Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developers: Telltale Games
Every time I finish another chapter of Telltale's emphatic masterclass in choice-and-consequence adventure gaming I have to immediately replay it, possibly even from the very beginning of the saga. Three chapters in, that's starting to take a little longer than before.
The reasons for that of course, come in the form of the weighty moral decisions one has to make along the way. The whole point of The Walking Dead as a concept has been to explore the crippling humanity that comes with staring into the face of the zombie apocalypse, and the lengths that people will go to in order to survive. The question that is constantly posed when it comes to Telltale's series is just how long can you - as central protagonist Lee -keep your humanity as it disappears so very rapidly from the world around you.
The echo of the finale to the second chapter - one of the endings sees Lee and his band of survivors turn their back on a man essentially howling, begging for death - forms the prelude to the darkest chapter so far. Deep distrust and abject denial are at the heart of this particular slice of zombie-evading action. Indeed, the Walkers feature somewhat less than perhaps they have in the first two chapters (although the final few scenes more than make up for this), but desperately striving to stop your little group ripping themselves apart makes for compelling stuff.Click here to read more...
We were all a bit miffed when Insomniac's Overstrike - the four-way FPS title that they showed off at E3 2011 - failed to make an appearance in LA or Cologne this year. However, Ted Price took to the stage at PAX Prime to deliver a keynote speech that came with the unveiling of a brand new IP from Insomniac that's supposedly an overhauled version of that previous project, named Fuse.Click here to read more...
As you'll no doubt have seen from our big fat Oculus Rift Hands-On Preview, we got to sit down, test out the VR headset, and have a chat with Oculus founder and Rift creator Palmer Luckey, alongside Oculus' VP of Product Nate Mitchell. Here's the interview in full:
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): So first of all, why the “Rift”? I'm just going to put this out there...that's a badass name!
Palmer Luckey: Well I was just trying to come up with something cool, you know? And I really wanted the name to reflect the idea of breaking into another reality. I just came up with it sitting at a 'Stop' light in my car, and I was just like 'The Rift...' that sounds pretty cool. So I posted it up online when I got home, and said 'Guys, we're making a headset, and it's going to be called The Rift!' and the rest was history.
Matt Gardner: What's the story behind the Rift? How did this project come about?
Palmer Luckey: I've been interested in head mounted displays and stereoscopic 3D displays for some time now, and I'd tried out tons and tons of head mounted displays. I actually have 43 unique units now, including doubles, and none of them are very good. [Laughs.] Well, what I mean by that is that none of them are lightweight or have a great field of view with good head tracking. So, being a tinkerer, I resolved to build my own head mounted display and build it the way I'd want it to be. It took a couple of years, but technology kept marching on and all of a sudden made it possible.
Matt Gardner: So can you sum up the Rift in a sentence? And what differentiates it from those other 43 headsets?
Palmer Luckey: It's an ultra-wide field of view, ultra-low latency, virtual reality headset.
So, most VR headsets have a pretty low field of view. They're like wearing a TV on your head: they're good for movies and TV maybe, but not really for immersing you into a game. The other big thing is that the Rift has really low tracker latency so when you move your head, the image moves in time with your head. It's not like you're moving your head and then the image follows. That's what a lot of other headsets with higher latency are doing: instead of feeling like you're in the game, it just feels like you're controlling the game with your head, and that's not nearly as immersive.Click here to read more...
The folks over at IO Interactive have gone and released a behind-the-scenes video looking at the Contracts mode unveiled for Hitman: Absolution week or two ago in Cologne at this year's Gamescom. We'll have big fat preview for you next week, but here's our appraisal of the feature in no more than ten words:
Play to create. Utterly intuitive. Fantastic replayability. Satisfyingly hardcore. Brillo!
Put the vid in your faces up to top. Game's out on November 20th.
Has it really been nearly two decades? Yes, it relly has. Seventeen years and seventeen games after Westwood first released Command & Conquer, EA are celebrating the RTS-series' longevity with a bumper Ultimate Collection.
EA have the release vaguely penciled in for "this fall" in the States, with the price currently marked as $49.99. It will be available for pre-order here eventually, but there was nothing about the collection at the time of writing.Click here for the full list of titles included in the Ultimate Collection...
A new dev diary for F1 2012 has gone live, detailing some of the improvements that the team at Codemasters have injected into this year's instalment. Revamped physics and audio, and some brilliant new weather effect are looking to ensure that this year's slice of F1 action will be a game of even greater depth and character than ever before.Click here to read more...
Adhesive Games' creative director, Khang Le, has confirmed that there's a PvE aspect to Hawken currently in development, fulfilling rumours to that effect that were swirling earlier in the year.Click here to read more...
