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At A Glance: Roundup 15th - 21st December 2014

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
At A Glance, Game previews, Games reviews, Weekly Roundup

At A Glance: Roundup 15th - 21st December 2014

It's weekly roundup time. So, what's to be seen in our busy Features and Reviews pages from the last seven days? We have a few last minute Buyer's Guides for those of you still looking for a PS4 or Xbox One. That said, Jon makes a case for the Wii U being the must-have console of 2014. We also examine Microsoft's aggressive price cuts in the run up to Xmas. A Top 10 article picks out the potential disappointments of 2015 and another Top 10 looks at the most life-affirming games around. There's a fresh Evolve hand-on preview where we play with a brand new monster. Did you hear Telltale are making a Minecraft title? We have a roundtable reaction piece for that little oddity. Elsewhere, we celebrate the most bonkers games of 2014 and our podcast serves up the alternative GOTY awards.

Been tempted by the PlayStation TV device that lets you stream PS4 games to a second TV or play Vita games on the big screen? Be sure to check out Matt's full review then. Jon also has the verdict on Rune Factory 4- a late contender for 3DS game of the year.

Click here to read more...

The Underdog Award: Most Overlooked Game of 2014

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year Awards 2014

The Underdog Award: Most Overlooked Game of 2014

There were plenty of quality games to choose from this year, but also a few that, for whatever reason, perhaps didn't quite get the love they deserved. Perhaps they were barely marketed titles that dropped with little fanfare, or smaller curios that failed to garner much attention, perhaps they were overshadowed by bigger, louder titles, or were written off early due to faults and failures before eventually coming good.

Ladies and gents, these are the nominees for underdog of the year...

The Nominees

Assassin's Creed: Rogue

The Underdog Award: Most Overlooked Game of 2014

What we said: Assassin's Creed: Rogue is much better than Unity. But then it would be, what with it being an Arctic-set sequel to Black Flag that has you romping about the northern seas as a swagalicious Templar. Simply marvellous.

Dreamfall Chapters: Book One - Reborn

The Underdog Award: Most Overlooked Game of 2014

What we said: As cliché as it is to say, good things come to those who wait. With an expertly written narrative, a brilliantly realised location in Europolis, and subtly far-reaching choices to make even at this stage, Book One: Reborn is an excellent return to The Longest Journey saga. In fact, if this is reflective of the episodes to come, Dreamfall Chapters could end up being a masterclass in adventure gaming.

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Game of the Year Awards 2014 | The Plan

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year Awards 2014

Game of the Year Awards 2014 | The Plan

Well those twelve months flew past pretty quickly! Reflecting back on 2014, and there'll be the usual Editor's Year In Review piece to come at the end of the month, one might perhaps say that 2014 perhaps hasn't quite been a vintage year in terms of releases, especially in terms of the biggest releases, but elsewhere there's been plenty to shout about, and all of us end the year with hefty backlogs of must-play games that we could quite squeeze in amongst the madness.

The new generation of games consoles is now in full swing, and as the curtain falls on another packed Autumn/Winter release slate, it's time to dish out some awards. As per usual, we've already published our Staff Picks and held court in our final podcast of the season to hand out some alternative awards, and you can find those links below. We also started the voting for the Community Game of the Year early, and launched a new yearly poll for Retailer of the Year, as voted for by you, our awesome readers! You can find links to both of those below too. Please get involved if you haven't already.

LET'S DO THIS!

Community Votes

Game of the Year Awards 2014 | The Plan

Retailer of the Year - vote for your favourite retailer of 2014

Game of the Year - vote for your best game of 2014

Click here for all of the links to our GOTY 2014 coverage >>

The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game Buzz, Game of the Year Awards 2014, Podcast, PWNCAST

The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101

What was the Worst Game of 2014? How about the biggest Early Access Success Story? Which game will take home the LOL Gong in their ROFLcopter, and who's going to leave with the Jeremy Soule Award?

From Badass Moments to Buggy Botches, it's time for this year's Alternative GOTY Awards, and to finally answer the question, Who Won 2014?

