The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams: 52 in 52 Book #26

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This is a book I have been meaning to read for years. After finishing my A-levels, my close friend Charlie and I decided to walk the Isle of Wight coastal path for charity. During the five days it took us to complete this, we talked about lots of things including books. Both Charlie and I were avid readers and were soon recommending future reads to each other. Charlie, horrified that I had never even heard of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy insisted that I must read it. Four years later, I have finally fulfilled my promise on the matter.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy combines sci-fi with humour. The plot centres on the misfortunes of Arthur Dent and his Betelgeusian friend Ford Prefect as they hitchhike their way across the universe following the destruction of Arthur’s house (and planet). From Vogon poetry to a kleptomaniac President of the Imperial Galactic Government, mice from another dimension and a paranoid (and possibly suicidal) android named Marvin, this book entertains from page one until the last sentence.

For anyone who likes sci-fi and has retained the humour section of their brain, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is perfect. It never fails to keep your interest, throwing in twists and turns at every point. This is the first book in a long time where I haven’t been able to essentially guess the ending of the book by about a third of the way through. This made such a refreshing change and made me look forward to the evening just so Jim and I could find out what happens next!

Not that I ever doubted him, but Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy completely lived up to and exceeded Charlie’s recommendation and, as such, I pass on this endorsement to anyone with the intellectual ability to read and comprehend a book. It’s that good. Now to start The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

 

 

Kat

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The Baby’s Coming by Virginia Howes: 52 in 52 Book #25

The Baby's Coming

 

The Baby’s Coming by Virginia Howes was a book I had apprehensions about. I read this during the last stages of my midwifery training and was a little anxious that it might become one of those books (and tv programmes, films, articles…) that just annoys and infuriates me. It’s not necessarily the subject of this sort of book that annoys me but usually the editing, where things aren’t quite right. Just ask Jim what I’m like watching Casualty and you’ll get the picture*.

This book is one of the few midwifery autobiographies that hasn’t driven me to distraction and is now gladly welcomed into my exclusive “Midwifery Books I Enjoy” club alongside Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent and the Call the Midwife trilogy by Jennifer Worth. This is because although some bits did frustrate me, they were the bits that were meant to! Also the way the births and care were described were something I could entirely relate to as a student midwife transitioning into a qualified one.

As an autobiography, the book describes Virginia’s life from her teenage years, through her experiences as a parent, her nurse and midwifery training and finally her practice as an independent midwife. It was interesting to read about some of the experiences she had during her training and think about how much has, and unfortunately also hasn’t, changed.

The main reason I bought the book originally was because I wanted insight into independent midwifery. At this point in time, I have no plans to become an independent midwife but you never know! Virginia describes well the differences between practice in the NHS and independent practice and the benefits and challenges independent midwives face.

Of course, most of the readers of the book won’t be midwives or students and this book caters for the ordinary reader as well. If you like books about birth and babies, this will not disappoint and the descriptions of the births are some of my favourite bits. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry. All will keep you entertained.

Definitely would recommend this to midwives and students as well as mums, dads, anyone interested in what independent midwifery is and the perspective of an independent midwife.

 

 

Kat

* I shout…a lot…
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The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker: 52 in 52 Book #24

The Golem & the Djinni

Sorry about not posting for a while! I’ve been very busy finishing off my midwifery training! Now I’m off for a few weeks and hoping to do some catching up on my reading.

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker is a book I’ve extremely enjoyed. It took me a long time to read but that’s a good thing: I got to enjoy it for longer! Set mostly in early 20th century New York, the plot focuses around Chava, a golem without a master, and Ahmad, a djinni who is released from a metal oil pot after several thousand years. It describes their struggles to live and fit in not only as non-humans in a human world but also within the cultural groups populating New York in that time period.

The book is vibrant and colourful. I loved that the chapters alternate between the back stories of some of the main characters and the present day. Going from Little Syria, to Jewish towns in Europe to the Arabian desert might sound a bit haphazard but the book flows beautifully and the variety of people, places and events keeps the reader’s interest spectacularly.

