Thursday, 27 June 2013

Halo: Spartan Assault

Yes, this is the one game I missed out - technically it was released before E3 so doesn't come under their umbrella and thus was worth mentioning on it's own.

The story takes place between Halo 3 and Halo 4 and features Sarah Palmer (a minor player in 4's campaign, but a major player in 'Spartan Ops') as well as a mysterious 'Spartan Davis' as playable characters.

The game is a top down shooter for Windows phones tablets and devices running Windows 8. I still run Windows 7 so unless there's a port for iOS sometime in the future you won't be hearing much about it from me for a while. Nonetheless it's exciting to see 343 branch out to more media, also announced is a new comic series 'Initiation' featuring characters from this game.

That's about it - I'll leave you with the trailer which features gameplay and samples of cinematics, done in the same style as Halo 4's terminals.

Next Up: Movies

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

E3 2013: Game Updates

More E3, this time looking at updated information, new trailers and excitement for games that we already knew about before the Expo. I'll post links to the trailers and other videos of the games I found most interesting.


Bungie's new shooter is top of my list of things to see, with a cool new Sci-Fi setting and a host of new alien races, weapons and vehicles it is sure to be popping up on this blog soon after release, as I'm going to plum for the 360 version rather than wait for the Xbox One edition, assuming the multiplayer elements are consistent on both platforms . Here's the latest trailer

Destiny is an open world shooter that incorporates elements of multiplayer matchmaking and MMO style games to pair you with friends to play missions or with members of the community. Rather than MMO where you can see everyone else you will be linked up with a Fireteam of other players to complete your mission, maybe linking up with a larger group. This interview and demo, highlights some of these features in action.

Batman: Arkham Origins

We've already had an announcement for this new game in the series (controversially not made by Rocksteady, creators of the original Arkham games) detailing the life of an early years Batman, facing down a bunch of killers competing for the price on his head on Christmas Eve. Being released for the 360 this is definitely on my wish list! This interview delves further into the gameplay and story of the game.

Quantum Break

We had the announcement for this time-shifting game back at the Xbox One reveal and it's been designed for the new generation, this new trailer looks at a moment in the game and it's high-res glory, but little information about how you play in a time-frozen event has been revealed as of yet.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Another 360 game on my wish list - well all Assassin's Creed titles ultimately are always going to be on my list as they have yet to disappoint. I'm currently dipping my toe into ACIII so I'm looking forward to the next title when it comes out. Multiplayer details have been revealed as well as this a new CG trailer.


Not sure if this is on my list but the quirky Marvel hero deserves a mention here in his own game with new details revealed at E3.

Lost Planet 3

A franchise I haven't really followed, but it's new and Sci-Fi and deserves a mention here.

and lastly...

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Don't know if it's strictly SF, but who doesn't love Plants vs Zombies and to see them head direct to consoles with a new 3D game as well as a sequel on PC and mobile devices is great news!!

Those are the games that caught my eye and that's a wrap for this year's E3 - I wonder what they'll be announcing next year. One thing I'd hoped for was to see what's next for Mass Effect or if there's a new SF franchise from Bioware - but with them busy announcing Dragon Age 3 I guess it's understandable that they're not.

Next Up: One more game that I missed out...

Monday, 17 June 2013

E3 2013: New Titles

Well E3 has come and gone and as usual I'm playing catchup, but I had a monster of a comic book post to do and wanted to finish that first and hey, a week later isn't too bad anyway!!

I'm going to split my coverage of E3 into two parts, this first post will look at debut announcements made at the conference, while the next post will look at the new information given for already announced games. With the new consoles out of the bag there were plenty of new games - here are some of the Sci-Fi ones that caught my eye.

First up this one that I saw as I sat down to watch the live feed, it quickly got me out of my seat with excitement!!

I hadn't seen this coming - I knew a Halo announcement was possible, but I'd expected it for the Xbox One announcement event and it hadn't arrived so I figured we maybe had another year to wait. The trailer caught me by surprise looking like a completely new IP. Looks like John is having to cope on his own while going up against a pretty monstrous Forerunner (Precursor?) enemy. It's due in 2014 but of course requires shelling out for the new Xbox One so it may be a while before you read about it on this blog - but nothing new there!


