strangely enough, Foxy has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, characters in the series.  Several fans of the series, rather than recognize Foxy as the menace that he truly is, have crafted theories that Foxy is actually a good guy whose just checking in on you if you don’t check in on him for too long and that you just die from shock rather than him attacking you.  There is also a plethora of fan art out there that I dare not link you to nor attempt to describe.  To each their own, but you’d think people wouldn’t be drawn toward a screeching serial killer en masse.

What other characters had public responses that surprised you?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  Depending on the response we get, your suggestions may be featured on a follow-up article in the future.  Until then, keep your eyes peeled for that Villager.  I don’t trust that guy.

VGamerZ’s GameZ of 2015: #6- Bloodborne

Bloodborne

Since their introduction, the Souls games have been taking no prisoners. In this modern gaming age of hand-holdy tutorials and easy modes, Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls are tough stuff. Sure, there are bloodborne players with usernames like 2leet4U_NoScopeZKillah who can breeze their way through (or will tell you they can/did, at any rate), but otherwise…

Really, we’re talking about Monster Hunter levels of newbie-unfriendliness. On their first foray into the games, players can easily be overwhelmed by the mechanics, the difficulty, adapting to a different ‘type’ of combat, all of these factors. So let’s see if the world’s ready for Bloodborne.

For the uninitiated, this is an action RPG from the guys behind Souls, a game both very similar and very different to its predecessors. It is set in the Gothic city of Yharnam, which is in the grip of terrible plague. The sickness has transformed the residents into bestial mutants. Who’s charged with cleaning up the horrors that inhabit the town? Spoiler: you are.

While general movement about the world, items, abilities and such will be instantly familiar to fans of From Software’s previous work, there’s more to this. The games had a rather dark tone already, but Bloodborne is… darker than dark. It’s super dark. What we’re dealing with here is Demon’s Souls as created by Edgar Allan Poe. And Tim Burton.

Bloodborne 2

As has always been the case here, the plot takes rather a backseat. You are cast as a traveller, venturing into the doomed town to try and procure a rumoured mystical remedy there. Instead, you find that just about everyone has been struck down and transformed into big ol’ slavering bite-y, clawy hell-things. It’s a simple fight for survival, which is really all we need to know.

If you’re familiar with Vita hunting classic Soul Sacrifice, you’ll know the sort of monsters you’ll be up against. As well as the sorts of weapons you’ll be wielding. Bloodborne’s action is a constant mix of melee and ranged combat, with the two styles constantly melding into one. Blade and firearm are used simultaneously in combo attacks; firing shots can briefly stun foes which leaves them vulnerable to more powerful melee blows. It’s an elegant system, and helps prevent things feeling overly mashy.

Overall, Bloodborne is one of the biggest PS4 exclusives of the year thus far. The Souls games have, of course, got themselves quite the following, and they’re all eagerly awaiting the March 25 release.

The Witcher Character Profile: Yennefer of Vengerberg

Yennefer

Yennefer of Vengerberg is a sorceress and the main protagonist Geralt of Rivia’s lover, even though their relationship is somewhat complicated. She act’s as a motherly figure towards Ciri and looks at her as if she was her own daughter. Yennefer, like all sorceresses, is sterile, meaning that she cannot have children although she has attempted many times to find a away to become fertile, but all to no avail. She is also a close friend of Triss Merigold, who also loves Geralt and acts as his canon lover in the previous Witcher games, but not in the books.

While at Nenneke’s (a priestess of Melitele) Temple in Ellander, Yennefer taught Ciri about magic, and although she was very strict at first, she softened and became a patient and very good tutor to Ciri, the child of destiny. She clashed many times with Nenneke, who was worried about Ciri’s well being, although they both left on good terms.

Although very beautiful, Yennefer is actually in her nineties and she has her famed looks because of magical help. Geralt realises that she was once a hunchback, but he still loved her nevertheless. During the Battle of Sodden Hill, Yennefer lost her eyesight as she was blinded by Fringilla Viga, a Nilfgaardian sorceress. Her eyesight was later restored by magic, however Yennefer still bears the emotional scars of that event. Once while at Nenneke’s Temple, Ciri asked her why she was staring at a linden tree, when Yennefer replied, “Nothing. I’m simply feasting my eyes upon it. I’m happy that… I can see it.”

One of the more notable things about Yennefer is her lilac eyes, and she always uses lilac and gooseberry perfumes. She is rarely seen without wearing black and white.

