Our industry is obsessed with sequels. Just look at 2011's upcoming slate, for example; Gears of War 3, Arkham City, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Elder Scrolls V. We're not complaining - not now, anyway - but it has made us think; what's the best follow-up yet this generation? We've had a whole host of excellent new IPs and long overdue successors. But what sequel has impressed us the most?
Now, before we dive in, a few ground-rules. First; to make this list, said sequel must follow up a game exclusive to this generation. So the likes of Fable 2 and so on and so forth don't count. Second; this must be the second entry in a series; not a third or a forth. Now we've got that out of the way, let's get cracking shall we!
We'll level with you; Bioshock is nowhere near as good as the original. It doesn't even come close. That said, living up to Irrational's dystopian underwater epic is a tall order. And while developers 2K Marin couldn't quite replicate the same sense of wonder, dread and jaw-dropping spectacle as Levine, they did deliver a solid, polished experience with a surprisingly robust and enjoyable multiplayer component. The created a game that could never really have the same impact, but they certainly made a slicker, smoother, more challenging FPS experience and for that, they should be commended.Click here to read more...
With Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood releasing to rave reviews - our esteemed editor awarded it a 10 just last year for building upon the brilliance of ACII - I think it's safe to assume Ubisoft is hard at work on a third entry in the epoch-hopping franchise. And before we're all privy to concrete details, it's fun to speculate and wonder on just what shape Assassins Creed 3 might take. Whose memories will Desmond plunge into next? And, more specifically, what era will we be free-running and slaughtering in?
Let the speculation begin!
Victorian-era London is a setting I've hoped for since AC2 released and our attention subsequently turned to a sequel. Imagine leaping from thatch roof to thatch roof above gas lamp-lit cobblestones, diving into the Thames to escape guards and infiltrating Buckingham Palace to plunder the crown jewels. It would be enough just to hear the cockney villager soundbites and Oliver Twist-style vagabonds pinching wallets and robbing wealthy gentleman down shady back-alleys.
Click here to see what other eras and events Assassin's Creed 3 might encompass...
There's no doubt that Natal's going to offer some unique gaming experiences, but many of us are worried that it'll be focused too narrowly on a few third-party offerings and minigame collections (essentially becoming a novelty peripheral rather than a permanent living room fixture). Whilst Fallout 3 production director Ashley Cheng was impressed by Natal after getting some hands-on demonstration time (or hands-off, if you prefer), he believes that Microsoft's peripheral would be wasted on the big companies. Why not open up the API to the masses?
"Seeing it in action, I was totally blown away by it. It seems wasted on games, really. Microsoft should open the Natal API up like Apple does with the iphone/ipad. Let anyone make a Natal 'app'. I bet someone makes a killer app that has nothing to do with gaming." -Ashley Cheng
He's dead right. The Xbox Live Indie Channel already offers bedroom programmers and small businesses a way of coding their own games and breaking into the big time... so why not let them get their hands on Natal and see what they can do with it? Sounds great in theory- though both MS and Sony are traditionally very wary of sharing their secrets with the homebrew crowd. Watch this space. [Rice Always Wins via Gamesindustry]
Assassin's Creed 2 built on the strengths of its (fairly shaky) predecessor to deliver a truly superior sequel, and it's two DLC packs are both surprisingly capable offerings that add a whole bunch of extra missions and flying machine action to the storyline. However, if you've been holding off buying into Ezio's Renaissance adventure, you'll soon be able to get your hands on the "Complete Edition" containing both the original game and all of its DLC (including the secret Templar locations).
Sounds good- though it's always a kick in the teeth to loyal early-adopters when companies release a GOTY or complete edition of an original title. Does that make my copy an incomplete edition? Thanks, guys. [1UP]
Oh dear. Production company Unique Features is apparently very close to securing the movie rights to Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream's interactive PS3-Exclusive thriller. Since UF was formed by the former heads of New Line Cinema...who released such titles as Seven, Heavy Rain seems like a natural addition to their portfolio.
If a Heavy Rain movie sounds pointless to you.. that's because it is. Heavy Rain was designed to be an interactive film that plays out over 8 hours...so why bother to squash it's stellar story into under 2 hours and remove its interactivity? Are Hollywood writers really so starved for original film ideas that they have to rework interactive titles for the silver screen? Since we've got an Uncharted, Prince of Persia and Castlevania movie on the way, apparently they are. [Deadline New York]
We love it when big companies make big claims, and this is probably one of the biggest I've ever seen. A Square Enix banner has appeared on Yahoo's Japanese Games page stating that, in no uncertain terms...
"On May 21, we will make Japanese History!"
Whoa! Could this be a browser game set in an alternate Japanese timeline? A Final Fantasy/Mario flash crossover? Or just a last ditch effort by a second-rate search engine to get some attention. We'll let you know on may 21st- though if you can speak Japanese, you can get involved on the embedded Twitter predictions panel. [Yahoo Games via 1UP]