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Don’t miss this year’s PC Gaming Show

Don’t miss this year’s PC Gaming Show

If you love anything PC related you might be interested in visiting this year’s PC Gaming Show, our annual E3 showcase that highlights great new games and hardware which will be heading to PC.

This year the show will be broadcasting via Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Steam on Monday, June 11th at 3PM Pacific, so make sure you don’t miss it. You can either get all your updates at twitch.tv/pcgamer or you can catch all the best interviews, trailers and segments on pcgamer.com.

As usual, Sean “Day[9]” Plott will be hosting, and if you happen to be near Los Angeles or will be visiting E3 then you can visit for absolutely free. This year’s show will be held at The Wiltern, so make sure you reserve your ticket now by visiting pcgamingshow.com/tickets.

Play PlayStation 4 on iPhone or iPad With R-Play – App Review – Console Monster

Download R-Play from the Apple App Store

Remote Play has been a welcome feature to Sony’s PlayStation 4 console. With Sony’s official Remote Play app downloaded onto your desktop PC/Mac, you can stream your favourite PS4 games to your computer. I find this feature very handy when at work, for a little lunchtime gaming session. It can also come in handy when away at friends or family and I just want to access my PS4 back at home. The sad thing about all this is not everyone has access to a desktop away from home, where as a mobile or tablet is more likely to be on your person whilst away from your PS4.

Remote Play on mobile devices isn’t anything new, Sony’s own PlayStation Vita has been doing this for years, but you may not be carrying your Vita as regularly as your mobile or tablet however. More recently, Sony’s own Xperia Android mobile devices came readily available with Remote Play support, allowing gamers to pair up with their PS4 controller via Bluetooth and game on the move; but Apple’s own iOS devices hasn’t received as much love in this department.

This is when R-Play – Remote Play for the PS4 app comes in to save the day. This little gem of an app has been tucked away on the Apple App Store since April 2017, and has seen a number of updates over the past few months that has addressed various bugs and improved the app’s connection and streaming quality.

The unofficial app has recently had a price increase this July, going from $9.99 to $11.99, and if you don’t want to jailbreak your iOS device, this is your only way to play your PS4 games via Remote Play on an iPhone or iPad device.

So how does it all work, and the all important question, is it any good? Let’s find out…

Simple setup and guides

Firing up the app greets you to a number of help slides to get your PS4 ready for Remote Play. There is also an extensive FAQ page in the app that should solve any issues you come across whilst setting up, however if you’ve already used Remote Play before with the official Sony desktop app, then you’re already halfway there.

Once your PS4 has registered your iOS device running R-Play, you’ll soon see your PS4’s home screen magically appear on your iOS device. You’ll first sit back in amazement of this sorcery, thinking of all the possible things you can do with this app whilst on the move. But, it isn’t too long until you realise the app’s limitations – on-screen controls.

The bane of on-screen touch controls

There has never been much success when overcoming the negative experience of playing mobile games with virtual on-screen controls, and this issue becomes ever present when you start to play specific games via the R-Play app and its on-screen controls. Things do improve when using a hardware controller though, and I’ll come back to that in a bit.

Navigating the PS4’s menus using the on-screen controls isn’t bad, and as long as your connection to and from your PS4 is solid, it’s quite responsive. The four face and four shoulder buttons are nicely displayed on screen, along with a large thumb-friendly virtual D-Pad. Simply tapping on either the left or right side of the screen, outside of these buttons, will popup the a virtual analogue stick. It is very intuitive to game with these virtual sticks, but for games that require more precise, fast reactions, you’ll soon be longing for a physical analogue stick and shoulder buttons.

Unless you’re gaming on a 5.5” iPhone 6/7 Plus, using R-Play on a 4.7” device can feel a little cluttered, with most of your display used up for the on-screen controls. I dread to think how much worse it is on a 4” iPhone 5 display. Luckily these can be toggled to auto hide when you’re not interacting with the screen, but they’ll mostly be visible, as you’ll be touching the screen most of the time whilst gaming.

