July 8, 2012
So back at E3, a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to get the chance to sit down with an industry veteran, Christian Allen, who’s now becoming responsible for bringing the hardcore tactical shooter back to the market, where more casual shooters have left a large subsection of the gamer audience clamouring for more depth, more realism and better tactical gameplay. Project Takedown reached its Kickstarter funding goal back in the beginning of April, and the team at Serellan is now getting stuck into the development, working to reintroduce the genre, eschewing certain elements of modern FPS design that have begun to compromise the shooter experience, in favour of a more old school approach.Continue reading »
July 7, 2012
DayZ, Dean “rocket” Hall’s zombie survival mod for Bohemia Interactive’s Arma II, has exploded over the face of the internet’s games community. This is not just ‘some zombie game’ to add to the pile of industry’s most ubiquitous theme – it’s what everyone, from the word go, has been asking for from a zombie game: open-world realistic survival.
Still in alpha, as its creator is eager to stress, DayZ is drawing an inordinate amount of gamers into its harsh world simply by providing a large open island filled with villages and towns, Chernarus, a selection of scavengable weapons, medical supplies and food, scattered throughout the empty buildings and 30-50 other players, who may or may not be willing to try to survive alongside each other. With 1:1 time, food, drink and blood meters along with the occasional need for realistic first aid treatment and full-on unrestricted PvP, DayZ’s vision of the zombie apocalypse is bleak and satisfyingly simple in its realism.Continue reading »
June 17, 2012
Bohemia Interactive released Arma 2 three years ago, and thanks to its expansive open world and realistic design, space for player creativity and extensive mod support, it’s still going strong if sales and the activity of the community are anything to go by; which they are. BI’s approach to to its sequel, I’m assured by Jay Crowe, Creative Director, is that of building upon that solid base, developing new innovations and features that can latch onto their powerful in-house Real Virtuality engine.
While Arma 2 excelled in its vast landscapes and incredibly realistic ballistics, it lacked a little in some of the finer details. Arma 3 has gone to lengths to fix that. NPC animations have been updated to look more natural and to take the surrounding terrain into account, the whole world is more colourful and more detailed and the inventory has been revamped (it was really needed) with a tab system that looks infinitely more usable.Continue reading »
June 11, 2012
It’s been a while since Sony Online Entertainment released the original Planetside – nine years to be exact. It was a great idea, and an admirable one, but it was launched way before its time. Now Planetside 2 is well on its way to release, being shown for the first time at E3.
Most notably it’s free to play – this is going to be a red flag to people, especially fans of the original; but from what we’ve been told so far the pricing structure looks promising. Cosmetic changes make up the bulk of ‘Station Cash’ purchases, along with a few limited upgrades and weapons (which can also be bought with in-game resources). Obviously, getting the right balance here is absolutely critical, and success in this area is the difference between pay-to-win games that fall by the wayside and hugely popular games like Blacklight: Retribution or Tribes: Ascend.Continue reading »
June 7, 2012
Crytek was kind enough to let us get a hands-on preview of Crysis 3 today and opened by telling us that Prophet will be the main character – apparently he didn’t die in Crysis 2. Why? How? You’ll have to wait and see, we are told. On that note I was dropped into a New York cityscape invaded by the elements, sprawling with jungle plants and trees from street level to skyscraper and the CryEngine (with a bit of help from some very expensive computers we were playing on) had made it look stunning.
After having been sealed under a dome by the Cell Corporation, New York has become rather steamy and different sections of the city have been transformed into different types of jungle environment including canyons and swamps.Continue reading »
June 7, 2012
Today, amidst the E3 show floor madness, I got the chance to check out a hands-on preview for Arcane Studio’s new action RPG Dishonored. First up Harvey Smith, lead designer on the now legendary Deus Ex, ran us through a demo set in a brothel, the Golden Cat, showing the variety in gameplay, first running through stealthily and unseen, then bounding in spraying weapons this way and that.
As revealed before, our supernatural assassin protagonist, out for revenge after being framed for the murder of the Empress, has a number of extraordinary abilities: a kind of force push, a short range teleport, time stopping, character possession, dark vision (see guards through walls) and the ability to summon a swarm of rats to strip victims of their flesh. Seeing these abilities being used in conjunction with each other is the real joy.Continue reading »
June 6, 2012
Ubisoft have apparently spent the last two years developing this game and packing in as much content as possible, we are told. At E3 they are focusing on the single player campaign and showing off the new and returned features that Sam Fisher’s newest global conspiracy has to offer.