Game Buzz | Episode 101 - The Alternative Awards: Who Won 2014? Recorded 19th December, 2014.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language, dreadful impressions, and terrible puns.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101 The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101The Alternative GOTY Awards: Who Won 2014? - Game Buzz #101

VIDEO | Five Awesome Games You Might Have Missed in 2014

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year Awards 2014

VIDEO | Five Awesome Games You Might Have Missed in 2014

We're about to launch into our genre-specifics awards for 2014, and casting my eye back over the past twelve months, it's clear that there've been some absolutely cracking games to be had this year. It's not necessarily been a vintage year, perhaps, but 2014 was still filled with plenty of interactive experiences of great quality. A number of my favourite games of this year have been titles perhaps somewhat overshadowed by larger names and brands, and so, although this little personal video I made is far from comprehensive and certainly not a particularly in-depth look at the more niche titles of the year, here are five of the finest games that 2014 had to offer that you might have overlooked.

Click here to read more...

Celebrating The Weird & Wonderful: The Brilliantly Bonkers Games of 2014

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Akiba's Trip, D4, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Dungeon Of The Endless, Goat Simulator, I Am Bread, Sportsfriends

Celebrating The Weird & Wonderful: The Brilliantly Bonkers Games of 2014

Many people accuse videogames of stagnating and treading water, rehashing old ideas instead of pushing forward with new and exciting concepts.

These people are hilariously wrong. Or concussed. Or only play AAA games.

We live in an age when developers large and small have the opportunity to create innovative, crazy, uninhibited and plain bizarre games for our eager delectation, and that can shatter our expectations as well as our sanity from time to time. 2014 has been no exception, so here are some of the delirious delights we've sampled over the last few months!

I Am Bread

Celebrating The Weird & Wonderful: The Brilliantly Bonkers Games of 2014

We're all for equality in games, so being able to play as a piece of sliced bread is long overdue. No, really, that's the whole idea behind this wonderful little oddity. You'll control your crusty character in a desperate bid to reach the toaster, facing off against a surprisingly robust physics engine and devious household challenges.

It's the best thing since... no, I can't do it. I won't do it.

Click here to read more...

Telltale does Minecraft: Great idea or disaster in waiting?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Minecraft, Minecraft: Story Mode, Mojang, Telltale Games, WTF?

Telltale does Minecraft: Great idea or disaster in waiting?

So, Telltale are doing a Minecraft game. We know very little about it, apart from the fact that it'll be episodic and narrative-driven. Mojang have added that "we’re not intending on creating an 'official' story for Steve, or explaining the world of Minecraft in detail. It will be a cool game."

That could mean anything as far as what this thing will look like.

It doesn't seem like the most obvious fit to begin with, but these are two huge names coming together in an intriguing way next year. Here's what we made of the announcement...

Jon

Telltale does Minecraft: Great idea or disaster in waiting?

Wait, what?

I'm all for crossovers, but I have to be honest, this collaboration confused and enraged me at first glance. The idea of Minecraft being adapted into another narrative-driven adventure game seemed completely insane, and doubly galling since I'm slightly worried about Telltale taking on too much (remember, only a few years ago they were seriously slumping due to developing too many mediocre licensed games too quickly) and selfishly would much rather they took on Cowboy Bebop instead. Come on. How great would that be?

But then again... why shouldn't Minecraft be able to support a strong narrative adventure? After all, it already does.

Click here to read more...

VIDEO | Evolve gameplay: New Defence Mode, new monster, all-new footage

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Evolve, FPS games, Gameplay footage, Games previews, PC games, PS4 games, Videos, Xbox One Games

VIDEO | Evolve gameplay: New Defence Mode, new monster, all-new footage

The title says it all, really. Watch me crush some AI hunters, destroy their ship and eradicate the humans from Shear in this new gameplay video, playing as the brand new Wraith Monster in the newly-announced Evacuation Mode.

Then click here to read our Evolve preview.

Click here to watch our new Evolve gameplay footage >>

Evolve Preview: Hands-On With The Wraith & Evacuation Campaign Mode

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Evolve, FPS games, Games previews, PC games, PS4 games, Xbox One Games

Watch your back, Hunters.

