The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard review

 

After not too long a wait, Bethesda has graced us with yet more dragon vampire killing fun in the form of the first DLC pack for our best game of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, best known as the source of repetitive internet jokes which have prompted numerous angry blog posts. Under the title of Dawnguard, this add-on not only gives an extra 6 hours of gameplay but also makes a number of slight additions and improvements to an already great game.

On the whole, Dawnguard’s storyline is not fantastic but it’s still a good addition to one of the best games out there. The quests are fun, with a good mixture of murder, carnage and even the occasional puzzle, the new characters are interesting and in all honesty fun to interact with and, most importantly for an RPG, the storyline is good.  My major complaint with Dawnguard is the fact that there is no variety in what you have to do. Just like the rest of Skyrim, each quest is simply run here, kill/steal/Fus Ro Dah this, come back, repeat, and while this can be fun for short periods, I found that after about an hour of gameplay I began to become bored. It would have been nice for a Bethesda to make at least a little differentiation between Skyrim and Dawnguard, but alas no.

While the main storyline is at worst disappointing, the rest of the DLC is far superior. There are numerous minor changes to the general gameplay which make the whole experience feel much better than it did before. My favourite addition is that of horseback fighting, as nothing feels better than charging through battle, firing slow motion arrows from the back of your horse. This, along with dragon bone weapons, werewolf and vampire perk trees and other such improvements makes for a significant improvement for an already superb game.

Overall, Dawnguard is decent. While the storyline and quests are not what they could have been, everything else that comes along side the questline makes Dawnguard in my eyes worth the money, despite the high price tags. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard is available now for 1600 Microsoft Points (£13.71) from the Xbox Marketplace and for £13.99 on PC via Steam, while Bethesda is said to be ‘not satisfied yet‘ with Dawnguard’s performance on PlayStation 3, and have decided to hold back its release until they can ensure that it will not worsen users experiences in the Skyrim world.

 

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Codemasters finally confirms much-anticipated GRID 2 with début trailer

 

 

Since its initial launch way back in 1997 on the OG PlayStation, the ToCA Touring Cars series from Codemasters has remained a favourite of racing fans for its unrivalled realism and graphical prowess. To coincide with each new generation of console the series has undergone a pair of major revamps, first to ToCA Race Driver and then to 2008’s Race Driver: GRID. In the 4 years since the latest iteration was released to unanimous critical acclaim, rumours have constantly swirled regarding the development of a sequel. Codies staff have been quoted as having mentioned it on numerous occasions since 2009, and CEO Rod Cousens told Eurogamer in late 2010 that DiRT and GRID games would have alternating release years, starting with DiRT 3 in 2011. Despite all this, details have been relatively scarce, but that all ends now.

With a trailer posted on YouTube, Codemasters finally confirmed the existence and title of GRID 2. The guys over at GamesRadar have had a chance to play it and put together a massive preview, and they have confirmed that street racing is in and destruction derbies are out, as crash-lovers have DiRT Showdown for all that stuff. Also, and possibly most irritating, the helmet camera is no more as constructing car interiors would push the current-gen consoles beyond their limits. While this is a disappointing omission, GamesRadar also reports that there is a lot of new science and possibly even a Ferrari license involved, so Codies seem to be more than making up for it.

The game is set to launch on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 during 2013, and you can watch the début trailer below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKCS8B6_SA]

Source YouTube

 

Codemasters teases F1 Race Stars for a November release

Codemasters is famed for its racing simulations such as the Colin McRae Rally (now DiRT) and Race Driver series, but the company seems set to take an uncharacteristic shift towards the arcade style with the announcement of F1 Race Stars. Designed as a spin-off to their Formula 1 series, Race Stars provides motorsport with a Mario Kart-esque twist, gifting gamers officially licensed F1 properties with a multitude of power-ups and circuit modifications along with caricature graphics. The game is set for release across PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC in November this year, while F1 2012, the latest simulation entry to the franchise, is still looking forward to a September 21st launch.

Watch the F1 Race Stars trailer below.

