While I apologise to our readership for what is probably going to be surmised as an “off-topic rant,” I also don’t apologise, because it is a topic close to my heart. You see, I’ve been agonising over it for weeks. Indecision has surrounded me and I’ve been unable to reach an internal consensus with the different points of view in my head. Do I go with the status quo, ensuring that familiarity and stability within the ranks remains, or do I put my faith in something new and radical? Either way, it’s time to act before it’s too, and I’ll be damned if I miss my opportunity to make my voice heard.
I am of course talking about voting in the Classic FM Hall of Fame, which closes its public vote at the end of the day. For me, it has become an important yearly tradition, combining two of my favourite things – my passion for playing video games, and my love for music. After all, music has played a large part in my life. I grew up around it thanks to my family playing various instruments, going on to train on the violin from an early age, and later teach myself to play guitar in my teens. I even studied Music at A level and in higher education after that. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I have a strong appreciation for soundtracks, especially those for video games.
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Rejoice, JRPG fans, because Dragon Quest Heroes has been confirmed for a Western release on PS4.
In the first action-RPG to bear the series' name, players must rise up against insurmountable odds, challenging swarms of enemies and conquering gigantic monsters designed by world-renowned artist Akira Toriyama. Interestingly, Omega Force (the team responsible for many Samurai Warriors titles) will also be helping out with development, bringing their expertise with hack & slash action to the party.
It's been years since a full-fat Dragon Quest title came West (heck, we've pretty much had to make do with DQIX: Sentinels Of Starry Skies on DS) and frankly we can't wait.
This is fantastic news. Obviously. But the more I think about it, the more I can't help but ask a couple of niggling questions. Why now? Why this game in particular: the first hack & slash title in the franchise rather than Dragon Quest XIII or X? Is this actually the game we want? The answer, perhaps, is that Square Enix are using it to test the waters -- and to test us in particular.Click here to read more...
Would we take a sequel to The Order: 1886? You're damn right we would. Despite the first game being rather disappointing, we still feel there's enormous potential with Ready at Dawn's new IP. Hey, we gave Assassin's Creed a second chance after that 'meh' original and it went onto much better things -until Unity at least.
So enough beatings for The Order, instead we've got some tips on how it can get it right next time. Let's face it, we're not going to be asking for better graphics. The engine is clearly up to scratch and capable of running the gameplay and graphics without a hitch. But we're going to need more than pretty next time. Don't worry, you won't find any game one spoilers below.
Before release, I wasn't too bothered about the lack of co-op because I can appreciate how it's hard to do big Uncharted-esque action set-pieces with another player thrown into the mix. But then I played The Order and noticed that, well, there aren't really any big set-pieces at all. The biggest 'event' takes place with you blacked out as even that wasn't worth animating apparently. You just hobble around in the aftermath.
For the most part, Galahad is with an AI partner, which would have been a perfect excuse to swap them for an online co-op partner. Let's not dance around the issue, Gears of War is great fun in co-op and seamlessly integrated into co-op or solo play.Click here to read more...
So Valve are coming to GDC... and they're bringing some toys.
"At GDC 2015, we'll be giving demos of the refined Steam Controller, new living room devices, and a previously-unannounced SteamVR hardware system," read an unassuming little post yesterday that sent the internet into a flurry of speculation and expectation. Valve's much-vaunted 'Steam Machines' initiative stumbled and fell by the wayside, but they've been quietly beavering away in the skunkworks and are ready to return.
Valve are perfectly placed to become a major player in the emerging VR market, but do they have what it takes to conquer the living room? Do they even plan to? Here's what the three of us want and expect from this year's showing.
What do I want to see from Valve? Some affordable products releasing sometime soon would be a lovely start.
In all seriousness, considering the fiasco over pricing and variation of the Steam Machines, it would be great to see if Valve can deliver a VR headset that can rival the Oculus in terms of performance, comfort, and more importantly price. That last point has been the main barrier between stopping me joining the VR revolution, so I do hope that it doesn’t become another peripheral too expensive to realistically consider.Click here to read more...
The MMO scene has been shifting over the last few years. Only the truly ambitious and different titles are able to brave an industry ready to scuttle those unable to stay afloat. It’s my view that without offering tried-and-tested gameplay, or something unique by playing to specific strengths, the old subscription-based theme park MMO has run its course. New and exciting experiences are what players want because static worlds with loot grinds at the end have not only been done before, but have been finely tuned. It's why I’ve been keeping a close eye on Everquest Next and Landmark (although recent events have me worried, but that’s another story) as it is attempting to do something new in terms of its Storybricks system.
