“Try to catch that car in front or just bring it back in one piece.” These are the deflating words of my pit manager when skidding around in last place on the final lap in Project Cars.
Project Cars is tough. With no driving aids turned on for my first play session with the new racing IP, I can't help but feel the pressure mount as every time I look up in the Bandai Namco offices, I see a Dark Souls II poster - judging, mocking and not helping my blood temperature one bit.
Things improve though and despite the harsh challenge, which comes mainly from the handling rather than the AI (but more on those guys later), I found myself keen to iron out my racing sim wrinkles and lose those pesky kart racer habits. To be fair, it's not like PS4 is exactly packed with skill-honing racing sims right now.
The initial cause of most of my accidents was trying to find a suitable camera angle. The game will spoil you for choice including low road, bonnet, roof, following, interior middle, interior driver's side and a helmet cam which puts you directly behind the eyes of the driver, complete with the helmet's inner cushioning viewable underneath. The new take on the helmet cam is slightly let down by the blurring effect during hard braking and tighter turns, it’s a real strain on the eyes and hopefully something we can toggle in the final build. Surely pro-drivers don’t get this much motion-blur in real life or they’d be filling their helmets with vom all the time.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (Steam, £26.99)
Developer: Amplitude Studios
Early Access has been dragged through the mud over the last few months, but it often doesn't get enough credit. For every failure there's a developer who makes a plan and sticks to it, engages fans without losing sight of their goals, then finally delivers a worthwhile game that couldn't have been made any other way. The system works.
Endless Legend is one of those success stories: a superb, solid and delightfully innovative take on the 4X genre from Amplitude Studios, the fearsome strategy fiends behind the excellent Endless Space and upcoming Roguelike masterclass Dungeon Of The Endless. As you've probably worked out by now, all three games take place at different times in the same universe, a sensational Sci-Fi fantasy fusion that kicks out elves and dwarves in favour of aliens, constructs, mad cultists, robot ghosts and necrophagous insects. It's a beautiful thing, both in terms of the overall aesthetic and some exciting design decisions.
I'm going to assume that you have a working knowledge of 4X games, preferably hex-based specimens like Civilization, Warlock and Age Of Wonders III, because otherwise this review is going to require several hundred words to explain the basic mechanics. To briefly recap, Endless Legend subscribes to a familiar basic formula of picking a race with different stats, starting out with a settler, building a city and then cracking on with the four Xs: exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination . You'll research new technologies, move units around a hex-based world, engage in diplomacy and generally rise to dominance through fair means and foul.
Here's the instruction manual if you want to know more. Rather than dwell on minutae, we're going to discuss how Endless Legend subverts and reinvigorates the familiar genre template with fresh new ideas.Click here to read more...
Call me crazy, but I'm not sure that I'm Pac-Man & The Ghostly Adventures 2's target audience.
As far as I can tell, it's aimed at fans of an animated television show that turned Pac-Man into a totally radical 90s mascot even though it's now 2014. Whoops. Our spherical yellow pal now has arms and legs, lives in a town called Pacopolis, fights the evil Betrayus and hangs out with a disposable cast with names like Spiral and Cylindria. He's basically Sonic, then. You'd therefore expect a tie-in to be a fairly simple 3D platformer with a basic hub town and some rail shooting segments, but in an incredible twist that's exactly what Pac-Man & The Ghostly Adventures 2 is.
However, never let it be said that I won't give a game a fair shake. It's not going to set the gaming world on fire and we've seen the same template hundreds of times -- Scott Pilgrim this ain't -- but it does at least make eating things really, really satisfying.
Click here to read more...
I never thought they could do it, but lo and behold, Squeenix managed to polish a turd hard enough that it compacted down into a beautiful diamond! Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is an MMORPG worth shouting about, and one that you can play for a month on PS3 - and PS4 if you use the free upgrade - for only £2.95. Remember that you'll then then have to start paying monthly though. Thanks to TOMBOY25360@ HUKD!
