A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
FIFA 17 by
published Thursday, Oct 06th

UK Chart: FIFA 17 Flourishing At Launch

The launch of FIFA 17 is the most successful ever, leading it to the top of the chart. Up 18% over the launch of FIFA 16, it also surpasses FIFA 13 to top the previous series best. Xbox One hardware bundles cannot stop a 53% share of sales on the PlayStation 4.

At second, Forza Horizon 3 launches to pass Forza Horizon 2 by 12% to third in both the Motorsport and Horizon series.

Promotions boost LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (+127%) to third from ninth.

Following two weeks at the top, Bioshock: The Collection (-43%) falls from the top of the chart to fourth.

After a February PC release, the console release of XCom 2 ensures the re-entry hits the top five.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 drops to sixth ahead of Destiny: The Collection (-24%).

Rocket League and NBA2K17 land at eighth and ninth respectively.

Grand Theft Auto V completes the top ten.

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.

The Gamebrit Podcast by
published Tuesday, Jul 08th

#003 – Excessively Onerous

Here’s episode three of Britain’s soon-to-be favourite gaming podcast The Gamebrit Podcast!

This week we discuss the tearfulness of Freebird Games’ 2011 indie game ‘To The Moon’, complain about in-app purchases and even get a surprise voicemail from a retired professional boxer (honest).

You can subscribe to The Gamebrit Podcast via RSS, on Stitcher or via iTunes to make sure you never miss a future episode.

We’d love to read your feedback, so feel free to drop us a message via Twitter, our Facebook or by email at podcast@gamebrit.com. We’ll probably read out anything.

published Friday, Jul 04th

UK Advertising Authority Rules EA Cannot Advertise Dungeon Keeper As ‘Free-to-Play’

The UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints that Dungeon Keeper, EA’s free-to-play mobile title, cannot be advertised as ‘free’ due to the requirement of insistent in-game micro-transactions.

Players perceived the games monetisation tactics to be too aggressive, with fingers pointing towards the inability to make reasonable progress without making in-app purchases.

BioShock Infinite — Booker DeWitt by
published Sunday, Apr 07th

Gaming Reads Weekly – April 7th

Keeping on top of your endless Twitter stream or a RSS list can be a little daunting. So, to help Gamebrit brings together a selection of some of the gaming stories that caught our eye from the last seven days and are worthy of your attention — here’s your round-up for the week ending Sunday, April 7th.

Sit back, relax and grab a drink and give the gaming articles you may have missed this week a read:

FIFA 13 Messi by
published Wednesday, Aug 15th

EA Send Draft FIFA 13 Email In Error

A few hours before taking to the stage at Gamescom 2012, Electronic Arts (EA) sent out an email to avid FIFA fans giving them a sneak peek at a new trailer — however it seems the message went out just a bit too early, as it still contained some fairly obvious placeholder text.

published Monday, Mar 26th

SSX Review (PlayStation 3)

The past few years have seen a number of nostalgic titles such as Driver, Medal of Honor and Twisted Metal reimagined on modern consoles with varying degrees of success. However, how will Electronic Arts fare with their revival of classic snowboarding game SSX, is a 5-year lull enough time to craft the perfect comeback or will it end up face down in the snow?

published Wednesday, Feb 17th

Mass Effect 2 Review

With a huge marketing push thanks to adverts almost everywhere, it was clear that no self-respecting gamer would miss out on the hype surrounding Mass Effect 2. The original 2007 sci-fi role-playing-game turned a lot of heads, but was ultimately disappointing due to the clear flaws in technicalities, such as texture loading and low frame rate. Fortunately, Mass Effect 2 is much improved on its predecessor in a number of areas.

The key of any role-playing title is the storyline progression. Mass Effect 2 starts almost straight after the original game with a powerful opening event which is critical in setting the stage for the entire game. Without revealing any spoilers, protagonist Shepard, willingly or not, joins a group named Cerberus, who’s leader, The Illusive Man, assures that you are the only hope for the human race, with colonies disappearing at the hand of a mysterious enemy. Without going into too much detail, the opening sequence allows for new players to customise their character to how they desire in gender, facial features and class.

