Weekly News Update

This week the News Team covered: gun control in America following the Sutherland Springs shooting, the Paradise Papers revealing millions in tax evasion and the allegations of sexual assault in Parliament. To listen back to the news show visit our Mixcloud. To keep up to date throughout the week follow us on twitter!

In National News:

Health concerns for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratclifee, the British-Iranian woman serving a 5 year sentence in Iran:
• Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested during a visit to Iran to visit family in April 2016, accused of trying to overthrow the regime, which she denies.
• Zaghari-Ratcliffe has seen a specialist after finding lumps in her breasts.
• Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been accused of bungling the UK’s handling of the case.
• Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, has told her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, that he will try and find time to meet him ‘in the next few days.’
• This is following Environment Secretary Michael Gove informing the BBC he did not know why Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran or what she was doing when she was arrested.
• The comments by the politicians have left Charity Thomas Reuters Foundation, who Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe has worked for, fearing they have doubled her sentence.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year sentence in Iran.

Paradise Papers reveal UK millionaires ‘using offshore tax avoidance schemes’:
• More than 100 UK millionaires have been identified as tax dodgers after hiding their wealth using offshore schemes.
• The UK is under pressure to act over tax avoidance and offshore havens.
• Theresa May refuses to commit to public inquiry or open registers.
• Mrs May did however comment saying “we want people to pay the tax that is due”.
• Shadow Chancellor, John McDonell, described it as the “biggest tax scandal of this generation”.
• Jeremy Corbyn has suggested the Queen, among others, should apologise for using overseas tax havens if they were used to avoid taxation in the UK.
• The Labour leader was asked at the CBI conference whether the Queen should say sorry for making overseas investments.
• He said anyone putting money into tax havens for the purposes of avoidance should “not just apologise for it, recognise what it does to our society”.
• The BBC revealed that the Queen’s estate has used overseas tax havens.

The revolving door in politics:
• After surviving three decades in politics and serving under four Conservative prime ministers, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned.
• Following the allegations of sexual assault, Julia Hartley-Brewer came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Fallon.
• Fallon confirmed he was rebuked by journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer for touching her knee during a dinner in 2002.
• He also added that his behaviour may have been acceptable a decade ago but it no longer is.
• Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, has since replaced Fallon.
• Priti Patel also resigned from her post as Secretary of State for International Development.
• Patel arranged a number of meetings with business and political figures, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a family holiday to Israel in August, without informing Downing Street.
• Patel has since said that she has been inundated with support from her family, friends and constituency since stepping down.
• Conservative MP for Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt has since taken over Ms Patel’s post.

Priti Patel at her meeting with with Yair Lapid, the head of Yesh Atid.

In International News:

Is a resolution to the Catalan tensions in the horizon?
• Catalonia’s deposed leader Carles Puigdemont and four former advisers have turned themselves in to Belgian police, says a prosecutors’ spokesman.
• Mr Puigdemont fled to Belgium after Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia following an independence referendum. He has said he will not return to Spain unless he is guaranteed a fair trial.
• Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, has said that next month’s regional elections in Catalonia will help end the “separatist havoc.”
• This address was at a campaign event in Catalonia during his first visit there since imposing direct rule on the region two weeks ago.
• The conflict was initiated by a disputed referendum held in Catalonia in October which has been banned by the Spanish courts.

Trump Russia: US ‘in peril over president’s stance:
• Donald Trump once again dismissed claims of Russian collusion in the 2016 Presidential Election as a “Democratic hit job” on Saturday, despite US intelligence across multiple federal agencies stating the contrary.
• The US president sparked uproar by suggesting he believed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he said there had been no interference; when they discussed the allegations at an Asia-Pacific Summit.
• Two former US intelligence chiefs say Trump’s stance on Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election is putting the US at risk.

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam.

Iraq-Iran earthquake: Deadly tremor hits border region:
• A strong 7.3-magnitude earthquake has hit the northern border region between Iran and Iraq, killing at least 10 people.
• At least 6 people have died in western Iran and another 4 dead in Iraq.
• Iranian news channels IRINN says rescue teams have been despatched to western parts of the country.

