E3 is almost upon us and you can practically taste the hype. It tastes... delicious.
Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Square Enix and even PC Gamer are stepping up to the plate with major press conferences and livestreamed events, kicking off on June 14th. You can expect fierce rivalries, gamesmanship and some shock reveals as the big players attempt to one-up each other and steal the show.
So it's high time we kicked off our annual season of prediction articles with Microsoft, who promise nothing less than the "greatest games lineup in Xbox history." Here's what we expect to see from their E3 presentation, which you can watch here, as well as what we'd personally love (and hate) to see them announce.
I fully expect the Microsoft showcase to go in heavy and take no prisoners, because there's a good chance that Xbox smells blood in the water. With Uncharted 4 and Zelda delayed, they've got an open goal this Christmas and you'd better believe that they plan on gaining some serious ground.Click here to read more...
Today, Capcom announced that they are working on Resident Evil 0 HD, a remastered HD port of their 2002 GameCube exclusive. While some HD ports/remasters feel like opportunistic cash grabs, we like to think that this one is a good thing; not just for us eager gamers, but for Capcom and the Resident Evil series in general. Here's why.
As fondly remembered as the GameCube was, the fact is it got hammered by the competition. Capcom were easily the most supportive third-party though with the original Resident Evil remake (or REmake), Resi 0 and of course, the incredible Resident Evil 4.
But back to Resident Evil 0. It's reasonable to assume many gamers have never played the GC original or the re-release that surfaced on the original Wii a while back. The recent Resident Evil HD Remaster broke sales records on PSN earlier this year, so the appetite for classic survival horror experiences is clearly there.Click here to read more...
"Downgrade!" "Downgrade!" "Downgrade!" The cycle of accusations and allegations begins afresh with a new witch hunt as the Witcher 3 comes under fire for not looking as good as an early unoptimised build, and we're getting pretty sick of the whole thing.
There's a case to be made that 'downgrade' accusations are a product of unreasonable entitled gamers who don't understand how games development and marketing works, and I was good and ready to argue that case. In fact, I ploughed 507 words into a first draft... before deleting the entire article and realising that there's another way of looking at the situation from a very different perspective.
Isn't this suspicion and cynicism a perfectly natural reaction to an industry that has systematically exaggerated or downright lied to its customers for years? Aren't gamers actually "entitled" to point it out, not "entitled" because they pointed it out?
Click here to read more...
News highlights this week include fresh glimpses of Doom, the teaser trailer for the Need for Speed and Rockstar suing the BBC. Elsewhere, we saw Hellraid cancelled, Sony confirm Bloodborne DLC is on the way, M. Bison smashed his way into Street Fighter V and Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd made a most welcome appearance in the upcoming Lego: Dimensions.
In the Features, we examine the building pressure on Sony for this year's E3. Previews include Smite and Splatoon. Jon takes a look at the problem with the Amiibo craze as well as giving you some launch impressions for Destiny: House of Wolves and also explains why you should give the game another chance. The Xbox One slim rumours are building up again, so we ask, would you buy one? We finally got a copy of The Witcher III, so take a look at Buzz's report on his first night in White Orchard.
Reviews include Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, the Element Gaming chair, Not a Hero, Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, Life is Strange Episode 3, Mortal Kombat X Jason Voorhees DLC and the Commodore Amiga: A Visual Commpendium book.Click here to read more...
Splatoon held its last public beta yesterday, and boy, was it ever messy. Not only was there paint and frolicking squid everywhere you looked, but the servers buckled under the demand and bricked for the best part of an hour, forcing Nintendo to bolt on an extra sixty minutes once they'd patched things up.
So a complete success on all counts, then, even though a horde of angry gamers forgot that it was a beta... not a demo.
Splatoon is shaping up brilliantly ahead of its launch this Friday, and the Global Testfire was a fascinating two-way process. Not only has Nintendo learned some essential lessons, but we've also learned a few of our own.
