For many gamers, myself included, Resident Evil 4 presents a pinnacle of the series that hasn't been reached since, despite two big budget subsequent releases, as well as a smattering of other lower-key launches too. And as Capcom prepares this week to release Resident Evil Ultimate HD Edition for the PC, it raises into question again why people fell in love with and still adore Leon's battle against the Ganados above any others before or since. And more to the point, why has such a great game not been taken as a basis for later games, and built upon to produce an even greater game? Why do we keep coming back to a game released over 9 years ago for our fix, and how did Capcom not capitalise on it and make two stellar follow ups in Resident Evil 5 and 6?
The first reason for this apparent fall from grace is all in the build up. I remember a quote from Shigeru Miyamoto where he said he personally creates the first level in action games last, his rationale being:
“Your first level (or tutorial, or sequence, or whatever you want to call it) should serve as a prologue for the rest of your game. It should introduce many of the concepts your player will be interacting with through the rest of your game, and it should do so in a way that doesn’t alienate them right away.”
It's so important to get the first part of your game right, as it needs to set the tone and expectation for the rest of the experience. When thinking about Resident Evil, this means building up tension and anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. It needs to get your heart racing in a mixture of fear and adrenaline. Think about your favourite Resident Evil game and think about its opening sequence, whether it's the original's opening cut-sequence and first zombie encounter, or if indeed if it's Leon's experience in Resident Evil 4 in the creepy woods, the aggressive Ganados and of course the facing off against the entire village before the ominous bell tower tolls.Click here to read more...
Where is Tekken X Street Fighter? That's the question many of us fight fans have been wondering recently. Nobody has even seen a screenshot of the game, and yet it has been two years since Capcom released Street Fighter X Tekken. Namco's return effort was set to give the Street Fighter characters a Tekken-style makeover, but it's been a notorious no-show for years now.
Recently, we were sent a UK release schedule from Bandai Namco (they changed their name around, remember) and thankfully the game was still on there, but the date was only down as TBC. More interestingly, the formats no longer read PS3/360, instead they've also been replaced with TBC. The optimists inside us are hoping this means that we could be seeing the game on PS4 and Xbox One -two consoles desperately in need of a decent fighting game. With a relatively small install-base for the new consoles though, we'd still expect the PS3 and 360 (and probably the Vita) to see the game too.Click here to read more...
It's here. It's finally here! Rambo: The Video Game launches today following months of controversy... but does it suck as badly as we feared? Or can it become a new guilty pleasure and shatter our expectations?
The truth is somewhere in between. You'll find out when our full review goes live later today, but for now, here's a first look at the truly awful opening cinematic followed by a surprisingly visceral opening level.
Eidos Montreal are no strangers to rebooting beloved IPs. They did a cracking job on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and now they've turned their attention to the master pilferer Garrett with Thief.
But stealth games are in an odd place right now. There seems to be an attitude of inclusivity that, whilst not a bad thing in and of itself, has rendered a number of games jacks of action and clandestine gameplay, but masters of neither. So it is that we've had serviceable titles such as Hitman: Absolution that have tried to walk the tightrope between two caps, but ultimately wound up disappointing both parties.
Having one's clandestine cake and stealthily eating it too has proven difficult.
Thief looks like it might change all of that. Yes, it has a glowing, sixth-sense overlay at the push of a button, but the game's apparently been balanced without it, and everything is open to customisation. Eidos' approach to solving the issue appears to have been to make the game that they wanted to make, and then let the player tweak every last aspect the want to make the game as crushingly, deliciously hardcore as they would like. You know where we stand on this: choice is always welcome.
Our review is on the way, so we'll be able to judge this for ourselves come Monday, but I recently sat down with lead level designer Daniel Windfeld Schmidt and game director Nicolas Cantin to chat about how the studio went about delivering a modern reboot of this shadowy classic series, and how the dev team hope to please fans and newcomers alike.Hit the jump to check out our recent Thief interview >>
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Cloudbuilt is absolutely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Not only is this indie platformer an achingly beautiful masterclass in hand-drawn art design, but it's blisteringly fast, taking everything we know about parkour and strapping it directly onto a Saturn V rocket.
You wouldn't know it from the start, though. We find ourselves in a deserted empty city, a lonely expanse of dark corridors floating over an endless abyss, controlling an ethereal figure with no name or purpose. As we explore, we gradually learn the basics; jumps, double leaps, grabs, then graduating to wallruns as we search or answers. Eventually the truth will out, revealing that the action takes place in the broken mind of a recovering injured military operative.