How long is too long to wait for relief?
• Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria in late September.
• Nearly 7 weeks after the hurricane, more than 50% is still without power.
• In Vietnam 400,000 people continue to await emergency assistance following Typhoon Damrey making landfall on the 4th of November in the countries south-central region.
• A second storm is expected to make landfall within the next 48 hours, threatening the current efforts in the region to get emergency supplies to the worst hit areas.

A woman wades past buildings flooded by Typhoon Damrey in the town of Hoi An in Vietnam’s south-central coast region.

In Entertainment News:

More allegations of sexual harassment pour into Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations:
Steven Seagal:
• Arrested Development actress, Portia de Rossie, wife of US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, posted a tweet on Wednesday night accusing actor and producer Steven Seagal of sexual harassment.
• She alleges that during a film audition Mr Seagal told her ‘how important it was to have chemistry off-screen’ before unzipping his trousers.
• Seagal’s manager has informed the press that the actor has no comment.
• Several other women have come forward to accuse the producer of inappropriate behaviour and harassment including the Good Wife actress Julianna Margulies, actress Eva LaRue and model Jenny McCarthy.
• Seagal is the latest person in Hollywood accused of sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations.
Ed Westwick:
• Kristina Cohen accused him of sexually assaulting her three years ago.
• Following Cohen’s actions, Aurelie Wynn posted on Facebook, claiming she was raped by the actor at his home in August 2014.
• Ed Westwick has strongly denied claims he anybody and is cooperating with authorities to clear his name ‘as soon as possible.’
• Two BBC shows starring Ed Westwick have been put on hold in light of the allegations.

Ed Westwick took to twitter to respond to the allegations.

Weekly News Update

To keep up to date with all things news worthy follow us on twitter. You can also listen back to exclusive interviews and our fortnightly news show What a Week on our Mixcloud. Tune in this Thursday at 6pm to catch this week’s show, the first visualised radio episode for What a Week!

In Local News:

A thank you to 35 years of service:
• Surrey’s first black police officer has retired after 35-years of dedicated service.
• Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa joined the Surrey police force in 1982 and went on to become Head of Diversity at the Metropolitan Police.
• Born in Nigeria, Mr Olisa lived in Egham for three years whilst studying biochemistry at Royal Holloway before completing his 10-week police training course.

A step backwards in the name of truth:
• Lawyers have applied to the coroner to reopen the inquests of victims of the 1974 bombing of the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford.
• The bombings were connected to the IRA, and killed 5 people and injured 65
• Four people were wrongly convicted and served 15 years in prison before being released.
• The Surrey coroner’s office has said it will consider the request to continue the inquests.

The devoted Horse and Groom pub in North Street

In National News:

A problem in politics or ‘political smears’?
• Theresa May’s most senior minister has denied the claim that pornography was discovered on his computer during a raid of his Westminster office in 2008.
• First Secretary of State Damian Green tweeted saying the claims of ex-police chief Bob Quick are “from a tainted and untrustworthy source.”
• Mr Quick said he would take part in an inquiry and “stood” by the claim.
• These allegations have emerged at a time of particular concern for MPs.
• Both the Labour and Conservative party have been hit by fresh allegations of sexual harassment and assault, with the Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke suspended from the party, and Labour MP Clive Lewis facing new allegations of groping a party activist at the Labour Party conference.

Paradise Papers: Tax-haven secrets of the ultra-rich exposed:
• £10 million of the Queen’s private money was invested in offshore accounts, according to the leaked Paradise Papers.
• The documents show that the money was invested in funds in the Cayman islands and Bermuda.
• Many other famous figures have been shown by the paradise papers to have had offshore accounts, including Lord Ashcroft, a former conservative party deputy chairman.

Met Police open investigates against actor Kevin Spacey:
• Met Police have announced they’ve opened an investigation into Kevin Spacey, following Sexual Assault allegations made against him during his time as artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre in London.
• Entertainment company Netflix has also severed ties with Kevin Spacey, star of its House of Cards show, amid a number of sex assault allegations against him.
• The company has also said it would not release Spacey’s film about writer Gore Vidal.

