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PREVIEW | Sunset Overdrive is a high-octane adventure playground

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Insomniac Games, Microsoft Studios, Sunset Overdrive, Third Person Shooters

PREVIEW | Sunset Overdrive is a high-octane adventure playground

(But don't call it a sandbox)

I'm currently hard at work on our Sunset Overdrive review, and by hard at work I do of course mean "grinding, swinging and leaping across a vibrant colourful city while shooting a huge horde of crazy enemies with insane weaponry." I know, it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

As such, I can't deliver any sort of value judgement until next week, and I don't plan to. We're a classy outfit here at Dealspwn.com. But based on the first two hours of gameplay, those official videos and previous contact time at preview events, I'd like to offer a purely descriptive preview of what Sunset Overdrive has to offer, and to point out a incredibly basic fact about what Sunset Overdrive is bringing to the table at this late hour. Or more accurately, what it actually is and what it definitely isn't.

See, there's a big difference between a "sandbox" and a "playground," and understanding the distinction will help you make the most out of Insomniac's high-velocity shooter.

PREVIEW | Sunset Overdrive is a high-octane adventure playground

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Fallout 3 GOTY Edition only £2.50 at GamersGate

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Fallout 3, PC games, RPG
Fallout 3 GOTY Edition only £2.50 at GamersGate

Fallout 3: GOTY Edition (PC) | GamersGate | £2.50
Fallout 3: GOTY Edition PC Price Comparison | Fallout 3 Review

For my money, Fallout 3 is probably the best RPG of the last console generation and quite possibly the best game too. Its enormous game world was both enormous, unpredictable and dense; while the story and gameplay armed us with more choice than any other game I can think of.

If you haven't yet sampled Bethesda's exquisite take on the Fallout franchise, you can now get the GOTY Edition for less than a London pint. Thanks to ferreirm @ HUKD!

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor only £32.85 Xbox One

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Xbox One Games

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor only £32.85 Xbox One

Shadow of Mordor | Simply Games | £32.85
Tips GuideReviewVideos

It's great to see Monolith back on form after so many years in the doldrums, and it's even better to see a genuinely fantastic Lord Of The Rings game that genuinely expands on the universe. This stealthy stabby brutal bloodsoaked experience shines thanks to the quality of its systems and its unique Nemesis mechanic that creates unique bosses to hunt and take down depending on your performance.

Better yet, SimplyGames have slashed the price of the Xbox One version down to £32.85. Thanks to imsomethingyournot @ HUKD!

First Contact | Randal's Monday - Clerks the Videogame?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Adventure Games, Daedalic Entertainment, First Contact, Nexus Game Studios, Point & click, Randal's Monday, Videos

First Contact | Randal's Monday - Clerks the Videogame?

Apparently, when Jeff Anderson was first approached by Nexus Game Studios regarding the possibility of doing voiceover work for Randal's Monday, he rather angrily turned the gig down, believing the game to be ripping off Clerks -- the film that introduced the wider world to the joys of Kevin Smith's dialogue. He looked at the script anyway, found it to be broader and funnier than he'd anticipated originally, and made a U-turn.

Randal's Monday is not a Clerks spinoff, but it does borrow rather heavily from the Askewniverse, and the titular character's name is even a mashup of Dante Hicks and Randal Graves. Hell, a dynamic duo looking a lot like Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes is actually also on the cast list for this game) pop up later on in the game.

First Contact | Randal's Monday - Clerks the Videogame?

I've spent a fair bit of time with the game's truncated early access build, and here's a little First Contact video of my initial half hour with the game along with some impressions. There'll be a review along next month, closer to the game's release when the early access build updates, but I found the game's opener to be something of a mixed bag to be honest.

There's real promise here, but a few games writers were privy to a Daedalic showcase in which the game's broader plot was fleshed out beyond the opening scenes, and I have to say that I think knowing the loose narrative conceit around which the story is based might be key to getting through what can be a bit of an uneven introduction to the game. I talk about it in more depth at the end of the video (I want to try and avoid plot spoilers here if possible) but Randal's Monday takes a bit of a while to get going, and the pacing is key to comedy -- something that Nexus don't always get right here. That said, I want to kick on and play the rest, Anderson is basically playing a role made for him (and his delivery is bang on), there's some interesting puzzling a little further on, and the Groundhog Day cycle is something I'm eager to explore.

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3D Realms anthology contains 32 games for just £12.45

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
3D Realms, PC games

3D Realms anthology contains 32 games for just £12.45

3D Realms are back in action, and to celebrate, they've released their entire back catalogue in a 32-game download compilation. Don't let that picture of a CD-ROM fool you, this is very much a download, and a very reasonable one at only £12.45.