This issue improves slightly on iPad, thanks to the extra screen real-estate that allows for a more ‘spread out’ interface. But still, with the thick bezels of the iPad whilst being held in landscape, you’ll have to have thumbs the size of ET’s fingers to be able to reach comfortably into an empty area to trigger the use of the on-screen analogue sticks.

Luckily, you can customise the location and size of each interface button (shown above), but the biggest downfall of on-screen controls is that the shoulder buttons require the same thumbs as the ones also using the on-screen analogue sticks. This makes playing games such as first-person shooters almost a turn-based experience – as you have to lift off the virtual-sticks and use your thumbs to press the R2 button to fire, which results in your character stoping from turning and/or moving. This regularly makes tracking and firing at your enemies at the same time almost impossible!

The desire to use a controller becomes almost immediate once you start to use the app more seriously, and with a controller connected, things do go from okay, to pretty great!

Night and day improvements with an MFI controller!

So we’ve already learned that on-screen virtual stick controls in gaming has never really been a success. Unfortunately, Apple is rather selective on what Bluetooth accessory it allows to pair with its iOS devices, so we’re out of luck pairing up a DualShock4 controller. R-Play does have a work-around for this, however it is rather complex and involves using two PSN accounts and being close to your PS4 – making this method kind of pointless when using your PS4 remotely.

The last breath of hope for the R-Play app comes with the support of Made for iPhone (MFI) hardware, such as our recently reviewed Nimbus controller from SteelSeries. With a wireless Bluetooth MFI controller connected to an iPad, the enjoyment of PS4 gaming on iOS improves greatly. The difference in enjoyment is night and day. No longer does the burden of on-screen controls become an issue, and playing without the clutter of fingers and on-screen controls all over the screen is fantastic! Going through the app’s settings you can set the output stream to run at 1080p at 30fps – 60fps is there too if your bandwidth can cope – but at 1080p/30fps over Wi-Fi, gaming looks and runs pretty sweat on my iPad Pro’s 9.7” display.

The one downside you’ll encounter is that the Nimbus doesn’t have L3 and R3 controls, and it is very likely that there are no MFI controllers out there that will support this either. R-Play also has this covered, with the ability to map at least two buttons together to trigger the L3 and R3 command in the game. I tried to bind L1 and L2 triggers together to activate L3, and the same with R1 and R2 for R3, but this took some getting use to after playing games with a DualShock, but at least there is support in the app for this.

PS4 gaming on iOS

I never did think I’d see the day, but it has eventually taken a third-party app such as R-Play to allow iOS owners a way to connect to their PS4 via Remote Play, all without the need of jailbreaking your device. It is a surprise Sony hasn’t done an official app for iOS, with the likely reason being the inability to connect a DualShock controller to an iOS device. But with that said, R-Play has filled this void very well.

The execution of this app is pretty stellar and at times, for me, it has proven to be worth its relatively small upfront cost. If you’re thinking of gaming regularly via this R-Play app, just make sure you’re prepared to pay a little extra for an MFI controller. The on-screen controls do nothing but frustrate the experience; to a point that it puts you off using the app regularly at all. But on the flip-side, pairing up with an MFI controller makes Remote Play on iOS an acceptable solution if you do not have a laptop or desktop around.

Your own experience with R-Play will vary. Wi-Fi is recommended, and 3G/4G is certainly possible, but as stable as mobile networks can be, it may create a loss in visual quality at times. It also helps to have your PS4 connected to ethernet, along with a decent broadband speed. The game that’s being played will also effect your enjoyment somewhat. If a game requires regular use of shoulder buttons, or the use of L3/R3 buttons, you might as well not bother, or get hold of an MFI controller and get use to the work around. R-Play can suffer with fast-paced FPS games, however games that have more of a slow-pace might work really well, even with on-screen controls.

For a quick game session away from home, or simply browsing PSN whilst on the move, until Sony offers an official solution with DualShock4 support (which seems very unlikely at the moment) you really can’t do much better than downloading the R-Play app.

Download R-Play from the Apple App Store

Recommended

EwinRacing Champion Series Gaming Chair Review – Console Monster

If you have a desk job, you will spend over five years of your life sitting down at a desk. You can double that amount if you game or browse on a desktop at home for a few hours a night. It’s a daunting statistic when you think about it. We all spend over a third of our lives sleeping on mattresses, of which we spend a few hundred, if not thousands, on. So it begs the question: Should we take note of this and invest in a decent office chair too? It is crucial to sustaining a healthy posture and eliminating any bad back issues you may face in your later years.

