fifa15guide – RPS Reminder: We’re On Holiday Today!

fifa15guide - RPS Reminder: We’re On Holiday Today!

Hallo gang! Today we’re- NO ADAM, PUT GRAHAM DOWN. Today we’re on holiday, which means things will be a bit quiet around here. That is if PHILIPPA LAVINIA WARR, IF I HEAR ONE MORE TOOT OUT THAT VUVUZELA…! That is if this unruly mob will settle down and stop turning this tropical poolside bar into- John Aloysius Jehoshaphat Walker, do you want me to dress you in a sailor suit and feed you bananas? Because I will if you don’t cease this MONKEY BUSINESS. Leave Alec alone, for goodness’ sake. Yes, I know he ducked you in the pool but that doesn’t mean you- Graham Ian Ian Ian Smith don’t you think for one single second that I didn’t see that.

Sorry, I’m sorry, I have to go. You take care of yourself, okay? We’ll see you on Tuesday.

fifa15guide – Crowd-Finding: A Normal Lost Phone

fifa15guide - Crowd-Finding: A Normal Lost Phone

It’s bad enough when free games run amok and wreak havoc. But what would happen if they started… evolving?

It’s a regular day. You’re walking down the street when you spot a phone, lying on the ground. It looks dejected and defenseless. A Normal Lost Phone [official site] branded “Accidental Queens.” It’s ringing. You take a closer look, and remember: you have seen this phone somewhere. The image flashes before your eyes: Brendan warned you to stay away, that it was dangerous. That it had killed before. Curiosity overwhelms you: you tell yourself you shouldn’t, but you pick it up. It’s Ulule, a crowdfunding website. They’re asking for money to turn a free prototype into a complete game. They name inspirations: Gone Home, Her Story, Life Is Strange. Will you reply?

By now, you’re too intrigued to walk away. Against your better judgement, you ask for more information. A short trailer starts playing.

You protest that the trailer didn’t really show anything at all!

They explain that the free prototype is still playable, if you want a taste of what’s to come. They’ll rework the script, flesh out the characters, add new apps and puzzles, but that should give you a good idea of what the game will play like. You open the link: it’s someone’s phone. You rifle through the texts, the pictures. It’s all beautifully drawn. You pay attention to the dates and guess the owner’s social media passwords. You piece the story back together, bit by bit. Suddenly, a throwaway text you read way back at the beginning takes on new meaning.

The voice continues: “The storyline touches on topics including youth, coming of age, homophobia, depression and the pursuit of self-identity.”

The campaign is already half-way through its £7,753/10,000€ target. A copy of the game will cost you 15€. Yes, they sigh, that’s about £12 to you.

Think carefully about what you’re doing. This free game will be unrecognisable, it’ll walk the streets and no one will suspect anything about its past. Will it grow into a well-groomed and behaved priced game? Or will it mingle with the best gaming has to offer, only to reveal that its essence had never changed? That, deep down inside, it was still a dangerous free game, after all?

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft –

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

The Warcraft movie hasn’t exactly been drowning in plaudits after its premiere… to which I wasn’t invited, so I’m typing this in a Frankie and Benny’s immediately after my local cinema’s first non-midnight screening because hahahaha, no. That’s how devoted I am to timeliness: a bit! But, as a long-time player of World of Warcraft who actually plays for stuff like the story and the PvE content, I still held out hope. If it simply wasn’t for others, as the mood seemed, might it be for me?

Answers as soon as I order this burger. Bacon, lettuce, no cheese…

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

So, I liked the movie. I liked the movie a lot. But I can see exactly why a lot of people didn’t, and it really is the dividing line between ‘good movie’ and, well, ‘movie I liked’. In addition to having played a lot of World of Warcraft, I’ve seen almost every game-to-movie conversion, and this one is light-years ahead of basically all of them for one simple reason – it wants to exist. Generally, movies based on games are ashamed of their source material and do their best to get away from it as fast as humanly possible. There’s a couple of exceptions, like Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat and Silent Hill, to various degrees of success, but they’re dwarfed by how often someone looks at the likes of Hitman and goes “But what if he had a girlfriend?

