An ode to Forza Motorsport cover cars

It’s been a recent tradition for me, since the Xbox One was released, that I fall in love with the car on the cover of each Forza Motorsport game. Is it that they just always choose a great car to adorn the artwork, or is is that something about the car being on the cover tricks me into enjoying the drive? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?!

With Forza 5 it was the McLaren P1. A thing of beauty that went like a rocket and other than some brakes that struggled to slow the thing down, handled very nicely as well.

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Then came Forza 6 and the Ford GT. Even more beautiful, particularly in blue. And although it didn’t have quite the acceleration of the P1, it flowed round fast corners like it was flying, a joy to drive.

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But now we come to Forza 7 and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a fine car to drive. But on this occasion it is not my favourite.

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Instead that title goes to the Porsche 918 Spyder. As you’ll see below this car is very similar to the 911, which probably supports the theory that it’s all in my head! I really can’t think of anything I can complain about when driving this beauty. Speed, agility, balance. I’m going to be looking for 918s in future racing games for sure. And yes, I do have a thing for cars with those little wings on the back that go up and down!!

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What about you, what are your favourite cars from the racing games you have played? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to purchase the disc from Amazon.co.uk:
Click here to buy a download key from CDKeys.com:
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Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars: Monthly Roundup January 2018

I’m looking to do a ‘Top 5’ style Round-Up each month in 2018, so here goes – Top 5 Rocket League Showroom Battle Cars! Just squeezing into the month on the 31st.

 

When The Boy and I got Rocket League on the Switch we set about collecting all the cars from the ‘Showroom‘. These are downloadable cars that you can buy for a small fee. Some are just additional standard battle cars – these are included in the Collectors Edition of the game if you have/pick up that. Then there are some licensed ones from different brands, as you’ll see below. The Boy and I have hammered it out and decided on our Top 5, as follows:

#1 – ’70 Dodge Charger R/T2018012313225400-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
This is a licensed car from the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. I confess I have pulled rank over The Boy to make this #1 as this has become my go-to car. What I am looking for in a battle car is a good balance of speed and heft. I want to be able to go as fast as I can but I find a few of the very fastest cars a bit lightweight. With the ’70 Dodge Charger I get there pretty fast and I hit the ball pretty hard.

#2 – Dominus2018012313235400-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
This is a standard battle car, rather than a licensed one. It’s one of the fastest in the game and the one The Boy uses most. He loves the speed and it certainly seems to work for him. If you can cope with the pace, it’s a great choice.

#3 – Twin Mill III2018012313230400-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
This one is on our list to represent the Hot Wheels licensed cars. The Boy‘s favourite toys are Hot Wheels so the chance to combine that love with video games is great for him. Twin Mill looks like a strong car but actually it’s strength is more in it’s speed.

#4 – Batmobile2018012313233700-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
This car is licensed from the recent Batman vs Superman movie and when we were waiting for Rocket League to be released on the Switch, The Boy was totally obsessed with it. It’s a great choice in game but actually his love of it didn’t last long as it can’t be customised – other than the accent colour none of the cool toppers or decals you collect in the game can be applied to it. We still come back to it fairly often though.

#5 – DeLorean Time Machine2018012313234100-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
This car needs no introduction to those of my generation! Still my favourite movie car, from the Back To The Future trilogy from the late 80s. Although, like the Batmobile, it can’t be customised, I still come back to it a lot thanks to the attention to detail in the design. My favourite part? When you have no boost but press the boost button, the sound effect is direct from the movies. Perfection.

Bonus: Road Hog – Painted Cobalt2018012313245900-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
In addition, buying new ones from the showroom isn’t the only way to get your hands on new battle cars. The Boy managed to trade a bunch of the stuff we’ve gathered over time from playing for this special version of the Road Hog car. It’s painted cobalt which means that some parts of it don’t change colour when customised, leading to a car of 3 colours instead of just two. Great fun!

Click here to purchase the collector’s edition (with a lot of the showroom cars included) on cartridge from Amazon.co.uk:

 

Of course, spending all of this real world money does mean that the game is more expensive but when a game this good is this cheap (look out for my review soon!), a small amount of money here and there has been a fun treat, rather than an extra charge that doesn’t seem fair. If only more DLC could be arranged in such a way!

Have you picked up any of the showroom cars for Rocket League? Or have you bought other DLC in small increments like this in other games? Let us know in the comments below.

Xbox Game Pass expansion – news and views

I recently posted some thoughts on Gaming Subscriptions (here and here) and talked about my conclusions from having an Xbox Game Pass subscription for a few months. Essentially, I found that it was probably great for newcomers to all that Xbox has to offer but for those of us who have played most of the games on the service as they came out originally, it holds little value.

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However, Microsoft has just changed the game (pun entirely intended). See here for the details but the short version is that from the release of Sea of Thieves in March, all Microsoft Studios games will be available on Xbox Game Pass alongside their release. That means that for your monthly subscription you get the pool of older titles that you have now and additionally get to play any new Halo, Gears of War, Forza and many more. Coming up soonest are Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3.