There are many varieties of office/desk chair out there, and the cost of them can vary, greatly. The old saying “You get what you pay for” rains very true when it comes to purchasing a decent chair that can consistently service your back and posture for many years to come. We shouldn’t scrimp on cost when it comes to purchasing an office/desk chair, but most of us always do – myself included.

I usually turn my nose up at any chair costing more than £100. “A chair is a chair. It doesn’t need to be complicated. All you do is sit in it”, I would say, but as the years tick on by, I soon realise how many hours I spend at a desk. If I spend hundreds on a mattress, then sitting at a desk for over seven hours a day justifies the same kind of investment for the sake of avoiding a bad back in my later years.

The EwinRacing Champion Series gaming chair retails for €349 EU / £279 UK / $349 US and it is currently on sale for €223 EU / £190 UK / $237 US whilst also using our own 15% off voucher code ‘consolemonster’. You could say that this is probably the lower end of how much you should spend on a office/desk chair, but I’ve seen chairs costing much more than this and still have less features and quality – I’m looking at you IKEA! So on paper, the EwinRacing gaming chairs seems a bit of a bargain, but how are they in practice? Let’s find out…

Setting up the Champion Series chair was very simple, thanks to supplying all the tools and the helpful guide that lists all the necessary steps needed to assemble it. During the chair’s assembly I noticed how good the general quality of the parts are, with the only let down being the plastic arms, but with that said, even these arms carry particular features I’ve yet to experience on my past chairs. In less than 30 minutes I had the chair fully built and ready for its first test.

As features go, the Champion Series offers many buttons, leavers and switches to help achieve maximum sitting comfort. For me, the base of a seat is important. There is nothing worse then having a thinly padded seat that last barely a year before you begin to feel the framework inside. Thanks to its fairly thick padding of 10 cm, the Champion Series will be supporting your derrière for a long time.

The back support is just as important and the Champion Series caters well in this department too. The back rest dominates this chair’s form factor. Once assembled, it was the first thing to trouble me, because my current chair it replaces (a 5+ old chair from IKEA) is one of those short-backed chairs. I was never a fan of large executive chairs with high backs. This isn’t the companies biggest chair either, but should this trouble you as well, I would look at the Calling Series, which has a slightly smaller frame. But with all that said, I could slow get used to a high backed chair for many reasons.

Adjusting the back position is done by pushing down on the right side leaver, which is located where the back rest meets the seat. Powered by some fairly strong springs, the back can jump forward fairly rapid if you’re not leaning back on it, so it helps to apply some pressure to it. Adding a little more pressure whilst leaning back moves the back of the seat backwards very easy, and as you keep leaning back you soon start to notice one of this chairs key features – the ability to move the back almost fully horizontal!

Now I don’t know who would want to do this in any office environment, but at home I can see the appeal – if you wish to relax and pretend you’re in a dentist chair, this feature can seem pretty great. I don’t think I will be using this feature much, but to know the back can go backwards further than most chairs, to enjoy a relaxed posture, it’s welcoming. I must say though, I didn’t feel too comfortable setting the chair back to its maximum lean position, because my back is beyond the chair’s centre position, it felt that my weight would eventually tip me over if I wasn’t too careful.

Very popular with gaming chairs these days are the lumber and head cushions. These are held on by a pair of elasticated straps and plastic buckle clips. The straps come pre-fitted, wrapped around the bottom and two holes located in the neck area of the back seat. The lumber cushion alone makes a huge difference to my sitting experience; the neck cushion however, probably not so much. Whilst the chair is more reclined, I can see the neck cushion having more of a purpose. For me, the straps could be a little tighter, or at least hold the cushions in their adjusted position, because they always require constant adjustment every time you sit back into the chair.