EA and Visceral have released the Gamescom 2012 walkthrough video of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, showing off nearly twelve minutes of gameplay footage, and explaining the game's Overkill mechanic.
You can check out my Devil's Cartel preview here, and Jon recently wrote a rather compelling piece detailing why the game might actually be doomed from the start, and debating the game's controversial and devastatingly current setting.Click here to read more...
Every so often, we get an email from one of our community members informing us of something awesome that they've done, and to be honest this is what the Daily Bite section is really for. Though we'll readily trawl the internets for funnies and curios, we'd much rather shed he spotlight on you, our community. We enjoyed the Minecraft DP totem, we've marveled at the delights of the Dealspwny, and dropped jaws at some brilliant costumes. But every so often, someone goes to the ends of the earth to do something rather spectacular purely out of love for the game in question, and it blows us away.
Painstakingly recreating the audio from the first few minutes of Bioshock is one such thing, and the talented sound engineer who did it came from our very own community.
Kopite211, take a large bow!Click here to check it out...
THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED!
Missed out on the rush but still want to attend the hottest UK gaming event of the year? Well fret not dear readers, because it would appear that some spaces have opened up for EGX 2012, and we've managed to get our hands on ten all-day tickets.
With the likes of Hideo Kojima, Frank O'Connor, and Peter Molyneux already set to deliver some fascinating dev sessions, and a host of gaming goodness on the floor, this year's show at Earl's Court promises to be one of the best yet.
There are tickets for Thursday and Sunday up for grabs, and all you have to do to enter is pop a comment in the box below completing the following sentence:
The game I'm most looking forward to in the next few months is...
The competition will close on Monday 3rd September at 23:59, and the ten winners will be invited to choose between Thursday and Sunday. We'd wager that the former will be a bit quieter (but not by much), but there'll almost certainly be more outlandish and outstanding costumes on the Sunday.
One little note, please use a valid email address, as these will be passed on to the Expo co-ordinators for ticket issuing.
Good luck to all involved!
Assassin's Creed III is shaping up rather nicely from what we've seen thus far over the past few months. At Gamescom 2012 we caught up with lead game designer Steve Masters to get some perspective on how AC3 came into being, and what will differentiate the adventures of Connor Kenway from those of Altair and Ezio before him.
Matt Gardner: Ezio Auditore da Firenze was a much loved character. How do you go about replacing such a charismatic central protagonist?
Steve Masters: We didn't want to create the same character again. We wanted someone with a different personality, a different sort of style. Honestly, it was a huge amount of effort between a number of guys – so we had the lead creative director and the story guys injecting personality into the role, and then the concept artists as well developing his look. We've got a Mohawk consultant on board to ensure that the cultural representations in the game are authentic and that we don't do something incorrect in any way. So it's been a collaboration between a number of people, but it's spearheaded by our creative director, Alex Hutchinson, who's basically been responsible for ensuring that Connor has his own personality and his own character.
Matt Gardner: So who is Connor? What is it that differentiates this character from his predecessors, and how (if at all) does that feed into the gameplay?
Steve Masters: He's not as outgoing or flamboyant as Ezio maybe was; he's a little more reserved, he's quite taciturn, and a little bit more unrefined. He's not the product of high society, he's a half Mohawk-half British assassin. So he's an outsider – he's always been on the periphery of the cultures and societies he's been exposed to, so that's reflected in a different personality. But we wanted to take that sense of character and bring it to bear in gameplay terms as well, so he's a little bit rougher, a bit more brutal, and we've redesigned a number of the classic Assassin's Creed core moves and styles in order to reflect that and move the series forwards. Seeing his takedowns for the first time might provoke something of an 'Oh!' moment he can dual-wield now, and killon the move without breaking his flow.
Matt Gardner: Casting our minds back, before the game was officially unveiled, there was a great hubbub of wild theorising over the potential setting for this game. From the Far East to Victorian London to the slave trading in the Caribbean to the Terror of Revolutionary France. Why this setting? Why did you choose the American War of Independence?
Steve Masters: Well the American Revolution for us was a significant moment in time that brought great change to a vast society very quickly. We like to go to those pivotal moments in human history, we're all about times of great change, and the Revolution it starts a series of events that leads to an incredibly dramatic change in the relationship between citizens and their government. So as well as being one of those pivotal moments, we thought that it would be quite relevant to what is going on in the world today, and we thought we could expand the reach of the series with it.
There were some interesting gameplay possibilities too, like bringing in muskets. I mean, they're very basic guns, but their incorporation now allows us to do interesting things with pistols. We had the hidden gun before, but the introduction of flintlocks and some of the crazy weaponry that comes out of this era gave us a rich playground to work in.
