About Shane Bailey

Your host and fellow addict hails from the Central Coast of Australia, and loves to immerse himself in the world of video games. When he's not playing his Xbox One he's either watching The Newsroom, Mad Men or Legend of Korra. You can find more of his work at doublejump.co and his YouTube channel Gamers Say Thank You.

Ep. 091 – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Machinist, Massive Chalice – 12th Dec. 2014

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The awesome foursome is reunited this week! Shane, Jason, Ben and Terry sit down to dive deeper into Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler and Double Fine Productions’ Massive Chalice. Shane has also played some Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and he provides his thoughts on why it succeeds in many ways but fails in many more. Shane also knocks a movie off his Pile of Shame and that is 2005′s The Machinist starring Christian Bale. And to wrap it up, the guys revisit their favourite games of Survival of The Nerdiest and VS.

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03:28 – Nightcrawler
10:15 – Massive Chalice
14:27 – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
29:14 – The Machinist
41:50 – Survival of The Nerdiest
50:12 – VS.

Thanks for listening, fellow addicts! Tune in again next week for our reviews of Big Hero 6, The Imitation Game and much more.

Ep. 090 – Nightcrawler, Massive Chalice, The Newsroom – 6th Dec. 2014

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It’s a weird wish-mosh of all things awesome and addictive this week as Shane, Jason H, Ben and Amy gather around the mics once again. In the first segment, Shane talks about his play through in the turn-based strategy early access game of Massive Chalice. Ben hits a Pile of Shame film in Juno and then the gang discusses the latest season of their favourite TV show, The Newsroom. Then to wrap it up, the crew reviews the Jake Gyllenhaal dramatic thriller Nightcrawler.

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02:21 – Massive Chalice
10:53 – Juno
18:10 – The Newsroom
30:54 – Nightcrawler

Thanks for listening, gals and pals! Join us next week as Shane is going to dive into some Call of Duty and Ben and Jason are gonna hit their Pile of Shame with Kung Fu Panda. That and more next weekend!

Far Cry 4 Review – Wide Open Himalayan

Since 2008’s Far Cry 2, the series has established itself as a wide open, philosophical, political and moral experience that takes the player on a journey of immersion unlike so many other first person shooters of the last, and even this current, generation of video games. While 2012’s multi-award winning Far Cry 3 pushed those boundaries and expanded on the exploration and the world itself, the latest installment, Far Cry 4 expands even further on those well-crafted elements while never venturing too far from what makes the series gripping, explosive and exciting.

Stepping into the shoes of Ajay Ghale, the player enters the beautiful and volatile world of Kyrat, a fictional Himalayan country that is grasped in Civil War. Ajay’s intentions were to return to Kyrat and scatter his mother’s ashes in her hometown, but his mission is cut short when his bus is attacked by Loyalists and the self proclaimed “King of Kyrat”, Pagan Min (played by the remarkable Troy Baker). Taken to Min’s fortress, what follows are tense moments and glimpses into this unhinged “king’s” rule. Managing to escape, Ajay finds the leaders of the Golden Path rebellion and this is where the game truly begins.

As an open-world playground, Far Cry 4 is huge and there is always something to do. Story missions feature a wide range of colourful and ruthless characters and what and how you accomplish these missions is equally riveting. “Golden Path” missions allow you to side with different leaders of the rebellion thus changing the story, while unlocking bell towers will uncover regions of the map. Perhaps you’d like to liberate a few enemy held “outposts” (a staple mechanic of the series) to unlock the many side quests on offer including hunting, assassinations and racing missions. Or maybe you just want to scour parts of Kyrat to hunt various wildlife and craft better gear, or find many of Kyrat’s hidden treasures which range from masks that are left behind as a calling card of a vicious killer, propaganda posters of Min’s regime, journals penned by Ajay’s father, Mohan and various other odds and ends that open up Kyrat’s rich back story. There is always something fresh to do and each task rewards the player with new gear or experience points to unlock very useful skills. In fact, there is so much to do in Kyrat that oftentimes I found myself overwhelmed with what to do next.

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Far Cry 4’s free roam is a marvel. I have loved every minute of just wandering the country and noticed vast differences in environs as well as encountering wildlife, as Kyrat harbors many deadly animals that are just aching to tear Ajay limb from limb. The first hostile animal I encountered was a massive eagle that swooped in from of my field of vision and attacked me. There are also other creatures including tigers, leopards, wolves, rhinos, bears and infamous honey badgers.  The best thing about roaming Kyrat is that you always accomplish something, and it is always fulfilling.