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This is an immediate game changer for us consumers. If you are considering buying any of those games within a year or two of their release then the cheapest way to do it will be via an Xbox Game Pass subscription. Why pay £50 up front when that will get you 6 months of the game you want, plus everything else that the service offers?

Perhaps more interesting though is what this could mean going forwards. Will things like EA Access follow suit? If this is a success for Microsoft, other publishers will surely want to get on board with the concept. But on the other hand, perhaps this kind of deal only makes sense for a company who also sells hardware off the back of it. Xbox Game Pass wants to be the Netflix of gaming but it was more like a catchup service. Perhaps this change will enable it to have the same kind of success as Netflix has in video.

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One potential word of caution though. We have gotten used to new releases having the ‘standard’ version and also some kind of ‘enhanced’ version which either includes more content up front, of gives the access to it when it is released. No doubt Xbox Game Pass will only supply the standard version and leave us with add-on purchases for our season passes and extra cosmetic items. If this idea takes off industry-wide I can easily foresee a slow creep to where the ‘standard’ version is really more of a ‘basic’ version – a glorified demo, to tempt you in to paying for the full experience. That might not even be a bad thing but given the various recent controversies around additional downloadable content, it’s something to keep in mind.

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For what it’s worth, I can see this really shifting Xbox Ones in the short term. New buyers won’t need to worry about which particular games to get in their bundle – just get an Xbox Game Pass subscription and you’re set for a long long while. In the longer term, who knows where this will take us but as a consumer, I intend to reap the benefits whilst I can.

What do you think on this? Will you be getting an Xbox Game Pass subscription on the back of these changes? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy New Year – let the gaming continue!

I’ve had an unexpected fortnight off from this blog to open 2018. With all the busyness of the Christmas break and then going back to normal life I didn’t have time to think about writing. The Boy and I did have time to play games however! As such, there is plenty for me to get my teeth into and write about through the rest of January. So, what can you look forward to from The Gamer Boys in the coming weeks? Read on.

Rocket League (Switch)2018011008294900-6F4D679ED7D2A016B654B265B956C5F0
We will have a review of this soon but, spoiler alert – it’s awesome! Of course it would be nice if you would read our review when it’s ready but really – don’t wait for that, just buy it. It’s going to be fairly high up on my all-time top games list. Something else we did was finally buy all the additional battle cars from the showroom, so I think I’ll put together a post about some of them – some are fantastic, and when such a great game is is so cheap, spending small chunks of money on DLC is no problem. See my First Impressions here.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle2018010308503700-9600BAE614E6833B1A261F5FB229CDBA
I have completed this game now, and it is wonderful. Somewhat odd, but once you get past that it’s just a really good game. The combination of the crazy Rabbids in the whimsical Mushroom Kingdom hides how deep the gameplay is. I’m sure it’s not as in-depth as some strategy games but it requires enough thought and planning to keep it intriguing and interesting all the way through. I wonder if a sequel, or at least further Ubisoft/Nintendo collaboration, could be in the works. Review forthcoming!

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I was given this game for Christmas and have been loving it so far. Of course, all the talk about this game is about how difficult it is. I will be no different! It is willfully hard for the sake of being hard – perhaps that is a subject worth looking at on this blog too. I’m currently just at the end of World 1 out of 4 so First Impressions will be up on the site very soon.

NBA Playgrounds (Switch)2018010918174200-4A1B5A3AF288537CEBE6559E7DFB000B
An ‘Enhanced Edition’ of this popped up on the eShop the other day. There’s a new set of tournament games to play through so I thought why not give it a go?! It’s still just as much fun as it was before although there’s nothing new enough to mean a change to what I said in my original review. Still – even more worth picking up now if you haven’t already!

In other news
I’ve got some other ideas to make The Gamer Boys blog less random, like a monthly round up of a ‘Top 5 “somethings” in gaming’ and other regular series like that. Let me know your thoughts on them when they start appearing! Otherwise, let us know what you’ve been playing at the start of 2018 in the comments below. Happy New Year!

Backlog Catchup in 2018

Ah, the backlog. I reckon everyone has got their little list somewhere of the stuff they are meaning to play but haven’t quite got around to. From retro stuff I’ve been meaning to catch up with, to the games from this year that I simply haven’t had time for yet – this list follows me around, seemingly never decreasing (although thankfully in recent times it has grown too much either). I’ll put the list here and then I aim to finish all of these games by the end of 2018 – although if next year turns out to have as many great games as this, that might be a struggle!26-10-2017_14-22-06.png

Currently playing:
Mass Effect: Andromeda – Xbox One (see my first impressions here)
Super Beat Sports – Switch (see my first impressions here)
Forza Motorsport 7 – Xbox One (see my first impressions here)
Rocket League – Switch (see my first impressions here)
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – Switch
Cuphead – Xbox One

Retro backlog:
Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Wii
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Xbox One/PS4

2017 catchup:
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp – Android
RiME – Switch
Super Luckys Tale – Xbox One
Doom – Switch
MXGP3 – Switch
Gear Club Unlimited – Switch
Super Mario Odyssey – Switch

Reflections on 2017 – What an amazing year for gaming!