Via MCV

The Last of Us gameplay video steals the show at E3

In Sony’s E3 press conference, Naughty Dog, the studio behind the Uncharted and Jak & Daxter games, unveiled the first gameplay video of their new IP, The Last of Us. The game is set in a post-pandemic world destroyed by a plague, and players take control of Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young girl, as they try to survive across America. The gameplay video, created live at the keynote from a PlayStation 3, shows Joel and Ellie treading through an abandoned hotel, before death ensues for many enemies. At the end, an assailant sporting a rifle enters a derelict room, before getting stabbed and losing his head to the gun. Watch the epic 7:23 video below (18+) and take a look at the previous trailers and a few screenshots, and prepare for the PlayStation exclusive launch in late 2012 or early 2013.



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E3: The Preview

E3 is just around the corner, so we thought we’d give you a peek at some of the stuff that we’re looking forward to this week.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us is the latest title from Naughty Dog, famous for the Uncharted and Jak & Daxter games. This PS3 exclusive is set in a post-pandemic world destroyed by a plague, and players take control of Joel, a ruthless survivor, and Ellie, a brave young girl, as they try to survive across America. Think Dead Island but better.


Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is back, and she’s determined to get her crown back as queen of action games.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard

Skyrim came out late last year to almost universal acclaim, including our own game of the year award. Now, Bethesda is set to give us more information about the recently-announced Dawnguard DLC.

Lego Lord of the Rings

Lego games are always awesome, and the minifgure take on Lord of the Rings promises to be no exception.

Hitman: Absolution

The Hitman series returns with death, death and even more death.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

Despite being an obvious attempt to cash in on the ongoing Sherlock fever, this LA Noire-esque detective game seems intriguing.

Far Cry 3

The Far Cry series returns to an isolated island, and this time you get crazier the longer you stay there.

Assassin’s Creed 3

With a new protagonist and a new continent, AC3 promises to be epic, but can it differ enough from its predecessors to make gamers happy?

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments, and get ready for the biggest week of the gaming year. E3 here we come!

Why Battlefield 3 is awesome

Since October last year, half of my life has been devoted to one amazing creation that is Battlefield 3. Getting mostly 9’s from the critics, the only real competitor to this huge FPS is obviously the CoD series. Since both series have been going on for over half my life, they both certainly have the experience and knowledge to nick £40 out of your pocket and make you feel good about it, but Battlefield 3 does it in a way that nobody would’ve ever imagined before. Using the Frostbite 2 engine and the multiplayer element of the Medal of Honor reboot as a warm-up, DICE made this game the most epic and awe-inspiring game of, well, ever. With 5 million sales in the first week, I am going to explain to you why you should get this game if you haven’t already.

I will start with the part of shooters that is dying a slow and painful death: the campaign. Having completed it in a day on hard difficulty about 4 months ago, it remains a sweet memory in the heart of my mind. You start off as a foot soldier in the middle of some war-torn Iranian city as part of a small squad of soldiers. After a short while of the atmosphere consuming you, quick fire-fights and realistic situations begin to steal your mind and eyes from the real world. You are quickly shown the amazing destruction engine and realistic sounds as well as things like suppressive fire which makes killing the enemy a lot harder. With all the realism intact, you are still left feeling like you are a super soldier, until of course you get cocky and take a bullet to the face. Skipping on a bit as, although I’d love to, I can’t take you through the whole campaign, you are put in the shoes of an F-18 pilot, an M1A2 Abrams (i.e. a big tank) and a Russian guy trying to help the world – for once. After the mind-blowing good lengthy missions that lead up to the finale, some good twists and revelations give that grin a widening and leave you feeling as if you’ve just completed the BF3 campaign because there’s nothing really that compares to it.

The next part of the game to explain is the ground-breaking multiplayer that wins most people. The multiplayer has been patched and tweaked and added to constantly to maintain its beauty. From DLC’s to sounds that literally are real, I bow to DICE for giving this brilliant game the upkeep it needs, as any good game does. Analogy alert: nice cars cost a lot to run. The multiplayer is for pretty much anyone. If you are an adrenaline junkie crazy guy you can enter the close quarter maps and game modes which allow simple quickly changing games, but if you like a tactical teamwork inspired game that includes vehicles for land, sea and air then jump into Conquest. As well as the game mode you’re looking for, the type of player you are is taken into account as well. From mounting bipods and massive scopes and keeping your gun on semi-auto to using nothing but your fully auto side-arm and fear to kill your enemies, you can pretty much do anything, use anything or be anything you want to. With plenty maps, weapons, attachments and vehicles the multiplayer is almost flawless. However every game has its bad points and Battlefield 3 is no exception. On large maps against a skilful enemy you may find yourself spawn-trapped with no escape apart from the AA gun that’s being hogged by Brian Peppers’ downy brother. Another problem that may occur which has happened to me twice in total (in my 100+ hours of game time) is when your guns or menu do not appear so you find yourself useless and stuck. The last problem is that you find hours of your day vanish in front of your eyes, although I’d rather that than watch parts of your controller sprinkle across the room after your latest venture on to Modern Warfare 3. Another small part of the game for extra fun is a co-op mission strand consisting of 6 missions that you complete with your friend to unlock some extra guns for online games. The co-op does not need much explaining apart from that it is fun and fulfilling.