The game features many modes of transportation as well, including jeeps, trucks, quad bikes and this cool little helicopter called a Buzzer. The wing suit and parachute and the hang glider also make a welcome return in this installment.

Visually, Far Cry 4 is absolutely stunning and fortunately isn’t one of those blockbusters that just boasts brilliant graphics and little else. As you are venturing this beautifully colourful world, you notice the shading and lighting and how everything feels. Ajay movies swiftly and the stealth mechanic is very well thought out (the addition of throwing knives is a marvel in stealth gameplay) and the games interactions stand it apart from almost every other first person shooter available. When Ajay heals himself you see him dig shrapnel out of his hand and bandage it up and when he abseils you see his body hanging from the face of the cliff. Even climbing, vaulting and swimming will show Ajay doing these motions and it all adds to the immersion.

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The skill trees in the game are also extremely easy to navigate and are helpful in their simplicity. Split into two categories, the Tiger skills boast physical and combat abilities that allow Ajay to take down enemies stealthily, chain his take downs or throw knives from downed enemies to kill others, or use their pistol or even throw a grenade at his comrades. Unlocking skills from the Tiger tree also allows Ajay to handle his weapons better and to deal more damage with weapons. The other set of skills are the Elephant skills and are more for helping Ajay increase his health, better his crafting and create concoctions to help him hunt and deal more damage or even to breathe underwater longer. There is even a skill to allow Ajay to climb aboard an elephant and there has been nothing better in the game than riding an elephant, knocking over a car or lifting up enemies and crushing them while it trumpets in victory: I grew rather attached to my elephant buddy.

While Far Cry 4 yields rather exciting missions and a rather over used subplot of deception, betrayal and oppression, the story itself isn’t why it is a rather brilliant game. How you go about doing your quests (stealthily or all guns blazing) and what you do during the missions creates an amazing atmosphere and engages you to complete them and better yourself while you do it. Honestly though, while disjointed, I was always engaged by the game’s story missions and truthfully, Pagan Min is a very well crafted (and acted) villain in the same vein as Handsome Jack in the Borderlands series.

While I have been playing Far Cry 4 I have found it hard to criticise the game. Though some of the details on the minor characters are rather weak and some glitches managed to proliferate my play-through, I haven’t been frustrated or annoyed. I have been immersed in a fully interactive world that is both beautiful and exciting.

In conclusion, Far Cry 4 is probably the best shooter I have played on the PlayStation 4 and a plethora of side missions, weapons and a skill trees keep it from being stale. With only a few negatives, such as some of its writing, recycled missions and glitches, I can do nothing but boast about the game and express enjoyment. Could Far Cry 4 be the best game release of 2014? Maybe, because I haven’t enjoyed a game like I have while playing this for quite a long time.


For our full thoughts on Far Cry 4, listen to Episode 89 of the show here.

Ep. 089 – Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1, Far Cry 4, Pokemon, Sunset Overdrive – 29th Nov. 2014

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It’s all about the GAMES this week as Shane, Jason, Jason and Nicole gather around the sacred microphones to perform the reviewing ritual on a variety of highly-anticipated pieces of entertainment. In the first segment the gang kicks it off in the open-world of Kyrat in Far Cry 4. Shane then tells tale of his adventures in the Awesome-pocalypse in Sunset Overdrive. And the boys venture back to the Hoenn region in the remakes, Pokemon: Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.

And in the second segment, Jason H and Nicole (with a bit of Ben & Terry sprinkled in) provide their thoughts on Jennifer Lawrence in the latest instalment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1.

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03:38 – Far Cry 4
22:29 – Sunset Overdrive
29:04 – Pokemon
40:05 – Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1

Thanks for listening this week, fellow addicts! Join us next weekend for our reviews of the Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence film Serena and Double Fine’s tactical RPG Massive Chalice!

Ep. 088 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Whiplash, Halo: The Master Chief Collection – 22nd Nov. 2014

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This week on The Awesome Addiction, Shane, Jason and Ben welcome newcomer Amy to review the open-world of Paris in Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Shane still hasn’t played Sunset Overdrive, but for good reason: multiplayer in Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been patched which means he’s been playing it!