It might be easy to spot a rampaging Goliath or a menacing Kraken as it hovers overhead, but Evolve's newest monster is the stuff of nightmares. She'll hunt you in the shadows, pick you off one by one and rip an unprepared hunting party to pieces with massive bladed scythes before melting into the mists. The Wraith completely changes the way you play, whether the hunter or the hunted, and adds a nervy new dimension to Turtle Rock's shooter.

Last week I attended a lengthy hands-on preview session to personally test out the Wraith in action, as well as the newly announced Evacuation campaign that adds some much-needed value to the package. Though Evolve is still a tough sell, there certainly seems to be a lot more bang for your buck now.

Evolve Preview: Hands-On With The Wraith & Evacuation Campaign Mode

Click here to read more...

Screw Hatred's nihilistic negativity, here are ten of the most joyous, life-affirming games around

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Top Ten, Top Ten Uplifting Games

Screw Hatred's nihilistic negativity, here are ten of the most joyous, life-affirming games around

Lots of people are talking about Hatred right now, either decrying its deliberately gratuitous and provocative violence or championing it as a title to rally around in the name of free expression. Valve kicked it off Steam, and then Gabe Newell personally apologised and reinstated it, presumably after realising that they'd be able to make sick bank off of it.

Anyway, we'll deal with Hatred when we can actually play the damn thing and see if it's anything more than a poor man's Postal. In the meantime, however, instead of choking out some faux-outrage about a game we're yet to play, here are ten conversely joyous and uplifting games that you can absolutely play right now and remind yourself that gaming can be positive and life-affirming too.

Honourable Mentions: ToeJam and Earl, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Super Mario Sunshine, Harvest Moon, Elite: Dangerous

OutRun

Screw Hatred's nihilistic negativity, here are ten of the most joyous, life-affirming games around

The entire point of OutRun was to leap into a Ferrari and soak up the sun, sea, and sights of the pixellated Californian coastline. It was basically a roadtrip sim, an encapsulation of a West Coast ideal, just blowing the day off and getting away. Pure escapism. OutRun's carefree spirit is what fuels the likes of Burnout Paradise and Forza Horizon 2 -- just leaping in a car and getting away from it all. What could better than that?

Click here to read more...

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Nintendo, Wii U, Wii U games

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

The so-called "console wars" are usually framed as a straight battle between the PS4 and Xbox One,  but over the last twelve months these two gaming titans have been thoroughly embarrassed by a quiet, humble yet devastatingly impressive contender. No ifs, no buts: the Wii U is the must-own console of 2014.

Some argue that "consoles are an investment," but I'm not convinced by the logic. Money in the bank is an investment. An investment is an investment. A console, meanwhile, is only as good as the games you can play on it right now, and this is just the first way in which the Wii U proves its worth for any serious gamer.

There's no denying that Nintendo released their system sellers this year. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros deliver local multiplayer perfection -- a niche that both Microsoft and Sony are ill-equipped to contest -- while Bayonetta 2 casually destroys the hardcore competition. A triple-threat of essential software to be sure, but dwelling on these three games does the Wii U's software library a huge disservice.

The Wii U is the must-have console of 2014 - no ifs, no buts

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The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Xbox One

The Xbox One Bundle Barrage: Microsoft aren't desperate, it's just good business

The Xbox One has been crushing it this Christmas. Phil Spencer's plan was brilliantly simple -- release some great games, cut the price and the gamers will come -- and seems to be working like a charm. Retailers fought tooth and nail to offer the best bundles over Black Friday and beyond, while only today we posted about an insane Xbox One bundle deal with 6 AAA games (thanks again to preparationiskey @ HUKD!). It's great to see a big company move so quickly and even better to see them moving in the right direction too.

And yet, according to plenty of folks out there in internet land, this is somehow a bad thing.

Microsoft are desperate. Microsoft are losing money. Microsoft have gone mad. Microsoft are pathetic.

No. Let's get some perspective here.

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The Biggest Potential Disappointments Of 2015 | Top Ten Tuesdays

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Fable Legends, Final Fantasy XV, Godus, No Man's Sky, Quantum Break, The Division, The Order: 1886

The Biggest Potential Disappointments Of 2015 | Top Ten Tuesdays

We call it how we see it here at Dealspwn. Often that means we get incredibly excited about upcoming games -- sometimes too excited, I'll admit -- but by the same token we also can't help but grow concerned after testing, previewing and analysing titles that seem to be headed down a worrying path. Or worse, are being hyped far too much.