What an amazing year for gaming 2017 has been! There have been so many fantastic games released, across multiple platforms and genres. Early this year, when I began writing about the games The Boy and I were playing, I had no idea what a good time it was to start this blog! We’ve also been lucky with the retro games we’ve played, whether they were just catch up from 2016 or older games we’d never previously got around to. I have added more games to my All-Time Top Games List this year than any year before – 10 games have been good enough to get 5 stars here.lozbotw1

So here’s a roundup of the year, in reviews and awards. Please note that if your favourite game isn’t mentioned, just remember that I have probably just not caught up with it yet (Super Mario Odyssey, I’m looking at you). I’ll do a backlog catchup post later in the week to round up those.

2017 Reviews (by score and then chronologically)
5*
Forza Horizon 3
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Old Man’s Journey
Minecraft
Horizon Zero Dawn
Super Mario Galaxy
Madden NFL 18
Gears of War 4
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

4*
New Super Mario Bros 2
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Dirt 4
Fast RMX
Sonic Mania
FIFA 18 (Switch)

3*
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Super Bomberman R
NBA Playgrounds
Gone Home
Gran Turismo Sport
Hue

2*
Magikarp Jump

2017 Awards:
Best Game: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildlozbotw2
It was my desire to write about how good Breath of the Wild was that originally sparked the idea to start some kind of blog. This game is just endlessly entertaining, I genuinely never wanted it to stop.
Runner Up: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
There have been many great Mario Kart games over the years but with 8 Deluxe, Nintendo have perfected the formula. And for local multiplayer, there’s no better thing.

Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
switchIt’s not hard to see why the Switch wins out here given the best game awards above! But in its first year it’s fair to give the console some bonus points for the genius of its design and the ability to play anywhere anyhow, as well.
Runner Up: Xbox One.
This was a close run thing as both Xbox One and PS4 had 2 great exclusives in 2017. The PS4 loses out because it also had the biggest disappointment of the year (see below).

Best Multiplayer Game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe2017050713184900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
As mentioned above, there is nothing even close to this for local multiplayer – in years, in fact, not just this year. It is absolute fun and the great combination of punch-the-air wins and heartbreaking losses only gets better with friends.
Runner Up: NBA Playgrounds
With Mario Kart dominating local multiplayer this year I turn to online multiplayer for the runner up. When I found a likeminded opponent who also wanted to play spectacularly – rather than just win – these games were exciting and ridiculous.

Most Unexpectedly Great Game: Madden NFL 1807-10-2017_22-39-27
I fully expected this to be just another annual edition of Madden until I played the new Longshot story mode. It was absolutely brilliant and elevated a good game to great.
Runner Up: Minecraft
I’d been avoiding Minecraft for ages – wasn’t sure if would be ‘my kind of game’. I was wrong. It’s fantastic and I spent untold amounts of hours being creative in it.

Wooden Spoon – Worst Disappointment: Gran Turismo SportGran Turismo™SPORT_20171020214155
Never before has a game given me something so good – in this case, the car handling model – and then given me no reason at all to enjoy it. Very disappointing.
Runner Up: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
After I really loved the first Mirror’s Edge I was looking forward to this. Sadly, whilst it maintained the enjoyable free running, it lost its heart and its storytelling.

Reflections on Ashes Cricket

The England Cricket Team are currently ‘down under’ – in Australia – for a test series that is nicknamed ‘The Ashes’. They are rubbish and are getting absolutely hammered by an Australian team that isn’t all that good. They don’t need to be – they just need to be better than their opposition. To coincide with this, we have the video game ‘Ashes Cricket‘. Can playing this game make up for the real life failings of the England team? No. There aren’t any other new cricket games at the moment, so this one has no opposition to beat – and yet I still can’t recommend it.Ashes Cricket_20171122230647

List of things that are good about the England cricket team:

List of things that are good about Ashes Cricket:

Ashes Cricket_20171123224604

Seriously, this game is terrible. It looks awful – it’s so completely bland and uninspiring and the players and umpires look totally unnatural. The gameplay is not intuitive at all, even for someone who has played cricket games in the past. In fact, the only thing I can say struck me as working well was the fielding – but of course you have to have already done some bowling before you get to do that!Ashes Cricket_20171122231507

Batting, which is inevitably the most important part of a cricket game, is the part that should work well. You use the stick to aim and press different buttons for different kinds of shots with the right timing. Yet somehow even this doesn’t come together. At one point I decided I would try and hit a six – I did, but more by luck than judgement. The game doesn’t give you any good feedback about your shot making, either on screen or via gamepad rumble.Ashes Cricket_20171123225133

In short, I really can’t be bothered to try and find more to write about this game. Just don’t waste your time with it. Instead – you can watch the real Ashes! Or maybe not that either.