She was king Demavend of Aedirn’s royal advisor, but he is now dead as he was killed by Letho, the kingslayer, in the intro to The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings.

At the end of the books, Geralt was killed for protecting non humans in Rivia after riots broke out, and Yennefer perished while trying to heal him. However, Ciri took them to another world and to Malus Island (known as the Isle of Avallach in the game), where they were both saved. They spent sometime together there, but the Wild Hunt  steals Yennefer away from him. Once Geralt finds the Wild Hunt he exchanges his soul for Yennefer’s. It is generally excepted that the Wild Hunt let Geralt go because he is very good at killing. Another reason could be because they believed he would lead them to Ciri.

Yennefer has yet to be in a Witcher game before, but she makes her debut into the series in the upcoming game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The player will be able to choose Yennefer as a romance option for Geralt. Yennefer was however seen in many flashbacks in The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, and it is revealed at the end of the game that she is most likely still alive and in the city of Nilfgaard.

GTA 5 Heists – First Impressions

GTA

It’s taken just over a year but Rockstar have finally delivered what is considered by many as one of the major selling points of their five star title GTA V and that is its multiplayer Heists feature. March 10th was the date set where everybody would be greeted into the world of criminal professionalism and an installation update of up to 4GB was the first hurdle of gaining access to this new feature. Although a grueling wait filled with eager anticipation to get hands on with the testosterone fueled heist action, you could only assume that an update to that extent of memory was worth the wait, and the verdict to that is yes, it is definitely worthwhile.

As with every new GTAV multiplayer update package, we are presented with some nice new toys to play with. These include a few new vehicles, a flare gun and a whole plethora of wardrobe items, and gloves! They have answered our calling! Finally I can commit criminal activates with the feeling that I am leaving no trace of my fingerprints behind, or simply look like a hitman badass with glorious black leather gloves, not to be mistaken for some form of sadomasochism enthusiast of course…

As expected the Rockstar servers are still a bit iffy but as when the initial GTA 5 multiplayer was released, I’m sure this will be cleared up within the coming days. Once in a lobby you first receive a call from your old pal Lester who remains his wonderfully disturbed self from the campaign. It is a nice return to that tone and style of GTA’s world, it feels as though you are meeting up with an old colleague as you visit his warehouse on the east side. He then gives you the grand opportunity to get on board with one of his high end jobs and play a role in his core crew’s schemes which is indeed heists. Now in order to lead/host a heist you must be at least level 12 and own a high-end apartment property. You’ll find that Lester has sent some guys over to your apartment and refurbished one of your rooms for heist prep and planning. Here you can host heists and manage a crew with three other players.

Lester guides you on the initial two-man tutorial mission where you and a friend are required to drive to a Fleeca bank as Lester hacks into their security to scope out their system and layout. This is known as a setup mission. Similar to the campaign, heists will require some preparation, be it a required vehicle or simply some reconnaissance. All these setup missions are required to ensure that you can proceed with the actual heist or finale as it is referred to. Players are assigned specific roles in heists, for example, during this heist the driver is required to get to the bank while the ‘driller’ delves through a series of hacking mini-games in order to open the vault. Once they have arrived, the driver must deal with crowd control as the driller goes into the vault and drills open a safety deposit target box. It is a good way of giving players assigned roles in which they know they can be depended on to complete without confusion, everyone has a job to do.

Once I had completed this I was rewarded $169,000 to which I discovered the potential of how much money players can earn on heists. Receiving a second call from Lester about an upcoming job, I dived straight back into it with a few buddies as we began The Prison Break mission. Here you are tasked with four setup missions: collect a bus, plane, car and take out some lawyers. Once these are completed you can proceed to rescue a man named Rashkovsky from the state penitentiary and it is a pretty thrilling experience. I was assigned the role of the pilot to which I was required to collect the crew and objective for extraction. Two players pose as a prison guard and prisoner in order to infiltrate the prison and reach Rashkovsky while another player works as a demolition expert and clears the runway of any incoming harrier jets and law enforcement individuals. If you have a microphone I would recommend using it as communication is a big help when playing, it even advises so in the tips provided on the game’s artistic loading screens.

It is an exciting experience watching an armoured car filled with your crew members head towards you on a runway as they pile in and you take off with your tail fin just scrapping the top of the police car’s siren. Your demolition expert then guards the plane in a chopper on the way out of there to which you all parachute out and regroup on a beach to your success. As one of the first missions this was in all, a very enjoyable experience and was a grand return to a game I hadn’t touched in some months.