So, as per our yearly tradition, here are the ten games with the most potential to disappoint us or otherwise fail to live up to their hype in 2015. Obviously we're not saying that every game on this list will be bad, and we desperately want to be wrong. We want to be made to look like small-minded idiots by games that defy our expectations... or give us realistic expectations in the first place.

Here's hoping, but for now, be prudent with your pre-orders...

10: No Man's Sky

Whoa there. Calm down. Let me explain.

The problem here isn't with the game, rather it's with some of the crazy expectations I see day in, day out, from people who don't know what No Man's Sky actually is. I.e. an exploration game where you chart a lonely course through a vast and mainly empty universe, offering the thrill of discovery above anything else. It's not some sort of multiplayer space sim sandbox (to be clear, you'll likely never see anyone you know due to the size of the universe, the distances involved and your random placement therein). If you've played MirrorMoon EP, you'll know roughly what to expect since the basic premise is exactly the same.

I suspect that No Man's Sky will be incredible, but like many niche games it won't be for everyone. Especially for those who are expecting a totally different game. Do your homework to avoid disappointment, and remember that too much hype can kill even the most wonderful things.

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PS4 last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Christmas Buyer's Guide, Console bundles, PS4, PS4 games

PS4 last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

Christmas is fast approaching, so this is your last week to grab some cheap Xbox One games deals before last postage on December 19th. In case you haven't managed to grab some bargains and Christmas presents yet, we're here to help with a special last-minute version of our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software.

The PS4 has been flying off the shelves this past year on the strength of its beefy specifications, best-in-class controller, affordable pricing, nifty features and the promise of more quality first-party exclusives. Unfortunately we'll have to wait until next year for big hitters like Bloodborne and Uncharted 4, but the PS4 makes up for it with canny third-party deals, superb indie games and an impressively varied lineup of software big and small.

In this guide we'll discuss the hardware, software and then the cheapest way to get up and running.

PS4 Bundle Deals!

PS4 last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

For those who want a taste of both new and old, GAME are currently running a PS4 bundle with The Last Of Us Remastered, DriveClub and FIFA 15 for £349.99. You can get it either in black or white. Thanks to preparationiskey @ HUKD!

Argos are also running an amazing PS4 bundle deal at the moment, which includes The Last Of Us Remastered, GTA V and Far Cry 4 for  £349.99! Scroll down to see the special offers -  you want option 2, which expires tomorrow. Thanks luke-kirk!

Want more? GAME are running some massive £399.99 offers with a Blu-Ray movie to boot.

If you're in the market for a standalone glacier white console, you can grab a bargain at Gamestop for £299.97. Note that their customer service leaves much to be desired, though. Thanks to ahmadfirdausazmi @ HUKD!

Don't mind a refurb? Fill your boots with this crazy cheap solus PS4 for £269 at Tesco! Thanks oUkTuRkEyIII.

Finally, though this isn't exactly a deal, you can be in with a chance of buying a limited edition PSOne-version this week!

Click here to read more...

Xbox One last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Christmas Buyer's Guide, Console bundles, game deals, Games deals, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Xbox One last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

Christmas is fast approaching, so this is your last week to grab some cheap Xbox One games deals before last postage on December 19th. In case you haven't managed to grab some bargains and Christmas presents yet, we're here to help with a special last-minute version of our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software.

We'll start with the Xbox One, which has experienced a very interesting twelve months. A change in leadership and focus saw a £429.99 entertainment centre become a £329.99 console, making the much-vaunted Kinect sensor 2.0 obsolete in the process. More importantly, though, the Xbox One is now a thoroughbred games machine and currently boasts a superior lineup than Sony's contender. This will likely change come Spring 2015, but for now, the best games really are on Xbox One.

Xbox One Bundle Deals!

Xbox One last-minute Christmas Buyer's Guide | Cheapest Bundles, Hottest Games, Last Postage

Let's start strong with the best Xbox One bundle deals before moving on to buying advice and the game collection. The recent price cut has sparked a massive retailer price war, and though you've missed some hot Black Friday deals, there are still some decent options about.

