Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Review: Overwatch

If you’re anything like me you may feel the online FPS gaming genre has become somewhat stale.

I truly believe you only enjoy them if your favourite colour on the Dulux colour chart is between milky latte and David Dickinson and of course, have the minimum of 300 hours spare to plough into the game to attain the weapons required to kill anyone who even looks in your general direction.

Alas, I don’t have this luxury and prefer games to be fairer and less predictable. So I gave up playing them a few years back and never looked back.

The hype for Overwatch had been building for ages, drip feeding new characters and locations to a ravenous fan base whom had followed the progress since it's announcement.

No one was more surprised than me when I first caught sight of the trailer. Colourful characters, great dialogue and the sense of humour that had been missing from similar titles.

It was a welcomed slap of colour, explosions and fun so setting aside my unfavoured stance of the genre, I picked up a copy.

Initially - and even as a seasoned gamer - I was overwhelmed at the prospect of having 21 characters to learn; each with different weapons, speed of movement and special attacks to master but after committing to a few hours of facing AI opponents it easily became second nature.

Overwatch is unlike other FPS'ers where you stand nil chance of competing unless you level up your guns obtaining a godlike status and it's weaponry perks, which often require hours upon hours of online play.

In contrast, Overwatch is more comparable to the Street Fighter or Smash Bros series, whereby you select a character with their own individual move set that you simply learn in order to get better.

Whenever you’re a level one or one hundred, players rely solely on the same abilities and weapons. The reason you win is based on how good you are at that moment, not by how many hours are on your gameplay clock.

Add to this amazing level design, a flawless online experience and a well executed sound board that enables you to distinguish between each combatants’ footsteps.

A perhaps more favourable award for hours of play is learning to differentiate between opponents before they even make it to your screen.

My only concern was the lack of a single player mode. There's no story to play through and I’d worried that these sublimely designed characters would have no anecdote or backstory to make them three dimensional, being emotionless legs with guns.

Thankfully this has already been taken care of in the form animated shorts, web comics and an upcoming graphic novel that between them give insight to the protagonists.

 As you can probably tell I’m loving Overwatch. With each match I’m learning more about the massive roster, level layouts and strategies and perhaps most importantly I'm having fun playing online again.

How do you feel about the FPS genre? What are your thoughts on Overwatch? 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Vans X Nintendo Lauch at House of Vans + Giveaway

I love a collaboration. There’s nothing like two or more of your favourite brands coming together to entice you to open your wallet - and never more so for me than when Nintendo are involved.

I was surprised of the unlikely pairing of Nintendo with skater’s favourite Vans given that Nintendo’s most recent foray into the fashion world was courtesy of higher end brand Moschino.

Despite often being pressed up against the glass in Selfridges admiring the Moschino Bowser backpack, I simply couldn’t justify the hefty price tag. So this wallet-friendly pairing was a much more welcomed alliance.

The Vans X Nintendo collection is affordable for all, not to mention - quite selfishly - already to my favoured skate style. It also covers all bases with footwear, accessories and apparel available across all age ranges and sexes.

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the collection in South East London, within the illustrious arches of The House of Vans.

With DJ's spinning a Nintendo soundtrack and like-minded, friendly people waiting patiently inline to discover the new collection, it made for one of the better launch events I've attended.

The collection - displayed within cabinets furnished alongside the ever-so-recognisable Mario World backdrop - featured slip ons, sliders and authentic shoes in prints from The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario and Duck Hunt titles as well as NES pad motif SK8-Hi's which I'm certain will fly off the shelves.

In other glass topped tables, items were perfectly placed for an Instagrammable flat-lay showcasing the footwear surrounded by a variety of Nintendo trinkets.

Keeping the crowds further entertained was the ever popular photo booth, with attendees clutching their Nintendo themed cocktails whilst queuing to snap themselves sporting the iconic red Mario hat that was distributed upon arrival.

Playable consoles from the decades were set up throughout; from the current gen Wii U to the GameCube, Wii, Zappers for Duck Hunt and the iconic NES and SNES.

There was also a Mario Kart tournament that was commentated live which made for an interesting watch.

Most popular was a game of ring toss, where everyone was a winner ...and included some pretty generous prizes such as backpacks from the collaboration and skate decks should you be any good!

It was a busy, fun filled and enjoyable launch event. Big thanks to Vans and Nintendo for putting on a show worthy of the names involved.

You can shop the Vans X Nintendo collection here.

Vans Off The Wall headphones and Vans X Nintendo canvas tote bag from the launch!

Simply complete the easy entry competition widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&Cs: Competition closes midnight 3rd July 2016. Winner drawn at random via Rafflecopter widget upon verification of participants confirmed entry routes. False entries will be disqualified and will result in another winner being drawn. Winner has 14 days to respond, after which time another winner will be selected.

Best of luck!