VIDEOGAME CULTURE

WIN A COPY OF BATTLEFIELD 4 ON XBOX 360 OR PS3!




We have teamed up with UK retailer Argos to offer readers the chance to bag a brand new copy of the astoundingly good Battlefield 4 on Xbox 360® or PlayStation®3.

Battlefield 4 lets you experience a dramatic character-driven single player campaign that starts with the evacuation of American VIPs from Shanghai and follows your squad fight their way back home. It also serves as (in VGC’s humble opinion) the greatest FPS for online multiplayer of this entire console generation. You can find out more here.

Entering couldn't be simpler; all you have to do is use the Rafflecopter form below to like our Facebook page, follow VGC on the Twitter, share this blog post on your Facebook wall or tweet about the competition, and everytime you do one of these things you'll gain more entries that will increase your chance of winning. You can even share/tweet the details again and again over multiple days if you're really, really keen to boost your chances, and those that share the competition with their friends/followers get twice as many entries into the raffle! Current followers and fans can also enter, so there's no discrimination there.

Please do be aware though that this competition is open to UK residents only.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Competition open until: 14/12/2013
Terms & conditions:

By participating in this prize draw you are deemed to accept these terms and conditions.

Prize draw open to customers and non-customers aged 18 or over who are UK residents. Draw is not open to employees of Argos, their families or anyone associated with this draw. Proof of eligibility must be provided on request.

The prize is a Battlefield 4 on Xbox 360® or PlayStation®3 and includes postage to winners’ UK addresses. Promotion runs from 14/11/13 and all entries must be received by 11.59pm on 14/12/13 latest.

Winners will be drawn at random at the end of the promotion.

The prize is not transferable and there is no cash alternative. The promoter’s decision is final in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into. The promoter reserves the right (a) to add to or waive any rules on reasonable notice (b) cancel or postpone the promotion at any stage in the event of circumstances beyond its reasonable control; or (c) in its reasonable discretion to substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

If a prize remains unclaimed after reasonable efforts have been made to contact the winner the promoter will be entitled to dispose of the prize as it sees fit without any liability to the winner for having done so.



The promoter reserves the right to alter, amend or foreclose the promotion without prior notice. 

FIFA 14 ON MOBILE IS FREE TO PLAY - IS THIS JUST THE BEGINNING?


I was shocked, if not exactly surprised, to find that EA have taken the commercial decision to make FIFA 14 free to play on iOS and Android. The mobile version of the game allows you to play certain matches for free, but asks you to pay to unlock the Manager, Tournament and Kick Off modes. Going free to play is certainly a huge shift in the way they've put what is probably their most lucrative IP to market, but thankfully the way it’s implemented, i.e. only having to pay a one off fee to unlock the game's meatier modes, is a lot kinder on users than the constant penny pinching that all but ruined Real Racing 3.

One friend that has played FIFA on mobile this year bemoaned the game for its lack of improvements over last year's version. I told him he should be glad they updated the game engine last year; us long suffering PS Vita owners are still expected to play a reskined version of FIFA 11 even for this year's Vita iteration, because EA refuse to offer us more than the 'same great gameplay' that we were enjoying on consoles some 3 versions ago, which it's fair to say has been substantially improved upon since. My suspicion is that this situation won't change for as long as Microsoft and EA's 'strategic partnership' goes on for.

Anyway, I digress. What really got me thinking about FIFA 14 going freemium was how long will it be before this model is established on the home consoles as well? EA have focused heavily on free to play on mobile devices; they have games like World Series of Poker, which works very much like a normal poker game would, but with the distinct disadvantage that you eventually pay with real money to play without the chance to also win real money. Well established franchises like The Sims, Theme Park and Monopoly are also F2P, and that's just EA's offering; in fact, pretty much every major player in the mobile gaming space releases a free version of their games, either ad supported or freemium, and you only need to look at the way free to play games dominate the Google Play Store's 'Top Grossing' apps list (below) to see why.



You can definitely make a case to say this is down to the more casual nature of the audience for tablet and smartphone games. With this space being dominated by 69p apps and games that cost £4.99 seeming a fortune, AAA mobile games, which have much bigger development costs than runaway hits like Angry Birds, clearly need to make their money elsewhere, and those aforementioned Top Grossing lists suggest that a decent number of casual games don't mind spending little & often. The big question is whether the same will be true on the crowded marketplaces of the Playstation Network and Xbox Live.


THE GREAT ADVENTURE GAME RENAISSANCE

A few years ago the classic adventure game genre looked confined to the history books, but today it’s arguably never been stronger.

MIRROR'S EDGE PARKOUR'D TO LIFE




EA/DICE's wonderful Mirror's Edge has been spectacularly brought to life by Parkour expert (or man who's a few shillings short of a pound) Neil Cointet. He's a member of the Parkour group Ampisound, who have hooked him up to a headcam to recreate the daring feats of lead character Faith around Cambridge; a town less oppressive than the distopia that featured in Mirror's Edge, but evidently just as perfect for climbing and rolling around.

Check out the video below - Ampisound have promised to make more if this is a success, so I figured I should do my bit for it's viral push as I'd certainly like to see more of this kind of thing.


FIFA 14: CAREER MODE IMPROVEMENTS - PART TWO


The new football season has begun, and with the release of FIFA 14 just a few weeks away EA Sports has finally spilled the beans on some of the changes we can look forward to in this year's Career Mode.

I wrote a couple of months back about some of the changes I'd like to see in Career Mode, centring on various aspects of the AI. Now, in part two, I'd like to talk about some of the visual and presentational elements that I feel could use some attention. The misgivings I have with the current game's visuals aren't unique to Career Mode of course, but I do feel that this is the mode which is most affected by some of the more obvious visual inaccuracies, given that Career Mode is the part of the game which is supposed to replicate the real world of football.

Given that FIFA 14 will be the first version to appear on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there certainly couldn't be a better time to soup the visuals up a bit. FIFA has had the advantage over Pro Evolution Soccer in the looks department this generation, but it has to be said that PES 2014 running on the Fox Engine looks absolutely stunning, and this year could provide its greatest challenge to FIFA's supremacy yet.

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