A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
Battlefield 1 by
published Thursday, Nov 03rd

Battlefield 1 Grips UK Chart

Battlefield 1 (-39%) fights off competition to remain the best seller in the final week of October.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition has an impressive launch (at second), falling short of the original release in terms of sales figures. FIFA 17 (-6%) has a minor drop in sales to come behind in third.

At fourth, Titanfall 2 fails to live up to the heights of its predecessor at launch. The original Titanfall was a best-seller in the first and four consecutive weeks.

The launch of Farming Simulator 17 at fifth improves console format sales on PS4 (+54%) and Xbox One (+32%), bearing in mind it released on Tuesday rather than at the end of the week.

Mafia IIdrops three places to sixth due to new movement.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is new at seventh, pushing Gears of War 4 further down the chart to eighth.

Promotions keep Grand Theft Auto V (+89%) and Forza Horizon 3 (+11%) in the top ten.

Other releases this week include World of Final Fantasy at eleventh, Just Dance 2017 is new at twenty-sixth and Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure, which includes all additional content, including the original Minecraft: Story Mode, at thirty-first.

Battlefield 1 by
published Wednesday, Oct 26th

UK Chart: Battlefield 1 Opens Up Chart

The much anticipated Battlefield 1 storms the chart, outselling the previous two launches in the franchise, but falling short of best-selling launch this year to Tom Clancy’s The Division. Knocked to second, FIFA 17 (-36%) is dropped after three consecutive weeks at the top.

Mafia III (-59%) remains at third ahead of Gears of War 4 (-76%) which drops two places to fourth.

Batman: Return to Arkham, a collection on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, launches to fifth.

WWE 2K17 at sixth, Rise of the Tomb Raider at seventh and Forza Horizon 3 at eighth, all fall two places each.

Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft: Xbox Edition climb back in the top ten.

Other new releases this week include Civilisation VI on PC at fifteenth, and LEGO Harry Potter Collection at nineteenth.

published Monday, Jun 13th

Mourn those lost. Worry about how to sell games another day.

The annual E3 gaming conference is taking place in Los Angeles this week, and many of the world’s biggest gaming publishers are lining up to show the public their latest big budget offerings.

LA Convention Center (via PrayitnoMany of the new games presented will share a common theme: guns.

The mid-90’s represented a turning point for the gaming industry, in which its focus on shooters grew stronger — going from Quake to Goldeneye, to more recent celebrated games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield.

The mass-market appeal of shooters such as these reached fever-pitch in recent years, with annual installments and frenzied launches marking what are now some of the biggest money makers in all of entertainment (raking in over half a billion dollars in just a matter of days).

For the past several years E3 has attracted critical commentary on the volume of games involving guns.

Some of that criticism is based on just a sheer lack of variety, yet sometimes it’s due to the real-world parallels that can be drawn. Sometimes those lines are obscure, but for E3 2016 the parallel for some is ostensibly clear.

Following yet another horrific mass shooting in the U.S, in which over 50 people were killed, some members of the gaming community are now beginning to question the role that such games play. Not only in promoting gun culture, but in how their flashy presentations can often seem tone deaf — particularly in the wake of such tragedy.

Chris Plante and T.C Sottek, writing for The Verge, pulled into question EA’s press conference for its apparent disregard for the very real events that had occurred just hours prior in Orlando.

Battlefield 1

The Verge editorial questions the morality of showing footage where “humans kill each other with hyper-detailed guns” so soon after the worst shooting in the history of the United States.

EA’s conference is the first of many taking place this week, showing new ‘gun games’ like Titanfall and Battlefield. Yet, as The Verge points out, such heavy focus on the shooter genre is not the practice of just a single publisher, adding that E3 as a whole “regularly celebrates graphic violence”.

Many have taken The Verge article to be a either a cheap shot towards the gaming industry, or click bait at a time of mourning. Whatever you consider it to be, one thing is clear — the issue the editorial is attempting to address is by no means a binary one.

The Verge piece isn’t attempting to shame EA and others for the games they create. Nor is it a criticism of the gaming industries creative output.

Instead, I believe the commentary (misjudged or not) was attempting to start a timely dialogue on the brazenness with which various gun fantasies are flaunted, trailer after trailer.PS4 Controller - Blue

American gun culture, violent games, and popular entertainment in general have a longstanding (and lucrative) relationship which isn’t going away anytime soon.