This book also weaves themes of human poverty and struggles with magic and mythology into one single and beautiful literary blanket. There is a piece of plot or character in this book that everyone can enjoy and relate to in some way. The fantasy elements seem incredibly at home with discussions about running a business or someone becoming ill or dying. Nothing seems out of place.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction at all. There are more historical and fantasy elements than others but I really do think this is a book anyone could enjoy if they have the time to read it.

 

 

Kat

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52 in 52 Book #23 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale

 

Continuing my Bond streak I decided I should head back to the book that started it all: Casino Royale. Set at the beginning of Bond’s double 0 career, this book excited me and provided entertainment and excitement on every page.

As anyone who’s seen the film would know, the plot of the story involves Bond trying to disgrace rich SMERSH supporter Le Chiffre by winning against him at cards. However, in the book the game is baccarat which I found vastly more interesting to Texas Hold’em. Accompanied by French and American agents René Mathis and Felix Leiter and Secret Service agent Vesper Lynd, Bond travels to a French casino to complete this goal.

Vesper Lynd is a particularly intriguing character, not least because of her almost bipolar personality changes. She leads you, and Bond, on through the entire novel right up until the last words of the last chapter. She is the ultimate Bond girl.

This book has all the quintessential points a decent Bond story should: a car chase, a beautiful woman for Bond to seduce, a show down between Bond and the main villain. It grips you with the plot and the twist at the end is both shocking and heart-breaking. The novel also gives ground to Bond’s character development in later novels including why he hates SMERSH and his outlook on the world.

Anyone who even vaguely considers themself a Bond fan needs to read this book. It is the point at which it all began and has been my favourite Bond novel so far!

 

 

Kat

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E3 Conferences Round-up – Sony

E3

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is arguably the biggest and boldest annual video gaming convention ever to grace the planet. Held in sun-drenched Los Angeles; the big guns of the gaming industry including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony showcasing brand new hardware and games. The event is a pantomime of lights, music, noises and good old’ fashioned video games. Held exclusively to the press and industry members, the entire convention is streamed online for all us norms to watch at home. And that’s exactly what we did. People from all around the globe watched with bated breath waiting for what the next big announcements were coming to PC’s and home consoles over the next few months and beyond. This is a list some of the notable games and software that hooked us to spend all our hard earned money on the most expansive and by far best consumable media there is.

sony

Once upon a time, Sony was unknown as a games console manufacturer. They fought off the likes of Sega’s Saturn and they tussled with Nintendo’s cartridge based N64. And this suit followed in the next console generation. With the release of the original Xbox and the Gamecube, Sony went from strength to strength. Even with more recent efforts when the Wii and the 360 started to catch up, Sony still went hell for leather and provided some amazing experiences. The PlayStation, PS2, PS3 and now PS4 has allowed Sony to keep Nintendo and Microsoft in check as it never fails to deliver. Last E3, Sony alleviated themselves above the rest and although this E3’s contributions weren’t on the same scale as before, they still know how us gamers tick and they feed off that to create something a bit different and a wholly satisfying.

LBP

Ah, LittleBig Planet; cute, simple and full of joy. The first instalment was and still is impressive. Whilst the main story was great, the game was used as tool for community gamers to create their own unusual levels and share them amongst the world. With number 3 coming out soon boasting the same levels of limitless creativity and three extra characters – named Oddsock, Swoop and Toggle no less – Sackboy’s crazy adventures will surely continue in the zany way the series is known for. Media Molecule, the brains behind the franchise, has added multiple new abilities and items to capture more stickers, bubbles and to solve puzzles in interesting ways. ‘LittleBig Planet 3’ apparently includes all the previous games levels, letting you play through great moments again in glorious hi-definition or merely, if you never got the chance to before.