For those that have played and finished Mass Effect, they will have the option to import their character and the decisions they made in the original game, to the new story. The effect of doing this contributes to the plot in surprising depth. The information taken into account includes what experience level the game ended at, whether Paragon or Renegade is more affiliated and more importantly, which characters had lived or passed through your actions. If imported, the Galaxy is shaped with very little input at the start of the game. On the other hand, once the plot begins to unravel subtle – but key – questions are asked of Shepard to determine what the player wants to have happen as a consequence of the events in Mass Effect. For both new players and those that want to tweak their world, this offers an accessible and sensible way for players to become familiar with what happens at the games opening.

What has been made clear in various trailers and the broad advertisements is that some portion of the game requires the collection of specialist personnel in order to tackle this threat to humanity. In fact this takes up most of the game, keeping the ‘suicide mission’ in secrecy until the time is right. There is a long list of various characters and personalities for the player to pick and choose from, the hard part being actually finding the individuals and persuading them to join the team.

There are three main areas which you can travel to on the world map, all with a vast city-like structure, including the space station Citadel. The populated areas are small, but suitable for what is required of them. These locations host the interactive non-player characters, shops with research upgrades to purchase for weapons, armour and your ship, and minor assignments or side missions. The large missions never take place within these locations, but are placed as a linear offset, with apt loading screens depicting direction of travel, rather than the famous elevator sequences. The ship is the main hub for the entire game. It holds all of the crew, teammates, and allied recruits that you have picked up from across the galaxy.

Since a large sum of the game is set finding key characters for the squad, each of them have been really fleshed out and have unique personalities. Should the recruitment process be successful loyalty missions are asked of Shepard, helping to resolve personal matters, looking into the history, and what has brought the characters to what they are. The quests are not necessarily combat based, some may not have any at all.

Conversation and problem resolution plays the other half of the Mass Effect experience. Paragon and Renegade are the two extremes of the approach that can be Shepard. In any talk, whether it is with a love interest or someone holding a gun to your head, there are plenty of options with everything in between the two persuasions. In Mass Effect 2 there are added interrupts that can totally change the direction. Assigned to the two triggers if an approach isn’t going as planned, a pop up appears should a Paragon or Renegade resolution appeal to the situation. The conversations arguably have the most significant effect on the game. Whether you hit the Batarian on the head with the wrench or not can have a massive outcome, and as the player it is both unpredictable and terribly exciting.

An armoury, wardrobe and research station are onboard for that important change in equipment. The wardrobe allows for Shepard to be outfitted in whatever the player think suits. Casual clothes and armour are available to buy from shops in market areas, or to download from the Cerberus Network; the feature which hosts downloadable content, requiring a code, and designed to encourage new game sales. Upgrades for armour and weapons are made possible by the collection of elements both on the surface and through the vehicle exploration of the galaxy.

The ship is available to roam the game world, orbiting planets, searching for ‘anomalies’ or distress calls (providing short side missions), and collecting 4 chemical elements necessary for the research. The surface transporter, Mako, has been scrapped and replaced by a drop-off shuttle, should there be somewhere to land. By scanning the planet and launching probes to collect any material that is found, quantities of Element Zero, Iridium, Palladium, and Platinum can be gathered and then used at a research station. Hours can be sucked into the quest for more and more of each item; a process that can become quite addictive. Experience is gained after each mission or assignment, no matter how small, and with each level points can be added to upgrade powers and abilities.

When each is fully upgraded there is a choice between two specialties, often just a choice between a stronger or more widespread attack. The armoury holds the weaponry of the game, split into expanded catagories such as machine pistol and heavy pistol. It is never made possible to buy weapons at any part of the game; instead there are just a small number of weapons available to collect out in the field, or to be given to you during the course of the game. Other loot can be found by hacking wall safes or bypassing doors, both introducing a new mini game – matching up nodes on a circuit board, and matching segments of code on a scrolling screen. These offer just the right of challenge to begin with, but lack of variation makes them a trivial task by the end stretches of the game, especially when most of them just offer credits.