Highlights include Wolfenstein 3D, the Commander Keens, Terminal Velocity (one of my favourite games ever, though Fury³ was better) and the good Duke Nukems, though personally, I bought this immediately for Alien Carnage AKA Halloween Harry. Ah, the happy hours I spent secretly installing this superb shooter onto my school's computers. What fun.

You can see the whole list of games below.

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The Morning Papers | Realms Of The Flaunting

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
The Morning Papers

Good morning! The big news today is that Super Smash Bros Wii U has 8-way battles, completely overshadowing the fact that 3D Realms has returned from the distant past. The old guard is back and promise to... erm, actually I have no idea considering that Gearbox still owns Duke Nukem. Here's hoping they sell, or 3D Realms do the right thing and develop a new generation of Terminal Velocity sequels.

Here are your headlines.

In Case You Missed It...

Daily Bite: Slowpoke Reggae

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Funnies
Tags:
Daily Bite

Well, this just made my week. Make sure you watch the whole video... and then put it on in the background on loop for the rest of the day.

If you hadn't realised already, "Yadon" is the Japanese name for Slowpoke.

Game Night | Supraball - The Return

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game Night, PC games, Supra Games, Supraball

Having not played it in quite a while, the Dealspwn trio decided to jump back into the eSports arena that is Supraball for this week's Game Night. However, with Carl, Matt and Jon out of practice, and with the game having several tweaks since they last played, their performance was... well... not prime? See for yourself in today's episode, with highlights such as an insanely skilled opponent, Matt screaming at everything, and Carl trying to get his goalkeeping mojo back.

Dreamfall Chapters – Book One: Reborn Review | The Journey Resumed

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Adventure Games, Dreamfall Chapters, Dreamfall Chapters Book One - Reborn, Red Thread Games

Dreamfall Chapters – Book One: Reborn Review | The Journey Resumed

A range of emotions flowed over me on Monday morning. You see, after an eight-year wait with a damn cliffhanger, the next instalment of The Longest Journey saga was finally here. The stories of April Ryan and Zoe Castillo, of Stark and Arcadia, of order and chaos, are ones that have resonated with me ever since I played them years ago, and I have craved more. Thankfully, patience is one of my better virtues, although seeing the game in action and speaking to some of the main people behind the magic as helped make the wait a little less painful (and to this day, Tornquist still refers to me as the “wang guy.” See the reason why here.) So while this next statement shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, in the interest of full disclosure I’d like to state that I backed Dreamfall Chapters during its Kickstarter campaign. While I see no reason why it should affect matters, at least we’re all on the same page going into this review. It’s up to you to decide if it impedes my judgement.

Although if you think it does, you’re wrong and I’m removing your interneting privileges.

To recap the story would require far more space than I can afford, so here’s my best attempt at a quick overview. Dreamfall Chapters follows the adventures of Zoe Castillo, known as the Dreamer, and Kian Alvane, a former Apostle / assassin turned traitor, as they try to find their place in the twin worlds of Stark, a futuristic dystopian Earth, and Arcadia, a world of magic. With both of these worlds in grave danger, Book One: Reborn charges players with guiding both characters through their rebirth into the story, and begin their journey to save Stark & Arcadia from certain doom.

Dreamfall Chapters – Book One: Reborn Review | The Journey Resumed

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DriveClub Review | Hell on Wheels?

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
DriveClub, Evolution Studios, PS4 games, Racing Games

DriveClub Review | Hell on Wheels?

DriveClub's online issues have been well documented since release, and it was only fair that we held off publishing our review until Evolution had time to iron out the kinks and we could actually play it online. Two weeks since release and it’s ‘pencil’s down’ time.

First up, single-player. The campaign is a lengthy selection of events in which you earn fame points that in turn level you up, unlocking more events and faster vehicles. The events themselves have a heavy reliance on time trials over multi-vehicle racing, making it seem like a very lonely game at times. There are drift events too, but the less said about those the better. There are three star awards for each event based on criteria like finishing position, clean laps, lap times or beating racing line or drift challenges.

DriveClub Review | Hell on Wheels?

Races would be quite enjoyable if DriveClub didn't try so hard to make your life difficult. The rubber-banding is merciless, meaning you can never truly get away from the pack and in a straight line they’re much faster than you, even when driving the same car. It's the penalty system that really beggars belief though. Cutting corners and colliding heavily with other vehicles is punished by a stun to the car's acceleration for an indeterminate amount of time. In theory, this isn't too bad, but the game's implementation of it is a disaster. You'll be penalised for going wide on a corner (not exactly cheating), having a tire off the track and sometimes the most minor paint-trades are punished. Racing carefully isn't the key either as the aggressive AI racers will slam into you like a drunk every chance they get and frequently spin you off the track, as they speed off ahead it's obvious the same rules don't apply. Better yet, YOU will be given a stun penalty for their mistakes. That's not to say you won't find yourself getting away with murder every now and then too.