nms

A heavily block coloured and simply stylized ‘No Man’s Sky’ was shown. A part first person adventure part flight sim with phenomenal visuals and apparent continuous exploration, No Man’s Sky has players dog-fighting spaceships amongst asteroids, delving to underwater realms and walking through luscious landscapes teeming with life. The timed exclusive also features real time dives to planet with mountain peaks and crevasses seamlessly coming into view as the spaceship barrel-rolls through the chasms and ravines before blasting back into space. Each planet will seemingly be procedurally-generated; a common theme that is running with new games. Each world would be different and it’s up to you to make the choice of flying past it or cautiously explore it. It evokes a similar style to the independent game called ‘Eufloria’ but on a much larger scale and an increased colour-pallet. Again, like ‘Eufloria,’ this massive game isn’t made by a huge developer. It’s made by Hello Games; a group of about ten people in Guildford. This proves that no matter how much money or man-power is needed, something special can still be created out of something small and can compete with the heavyweights.

batmans

Batman returns in ‘Arkham Knight’. Some information has been known for while on the caped crusader’s upcoming game that was up until recently delayed to 2015. So Sony whetted our appetite and showed us gameplay footage. After Batman elegantly dives and swoops through the Gotham cityscape he firmly lands only to be greeted by an all-new Batmobile that can not only powerslide through the streets but also crab sideways while using some reckless bravado and insane firepower. Gotham is recreated spectacularly and the vibrant neon highlights the structures and landmarks. With an array of gadgets as his disposal, he successfully clears his way through armoured vehicles and escapes by ejecting out of the Batmobile and gliding into a brutal fist fight. The footage shows a lot of atmosphere as Batman plans his approach and attacks before the game glitches. Scarecrow takes over and announces his intentions of bring Gotham down… ‘Arkham Knight’ is not only a game that appeals to the hard-core comic book fans but also those who want to get into the Batman franchise. I for one am incredibly interested in this and I haven’t had much experience with past Batman games. Maybe it’s time to get started.

Uncharted

‘Uncharted’ developer Naughty Dog brought the epic ‘The Last of Us’ to consoles last year and it received global success. The Uncharted franchise has also created the type akin to a summer blockbuster movie. With epic chase sequences and ferocious gunfights, Uncharted has been a main staple of PlayStation since 2007. As the trailer opens we see the main protagonist, Nathan Drake in a spot of bother face down on a riverbank. Looking older and hard done by, a battered Nate eventually stumbles to his feet with a scratched face and an unloaded pistol. He’s been ‘out of the game’ for a while and needs to get back in. The camera pans to reveal he’s on some creepy, doomed island full of gibbets and rotting skeletons as Nate goes off on his next expedition one last time This is only the beginning of ‘Uncharted 4’ but ultimately, A Thief’s End…

Honourable Mentions

Bungie-made (who are responsible for ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’) ‘Destiny’ was shown as an alternative shooter to Halo for the PS4 with exclusive access to alpha and beta gameplay. A new white PS4 with a copy of Destiny included is also available.

More gameplay footage of Ubisoft’s epic ‘Far Cry 4’ showed off an infiltration of a basecamp, a tuk-tuk escape, a truck plummeting off a cliff, flying-squirrel type jumpsuits, elephants, a co-op buddy joining the assault, gyrocopters, machine-guns, explosions, grapple-hooks, drive-by shootings, carjacking whilst in motion and exploding elephants… But something that set it apart from the rest was the fact that anyone can join. As long as someone owns a PS3 or PS4, anyone can join. They don’t even have to own the game itself. I am curious to how that works but it sounds incredible.

Big news! ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ is coming to PlayStation 4, as well as Xbox One and PC. Yep. Finally, you can experience Los Santos and Blaine County on new home consoles. Many petition signers will be happy.

Sony announced a plethora of hardware news too including information on their camera and VR headset, project Morpheus; they announced a partnership with YouTube for unified uploads from the PS4; streaming service PSNow was also mentioned with many gaming and film/TV titles becoming available for ‘renting’ over the course of the next year or so, and, providing you have a dualshock 3 and a Sony Smart TV, PSNow can also be linked up without the need of any PlayStation console; games can be played through the TV.

‘Mortal Kombat X’, ‘Let it Die’ and ‘Bloodborne’ were probably the goriest of the showing. Broken jaws, huge wounds and much slicing and dicing were all present; enough to turn even the strongest of stomachs to jelly.