And in the second segment, the guys sink their teeth into Whiplash, a jazz-infused drama starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. If you haven’t seen it yet, FIX THAT IMMEDIATELY!

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10:40 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity
23:14 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection multiplayer
26:27 – Whiplash

It’s a big name week next week as the guys review Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Far Cry 4.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity Review

The Assassin’s Creed series has established itself among other franchises as a stand out in terms of historical settings and boasting beautifully recreated worlds across the spans of time. Despite this, I was starting to lose interest in the series, not even bothering with Brotherhood and Revelations. If it weren’t for 2013’s Black Flag, I probably wouldn’t even have picked up Unity. Ok, that’s a lie – I would have, simply because it’s a new PlayStation 4 game exclusive to current generation consoles and its promise of a beautifully recreated France during the Revolutionary period of the 1700’s.

Set in Paris, the story follows a young Parisian named Arno Dorian. Following the death of his Assassin father, a family – with ties to the Templar Order, sworn enemies of the Assassins – takes Arno under their wing. Blaming himself when his adoptive father is killed, Arno sets himself out on a quest to bring the killers to justice bringing him into the Brotherhood of Assassins and slowly rising through the ranks. Arno’s love interest is in the form of Elise who is his adoptive father’s daughter and a Templar herself. Much like in previous Assassin’s Creed instalments, the game introduces several historical figures including the likes of Napoléon Bonaparte and The Marquis de Sade.

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The games’ story is somewhat identical to previous instalments, but thankfully, the present day story arc is minimal in this game, giving much more immersion into the finely detailed world that is 1700’s France. Additionally the story has ties to Assassin’s Creed Rogue, the Assassin’s Creed game that was released alongside Unity for the previous generation consoles. While Arno himself is relatively cool, he isn’t at all relatable and he just seems bland and faceless amongst the “getting kind of stale” rivalry between the Assassins and the Templars, making the story seem really thin.

Booting up Unity and immersing oneself for a few moments into the opening levels, you immediately notice that the designers have utilized the power of the current gen consoles as the models and characters look beautifully rendered. With a few more hours of play, you are exposed to an open and immersive recreation of France and I must say – wow! I was so impressed at the immaculate detail of the buildings, alleyways and the entire volatility of the Revolutionary era. Streets are crowded with characters, more than I have ever seen in a game on screen at any particular time, the French flag is strewn in the mud amongst mobs, anarchists and police officers fight openly in the streets, the sounds of the pedestrians and markets are overwhelmingly detailed. Needless to say, my eyes and ears were impressed!

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However, after getting over the initial visual exposure and reveling in how beautiful the game looks, I became frustrated and annoyed about how the game feels. The problems with controlling the main character, Arno, are the same issues I had with Altair, Ezio and Edward from Assassin’s Creed I, II and IV respectively. While the game has a new “free run up” and “free run down” system for ease of traversal, I found a lot of my time was wasted yelling at Arno for climbing onto a ledge that was in the opposite direction in which I pushed the left stick or for hanging outside a window, furiously pressing the L2 button because the game said “push L2 to enter window” only for Arno to either hang there non-chalantly or even shimmy in the opposite direction. Oftentimes, I was frustrated when he was hanging on a building and I would hit X to climb up, only for Arno to stay in place and move slightly, further adding to my frustration.

Combat was another issue altogether. While the animations of Arno’s attacks are quite stunning and akin to a swashbuckling film, the camera always gets in the way of full cohesion and Arno struggles to respond to your commands with dexterity. In fact, so many times did Arno “disagree” with what I was telling him both in combat situations and with world traversal, I was legitimately questioning myself if I was actually this bad of a gamer.

This was exemplified during “stealth” missions. Requiring me to blend in with crowds and avoid detection, I found myself being spotted even when I was certain that I was not in the view of the guards. Sure, there’s a push L2 feature for a “stealth mode” and you can take cover on walls, but most of the time I was either spotted, or I was cursing Arno for going into the wrong direction. Ultimately, the stealth mechanic feels really broken and apart from some key “tutorial” missions at the beginning of the game, if you are spotted you can either throw a smoke bomb and run away or stand by and fight them, so in any regard I felt there was no point and no reward to stealth at all.

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The exploration of Revolutionary era France made up for a lot of control issues I had experienced, including doing side missions like collection heads for Madame Tussaud and uncovering clues to solve murder mysteries, adding more depth to a rather thin story-line. During the story line, the player is given Assassination targets, which I had found rather enjoyable purely because of the free reign you had to accomplish them.