I am personally very excited and looking forward to playing more of these heist missions with friends and seeing what else is in store for the future of GTA Online. If you haven’t already, install this thrill ride and call up some buddies and round up a posse, no wait that’s Red Dead Redemption… Gather a crew, yeah.. do that, you won’t regret it.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – What Is A Witcher?

Witcher

First and foremost a witcher is a human, however they’re humans who have undergone mutation from a young age at one of the witcher schools, such as Kaer Morhen. While at the schools they are subjected to extensive physical training, and the Trial of the Grasses. The Trial of the Grasses is a painful trial for all young witcher’s to go through, which involves the consumption of mysterious alchemical ingredients, known as the grasses. Only 40% of all young witchers-to-be survive the trial, however if they do survive it then they gain fast reflexes, super human strength, resistance to most diseases and in most cases full immunity, and a very long lifespan. However, the trials also make all witchers sterile and unable to have children. During the trials, the young witchers gain ‘cat like eyes’ which enables them to see in the dark. It is also used as one of the ways to identify a witcher.

Witchers are professional monster hunters. They aim to rid the world of as many monsters as they can, while making as much coin as they can too. They have two primary weapons of choice, a steel sword and a silver sword. They use their steel sword for standard, humanoid enemies and they use their silver sword for enemies to be considered monsters, as they are sensitive to silver. They had extensive sword training while at Kaer Morhen and they were trained using the famous ‘witcher style’ of fighting.

While at Kaer Morhen they also underwent basic magical training, which enabled them to learn Signs. Signs are  simple magical spells which do not require a magical formula, just a simple hand gesture, hence it being known as a sign. There are six known signs, these are:

Aard – A psychokinetic thrust of energy, it is used to knock down or disarm weapons from opponents.
Igni – A psychokinetic burst of fire that can set opponents on fire, and also simply create fires.
Yrden – A magical trap which is placed on the ground, enabling opponents to be trapped inside, causing damage.
Quen – A defensive sign which causes a magical shield to surround the caster.
Axii – A mental spell which makes the opponent it is used on fight along side the caster.
Heliotrop – A sign which creates a force field area around the caster, slowing everything down inside it other than the caster.

The first ever witchers came into being when human colonizers came into modern day Termeria and started to colonize the untamed lands. The witchers were then known as warrior monks who defended the settles from all of the monsters which threatened their way of life.

There are only a few witchers who are known to be alive now, and there are no more witchers being made. The notable witchers are:

Geralt of Rivia (A full profile can be found here)
Vesemir – The oldest and most experienced witcher, he is said to be at least three centuries old. He is someone Geralt looks up to and respects. He is in the upcoming witcher game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Lambert – A younger witcher who is very rude and dislikes Triss Merigold. He helped train Ciri when she was at Kaer Morhen.
Coën – His first winter in Kaer Morhen coinsided with Ciri’s first winter there too, he helped train her in sword combat. He began his witcher training later than most, which is why he still retained scars from his face from when he was young. He died at the Battle of Brenna.
Eskel – A close friend of Geralt’s, they were both trained at Kaer Morhen at the same time and even underwent the trials together. He has a calm personality and a large scar on the right hand side of his face.
Berengar – A character who only appears in the witcher games, he can be spared or killed by Geralt.
Letho – The main antagonist in the Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. He is the kingslayer and can also be killed or spared by Geralt. He was originally from the School of the Viper.

Meet the Cast of Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

S.T.E.A.M.

Code Name S.T.E.A.M., the new strategy game from the studio behind the Fire Emblem games, is set to release on March 13th with a cast of characters pulled from every corner of classic American fiction taking on an alien invasion.  As its release on the Nintendo 3DS draws near, let’s look at all of the announced characters that you can recruit for your squad and not only examine their roles in the game, but also the famous stories that they originate from.  The only ones I’m leaving out are Abraham Lincoln and the Fire Emblem characters as I’m fairly certain you’re already familiar with the great emancipator while Marth and friends are merely making cameo appearances.

Henry Fleming

The main character in the Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, Henry Fleming acts as the field leader of the team and is the most prominent character in the game’s marketing.  A fictional soldier serving in the American Civil War, Henry fled in fear during his first battle, but gained the courage to return to the battlefield and stood his ground even when he was left without a weapon.  As a member of S.T.E.A.M., Henry is a balanced fighter with the assault fire of his Eagle Rifle.  Whatever the mission, Henry is sure to be a valuable addition to the team.