Netflix is set to hold talks with the producers of House of Cards to see if the show can continue without Spacey

In International News:

Texas church shooting leaves at least 26 dead:

  • At least 26 people have died after a mass shooting at a church in Texas in the United States on Sunday 5th
  • A gunman opened fire during a service at first Baptist church in Sutherland Springs and is reported to have been killed in the aftermath.
  • It is the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas.
  • The shooting comes just a month after a gunman in Las Vegas opened fire on an outdoor music festival, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history.

Typhoon Damrey descends on southern Vietnam:
• At least 27 people have been killed by Typhoon Damrey in Vietnam.
• This typhoon has wreaked havoc on southern and central Vietnam leaving 27 people dead and over 20 missing.
• Weather experts say it is the most destructive storm in decades to hit the area.

With wind speeds up to 90km/h the storm made many roads impassable or dangerous

Weekly News Update

This week the News Team covered: the Americanisation of Black History Month; climate change and Storm Brian; the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and finished with fake news. To listen to the show you can visit our Mixcloud where you can hear interviews on the Austrian elections that we ran out of time to discuss on air. Follow us on twitter to keep updated throughout the week!

In National News:

Heathrow security threat
• Heathrow Airport says it has launched an internal investigation after a USB stick containing security information was reportedly found on the street.
• The USB stick reportedly contained 76 folders with maps, videos and documents, including details of measures used to protect the Queen.
• Some files disclosed the types of ID needed to access restricted areas, a timetable of security patrols and maps pinpointing CCTV cameras.
• One document highlighted recent terror attacks and talked about the type of threat the airport could face.
• The statement from the airport said Heathrow’s “top priority” was the safety and security of passengers and staff.

Has society become desensitised to sexual harassment in the workplace?
• Half of British Women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work, a BBC survey says.
• The ComRes poll for BBC Radio 5 live spoke to more than 2000 people and was commissioned in response to the recent allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.
• The results of the survey show that more than a quarter of the people questioned had suffered harassment in the form of inappropriate jokes and nearly one in seven had suffered inappropriate touching.

Gina Miller named UK’s most influential black person
• Businesswoman Gina Miller has been named as Britain’s most influential black person.
• The 52-year-old led the successful Brexit legal challenge which ruled parliament had to vote on whether Theresa May could trigger Article 50.
• Ms Miller topped the 2018 Powerlist of 100 people, which recognises those of African and African Caribbean heritage.
• British Vogue editor Edward Enninful and grime artist Stormzy have also been included in this year’s list.
• Those named were decided by an independent panel – including former High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell. They rated nominees on their “ability to change lives and alter events”.

Gina Miller outside the high court in central London.

Drivers of older, more polluting vehicles will have to pay almost twice as much to drive in central London.
• Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £10 T-Charge, which mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006, has come into force. It covers the same area as the existing congestion charge zone, bumping up the cost to £21.50 for those affected. Opponents said the scheme would “disproportionately penalise London’s poorest drivers”.
• The measure is the latest attempt by Mr Khan to improve air quality in the capital and according to the mayor’s office, will affect 34,000 motorists a month.

In International News:

Catalonia independence: Huge pro-Spain rally in Barcelona
• Spain poised to strip Catalan Government of powers after their push for independence.
• The Senate in Madrid are set to vote on imposing direct rule after the catalan government refuse to leave the drive for independence.
• The Catalan parliament will meet in Barcelona where it will consider a declaration of independence.
• A major rally calling for Spanish unity is starting in Barcelona a day after Catalonia was stripped of its autonomy for declaring independence.
• Many of those protesting in the region’s largest city brought signs calling for sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to be jailed.
• Mr Puigdemont was dismissed as Spain’s central government took control of Catalan institutions.
• Downing Street has announced that the UK will not recognise Catalan’s declaration of independence as their vote for independence has been declared illegal by Spanish courts.
• In contrast, the Scottish government has said they respect Catalan’s position and that they should have the right to determine their own future.

Demonstrators were keen to reflect not all Catalonia backed independence.