On either side of the seat you’ll find the plastic arm rests. Just like most chairs, each arm rest can be raised and lowered to your own preference. For me I wish they could go a little more lower than these currently allow. Pressing a small button on the side of the rest allows you to slide the top part of the arm rest forward and backwards, which is a nice feature. Another button allows you to slide the top portion sideways towards and away from the seat. Finally, you can also apply a little force to the rotation of each arm rest to pivot them diagonally inwards and outwards. So all in all, with these four adjustments, you should find the perfect sweet spot for how your arms rest on them. These arms come pre-bolted to the seat, however if you prefer, these can be unscrewed and removed entirely.

After two weeks using the Champion Series I am slowly getting used to its dominant size. The general build quality has always felt very sturdy and solid, and I can imagine this chair would serve me well for many years. The pleather material used in the seating appears to be of a high quality, that doesn’ look like it will begin to flake off for some time. The cushions and seat padding feels like they contain a good quality and firm density of foam that should take the weight and reshape themselves after use for many sittings.

My only gripe is that I felt that the size of the seat could be slightly smaller for me. At 5’8” I found that my feet would leave the floor when I adjusted the seat to the correct height for my desk height (a standard 72 cm high). Usually, I rest my feet on the wheel frame underneath, but with the rather generous seat depth, my feet would miss the frame and dangle beyond its reach. With my feet not resting on the floor, this isn’t good for the blood circulation to my legs, so I had to seek an alternative solution by buying a cheap footrest from IKEA.

As you can see from the photo above, the overall size of the chair has troubled me from day one. I guess I prefer a smaller, more compact desk chair. For me, if the Champion Series could come in a slightly more compact form factor, I think EwinRacing could be on to a winner. The Calling Series could indeed tick that box, and I hope I can sample that chair also soon. But for someone taller and more leggy than me, the Champion Series might be a perfect chair for you because, as features to price goes, you really can’t do any better than investing in an EwinRacing Champion Series chair. Give your back the support and comfort it deserves and check them out.

Recommended!

Why Monster Hunter World has become Capcom’s best-selling title – Console Monster

New and old Hunters speak out

Monster Hunter World has been a tremendous success so far and has taken the gaming world by storm. The latest addition to the series is now officially the best-selling title in Capcom history with 7.5 million copies shipped worldwide. 

It has also smashed company records for being the first Capcom series to reach 5 million units shipped on the first three days of launch. On top of that, it’s become the fastest Capcom title to ship 6 million copies in the developer’s history.

Monster Hunter World has received critical acclaim from a variety of different reviewers:

IGN – 9.5/10

GameSpot – 8/10

Metacritic – 90%

It’s estimated that 7 million players are currently slaying and capturing the wide variety of monsters the game has to offer. 

BREAKOUT BOX #1

Best Selling Capcom Titles 

  1. Monster Hunter World (2018) – 7.5*

     

  2. Resident Evil 5 (2009) – 7.3
  3. Resident Evil 6 (2012) – 7.1
  4. Street Fighter 2 (1992) – 6.3
  5. Resident Evil 2 (1998) – 4.96

     

Million Units Sold as of December 2017

*Million Units Shipped as of March 2018

Data from Capcom Investor Relations website 

But what’s made Monster Hunter World Capcom’s best-selling title to date? I asked a range of different hunters what they love about the game.

‘‘One of the biggest things I love about this game is the seemingly infinite replay value. Capcom has figured out a way to make killing the same monster over and over again incredibly fun’’ said Patrick, who’s a newcomer to the series.

‘‘What I feel makes this game truly great is that you really feel a sense of accomplishment when you overcome a monster fight that you weren’t really prepared for. Simply changing your preferred weapons literally feels like stepping into a whole new game.’’ Matt, partial newcomer, told me. MH World being his ‘‘first deep forray’’ into the franchise. He briefly played Monster Hunter Tri (2010) on the Wii, which was the last Monster Hunter game to release on home consoles prior to the latest entry.

‘‘Great multi-layered environments teeming with life and solid game mechanics make no two hunts feel the same. Hunting, tracking, gathering, fishing, cultivating, cooking, eating, capturing pets, the list goes on and on. Never a dull moment in Monster hunter world’’ said Joe, another new hunter.