John Henry

A famous American folk hero, John Henry is known as the man that fought the machine to prove the value of good old-fashion sweat and tears in the face of automated assembly.  As a member of S.T.E.A.M., John has embraced the machine for the greater good and takes on the alien menace as a powerful assault character.  Armed with a hammer and a supply of grenades, he can burst through crowds of enemies with ease.

Lion

One of Dorothy’s companions in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, the Lion is a fearsome beast with his share of self-esteem issues.  However, given that he’s dropped the ‘Cowardly’ part from his name, it looks like he’s already found his courage and will have no problem facing down the alien threat.  In fact, Lion will be able to tank damage and leap directly into the fray with his Lion Launcher ability.  Also, looks like he didn’t step out of Oz to aid S.T.E.A.M. on his own.

Scarecrow

Another hero from The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow provides area control with his supply of pumpkin-based landmines and health pick-ups.  The Scarecrow has been given a Halloween-style makeover and bears more of a resemblance to fellow Oz denizen Jack Pumpkinhead than his own classic depiction.  He’s never been the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was able to rule as the new king of Oz for a short time following the events of the first novel.  Given that both the Scarecrow and the Lion are in S.T.E.A.M.’s ranks, its a safe bet that the Tin Man will join in on the action as well.

Tom Sawyer

I’m not sure why S.T.E.A.M. would ever arm up a child and send him into battle with savage extraterrestrials, but I probably shouldn’t be surprised given how frequently kids are used to pilot giant robots in this exact situation.  The titular character from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he is street-smart trickster known for manipulating people into getting what he wants.  That cunning carries over into his appearance as a member of S.T.E.A.M. as he is fairly weak in direct combat, but he can stun enemies with his Punch Gun and can scatter mines across the battlefield.

Tiger Lily

Including a minor character from Peter Pan while no other characters from the story have been announced is a bit of an odd move.  Than again, S.T.E.A.M. has been built up as an all-American team while Peter Pan is a British tale and Tiger Lily is simply one of the most famous Native American characters in fiction.  On the other hand, the action of the game is primarily set in Britain and we haven’t seen all of the playable characters yet, so Tiger may have a few friends waiting just around the corner.  As a squadmate, Tiger is the team medic with abilities focused on healing teammates.

Queequeg

I bet you weren’t expecting a whale-hunting cannibal to show up on this list.  Well, Queequeg is exactly that.  One of the main characters in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Queequeg is the most fearsome member of a crew trained to slay giants of the deep.  Still, he does have a softer side to him as he quickly became good friends with main character Ishmael.  Apparently, Codename S.T.E.A.M. will represent this side of him by arming him with a supply of explosive, clockwork penguins.  That would certainly have given Moby Dick a different tone, but I can see Melville dedicating about ten pages to explain exactly how it works.

Randolph Carter

If you thought the cast couldn’t get any stranger than a cannibal wielding penguin-shaped explosives, how about someone straight out of Lovecraftian horror?  Randolph Carter is a recurring character in the works of H.P. Lovecraft and often considered an avatar for Lovecraft himself.  Given that the villainous aliens take a good deal of inspiration from Lovecraftian monsters, Randolph is certainly the kind of expert that S.T.E.A.M. would want.  He is a utility character with the ability to bait enemies with his Unspeakable Lure and protect teammates with his Eldrich Shield.  Just don’t ask where he got the meat for that lure; it’s unspeakable for a reason.

The Fox

The female sniper Fox is easily the most mysterious of the current cast with no clear literary inspiration.  As such, the following is purely speculation.  For one, there is an official screenshot of her standing in front of what appears to be a Mexican flag or at least an alternate universe version of it for the game’s stylized take on the world.  Now consider that the Spanish word for fox is ‘zorro’ and it’s a fairly safe bet that she is here to represent the famous swashbuckler Zorro, who was one of the major inspirations for comic book hero Batman.  The only problems with this idea is that she isn’t referred to as Zorro while every other character is directly named after their inspiration and the fact that she is a she while Zorro has always been male.  It’s probable that Nintendo and Intelligent Systems are concerned about copyright disputes surrounding the character and opted to create the Fox as a tribute to Zorro rather than try to use the original.