Have you ever wondered why the Splatoon Global Testfire was limited to hourly slots rather than running over several days? That's because, despite the name, the Testfire was actually a server stress test designed to push Nintendo's capabilities to the limits ahead of release.
The fact that the beta was only open for 60 minutes at a time (or 120 yesterday) ensured that the maximum population possible descended onto the Splatoon servers, giving Nintendo a fairly realistic idea of what the first hours of launch day might be like. Diffusing a beta over a weekend or week doesn't give you the concentration of players needed to really break your servers, then improvise and practice ways to fix them.Click here to read more...
Developed by a team of over 200 members over three long years, CD Projekt RED finally have all their cards on the table with their recent release of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. I finally got my hands on my much awaited PS4 copy of The Witcher 3 last night, going on to spend the next many countless hours exploring The Continent. Did The Witcher 3 surpass all my expectations?
Before I do get started with the game in hand, I would like to point out to anybody who is yet to play any of the games in The Witcher series that if you are expecting robe laden woman with pointy black hats then you have come to the wrong party. Although extremely similar in name (and possibly magical weirdness) Witchers are very different to Witches.
The game opens up with a cinematic based in Temeria way back in 1272 which to be quite honest is brutal, extremely brutal. The Empire of Nilfgaard has struck again making movement with intention to conquer The Northern Lands.
In short The Witcher 3 is beautiful, it's emotional and is most definitely the best RPG I have played since Skyrim. My attention was forgiven within seconds of the opening quest objectives after becoming increasingly distracted by the absolutely stunning scenery sitting in the backdrop. Everything is here, the combat system seems flawless with so much depth aimed at using the correct techniques against the relevant enemies reducing any feel of rinse and repeat confrontations. The combat system includes 5 Signs (think Skyrim shouts):
Stuck for something to play this weekend? How about the copy of Destiny that you're currently using as a coaster. Go on, dust it off. Put it in the drive and reinstall it.
Destiny's second expansion, House Of Wolves, released this week. You can read our first impressions here , which praises the new additions including the fantastic Prison Of Elders mode while complaining about the story questline and other features. All-told it brings a lot to the Bungie's controversial shooter, but believe it or not, it's also worth playing Destiny again even if you don't buy the new content.
Like many early adopters, I was crushingly disappointed by Destiny when it first launched and even uninstalled it before the year was out. Back in January, however, I realised that there must be a reason why so many people still enjoy it and I soon discovered what it was. Destiny is a superb social experience that can be enjoyed on your terms, dipped into daily alone or with friends, cooperatively or competitively, which completely changes the way you engage with it. Played little and often, it's an satisfying blast and I've been hooked ever since.
I'm glad I did, because much has changed for the better and even more improvements are now free to enjoy regardless of whether you own the expansion.Click here to read more...
With only three weeks to go until E3 2015, all eyes are on the big three console manufacturers to deliver and the rumour mill is spinning out of control. Plenty of hot-button reports have emerged regarding Microsoft in particular, who likely smell blood in the water after Uncharted 4 and Zelda's delay and will probably attempt to capitalise on their upcoming lineup. With a Gears Of War remaster all but confirmed, there's certainly a lot to look forward to.
One of the most pervasive rumours this time around, however, is that they'll announce or at least hint at a new Xbox One model designed to be slimmer, cheaper and more competitive than its bloated predecessor.
Our E3 2015 prediction coverage begins in earnest next week, but whether or not these rumours have any basis in reality, they do pose an interesting question. If Microsoft did bring out an Xbox One slim, would you actually buy it? What would it have to offer and cost to tempt you off the fence? What features would it have to provide and cut out?
Image courtesy of Dave Nunez.
Let's explore the possibilities and then open the floor to the jury: you.Click here to read more...
SMITE is going from strength to strength and is still my favourite MOBA on the market by far. Not just because it's a brutal no-holds-barred battle between gods and goddesses from numerous different religions and cultures, but because I hate MOBAs as a general rule.