Argos has been crushing it with their cheap console bundle deals recently, and have teamed up with Microsoft for another great package. £339.99 will net you an Xbox One console bundle with Minecraft, Forza Motorsport 5 and an extra controller.

GAME's Black Friday deals may be over, but they're running a decent price for an Xbox One with Forza 5 GOTY, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Advanced Warfare and an extra controller for multiplayer shenanigans.

For those of you who want to be spoiled for choice on the games front. ShopTo are currently running a great big £400 bundle deal with five big games, including GTA V, Advanced Warfare, Forza 5, Titanfall and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Sadly you've missed the chance for an extra £50 discount, but we'll keep an eye on it. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

You can also use the new Rakuten voucher code to pick up a couple of tasty bundles via TheGameCollection.

The Sunset Overdrive Limited Edition White Xbox One bundle is rather eyecatching and should look great under the tree. Amazon are currently the cheapest around with their £319.99 price tag.

Click here to read more...

At A Glance: Roundup 8th - 14th December 2014

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
At A Glance, Game news, Game previews, Games reviews, Weekly Roundup

At A Glance: Roundup 8th - 14th December 2014

It's award season here at Dealspwn and we have a few community polls for you to choose your favourite releases of the year. The team have also taken the time to look back over the last 12 months to give you our personal highlights for best game, favourite/most played game, best moment, disappointment, surprise and naturally our most anticipated titles of next year.

Elsewhere we have a rather disappointed hands-on with The Order: 1886. We're not convinced the new Destiny DLC is worth your cash, luckily we've provided 10 alternatives. Be on the look out for more dodgy DLC in the future too and have a read of Jon examination of on-disc DLC. Our From the Vault piece dusts off an older article about linearity in games, which is still worth a read today. The Sunday Seven this week leaps to the side of Assassin's Creed Rogue as I explain how it truly smashes it's big brother, Unity.

We have a couple of reviews for you too. It'll come as no surprise that The Crew wasn't worth the effort, the hype or the headlines. good thing Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is here to provide a fantastic adventure for you and three buddies. Enjoy the links to all of these items below, and don't forget to head on over to our game deals page if you're after the latest cheap prices.

Click here to read more...

The Sunday Seven: How Assassin’s Creed Rogue smashes Unity

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Assassin's Creed: Rogue, Assassin's Creed: Unity, The Sunday Seven

The Sunday Seven: How Assassin’s Creed Rogue smashes Unity

Assassin’s Creed Rogue has been living under the shadow of Assassin’s Creed Unity since it was announced that both games would be sharing a release window. When both were moved to the very same day, faithful and eager new-gen fans of course opted for Unity. Sadly, that loyalty was rewarded by a broken and oddly dull entry. But now that we’ve had time to play through both games, it’s clear that Ubisoft has released a fantastic Assassin’s title this year, but one you’ll have to dust off the PS3 or 360 for. So then, here are seven reasons why Rogue has absolutely smashed Unity.

The Sunday Seven: How Assassin’s Creed Rogue smashes Unity

Ships!

As in Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed: Rogue lets you set sail and take a break from all the climbing and stabbing. It’s as moreish an experience as ever and has greatly benefitted from the shift towards the frozen waters of North America and expanded arsenal options that make you more formidable than ever. Where is Unity’s escape from itself though? There’s simply nothing in comparison, ensuring you feel landlocked in every way possible.

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Staff Personal Picks | Most Anticipated Games Of 2015

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year Awards 2014

Staff Personal Picks | Most Anticipated Games Of 2015

As we always like to do, we bring our round of Staff Picks to an end with a look forward towards the next twelve months, and the gaming delights that we hope 2015 will bring. Remember, the voting for Retailer of the Year 2014 and the Readers' Choice Game of the Year 2014 is open until the end of the month, so cast those votes and get stuck into the discussion if you haven't already!

Jon | Broforce

Early Access gets a bad rap when a game flunks out, but the system works. Often it allows you to discover a rare gem and watch it evolve throughout development, blossoming eventually into something truly wonderful.

Or in the case of Broforce, brotally brodaciously broliant.