Some games would have taken things off in a soulful and melancholy direction, but Cloudbuilt does quite the opposite. Freed from the tyranny of realism and convenional geometry by their imaginative setting, Coilworks waste no time in pouring our heroine into a battle exoskeleton armed with massive rocket boosters and a laser cannon, then loose her onto some outrageously twisted arenas against the clock. Oh yes. We loved the premise ever since it was first unveiled, so I'm delighted to report that the preview build is shaping up to be a bit of a belter ahead of its late March release.
Even though, as you'll know if you watched my first impressions video, I do rather suck at it.Click here to read more...
Today's episode of WildStar: The Noob involves tying up a lots of loose ends, desperately trying (and failing) to find a monkey who's eaten a quest item, torturing a bunch of Shy Guys in the name of science (I thought we were supposed to be the good guys!), freeing the Lopp from the oppression of a giant hulking troll, and eventually getting lost and winding up in somewhere completely new!
I love it when that happens.
In this week's episode of Game Night, the Trio see what all the hype is about by diving into the beta for Titanfall. Expect parkour runs of varying degrees of success, exploding mechs and dropships, and a healthy serving of meat-based puns as they play through the various modes and maps on offer. Watch it all by hitting the jump.Click here to read more...
The Titanfall beta has been and gone. It's time to open the curtains again and maybe, just maybe, step outside once more. Be careful, though, Matt tried to rodeo a double decker bus this morning and it didn't go so well.
The hype train for Titanfall has been rolling steadily onwards since people first went hands-on with the game last year, and there were hour-long queues of just industry reps before the big conventions opened. It's been the game on everyone's lips, it seems, but has that hype been justified? Is the game genuinely exciting, or have we simply been told that it is? Have Respawn simply made COD with big, stompy mechs?
Here's what we made of the Titanfall beta:
Titanfall doesn't really do anything new, not really. We've seen jetpacks and parkour and mechs and domination modes and temporary perks and customisation before. But they've perhaps never quite been bundled up and balanced so impressively in a single game before.
A new console generation is often rife with hyperbole, but it's no surprise that Titanfall's beta has confirmed for many what the press were raving about after convention season last year: that Respawn's new shooter has quality in spades. Much of that has to do with Titanfall's accessibility. The tutorial is thorough but fairly swift, and the game itself packs a variable, dynamic learning curve thanks to the way matches are fleshed out and balanced with AI. Somehow, Respawn have managed to deliver a game that renders K/D pretty unimportant, and allows casual shooter fans to make a meaningful contribution (and to feel like awesome badasses) alongside genre veterans.
There's a new FPS party in town, and everyone is invited.Click here to read more...
The Titanfall beta has been and gone, and as we weep over not knowing what to do with ourselves for the next three weeks, we have a bit of a natter about what we thought of the game thus far.
Be sure to stay tuned for a written roundtable of our thoughts on the recent beta, and we'll have a Titanfall-based edition of Game Night to stuff in your eyes come 5PM.
Cloudbuilt has been haunting our dreams ever since we first laid eyes on it. Not only is this Swedish platformer achingly beautiful, but it's also a fantastic gameplay proposition, hinging around pulling off insane feats of agility against the clock in some geometrically implausible stages.
The fact that it stars a mysterious protagonist clad in an epic mech suit equipped with rocket boosters and a laser cannon is just icing on the rambunctious speedrunning cake.
We'll have a full hands-on preview ready for you very soon, but here's a first look at Cloudbuilt in action to get you in the mood, featuring my attempts to suck as little as possible in some early levels.Click here to read more...
"They're very helpful creatures around the house you know, what with catching and eating flies and other bugs."
This line always gets trotted out whenever I try to explain my moderate arachnophobia to people. A large house spider dropped into my hair when I was a young lad, I went a bit mad, everything went red and a few seconds later the spider was in various bits on the floor and in my hand, surrounded by clumps of mini-fro. I don't care if they're helpful. They're evil, spindly, scuttling minions of Satan who deserve annihilation. Probably.
With that in mind, it's not hard to see why we end up jumping at the chance to take out a bunch of arachnids terrorising the Sylvan Glade.
From there, though, we return to the shimmering waterfalls at the top of Celestion, and finally get round to grav-hopping between the islands on top of the world.