The combat is much more action orientated, like a shooter, than in its predecessor. If the role playing elements have been reduced, then the encounters have been honed. Cover is more of a critical factor and there is much more of a tactical approach placed on powers and ammo types. As there is no direct control of teammates, the radial wheel comes into function for Shepard to command the use of available powers on selected enemies or (often explosive) objects. This is great as it also pauses the game for an overview of the situation and allows for the biotic powers, such as pull or push, to be quite precise. The directional pad can be used to direct the two squad members to take cover separately, a useful override if the AI isn’t doing exactly what you had planned. For Shepard, health is regained by sitting behind cover. The Mass Effect medi-gel can now only be used to revive the two teammates that are chosen to bring on the mission, should they fall in battle. The broader range of weapons no longer overheat, but instead they all use universal heat-sink ammo that needs to be ejected. All of this streamlines the combat, making it much simpler and action focused.

The majority of the enemies are from one of the three mercenary organisations, which seem to be a major player in the game from being non-existent in Mass Effect. Blue Suns, Blood Pack, and Eclipse have most of the races in their ranks, including an army of robot ‘mechs’ and provide most of the opposition when recruiting the team. Also present are the Collectors, notable from Mass Effect downloadable content, and the Geth also have a minor presence. The many different angles in the game can also have an effect on combat situations, such as re-programming mechs to work against the enemy, a quirky touch by the developers.

The scope of different characters in the game is what sets the Mass Effect universe apart from any other in the science fiction genre. Although Mass Effect 2 has less of an open world feel to it and more like a series of linked linear areas, it does not take away from the scope of the universe ahead. The end portion of the game is shrouded in mystery until the player decides to jump in, and provides a heart racing climax to the paced storyline. The statistic tracking and other role playing features might have been toned down for the sequel, but Bioware has definitely improved the depth in each of the characters and the game world. With just enough fiction and role-playing to satisfy the fan, and plenty of emphasis on tactical combat, there is plenty in this game to satisfy all parties.

Mass Effect 2 has made significant improvements in regards to presentation, with a wealthy bank of smooth animations for each of the characters and the game looking graphically superior than the original from the offset. Problems that haunted Mass Effect have almost been eradicated, with only one or two instances of sluggish frame rates and texture loading in the many hours spent exploring the galaxy. With that many options the game is as shallow or deep as the player wants to make it, with more than 35 hours of gameplay on offer for those wanting to see it.

Mass Effect 2 arguably could be the most improved video game sequel ever and if not, it is a seriously satisfying, engaging and most importantly, fun game in any case.

published Friday, Feb 12th

Army Of Two: The 40th Day Review

Videogames have a come a long way over the decades since the medium’s creation. Over the years, technological enhancements lead to greater processing power, meaning greatly improved graphics and play experiences. Titles such as Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Bioshock have blended stunning visuals, competent gameplay and compelling storylines to create titles that transcend their genres and create experiences that lend huge amounts of gravitas to the argument that the interactive platform can (and indeed should) be seen as an art form as viable as literature, theatre and film. But, as influential and significant as titles such as these can be, sometimes you just want to play a meaty shooter, and that’s where Army of Two: The 40th Day steps in with heavy jackboots.

Focusing on the return of EA’s two favourite beefcakes Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem, the duo find themselves in Shanghai on a routine mission kicking ass and taking names. After blasting their way through their assignment, things unexpectedly and spectacularly take a turn for the worst as the city’s skyscrapers suddenly begin exploding and toppling over, plunging the city into chaos. Rios and Salem make it their business to discover who or what is co-ordinating this massive terrorist attack and make them pay, wrestling with some moral conundrums on the way.

The 40th Day’s fundamental shooting mechanics are sound, with every weapon feeling substantial and satisfying, even if the aiming can feel a little twitchy at times. For the most part, however, the large majority of you and your partners’ shots will find their target. Like the original, Rios and Salem need to rely on each other in order to survive each battle and as such, Day is best played with a friend either online or via split-screen, with both modes being a feasible suggestion thanks to an adequate framerate being consistent over both methods. There is the ability to play through on your own with an A.I. buddy, but, while it’s satisfactory most of the time (in comparison to Left 4 Dead 2’s incompo-bots, anyway), it’s still capable of some pretty unforgivable mistakes, such as trying to drag you to safety when you’ve been downed by taking you deeper into the battle. For the best experience, playing with a second human player is essential.