A problem however that people have with the game however is that it constantly wants your money to rent a server, buy a new map pack or get access to online features. First of all, most of these are avoided if you preordered or bought a limited edition (which costs no more than a regular copy), both of which give you codes for online play and free DLC. Secondly, you cannot blame DICE or the game for this as all the previous stuff was originally going to be free until EA stuck their big, money sucking noses into it and persuaded DICE to let them charge for it. No wonder they’re the worst company in America.

Overall Battlefield 3 is a great game and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone that is a new gamer, an FPS fan or just anyone with a PC or console. With things like a never-ending achievement list, upgrades to get, people to shoot and wallet-melting DLC combined with other things like dozens of maps, completely customisable weapons and orgasmic sounds and graphics, for me this game couldn’t be better.

Cue epic BF theme tune.

Birdwatching: Fus Ro Damn I’m bored

Birdwatching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

I didn’t manage to impale a sharp projectile into my patella but regardless I have managed to lose my sense of humour over Digixav’s favourite game of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Yes, the small red flying feathered ball in the sky is going to be taking the big, scaly, fire breathing monster that is Skyrim. It was one of the most highly anticipated games since the release of Oblivion back in 2005 and when it arrived at school on a November morning even the quietest and most reasonable students became national standard rugby players and managed to barge past most of the school to play it. I did observe and despair, and this is why.

A game should stimulate you mentally. It should make you think and feel and it should be an experience. Skyrim is just a way to waste time. The mechanics of the game are repetitive and there are enough side missions to get lost in. Replay value? I think not because the chances are you will never finish the entire game before your mind is reduced to a whimpering mass at the back of your cranium. You play as a violent oaf who can somehow swing some stupidly large piece of some unknown element at some impossibly alive bag of walking bones which can absorb more damage than a Nokia. I guess what I am so angry about is that it claimed to be so good; it claimed to be a vast, open world to lose yourself in. Well yes, I certainly did lose myself in it, the problem being that I didn’t manage to find a way out. The story is just too big and there needs to be an end. An infinite story should not be allowed. I want to be able to enjoy understanding the various intricacies and twists instead of having huge amounts of nonsensical myths and obscure cults that everybody I meet seems to want me to join dropped into my lap and let me wonder what the hell I am supposed to do with it all. This is prominent when you get into the game and you check your mission catalogue, only to find about three pages worth of objectives that you have no intention of completing. Then when finally you do get round to starting AND finishing a quest the formula is the same every single time. Namely go here and talk to this person, pick up another two quests, go there and enter a mildly scary looking cave, wait at loading screen for too long, go inside and navigate a complex array of tunnels, encounter a few enemies which you can get rid of by button bashing which results in the same three moves until they die and finally collect your reward which is the ability to talk to some stars which help you in some practical way. Because stars now control how good we are at stuff, don’t you know.

The game lies to you, and after a few hours you have seen everything you are ever going to see. The combat systems are overly simplistic and movements are very slow. Now at this point those of you who are still reading and haven’t taken offence will note that I admit that Skyrim isn’t all bad as the graphics are insane and certain parts of the story are pretty epic. It is also a very good addition to the Elder Scrolls series and the people who have grown used to this style of game will have no qualms where I was tearing my hair out. Also, despite me claiming that it is a mindless game, some of the puzzles are quite challenging but the end is always inevitable. The slow and unrealistic fighting and repetitiveness of the gameplay unfortunately mean that this game becomes boring by the time you are in desperate need of a pee in front of laptop. Skyrim is a good game but is let down by being hyped up far too much and it isn’t the completely free universe it claims to be.