At first it looks like a standard mech-warrior game, but Titanfall does seem to have some depth and variety to it. One interesting comment made was that testsers spent most of their time playing as pilots, not as mechs. The technology allowing for boosts, double jumps and smoothe wallrunning looks like it'll make the game more dynamic than others that have gone before, and let's face it mechs are always fun right?!!

Mirror's Edge 2

While Halo usually steals the show for my excitement, this came a pretty close second!! A lot of us thought the franchise was dead and there had been no word on a sequel to the ground-breaking game for some time so I'd given up hope. But (presumably on the new consoles) Faith is back to her free-running, rifle stealing self! With other games (including Titanfall) including free-running elements in their gameplay it'll be interesting to see if this franchise can still hold it's ground - I , for one, am hopeful.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Oh yeah! a tiny teaser for the first Star Wars game since the closure of Lucasarts. Not owning a PlayStation I've never played the franchise so far, but it's one fans have been calling for and it was good news to see that Star Wars still has a future in gaming. Obviously the teaser is set on Hoth, recreating the battle in Empire but hopefully we'll see some new storyline in there too.

Mad Max 

Another entry for the new consoles, not much revealed on this one, set in the world of the classic post-apocalyptic films.

OK, that's all I can think of - I'm sure I've missed one or two - post a comment to let me know!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan

The second arc of Dawn of the Jedi has recently come to it's conclusion, following the journey of the early Je'daii on Tython and the events that are triggered by the arrival of the first presence to enter the system in centuries - the Rakatan exile Xesh. As always I'll start with the new stuff.

New Je'daii

Species: Noghri
Sex: Male
Occupation: Assistant Temple Master

Tave is assistant to Lha-Mi, Temple Master of Stav Kesh, the Temple of Martial Arts where the Je'daii journeyers train to use their force blades in combat. He trained the three young journeyeres who found Xesh, assuring them that the Je'daii masters took their claims seriously, despite their decision to exile Xesh to Bogan.

Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Je'daii Master

A celebrated Je'daii General in the Despot War Rajivari layed down his sword at the end of the confilct to contemplate the force in peace. Master Ketu came to him to seek advice on Daegen Lok's vision, Rajivari counselled that the vision should be considered carefully but the council voted to treat it as madness and banish Lok. Seven years later Ketu returned to him and he urged him again to take the vision seriously and make ready for the coming army. (It seems that things don't go well for Rajivari in the future, from what I've heard as he shows up in The Old Republic, but I'll leave that for now - if my wife sees him in-game I'll let you know!)

Tem Madog
Species: Cathar
Sex: Male
Occupation: Temple Master

Tem Madog is the Temple Master of Vur Tepe, the Forge. He instructs Je'daii Journeyers in the creation of their force-imbued blades and is responsible for arming the Je'daii. He tested the Rakatan forcesaber in his forge and later constructed forcesabers for the defense of the Order

Ters Sendon
Species: Zabrak
Sex: Male
Occupation: Je'daii Master

Ters Sendon was a Lore Keeper of the Je'daii Order, who meditated on the force and the mysterious history of the Je'daii. Deep beneath Kaleth, the Temple of knowledge, he searched among the Kwa structures that predated the arrival of the Tho Yor. Sendon also appears in The Old Republic game as a hologram.

Bel Zana
Species: Human
Sex: Female
Occupation: Je'daii Ranger

Known for her tracking skills Bel Zana was a renowned Je'daii ranger assigned to the mission to track Xesh and Daegen Lok. She had an intense fear of fire, which Lok exploited.

Jake Fenn
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Occupation: Temple Master

Master of Bodhi, the Temple of the Arts, Jake Fenn was powerful in the force and a fearsome warrior, despite his occupation in helping Je'daii express the force through creating works of art. He had an affection for the ranger Bel Zana, also he was the brother of Rori Fenn, who accompanied him to track down Xesh and Lok.