Who Was Not Mentioned?

last guardian

Much to the frustration of press and gamers, ‘The Last Guardian’ never showed light. Announced at E3 back in 2009, the Sony Computer Entertainment exclusive action-adventure game – originally planned for the PS3, no less – is currently still in development. Whether it will be announced at a later games conference or not at all is still a complete mystery. All we know about ‘The Last Guardian’ is it is still a loose cannon. We just don’t know when Sony will take it upon them to spill the beans on this hotly anticipated. Also the Vita’s back-catalogue wasn’t really improved upon. Although selections of games were shown in a montage, there wasn’t anything stand-alone amazing that said ‘this is what the Vita can do’ that has blown minds.

 

Sony had a huge conference; it was almost two hours long. This meant they showed a lot of games but it was also hard to pick a definite unique selling point. With the giants of ‘Destiny’, ‘Grand Theft Auto’, ‘Mortal Kombat’ and Far Cry sharing the limelight with ‘LittleBig Planet’ and ‘No Man’s Sky’, each with something new and brilliant, whittling them down was a difficult objective. Far Cry 4 appears to be a vast open world where, as the trailer says ‘each second is a story.’ ‘LittleBig Planet 3’ adds more cheeky characters to design and build and play away to your hearts content. Batman’s stunning visuals took centre stage with that of an indie developer’s exploration simulator. And for once these games that Sony showed us, no matter how gory, simple, complex, explody or elephanty, felt like they all fitted together for the Players.

Words by Jimmi

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E3 Conferences Round-up – Ubisoft

E3

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is arguably the biggest and boldest annual video gaming convention ever to grace the planet. Held in sun-drenched Los Angeles; the big guns of the gaming industry including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony showcasing brand new hardware and games. The event is a pantomime of lights, music, noises and good old’ fashioned video games. Held exclusively to the press and industry members, the entire convention is streamed online for all us norms to watch at home. And that’s exactly what we did. People from all around the globe watched with bated breath waiting for what the next big announcements were coming to PC’s and home consoles over the next few months and beyond. This is a list some of the notable games and software that hooked us to spend all our hard earned money on the most expansive and by far best consumable media there is.

ubisoft

Oobisoft? Yoobisoft? Maybe it’s something totally different, like ‘Ewbisoft.’ Whatever you call them, they’re a fantastically, quirky games developer. From action adventure epics to tactical shooters and beautiful platformers, Ubisoft are reliable for providing the world with ‘Assassin’s Creed’, ‘Far Cry’ and ‘Rayman’; making software for casual, dip-in gamers, to the hardest of core gamers; Ubisoft has everyone catered for and they do a good job of it.

With ‘Watch_Dogs’ taking centre stage in the past couple of E3’s with mind-blowing visuals and stunning gameplay, and it was released a few weeks before the presentation. It was going to be interesting to see what they could show off this year and to see if they could create a tornado of hype from other, more established franchises. They didn’t fail to deliver.

fc4

After a slightly bizarre introduction from the ‘Rabbids, Ubi went straight for the jugular. Litterally! ‘Far Cry 4’ had been announced before E3 but only a few sparse details were known. This gave Ubisoft the chance to show the first five minutes of the new instalment to the Far Cry series. As our character, Ajay Ghale, is ambushed whilst riding a bus through the Himalayas, we get thrown into a tirade of gunfire and bullets at an unannounced spot check. Ghale is fired at by the militia and manages to escape the mayhem of the bus only to be greeted by an armed guard and an ominous, black helicopter at his feet. The dark figure that creeps out of the chopper is the games villain, Pagan Min, who graces the recently released box art. Dressed to the nines with his pink flares, he oily says “I distinctly remember saying ‘stop the bus’ […] not ‘shoot the bus.’” Although, calm and collect, rage is evidently building up in the swishly, dressed villains eyes and voice as he pulls out a pen knife and goes for the injured guard furiously, ruining his shoes and splattering his face with blood in the process. This man is clearly mentally unstable and not a force to be reckoned with. He however does recognise our protagonist and starts conversing with him, like they’re old friends and even finds time to take a selfie with Ghale in true 2014 fashion. Ghale looks evidently perplexed as to who or why he has been picked up on. Is he in trouble or his he safe? We’ll have to play it to find out…