New Zealand’s youngest female Prime Minister
• Jacinda Ardern has become New Zealand’s youngest female Prime Minister after forming a centre left coalition government between the Labour Party, of which she is the leader, and New Zealand First.
• The coalition will also be supported by the green party.
• In the elections held in September, in which Labour came second, no party was able to secure a majority.
• This will be Labour’s first time in government since November 2008

Two most-wanted Isil militants in south-east Asia killed in Philippines

  • Muslim Extremist and Separatist rebels in the Philippines have taken a significant blow in their fight, this week when their leader Isnilon Hapilon died.
  • Omar Maute, leader of the Isil-linked Maute group, was also killed during a final push to retake the southern Muslim city of Marawi, which has been besieged by Islamist militants since May.

Can advances in technology save animals?
• A drone company has announced they are watching over endangered wildlife in game reserves in Southern Africa.
• In 2015 poachers killed 20,000 African elephants and 1,300 rhinos. Poachers tend to operate at night, making it hard to catch them.
• However, the drones are equipped to see in the dark, allowing the company to remain vigilant.
• So far, the company have proved that having drones hovering over areas reduces poaching massively, and in some cases – altogether.

In Sports News:

Antony Joshua remains undefeated following Takam victory
• The British WBA and IBF heavyweight champion built on his April win over Wladimir Klitschko by stopping Takam in 10 rounds.
• Following his success in the fight Joshua targeted Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.
• “I want the other two belts out there, whether it’s Wilder first or Parker.”

Anthony Joshua stopped Carlos Takam in the 10th round to defend his WBA and IBF world heavyweight titles.

Fifa has shown it does not care about the women’s game by naming a little-known striker on its female player-of-the-year shortlist, World Cup-winner Megan Rapinoe says.
• The nominees are US midfielder Carli Lloyd, Dutch forward Lieke Martens and Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos, 18, who does not play in a professional league.
• “The award just doesn’t hold a lot of weight when you’ve got someone on the list I’ve never heard of,” said USA’s Rapinoe, who has 127 caps and won 2012 Olympic gold and the 2015 World Cup.

COFFEE HOUSE SESSIONS: JOHN NICHOLAS

John Nicholas 

Welsh singer-songwriter John Nicholas is the next artist to perform on the Coffee House Sessions Tour. John is known for beating over 12,000 artists in an Open Mic Competition in Birmingham, coming runner-up! He has been working on many projects and had a successful independent career so far – with his debut EP in the works as we speak. So go check him out to hear some new, greatly anticipated releases!

Take a look at what John had to say in his pre-tour interview… 

  1. You’d describe your music as…  Edgy pop that’s catchy and relatable.
  2. You’re currently listening to…  John Mayer, Foy Vance, NEEDTOBREATHE & Mat Kearney
  3. When you’re not making music you’re… Probably, if I’m honest, I am thinking about making music!  But when I’m home I like to be at home, family time is #1
  4. You’d like to duet with… Stevie Wonder, I mean, who wouldn’t?!
  5. Who’s your guilty pleasure? Taylor Swift.
  6. Dead or alive, who would you most like to grab a coffee with? The man who invented coffee.  I’d like to shake his hand and thank him for the beautiful liquid.
  7. You’re an artiste because… I love it.  I always have and I’m so privileged to be able to do what I do full time.  It’s the best job in the world and to be honest, I’m not much good at anything else.
  8. Vinyl, CD or streaming? There’s nothing like the sound of Vinyl so that’s #1, but it’s hard to beat a cheeky bit of streaming on the go.
  9. Your party trick is… I can play any tune by clicking my jaw (don’t worry, it’s not part of the set)
  10. Your hometown is X and we should visit because… Caerdydd!  (Cardiff) It’s a small, friendly city that genuinely has everything.
  11. Tinder or Taken? Taken.  I liked it so I put a ring on it.
  12. Snapchat, Insta, Facebook or Twitter? Call me old school, but FB wins this for me, Twitter coming in a close second, followed by Instagram.  Snapchat never left the starting blocks.
  13. The best boxset ever is… No question.
  14. Coffee House Tour… what are you most excited about? Travelling to new places, meeting new people and performing for you all!