However, at the end of 2014 a new project emerged from the shadows, headed by industry veterans J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton. At the start of the year we found out its name – Crowfall – and over the last few months ArtCraft Entertainment have been slowly dropping bits of information, giving us a sense of what Crowfall is, and how it will do things differently. There is plenty of info to go through, but with its Kickstarter campaign now in full swing we have the whole picture in front of us for the first time. With that in mind, having gone through all of the available information, I’ve summarised what Crowfall is all about, and will be discussing exactly why you should be paying attention to it, regardless of whether you are tempted to back it or not.Click here to read more...
The PlayStation Vita is now three years old, and it has been an interesting ride. The stunning and stonkingly powerful handheld once promised AAA-quality games on the move, but three years on it finds itself largely ignored by the biggest developers and plenty of disillusioned gamers, as even Sony found other priorities and dedicated their biggest studios away from the device and towards the PS4.
But, in doing so, the PlayStation Vita has quietly found a new niche and target audience that we never really expected.
Sony are celebrating with a PSN sale and freebie party bag, but we have to ask: is this really a happy birthday? Or is it more of a case of reading the last rites for a console that's living on borrowed time? The three of us put our heads together and talked it out.
In all honesty, if it wasn't for the free games offered by PS+, I would have sold my Vita ages ago. Sony's technical marvel had a great start and proved that the handheld could do incredible things. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is still my favourite Vita game by miles and is a testament to the power of the handheld, offering a true AAA experience in the palms of your hands.
Since then though, we've rarely seen the effort from other studios. Killzone: Mercenary proved that FPS titles could work easily on the handheld, and Tearaway made fantastic use of the Vita's multiple input methods for a unique experience that the PS4 port is going to struggle to recreate.Click here to read more...
After getting hands-on with Zombie Army Trilogy, Carl got the chance to speak to creative director Tim Jones (pictured above with our very own Toby the Dealspwny) to learn more about the upcoming co-op zombie shooting experience. Topics include the community's response to Sniper Elite 3, the improvements made for ZAT, the inclusion of new characters, and just how fiendish the new Horde mode will be to conquer. Oh, and Zombie Hitler. Obviously.Click here to read more...
In a recent Metro interview with Sony Europe President/CEO Jim Ryan, he was unable to guarantee that the PS Plus version of DriveClub will ever be released.
Metro: And… is there still going to be the free PlayStation Plus version?
Jim Ryan: That’s still being looked at.
Metro: You can’t guarantee that it will ever happen?
Jim Ryan: I can’t say anything at this stage.
Well, that doesn't sound good does it? DriveClub was originally planned to be a launch game for the PS4, but was delayed numerous times before its eventual release last year. The game was also originally supposed to be released for free on PS Plus, but as time went by, it emerged that the PS Plus version would be a slimmed down version of the game featuring only the India-based tracks.
When DriveClub launched, it was beset by online issues that completely broke the entire online side of the game. Forget multiplayer races, you couldn't even get the Challenges to work for weeks after launch. And despite the experience being much more stable now -aside from the ridiculous penalty system- it looks like the free PS Plus version may never come into existence as it's encountered multiple issues during development.Click here to read more...
It shouldn’t be too surprising that the Nazi Zombie Army spin-offs for the Sniper Elite series have been rather popular. After all, pairing up the brilliant yet disgusting x-ray cam with 4-player co-op gameplay in which you slay the undead masses comes across as a sure fire recipe for success. So, with the creation of a third and final campaign – in which you’ll be taking out Zombie Hitler himself – developers Rebellion have decided to take all the graphical and gameplay improvements from Sniper Elite 3, apply them to their two previous campaigns, and release it all as Zombie Army Trilogy.
It’s a watershed moment for developers Rebellion, as they are self-publishing the release on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One for the first time. You could tell there was a sense of pride about it all as the team showed off the game to a crowd of press at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square, London, a venue famed for showing cult horror classics. Four of the developers gave us a live demonstration on the big screen, showing us a bit of the third campaign and the newly added Horde mode, but after that we were invited to get hands-on and see for ourselves why, regardless of if you’ve played it before, Zombie Army Trilogy will be an essential purchase for co-op fans.Click here to read more...
This week at Dealspwn, it's all been about The Order: 1886. We have the review, a survival tips guide, and a couple of opinion pieces about the lack of gameplay Sony's new title has and Jon questions the value of AAA games like Evolve and The Order. With rumours of Rock Band making a return, Jon looks at the conditions we'd need to go back. Jon's also fessing up as a backseat gamer and he's telling you why. We've also got a preview of the almost-forgotten Xbox One exclusive, ScreamRide.
In the reviews, alongside The Order: 1886, we've got verdicts on the New 3DS handheld, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy + and The Book of Unwritten Tales 2.Click here to read more...