There were so many events in this period there were absolutely iconic and full of dramatic potential. So we saw the time period as advantageous in both narrative and gameplay terms, as you can see from the stuff we've been showing.Click here to read more...
DICE have delivered another little video for their upcoming vehicular-focused expansion - BF3: Armored Kill - this tie providing a little flythrough of the Alborz Mountain map. Created by senior environment artist Andrew Hamilton, the video looks typically gorgeous.
As we learnt a few days ago, Armored Kill will be released in staggered waves, with BF3 Premium PS3 owners getting it first on September 4th, before other Premium subscribers receive it on September 11th.
Paweł Mogiła is rather upfront about the influences that have been brought to bear on his upcoming 2D creepy platformer Grimind. Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Super Meat Boy are both name-checked - with the lone developer suggesting that he's rather gone for the former's atmosphere, with the gameplay dynamics of the latter.
But the silhouetted aesthetics, the physics puzzles, and the sparse music serve to remind us of one game in particular, and Mogila mentions it too: Limbo. It'll be interesting to see if Grimind can break out from the shadow of Playdead's masterpiece, and deliver an experience of its own, rather than a borrowed sense of dread.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 | Wii U
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
We've always rather put the turning point of the Battle of Chesapeake - one of the most decisive naval battles in the American War of Independence that saw the British General Cornwallis' supply routes cut off - down to the masterful seafaring tactics of the French military, who intervened with devastating precision and rather swung the momentum of the war firmly back towards the Americans. Of course, we know much better now. We know that, really, the determining factor was a half-English, half-Mohawk assassin with a jaunty hat and a hidden affinity for big boats with large guns.
Lead designer Steve Masters suggests that the continental shift over to the Revolutionary Americas allows for gameplay opportunities that have yet to be explored. Far from just tacking-on a chunk of differentiated gameplay, as seemed often the case in Revolutions, the naval combat is not only an integral part of the history - it's an integral part of of the game, too, allowing Ubisoft to weave Connor's journey in and out of the truly iconic moments from this period.
"We had dramatic urban vistas before, but we get to do that environmentally and shake the gameplay up with that too," Masters told us in Cologne. "So you have these amazing sights from on deck when you're sailing the ocean, engaged in the naval aspects of the game. When you get out into the frontier, it's a completely new environment, and provides the opportunity to do things that we've never done before in this series. To leverage the technology to account for rolling terrain, scalable cliff faces, and the tree-running, I think people are going to have a lot of fun revising their platforming rulebook. It's still intuitive, of course, but we've added in completely new elements to the series with this game, and it's the setting that's really allowed us to do that. The naval battles aren't just a tacked-on part of the game. They were hugely historically significant, and putting Connor on a ship, in the thick of that action, provided yet another opportunity to explore navigation and combat in a fresh and exciting way."Click here to read more...
Square Enix have announced that Hitman: Blood Money will be the latest title of theirs to be added to the Core Online program - an initiative that allows gamers to engage in high definition gaming experiences for free, through the browser and ad support.Click here to read more...
There's a moment, stepping back into the maelstrom of the Koelnmesse a mere half an hour after my appointment with Oculus where a fellow journalist turns to me and remarks that I look fairly dazed and confused. He asks if I'm hungover, and I have to reply in the negative. "It's nothing to do with anything alcoholic at all," I tell him. "I've just stepped out of another world, and I don't think I was ready to leave."
That world happened to be a low-res early build of Doom 3: BFG's Mars City. But instead of simply picking up my controller and staring at a screen as normal, I'd taken off my spectacles, strapped a device to my face that looked almost as if it had been created from cereal packets and duck tape, and entered the realm of the Oculus Rift.
It was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most immersive virtual experiences I have ever had in my life.
Palmer Luckey, Oculus founder and designer of the Rift, describes the device as "an ultra-wide field of view, ultra-low latency, virtual reality headset". He's not wrong, either. The current version of the Rift didn't support spectacles, so I had to remove mine, which made the experience a little fuzzy due my exceptionally poor eyesight, but as I was told a number of times, the build of Doom was an early one.
It didn't matter. As soon as the device powered up, I was instantly in another world. The head-tracking, true to description, was absolutely spot on, and during my brief demo there were no signs of latency issues at all. The display itself serves up a resolution of 1280×800, which is then split up via optics to serve each eye individually, meaning that the 3D is totally and completely synchronised. True, the resolution wasn't exactly mindblowing, but the experience had that covered.Click here to read more...
Crytek's Cevat Yerli has suggested that Microsoft and Sony could struggle when it comes to the next generation of console if they don't embrace free-to-play and support flexible pricing models.
Yerli admitted that it would be challenging, and that there would be "radical calls" to be made, and he's upfront about the PR issue that F2P has currently, but that Crytek will be supporting the business model fully going forward.