The Warcraft movie is made of love. It drips from every frame. Every background. Every piece of armour. Every little detail in every scene. This movie simply couldn’t have been made without that fastidious attention and drive to recreate this world to the absolute edge of what the budget can do. There’s a few tweaks here and there to lore, like Khadgar no longer being Medivh’s apprentice, and the orc who will be Thrall getting the full-on Moses treatment far earlier than originally. Garona’s backstory is the most changed, now completely redone and simplified to make her more sympathetic. Overall though, they’re very small, don’t change the big picture much, and are visibly in the service of telling the story rather than just casually rewriting established lore.

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

Most importantly, it finds a middle-ground between the two factions early on, with very little forced drama or frustrating misunderstandings to carry the story… occasionally to the point that it starts feeling unrealistic just how damn reasonable everybody is and that all of this is actually going to lead to great wars instead of just one big skirmish, a polite meeting, and maybe the parcelling out of a little bit of land somewhere. I hear Mount Hyjal is quite pleasant this time of year. The humans of Stormwind are peaceful, respectful, willing to hear anyone out, and capable of putting the blame where it belongs, even when flaring up in anger. On the orc-side, Durotan especially is shown as honourable to a fault, and the whole Horde torn between its old ideals and Gul’dan’s new wave of destructive Fel magic corrupting both their traditions and their future. Both sides though are treated as smart, worthy adversaries, whether it’s the humans working out tactics or the Frostwolves trying to handle warband politics.

Occasionally, they even get too smart for the movie itself, coming up with a plan so effective that the next scene has to quickly pretend that never happened. Doomhammer talking Gul’dan out of making the Frostwolves go green through Fel magic? Uh. Look over there! Did you see the flying monkey!? Then, later: Humiliate him in front of his army to turn all the orcs against him? Great plan, and- oh, look, the flying monkey’s back! And he brought one of the movie’s suspiciously sharp edit-cuts!

But those are details. For the most part, this is a beautifully made, lovingly produced conversion. It’s one of the few that do its source material honour, it tells the story as the creators wrote it without being so stuck to the details that it can’t work as a film, while keeping things simple enough that, bar a bit of difficulty telling orcs apart at times, new audiences shouldn’t find it hard to follow.

So… uh… what went wrong?

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

It’s tough to put my finger on it, but at heart… it’s not a fun movie. It’s so self-important, so po-faced, so desperate to be worthy. At times… and by god, do not mistake this for a comment on its quality… it made me think of the movie version of Battlefield Earth, and its quivering terror at being seen as ‘squirreling’ the original source. The Passion Of The Christ would tell Warcraft: The Beginning to maybe chill out a little. Throw in a few more character scenes. Establish some proper chemistry in a bit of downtime.

But no. Everyone in this movie is there to be a dramatic puzzle piece first, a character second. With very few exceptions, Khadgar and Lothar ultimately working out what movie they’re in, there’s no sense of camaraderie, no humour, no banter. This might fit Warcraft, but let’s face it, this is a World of Warcraft movie, and the World of Warcraft is a fairly goofy place. I’m not saying that it should have been about an adventuring party cracking wise and cracking skulls, or god forbid, have had a comic relief character. But there’s a reason why comic relief is called ‘relief’, especially in a long movie. A few gnome airships, a bit more friendship, or taking the stick out of Dominic Cooper’s ass and making King Llane Wrynn be someone with the charisma to lead a doomed empire back from the brink of destruction might have made all the difference.

What makes it all the more noticeable is that as much as the movie deeply cares about depicting this first great battle between orcs and humans, it offers very little reason for the average viewer to. We see lots of Azeroth from establishing shots, but really nothing of the orc campaign up close. We’re given no sense of a great culture about to take it in the face for the next few years. Aside from one dwarf shown in the intro to set up a Chekhov’s gun (that, like a lot of what gets set up, never really fires) and the occasional shot of a Night Elf or whatever around a table, the entire of Azeroth is represented by basically five humans. Who cares? I’ve played this series since the 90s, and I was struggling to give a damn as everyone beamed around, fighting an inherently losing battle with no care for establishing things like geography or scale.

