Microsoft aren't messing about when it comes to Xbox One exclusives, and they've got an early foot in the door. Following a strong start last Christmas, they've secured a fearsome suite of big games from shooters to racers, platformers, dancing games, Kinect showcases, insane open worlds and even a radical new editing suite powered by user-generated content.
Though we'll have to wait and see whether they actually live up to the hype, here are the hottest exclusives slated for 2014 along with the European release dates for your calendar.
"Gone are the artificial walls and fences of the first game, with barriers placed far more realistically this time around. If you want to fashion yourself a shortcut in a race, the chances are that you can. If you want to veer off the beaten track and tear up a vineyard, you absolutely can. Wooden fences are there to be smashed in the name of curiosity, the European countryside a canvas on which you can paint a petrol masterpiece. But the roads themselves real natural rather than purposefully crafted , and it's clear that Playground have done their research." - Forza Horizon 2 hands-on previewClick here to read more...
After a couple of shaky years, the Wii U has stopped treading water and started fighting back hard, reminding gamers that it already boasts a fantastic lineup of great games. This trend is set to continue throughout the rest of the year, resulting in a slate that's relatively slim on quality but utterly sensational in terms of potential quality.
So without further ado, here are the Wii U's exclusive highlights with release dates and links to our on-site coverage where possible!
Bringing Zelda characters into Dynasty Warriors is risky business, but Nintendo are rigorously putting the incredibly inconsistent Omega Force through their paces and watching their every move. What we've seen so far looks like simple satisfying fun, and what Matt played cemented our opinion.
"If Hyrule Warriors can manage to borrow as much from Hyrule as it can from the Warriors series, then we might just see a Warriors game that proves to be something a bit special here, rather than a novelty paint job," he wrote. "I had fun, though; I can say that." Fingers crossed.Click here to read more...
Sony are masters of The Long Game, and you can't fault their dedication. Instead of cutting the PS3 loose on the run-up to the PS4's launch, they instead delivered an emphatic exclusive lineup throughout 2013, which in turn means that some of their biggest first-party exclusives won't be ready until next year. "Greatness awaits."
But does that mean there's nothing to play on PS4 this year? Not on your nelly. Cross-platform releases notwithstanding, plenty of exclusives large and small are slated for Sony's slanty machine over the coming months.
So for your convenience, here are the hottest PS4 exclusives of 2014 along with European release dates.
If you made the jump to PS4 directly from PC, Wii or Xbox 360, The Last Of Us Remastered will allow you to get to grips with one of the PS3's most critically-acclaimed exclusives in a definitive edition. Sporting overhauled visuals based on cutscene assets and all previously-released content, I daresay that even diehard PS3 owners will be champing at the bit to get on board with this atmospheric, frequently terrifying and thought-provoking experience, especially since it should put the hardware through its paces.Click here to read more...
Radial-G was one of the highlights of this year's Develop Conference Expo. Tammeka Games are currently Kickstarting an antigravity racer in the same basic vein as WipEout and F-Zero, seeking £50,000 to bring the fierce project to Oculus Rift and potentially Project Morpheus, and aren't afraid to let us try it out. Suffice to say that the hands-on prototype was intense... and yet somehow managed to throw me through twisting geometry-defying space tubes at breakneck speeds without even the slightest hint of simulation sickness.
You don't even have to take our word for it, because the demo is free to download and fully-playable on regular monitors.
Keen to know more, I grabbed Tammeka Games producer Sam Watts for an interview, who proceeded to explain how military precision, genre experience, years of preparation, careful planning and smart design have led to Radial-G becoming a very different kind of racer.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Sam. First things first, can you give us the elevator pitch? In your own words, what is Radial-G?
Sam Watts (Tammeka Games): It's a high-octane futuristic arcade racer, filling the slot that's been woefully left open by a lack of F-Zero and WipEout, to bring a high-octane antigravity racing to the current and next generation!
Dealspwn: Not to mention Virtual Reality platforms such as the Oculus Rift and Morpheus. I was very impressed by your prototype – what opportunities and challenges did you face when developing a game for VR?
Sam Watts: I don't want to blow our own trumpet too much, but we are very experienced in creating VR experiences. We've done a lot of high-level military virtual reality simulations before with multi-channel output and a lot of back-end networking...Click here to read more...
Doom 4 is dead. Long live Doom!
id Software has finally revealed that their long-awaited Doom sequel is actually a full-on reboot that plans to overhaul more than the story. As opposed to a tense horror crawl, our marine sets out on a brutal fast-paced orgy of destruction complete with double jumps, no regenerating health, messy melee executions and slippery combat that harks back to the original classics.
We are, as they say, so ready.Click here to read more...
Typing Of The Dead: Overkill is absolutely brilliant. Yes, it's just a lightgun game that swaps the lightgun for typing words on a keyboard. Yes, it's crass. Yes, it's rude. Yes, a thousand times yes, but that's why we love it Better yet, you can get it for £3 at Green Man Gaming with their P36EYA-K5JYKT-ABO7X9 voucher code.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has spent the last few months reforming the Xbox One's image through a series of high-profile U-turns. Or, to put it another way, scraping the last slimy traces of Don Mattrick off the Redmond office walls. Kinect became optional, Xbox Live Gold dropped its entertainment paywall and the focus shifted from nebulous entertainment content to being "all about the games."
Today brings us the news that this cycle is almost complete as Microsoft plans to shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios, sadly as part of the largest round of layoffs in company history.Click here to read more...