The popularity of such entertainment has long been questioned, be it in games, TV or movies, such as those from Quentin Tarantino. Arguments on the how and the why are endless.

People will draw parallels, lines will be drawn. This is inevitable. Some will blame games, others won’t. Sometimes it will be justified, sometimes it won’t be.

Real people died, and hours later a corporation took to the stage to showcase how you can kill people in their new game. It makes for a flashy headline, but the connection is often tenuous and the subject much more nuanced.

Games are often a scapegoat, and gamers are often defensive. Either way, distinguishing fantasy from reality and remembering real people have suffered is what matters right now.

Nobody is calling for end to this form of entertainment, however we should take this as an opportunity for consideration, reservedness and to reflect on how popular gun-toting media fits into and informs our culture.

No matter what your stance, we should first and foremost mourn those lost. Worrying about how EA and others sell their games can be an issue for another day.

published Wednesday, Jul 30th

EA Announce UK Pricing For Subscription Gaming Service ‘EA Access’

EA confirmed Wednesday that its upcoming subscription-based gaming service ‘EA Access‘ will cost £3.99 a month to UK subscribers.

Currently in beta for a limited number of Xbox One players, the new scheme will allow subscribers to download a range of titles and play them unlimited, as long as their recurring subscription is active.

Titles available during the beta include FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4 with more titles to be announced.

Members of EA Access will also receive 10% off most EA titles available to download on Xbox One.

BAFTA Award by
published Sunday, Mar 18th

BAFTA Celebrates The Best In Gaming From The Last Year

It was a night of sequels as the creme-de-la-creme of gaming were celebrated on Friday night when BAFTA presented the British Academy Video Games Awards.

Hosted by comedian Charlie Higson and Kick Ass writer Jane Goldman, the BAFTAs are the biggest awards in the British video gaming calendar and chooses winners across eighteen different categories.

Portal 2 won the night’s biggest prize, as the acclaimed sequel to Valve’s 2007 puzzle title scooped the best game award. It finished the evening with a hat-trick of awards, also winning the award for best design and best story.

London-based Rocksteady Studios picked up the best action award for Batman: Arkham City, the well received follow-up to Batman: Arkham Asylum, while Mark Hamill, the voice behind the Joker, won best performer.

Video Game BAFTAs

Video Game BAFTAs

Another UK winner was Guilford-based Media Molecule, who won the awards for best family game and best game innovation for LittleBigPlanet 2.

Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 was the out-and-out fans favourite picking up the awards for the best online multiplayer and the GAME award, the only award to be voted for by the public. Battlefield completed its own hat-trick, also picking up the audio achievement award.

The annual special award was presented to Markus Persson, the creative mind behind Minecraft, the charming sandbox RPG.

See the rest of the nights winners after the jump.

Battlefield 2142 by
published Wednesday, Dec 06th

Battlefield 2142 Review

Fed up of fighting wars that have already happened or happening right now? Then how about forgetting all of that and move to the year 2142. A year full of Eskimos and igloos and penguins and ICE! After fighting in deserts, jungles and on sea, DICE have decided that a frozen wasteland would make an excellent battleground, so that’s where Battlefield 2142 comes in. It’s an adrenaline filled fun first person shooter that seems familiar, yet has some nice new additional features to make it worthwhile.

The story to Battlefield 2142 is the world froze over in 2106 (Global warming comes true!). After debates the world’s governments were forced to face the reality of the intimidating cold. As the snow swept down from the north, living became impossible. Losing countries, the governments decided to form two new superpowers, The European forces (EU) and the Pan Asian Coalition (PAC) army. Now speed to 2142, the Europeans are trying to protect Africa, one of the only places that as of yet is to be affected by the cold. Players can expect to have battles in both Europe and Africa, so everything isn’t just a ground of white. The game only features those two armies to use in battles. No doubt some add-ons will come out, with an extra team or two to fit into the storyline at some point.

The first thing to hit you while playing Battlefield 2142 is just how familiar it all seems. The game uses a modified version of the Battlefield 2 engine and thus you can’t help but feel that it’s just a top produced mod for the previous game. It’s happened before though. Battlefield: Vietnam suffered from the same déjà vu experience, but even so the game was still fun and it’s no different here. So while nothing major has changed to the gameplay, there’s certainly more features than ever before in a Battlefield game.