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

Instead, for much of it I was pondering how well Marvel has done at not simply making movies of its properties, but bringing people into its crazily complex world. In particular, Guardians of the Galaxy. Again, I’m not saying that should have been the template; that the movie needed wise-cracks and banter and so on. But what it did desperately need was that sense of friendship, of pushing against impossible odds, of presenting the Warcraft universe as not simply a place of deep lore, but a wonderous place where magic and adventure can happen. Or, alternatively, consider The Hobbit – a story that allows everyone to dip their toes into Middle Earth before diving into Lord of the Rings.

You need a connection to a world before you can truly care about it. Warcraft just assumes one, and while it gets the nature of the place very well, it’s too cold to give that familiarity any real emotional resonance. Seeing Stormwind on the big screen should be amazing. The Dark Portal. Ironforge. Karazhan. Westfall. And for a moment, in those establishing shots, it is. But then, we’re done. They’re just places; backgrounds rather than settings, and those narrative pieces pretending to be characters visibly composited on top rather than seeming to be living, breathing places. Moreover, they’re places that don’t appreciate the reasons that they’re so beloved – the warmth of the Forge, the craziness of Karazhan, and the memories and meaning that players have instilled into them over the years, rather than their place in the lore.

The RPG Scrollbars: Warcraft -

But again, for all its flaws, I don’t think it’s a bad movie. It’s a good movie, let down by its own desire to be a tribute to Warcraft first, a fun fantasy flick second. I really wish it had found a more personal story to focus on, that it had had the solid emotional tent-peg of an Arthas or a Thrall, where the big dilemmas could come from inside, and personal strengths/weaknesses rather than outright fantasy guff like Fel magic. The Beginning makes sense as the start of a new franchise, and it’s 80% the way to being the long awaited Truly Great Game To Movie Conversion. But if there’s to be only one Warcraft movie… and given its reception, that seems likely… it’s a shame it had to be this one. Still, it’s okay. Not great, but far from cinematic disaster, and for all its flaws, still one of the best conversions yet. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Now read Pip’s take as a person mildly familiar with Warcraft lore.

fifa15guide | Have You Played… Bejeweled 3?

fifa15guide | Have You Played… Bejeweled 3?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

PopCap got a lot of puzzle games right first time. Bejeweled [official site] took them three full goes, but by Bejeweled 3 by gosh they got it right.

The original Bejewled has been downloaded so many times that making up exaggerated numbers for it has become impossible. If I said 73 trillion times, people would probably nod. And yet, of the match-3 genre, while certainly one of the earliest, it’s far from the best. The best, as everyone knows, is Zoo Keeper DS. Bejeweled 3 finally caught up, and made the vital switch – it made it possible to start lining up your following match before the cascading madness of disappearing tiles had finished from the last.

It makes all the difference.

The poor license has been squeezed dry by EA since, mangled into free-to-play attempts to surf the wave of the game that so closely followed it, Candy Crush Saga. Apparently Bejeweled Stars is where it’s at now. But Bejeweled 3 remains the finest entry in the puzzler series that got the whole business started. Still, it’s no Zoo Keeper.

fifa15guide – NITE Team 4 Is A Hacking Sim With A Demo

fifa15guide - NITE Team 4 Is A Hacking Sim With A Demo

Panic ensued in Castle Shotgun when a press release arrived quite unlike like the others. “I work for Alice & Smith, developers of The Black Watchmen Alternate Reality Game.” Alice! Our Alice? And Smith! But which Smith? An ARG? Suddenly, distrust filled the room. The tension was palpable. You could taste it in the tea.

