A battle of wits, patience and strategic deck planning, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the free to play card battling game from World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment and it has proved to be an early success. There aren’t any hard stats on how many people are playing the game as Blizzard keeps a notoriously tight fist around its stats (the decade it took for them to release WoW stats, anyone?) but Hearthstone has been released on iPad, PC and even a release on PS4 and Xbox One is on the cards if official Blizzard surveys are to be believed. The game is also doing so well that it’s now set to become part of the professional eSports community but as the guidelines for a Hearthstone tournament in Finland explained that the festivities are strictly men-only, the only thing the organisers are competing for is to silence the controversy.
In the run up to Ubisoft’s E3 2014 press conference, French Revolution stab-em-up Assassin’s Creed Unity was set to be one of the biggest moments of their briefing, if not of the entire event. We knew that it would be a hot topic and we knew that the next Templar-ousting game in the series would be led by a male protagonist. However what we didn’t know was that Assassin’s Creed Unity would exclude playable female characters entirely and as for Ubisoft’s downright offensive statement to justify the lack of playable ladies? None of us could have ever seen that coming.
Have you heard the Tomb Raider news? Yes, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to 2013’s incredible Tomb Raider title was recently announced at E3 2014. But what about the other great Tomb Raider news – Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is on the way too to bring us something delicious to whet our appetites while we wait for Lara’s bigger budget outfit. It’s a long road until Rise of the Tomb Raider but Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris has a chance to be something really special so we may as well get acquainted. Find out more about the game after the break.
“Xbox One, the all-in-one entertainment system from Microsoft”, that’s the almost laughable quote that Microsoft mandates is added to every press release and official statement about games released on their brand new platform. When it was announced back in May 2013 that the console would have a focus on media not just of the video gaming sort, the bile and vitriol spewed against the decision was unavoidable. But with millions of paying customers now looking for a way to get televised content in front of their eye sockets, Microsoft have delivered a swift ‘stuff you’ to those critics having moved ahead with their Xbox Originals program to bring original TV billing to the Xbox One and Xbox 360. It could still go wrong and come crashing down around their ears which is why we’ve outlined 5 things they need to do to make Xbox Originals a resounding success.
When Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag launched last year I praised it and included it on my list of PS4/Xbox One launch titles to watch. It had a white protagonist but (on PlayStation) it let you play Aveline, a mixed-race woman whose mother is a slave and it introduced us to Adewale, a former slave who became Edward Kenway’s First Mate on the Jackdaw. In AC4 slavery is undoubtedly a focus of the game, with plantations as common as the hairs on your head and slavemasters being met with the pointy end of Edward’s sword more than a handful of times, but many aspects were jarring and being told that you’d freed ‘8 out of 10 nameless slaves’ in a series of optional mini-games didn’t feel like it did the realities of slavery much justice. There has to be a game that depicts the horror of slavery right though, gaming needs its 12 Years a Slave or its Django Unchained* and new game Thralled is set to be the story telling masterpiece to do it.
Around these parts, we’re just a bit fond of Tomb Raider, the origins story that was released to show Lara Croft as a green behind the ears explorer who was neither very good at killing, shooting or not getting herself torn to pieces by particularly pointy bits of metal. We like the gameplay, the characters and the world that is was set in and when I reviewed it a few months ago, I even thought that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (the PS4 and Xbox One rerelease of the 2013 game) was a cracking title too. Obviously, I want more of it and as I’m sure some sort of Yamatai prophecy suggests, you probably do to so here’s a list of the 8 things that we’d like to see from a Tomb Raider sequel.
It’s been a busy few weeks for Diablo 3, what with the Reaper of Souls expansion pack being released and then the Reaper of Souls XP boost announcement and then the Reaper of Souls update also being pushed out to garner all of the headlines and interest around Blizzard’s highly regarded RPG. But there’s something far more important afoot, as Blizzard prepared to ready their game for the RoS playing masses by releasing an update, an update which brought clans (hooray!) but it’s not all something to cheer about as in attempting to moderate, they’ve managed to offend but even more than that, the decision to keep the word ‘trans’ out of clans brings to light some of gaming’s worst, transphobic behaviour.
I really like Concursion, I like it a lot. I don’t say that because of its pretty genius concept of mish-mashing 5 games in 1 (although I like that too) or for its testing of skills and determination (but this is also a plus point). Concursion reminds me of the games younger me would play before class with friends in computers labs, frantically testing the limits of our own patience and our school’s budget keyboards. We’d rush off to lessons afterwards hating ourselves for not playing more as we regaled tales of who got further in the game than who. It’s a beautiful thing, nostalgia, and, as I said, I really like Concursion and I think that you will too.
J Station X is going to start covering PC games! I’m taking this very seriously because it means BIG, big things for the site and its coverage of diverse games, so keep reading after the break to find out more about the site’s new foray into keyboards, mice and the glorious world of Steam sales.
Racism still exists. From the day to day micro-aggressions muttered under breaths, to the vocal suggestions in protests and online that any person of colour is less than their white peers and to the systematic oppression of those who don’t happen to be white. It’s around us and poisonously so, to the point where it infiltrates every aspect of society. A place where it is most called into question and analysed is video games, where a (small, but meaningful) margin of non-white characters are seen. But can the behaviours of these characters influence our views on race? A new study seems to think so.