If you've been sitting at your keyboard with your mouse in hand patiently waiting for Minerva's Den to make it onto your PC, so that you can get a bit more gameplay time out of Bioshock 2, it's almost here!Click here to find out when you can get hold of Minerva's Den.
Randy Pitchford rocked the boat a little last month when he called out developers for shoehorning multiplayer elements into their games, and the Mass Effect 3 delay has led to plenty of chatter again this month on the appropriateness of adding multiplayer to certain games. With that in mind, we thought we'd cast our eyes back a little to a few games of the last decade that really didn't need multiplayer at all. Some are in here because it just felt tacked-on when lined up against the rest of what was on offer, some are here because they're so broken they might as well have jettisoned the whole thing, one or two are simply shrugs. Whatever, the reason, here's our top ten games that could simply have done without multiplayer...
Like several others on this list, Bioshock 2 was a game that we never thought really needed multiplayer in the first place. Heck, several of us didn't even think a sequel to Bioshock itself was worth making. But the improved shooting mechanics and dual-wielding actually made the sequel a better FPS. There's nothing actually wrong with the multiplayer aspect of the game. But then you really that all 2K Marin really did was nick a load of ideas from Call of Duty and dress it up in a Big Daddy suit. Which was fine for a couple of weeks...and then everyone just went back to Modern Warfare 2 as if nothing had happened.
Tim Schafer's paean to all that is metal was roundly criticised for its RTS-lite stylings, with the game's expansive open world, colourful assortment of characters and the designer's imaginative vision saving it from being anything more than just a shrug. As such, designing a multiplayer component around the worst parts of the game seemed strange. Limited, one-dimensional and, worst of all, no real fun to play at all. Instead of making the RTS components playable online, one would have thought it would have been a good idea to prioritise making them better and actually enjoyable to begin with.Click here to see what made the top eight...
There are plenty of things that make Bioshock a game that's won so many of our hearts; the creepy underwater city of Rapture that takes your breath away when it's first revealed; the engrossing story line and fascinating characters; having to hack everything in sight . . . haha only joking! However, there's something special that rips the gameplay out of your typical first person shooter formula; plasmids!
The wonderful little genetic mutations attract players like a moth to a flame, as they sit waiting to be released from their glowing red containers or a Gatherers Garden, and once you add them to your DNA you'll start to build up super powers faster than a Marvel Comic's character who's stumbled into an unfortunate accident involving radiation.
I think the best place to start's with my favourite plasmid, electro bolt. It's by far the most useful plasmid in the game, allowing you to; zap enemies before bashing their heads in with your sturdy red wrench or drill, which in my opinion is the best tactic in the series and it's such a shame you couldn't wield the wrench again in Bioshock 2; open doors by blasting broken keypads; eliminating whole groups of splicers who are carelessly hanging around in pools of water; and momentarily stopping Big Daddies in their tracks when you're desperately trying to get out of their kill zone!
Need a splicer to run away screaming in agony cursing your name? Well, that's exactly what you'll get if you unleash the power of incinerate on them! Setting the twisted freaks on fire has the added bonus of making them head for the nearest source of water, and you know what that means . . . electro bolt time! Unbelievably, pools of water aren't the only liquids that splicers'll hang around in, they'll also stare into space whilst their feet are firmly planted in oil, allowing you to get rid of them with a quick, satisfying snap of your fingers. Another obstacle that'll stand in your way is ice, but you'll make quick work of the solid H2O by raising the temperature a few hundred degrees or so.Click here for more plasmid action!
Kicking off our series of personal reminiscence trips, our PlayStation connoisseur Brendan gives us his overview of 2010.
Arguably more of an interactive movie than a game, but the bravery shown by Quantic Dream to try something different from the norm can only be applauded. Before playing the game I was really worried that it would be just a long series of Quick-Time Events. Thankfully Heavy Rain was packed with enough choices for the player and brilliant production values to make all these worries fade away within the first hour of play. Rarely are we given so much choice on how a story plays out with such an interesting set of characters, who if we weren't careful could die permanently and possibly change the journey and outcome of this dark crime story. Did it change gaming forever? Well, not really, nobody else seems to be trying to emulate Heavy Rain's success. But but it showed what is possible and that many gamers are more open to something a little different for a change if only developers and publishers are willing to take a chance.
I completed the first Bioshock for the first time, just a few days before Bioshock 2 came out, so I could review it for the site I wrote for before Dealspwn. This meant I was in a great position to compare both games without the rose-tinted glasses. The decision to put the player into the boots of a Big Daddy was inspired, mainly because of the way the game had you interact with the Little Sisters. Protecting them while they harvested Adam from corpses was an unnerving affair, made even more complicated by what to do afterwards. Would you harvest them for a large supply of Adam, or free them, hoping there'd be an award later on? I opted to try and save them all and this is where the stand-out moment of the game occurred.
There were two Little Sisters in the same area. One of mine, harvesting a corpse while I was fending off splicers and the other cowering behind a Daddy I accidentally pissed off (thus had to kill) during the shoot-out. Yep, I picked up the wrong one and didn’t realise for an hour. After dropping off my free-loader I made my way back to the area where I’d lost the first one and felt genuine guilt (and massively relieved) when she emerged from the shadows and ran over cheering: “I knew you wouldn’t leave me behind.
Other games just aren't getting close to how much emotion they can provoke, or asking questions from a gamer about how far they'd go to make life easier on themselves. Bioshock Infinite will be asking similar questions, albeit in a completely new sky-high location. Unfortunately I'll have to wait this time, along with everyone else. Roll on 2012.Click here to read Brendan's picks for gaming moment, most disappointing and most anticipated games.
