I spend an inordinate amount of time creating characters for RPGs. For my first runthrough of any game where you can stamp your personality on proceedings, I always like to play naturally, making decisions that I would make, immersing myself in roles close to my heart depending on whatever I'm feeling at that time. I tend towards offensively capable builds, mixing melee stylings with a bit of magic wherever possible.
I pore over stats and attribute screens, deliberating over single points, trying to give myself wiggle room as a conversationalist. Lockpicking and trap setting nearly always come in second to having the gift of the gab. Talking my way into and out of situations has always been something I've revelled in here in the real world, small wonder that I like my avatars to be able to do the same.
Thankfully, Pillars of Eternity is stuffed with options when it comes to character creation, if the beta is anything to go by. Choosing between the two sexes is straightforward enough, but then there are six races, each with a few sub-races from which to choose too, then you need to choose between the eleven classes on offer, knowing that all of them are relatively flexible when it comes to the next stage: Attributes. The beta dishes out plenty of points, and there's no wrong way to build a character, but that almost makes it worse. The paralysis of choice and all that.
What I love already about Pillars is that there are options here in character creation that barely have any mechanical impact whatsoever, things like determining your cultural background and your place in the world. Chatting with Josh Sawyer, the game's Project Lead, a few weeks ago, it became clear that these sections are almost entirely included to give players a chance to role play in a deeper fashion, fleshing out the backstories and origins of their characters, and creating a deeper, richer narrative that really roots characters in the lore of the game and the world that Obsidian have created.Have an in-depth gander at character creation in Pillars of Eternity >>
No, really: pretty much everything.
After showing us the latest build of Disney Infinity 2.0, producer Jason Moffitt was on hand to dish the details on the Guardians Of The Galaxy playset, new figures, new characters, new features, new toybox tools and even the possibility of Star Wars coming to the franchise. If you've already sampled our hands-on preview and developer walkthrough, it's high time you armed yourself with all the intel you'll need for the upcoming September release.
Disney Infinity 2.0 has big plans. The original may have been relatively successful, attracting millions of players and holding its own against the established might of Skylanders, but arguably lacked a little bit of pizazz and a sense of the epic. Thankfully, few franchises can bring the epic quite as comprehensively as Marvel comics, which is now neatly under Disney's purview.
Let the crossover commence! Rocket Raccoon, meet Thor, Stich and Donald Duck.
Avalanche Software brought two new Infinity 2.0 playsets along to Gamescom this year, showing off the new Avengers and Guardians Of The Galaxy campaigns. Both the gameplay and the figures have received a serious upgrade. On the collectibles front, the new line of toys are much more solid and sturdy than their predecessors; feeling impressively weighty and hard-wearing. The new Venom and Hulk figurines are utterly enormous, almost twice the volume of previous figures, while the level of detail is seriously impressive when it comes to the new Rocket Raccoon and Stich models. Shame they'll be standalone, really, as opposed to included in the starter packs.Click here to read more...
As associate producer of the Disney Infinity franchise, John Day certainly knows his stuff. So he made the perfect guide to chaperone us around the latest build of Disney Infinity 2.0, showing off the new characters and combat to expect in the Spider-Man playset, alongside brand new automation and building features to use in Toybox Mode.
In effect, he does whatever a spider can. Stick around for more Disney Infinity 2.0 coverage this afternoon, including a hands-on preview and interview!
It's so cute!
Having spent three days rebounding between interviews and hands-on appointments at Gamescom 2014, slaughtering foes in Bloodborne, shredding opponents to bits with dual miniguns in Advanced Warfare and burning down half of London in The Order: 1886, I desperately needed to find a way to relax. The pay-what-you-want masseuses in the business area didn't even get a look-in, because once again, it's Nintendo to the rescue.
Yoshi's Woolly World is custom designed to be the most adorable thing you've ever seen. Taking inspiration from Kirby's Epic Yarn and more real-life wool than you can shake a knitting needle at, it's a colourful world of soft fuzzy floors, warm cuddly walls and bouncing balls of string. Everything is soft, huggable and so cute that you could probably weaponise it with devastating results. A Yarn Bomb of sorts, I suppose, that would paralyse potential threats by making them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
However, Yoshi's Woolly World is also no slouch when it comes to gameplay, and a far cry from the disappointing 3DS rehash we saw earlier this year. It's not just a ploy to flog a new range of plush knitted toys, but actually, I'd probably buy one.Click here to read more...
Are you ready to witness some sweet Smash skills? Prepared for a masterclass in high-level play? Then you've come to the wrong place, friend, as I've returned from Gamescom 2014 with footage of me being a total and complete button masher. I strongly suspect that the rep let me win.