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WWE 2K15 Interview | Bryce Yang on MyCareer, performance capture, and a truly next-gen wrestling game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
2K Sports, Games previews. WWE 2K15, Interviews, Videos, Visual Concepts, Wrestling games, Yuke's

WWE 2K15 Interview | Bryce Yang on MyCareer, performance capture, and a truly next-gen wrestling game

WWE 2K15 is a big deal for 2K Sports. It's the first game in the series where they had the opportunity to produce a game from scratch, and they've been taking the responisiblity very seriously indeed, calling WWE 2K15 the first truly next-gen wrestling game, acknowledging the limitations of last year's generation-straddling iteration. As such, they're hoping to see Yuke's and project partners Visual Concepts both bringing their A-games, ringing the changes in a number of meaningful ways.

MyCareer is a huge addition to the franchise, taking the best bits from VC's longstanding mode in the NBA 2K series and applying it here, fulfilling one of the biggest requests fans have been making for years. The presentation, as you'd expect, is absolutely top notch, with a huge portable capture rig having been driven around the US to really nail the exaggerated facial animations and up the level of drama in the ring.

Speaking of which, the actually wrestling itself has undergone some changes too, breaking down moves into more specific components, giving players a greater array of options in terms of body targeting, and making a concerted effort to match the fluidity and shifts in momentum that befit a proper WWE match. Mastering the art of countering is going to prove absolutely essential in this year's game, and it's a fiendish thing to get a hold of against the AI, though I found it significantly easier (though still pretty challenging) against a human opponent.

WWE 2K15 Interview | Bryce Yang on MyCareer, performance capture, and a truly next-gen wrestling game

To get the lowdown on the changes and upgrades that Yuke's and VC are bringing to the table with this year's game, and to chat about what working primarily with the new consoles has allowed the developers to do, I caught up with WWE 2K brand director Bryce Yang at a recent event in London.

Check out my WWE 2K15 interview with Yang after the jump >>

Blast From The Past | Crackdown

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blast From The Past, Crackdown, Realtime Worlds, Xbox 360 games

Blast From The Past | Crackdown

Skills For Kills, Agent!

I've been playing a great deal of Sunset Overdrive recently. My hands are tied until our full review goes live next week, but for now, I can confirm our earlier assertions that it feels like an outrageous and anarchic mash-up of Crackdown and Jet Set Radio Future. Only twice as meta.

Ah, Crackdown and Jet Set Radio Future. Two truly excellent Xbox exclusives from generations past -- has it really been seven and twelve years?! -- that I'd dearly love to revisit. If only we had some sort of semi-regular article format where we glorify classics from yesteryear and explain why they still have a place in our hearts through rose-tinted spectacles.

Oh wait. We do. It's time to reboot Blast From The Past, and I think there's only one place to start. We'll cover Jet Set Radio Future next week... and start with one hell of a super-sandbox, agent.

Blast From The Past | Crackdown

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Lord Of The Rings bundle includes LEGO The Hobbit, LOTR & more for £7.49

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

Lord Of The Rings bundle includes LEGO The Hobbit, LOTR & more for £7.49

One Bundle to rule them all. One Bundle to find them. One bundle to bring them all onto your hard drive for £7.49.

Bundle Stars' Lord Of The Rings-themed bundle contains LEGO The Hobbit (and all DLC),  LEGO Lord Of The Rings, the extended version of Guardians Of Middle Earth and War In The North. The latter is pretty weak, but I personally found that deploying Eagle Smart Bombs doesn't get old.

Another great spot by jaystan @ HUKD!

FIFA 15 only £34.85 at SimplyGames on PS4 & Xbox One

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
FIFA 15, PS4 games, Xbox One Games

FIFA 15 only £34.85 at SimplyGames on PS4 & Xbox One

FIFA 15 | SimplyGames PS4 & Xbox One | £34.85 (save £5)
Review | Video Review

FIFA 15 is an experimental art game in which you'll delve into Mandelbrot-inspired fractals to discover a hidden synesthesic world of... no, it's footy. This year's iteration is a bit faster and boasts superior player management. If you want in, SimplyGames will save you a fiver on the PS4 and Xbox One versions. Thanks to RK94 @ HUKD!

The Morning Papers | Here's Johnny!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
The Morning Papers

The Morning Papers | Here's Johnny!

Good morning! Today's big news is that ex-EA boss John Riccitiello is now the boss of the Unity 3D Engine. Will the gutsy little engine that can turn into a corporate juggernaut?

To be honest, though, I'm personally more excited about Titanfall's massive update that adds co-op and other unexpected features. Here are your headlines.

In Case You Missed It...

The Morning Papers | Here's Johnny!