Califia

The most recent character revealed in the official sing-along trailer (yes, that is a thing and this game is quite weird in case you haven’t already noticed), Califia is a pagan warrior queen of the fictional Island of California and the namesake of the actual state of California.  She joins S.T.E.A.M. armed with a powerful rocket launcher that can blaze down groups of enemies with massive damage.  Unfortunately, there’s currently no sign of the griffins that she and her exclusively female army were known to ride into battle.  We can still hope.

That’s all of the playable characters that have been announced so far.  Given the diversity that we have seen, there is almost no limit on the characters that we could see join the roster.  Who do you hope to see added to the line-up?  Personally, given the concept of figures of classic American fiction battling monstrous aliens, nobody seems more appropriate than pulp sci-fi original John Carter of Mars.  After the infamous Disney film, he could certainly use some good press.

Retro Corner: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

In the mid-nineties, video game heroines were a rare breed. Which is to say, there darn well weren’t any. In this era, the likes of Tomb Raider and Sonic the Hedgehog were establishing their personalities, and so was gaming itself. It was a male-dominated pursuit, full of ‘cool’ and attitude and angry aliens to fire powerful artillery at.

I don’t know where Mario fits into this, but bear with me. The point is that a strong female protagonist was something the medium sorely needed. Into that void stepped Lara Croft, the most badass archaeologist since Indiana Jones (who is, frankly, the only other one there’s ever been).

Tomb Raider hit the original PlayStation in 1992. It’s the first installment in Croft’s long story, as she seeks ancient treasures in historical sites around the world. Let’s take a look.

In the game’s opening, a mysterious device from long ago is discovered beneath the desert in Los Alamos County, New Mexico. It contains a person in a state of suspended animation, and marks the start of a long, ridiculous and puzzle-tastic journey.

Some time later, Lara is approached by the billionaire owner of Natla Technologies. She is charged with recovering the pieces of the Scion, an enigmatic talisman connected to the mystery. So off she cruises to the Tomb of Qualopec in Peru, and the adventure begins. Quite a nutty one it is, too, encompassing the ancient rulers of Atlantis, angry genetically-engineered mutants and a range of imaginative ways to die.

Tomb Raider 2

Tomb Raider
is an action/adventure/platformer set in a dizzying, cinematic 3d world (well, by mid-nineties standards). Lara’s famous athleticism was here from the start, and lent a realistic, Prince of Persia-ish element to her movement; a kind of homage to the platformers of yore. You traverse a series of tombs, climbing, vaulting, leaping and occasionally shooting the local wildlife in the face to get your hands on those treasures.

Lara’s creation was born for a desire for a more subtle kind of action star. Usually, they’re of the Arnold Schwarzenegger testosterone-amundo build, all rippling pecs and screaming gunplay. The Tomb Raider star is a crack shot, sure, but the game’s a little more slow-paced than that. The emphasis is on puzzle solving and stealth over combat, which made for a unique –and, as I say, technically incredible at the time– experience.

All of this galvanized Tomb Raider’s success, and cemented Lara’s place as gaming’s first lady. Aside from that, it was one of those landmark releases with a profound effect on games that followed. This is where the 3d action-adventure boom began.

How the Wii U Modernised Nintendo

Nintendo

Nintendo‘s latest home console, the Wii U, has had mixed reactions. Sales have been uncharacteristically low and its hardware is on quite on par with the other Next Gen titles. But despite the initial problems the Wii U had, sales are rising, it has an amazing library of games that overshadows its more powerful cousins and more importantly, it has brought Nintendo into the modern age. Here is how:

Games are pretty important to a console, I mean without them you cant really do much. Nintendo have always had games of course, but their ties to 3rd party studios has not always been great. If you wanted to play the big titles of last year, you had to either have a different console, or a PC. The Wii U has Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed 3 & 4 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This might not seem like a big deal, but those games are a HUGE step forward for Nintendo, despite their age nowadays. The fact that we can play these massive AAA titles on a Nintendo console is something that people would just laugh at 5 years ago. Heck we even have Watchdogs! Oh and course, let us not forget about Bayonetta 1&2. Who would have imagined something so…mature…would appear on our Gamepads.

The Wii had terrible online. Friend codes, abysmal servers, lag, disconnections, lack of voice chat, they all just added up to make for an uncomfortable experience. The Wii U actually has a robust online package, with silky smooth performance (we can finally play Smash!) and even voice chat in some games. Again, to people who have played Xbox or Playstation, such things might seem trivial, but to Nintendo fans, this is a massive change, and something that opens up new possibilities on the platform.