However, you'll also get to watch new footage of Marth and advanced character Roselia in action, alongside some of the new Wii U-exclusive stages. Apologies for the resolution, though, which I had to massively ding due to battery life concerns.
I've been itching to get my tentacles on Splatoon ever since Nintendo announced it at E3. A hectic territory control shooter with crazy paint mechanics and the ability to turn into a squid at will? And paint grenades? Count me firmly in.
You can watch what happens when I got my hands on it at Nintendo's Gamescom booth above. Spoiler alert: it's really, really fun.
Matt's preview is on-site with more details, but personally speaking, I'm only worried about whether spraying paint cannons at walls will remain fun after several hours. We'll find out soon enough.
I'll say one thing for remasters and HD collections: they certainly push the prices down for the original games. Case in point, reviews for the new Metro Redux Collection are out and Metro: Last Light now costs a mere £4.99 with all of its DLC on Steam. Thanks to ferreirm @ HUKD!
Hohokum is beautifully endearing, whimsically comical, filled with bold colours and sumptuous aural dreamscapes. Its fluid mechanics are simple and straightforward, allowing players to concentrate on finding ways to interact with the cartoonish worlds and uncovering little visual rewards for their troubles.
But I found it to be somewhat problematic at first.
Hohokum feels like you're playing through a drug-induced cartoon from half a century ago in some ways. I half expected to be ambushed by Blue Meanies as I meandered through its myriad worlds. It's lovely to behold with its bright, bold colour scheme and cutesy art courtesy of Richard Hogg. I spent a good deal of time in one chamber of the game where the long, snake-like, cycloptic rainbow eel thingy that you control links up with a bunch of friends and they all respond to your controller inputs for a bit. It was like playing with a virtual spirograph, and I just danced for a bit with my rainbow eel chums and I looked up and I'd been doing it for almost half an hour.
That's probably my favourite bit of Hohokum so far, to be honest. it's a simple game once you peel away the quirky art. You steer this one-eyed spectrum snake around, occasionally slowing it down, sometimes speeding it up. And that's it. There are a bunch of multi-screen levels to the game that present you with some sort of bizarre tableau and just leave you to figure things out for yourselves. It's like a PixelJunk Proteus in some ways, or what Nokia's Snake did during the acid years, forgetting all about eating that square pixel, and going on a colourful bender.Click here to read more...
Oh lorks, as my gran used to say, this is a niche little package. Groupees Be Mine Bundle 14 contains a whole raft of disparate genres and titles that vary wildly in quality.
The entry tier contains Meltdown, Little Big Adventure 2 and Legacy for 60p, but as far as I'm concerned the real value stems from throwing in £3 minimum. You'll get Betrayer, a visually striking yet mediocre game that costs £14.99 by itself on Steam, while Consortium is also a shonky yet oddly compelling cyberpunk RPG set on a futuristic jumbo jet.
I told you it was niche, but if you're in the market, there are savings to be made here. UPDATE: Full credit to jaystan @ HUKD, who found this before I did!
There's a new Humble Bundle available for the next fortnight, folks. Pay what you want for Deadlight, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Complete Pack, and Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition ($1 minimum for Steam keys).
Beat the average ($6.05 at the time of writing) to also unlock Terraria,THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII Steam Edition and Crusader Kings II with 3 DLC Unit Packs. Those who pay $15 or more will receive all of the above, plus the Age of Empires Legacy Bundle.
Hit up the Humble Bundle site for more info. As usual, you can adjust the split between developers, charities (Child's Play and the American Red Cross), and Humble Bundle themselves.
Hohokum is another one of those arty games that's going to polarise people. Some will hold it up as an example of unconventional interactive entertainment and proof that games can and are art. Others will passionately argue that it isn't even a game. There will be those that miss the point completely, some for whom this really isn't their thing. Equally, there will be others that pronounce Hohokum to be one of the best things to be seen all year.
I like the way it encourages a genuine spirit of "play" in a manner that's rather unique.
It's a combination of beautiful, striking art from Richard Hogg, various aural dreamscapes that soothe and relax, and fluid mechanics that aren't explained outright, instead encouraging you to discover little cartoonish vignettes through direct interaction as well as poring over the scenery with your eyes.
It's quite possibly the bubble bath of gaming.
The review's on its way.
How come Claptrap can navigate stairs in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Why the hell does he need oxygen? What's the most badass, awesome thing in a game overflowing with badassery and awesomesauce?
Carl catches up with Gearbox's James Lopez and 2K Australia's Joel Eschler at this year's Gamescom to find out, and get the lowdown on the latest addition to the playable roster for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Galahad's Thermite Rifle might be one of my favourite virtual weapons of all time.