COFFEE HOUSE SESSIONS: APRIL KEEN

April Keen 

The 19 year old singer-songwriter April Keen, originating from Blackpool, visited Royal Holloway to perform with Coffee House Sessions. With her debut album ‘Against The Tide’ now live on Spotify/iTunes, April answered a few question in her pre-tour interview, giving an insight into what goes on behind the music…

  1. You’d describe your music as…  Indie-folk
  2. You’re currently listening to…  Lower Than Atlantis and Aquilo
  3. When you’re not making music you’re… Working at Wetherspoons!
  4. You’d like to duet with… Gabrielle Aplin – she is my queeeeeeeen
  5. Who’s your guilty pleasure? Eminem
  6. Dead or alive, who would you most like to grab a coffee with? My Grandad, he passed away when my dad was pretty young but I always get told stories about him and I would have loved to of met him!
  7. You’re an artiste because… I want to make people feel something when they’re listening to my music. I’d like somebody to listen to my songs and for it to help them to get through their day, whatever it may bring.
  8. Vinyl, CD or streaming? Streaming
  9. Your party trick is… I can make my eyeballs vibrate (don’t judge me).
  10. Your hometown is X and we should visit because… Blackpool. It’s much cheaper than London! I can buy 6 drinks on a Monday for the price of 1 in London – thats crazy! The piers are lovely, and the beaches are great for dog walks – I always used to take my dog Lucy there. Also, if you get the chance then go to a gig at the Winter Gardens in the Empress Ballroom, it’s a stunning room.
  11. Tinder or Taken? Tinder. I don’t have it though!
  12. Snapchat, Insta, Facebook or Twitter? I LOVE snapchat although I mostly end up featuring in my housemates’ stories acting like a crazy person. I don’t think I’ve made a legit twitter post in a few years, I should probably get back into it :-/
  13. The best boxset ever is… Nashville! My whole house is in LOVEEE with that show!
  14. Coffee House Tour… what are you most excited about? Getting the chance to play to so many people my age all around the country! I’m visiting so many places that I’ve never even been myself. I’m super excited to play my new material and see what people think. I’m also very excited for the nostalgic singalongs in the car as we drive to all our destinations.

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: 'ESCAPE' BY KEHLANI

Escape, by Kehlani

Kehlani is an American singer-songwriter from California. At the young age of 21 years, she’s already been a finalist on America’s Got Talent in a group ‘Poplyfe’, as well as being nominated last year for the Best Urban Contemporary Album Grammy Award. With her debut album ‘SweetSexySavage’ released back at the end of January, it seems Kehlani is going places!

Kate: “JoJo throwback”

Laura: “”Updated version of the best 00’s R’n’B ballads.”

Molly: “Enjoyed it but the pre-chorus is a bit of a let down”

Megan: “I like her voice, she sounds like JoJo and it has a nice 2000s sound.”

Will: “Sounds pretty normal to me.”

James: “Very naughties-like. Nostalgic.”

Emma: “Enjoy the more related slow pace, yet feels indistinguishable amongst ‘chart-like’ music.”

Charlotte: “Love her voice!”

Leah: “Kehlani can do no wrong, this is proof!”

Helen: “With smooth vocals, relaxing acoustic guitar and an RnB beat, Escape is guaranteed to chill you out.”

Elliot: “Typical chart song; not very unique.”

Maddalena: “Love the artist – catchy song, but not my favourite.”

Harrison: “Smooth and sultry, yet a little forgettable.”

Wade: “I didn’t like it at first, but after hearing it three times in a row, it’s grown on me…”

 

http://kehlanimusic.com/sweetsexysavage/

EP REVIEW: DIONYSIA – THE BREACH

EP Review – The Breach by Dionysia

 

The latest EP by Dionysia kicks off with strong guitar riffs from the track “Glory”, a solid opening to the rest of the album. The song has powerful vocals and is directed at someone who gave the narrator “nothing” – by the end of the song, the narrator returns the favour. The vocals are interspersed with inventive guitar melodies that combine to set the mood of an upbeat, belty EP. The second track “Zombie” is a real ear catcher with its post-chorus Saxophone melodies. Although personally I am a little tired of the use of the Zombies trope in TV and music, the chorus is very catchy and easy to listen to.

It is however the haunting start to the third track “Maybe I”, followed by some heavy electric guitar, that really demonstrates the bands versatility. The song seems to describe the current state of society, and the artists view on how to deal with it, making this song the ultimate loud sing-along.