Why yes, I do suck at League Of Legends and DOTA 2, and that's got a lot to do with it. However, I'm also tired of seeing the same basic template copied over and over again, a single mod stretched out into a genre. SMITE does things very differently. It plays like a brawler, a tight and hectic action game viewed from an intimate over-the-shoulder perspective, which makes the same familiar gamut of towers, minions and jungle feel fresh, new and exciting. And best of all, accessible. With plentiful modes, botmatches and even straight 5v5 deathmatch, it's as hardcore as you want it to be.
As such, you'd expect it to be a great fit for Xbox One. Having tested the closed beta I'm delighted to report that it absolutely is.
Click here to read more...
There's no denying that amiibo is one of the hottest gaming properties around right now. Nintendo's plastic NFC figurines fly off the shelves before they're even released, selling out in minutes, while retailers and grey market resellers hustle to fulfil the demand.
It's a huge craze, a brilliant idea on paper, but I ain't buying it.
Be in no doubt, amiibo is a fantastic concept, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired and seems be headed in a worrying direction. Is it time for an intervention?
Click here to read more...
I've come to love Destiny over these last few months. Despite being crushingly disappointed at launch, I gradually realised that it's a great social experience that fits around your real life and gaming commitments, perfect for a strike here and a daily story mission there followed by a quick blast in the Crucible. Sure, the so-called "Raids" are hilariously repetitive, but Destiny's fun is evergreen and mechanically exceptional.
However, there's no denying that it's crying out for extra content. Which is where House Of Wolves comes in.
A far cry from The Dark Below, which used its Raid as an excuse to flog a pathetic amount of stuff at a breathtaking price point, House Of Wolves is much meatier and rides the crest of a major update. A new social space, new questline, new horde mode, new gear, level cap increase and three/four new Crucible maps certainly seems to be a generous offering, so I double-jumped right in as soon as it launched.
I've had a blast as always, but unfortunately what seems to be a huge wodge of content is far less substantial than it first appears. As is so often the case with Destiny, the emperor has no clothes. Or the Kell has no combat regalia to be more precise.Click here to read more...
As expo season hurtles towards us once again, Sony's PS4 has a comfortable lead over Microsoft's Xbox One. But Microsoft's console has a premium Christmas lineup of mass appeal console-exclusive titles including Halo 5, Forza 6, Gears of War Remastered (probably) and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Expect them to market Call of Duty: Black Ops III so heavily as to make it look like an exclusive too.
Microsoft will splash the cash on an intense marketing barrage on our TV, laptop and tablet screens over the all important Xmas holiday season with this selection of familiar brands. As things stand, Sony's Christmas lineup so far is certainly lacking titles to resonate with masses. But this could all change by the time Sony leaves the stage at E3 2015. Don't forget to make a note of the conference times.
Sony UK's Fergal Gara told MCV: "There is plenty for gamers to get excited about already, such as Tearaway for PS4 and No Man’s Sky. That’s just the start of what is on the table right now. So I don’t have any concerns that we will have a lack of strong software for PS4 this peak."
We hope for Sony's sake that they do have some big reveals for E3 as pinning your Xmas sales ambitions on Tearaway and No Man's Sky sounds like madness. Don't get me wrong, Tearaway was fantastic on the Vita and we're glad to see it reworked for the PS4, but it hardly has the same mass appeal as a single one of the Xbox exclusives mentioned earlier. And as for No Man's Sky, this could be one of the best games on the PS4 yet, but again, the whole concept is incredibly vague for that vital mass appeal, which is sadly what makes or breaks your Christmas sales. Given the lack of any extensive hands-on reports on the game, we wouldn't be surprised to see it fall into 2016 too.Click here to read more...
Recently in my weekly roundup, I've tried whittling the news stories down to the ten hottest stories of the week. With E3 drawing closer though, it's closer to twenty today! We've had new reveals for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Evil Within DLC, Lego Portal, Ark: Survival Evolved, a spiritual sequel to Castlevania and more. There have been more Fallout 4 rumours, Metal Gear toys with squeezable boobs (oh, Japan), Sony/MS E3 news, The Division delayed and more.