Rather than firing boring old bullets, this steampunk boomstick throws out hundreds of fragile iron oxide and aluminium shells, which shatter on impact and flood the stage with thick clouds of choking gas. However, secondary fire lobs in a magnesium flare, which sets off a chemical reaction that reaches up to 2500°C.
In layman's terms: everything burns.
As such, using it is an absolute blast -- pun most definitely intended -- when The Order: 1886 actually lets you. Fighting through the neo-Victorian London streets as a latter-day Templar Knight requires you to keep your head and push forward, throwing up billowing thermite smokescreens to cover your approach and igniting them to wreathe entire squads of cockney rebels in flames.
Unfortunately, The Order 1886 is also very keen to be as "cinematic" and "filmic" as possible, meaning that much of your time will be spent gawping at what amounts to unskippable cutscenes.Click here to read more...
Platform: PS Vita (reviewed)
Developer: Wales Interactive
Gravity Badgers joins the illustrious line of rubbish games with fantastic names. Though nowhere near as bad as the genuinely offensive Hyper Fighters, this Angry Birds clone really does the bare minimum to live up to its sensational monicker.
Seriously: Gravity Badgers. Gravity. Badgers. What a waste.
I never, ever, use the term 'clone' lightly, but I'm afraid that Gravity Badgers earns it hands-down. We find ourselves flinging badgers into outer space by virtually pulling back and dragging them across the screen, only instead of castles, they're presented with an array of physics-based obstacles. Critically, celestial bodies can either attract or repel your furry cosmonaut, deflecting their path towards the exit. Judge it right and you can pull off crazy slingshot effects; mis-cue and you'll send your badger into deep space.Click here to read more...
I hate Season Passes, and so should you.
The past week of exclusivity chatter has been rife with points made about anti-consumer practices, but Season Passes are perhaps the worst, most vile form of cash bleeding. They are the greatest achievement of anti-consumer pre-order culture, managing to convince people to pay for content that hasn't even been announced for games that aren't even out.
The latest game to announce a Season Pass is Warner Bros' Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, but there's a slight difference with this one. Not only will snapping up a Season Pass that costs almost as much as the game net you all of the vague DLC that is to come following the game's release later this year, but you'll actually get the full version of the game on release with some nice day one DLC.
Yep, that's right. It's a combination of two of the things we hate most: an unholy union of Season Pass and Day One DLC.Click here to read more...
Kerbal Space Program | Greenman Gaming | £9.60 (RRP: £19.99)
Voucher Code: Z4364W-7MR5WA-N5BCOO
One of the earliest Early Access games is also one of the very best, and ironically most content-complete. You're tasked with building rockets in a brutally realistic simulator, watching a thousand embarrassing crashes before finally creating something that can break the atmosphere. Which is where the real fun begins. Part edutainment, part puzzler, part simulator and all awesome, this will keep you going for a long-haul. Save a tenner with GMG's Z4364W-7MR5WA-N5BCOO voucher code.
Thanks to dealfinder extraordinaire jaystan @ HUKD!
The Wii U Basic console only has an 8GB hard drive, most of which is taken up by the operating system. But as I've recently found out, even the 32GB Premium won't last you very long if you plan on maintaing a decent-sized Wii U library so at some point you'll probably want a HDD anyway, meaning your choice of SKU isn't that important really.
Price is, though, and for under £170 at Base.com you can bag a Wii U, a GamePad, an extra Wiimote (MotionPlus of course), a Sensor Bar, two fine multiplayer party games in Wii Party and Nintendo Land. It's perhaps not the best deal for the core gamer (shopping around for a generous bundle with a headline game might be a better bet there), but if you're transitioning up from the Wii or just new to the party, it's a good place to start.
You'll need a hard drive, of course. I went out like an idiot and assumed a new Western Digital MyPassport would work. It doesn't. But the ten-year-old, Y-cabled HDD from my ancient laptop works just fine. Make sure you get one with either a Y-cable or a dedicated power source just to be sure. The Wii U can be iffy with single cable units. You won't need to break the bank, though, and these can either be salvaged as I did from old machines or you can pick up 500GB units for around £30. Nice find, coconut94!
If you've yet to experience the Metro series (is two games a series? Never mind, we're going with it.), the Redux collection probably deserves your attention as it brings remastered versons of Metro 2033 and Last Light to new-gen consoles. £22.99 will get you a lot of tense and enjoyable game at a serious saving, then, even if the originals can be picked up for peanuts on PC. Thanks to sufyaan11 @ HUKD!