Platinum Games are best-in-business at crafting OTT brawlers and intense hack & slash action games, and Revengeance is yet more proof of their absolute mastery in the field. Despite feeling like a Metal Gear game, it's stuffed with outrageous combat, huge bosses, robot chainsaw wolves and more juicy cyborg ultraviolence than you can shake an HF Blade at. £9.99 is a steal. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
The Blink Trading Cards Bundle is brilliant and very slightly depressing. A paltry £1.16 will net you superb puzzler A Virus Named TOM, epic space adventure Ring Runner: Flight Of The Sages, innovative platformer LOVE and a game about a furniture-eating stealth robot. Mint, even if you don't upgrade to grab an extra 8 titles for £2.92.
And yet, rather than advertising these unsung highlights, the bundle instead decides to boast about those silly collectibles. Still, if you do manage to flog a few, you'll make a bit of your money back!
We've occasionally seen it cheaper, but Dishonored is still a screaming deal at £2.49. In fact, paying so little is almost an insult to the hardworking developers (but you won't hear us complain!). You can alternatively stump up £6.79 for the complete edition. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
With The Wolf Among Us now concluded in spectacular bittersweet fashion, another grim Telltale Games series has reached the beginning of the end. The penultimate episode of the Walking Dead: Season 2, Amid The Ruins, releases next week; starting with a Tuesday 22nd launch on PC and US PSN, throughout Wednesday on XBLA and European PSN, followed by the iOS version on the Thursday.
Call me crazy, but I'm not entirely convinced that a happy ending is on the cards for Clementine and co. Either way, we've got some slightly spoilery blurb and a VERY spoilery trailer below.Click here to read more...
Crowd-funding is still one of the most unique and fascinating ways for developers to secure enough cash to make great games, but it's not without risk. Coming to the table with little more than a promise and a pitch can be a dangerous game without any guarantees, while plenty of us still cling to some rather dated and disingenuous misconceptions about what Kickstarter and the like actually are.
Today brings us the news that Yogventures, a Yogscast-themed sandbox game that raised over half a million Dollars on Kickstarter in 2012 has now shut down, resulting in no small amount of disappointment and knee-jerk anger from its community. At least the developers came clean, mind, as so often Kickstarter projects can just quietly slide out of existence with no closure whatsoever. Such as we saw with procedural shooter Moon Rift, whose developer simply stopped updating and dropped off the radar several months ago, leaving $8000 worth of backers hanging.
There are lessons to be learned here, whether you're a gamer or a developer considering how best to fund a new title. Crowd-funding can be fantastic when you do it right, but it's not a shop, and over-reaching yourself can be absolutely devastating.Click here to read more...
Developer: Alan Hazelden
Sokobond is a game about making molecules.
It's so simple. Controlling a single atom, you'll move around some 2D grids in cardinal directions to bump into other atoms, locking and bonding if you each happen to have a free electron. Like a Sokoban puzzle, only with molecular bonding. Geddit? Eventually you'll form a molecule and learn an interesting science fact, all while enjoying a soothing minimalist atmosphere and subconsciously improving your basic chemistry skills. A low-key idea, but so masterful in the execution that Sokobond became one of 2013's best puzzle games.
Time makes fools of us all, and I simply didn't have enough time to pick up and review Alan Hazelden's minimalist masterpiece at launch. Now that it's headed to Steam on July 21st, however, I finally have a perfect excuse to rave about it.Click here to read more...
Usually I've played most or at least a couple of the games in any given indie compilation, but I'm afraid you're on your own with The Indie Royale Apollo Bundle. Talisman should be a dead cert if you like the original -- Games Workshop boardgame adaptations usually are (see also) -- while I've heard good things about Terrorhedron and Echo Of The Wilds in passing.
What I do know is that £1.51 is very cheap. Thanks once again to jaystan @ HUKD!
Groupees' Shiny Loot 6 Bundle is another 'build-your own' affair, allowing you to pick two games for a Dollar (c. 58p) and add extras. In this case, I'd recommend grabbing Escape Goat and Hacker Evolution Untold, both of which I can personally recommend as being well worth the price.
However, there are two things to note. First of all, you'll have to create an account on Shiny Loot to redeem your bundle keys, which is a bit cheeky. To ease the sting, though, you'll probably get a free copy of Really Big Sky for your trouble once they sell over 2000 bundles. UPDATE: Full credit to jaystan @ HUKD, who found this before I did!
Project X Zone is one of those curious Japanese crossovers that almost never release over here in Europe. Capcom chararacters teaming up with SEGA legends and Bandai Namco badasses for one massive Strategy RPG rumble developed by the team behind Xenoblade Chronicles? Count me in! The in-jokes and battle system are excellent, though in hindsight, many of the engagements can be overlong and protracted. Luckily £9.99 isn't going to break the bank, especially if you know that you're in the market. Thanks to Skullpanda @ HUKD!
Titanfall's next season pass map pack -- Frontier's Edge -- has started revealing its secrets. The first of the three new maps is Dig Site, a deep quarry that gives Titans plenty of cover to negotiate while pilots leap overhead or brutally face off atop massive mining equipment.
We've got a first look at the new stage below.Click here to read more...
Remember Firefall? After years of development hell, numerous changes of direction, high-profile firings and a slide into obscurity, Red 5's massively multiplayer shooter is finally coming out of beta on July 29th. The patch notes are very promising indeed, adding new 'open world PvP,' campaign missions and enemies into the mix.
However, it also appears that Red 5 have finally corrected the one major flaw holding back their jet-boot enabled cooperative romp, which previously crippled the experience in a profoundly damaging way.Click here to read more...