Since the game is set in the future you can expect to see all sorts of high tech weapons. Players won’t have to worry about some crazy arse weaponry though as there doesn’t seem to be anything over the top. There are no light sabres or energy particle weapons here. All the weapons just look like a futuristic version of present day weaponry. There are around 40 weapons and upgrades to unlock, so there’s plenty to check out, even if they aren’t so advanced. The same can also be said for the vehicles as well, apart from the awesome inclusion of Mechs, they are all just future looking present day armoury, just what the hell have they been doing for 130+ years? Well I guess apart from placing ads (more on that later) the answer to that could be they made air vehicles less dominating. Gone are the days of constant death by aircraft bombardment in Battlefield 2. They seem to be weaker and less involved in combat in 2142. To some that will be welcoming news.

As you can expect then, playing Battlefield 2 will certainly give you an advantage, plus a nice little red 2 symbol next to your name. It shows that you are a battlefield 2 veteran. The core mechanics of the game are quite the same. The Conquest mode from past games returns here and is identical. Conquest allows for two teams of up to 32 players each to battle it out for capture points on the map. These flags once captured speed up the decrease of your opponent’s tokens, so the more flags you have the faster your opponent’s tokens decrease. Capturing flags also allows you to spawn to that location too and if the map lets you, you can capture all the points so none of the other team can spawn onto the map. This means killing the rest of the players on the map finishes the game off earlier than usual.

Titan is the new gameplay mode added to Battlefield 2142. Titan mode doesn’t let you have 64 players total this time, but instead 48. It’s still a decent amount and more than most other games allow you to play with. In Titan mode the teams are trying to destroy the oppositions Titan, a hovering behemoth that can be moved around the battlefield by the commander of the team. It merges some gameplay elements from conquest (having to capture missile silos instead of flags, these silos launch missiles on regular intervals at the titans.) Hitting Titans with missiles lower the shields that protect it. After that you have the fun of boarding onto the Titan. This is done by means of getting blasted up onto the Titan via a mobile personal carrier. Titan mode is a lot more team dependant than Conquest. If you manage to get a good team together you’ll be able to overcome things a lot easier, especially getting teams into the Titan, as you’ll be in close quarters using cover to get your way through to the Titan’s reactor to blow it sky high, although to a unspectacular fashion. It just sets alight with some bang sound effects. It really should just go “BOOOM” with pieces flying everywhere. It feels somewhat anti climax after all the work you put into destroying the beast in the sky.

To coincide with the gameplay changes are also the reduction in the amount of classes. Battlefield 2 consisted of seven classes, and even the first game, Battlefield 1942 had five. This version has just four classes. Now it may seem low but these are a lot more customizable than any other classes in a Battlefield game. Classes from older games are merged into the same one. The Recon class is a mixture of a Sniper and Special-Ops. Assault is a mixture of the Assault class and Medic class. Battlefield 2142 relies heavily on unlocking weapons and items, as these will let you customize the classes. There is a lot more to unlock in this game than there was in Battlefield 2, they also unlock a lot faster, but overall you’ll have to play the series longer than ever before to unlock everything that is available. While it helps to unlock single things faster. If you want to spend time and effort on a class then you end up neglecting the others. When you come to play as anything else, they’ll be less effective then they would have been with the unlocks you could of put into them.

It seems that DICE has put more focus on squads that ever before this time around. Past games had squads in but a few would never bother with it, they preferred to be lone wolfs and thus the game doesn’t always play out the best like that. In 2142 the squads are back but DICE has made sure people playing in squads are rewarded more. Squads that are doing well will receive “Squad Field Upgrades.” These are temporary unlocks. Once unlocked, these can be used as long as you stay on the server. It also serves as a good way to try out the next unlockable weapons and items, seeing as it allows you to unlock the next stuff in the unlock chain without actually using your points.

Battlefield 2142 feels more polished from a release point than any other previous instalment. Past games have had reports of bugs and glitches. A lot of Battlefield 2 players will remember the pain in the arse bug that affected the server search engine on the release of Battlefield 2. If you aren’t sure, it basically made it hell to actually find a game and try and join it, because of the server list freezing or jumping around like a hyperactive kangaroo on red bull. This doesn’t mean 2142 is bug free. Badges don’t seem to unlock right away, or on some occasions not registering at all. One point I had to go back and gain the missing amount again to force it to unlock correctly. Hopefully DICE will cough out a patch soon to fix some of the minor niggles. You’ll be able to seen when it’s out by the news headliner at the bottom of the screen. It scrolls past showing updates in the community. A very nice feature DICE!