Destiny is an odd little thing: beautiful to behold, fun to play, yet lacking meaningful content and using a chance-based loot system to fill the void (and give you the illusion of accomplishing something). Still, multiplayer is great fun when you get a fireteam together, and I bet that plenty of you want to get involved just to be part of the conversation. SimplyGames' £34.85 price is nice and cheap for the Vanguard edition, which includes some extra DLC.
Thanks to BuzzDuraband @ HUKD!
Oh look, is that Destiny in the headlines again? Say what you want about Bungie's virtual slot machine that incidentally contains first person shooting -- and I do, regularly -- but it has been a fantastic title for debate, opinion and awesome crucible shotgun rampages. Unfortunately we'll probably have to buy the story separately, even though it might be on the disc already.
Still, at least some smaller and more intriguing games are also making the morning papers, like... FIFA 15. Right. Here are your headlines.
Do you want to be just or do you want to be kind? Are you a man who prizes the law above all else? Would you let a murderer walk free if it might serve the "greater good"? What kind of a man are you? These are the questions that are asked of the player when it comes to stepping once more into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes in Frogwares latest game in the ongoing series.
The gentleman detective may disappoint purists in this title, coming across as an amalgamation of Conan Doyle's original and the various popular incarnations seen across the screen over the last few decades. The accessories and affectations of Rathbone's Holmes are mingled with the calculating character of Moffat and Gatiss' recent reinventions, not to mention Sherlock's rather antagonistic relationship with his brother, Mycroft.
If there is less of the original Holmes' character to be seen in this game, it is because Frogwares has made the player the curator of Holmes' intellect and intuition, delivering the power of moral decision-making and deductive reasoning over into our hands. The Holmes of Crimes and Punishments is something of a blank slate in terms of judgement and ethical character, and it's up to us to fill in the gaps in a game that explores the consequences of the detective's findings and the processes of deduction in greater detail than ever before.
There are six cases that form the meat of the game in Crimes and Punishments, each of them unfolding with a series of twists and turns and opportunities for investigation depending on the player's thoroughness. Crimes and Punishments is, in many ways, an old-school point-and-click adventure game at heart. You survey crime scenes and areas of investigation, interacting with various points, persons, and objects of interest, collecting evidence, interrogating witnesses and suspects, and uncovering clues that may then be paired together to form deductions.Click here to read more...
Despite starring supercars, insane track toys and monstrous custom jobs, racing games are actually a lot like buses. You spend ages waiting for them and suddenly a whole fleet turns up at once, regardless of what current-gen console or PC you own. This holiday season is going to be absolutely jam-packed with racers, simulations and driving games, all of which are crying out for your attention and jostling for grid position.
This might seem rather annoying at first glance, but look a little closer and you'll discover that they're all very different and offer a totally unique take on the genre. Whether you're all about finishing first or just in it for the raw thrill of driving itself, there's something here for you. So it's high time we gave you the lowdown on which game (or games) will most likely suit you best.
Or, perhaps more accurately, the showdown. Let's do this in release date order, though it turns out that we're starting very strong indeed....
Forza Horizon 2 is a superb driving game, and I've picked those words very carefully. Yes, there are loads of cars that are fairly awarded and boast loads of tuning options, not to mention a whole mess of races across a gorgeous open world, but Playground Games' latest is actually more about the simple act of driving.
"It's the thrill of sliding a 1969 Ferrari Dino around a perilous mountain road to The Marriage Of Figaro. The heart-stopping roar of your Lamborghini Diablo perfectly setting off the William Tell Overture as you cruise over a sun-baked hill, or getting air in a VW Camper Van during a midnight thunderstorm as fireworks explode in the distance. A thousand beautiful, personal, perfect automotive moments," I wrote in our Editor's Choice review. Gorgeous visuals, great scalable handling and beautiful scenery to match the cars make for a game that comes alive when you stop racing and start driving.Click here to read more...
This year's hottest ticket at EGX (formerly the Eurogamer Expo) was for the premier of From Bedrooms to Billions, a documentary on the birth of the UK gaming scene and its rise from hobbyist beginnings to world leader and to the shape of things today.