DLC. Nintendo have always been against DLC, and as a result you have never seen a Mario Kart game with new tracks. You get what you get on the disk, and that is it. This is no longer the case. Super Luigi U, 2 large DLC packs for Mario Kart, a dozen packs for Hyrule Warriors etc. DLC is ripe on the Wii U, and what is even better, it is possibly the best DLC money can buy at the moment. For a low price, you get a lot of additional content. A few dollars gets you new characters, karts and tracks on Mario Kart, a whole new game for New Super Mario Brothers U and the variety of content Hyrule Warriors has is too much to list. Either Nintendo have not realized that DLC can be used to scam people out of more money, or they are genuinely trying to release value content, it is something I approve of.

Finally, creative use of their brands. Since the Wii U released, we have had 2 possibly groundbreaking titles. Games that could herald massive changes in how Nintendo uses their IP’s. Captain Toads Treasure Tracker and Hyrule Warriors are 2 games that are completely out of the realms of classic Nintendo. A Zelda game without puzzles and purely about hack n’ slash combat? A Mario game without jumping? These 2 games were massive risks for Nintendo. Both Mario and Zelda are synonymous with quality, so gambling their reputation like that was certainly risky. It paid off however, as both games received critical acclaim, and sold well. This reaction from consumers will hopefully give Nintendo the confidence to push the boat out a bit more.

The Wii U, for all of its early faults, has certainly proven its worthiness of being a Next Gen console. The fact it has dragged Nintendo, a company who has been around almost since the dawn of gaming, into the 21st Century in such a big way is testament to that.

Content Stigmatisation: The Bane of Gaming

Gaming

I love content me. There is nothing better than completing a game only to find tens of hours of additional game ready to play that is not directly linked to the “main game”. Extra modes, unlockables, challenges, and characters; they all add the experience. Whilst not a sure-fire, set in stone rule, the more content a game has, the better the value. Well isn’t it a shame that content in modern games is, well, missing. Ergo, the value of gaming has dropped.

But why has game content went the way of the dodo? Simple: DLC. It seems more and more common for developers to release a game with blatantly missing content only to “fill in the gaps” later with overpriced, underwhelming DLC packages. Last years Destiny is a shining example of how a game was neutered and then spoon fed with addons at a later date. You have a game ripe with potential, the only draw back being there is nothing to do, the main story is short and actually goes out of its way to not explain the universe, and low and behold, ridiculous DLC comes along to fill in all those gaps at an extravagant price. Buy a half finished game at full price, then pay more for the right to play the other half later on.

This kind of thinking is ripe in the gaming industry of today, and with day one DLC actually having the audacity to exist (we are looking at you Capcom), especially when the content is already on the disk (still looking at you Capcom), the problem is not going away. And whilst we are staring uncomfortably at Capcom, what is with Street Fighter 4 Super Hyper Turbo Champion Extreme Edition Plus Arcade? Everything you have added to Steet Fighter over the years could, and should be added as DLC, and in some cases, a patch.

Microtransactions. Oh how I despise you. Once only found in terrible F2P mobile games, microtransactions have begun to crop up in AAA titles. Traditionally microtransactions are designed to allow you to skip tedious parts of a game, which is great in a F2P title that has freakishly long downtime. But when you had this kind of rubbish in full price games like Forza or Assassins Creed, you are literally paying the developer money to:

  1. Play their game
  2. Play any on disk day one DLC
  3.  Not play the game

And this trend will not stop, because people do it. Developers are literally asking you for money to not play their game, after you spent a small fortune buying the game in the first place.

Content in gaming nowadays is a taboo. If you want to have a meaningful, full experience you simply have to fork out additional money for features that should have been present all along. That, or wait a year or so for the Directors Cut, otherwise known as: The actual game we should have released a year ago.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – What Is The Wild Hunt?

Witcher

The Wild Hunt is a cavalcade of spectral horseman who terrorize humans and it is said that they are an omen of death and misfortune. The sight of the witcher Wild Hunt is also known as an omen of war. They abduct people and force them to join them on their ride, and only a few of those who have been abducted have managed to escape, however they were all considered mad and their stories considered nothing but the ramblings of madmen. It is said that they abduct more people during winter and war time, and during the last great war they abducted over twenty  people in Novigrad once they had passed through. The abducted can also reappear many years later, without having aged at all, this is because they are from another world and their time flows differently from the human world.