Assassin’s Creed Unity also boasts a variety of customization that I quite enjoyed. As with all games in the series, Unity rewards exploration and I loved spending a bit of time finding chests to earn money so I could update Arno’s look, in turn updating his health, combat and stealth statistics. Making my Arno look like a Musketeer was a very proud moment for me. Doing missions also gives you points to spend on skills to develop Arno into even more of a killing machine, such as giving him the ability to roll after a great fall, or throw coins into public – ok, so not so much of a killer then, at least I still enjoyed unlocking a using these skills. The game also has a very rewarding multiplayer aspect whereby you can join Assassin’s online and complete difficult missions and earn better weapons and gear.

Concluding, I have had quite a bit of fun marveling at the visuals and stunning recreation of France and free running across rooftops and atop Notre Dame, however the clunky controls prove frustrating and take a lot out of the game. The story is very “by the books” and I got very little fulfillment from it but I absolutely loved roaming France, completing murder mysteries and doing random side quests. I would still recommend playing Assassin’s Creed Unity, but I would warn about the frustration the controls gave and the silly glitches the game contains. Ultimately, I feel like the game needed a bit more time before its release as it feels somewhat unfinished.

Ep. 087 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection, John Wick – 15th Nov. 2014

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It’s an action-packed episode this week as Shane, Jason H and Terry take the mics to review the latest and greatest video game compilation, Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

And like a deadly hitman, in the second segment they carefully pick apart the action romp John Wick starring Keanu Reeves. Spoilers: it’s a friggin’ awesome movie!

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02:23 – Halo: The Master Chief Collection
25:35 – John Wick

Thanks for listening, awesome addicts! Join us next week for our reviews of the open-worlds of Sunset Overdrive and Assassin’s Creed: Unity and the Miles Teller film, Whiplash.

Ep. 086 – Interstellar, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Evil Within – 8th Nov. 2014

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It’s another blockbuster episode this week as Shane, Jason H, Jason M and Terry orbit the mics to review several games including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Evil Within, Fantasia: Music Evolved and more!

Then buckle in for a discussion of galactic proportions as the guys attempt to review Interstellar, a sci-fi epic that has the crew very divided.

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01:18 – The Evil Within
18:35 – Fantasia: Music Evolved
24:17 – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
34:38 – Steamworld Dig
39:43 – Interstellar
01:07:37 – Interstellar SPOILERS

Thanks for listening once again, awesome addicts! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to catch our thoughts on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive and John Wick.

Ep. 085 – PAX Australia 2014 – 3rd Nov. 2014

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The guys trip it down to Melbourne this week for PAX Australia 2014! Join Shane, Jason H, Jason M, Terry and now-official PAX Correspondent Adam Rida as they discuss the latest and greatest games from the show floor!

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From AAA titles to indie darlings, from console classics to the latest tabletop experiences, the guys spend a whole 3 days covering the whole damn thing! Plus Shane and Jason H interview some Aussie indie devs from the show floor including League of Geeks, Cardboard Keep and Thomas Janson.

Thanks for listing guys! Join us next week for our reviews of Interstellar, Fantasia: Music Evolved, The Evil Within and much more!

Ep. 084 – The Legend of Korra, GamerGate, Fury, Pride – 25th Oct. 2014

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It’s a jam-packed show this week as Shane, Ben, Nicole and Terry discuss a swath of interesting topics.

In the first segment, Shane and Nicole review the Platinum Games-developed Legend of Korra video game while Ben and Terry explain why the mobile app Game of War is so addictive!

Shane also reviews Volume 1 of Dragons: Riders of Berk and Nicole does the same for the first few episodes of Halle Berry’s Extant. Then the crew tackles the heated #GamerGate discussion as best they can.

And to wrap it up in the final two segments, they review the historical dramedy Pride and the WWII action drama Fury starring Brad Pitt.

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01:42 – The Legend of Korra video game
17:42 – Game of War
25:53 – Extant
30:20 – Dragons: Riders of Berk
33:43 – GamerGate discussion
54:00 – Pride
01:50:12 – Fury
01:37:39 – Behind-The-Scenes

Thanks for listening guys. Don’t forget to join us next week for our annual PAX Australia episode from Melbourne!