The entire film is told by industry figures giving anecdotes on their memories of how it all began. Chances are, the older a gamer you are, the more you'll be able to relate to the film. The amount of time dedicated to the Sinclair ZX80s and Commodore 64s vastly outweigh any given to later consoles. This is mainly due to the heavy focus on the British perspective of the industry, where the arrivals of the Japanese machines from Nintendo and Sega are painted in almost villainous colours.
Early on, the anecdotes feel a little dry as the talk is all about programming, entering lines of code, hobbyist meets and so on. This is a film clearly aiming for the nostalgic feelings of those involved in the scene, further carving the film into an even tighter niche and alienating everyone else.
You'll hear of the joys and bleakness of the industry, from Peter Molyneux getting an almost sexual thrill the first time he got a pixel to move across a screen. To another developer saying he got so sick and stressed of all the corporate bullshit he had a white poo.Click here to read more...
Another year, another spectacular season of Formula 1 racing, another Codemasters tie-in. F1 2014 is out next month on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, giving racing fans their authentic simulation fix without having to buy into any new hardware to calm the shakes.
Having tested the in-development project at Namco's UK headquarters last week, I can report that it is indeed an F1 racing game. I'm not sure what else really needs to be said on that front.
Despite being a relatively early build awaiting visual polish and optimisation, it's clear that the handling is still delightfully scalable and the experience feels authentically F1 thanks to the updated team rosters, cars and the addition of the Sochi Autodrom. New players can leap straight into a one-lap evaluation, which automatically grades their skill level and sets the rebalanced difficulty appropriately, whereas veterans can get to grips with ERS and the new fuel limits.
However, rather than slogging away at a full season (which can now be approached in marathon sessions or smaller chunks), I decided to revisit my favourite feature from F1 2013: the Scenario Mode. Newly expanded in F1 2014, it's another selection of bite-sized challenges that throw you straight into an exciting situation and forces you to overcome increasingly long odds -- many of which are drawn directly from recent racing history and feature some well-observed cutscenes whether you win or lose.
Once again, I suspect that completing your gold medal set is going to be one of the most compelling parts of the package. Since I'll be describing many of these challenges in detail, I suppose you could argue that we need a spoiler alert. Maybe.Click here to read more...
I've just called a bundle of pixels a "cancerous badger's nutsack". Ten seconds earlier I told the game to which these pixels belonged that I would perform an inventive, illegal sex act upon its relatives on a bed made of lava and nightmares.
Fenix Rage is an incredibly aptly-named game. It's all about dying over and over and over again and resurrecting until you just get better, and it'll make you apoplectic with rage. I for one am quite glad about this. It's given me a chance to practise my more creative swearing for Destiny's loot cave.
It's a game that's a lot like Super Meat Boy at its heart: simple controls, fine margins, increasingly complex levels, and oodles of death. But is it any good? Well, the review is on its way, but in the interim, here's a look at my first half hour with the game.
Check out the game's official site here.
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
For many, Titanfall was the vanguard of a year of games that didn't live up to their hype. I am not one of those people.
Titanfall has kept me coming back week after week, month after month, because its gameplay is evergreen. I'm not just throwing myself through the grinder for randomised loot or arbitrary metagame levels, rather I'm playing simply because the thrill of snapping necks, dropping mechs and effortlessly traversing an entire map without touching the ground is nigh-on perfect, and worth every minute. The small yet dedicated fanbase clearly feels the same, enjoying the fact that the skill ceiling is as high as the lofty maps themselves.
So the third and final map pack is Respawn's opportunity to go gonzo; to create a crazy, visually diverse and utterly innovative last hurrah before presumably concentrating on a multi-platform sequel.
This didn't happen, sadly, but IMC Rising is still an excellent expansion that subscribes to a familiar template: two undeniably brilliant maps and a third that reveals a unique edge after a few matches.Click here to read more...
Welcome back to Click To Play , the new-old regular series that takes a look at a new browser-based curio each week to further the fine art of procrastination. We accept absolutely no responsibility if you get caught at work/school/uni gloriously wasting time on the games listed here when you should be working.