jd2015

‘Just Dance’ is a funny old series, starting back in 2009 on the Wii with roots in ‘Rayman’s Ravin’ Rabbid’s’ game. Now in its sixth iteration, the worldwide mega-seller is back for sillier dance moves at your next alcohol fuelled family gathering. A trailer featuring a number of elaborate groups of people dancing to their on-screen leaders to Pharrel Williams’ sickly infectious ‘Happy’ is shown before moving on in true E3 form by getting a load of actual dancers on stage to rave to the newly announced ‘Just Dance Now’. An app and tablet/smart TV based that allows gamers to play Just Dance with their smartphone. The app is connected to a bigger screen to show the players what to do whilst the phone itself uses the power of the built in gyroscopes to recognise the movements as you do your dancy thang with an infinite number of others. This interesting concept will get regularly updated with new songs and dance moves in the future.

acu

‘Assassin’s Creed’ opened up a new world of possibilities for me. As I was stuck playing mostly racing and driving games, I got immense satisfaction soaring into haystacks, traversing high walls and plunging hidden blades into enemies. ‘Unity’ is the new offering. Although Microsoft showed a multiple player co-operative mission of Unity in their press conference, Ubisoft gave us a glimpse of a solo objective. After short atmospheric trailer, the gameplay began at the very top of Notre Dame. Our Assassin swiftly and bravely dives off the tower, catching every other wall, gargoyle and protrusion on his way down. This assassin doesn’t care much for haystacks it seems but his decent is quick and nimble. He reaches a vastly populated terra firma and objectives pop up as he blends in with the Parisian crowds. He encounters a restricted area and promptly uses his hidden blades on a couple of unaware guards. This follows with familiar swordfight. Sparks fly from sword blades and the finally the guard is taken down with a slice to the throat. Our assassin now searches for potential targets and proceeds to hunt them down. He slinks down behind cover, staying out of view of potential foes and silently creeps from one crate to the next. The man he is after is not where he thinks he is but gets word of the actual whereabouts. As our assassin darts out of the window and across roofs, icons pop up. As there is no map, this could possibly the new way how we as players find missions. He now scuttles through houses and crowds and back up wall with acrobatic finesse, getting to a higher vantage point to find his prey. He finds the man he is after and follows him via rooftops to a guillotine. He picks his moment and pounces from the guillotine itself, forcing his hidden blade into the Captains neck. The guards around rear up as our assassin is joined by his fellow co-operative brothers, ready to take on the ensuing onslaught. Unity is on good form. ‘Assassin’s Creed II’s’ Italian setting defined it and going back to a similarly stunning location and time period rather than the later colonial America of III is going to be favourable with fans. I for one cannot wait to see how this develops.

Rainbowsix

‘Battlefield Hardline’ has a new competitor it seems. A new Rainbow Six had been in the works and was overdue. The most recent utterance of a new Rainbow Six for consoles and PC after ‘Patriots’ was cancelled was 2008’s ‘Vegas 2’. This multiplayer pre-alpha level features a bunch of good guys planning and taking out the bad guys in a hostage situation, showing its mettle in a five versus five match. Again like Ubisoft’s ‘The Division’, it unrealistically gave us this heavily acted interpretation of an online multiplayer match. But cheese aside, the elements that were shown provided enough coverage into how ‘Siege’ can bring something interesting to the table. Gun shots can fire gaping holes into the wall that players can then shoot through themselves to take out the enemy. This type of procedural destruction adds to the immersion and realism. Battlefield may have had its ‘levolution’ moments that drastically altered the map but the smaller details on something like a house falling bits when a player blows a hole in the floor to get past barricades may not be the same as tumbling buildings but using the destruction adds a tactical approach. The footage ends with a one on one cliff-hanger.

Notable Mentions

Ubisoft’s open world multiplayer racer, ‘The Crew’ was shown in a time lapsed compilation trailer of races that span over two hours filled with high powered supercars bursting through urban jungles, sand-filled canyons and winding hills.