After teasing and trailering the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum at last year's VGAs, WB dropped us a line to inform us that Arkham City is on course for an autumn 2011 release date. Featuring an sprawling hostile Gotham City district, an entirely new storyline and some classic villains (including Two Face, Mr. Freeze and Talia al Ghul), we couldn't be more excited. Here's the press release for your delectation:
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.
I'm so ready for this. Check out the official site and our news updates for the latest!
Good old Peter Molyneux's been acting as unofficial spokesman for Kinect, defending the peripheral from all comers while describing Fable III's motion control functionality as "wonderfully additive." Unfortunately, he's now revealed that Fable III won't support Kinect at launch during an interview on the Engadget Show. No touchy-feely stuff, I'm afraid.
Some sort of aftermarket patch might well add Kinect functionality at a later date... but this will require Fable III to be finished with room to activate/add the code later on since Microsoft has previously stated that retroactively adding Kinect support to older titles is impossible. [The Engadget Show]
Wonder why there aren't more female lead characters in videogames these days? According to leaked comments from former Activision employees, it's because they simply don't sell. Apparently, Activision execs may have called for culling of female leads from upcoming projects (including a nifty spy thriller starring a Lucy Liu-wannabe that's transmogrified into True Crime: Hong Kong) just because they didn't test well in focus groups. In fact, they were "given specific direction to lose the chick."
Ouch. These comments form part of a larger Gamasutra report that's lengthy but well worth a read. Activision almost certainly isn't the only company guilty of sidelining female protagonists... but it's certainly another piece of bad publicity that makes them resemble a Saturday morning cartoon supervillain even more than they do already. [Gamasutra via 1UP]
Update: Activision has refuted these allegations, stating that "[they respect] the creative vision of its development teams. The company does not have a policy of telling its studios what game content they can develop, nor has the company told any of its studios that they cannot develop games with female lead characters." Make your minds up, folks.
We'd love to get your thoughts on this one. Are you insulted by the current lack of female game protagonists... or do you feel that this is a storm in a teacup? Want to get stuck into yet another rant about Activision? Have your say in the comments!
For a story-driven experience, Bioshock 2 has received some truly shocking DLC. The first multiplayer content pack added an incremental upgrade that was actually included on the disc in the first place, and the recently-released Protector Trials pack adds an inexplicable challenge mode to the proceedings.
Luckily, 2K President Christoph Hartmann has announced a new DLC offering that will expand upon Bioshock's epic story and setting. Entitled Minerva's Den, it'll feature a new player character, new environments and some backstory centred around Tenenbaum's struggle for survival.
"Minerva's Den is a substantial addition that will give players more of what they're looking for: more story, more narrative, more gameplay and more of Rapture.Minerva's Den will be a fitting conclusion to the BioShock 2 saga."
About time too.
Nippon Ichi. The developers behind the wonderfully deep and anarchic Disgaea series seem to have gone of the rails in the aftermath of woeful 2009 profits. Their current project, known simply as Criminal Girls, is described as "the role-playing game where you punish young girls."
Yep, that's exactly how it sounds. Using a combination of healing massage and sadistic spanking, you'll need to erotically convince seven sinful buxom wenches to...
... I can't do this anymore. Criminal Girls will probably never reach British shores, though if you make enough noise you might just get your wish (you sick puppy). Whilst I can see this PSP title selling well in Japan (with no sweeping generalisation intended), I genuinely despair for Nippon Ichi- and hope that another Disgaea game may also be in the works. [Kotaku]
After his staggeringly controversial argument that 'videogames can never be art' attracted an enormous (and largely constructive) backlash from the gaming community, Roger Ebert has been forced to completely rethink his position. Conceding that he spoke out without any real knowledge of videogames (or even a genuine definition of the word art), he's retracted his statement. Whilst his blog post makes for an interesting and unapologetic read, here are a few choice quotes for your delectation.
"I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games."
"I had to be prepared to agree that gamers can have an experience that, for them, is Art."
"Who was I to say video games didn't have the potential of becoming Art? Someday?"
"I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place."
Yes, Roger. Yes you were. But we're not going to rub it in... after all, it took a blunderous douchebag big man to admit his mistakes. You suck. We admire that. [Roger Ebert's Blog]
2K has announced that Bioshock 2 will bre receiving its first singleplayer DLC on August 3rd. Entitled "Protector's Trials", these six new maps will force you to constantly guard little sisters against hordes of splicers as they suck out precious corpse juice. It's almost certain that this will be a standalone arena mode rather than an integrated part of the story... and actually, it sounds pretty horrible. Or a real hassle, at least.
Luckily, seven new achievements/trophies and a host of unlockables (including concept art etc) will sweeten the deal.
Team Ninja's take on the Metroid universe has seriously piqued the interest of many gamers, and triggered uncontrollable drooling and lust in many others. Nintendo's finally confirmed a September release window for Other M, though we'll have to wait for an exact date. Keep an eye on our new releases! [MCV]
Whilst Nintendo isn't short of a few classic franchises, their failure to genuinely innovate in terms of character design and new IPs has brought them under fire from many pundits, gamers and even their own shareholders. However,the transcript of a recent shareholders meeting suggests that this may soon be a thing of the past.
According to the Sankei Shinbun newspaper (translated via 1UP), Miyamoto was asked about his next game and replied:
"We need new game characters soon, maybe we can move forward on that next year."
So there. It's about time that Shigsy brought some new characters to the table- and there's definitely room in the Wii's release schedule for a few more quality IPs!
The exciting issue of releasing Nintendo software on the PS3 and Xbox 360 was also brought up in the shareholders meeting, but Shigsy stuck to his guns. Citing their long tradition of first-party exclusivity, he squashed any doubt that Mario, DK, Kirby and any new characters would stay firmly on Nintendo consoles. Sorry guys, it doesn't look like we'll be getting our HD Zelda just yet... [1UP]