This week: Mr Splibox
Mr Splibox seems like an odd protagonist for a platforming game. He's apathy personified, a hero so lazy that he can't even be bothered to jump around. But he does have one special power that renders his lack of leaping something of a non-issue: he can spawn boxes out of his arse.
So it is that Mr Splibox navigates around increasingly complex levels, overcoming steps by building towers of cutesy cardboard boxes out of his bum, and crossing chasms by toppling said towers across previously impassable gaps.
There are enemies to bypass as well. Moustachioed chumps will charge at you if they spot you, and it's therefore often necessary to get out of harm's way by crapping crates, leaving your 'tached foes to run off of ledges and sail into the odd abyss.Click here to read more...
Hello there folks. Happy Monday!
First of all, here's an amusing video of a bearded dragon getting his munch on to help deal with the shock of the weekend being over.
This week will see us usher in a new feature series as we look to consolidate some of the video coverage that we've been doing over the past year or so, and see how we can create clearer, more focused content.
With that in mind, we'd like to introduce First Contact -- a new series dedicated to first impressions and honest reactions. First Contact will essentially provide a snapshot of our first hour or so with a game, to be broadcast as part of an ongoing coverage process. First Contact could be considered the start of that process, with a game's review coverage (that includes post-review articles as well) forming the end goal.
We'll still be running Opening Scenes -- our completely unadulterated look at a game's beginnings -- for titles that are appropriate, and there may be some crossover between the two. But ultimately, First Contact is all about honest initial opinions, and delivering more insight into the journeys we take previewing and reviewing games. As crowdfunding and alpha funding and Early Access programmes continue to manifest and grow, the fluid nature of game development and our access to that is changing, and as a games site we need to be more flexible and adaptable in our coverage to keep up.
We won't be doing a Polygon and having a sliding review scale, but we will be providing more coverage and analysis around our reviews, and giving you more context and more information upon which to base your buying decisions, and providing more commentary and opinion along the way.
If you're holding on to a Legendary Engram, go identify them as soon as possible. This week Bungie are guaranteeing Legendary-level loot from purple engrams in Destiny patch 1.02, but existing purples will be dumbed down into blues, so get cracking. Otherwise this is great news, as it's always struck me as an odd system, as if Deckard Cain decided to identify a legendary drop as a cracked voulge just because he felt like trolling your sorry hide.
Ah, "Voulge." One of those wonderful words we'd never know if we weren't gamers, like "pauldron" and "voxel." Anyway, here are your headlines.
Knytt Underground | IndieGameStand | £0.62 (RRP: £4.99)
First things first: Knytt Underground has been in countless bundles over these last few years. Check your Steam backlog and see if it's there.
If not, you can now pick up this excellent indie platformer for £0.62 at IndieGameStand. It's got exploration, a great aesthetic, neat characters and is basically strong across the board. Again, though, check your backlog.
The Binding Of Isaac made our Indie Game Of The Year 2011 shortlist, and with good reason. It's an addictive, infinitely replayable and utterly reprehensible 21st centuryhybrid roguelike from the artistic half of Team Meat, and it's as exciting as it is thoroughly stomach-turning. You can currently grab it for £0.59 on Steam, but Value-wise, it's probably best to grab the DLC too for 74p all-in. If you already own it from one of a thousand bundles, the DLC is available separately for £0.29.
Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Child Of Light is halfway between a fairytale poem, inquisitive platformer and turn-based JRPG; and is absolutely a game to be reckoned with. Though a digital download, many retailers are getting in on the action selling a deluxe edition, which contains a code alongside some merch. We've seen the digital version cheaper, but Amazon's £10.66 price is one of the most competitive ever run for the Deluxe Edition.
In case you were wondering, you get both the PS3 and PS4 versions. Thanks to M3NDEREZ @ HUKD!
Wasteland 2 | CDKeys | £13.99
Wasteland 2 is fantastic by all accounts, so long as you love your faithful old-school RPGs (which we adore to a man), so this £13.99 price has to be worth checking out. Thanks to BattleMoose87 @ HUKD!
You can get an extra discount by 'liking' the Facebook page and using the voucher.