Alice & Smith went on to present NITE Team 4 [official site], a hacking game set in the same universe as their ARG. It has a free public demo, but who could be trusted to report the truth? Who would be ready to betray their friends, in case the truth demanded it? Alice and both Smiths denied any involvement. Of course they would. That’s what guilty people do. After a heated discussion, they agreed to let an outsider investigate. That’s where I come in. Except someone stopped me in my tracks, just when I was starting to have some fun. We may never know the truth.

NITE Team 4 is still in alpha, but you can download its demo for Windows and Mac.

During its first levels, NITE Team 4 doesn’t stand out from many other hacking sims. It immediately reveals itself as a puzzle game dressed in real or realistic commands and terminology. You play as the agent of an NSA-like organization, with a simplified command interface, black and green color scheme, and most of the cliches of the romanticized hacker life.

fifa15guide - NITE Team 4 Is A Hacking Sim With A Demo

This alternation between realism and accessibility is at times quite jarring: they want to use real codenames, but they can’t use them without explaining what they mean, so you’ll find a mission objective that will tell you to conduct a “target exploitation” and then add in brackets “TAREX.” Same goes for the mini-games, like the one pictured above: they stand-in for the parts of hacking which may actually be hard to both perform and represent. You need to literally traverse walls of “fire”, in a cyber-reinterpretation of Frogger, to “exploit the firewall”, and it’s really immersion-breaking if you care about this kind of thing.

fifa15guide - NITE Team 4 Is A Hacking Sim With A Demo

Of course, the first levels of this kind of game will often be similar to one another, and it’s hard to tell if they will come together in interesting ways later on, when the missions can afford to be more complex. But what could make NITE Team 4 stand out from the competition are the missions in which you need to collaborate with agents on the field, helping them infiltrate building, retrieve data, sabotage targets or plant eavesdropping equipment.

Unfortunately, a bug prevented me from progressing past the third mission in the demo, so I didn’t get to play any of those, if they’re at all included. The game is still in alpha, so bugs are to be expected sometimes, but I know this bug was planted to prevent me from finding the truth. We may never know what really happened. We may never solve the ARG.

Look at them. Really look at their mugshots. What is Alice hiding behind her glasses? What is Graham hiding behind his beard? What is Adam so interested in, that we can’t see? They’re all suspects. We can’t trust any of them.

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fifa15guide:Bless Online Gold is Now Can be Purchased Online at

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fifa15guide | Dani Alves supporting Atleti in CL final

As the Brazilian shifts his attention to the Copa America after another trophy-laden season at Camp Nou, he affirmed he would be backing Diego Simeone’s men in Milan

Barcelona defender Dani Alves admits he is hoping Atletico Madrid prevail over bitter rivals Real Madrid in Saturday's Champions League final.

Diego Simeone's Atletico knocked defending champions Barcelona out of the tournament in the quarter-final stage, before edging past Bayern Munich in the semis. 

Madrid are the only team that stand in Atletico's way of a maiden Champions League crown, in a rematch of the 2014 final that ended 4-1 in favour of the former after extra time. 

But Dani Alves is hoping for a different result at the San Siro, with the Brazil international of the belief that Atletico are more than worthy winners of the competition.

fifa15guide | Dani Alves supporting Atleti in CL finalfifa15guide | Dani Alves supporting Atleti in CL final READ MORE fifa15guide | Dani Alves supporting Atleti in CL final | Liverpool to face Barcelona at Wembley

"I want Atletico to win in. But not just because I want Madrid to lose," the 33-year-old told AS

"I like it when Madrid don't win, that is obvious. But I want Atletico to win it because they are a team that has worked for it. 

"They deserve a title of this level, and they come into it having competed with the best. 

"Madrid already have a lot of Champions Leagues. I would like Atletico to have a prize for all the work they have done in recent years."

fifa15guide | Carrico banned for homophobic slur

The Portuguese defender will miss the opening stages of next year’s Copa after berating the official in Sunday’s extra time defeat, as well as the Super Cup

Sevilla defender Daniel Carrico has received a four-game ban after being found guilty of directing a homophobic slur towards referee Carlos del Cerro Grande during the Copa del Rey final.