The whole EP itself has very alternative vibes, with a twinge of country and blues. It’s the sort of thing I would listen to loudly through headphones and sing along to (likely very badly!). The instrumentation is always interesting and the songs have a variety of lead instruments, such as piano, guitar and sax.
The EP was released the 2nd August 2016, so I was a little slow to discover it. There are 8 total tracks, and the vocals throughout are raw with clear opinions. Dionysia know who they are and are here to show it. Looking forward to the full album!

Written by Cheylea Hopkinson

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: 'SATISFACTION' – THE BAY RAYS

Satisfaction, by The Bay Rays

The garage punk/rock trio ‘The Bay Rays’ are definitely ones to watch. Originating from Kent, the band have already achieved so much, such as supporting The Slaves on tour and even playing at Glastonbury in 2016, and their success doesn’t stop there! With lots of support from BBC introducing, and an ever-expanding fanbase elevated by their passionate and incredible live shows, the group never fail to perform. 

What the music team had to say…

“Explosive and electric, truly uplifting.”

“A loose yourself dance kind of song.”

“A high-octane indie stomper, perfect for road trips or solo hairbrush-and-mirror sessions!”

“Poppy and upbeat, and keeps the foot tapping without losing your attention.”

“A good song to play when on a long car journey.”

“Cool intro, but not sure if it satisfies me.”

“Genre spaning indie with a clear pop influence.”

“Interesting, electric mix of instruments.”

“This song WILL get stuck in your head, but in a good way.”

“I like it, it has a kind of old school vibe to it! Nice.”

“Sounds like old Kings of Leon and a generic indie group had a baby! Good song though!”

“A catchy indie-esque song that makes you want to dance and clap along.”

Check out the track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14brRjV-ENc

GAME REVIEW: Killing Floor 2

Background

Killing Floor, when it was initially released back in its mod form in 2005, was a very simple game. You and a group of friends would shoot zombie-like creatures. Over time, it evolved and in some ways become the British answer to Left for Dead (Despite being initially released before Left For Dead) and this trend has continued with the newest entry being the craziest, most glorious entry so far for the franchise. With even more money jokes, more slow-mo moments and more silly British stereotypes than you can swing a cat at.

Story

The basic premise of Killing Floor 2 is to kill/wipe out “not zombies”, which are cloned humans that formed from a clearly evil bio-tech company (since in horror games the bio-tech companies are always evil). As such, you spend much of the game killing zombies and kick ass in simply the most awesome of ways, either with conventional weapons or hacking and slashing your way through. This makes up for much of the story. Furthermore, some may argue that I am being somewhat more lenient than with say Infinite Warfare or Eternal crusade. This is largely due to the simple fact that this game is more fun than the other and its retail price is far lower. Despite this I will say that this game is based played with friend to gain the fullest enjoyment.

Mechanics

The mechanics of the game work like many wave survival games do, in that you kill monsters in order to gain money. This allows you buy new upgrades for the class you picked or even new guns to help fight of the horde. As such there is no major change in terms of mechanics for Killing Floor; instead the sequel focuses on taking what was learned from the original game and placing in new locations and improving upon what was there. This lead to the game to be even more fun than the previous version of the game.

Sound Design

The Sound Design for the guns and music in general is superb. The music has a more metal feel than DOOM at some points, which helps fill the scene with mayhem and glee when you find yourself filled with ammo and in a room full of clones. Furthermore, the guns feel powerful and impactful as each of their sounds feels fitting for the gun.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Killing Floor 2 is amazing to play and well worth the amount to pay for it. However, I would recommend this game to be played together with friends, or else your missing out on an amazing experience. As such I would give this game an 8 out 10, as it is competitively priced for an amazing game despite being multiplayer online.