The game does occasionally have some moments where it looks great, even if it still is an old engine in use, it manages to hold on. The graphics are used to their full effect to help create some nice gritty level designs. It features little pieces of details too, like the fuzzy visor interference. This happens when you’re near EMP devices, or huge explosions. Sound furthermore truly adds to the feeling. You’ll hear the characters shouting out locations of enemies, friendly or just plain scream in pain for a medic. The whole game manages to capture the atmosphere of war quite well, even if you can’t blow peoples legs off.

There’s been a wave of concern about EA and their choice to stick in dynamic advertisement in to the game. It’s not secretly stuck in there. The game comes with a leaflet informing the user of the feature and what it does. It hasn’t affected the way I have played the game. It’s not like they stick it right in front of your face. It’s on places that you would expect to see adverts in the real world. Most matches I haven’t had time to check them out, especially in city maps where the action is nearly always heated up. The leaflet does tell you have to play the game without having it enabled. To do this you’ve got to install the game on a machine that isn’t connected to the internet. Apart from LAN games this pretty much makes the game useless, unless you want to shot bots in the face for the rest of your life.

I guess Battlefield 2142 is kind of like a soldier in war. Do you want to risk totally revamping the series, releasing a new person into the world, knowing there’s a chance he could be shot down within a day or two of going out to fight? You could take the safe route and use an experience war veteran who has more of a chance to survive. This is the route DICE decided to take with the game and while familiar, it does exactly what it sets out to do. Update the franchise in a way that features some new ideas that are worthy of a purchase, but is still in familiar territory. It might not be revolutionary or as exceptional as when the series first hit the market. The most important thing at the end of the day is that it’s fun, and Battlefield 2142 is certainly very… no incredibly very fun to play.

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat by
published Monday, May 01st

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Review

Playing Battlefield 2: Modern Combat online on a full server is an experience akin to finding yourself in the middle of the Apocalypse. There are soldiers running around in every direction, firing their weapons in every other direction. Helicopters circle the air above you and occasionally opt for the good old “kamikaze” approach to combat – crashing down and taking out as many people as they can with them.

Tanks roll around on the ground, clumsily trying to manoeuvre themselves out of the crevice they’ve trapped themselves in and firing into the ground and the sky. Somewhere down there, there you are – running and shooting, twisting your rifle towards anything that moves and praying you kill that fucker behind the crates before he kills you.

Online, with the full complement of players, Battlefield 2 is at its brilliant best. With more multiplayer modes than America have nuclear missiles, and the option of forming clans to really take it to your opponents, Iraq-style, the game really does eclipse the likes of Perfect Dark Zero and Call of Duty 2 online. Even with less players, the multiplayer modes are exciting and absorbing, with stunning visuals let down only slightly by occasional lag and the odd jagged line.

The game may be a port, but EA have really spruced the game up for its powerful new host. You can detect areas here and there which haven’t been touched up quite as well as others, but the game still looks the business. The controls aren’t quite as intuitive as you might like, but within ten minutes you’ll be able to run and gun quite happily without any problems.

Though there is a tactical element to game, Battlefield 2 doesn’t require as much methodical planning and strategising as some other shooters. You have to tread the line between finding effective cover and gunning down your foes, but there’s rarely more forethought required.

The tactical side of the game is brought into sharper focus during single player, which is rock hard and unforgiving throughout. Dying isn’t always the end of the world, as you can flit between different members of your squad with a tap of the X button – effectively giving you extra lives or, if you’re looking for a strategic advantage, an alternative viewpoint. However, it’s all too easy to let your guard down for that vital few seconds and lose one or more members of your team. The game requires you to be focused and aware at all times.

Thankfully, then, the game is varied and captivating enough to constantly hold your attention. Starting your opening parachute drop into the first set piece, you’re taken through a range of missions that encompass all aspects of warfare. The sniping mission early in the game is a memorable highlight, albeit one of the game’s more challenging levels. Taking out the airborne terrorists dropping in from helicopters while checking for hidden counter-snipers can take several attempts to get right, but remains wholly satisfying throughout.

And by remaining consistently challenging without being too frustrating, Battlefield 2 delivers a highly competent single player mode on top of its very accomplished online multiplayer. With disappointing AI in both teammates and terrorists and a couple of badly designed levels being the game’s only major downfall, Modern Combat is highly recommended.