Gaming news with Adam Guetti

NEW RELEASES

The release of Grand Theft Auto V has opened the floodgates for video games to hit the shelves in the lead up to Christmas. And yes, the heavy hitters are out in force – get ready as October offers up some cute and cuddly creatures, a little bit of plundering and lots of Hollywood spectacle.

For Nintendo fans, Christmas comes early on Saturday October 12 with the release of yet another iteration of the insanely-popular Pokemon series. X and Y versions for the 3DS (the first for the new handheld) will have you role-playing a Pokemon master as you continue to delve into the mystery surrounding the legendary Xerneas and Yveltal. Kids and adults alike are sure to lap this one up.

Come the Friday October 25, it’ll be time to don the cape and return to Gotham in Batman: Arkham Origins (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U). An origin prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, Origins focuses on a young and unrefined Bats as master criminal Black Mask enlists the help of Gotham’s finest super villains to take out the Dark Knight on Christmas Eve.

Then on Thursday October 31, the first contender for 2013’s first person shooter crown appears. Yes, Battlefield 4 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) will bring gaming joy with stunning visuals, a more comprehensive single-player campaign and the usual slew of addictive multiplayer modes.

Rounding out the month is the latest Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (Xbox 360, PS3, PC). After copping criticism from its predecessor, Black Flag is aiming to inject the series with jolly antics of the pirate life. Less Johnny Depp and more sailing the seven seas, you should definitely keep your telescope trained on this one.

AUSSIE NEWS

EB Extravaganza

Sydneysiders take note – the biggest gaming show of the year is almost here. From October 4-6, EB Games Expo Sydney 2013 hits Sydney Showground with the hottest games you’ll be dying to get your hands on. Heavyweights Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Titanfall will all be playable, as will next-generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For most, this will be the first opportunity to see and hold the new devices.

There will also be a League of Legends stand streaming live games for fans and a Home Grown Gaming area showcasing all the finest local developers trying to make it big.

Aussie Takes EA’s Top Spot

After months of internal company drama, video game publisher EA has finally appointed a new CEO and it’s none other than Aussie Andrew Wilson who’s been with the company for a number of years.

“From my start at EA in Australia back in 2000, through stops in Asia, Europe and now North America, I’ve worked with people in this company who have consistently amazed and inspired me,” said the once Executive VP of EA Sports.

Gametraders Go Super Size

Popular video game store Gametraders is set to expand their stores to be larger social hubs – dubbed Gametraders Live – with a plan to start offering snacks, coffee and couches. It’s the first retailer to try and successfully initiate such a bold idea, but Mark Langford, Founder and MD of the company, remains positive. Penrith is the first location to receive the upgrade.

“For Gametraders’ customers this means not only video games and a broad range of pop culture and Cosplay outfits and accessories, but is also offering in-store trading card, Warhammer and gaming tournaments, plus Anime and Cosplay events,” said Langford after the announcement.

REVIEW

GRAND THEFT AUTO V

The release of a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game is something of a spectacle. It’s one of the most popular and highly regarded series in the history of the medium, and rightly so, providing sprawling, chaotic entertainment for hours at a time. In that respect, GTA V is much the same; but then it’s also so much more.

Set in Los Santos, a fictional sun-soaked metropolis, it follows the plight of three very different criminals all trying to make a bit of cash. There’s Franklin, a former street gangster, now looking for real opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is not all that he hoped it would be; and Trevor, a violent maniac driven by the next big score. With time and money running out the unlikely trio are forced to risk everything in a series of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.

It’s a fun tale that, by offering up three separate protagonists, allows Rockstar North to focus on a variety of wildly different beats that will keep you constantly entertained. Michael’s mid-life crisis and Franklin’s wannabe gangster ways would grow tiring if they were self contained narratives, but combined they transform into a tale bound to keep you chuckling and wanting to push on.

Most importantly, GTA V is the end result of years of practice and learning. Both driving and shooting mechanics have been vastly improved since GTA IV, while the level of detail and effort put into the world of Los Santos is truly outstanding. For a game being released at the end of a console generation, it’s a technical achievement worth every ounce of praise.

At its core, GTA V isn’t just one of the best video games of the year. It’s one of the best games of this generation. Buy it.

5 stars

Adam Guetti

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