Score

8 out of 10

GAME REVIEW: Battlefield 1

Background

What Battlefield 1 succeeds at doing is something of a common thread among gaming in this current year. That is, to focus on a certain element that is core to the franchise and build the game around this idea. For Battlefield 1, this focusing on team based combat on a grand, almost soundbox style battle. Something that is iconic to the Battlefield franchise. As can be shown when Battlefield time after time get its right in the moment, such as when you have destroyed an enemy zeppelin; or leading a devastating bayonet charge against a group of well entrenched enemies. It’s these moments that Battlefield 1 has succeeding in doing better than any previous entry I would argue up to Battlefield Bad Company 2. This is only the cause due to the somewhat limited story mode or ‘War stories.’

Story

The story mode or ‘war stories’ for Battlefield 1 are something of a mixed bag. As the very first one you play is arguably one of the greatest moment of gaming, not just for this year, but perhaps in gaming as a whole,aAs it does something that most video games just about fail to do (for some noble reason). It shows the horrid, brutal nature and in this case the vicious combat of World War 1, even going so far as to humane both sides of the war. However, this moment is somewhat lost as the game’s war stories are affectively prolonged tutorials teaching you the basics, but have a heavy focus on the Allies’ viewpoint in the war. In fact, the Ottomans in the Lawerence of Arabia storyline have a rather interesting female lead, but make the Ottomans to be almost cartoonishly evil, and this war story lasts for about two hours at best. Nevertheless, I can understand why this might have been a better option for DICE over doing a traditional campaign, as the last few campaigns for the pervious entires had been somewhat lacklustre. In so making, the story mode goes about teaching you mechanics of the game, such as how to drive a WW 1 truck or fly a plane. Sounds good on paper.

Mechanics

The mechanics of the game are somewhat the same for the last few Battlefield games, but they make some small but noticeable differences. The biggest of which is the removal of a large number of optical weapons; this make it a lot harder to sniper people across the map and so shifts focus to close quarter combat. As such, the importance of knowing your weapons most effective range is one of the many smaller features to Battlefield 1. However, the last part I should mention that is tied to mechanics is that of operations mode. Which is a love letter to conquest, rush, and fans looking for narrative and context. It provides a thrilling rush in your first mode and for me it is still as fun as when I first played.

Sound Design

The sound design is nothing short of amazing. As it truly provides that lethal early modern industry feel. Whether it be from the fire of a machine pistol, or the manual loading of a rifle, or the pump action of a shotgun after blustering your way through bunkers. It feels amazing, meaty, and powerful. The music helps keep you pumped, moving, and motivated. All of which is vital for Battlefield 1 and help keep the game’s longevity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Battlefield 1 is an amazing game. However, due to the fact the story mode is somewhat barebones I cannot with good faith give it the ten out of ten it deserves but instead the nine out of ten, as everything else in Battlefield 1 is refined and perfected to a tee. I look forward to future Battlefield entries if the same amount of polish and perfection (but a bit of Bad Company story would be perfect).

Score

9 out of 10

 

GAME REVIEW: Dishonored 2

Background

When the original Dishonored back in 2012 was released it appeared to have failed a gap that was missing in the video game marketing: a stealth game that can make the importance of choice ever present and a key factor to who you would approach a situation. It would either award you for being a silent almost batman level vigilante, while also making the game more difficulty should you decide the back-door approach is not your cup of tea. Four years later, now the game improves the small flaws that are held in the game but in some ways, feel more of a return than a brand-new adventure. This helps the game but does not quite give it the same feeling of mystery as was the case when it was first released in 2012.

Story

For those who have not played Dishonored the game allows you to take the role of an assassins called Corvo Attano who has set out to right a grave wrong. The main element of the game was the heavily inspired steampunk design and the hints of a Lovecraft deity. These elements came fully forward, as in the game you can either play as Corvo Attano or Empress Emily Kaldwin, each with a different style of play with Corvo being more a sneaky assassin akin to Assassin’s Creed, whereas Emily is more focused on speed aiming to move faster than other people. Depending on the choice you make in the game, it will determine how the rest of the game plays out for your character and again, the theme of consqeuence through game design is ever present. The game then tasks you retake control of your empire while dealing with a every menacing threat in the background as you rebuild yourself for the final confrontation.

Mechanics

There are no major changes in terms of mechanics, as you still have a heavy focus on using the supernatural powers of the Outsider to great effect. However, the addition of new powers helps create new tactics and ideas to complete the mission to complement the new risk you need to face in the game. These nevertheless do naturally lead to some powers being preferred to others, and thus you have been set on a certain style of play. Thid does however add for an interest in replay value, which is key for the longevity of this game.