Making a repeat appearance are the stupidly extensive customisation options the original had to offer. Playing through the game will see you raking in silly amounts of cash which can be put towards unlocking new weapons and components (although some parts still need to be found in the game world). Conventional upgrades can be expected, such as putting a reflex scope on an urban-camouflaged G36C assault, but The 40th Day plays its best hand with the ridiculous modifications on offer.There’s nothing better than charging into battle wielding a Desert Eagle silenced by a fizzy drinks can, a solid gold shotgun made even louder thanks to an enhancer or a tiger-striped RPG. The customisation doesn’t end at the weapons, either. Designs for Rios and Salem’s masks can be created, downloaded and shared via the game’s website. It’s a good laugh making a mask to call your own (and also seeing how many words you can sneak past the automatic censor).

Unfortunately, The 40th Day suffers from a number of problems that no amount of customisation can fix. The story’s already short runtime is artificially elongated by the insufficient amount of checkpoints forcing you to slog through the same area time and time again, which wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that such sections can be aggravatingly difficult, and you’ll more often than not need to re-implement any changes made to weapons between save points. The game is also liberally peppered with non-skippable cutscenes, a sin in this day and age, only serving to frustrate even further. Sound issues make hearing dialogue difficult, a problem which would have been easily compensated for (not solved) by the inclusion of subtitles, of which there are none. Another element that’s inherently missing is any sense of a comprehensible storyline: nothing is fully explained (this reviewer still has no idea what the game’s subtitle actually refers to) and the aforementioned moral choices hold little gravitas, with each choice seemingly consisting of either being corrupt and getting some extra cash or playing the saint and not receiving anything, adding little to the already non-existential story. Those fed up with Nolan North’s voiceacting would also do well to stay away.

Army of Two: The 40th Day’s high level of customisation makes it a highly appealing and promising title: it’s just a shame that its design faults and especially brief story restrict it from offering a more well-rounded experience and greater value for money. There’s enough here to ensure you’ll have a brainlessly fist-bumpingly good time (if you bring along a buddy, at least), but lone wolves and those looking for more bang for their buck would be wise to save their money, perhaps even for a real golden shotgun of their own.

published Monday, Dec 21st

Dead Space: Extraction Review

With LCD and Plasma TVs making traditional light-gun games virtually impossible to play, it has fallen to the Wii and its trusty sensor bar to provide a suitable home for arcade-style shooters. We’ve already had some great re-releases in the shape of House of the Dead 2&3 and Ghost Squad, plus new additions to established franchises like Resident Evil and the first House of the Dead. Even traditional FPS games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor have included the option to be played ‘on-rails’. If you’re a fan of the genre, the Wii is clearly the console of choice. With this in mind, EA have got in on the act with this prequel to last year’s classy horror title, Dead Space.

Set on a derelict deep-space mining vessel The USG Ishimura, Dead Space cast players in the role of an engineer battling for survival against an alien virus that re-animated the corpses of dead crew members. It featured a number of innovative gameplay elements and coupled with tremendously effective art direction and sound design, quickly became one of the surprise hits of the year. Dead Space: Extraction is set just prior to the events of the first game, when an alien obelisk is uncovered on the planet Aegis VII, unleashing the Necromorph virus on the mining colony. It features several characters that only made cameos in the first game via the Ishimura’s video recordings, fleshing out their individual stories.

Much has been made of the switch from third-person to first-person on-rails for this Wii outing. Although the decision has been unpopular among certain vocal groups of gamers, it doesn’t end up detracting too much from the experience and is actually helpful in some aspects. Pacing and plot exposition in particular benefit from the rigid structure, and keep the action as tight and intense as the original.

Visceral Games were acclaimed for introducing a bundle of innovative features to the survival horror in Dead Space. Some of those have had to be jettisoned for this title, like the health-bar and HUD-less display, but the impressive graphics, and use of sound are still present. It should be noted that this is one of the most impressive looking Wii games available, and a lot of care has obviously been taken to bring Extraction as close to the graphical fidelity of its predecessor as possible.