Our feature articles include previews for Rocket League, Attack on Titan, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III, Selfie: Sisters of the Amniotic Lens and Wulverblade. With Capcom announcing their intent to do more HD remasters, I go through the most wanted titles on our list of candidates. After the official reveal of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate I put together a couple of articles, one on why the game already looks better than Unity and another on the important questions we still have about the game. Jon took the time to explain the multiple preorders available for the game, but asks if it really deserves your preorder cash already? Elsewhere, Jon tells us why Lego Dimensions is the toys-to-life title to beat this Christmas, suggests which free games should come on Windows 10 instead of Candy Crush and finally, a piece on the importance of Metacritic in today's world.
A busy week then, but somehow, Jon found the time to review Project Cars , Code Name: STEAM and Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed. I'll join in with the reviews again next week. I'm currently reviewing a chair. Yep, a chair. Enjoy the links below, and we'll do it all again next week!Click here to read more...
Selfie: Sisters Of The Amniotic Lens released a week ago on Steam. This is not a review.
I don't know if I'll ever write one, to be perfectly honest. Rail Slave Games' Dylan Barry tells me that it's "not really a game as such," and though I always hate to see developers dressing down their creations and limiting what the term can refer to, I concede that he has a point. Half virtual confession booth, space simulator, social network, psychological horror, text adventure and artistic statement, Selfie is unlike anything I've ever experienced.
As such, reviewing might be counter-productive. Analysing how it works, what it does and what it stands for will undo much of the game's impact and rob you of the surprise. More to the point, I'm also not entirely sure I understand it myself.
What I can do, however, is recommend that you buy it. Even if I know that many of you will absolutely hate it. If the purpose of art is to elicit an emotional reaction, Selfie is a formidable work, because it invites you to strip yourself bare and feel... things.Click here to read more...
What is Rocket League? Put simply, it's football/soccer with large remote controlled cars, and it's kinda brilliant.
I've been getting stuck into the new beta and Rocket League is already shaping up to be an essential PS4 multiplayer title. There will be local multiplayer options in the final game, but this beta has focussed on the online matches and is already showing huge potential.
The controls are basic enough to make the game easy to jump into. Acceleration and brakes are on the R2/L2 buttons and you can jump with X. Powersliding for sharp u-turns and turbo boosts are also available. The football isn't bogged down with any rules, it's just a case of bash and barge the large oversized ball into the gaping goal at the other end of the pitch. There's no shoot button, you just have to drive into it and hope none of the other players get in the way.
You can drive up the curved walls surrounding the pitch in order to try and get near the ball when it bounces high, but most of the action is on the main pitch, with timed jumps -like headers- playing a key role in maintaining possession or goalkeeping. There's no assigned goalkeeper, so it's down to everyone to get back and help cover when on the defence. At this early stage, I've not really seen anyone 'dribble' the ball, it's more about hoofing it up the pitch and chasing after it. The lack of tactics is what makes it so refreshing though.Click here to read more...
We're delighted that Windows 10 will ship with a free version of Solitaire, Hearts and Minesweeper, but Microsoft raised a few eyebrows by announcing what else will be included. Namely: Candy Crush Saga.
"As an added bonus, Candy Crush Saga will automatically be installed for customers that upgrade to or download Windows 10 for periods of time following the game launch," read the post on Xbox Wire. Though it will support full cross-compatibility with the iOS and Android versions, which is nice, we can't help but feel that it isn't the best fit for Microsoft's new operating system (especially given King's shameful track record of cloning and trademark trolling).
Indeed, considering that they've acquired some serious first-party talent over the years, we can't help but feel that it's a bit of a waste. Just off the top of our head, surely these games would make a lot more sense.