I also spoke with a Monster Hunter veteran, Alex, who’s been playing since the first handheld release, Monster Hunter Freedom, on the PSP in 2006. I asked him what he felt Capcom have done differently with Monster Hunter World compared to previous entries in the franchise.

‘‘Monster Hunter World has refined its gameplay by removing all the unnecessary mechanics that were seen in previous titles. 

You used to have to buy bug nets, pickaxes and fish bait to farm for specific materials; that would often break, thus wasting time, and also take up inventory space – which has also been refined by having a ‘loot’ pouch, separating your equipment such as your drinks and supplies from your materials (something the old series failed to do). The crafting system is also much easier now. In Monster Hunter World it’s all at your fingertips.

As for information on monsters, the previous guides in games were more focused on the lore and descriptions of each monster, forcing you to look online for specific item drop rates, weaknesses and traits; whereas MH World has a Monster Field Guide book that offers all information and more.’’

BREAKOUT BOX #2 

Best Selling Monster Hunter Titles 

  1. Monster Hunter World (2018) – 7.5*
  2. Monster Hunter Freedom 3 (2010) – 4.9
  3. Monster Hunter Generations (2015) – 4.3
  4. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (2014) – 4.2
  5. Monster Hunter 4 (2013) – 4.1

Million Units Sold as of December 2017

*Million Units Shipped as of March 2018

               Data from Capcom Investor Relations website 

The Monster Hunter team at Capcom has listened to its community and transformed the series over years of trial and error, combining good and unique aspects from each title, to create something beyond perfection. 

Not only this, but they have finally utilised the larger platforms and improved systems of consoles and PCs’’ (The PC version is planned to release in Autumn.)

He went on to say, ‘‘The game now purely focuses on ‘The Hunt’ by immersing the hunter into its magical and diverse worlds that are a feast to the eyes – something that was unachievable on its previous handheld systems. 

Now, there is an unlimited space for growth and development of the series. In addition to this, since it’s the first in the series on mainstream consoles, it is clear to see that the developers still pride themselves in their work, and it shows in their work; ranging from the smallest details to the grandest storylines. 

Much like they did with their handheld titles, I think Capcom will undoubtedly continue to improve the series, especially with its new-found popularity in the West.’’

By Reuben Bernal

Retro Gamer Issue 179 Hits The Shelves!

Retro Gamer Issue 179 Hits The Shelves!

Issue 179 of Retro Gamer is rolling into newsagents, with two fantastic gifts that will please any fan of the Commodore 64. The C64 Remix CD features 12 classic tunes reimagined from their original SID incarnations, with the likes of Matt Gray, Marcel Donné and Chris Abbott remixing Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway and more – see the bottom of this post for the full track list. There’s also a double-sided poster, featuring a nostalgic Commodore 64 scene on one side and a selection of fantastic artwork from the late Bob Wakelin on the other.

Inside the magazine, you’ll find two great features on Pac-Man. In the first, Tod Frye talks about his Atari 2600 conversion of the classic arcade game, and the highs and lows that came with it. In the second, we delve into the late-Eighties arcade sequel Pac-Mania and all of its home conversions in an Ultimate Guide. Elsewhere in the magazine, you’ll find the making of home computer hits Dark Star and Moonstone as well as the hit Disney licensed platformer Aladdin. Additionally, there’s a collector’s guide to Quicksilva games, a look at the BBC Micro’s excellent arcade clones and a Minority Report on import Dreamcast games.

You’ll also find an Ultimate Guide to Konami’s lighthearted shoot-’em-up Parodius, a history of Sonic The Hedgehog’s outings on the Master System. As always the issue is capped off with a sit-down interview, with this month’s subject being Gregg Mayles – a veteran game designer at Rare whose work includes Battletoads, Donkey Kong Country, Banjo-Kazooie, Viva Pinata and the current hot Xbox One game Sea Of Thieves. Of course, that’s not all – as always, plenty more games are featured in Retro Revivals, The Unconverted, Classic Moments, Lost In Translation and Back To The Noughties.

You can find the magazine at all good newsagents from Thursday 22 April 2018, or order online via My Favourite Magazines. If you prefer a digital copy, you can find it via the Apple App Store, Google Play, Zinio, Pocketmags or Readly.