The Elder Races, dwarves and elves, have no mention the Wild Hunt in their culture or history, even though they have been round for much longer than the humans.

The Wild Hunt is lead by the King of the Wild Hunt, Eredin Bréacc Glas, who is actually an Aen Elle, which are elves from another world. In their world, Eredin is a leader of an elven cavalry known as the Dearg Ruadhri, which means Red Horsemen. However in the human world he is known as  the feared King of the Wild Hunt and his spectres are actually elves from his cavalry.

The King of the Wild Hunt imprisoned Ciri in his world where he tried to force Ciri to have a child with Auberon Muircetach, the King of the Aen Elle. This is because Ciri’s ancestor Cregennan of Lod fell in love with Lara Dorren, an elf, which was considered a theft of heritage by the Aen Elle and the humans despised it too. The humans killed Cregennan before his daughter was born and Lara died shortly after giving birth. Their half elf daughter Riannon was adopted by the queen of Redania, Cerro. The Aen Elle wanted Ciri, the descendant of Lara, to have a child with Auberon to reclaim their stolen heritage. However, Eredin accidentally killed Auberon by giving him an overdose of an aphrodisiac which was supposed to increase his chances with having a child with Ciri.

The Wild Hunt in The Witcher (Game Spoilers)

During the Witcher, the Wild Hunt appears many times to Geralt of Rivia. The first time is during the prologue when they’re outside Kaer Morhen. During the assault on Kaer Morhen, young witcher Leo was killed by the Professor, and in chapter one Geralt see’s Leo’s ghost along with the Wild Hunt.

Also in chapter one, you can do the optional quest ‘Dead Hand of the Past’, where Declan Leuvaarden requests that Geralt buries his friend in the crypt beneath Reverand’s church. While burying his friend, the King of the Wild Hunt appears before Geralt, where the King reminds Geralt of past times and Geralt’s destiny.

The Wild Hunt also appear in the mission ‘Hunting the Wild Hunt’. Geralt is asked by the Hermit, a druid, to kill nine spectres of the Wild Hunt and he needs to keep the King of the Wild Hunt at bay by using mandrake sprinkled on the lanterns flame.

Towards the end of the game, leader of the Order of the Flaming Rose Jacques de Aldersberg transports Geralt by magic to his vision in the Ice Plains, where Geralt and the King of the Wild Hunt duel for his soul. Geralt defeats the King of the Wild Hunt.

The Wild Hunt in The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (Game Spoilers)

The Wild Hunt does not appear in the Witcher 2, however they are mentioned in a book where it says that Yennefer of Vengerberg, Geralt’s lover, had been abducted by them, though she did not stay with them unlike Geralt who was with them for a while.

It also describes what the Wild Hunt is, and the many theories about the Wild Hunt, such as the Wild Hunt being spectres of knights who have died in other worlds, and that they were created by an evil force that sends them to different worlds in search of slaves.

The magicians in the game have differing opinions about the Wild Hunt, with Dethmold believing that they are nothing but a myth, Síle de Tansarville wanting nothing to do with the Wild Hunt and remaining silent whenever asked about them (which surprises Geralt because she is an extremely smart sorceress and he thought she must know something about them), and Philippa Eilhart has her own theory about the origin of the Wild Hunt however we do not find out what this is because it’s mentioned as a ‘shallow theory’ and not worthy of being wrote down.

What To Expect in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 

Throughout the Witcher games, the reason the Wild Hunt has been searching for Geralt is because they are desperately seeking Ciri, and Ciri makes her debut in the Witcher games in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This is why they play a major role in the next game, and why they step up their desperate search for Ciri. They believe Geralt knows where she is, hence them seeking Geralt in order to get to Ciri.

The reason The King of the Wild Hunt wants Ciri so much is because she is a descendant of Lara Dorren, and all descendants of hers are considered special because they contain huge magical power, and they carry elder blood. She also possess the power of the Gate of the Worlds, which enables her to travel through space and time. Because of this, this is why The King of the Wild Hunt, Eredin, wants to capture her and wants her to have a child of one of the Aen Elle, so they can reclaim the power of the Gate of the Worlds which he and Avallac’h once possessed.

The Wild Hunt will continue their search for Ciri during the next game, and they will also come face to face with Geralt, as seen in the Elder Blood trailer.