It's already ridiculous. Delivering more ridiculous action than Contra, Metal Slug and Stallone's entire filmography put together, this outrageous run & gun sidescroller has been giving us an insane amount of joy for the last few months and it isn't even finished yet. With luck it's going to be a very, very happy new year.

Click here to read more...

From The Vault | Gaming In A Straight Line: Is Linear A Dirty Word?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
From The Vault, Linear games

My preview for The Order: 1886 ignited a pretty heated discussion regarding the nature of previews themselves and the merits (and weaknesses) of linear gaming experience. I'm going to write a little extended piece on player freedom and why that broad, nebulous term "gameplay" is actually the key to any interactive experience, but for today's From The Vault feature, we go back nearly five years to Tamsin Oxford's piece regarding the perception of linear structure in games. My quick two cents on the matter -- linearity isn't a problem in and of itself at all, some of my favourite games have been heavily-scripted, enormously-prescribed affairs. I do believe that player-driven narratives can often be more powerful, but there's something to be said for an interactive rollercoaster that puts you at the heart of the action, though I would posit that linear games demand a greater degree of mechanical scrutiny. There'll be more on this on Monday, but absolutely weigh in with your feelings and opinions on the matter.

*

From The Vault | Gaming In A Straight Line: Is Linear A Dirty Word?

The idea of immersion in gaming has long been a point of interest in the gaming community. Certainly it makes me feel a little tingly in the toes. While I can not profess to be an expert in this field, nor am I completely au fait with all the values and debates that surround it, I nevertheless feel that this is an exciting issue.

In essence, immersive gaming is all about the player-driven narrative. The idea is that the player is dropped into a complete world and that they are left to their own devices in order to complete quests or tasks set them by the game rather than being propelled through the game in a straight line with little deviation. That's the idea, anyway.

From The Vault | Gaming In A Straight Line: Is Linear A Dirty Word?

Deus Ex is an example of such a title. This game placed you at the controls. You had to kill someone, but how it was done was entirely up to you. There was no right and wrong in your approach so long as you did it. It made this game into a legend, an immersive and hypnotic experience that thrilled.

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Staff Personal Picks | Biggest Surprises of 2014

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game of the Year Awards 2014

Staff Personal Picks | Biggest Surprises of 2014

With our Biggest Disappointments of 2014 out of the way, it's on to more positive things once more, namely our biggest surprises of 2014. There's nothing better than a game surprising you, and no finer moments than when previous scepticism is utterly blown away by excellence. if new-gen got off to a bit of a slow start, at least in 2014 there were several titles that really got it right, not to mention some industry changes that blazed trails of redemption and resurgence.

Matt | Alien AI

Aside from a mobile game ending up being one of my favourite games of 2014, there were a few other pleasant surprises in 2014. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare reinvigorated what has been, for me at least, a series lacking purpose and direction outside of just retreading old ground. Advanced Warfare felt like the breath of fresh air that the series needed, even if I would have liked a little more freedom to play around with the campaign's wonderful toys.

Others further on have highlighted the new-gen gameplay features and mechanics to be found in Middle-Earth, so I won't talk much about Shadow of Mordor except to say that Ubisoft should take a long, hard look at how Monolith beat them at their own game this year.

But on the subject of progressive mechanisms in games, something that we were crying out for with this new generation of games consoles, I think my surprise of the year goes to Alien: Isolation. Not since Silent Hill 2 has a game gotten underneath my skin so completely. I never would have believed that the studio most famous for Total War would have created one of the defining survival horror titles to be seen in years. I argued this year that if The Evil Within was indicative of a greatest hits compilation of survival horror's past, then Alien: Isolation was its future. The dynamic Alien was a masterpiece in AI design, a figure that filled me with absolute dread, and truly made me feel like I was being hunted.

But Sevastopol itself had its own part to play, it's creaking pipes and mechanical shrieks cultivating an oppressive, twitchy atmosphere, helped on by dynamic lighting casting flickering shadows that looked awfully Xenomorph-esque. Alien: Isolation worked its way into my brain and still hasn't completely left. It's the best Alien game there's ever been, and I say that while still hiding in a cupboard from the terrifying monstrosity roaming the vents outside. I'm not sure I'm ever coming out.

Click here to read more...