If you're finding that your thumbs are going to sleep during all those cutscenes in The Order: 1886, you'll want to check out our Survival Tips to make life that little bit easier for Galahad in his fight against rebel scum, lycans and whatever else those filthy (but oh so pretty) streets of London throw at him.
The Order's cover system is pretty damn good. Pressing Circle snaps you in and you don't have to go through multiple button presses to get away. Better yet, back away with the analogue stick and quickly make your way over to another cover point and Galahad will get into cover without the need for a further prompt and keep his head down on the way.
Don't forget though, your cover position can become very vulnerable with degrading wooden walls, enemies firing thermite clouds at you, or those pesky grenades that you can spot via the red icon or the X prompt to roll away.Click here to read more...
They're the biggest games of February 2015. They both failed to live up to their hype. And they both cost upwards of £49.99 at full retail price on PSN or Xbox Live -- £54.99 in the Case of Evolve.
Or to put it another way: they shouldn't cost upwards of £49.99.
In an age when numerous new business models are emerging and thriving, when gamers have more choice about how to buy into and engage with their hobby than ever before, Evolve and The Order: 1886 prove that AAA games pricing is stuck in the past, and it needs to change.
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Rock Band might be coming back.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Harmonix are reviving their legendary music game for PS4 and Xbox One, many years after a combination of factors caused the plastic peripheral music genre to fall from grace. As the recession killed off disposable income, mobile gaming became more attractive and Guitar Hero oversaturated the market, the days of rocking out in our living rooms became a distant memory.
There's still no official confirmation, but the resurgence in Rock Band DLC is interesting anecodal evidence, and quite frankly we feel that it's time for a comeback... at least, on one small yet important condition.Click here to read more...
So ScreamRide is out next month.
I know, I'd forgotten all about it too. Of all the Xbox One exclusives announced thus far, ScreamRide is certainly the most difficult to explain and definitely the most unlikely. Frontier Developments, the studio behind Kinectimals and Elite of all things, revealed this odd roller-coaster 'em up at E3 last year to a chorus of 'erms' and 'okay thens,' showing us a trailer of crazy rides and gravity-defying jumps before retreating into a near-total media blackout.
But now, mere weeks before launch, ScreamRide is suddenly back on our radar with a free Xbox One demo, which we've tested to destruction for your convenience and pleasure. And, if we're honest, to find out what the heck it actually is.
Now we know. Effectively ScreamRide is three games in one: a rail-racer, crazy Angry Birds-style city destruction simulator and a 3D roller-coaster design suite all bound together by a Sci-Fi setting with some vaguely menacing undertones. There's something for everyone, and a lot of ridiculously satisfying demolition porn, but will there be enough of everything?Click here to read more...
Many gamers have been quick to bash or defend The Order: 1886's short length. Yes, five or six hours for a game doesn't necessarily mean it's too short. Vanquish is a similar length and is insane amounts of fun from start to finish.
The thing is, for the Order's, let's say six hours, you only actually 'play' it for around half of that time. The rest of the game involves a lot of cutscenes or an abundance of what I'll call 'walking cutscenes.'
By the latter I mean scenes where you are allowed to walk around while another character talks to you, such as an early mission while you and Igraine descend into the tunnels of London. During scenes like this your speed is locked to a slow walk and you have no control over your weapon. Essentially you're pushing forwards on the analogue stick and that's it. Doesn't really sound like gameplay to me.
The game is packed with scenes like this that serve no purpose that a cutscene would not. Sure we can freely look around (albeit at a snail's pace), but as good looking as the graphics are, there really isn't much to see and do in these environments.Click here to read more...
There's a special circle of hell reserved for backseat gamers. We all know the type. Gamers who are convinced that they know everything and that there's only one way to play a game: their way. They'll sit on the sidelines blasting out advice, spoilers and commentary, criticising the way you play while browbeating you into following their way of thinking, dominate your multiplayer session and perhaps even try to snatch the controller because you're playing it 'wrong.' Backseat gamers suck all the joy and fun out of this wonderful hobby, and more to the point, they just suck generally.
It's easy to point fingers, but harder to look in the mirror.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here goes. My name is Jonathan Lester... and I'm a backseat gamer.
I came to this realisation over the weekend, which I completely booked off to spend with my long-suffering girlfriend who usually plays second fiddle to my review workload. We've been together six years now, but she's only ever had a casual interest in videogames, so naturally I wanted to include her in my passion with a selection of co-op games a couple of years back. We played a few, yet just sort of stopped, as she made polite excuses or changed the suspect. It never bothered me at the time, but it crossed my mind and I asked her why out of sheer curiosity.
"Because you were really bossy," she explained, recalling a fateful LEGO Harry Potter session. "You made me feel stupid and took the controller out of my hand. I just didn't enjoy it."Click here to read more...