Like most games in this genre, Extraction is pretty easy to pick up and play. For the most part, it’s just a case of pointing at bad things on the screen and hitting the trigger to blow their ugly brains out. As you’d expect, the Wii remote is great for this type of game, and Visceral have tried to utilise some of its extra functions to shake things up a little. There are very few ‘waggle moments’ thankfully, but the tilt-sensor has been put to somewhat good use – tilting the remote 90 degrees initiates your weapon’s second function, a good idea but impractical in practise as it’s not easy to do so without losing your aim for a vital second or two. Aiming in general can be problematic, as the unpredictably shaky camera can be very annoying when you’re lining up a shot. The effect can be toned down, but strangely can’t be turned off completely – a major oversight seeing how much it affects the game.

Gamers who refuse to try out this game, and focus on what is isn’t rather than what it is, are really cutting off their nose to spite their face. Based on its own merits, Extraction is an exhilarating experience; one that is full of stand-out moments. It is also a great addition to the series and something that fans of the original should seriously consider purchasing. Hardcore Wii owners need to start showing games like this some support, before publishers are permanently put off from pouring money into bringing similarly well-made, mature titles to the console.

Visceral Games have clearly put a lot of effort into delivering Wii owners a unique and fulfilling title. However, will those gamers who are so vocal about the format’s lack of good third party support acknowledge that fact and put their money where their mouths are?

NBA by
published Sunday, Nov 29th

NBA Live 10 Review

Basketball may not get the reception it deserves in the UK, but that doesn’t mean that games based on the sport don’t warrant a bit of love and attention from UK gamers. Sure, they can be overshadowed in terms of sales and plaudits, but EA’s latest NBA Live 2010 certainly shows games based on basketball can still provide as much fun as mammoth franchises like FIFA and Madden.

NBA Live 2010 is packed full of enough modes to please any basketball nut; after working on these titles for a number of years, EA certainly know how to please the fans. The core addition in this year’s model is the option to join up with an online community and receive updated statistics throughout the season. This has been included in EA’s more recent batch of sports titles, and is a positive step forward for this franchise too.

The ‘Dynamic season’ allows the current NBA season to play out according to results in both real-world and online matches, culminating with a unique play-off scenario at the end of the basketball year. Using ‘Dynamic DNA’, players on the virtual court progress in line with their human counterparts, meaning the game sticks much closer to real-life than ever before.

Regular modes such as the campaign style ‘Dynasty Mode’ are included and allow players to choose a team and guide them through a season, picking the team and staff members, arranging training sessions and trading players. This is likely to be the first stop for the enthusiast as offers the most in-depth experience, but it is still accessible to casual players, despite the stat-heavy, number-crunching management involved. There is also a fantasy team mode for those that prefer to get straight into a game, mixing rosters and providing ample ways to customise a match, as well as a play-off mode which allows for custom tournaments to be created. Online components include single and team variations, with leagues and fantasy teams, and leaderboards, which extend the lifespan and increase the challenge of the game.

The controls are kept fairly simple, with face buttons controlling blocks, passes and shots, while style variations can be applied using the analogue sticks and trigger buttons. There are plenty of options to tweak things like rules, fouls and player abilities, and controls can be similarly adjusted to suit the players’ individual tastes. Tactics can be changed instantly during matches, and the AI seems to be able to cope well with switching from defensive to offensive play on the fly.

The graphics are impressive, at least for the players and courts. All of the professional players look spectacularly true to life, with extremely realistic-looking movement and design. The stadiums themselves are certainly bright, colourful and highly detailed, it’s just a shame the same attention wasn’t given to the crowds, which are dull and lifeless in comparison.

The presentation is rounded off by impressive in-game billboards, screens and TV style openings, which are designed to make the game feel as if it really is ‘live’. The commentary is just about engaging and varied enough not to feel too repetitive or annoying. The music played over menu screens or during breaks adds to the feeling of realism.

All-in-all, NBA Live 2010 is a fun, easy-to-play game, with plenty of options. The whole ‘live broadcast’ presentation makes it easily accessible and inviting to newcomers, while retaining a high level of familiarity for basketball enthusiasts. For those with even the slightest interest in the sport, this latest addition to the NBA Live series comes highly recommended.