Carrico was sent off in the closing stages of Sevilla's 2-0 defeat to Barcelona after extra time in Sunday's decider at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid.

The one-time Portugal international received a yellow card for fouling Barcelona's Lionel Messi, before directing a homophobic slur in Del Cerro Grande's direction.

fifa15guide | Carrico banned for homophobic slur fifa15guide | Carrico banned for homophobic slur READ MORE   fifa15guide | Carrico banned for homophobic slur | Messi's double: Leo pulls Barca through

The referee then proceeded to show Carrico a red card before Barcelona went on to score their second goal of the night through Neymar to seal back-to-back domestic doubles. 

The competition judge of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sentenced Carrico to a four-game ban, keeping him out of next season's Spanish Super Cup against Barca and then Sevilla's next two Copa del Rey fixtures. 

Carrico's team-mate Ever Banega and Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano, who were also sent off in the final, both received one-game suspensions. 

Meanwhile, for the accumulation of yellow cards in the competition, Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Adil Rami and Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla) were also given one-game bans.

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti –

The Bayern Munich star believes outgoing manager Pep Guardiola’s record speaks for itself and is looking forward to linking up with the Italian when he arrives in Bavaria

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti - fifa15guide.netEXCLUSIVE

David Alaba believes Bayern Munich can build on their “crazy” success under Pep Guardiola to become an even better team when Carlo Ancelotti takes charge at the Allianz Arena.

The relentless Bundesliga champions became the first team in the history of Germany’s top flight to win the title four years on the trot in the 2015-16 campaign, finshing 10 points ahead of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

And Alaba is now focused on achieving further success under Ancelotti, insisting that winning every game is the club’s aim.

He told Goal: “We are all very happy. Winning the championship becomes more difficult every year. It’s crazy that we’ve won four Bundesliga trophies in a row. Nobody else has achieved that in more than 50 years of Bundesliga history.

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti -

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti -

“We are a team that is motivated and hungry in every game. We want to win every game, that is typical for Bayern. You can feel the team spirit in every training session and every game.

“I have not yet spoken with Ancelotti, but I know of him of course. He is a great coach who has had a lot of success. I heard good things about him and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

When asked how the Bayern players would adapt to Ancelotti’s style of management, Alaba added: “We know we’ve developed well as a team in the last years and we’ve played very good football.

“Our goal is to continue in this way. We want to become even better with Carlo.”

Despite claiming two trophies during the 2015-16 season, with the DFB-Pokal added to the club’s Bundesliga triumph, Bayern came up short in the Champions League and were eliminated from the competition at the semi-final stage for the third campaign in a row.

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti -

David Alaba with Goal’s Bayern correspondent Niklas König

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti - fifa15guide.netEXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti - READ MORE EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti - | Hojbjerg wants Bayern exit

Alaba feels that Bayern were unfortunate not to make the San Siro final, with Atletico Madrid winning their semi-final on away goals, but insists that the players are already thinking about going one better in 2017.

“Of course we were very disappointed after the game and the days that followed as well, especially because we were very unlucky to be eliminated,” he said. “But now we get our heads up and go again. It’s no secret that the expectations are very high here at Bayern. We are under pressure all the time. But we’ve often proved we can deal with it.

“It’s something positive [reaching the semi-finals three times in a row]. But if you take a look at the facts, there is nothing at the end of it – at least not what we wanted.

“We want to make our dreams come true and the Champions League is a dream for all of us. We try our best and we want to come out on the top at the end of the season. The fact we haven’t reached the final three times in a row is not easy to take. But we will stand up and go for it again next season.”

On the legacy former manager Pep Guardiola leaves behind, Alaba reflected: “As players we didn’t think about it, at least I didn’t. The last three years we have seen how successful we’ve been. The team has improved every year.

“If you reach the Champions League semi-finals three times in a row that speaks for itself. To win this competition isn’t easy. With Pep we played very good football and we were successful.”

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti -

EXCLUSIVE: Alaba excited for Ancelotti -