Sound Design

The sound design in Dishonored 2 allows for you to understand the key moments in combat and to how to react with certain musical charms, quatrain, and elements that allow to feel organic, responsive, and fundamental to the world. The music, as a whole for the game, could be difficult to pull off in terms of design for such a different world in pseudo-steampunk with hints of Mediterranean, due to the city being so focused on whaleling and the closeness to the sea. However, the game is able to do it with such grace and class it is amazingly suited to the world.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Dishonoured 2 is more of the same as even through it does not quite capture the same charm and awe the first game had, it still is able to be an amazing experience that is well worth picking up should you have the opportunity, as there is no game truly like in the market for the current consoles.

Score

8 out of 10

 

GAME REVIEW: Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare

Background

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare is something of an odd ball. At times, it tries to be a new wave for Call of Duty that tries to rekindle that fire that gave its juggernaut status back when Call of Duty Modern Warfare was released. However, it at times becomes more akin to its old nemesis Halo, to which it replaced as the need-to-buy game for any console player. Either from its rock rendition of Water on Mars or its focus on having much of its story and multiplayer take place in space, even extended to what can only be descried as “Space Jet” sequence. Yet, because of all this I am still somewhat bored and only really enjoy this game for the zombie mode.

Story

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare story takes place in the near future were humanity has spread to the stars but with an almost cartoonish evil separatist movement lead by Kit Harrington, who pretty much plays his most iconic role to date (which is Jon Snow), but as an evil version. This decision somewhat confuses me; you have an actor who is known for doing an amazing character and is amazing actor, but instead of making the character relatable or understandable you instead almost make him as silly as Cobra Commander. If anything, this games almost borrows entirely from Killzone, as the ideology (if you can call it that) is borrowed almost entirely from the Helghast. Either from their hatred of freedom or disapproval of caring for your troops, even seeing their enemies to be inferior to you. As you can tell, I do not see any sense in the story side for Call of Duty Infinite Warfare but I do understand that most people play it for multiplayer which I will go into in the next section. However, I felt I had to make some critique of how poorly the story was done despite the main great amount of time and effort that was made into making this game; then again this is my opinion of the game.

Mechanics

One of the key improvements to Call of Duty Infinite Warfare are the new changes in multiplayer with a refocus on the idea of movement. As the rule of thumb for Call of Duty and for many First-Person Shooters is that the faster you go, the quicker you can respond to your adversary. This lead Call of Duty to implement jet packs and the ability to wall run etc. However, Infinite Warfare has helped develop various tactics to deal with issues better than pervious entries such as anti-gravity grenades that stop or limit your enemy’s movement. This is but one example of how the game attempts to allow players new ways to deal with the constant issue of one hitting snipers who run fast enough to snipe you, and then find your spawn and snipe you there. In general, through there are not enough of these changes to really be worthy of being mentioned, due in part of the yearly cycle of Call of Duty games, much of the mechanics are either improved from the last year or just added in.

Sound Design

There is no major change in sound design, as much of the games gun sounds are largely the same, with some minor difference and the sound tracks have no major weight to it. Furthermore, much of the gun sounds are likely pulled from older Call of Duty games or have just been tweaked a little. However, I will say the 80’s style soundtrack in the zombies mode is somewhat fitting, more so with David Hasselhoff as your DJ, and it will make for some memorable moments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare was a game I tried as much as I could to get into, but at times it felt almost insulating to carry on. As you have an amazing cast of actors there who, given the right direction and with a few small tweaks, could have led to perhaps the best Call of Duty. Instead, despite the many attempts and many missteps, it does not compare to Battlefield which has been able to capitalise on this misstep. Could this be the end of the juggernaut that many fear it could be? If future entries have such weakly written stories or such minor improvements, then the answer could be yes, and due to this I will give this game a 6 out ten. Largely due to the fact that this game is still working and has no game breaking bugs or glitches in general, but is largely a boring game and very big missed opportunity on the developer’s part.

Score

6 out of 10