I'm also continuing to note any new sentient species in the Tython system, meaning that the Tho Yor selected force-sensitive members of that race, even if the characters aren't Je'daii.


Other Characters

Species: Kwa
Sex: Male
Occupation: Unknown

One of the ancient Kwa who journeyed the galaxy with their famous hypergates and studied the power of the cosmos (or to the Je'daii 'the force'). They travelled across the galaxy spreading their wealth to many species until they found the Rakata who turned on them, conquering worlds to cause misery to feed their dark side powered technologies and tried to take the secret of Infinity Gate technology from the Kwa by force. The Kwa destroyed their gates and retreated to Dathomir, with A'nang remaining behind to prevent the Rakata from following her people back.

New Droids

Sentry Droid

These tall, spiderlike droids were used to patrol Bogan and make sure exiles stayed in their compounds. They had limited intelligence and used their sensor cuffs to monitor the location of the prisoners.

Rakatan Droid

A service droid used by the Rakata, able to perform multiple functions and with limited intelligence, Trill had one of these aboard her ship and used it to assist her in healing Sek'nos Rath.

Ryo Security Droid

This model of security droid was used for personal defence by Baron Volnos Ryo, the droid was capable of targeting and attacking multiple targets simultaneously.

New Vehicles

Pho-V Fighter

These fighters were used by Shikaakwan forces during the Despot War, one of these crashed in a hidden valley on Bogan and was used by Daegen Lok to escape with Xesh

Rakatan Starfighter

Small craft capable of travelling the vast distances between the stars, large enough to house two occupants. Trill used this ship to track Xesh to Tython.

New Species


A precursor to the fearsome Terentatek, these creatures were created by Je'daii science masters to detect explosives and battle Shikaakwan forces but they developed a taste for force-rich blood and turned on their masters. The results of these failed experiments were left to wander the wilds of Bogan.   

Krev Coeur Predator

These large creatures roamed the crystalline surface of Krev Coeur in the Tython system, constantly on the hunt for prey. Fearsome as they were, they were no match for one trained to use the force.  

Mutated Slash Rat

Mutated by the noxious fumes of the industrial planet Nox, these Slashrats prayed on civilians wandering alone at the city borders.

This story arc also featured mutant dianoga of giant proportions, but those aren't really anything new in SW comics!


As always I like to include a map of the action, it's a little bewildering to look at as it all takes place in the Tython system more or less and the groups get pretty split up as they visit different planets, get capture etc. but I did the best I could. Also after the action most of the characters return to Tython but I thought adding that last step would make the map impossible to follow!!



Sent to Bogan to meditate on the force Xesh is left in confusion about his place among the Je'daii. He is freed by Daegen Lok who had a vision of Xesh and the Rakata, which got him exiled to Bogan for his claims. Using an old fighter they flee Bogan determined to make more Forcesabers and rally an army against the Rakata - an army Lok plans to lead. The Je'daii pursue them to Krev Coeur where they obtain focusing crystals and to Nox where they assemble the hilt and activation device, but Sek'nos is 'rescued' by Trill who uses him to pursue Xesh and on Nox Shae Koda is captured by Daegen Lok and used as a bargaining chip. Meanwhile Tasha Ryo activates the holocron of A'nang who tells them of the danger the Rakata threaten if they have reached Tython's borders. Eventually catching up to Lok on Shikaakwa  and capture him with the help of Xesh who refuses to kill Shae Koda on Lok's orders, but Hawk Ryo is forced to admit that he shared the same vision - the Rakata are coming and they are ready for war!!

Next up: E3!!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Halo 4: Dawn

It's finally time!! I've finished writing about Mass Effect and now I'm on to Halo!! To be fair it wasn't all my fault - I've been meaning to blog about it for a while, but the recent Xbox One announcement threw my planned blogging pattern out of synch a little bit!

So yes my plan is to blog through Halo 4, each post will cover two missions unless I find I can cram more in as I go on. I will discuss any new enemies, weapons and vehicles that we come across (and there are plenty!!) as well as giving an overview of the storyline as I'm fairly sure any Halo fans will have played the game so won't need to worry about spoilers at this stage. As for my current progress I'm nearly finished playing 'Spartan Ops' a multiplayer campaign (though I've largely played it solo) set after the events of the single player story. The missions are simpler and shorter but have a decent story to them too.