‘Valiant Hearts: The Great War’; a touching UbiArts side-scroller inspired by events from the First World War. With a cartoony animated style but also a heavy message, it expresses an evocative atmosphere that is aching to be played, just to see and hear the stories it can tell.

By the looks of things, ‘Shape Up’ uses the Kinect to its full ability. With crazy push ups and ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ inspired challenges, this is bringing motion controlled games up to scratch.

Who Was Not Mentioned?

Rabbid

Where to start? ‘Rayman’ was not present; his fury yet crazy pests the ‘Rabbids’ were relegated to the introduction; so we can’t expect any of that ridiculous fun from previous instalments on newer consoles just yet. The Driver series could have also been touched upon but, alas no. I think that last year’s ‘Watch_Dogs’ being a similar open world game with driving might have become a bit repetitive which is a shame because after ‘San Francisco’, Driver proves that it can still provide hours of joy and entertainment.

The French company did well this year. We’ve seen the next instalment of the ever-popular Assassin’s Creed; we’ve met psychopaths and are intrigued by their motives in Far Cry 4; we can dance with as many people as we want to with just an app and a fancy TV; and we can use our Kinect’s for something half decent! It’s hard to pick a firm favourite because these titles all have something that appeals; which is what Ubisoft (‘Oobisoft’? ‘Yoobisoft’? Actually, it might also be ‘Ubbisoft’…) is all about.

 

 

Words by Jimmi

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E3 Conferences Round-Up – EA

E3

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is arguably the biggest and boldest annual video gaming convention ever to grace the planet. Held in sun-drenched Los Angeles; the big guns of the gaming industry including Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony showcasing brand new hardware and games. The event is a pantomime of lights, music, noises and good old’ fashioned video games. Held exclusively to the press and industry members, the entire convention is streamed online for all us norms to watch at home. And that’s exactly what we did. People from all around the globe watched with bated breath waiting for what the next big announcements were coming to PC’s and home consoles over the next few months and beyond. This is a list some of the notable games and software that hooked us to spend all our hard earned money on the most expansive and by far best consumable media there is

EA

Electronic Arts are known for their prowess when it comes to the best and most loved sports games; epic racers; superb shooters and massive hits. EA may have been voted as one of the worst companies for two consecutive years but you can’t overlook their sheer scope and outlook and how it continues to make some fantastic games. From the Sims and the ‘FIFA’ series, to ‘Need For Speed’, to ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Dead Space’ and ‘Mass Effect’, EA know how to create a good franchise that will sell and please.

After a short teaser of a new, hotly anticipated ‘Star Wars: Battlefront'; a woman with a cello on a moving plinth came out to open with a trailer for the action role-player ‘Dragon Age Inquisition’ that showed off sprawling scenery and a seemingly endless world. This segued into demonstrations and a behind the scenes looks at the new ‘Mass Effect’ detailing how the improvements BioWare have made for the new consoles.

sims

One of the most popular EA games, ‘The Sims 4′ showed the infinite creation tools in making your Sim and ultimately their stories and adventures. The showcase was a bit cringey but at least it covered all the bases of the new Sims, there is still that traditional Sims element of being to create whoever you want – be it yourself or as the trailer showed, President Barack Obama – and whatever house you want and how the life and death of a Sim pans out.

criterion

Criterion are responsible for some of my favourite games in the past. I loved smashing cars off the road in ‘Burnout 3: Takedown’ and ramming Lamborghini’s in an Aston Martin police car in ‘Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit’, so seeing new content from Criterion got me excited. In early stages of development, this new game is built around extreme motor sports. From launching speedboats off waterfalls; flips on an all-terrain quad bike or blasting through snow-covered trees on a skidoo; full of crashes and smashes and those sort of adrenaline pumping moments that have come from the Burnouts and the Need for Speeds albeit on larger scale with a wider scale of vehicles at ones disposal. Although not a lot was shown, this is going to be one of them games to watch closely to see how it comes on and what it does exactly that splits it apart from other games with element like this in them.