Here's your weekly roundup of all the features and reviews at Dealspwn.com. In the wake of Nintendo bizarrely announcing a live-action Zelda series, we put together a tongue-in-cheek list of their IPs we'd rather see in action. Jon speculates on what we may see from Bethesda's first ever E3 press conference. Ever wanted the gaming world to merge with real-life? Us too, that's why we have a list of the Top 7 gaming features we need in real life. If you fancy a bit of Valentine's style multiplayer, we have a list for that too. With Eurogamer dropping review scores this week, we have a roundtable piece reflecting on what the Dealspwn staff think of review scores.
Evolve is the big game in the review's section this week as Jon delivers one of the more honest reviews out there. Other verdicts from him include Deathtrap and Sunless Sea. The remaining reviews haven't been given scores yet as they're all episodic titles, so we're waiting until the final episodes have passed before giving them their stars. Carl has a double whammy of Telltale's Game of Thrones and I play the opening episode of Life is Strange.Click here to read more...
Every Sunday, we'll be diving into the Dealspwn archives to bring you an article or review from yesteryear. This Valentine's Weekend, it's only fitting that we revisit our lost loves in an article originally published back 2011.
You might remember a couple of old faces!
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This Valentine's Day I only have eyes for a certain Drell mercenary. I have always been notoriously picky when it comes to matters of the heart but any human foolhardy enough to wish to woo this childish daydreamer now has an even more monumental task on his hands. For what mere mortal could compare to this handsome and exotic alien with the strength, skill, bravery and rapier mind of an assassin but the heart and soul of a tortured poet? Sure he is riddled by guilt and the angstiest of existential angst but he more than makes up for it with his fascinating, mysterious past, gentle manner and quiet capability.Click here to read more...
Review scores are back in the headlines. Following in the footsteps of Joystiq, Eurogamer decided to sensationally abandon review scores in favour of a more descriptive system earlier this week, leaving readers free to engage with the text and draw their own conclusions -- Metacritic be damned.
As you'd expect, the internet exploded for a minute there. Now it's fixed. So it's probably high time we talked about those controversial little numbers, seeing as a growing number of gamers believe that they do more harm than good, from publishers withholding bonuses to 'hate out of ten' debacles.
Don't worry, we're not jumping on a bandwagon. Rather the three of us resident reviewers put our heads together to talk about why we both love and loathe review scores, the benefits and limitations of numerical ratings and encourage you to let us know what you think of our status quo.
"There are times when I genuinely hate the tyranny of review scores, because we don't have the luxury of reviewing games in a vacuum... I love Salvation Prophecy, but my hands are tied when it comes to the score." - Salvation Prophecy review
"It might interest you to know that we came up with our Editor's Choice award in order to redress the balance, since Dragon's Dogma is one of my favourite games of this generation, and we felt that we needed to provide something beyond numerical scores." - Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen review
I've lost count of the number of times I've complained about review scores. They're ridiculous on paper, aren't they? Now that Matt is gone and the reign of Jon is at hand, you might be wondering why I haven't already abolished our numerical scoring system in a demonstration of my incredibly limited, basically non-existent new power.
Well, here's the thing. I actually like review scores, the big fat hypocrite that I am.Click here to read more...
Valentine's Day is a beautiful thing. Whether you're heading out on a first date, celebrating years of happiness or just looking for that special someone, it's a day of careful planning, sweeping romantic gestures and love in its
most ridiculously expensive purest form.
So stuff all that nonsense, because PlayStation Plus multiplayer is free for all this weekend and there's plenty of games to play.*
More than likely your significant other or date will be totally up for this plan. Gaming is awesome. We all know it. But just in case they need a little extra convincing, here are some great games that will bring you closer together and make for a truly special Valentine's Day. At least, that's what you'll tell them, seeing as you clearly haven't sorted anything out yet and there's only one day to go. It'll be our little secret.
*Dealspwn accepts no responsibility for any failed relationships as a result of this course of action. Dealspwn does not guarantee that any bacon will be saved. Who needs 'em? They weren't good enough for you anyway. We love ya.
Dying Light? Seriously?!
A hectic and terrifying zombie-infested sandbox might not seem like a great mood-setter, but you'd be surprised. Not only will the cooperative exploration and combat bring you closer together in ways you'd never thought possible, but you'll also need to snuggle into safe zones for warmth and shelter. Who knows what might happen... okay, lookit, guys and girls, this is the best excuse we can come up with.
It'll work. Trust us.
Ah, now Portal 2 is altogether more wholesome. Adorable robots? Check. Close cooperation that makes you work together and cherish each other? Check.
Cake? Erm, don't count on it.Click here to read more...