Crysis 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

crysis-3-cover-artCrytek 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.
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Dishonored Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

dishonored-box-artToday, 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.
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Splinter Cell: Blacklist Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

splinter-cell-blacklist-cover-artUbisoft 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.
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Assassin’s Creed 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

assassins-creed-3-cover-artHaving 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.
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Zath @ E3 2012 – Day 1 Review


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.
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Zath @ E3 2012 – Day 0 Review

e3-logoIt’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.
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Journey Review (PS3)

journey-ps3-coverThatgamecompany 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.
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Joe Danger: Special Edition Review (Xbox 360)

joe_danger_se_titleFinally, 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.
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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception Review (PS3)

uncharted_3_coverNaughty 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?
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Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 Speakers Review

bowers-wilkins-mm1If you’ve been reading my posts over the past few years on a regular basis, you’ll know by know that I’m a self confessed audiophile. My iTunes library is full of lossless tracks that I’ve ripped from my growing CD collection (yes, until I can download music losslessly, I will continue to buy CDs and vinyls), but until now I haven’t had a truly great pair of speakers that can do all of those tracks justice.

The Bowers and Wilkins MM-1s caught my eye a few months back, with their promise of great sound and technology taken from their studio speakers, not to mention the incredible design work that is clearly present in every aspect of the units. [Read more…]