ME

‘Mirror’s Edge’ was teased at last year’s E3 so it was slightly disappointing that it was still in early stages of development. Regardless of this, ‘Mirror’s Edge’ was a game that has a impeccable sense of speed, momentum and weight that I haven’t really seen done elsewhere. ‘Mirror’s Edge’ is going on six years old now and along with some inconsistencies (as well as pretty poor gun-play), it’s showing its age. It still looks fantastic and when you’re in the swing of things, plays like a dream, so when sequences of new and improved game-play and graphics was shown in another one of these ‘behind the scene montages’ the next ‘Mirror’s Edge’ looks like it’s on form to being what it originally set out to be. The clean utopia is back with the stark red hints is back and brings in elements that play out the best approach for combat; keeping everything that Faith does fast and agile without ever stopping.

HARDLINE

The biggest hit of EA’s press conference was the almighty ‘Battlefield Hardline'; a new take on the first-person shooter that doesn’t rely on the military backing that happens so often. This is a gritty, urban cop’s vs robber’s simulator that borrows from Battlefields of old. It is invigorating to see a game where you can choose how to tactically take out the enemies in a trade of mayhem from the right of the law for once. But having the choice of playing dirty is always going to win votes. The demo showed team of bad guys against the team of police trying to stop them from running away with the loot in a 32 player melee. And the bad guys do not go without a fight. Played in a similar vein of the Battlefield 4’s demo at the last E3, the demo has explosions, massive gunfights, car crashes, a crane taking out a building; it was just utter destruction. Rocket-propelled grenades create escape routes; debris allows access to other parts of the level, player’s zip-wire onto motorbikes. It looks fast, immense and purely epic. Gun-play is typical of your generic military shooter but it still allows you to use them in interesting ways such as shooting whilst zipping down a wire or out of a car as it hurtles as the police pursue. This type of game hasn’t really been done before and it’s invigorating to see a game where you can tactically plan your battle I And of course, it ends with the bad guys being taken down. ‘Hardline’ was released as an early closed Beta on PC and PlayStation 4 which stalled both EA’s Origin service and PSN. People want this game and like last year, ‘Battlefield Hardline’ will be fighting it out with Call of Duty for the best first person shooter of E3.

Notable Mentions

Bruce Lee is in the new ‘UFC'; ‘Madden NFL15′ and ‘NHL 15′ have been given an overhaul. But the big surprise in these sports game segments was ‘PGA Tour'; described as ‘Golf without limits.’ Yes they showed the simple courses but when a battleship rams through the middle of one course and runs aground, you think “wow. When did golf get so interesting?”

‘FIFA 15′ has again improved the details of strides, ball trajectories and more realistic players. The lists of tweaks that have been added to ‘FIFA 15′ only seem to be the tip of the iceberg. Football games, I find, have a certain level of excitement; the gripping tension of scoring one goal, not knowing when or how the other team are going to fight and claw their way back. These added details will then add to the atmosphere of an already great franchise.

Who Was Not Mentioned?

nEEDFORSPEED

It was announced earlier in the year that Need for Speed won’t be releasing a game in the coming months. Need for Speed has been one of those franchises that release a new game every year with varying degrees of success. I enjoyed ‘The Run’ but not as much as ‘Hot Pursuit’. And ‘Most Wanted’ felt like a clone of the Burnout game a lot of us felt we needed. This isn’t such a bad thing as developers are releasing racing games over the course of the next year or so that look to fulfill that need for speed. With ‘Drive Club’, ‘The Crew’, ‘Forza Horizon 2′, and soon to be Criterion’s next effort, Need for Speed won’t necessarily be sorely missed. It would have been nice to have heard from a Need for Speed but Criterion’s extreme sports racer will keep me ticking over for a while.

I felt like EA needed more in the press conference. It’s understandable that games are in development and at this time when the PS4, Wii U and XBOX ONE are still in early years of life; progression may take a bit longer as the new hardware is utilized to the best of its ability. But as it panned out, the reveal of ‘Battlefield Hardline’ showed that EA aren’t taking things lying down and it will be one to watch over the coming months. The sheer exuberance of it made it the ultimate highlight of the showcase.

 

 

Words by Jimmi

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