Shadow Warrior PS4 & Xbox One Review | Hot Mature Wang

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Devolver Digital, Flying Wild Hog, FPS, Games reviews, PS4 games, Xbox One Games

Shadow Warrior PS4 & Xbox One Review | Hot Mature Wang

Platforms: PS4 | Xbox One (reviewed)

Developer: Flying Wild Hog

Publisher: Bandai Namco | Devolver Digital

"If you miss the thrill of classic old-school shooters, the simple joy of blasting hordes of foes with oversized weapons and ferreting around for secrets, quicksaving and circle-strafing all the while, you should buy Shadow Warrior immediately."

I wrote this line a year ago in my Shadow Warrior PC review, and it still holds true today. Laughing at the limp linear patronising state of the FPS genre, Flying Wild Hog looked back at classic PC shooters and delivered a Wangtastic slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger of a game with huge explorable levels, massive guns and enormous hordes of deadly demons to point them at.

Shadow Warrior PS4 & Xbox One Review | Hot Mature Wang

Now a pixel-perfect port is available on PS4 and Xbox One, meaning that console owners have the opportunity to find out what they've been missing. I could probably end the review here... but in all honesty, this is also an opportunity for me to right a wrong.

See, Shadow Warrior has matured like a fine wine, becoming more delicious with age, and a year of perspective makes me realise that I might have weighted certain aspects of the game too heavily even though my criticisms are still the same. On PC I accused many of its unique features of watering down and diluting the classic FPS formula I've loved since Doom, and they do, but a year on I find myself enjoying Shadow Warrior as the game it is rather than the game I wanted it to be.

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Daily Bite: If Mortal Kombat Was A Sitcom

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Funnies
Tags:
Daily Bite

Worth it for the increasingly terrible puns.

Interactive Narratives | 80 Days - Inkle Studios on how to make an engrossing text-heavy mobile adventure

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
80 Days, Adventure Games, Inkle Studios, Interactive Narratives, iOS games, Mobile games, Videos

Interactive Narratives | 80 Days - Inkle Studios on how to make an engrossing text-heavy mobile adventure

80 Days has been one of my favourite games of the year. If you told me that a text-heavy iOS game would end up being a personal contender for Game of the Year back in January, I would have probably laughed in your face. The idea of a mobile game providing a deep, narrative-driven experience is frankly laughable to me, particular one so heavily rooted in reading lots of text. But 80 Days made a mockery of my scepticism, somehow managing to be perfectly suited to little bursts of play-up-and-play action yet still offering an engrossing long-term narrative steered in large part by the player.

An adaptation of Jules Verne's classic, which updates some of the more archaic sensibilities of the original while retaining the style and politics of our planet in the late Nineties, 80 Days is a bold, refreshing game that puts players in the immaculate shoes of Passepartout, juggling valet duties to his adventuring master, planning the route across the globe, dealing with the various moral dilemmas and dynamic events that crop up and block the way from time to time, balancing speed against funds and health, all the while marking the calendar and the time left.

It works magnificently on smart devices, so much so that something would undoubtedly be lost on console or PC, such is a tactile way that you draw out the narrative, poking and prodding the screen to gently unfurl the next segment of story or attempt to wheedle more information out of the people that meet, making choices that will affect you master and those around you, and tracing your way across continents with your fingers.

Interactive Narratives | 80 Days - Inkle Studios on how to make an engrossing text-heavy mobile adventure

I've played through it at least seven times now.

But I wanted to find out more about how the game came into being and the thought processes behind some of the design choices, not to mention how Inkle went about adapting the original novel and optimised it for a platform not normally associated with gripping, replayable interactive fictions. Which brings me to part one of our rather lengthy chat...

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Boo! PSN Halloween Sale starts today

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PS Vita games, PS3 games

Boo! PSN Halloween Sale starts today

Ah, Halloween, the most annoying and pointless of all the holidays (seriously, even Guy Fawkes' Night has awesome fireworks!). Never mind, though, because it's also a time for digital distributors to launch some tasty horror-themed sales. Sony are quick off the mark and a week early, leading the charge with a pack of devilish discounts and scary savings.

Sorry. Anyway, the PS4 gets short shrift yet again as the PS3 and Vita pick up the slack. Dead Space is a steal at £3.99, while I'd personally recommend the utterly brilliant and shockingly overlooked Dead Space Extraction to anyone who still owns a PlayStation Move controller. For £5.79, it's a light gun masterclass. They're just the tip of the iceberg, joined by the likes of Resident Evil Revelations, Silent Hill (PSX original), BioShock and other worthwhile titles.

On Vita, meanwhile, I'd suggest taking a look at Toukiden: The Age Of Demons for any Monster Hunter fans (£14.99), alongside the dangerously sexy Demon Gaze at £15.99. It's a riot.

As always, check out the savings below courtesy of the EU PlayStation Blog and thanks to the eagle-eyed stevenjameshyde @ HUKD!

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