There's something unmistakeably, what's the word I'm looking for... *cool* about pressing a button and having Delsin Rowe flick out a wrist and suck the neon out of the signs that adorn the streets of a dark and sleepy Seattle.
Sleepy, that is, apart from the swathes of anti-Conduit activists lining the pavements, and the gun-toting military nutjobs trying to blast you into chunky kibbles.
Still, draining the gaudy visions of urban excess of their fluorescent hues and then using the brightly-coloured energy to scale a 15-storey tower block in a second or two is pretty sweet. As is turning said energy into something of a beam sword, and using it to smash armed aggressors over the head in rhythmic, robust fashion that comes with echoes of Arkham-era Batman.
Superpowers are still as fun as they used to be, then.
Our aforementioned protagonist Mr. Rowe is a more youthful frontman for the inFamous franchise than the lightning-charged Cole McGrath, and he's a bit more versatile too. Rowe is able to pinch the powers off of other Conduits, meaning that eventually he'll end up like a superpowered pack of Skittles, with a new flavour for each occasion.
Our demo only yielded two -- smoke and neon -- but it was a promising start. The former allows Rowe to make dash jumps across small distances with a puff of smoke, and travel through steam pipes to pop out of rooftop chimneys. He can lob smoke bombs at people, his punches pack more weight behind them, and his area of attack moves are more powerful. Neon is a speedier, more agile power, gifting Rowe the ability to glide up and over walls, engage enemies with a disco-flavoured melee weapon, and pepper foes with rapid-fire pulses of energy, slowing time for a few brief seconds with L2 if you want to take a more precise shot.Click here to read more...
This week sees us grappling with spiders. And I hate spiders.
After a spot of weaponsmithing, and discovering that we need more iron, we follow Shepherd Borg into a dark cave, riddled with arachnids, to rescue a lost Aurin. We also try to take on one of the game's hunting bosses singlehanded. That doesn't end well at all.
So, you like WildStar? Perhaps you like beta keys? Because Carbine Studios and NCSOFT have tipped us off to a rather cunning plan. You see, they're holding a special beta weekend between Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd February (that's right - this coming weekend) and so they have decided to give a few lucky people the chance to play this anticipated MMO.
Well, I say a few. There's actually 40,000 beta keys up from grabs. So how do you claim one? All you have to do is click the link below and submit your email address- that's all there is to it! You'll be sent instructions on how to get involved in the upcoming beta weekend if you're successful. Be quick though, as it is a first come, first served kinda-dealio.
The Titanfall servers have been slammed over the past day or two as Respawn made the decision to open the beta up to everyone who wants in, but by and large the game's remained pretty damn stable and gloriously playable.
Here's the last in our little miniseries of Titanfall 101 videos, taking a look at the beta's game modes, and it's probably the favourite of the Dealspwn team -- Hardpoint.
Much like Conquest Domination in Battlefield 3, Hardpoint sees two teams vying for control of a handful of capture points. In the case of the beta, there were three capture points on Angel City and Fracture, with the former making for tight encounters with lots of indoor combat and narrow urban pathways, and the latter handling things rather differently with large patches of open ground.
Hardpoint requires some tactical thinking, as teams are fighting to be the first to reach 400 domination points, achieved by holding the capture points for as long as possible and successfully defending your holds. The Smart Pistol, though a great offensive weapon, is perhaps not the best for defensive purposes, and often stationing your Titan as a tactical decoy can prove immensely effective when looking to (quite literally) get the jump on an enemy mech.
It has to be said, this mode has probably been our favourite thus far, thanks to the deeper level of objective-based gameplay. But what did you guys make of it? Let us know how you got on in the box below.
Well into its second year of life now, Guild Wars 2 continues to keep the virtual populace of Tyria busy thanks to its Living Story. Through the initiative, players have fought off underground invaders, taken part in an election, and dealt with some sky pirates, but a lot of events have been building up to the latest update which goes live today. In the newest instalment of the Living Story, supervillan Scarlet Briar takes his forces and attacks one of the most iconic locations in the Guild Wars series – Lion’s Arch – and developers at ArenaNet are saying that the events of this invasion are going to have a lasting effect on Tyria.
In anticipation of the update we invited member of the community to submit some questions to Mike Zadorojny, the design lead on Guild Wars 2, so we’ve got his responses, along with a quick overview of Escape from Lion’s Arch, after the jump.Click here to read more...