The demo we see, described to us by lead level designer Matt West, is set on the Iran-Iraq border. Sam, disguised as an insurgent enters in an enemy camp pretending to have a wounded teammate. After a few men are efficiently capped in the head, Sam sticks a knife in the leader’s chest and interrogates the suspect. At this point we are told that this Splinter Cell is going to be all about the choices, as the player is given the option to kill or simply knock out the enemy – how these choices will affect the game, we are not told.Continue reading »
June 6, 2012
Having been suitably impressed by Ubisoft’s showing at the pressers yesterday I went in to get a better look at what Assassin’s Creed 3 had to offer and how the franchise is innovating in small, but important ways. The first thing to notice is that the graphics are looking sharp as hell – the engine upgrade has certainly had its effect. But the additions are more than skin-deep. Almost every facet of the game has been improved.Continue reading »
June 6, 2012
Nintendo’s Press Conference
This morning Nintendo rounded off the cavalcade of E3 pressers. Anticipation was high with rumours of ‘Nintendomination’ flying about. Unfortunately the whirlwind of Wii U announcements everyone was hoping for was nowhere to be seen. In its place, however, were some relatively solid titles – New Super Mario Brothers U, in HD with four player co-op and Pikmin 3, comically announced with industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto, which makes use of motion controls and supports an army of up to a hundred pikmin.Continue reading »
June 5, 2012
It’s here. Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, better known as E3, has kicked off in LA, and being the games industry’s yearly D-Day, the announcements have already started rolling in, even though the show floor has yet open. Zath will be giving you daily summaries of all the news of the day as well in-depth game previews and interviews over the next 3 or 4 days, and we’ll begin with a summary of the various press conferences of the day.Continue reading »
April 14, 2012
Thatgamecompany is back with their third game, Journey, which sees the player travel across a strange and beautiful land to their ultimate destination, with other real players accompanying them along the way. While the gameplay and visuals are unique, the ethos and atmosphere behind Journey harks back to the wonderful worlds of both flOw and Flower. And much like its predecessors, exposition is a visual experience, left for the player to interpret.
The player is given control of a small, robed and hooded figure who can run, jump and slide and that’s about it. Beautiful in its simplicity, the game naturally introduces its salient features and mechanics through player discovery. Anyone seeking a complex platforming system and an arsenal of special moves may be disappointed because that is the very antithesis of Journey.Continue reading »
March 3, 2012
Finally, I hear some of you say. It was only 18 months ago that Joe Danger was released on the PSN so it’s good to see its release on Xbox LIVE. I have to be honest and say I’d only played a little bit of the game on the PSN and enjoyed what I saw. So I was definitely interested in getting my hands on it again when I heard the Special Edition was being released on Xbox LIVE.Continue reading »
February 15, 2012
Naughty Dog have really set the bar with the Uncharted franchise, starting with Drake’s Fortune and the critically acclaimed sequel in the form of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The storylines are like Hollywood blockbusters and the gameplay is second to none. So people were yet again expecting something special with Drake’s Deception. But have Naughty Dog been able to deliver yet another classic?Continue reading »
January 13, 2012
Our old friend Ezio Auditore is back for one final romp, and this yearly dose of conspiratorial frolics is getting somewhat perplexing. Surely such a hasty turnaround should result in shoddy and rushed sequels? But I think it’s safe to say last year’s Brotherhood proved us all wrong, with a healthy measure of new content and logical improvements. The question is, as we close Ezio’s chapter of the story, has Ubisoft’s army of international studios pulled it off once again?
Revelations is the first game to tie all three existing protagonists together, exploring both the twilight years of ancestors Ezio and Altair (the 12th century Syrian assassin), and fleshing out present day Desmond’s troubled past. Now here’s where I have to blurb the “previously on Assassin’s Creed..”, but to tell you the truth, it isn’t exactly straightforward. Not that the esotericism is necessarily detrimental to the franchise, but it does make it a tad impenetrable to newcomers.Continue reading »
December 20, 2011
Along with the release of the Joe Danger Special Edition on Xbox 360, Hello Games are throwing out some free, yes that’s right, FREE, festive DLC from 21st December. In case you weren’t aware, it’s nearly Christmas so in keeping with the festive season, you’ll be able to download the Santa DLC which includes a Santa costume, new Quad bike and, when selected, it will snow whilst you’re performing some sick tricks throughout the game.