Project Spark is free-to-play. It lets you create, download and play a host of games in a multitude of genres, essentially acting as a game design suite and download client all rolled into one. It's cross-compatible with Xbox One, including the DLC. Conker's in it. All Project Spark really needs is more publicity, some interface tweaks and better support, which surely would benefit from a massive influx of new players and a Windows 10 redesign.Click here to read more...
Regulars might have noticed the banner in our sidebar, but let's make it official. As of March, our reviews are now recognised on Metacritic and our ratings factor into the Metascore. It's therefore high time we discussed why we're thrilled to be a part of it and explain why Metacritic is a fantastic resource for gamers... but like any tool, it's up to you to use it responsibly to make the most out of it.
On a basic level, Metacritic gives you instant access to a wealth of critical opinion about any given game. With just a single click, you can see a whole slew of reviews, some negative, some positive, all offering different points of view.
This is awesome. Its importance and utility cannot be understated, whether you're considering a purchase or just curious about an upcoming release.
Click here to read more...
After yesterday's reveal, some questions were finally answered about Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, but with months to go before release, there's still a lot we don't know about the world of Jacob and Evie Frye.
We've heard that Jacob's twin sister will be a playable character in the game, but to what extent? Ubisoft told The Guardian that players will be able to swap between Evie and Jacob during the open world sections of the game between missions. But what sort of split the twins will have for the main campaign missions is unknown. Although, it hardly looks like a 50/50 split is likely as Jacob is dominating the box art and promotional imagery along with the statues of the special editions. It's unlikely we're looking at a pair of co-headliners this time. Still, it's nice Ubisoft managed to scrape together enough cash to mo-cap a female actor climbing a wall this year.Click here to read more...
Wulverblade remembers the good ol' days of playing side-scrolling beat 'em ups with friends on consoles like the Sega Mega-Drive and wants to bring that feeling back to modern consoles. At the Play Blackpool retro gaming expo it's finding a lot of new fans, as many attendees were brought up on the likes of Streets of Rage and Double Dragon, so have no problem diving straight into Wulverblade.
Unlike many modern titles leaning on the nostalgic angle, you won't see Wulverblade sporting a pixel art style or looking like it could have run on a console twenty years ago. Instead the art direction shows a stunning cel-shaded style more akin to Castle Crashers. But with additional limb-lopping.
Wulverblade is immediately accessible for retro fans and newbies alike as shown throughout the day by the grinning gamers settled into their seats in front of the Fully Illustrated stand. The game is set in Britannia in 120AD and sees you playing as members of a northern tribe repelling the 5000 strong 9th Legion and odd rival clan too.
The final game will feature a proper side-scrolling campaign mode, but today is all about showing off the core combat, so we're thrust into the game's wave-based survival mode. Multiple characters were available to select, so we went for a pairing of Guinevere who made up for her lack of power with whipish speed, and Brennus, a skin-headed hulking mass of anger who favoured an sword/knife combo over freeing a hand up for a shield. Combat is simple to pick up one main attack button dishing out melee combos with your sword, one-handed axe or knife attacks. There are a few extra variations too, such as the dashing knock-back attack via a double press and hold on the d-pad to sprint and then barging in with a blow to stagger your enemy. The uppercut move features similar controls, but is somewhat trickier to pull off. When you do, it leaves enemies open up to a bit of juggling.Click here to read more...
The final chapter of a trilogy needs to go out with a bang, so when all else fails, letting us create enormous elemental explosions bristling with lava death snakes is a good bet.
We're big fans of The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing here at Dealspwn. NeoCore's underdog action RPG series has delivered sensational quality and great replayable gameplay at a bargain price, working towards a trilogy that adds up to a fraction of Diablo III's RRP. Satisfying and occasionally hilarious, we heaped praise on both The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing and The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II.
There's a lot riding on part three, then, and based on the latest preview build I'm confident that it's on course to deliver. However, we'll face a surprisingly tough decision: should we import our character from the previous games or jump into the two new classes? One of which is capable of summoning the aforementioned superheated death snakes on a whim.Click here to read more...