So, that WildStar, eh? When it comes to PvE content, it had many, many layers, with groups of players having several ways to keep themselves busy, but besides the way Paths unlock the open world, and how instances provide a more traditional dungeon run, there is another way groups of players can band together. Carbine call them Adventures, and because of the way they are presented in-game it means that they have the potential to provide the most varied experience to those playing WildStar. To learn more about them, I was invited to take part in a Press run of one of these Adventures with two members of the EU Community Team at Carbine, Mark Hulmes and Jan Sterl.
Before we get into what sort of content you can expect from them, let’s explain how these Adventures fit into the world and lore of WildStar. The Eldan (a hyper-advanced race who lived on the planet Nexus long, long ago) left a lot of their stuff on Nexus before disappearing, and one such thing was The Caretaker – an AI construct responsible for overseeing the experiments that took place. With the arrival of the Dominion and Exiles to the planet, it now has new organics with which to perform tests in Simulation suites dotted around Nexus, and has graciously let those who discover these Sim Cores in to help with the experiments. The thing is, in the thousands of years that have gone by since the Eldan left, The Caretaker has developed some glitches that have made it, well, a little bit schizophrenic (ie. completely nuts) and so these simulations end up being a little more dangerous and random that expected.Click here to read more...
Before we begin, there's a simple question that you need to ask yourself: Do you find South Park funny?
If the answer is yes, then all is well. Come on in, kick off those wet shoes, and I''ll regale you with stories from an hour or two spent in the company of an interactive, feature-length South Park episode filled with all of your favourite characters. We'll chuckle about side quests that see you hunting down Man Bear Pig for a super-cereal Al Gore, delight that the game has you trotting about the Colorado town collecting Chinpokomon, and giggle at infiltrating Kenny's garage to pick up some crack from a bunch of addicts for Tweak's dad.
If the answer is no, then we might have a problem, though I'm not entirely sure why you're reading a piece about an RPG based on South Park anyway.
The game opens with a brief character creation screen (The Stick of Truth wins bonus points from allowing me to have an afro -- complete with comb jutting out of the side -- from the start) followed by the arrival of your character in South Park. You're new, a silent amnesiac (a well-worn trope that game takes great pleasure in pointing fun at), you have no friends, and your parents are incredibly insistent that you make some. So off you trot, out onto the streets.
It isn't long before you bump into someone who's also rather eager to make a proper friend or two, dressed up in a tin-foil hat, and stumbling over words in a rather endearing fashion. Butters introduces himself as a Paladin, befriends you on the South Park version of Facebook, and whisks you off to meet his chum who just so happens to be an all-powerful wizard with an affinity for Cheesy Poofs, and protector of the game's eponymous magical totem. Cartman asks you for your name -- a regular feature in RPG games. But the interface doesn't let you, and so after three attempts, and much taunting, Cartman resolves to call you "douchebag" for the entirety of the game.Click here to read more...
The floodgates are open! The Titanfall beta is now open to pretty much everyone, and it's glorious to behold. We've been having an absolute blast with Respawn's fantastic FPS shooter, and we've got more coverage on the way.
Today, we're taking a look at the Last Titan Standing mode, which places each player into the cockpit of their chosen mech right from the start. The only caveat is that there are no respawns, and the first team to have all of their Titans blown up loses. Rounds can go pretty quickly, especially if players fail to work together, so teams race to see who can reach four wins first.
As you can probably tell from the video below, sometimes that really doesn't go to plan at all.
Void Of Darkness is one developer's attempt to go beyond Starflight, the classic 1986 space adventure that puts you at the helm of a tiny ship in an enormous universe.
Tropical Games' Justin Sampson has laboured long and hard to create an entire galaxy to explore, throwing you in headfirst as an ambassador of the human race. You'll trade, battle, mine, parley and chart strange new worlds in a bid for galactic dominance, and to cement humanity's place amongst the stars, with no preset objective save your own moral compass. The gameplay pillars are in place, such as in-depth bartering, accessible yet nuanced twin-stick combat, numerous races, diplomacy, warp travel, scanning and all the mod cons you'd expect from a truly freeform space odyssey.
However, Void Of Darkness is also still in need of some serious polish and more than a little bug fixing. To his credit, Sampson has continually issued new updates in line with player feedback - the latest of which, v.1.1, is set to go live imminently.
We'll have a full review and in-depth video impressions of the brand new build very soon, but for now, here's a taster of the trials and tribulations of exploring the wild black yonder.Click here to read more...