Not only do you get a new vehicle in the Quad bike, but the controls are slightly different to the bike in that the ATV is faster and more bouncy. So if you’ve already mastered some tricks on the bike then you’ll have to ho-ho-hone your skills once again and try the new Quadbike across all the courses in the game.Continue reading »
November 25, 2011
There’s no more books and no more films, so it’s a welcome sight to see the second installment of the LEGO Harry Potter games hit our shelves. Yet another LEGO game of a popular movie franchise hits our shelves, and I can see how some people could get bored by the amount that are out there. But these games are just too damn fun. So what makes LEGO Harry Potter years 5-7 different from the rest and worth your money?Continue reading »
November 12, 2011
As you may know, I have quite a love for the Jak and Daxter franchise so you can only guess my excitement when the Jak and Daxter HD Collection was finally announced.
Ever since I played the first Jak and Daxter game back in 2001, I’ve been completely hooked with the loveable duo and have bought ever iteration of the game since. I was quite disappointed with The Lost Frontier which was released on the PSP and ported over to the PS2 and wasn’t a proper Jak and Daxter game in my opinion. I’ve been dying for Naughty Dog to bring us the sequel we’ve all been screaming for, and this goes some way to filling that void.Continue reading »
August 30, 2011
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a hefty weight on its shoulders: the expectations and apprehensions of thousands of fans of the original Deus Ex released in 2000, a highly acclaimed RPG whose levels of complexity in both gameplay and narrative are a force to be reckoned with. But in another respect, it’s almost a new franchise that needs to win over a new generation that doesn’t necessarily remember PC games of a bygone era. Either way, half-baked isn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, the game has spent at least four years in development, showing Eidos is committed to giving the franchise a prequel it deserves.
You play as Adam Jensen, a former cop who works as a security specialist for a bio-mechanical augmentation company known as Sarif Industries in 2027. These augmentations are the powerfully divisive preoccupation of the age, raising tensions in society and exposing the disparity between the have’s and have-not’s. The corporations bill them as the next stage of human evolution and a chance to better ourselves, while anti-augment groups are concerned over both philosophical issues, such as playing god, and inequity problems.Continue reading »
August 18, 2011
The autumn/winter period of 2011 looks set to both blow my tiny mind just like the gaming end of 2010 did last year, and financially destroy me. The cavalcade of great games coming out just in the next few months, let alone early 2012, is almost too long to list, so here’s a few of my most anticipated releases that will keep me firmly in front of the video gaming screen during the cold months.
10. Dead Island
Release: September 9th
This is my wildcard, so to speak. I can’t vouch for any tried and tested genius from this game to make it onto my wanted list. However, the less-is-more direction of the zombie-play has me more than a little intrigued. For instance, just one zombie is tough to fight off (so could be somewhat different from the likes of Left 4 Dead 2), thus the bleak screams of four or five of the chaps becomes utterly petrifying. Plus, plenty of melee frolics, including kicking and explosive throwing knives, makes Dead Island a worthwhile gamble.
June 30, 2011
F1 finally came back to the PC and major consoles last year in the form of Codemaster’s F1 2010 video game and, the occasional AI and pit-stop bug aside, it certainly lived up to the hype receiving widespread critical acclaim including a gaming BAFTA for best sports game.
However, whilst the game created a solid base there was still much room for improvement and so this year’s version of the franchise aims to build on the successes of last year whilst learning from the mistakes, and all indications suggest that there have been some substantial leaps forward in F1 2011.
The first major change in the game mirrors those occurring in the sport in real life: the rules. DRS (which stands for ‘Drag Reduction System’) and KERS (‘Kinetic Energy Recovery System) have both been introduced into the sport this year as a way to increase the excitement of races; the former opens a rear-wing flap reducing drag (and thus increasing speed) whilst the latter gives a speed boost from a battery charged under breaking. Both of these technologies along with the new Pirelli tyres have proven very effective at creating interesting races in real life, and there is no reason given that they are present in the game that they will not do the same.Continue reading »