I will try to be as throrough as I can, but one major downside to the new game is the lack of 'Theatre' mode. This was helpful in Halo: Reach as I was able to take snapshots of various thigs I couldn't find pictures of online, so apologies if there is anything missing here.


The first 'mission' is actually a cinematic, rendered in amazing lifelike CG - it pretty much speaks for itself so I'll just post it here.


The first level of the Campaign finds John still adrift on the Forward Unto Dawn nearly five years after destroying Instalation 00 and the Flood as well as the remains of the loyalist Covenant fleet. Detecting threats Cortana wakes John to find the ship not-so-abandoned.

New Enemies

Storm Covenant

The old Covenant is dead, most of the Prophets died aboard High Charity and the Brute loyalists were defeated by the Arbiter's forces which allied with humanity. But lacking a purpose a new rebel 'covenant' was formed, following the old ways and seeking Forerunner technology and rejecting the Arbiter's leadership. While generally less equipped then their predecessors, higher ranking Storm members have access to advanced technologies. Member species still include Unggoy (grunts) Kig-Yar (jackals) and Mgalekgolo (hunters) but Jiralhanae (brutes) Yanme'e (drones) and Huragok (engineers) are no longer present.

Covenant Rangers

Rangers, equipped for extra-vehicular activity, have long been part of the Covenant forces, but this is the first time Unggoy and Kig-Yar rangers have been encountered in-game.

Kig-Yar Heavy

Just to note that it seems a new species of Kig-Ya is in this game, being more reptilian than bird-like or maybe it is an overall redesign. These Jackal heavies have stronger shields and body armour than the rank and file.

New Weapons

Storm Rifle

A modified version of the standard plasma rifle issued to Covenant forces, this is the Standard weapon carried by Sangheili loyal to the new Covenant.

Hyperion Missile

Part of the armament of Forward Unto Dawn, this is a powerful ship-to-ship weapon capable of destroying a small cruiser.

New vehicles

CRS-Class Cruiser

Essentially a much smaller version of the standard CCS-Cruiser used by the Covenant, a large force of these smaller vessels, supporting some Assault Carriers and larger craft are the bulk of the Storm's fleet.


Awoken from cryo-sleep Chief is pushed into action by Cortana, who detects a presence nearby. As they expore the ruined ship they are scanned by an unknown force. John runs into a Covenant, surprised at their hostility, looking for more information they head to the observation deack to see a host of cruisers flocking around the wreck. Covenant forces board and John fights through them to the outer hull of the ship where he manually launches a missile at an approaching cruiser unfortunate enough to have it's shields down. But after this action John is sucked into the Forerunner planet Requiem by an unknown entity...but I'll get to that!!

More Halo soon! Next up Dawn of the Jedi!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mass Effect: He who laughs best

As part of free comic book day this special Mass Effect story was released to comic book stores worldwide. This is the first time I've picked up a FCBD copy (there have been Star Wars editions before now) because being UK based it obviously costs a lot for my local comic company to order them and then distribute them for free.

New Characters

General Invectus
Species: Turian
Sex: Male
Occupation: Turian General

Invectus was tasked with inaugurating the Normandy SR-1, a joint human-turian effort, that would become the famous flagship of Commander Shepard. Invectus's presence as the sole representative of the turian race was heralded as a sign of trust between the two races.


The main character of the story is Jeff "Joker" Moreau. A qualified pilot with impressive records, he is held back from his dream of flying a ship because of his physical condition (brittle bone disease). Tasked with being Invectus's shuttle pilot he brags about how he should pilot the ship and is shot down by Invectus, who also judges him as a cripple. With no resort left Joker steals the Normandy, due to take it's time trials near Arcturus Station. Joker outruns and evades fighter pursuit, still managing to complete the course in record time. Impressed by his talents as a pilot, Invectus recommends him for the job of Normandy pilot.

A nifty little backstory that was fun to have as part of free comic book day.

Next up: Halo!