C64 Remix CD Track List

01/ Lightforce – Marcel Donné
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

02/ The Last V8 – Fabian Del Priore & Marcel Donné
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

03/ Thalamusik: Sanxion Loading Theme – Matt Gray
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

04/ Ghouls ‘N Ghosts – Fastloaders
Original composer: Tim Follin

05/ Wizball 2000 (Lara And Enya Mix) – Tonka
Original composer: Martin Galway

06/ Flash Gordon – Chris Abbot & Alistair “Boz” Bowness
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

07/ Hyperion 2: Main Theme – Matt Gray
Original composer: Matt Gray

08/ Mega Apocalypse – Matt Gray
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

09/ Mutants – Reyn Ouwehand
Original composer: Fred Gray

10/ Phantoms Of The Asteroid – Matt Gray
Original composer: Rob Hubbard

11/ Galway Is God 2000 (CD Mix) – Jogeir Liljedahl
Original composer: Martin Galway

12/ Wizball (High Score) – Iridium feat. Kenz
Original composer: Martin Galway

V-Rally Slides Back Into Racing Game Competition

Racing game enthusiasts of a certain vintage will remember the V-Rally series, a trio of rather good rally games launched in the late Nineties and early Noughties on platforms including PlayStation, N64. Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC and Game Boy Advance. The last one was the reasonably received V-Rally 3 in 2002-2003, and the series subsequently disappeared without a trace amidst publisher problems.

So, we’re surprised to tell you that V-Rally will return to the V-Road in 2018. V-Really? V-Right. The new game is being published by Bigben Interactive and developed by Kylotonn Racing Games. The latter company actually has a connection to the classic series too, as the game director Alain Jarniou was a programmer on V-Rally 3.

So far, we know that V-Rally 4 will be available for PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC in September 2018. It’ll have 50 cars and game modes including Rally, Extreme-Khana, V-Rally Cross, Buggy and Hill Climb, as well as Online and Career modes. Take a look at the trailer above for a first look at the game, and lets us know if you’re excited on the forum or via social media.

Replay Events Announces Play Expo London

Replay Events Announces Play Expo London

UK fans of retro gaming will undoubtedly be familiar with Play Expo – the events, held by Replay Events around the UK, are a heady mixture of classic arcade, console and computer gaming, with modern games, pinball, shopping opportunities, special guests and more added for good measure. While the events are a popular destination for players, they’ve typically been located more conveniently for those in the north – only 2016’s Margate event stands out against Blackpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

But that’s about to change, as Play Expo London has been announced for 11-12 August 2018. The first Play Expo to be held in the capital will be at Printworks, a venue located in the Surrey Quays area of the Docklands. The show will offer up all the fun normally associated with Play Expo, but in a slightly more convenient location for those of us in the south. Adult day tickets are £20 and child day tickets £14, with discounts for family and full weekend bookings.

To keep up with the latest news on Play Expo London, including guest announcements and more, click here to visit the official Play Expo London website.

Mr Biffo Launches Digitiser: The Show Kickstarter

Regular readers of our fine magazine will be aware of our columnist Mr Biffo – a man more formally known as Paul Rose, the driving force behind the legendary Teletext games magazine Digitiser.

Today, he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign for his project Digitiser: The Show, a retro gaming YouTube show which promises to be “The sort of gaming show we’ve always wanted, but which broadcasters are too scared to make – and that YouTube isn’t offering.” Mr Biffo will be joined by co-hosts Gameplay Jenny, Larry Bundy Jr, Paul Gannon and Octavius Kitten, as well as guests including the likes of Kim Justice, Ashens, Danny Wallace and Violet Berlin.

Digitiser: The Show is scheduled for six main episodes, a secret episode for backers a special episode in front of a live audience. The project blew through its £7,000 funding goal with great ease after launching this morning, and is currently over the £17,000 mark. Backer rewards start from £5 for an on-screen credit, moving to £15 for the secret episode and £30 for the chance to be in the live audience. At higher tiers you’ll find signed Wil Overton posters, a DVD and more. If you want to back it, you’ve got until Sunday 8 April to do so.

For more information about Digitiser: The Show, including details on how to pledge, click here.

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