Developers: Warner Bros. Montreal
Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive
The infamous conservative pessimism hit Warner Bros. Montreal square in the jaw when it was announced that Rocksteady would not be making the third game in the Arkham franchise of action-adventure Batman titles. The vocal despair was palpable, and only got worse with the announcements of prequel pretensions and the lack of Kevin Conroy as a titular character. The benefit of the doubt, it would seem, was nowhere to be found.
Still, after getting to grips with Arkham Origins at Gamescom this year, there's no way we're going to be missing out on this one later this year, and if you count yourself as a fan of Rocksteady's games thus far, we rather reckon you're going to want to check out what WB Montreal are bringing to the table.
"It's been a huge responsibility to follow in Rocksteady's footsteps," acknowledged creative director Eric Holmes. "But I think that any trepidation we felt has really been overruled by our enthusiasm for the property. You won't find any bigger fans of those Arkham games than the guys on our team making this one."
There are parallels, certainly. The combat is largely unchanged, and that's a damn good thing. In fact, if anything, it feels a little more robust and impactful. There's a smidgen more crunch in the hits, a little more whomph in the sound of Batman's fists flying through the air in violent slow-motion. And he'll have plenty of fighting to do. It's Christmas Eve, there's a blizzard about, and the number one crime boss in Gotham -- Black Mask -- has put a $15 million bounty out on Batman's head. Given that there's some serious moolah up for grabs, eight of the deadliest assassins in the world have arrived in town, looking to take down the Bat.Click here to read more...
Earlier this week, Sony took to the stage at the Tokyo Game Show to announce the excellent-looking PS Vita TV micro-console, which will be released in Japan later this year. Sony haven’t announced anything about a Western release beyond “stay tuned”, but considering the high interest the device has received from this half of the world, we’re expecting to get our hands on it early next year at the latest. We can’t complain really, especially as Japan is getting the Vita TV device instead of the PS4 this year. I bet they’re furious deep down, but in a really polite way.
So, is Vita TV really just a consolation prize for gamers in Sony’s homeland? Far from it, in fact, I really want one. Is that because I’ve been told I can’t? Very possibly, but here are another seven reasons why I’m crossing everything in the hope we’ll soon be plugging the little white box into a nearby TV.
In some ways, this is a PS Vita for about £60. Yes, at launch, it won’t play some important titles like Uncharted or WipEout, but as I discuss later on in this article, I expect that could well change. Not only is it cheaper than a Vita, it’s cheaper than the Ouya and it has more attractive functions than the upcoming GameStick, both of which look positively archaic when put side-by-side with Vita TV.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 | PS4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One | PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier (internal team)
Games tend to shy away from World War One as a potential setting, and it's easy to see why. The miserable, hopeless carnage of trench warfare simply can't equate to fun or entertainment in a traditional sense without totally trivialising the conflict, instead only allowing niche titles to explore it in any meaningful way.
So it's refreshing to see a small Ubisoft Montpellier team approaching The Great War from an entirely new perspective, a 2D puzzle adventure that focuses not on the battles, but on the people, teasing out the humanity behind it. Valiant Hearts is very much a labour of love for its 15-strong studio, drawing on real letters from the front lines that never made it home for inspiration, and real events and photographs to anchor players in the setting. Throughout its ten-to-twelve hours, you'll experience the reality of World War One through the eyes of five diverse characters on both sides of the trenches, whose stories ultimately conspire to bring two lovers together. Thanks, in no small part, to a heroic dog.
"We take you from 1914 to 1918," director Adrian Lacey told us during a recent preview event in Paris, "and basically these five protagonists intertwine as they go through their journey. The foundation of the story is to bring Karl [a German soldier] and Marie back together, it's a love story, and it's how all the perspectives of each character goes within that story. Their perspective of the war, why they're in the war."
Click here to read more...
Aiden Pearce has a lot on his plate. As a lone vigilante hacker standing against the police and corrupt corporations that dominate near-future Chicago, he'll have to rely on his wits, hacking skills and trigger finger to survive. Driving at insane speeds one moment and remotely infiltrating CCTV cameras the next, an antihero's work is never done.
However, he'll also have to deal with me griefing him when I'm bored on the bus thanks to a staggeringly ambitious companion app.
Explanations are in order. ctOS Mobile is one of the first synchronous companion apps to release with a major AAA title, allowing iOS and Android users to challenge console Watch Dogs players while out and about, or sprawled on the sofa behind them. Once you've freely download the app and logged in with a Uplay account, you can set routes and courses for your target to follow around the sprawling city streets, along with a time limit to beat. If they accept your challenge while playing, a simple matter of pressing up on the D-Pad, it's game on. While Aiden scampers to reach each checkpoint as quickly as possible, it's up to you to stop him by any means necessary; a console and tablet player both competing in the same game.
Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | Xbox One | PS4
Developers: CD Projekt RED
Publishers: CD Projekt
The world is in chaos. The Empire of Nilfgaard ravages the kingdoms to the North and, worse still, there's talk of the Wild Hunt -- a ghostly, ghastly, spectral, deadly force of myth and legend -- being seen, though few have lived to tell of its sighting. The trail goes colder by the day and a grizzled Geralt has little time to tarry or delay. The renowned monster hunter leads are slipping away and the hunt for the Hunt is becoming more and more difficult.
He comes across a cluster of armed men preparing to string up a frail, seemingly innocent woman. His companion urges that they push on. Geralt has other ideas. The men die quickly; the woman is set free. Geralt's response to his questioning companion is simple: "I'm killing monsters," he growls.
Choice and consequence, the uneasy balance balance between morality and necessity, these are the foundations upon which CD Projekt RED's outstanding RPG series -- The Witcher -- has been built. That means choice in combat, choice in exploration, and choice when it comes to dealing with problems, interacting with characters, and often deciding the fates of those you meet, shaping the world around you with your decisions. CD Projekt understand the unique potential of this medium far better than some.
It is for this reason that I was almost shivering with excitement as I sat down to receive 40-minute presentation on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Three-quarters of an hour later, I had dubbed it my game of the show in spite of it being one of the first things I actually saw at Gamescom. In the end, it was only beaten by Titanfall, and that's only because I couldn't get hands-on in this case.Click here to read more...
We love CD Projekt, have we mentioned that before? We love them for their approach to pricing models and battling DRM, for selling us nostalgic offerings that work on modern PCs and for supporting indie development. But we also love them for the games that they make.
CD Projekt RED's Witcher series has given us two exemplary games -- experiences that understand the unique opportunities that our interactive medium can afford, that thrive on player agency, on choices and consequences on binding the player to the narrative experience by delivering a cracking story and allowing players to influence it.
As such, we've been awfully excited to learn more about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, so I took some time at Gamescom this year to have a chat with the game's producer Marek Ziemak, to find out how CDPR are really pushing themselves to top the game's critically-acclaimed predecessor with a vast open world, and a greater focus on choice and consequence than ever before.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PSN | XBLA (current & next-gen) | PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Child Of Light was too big a secret to keep. As an interactive fairytale, respectful homage to classic role-playing games and a gorgeous use of Rayman Origins' UbiArt engine, Far Cry 3's creative director couldn't help but let the cat out of the bag at GDC.
You can hardly blame him, because after getting hands-on with Child Of Light at a Parisian preview session, I can report that it's shaping up to be something very special indeed.
The story follows Aurora, a young girl marked by destiny in a fairytale world that toes the line between whimsical and thoroughly twisted. Packing a massive sword, fake crown and a hovering magical companion called Igniculus, our heroine sets out to bring light to the darkness in a hybrid between 2D exploration and classic turn-based battling.Click here to read more...
More XCOM? Yes please! Firaxis' fantastic strategy reboot was phenomenal last year, and now with XCOM: Enemy Within it looks as hough they've given us a whole host of reasons to slip that game back into the disc drive and leap back into the fray in the fight for Earth.
Only this time, there are mechs and genetically modified soldiers on both sides roaming the battlefields. Oh yes!
I sat down with producer Garth DeAngelis, who happily recognised e from the year before, and we had a bit of a chat about what Enemy Within will be bringing to the table and how Firaxis are expanding upon Enemy Unknown when it comes to gameplay decision-making, strategic depth, and the all-important balance between player choice and hefty consequences.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | PS4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One | 3DS
Developers: Traveller's Tales
Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive
Stan Lee Hulks out.
I was sold. Right there, with those four words.
Traveller's Tales' LEGO games have long been beloved of us gamers here at Dealspwn. The whimsy, the in-jokes, the slapstick comedy, the seamless co-operative play -- these games have had them all. So how on earth do you go and top them?
Apparently by Marvel giving you access to everything.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes basically sees the Silver Surfer planning on serving Earth up to Galactus on a plate. Doctor Doom is apparently a little concerned by this and would rather Galactus didn't do that so he begins a search for the enormously powerful Cosmic Bricks and starts amassing a bunch of ne'er-do-wells like Magneto and busts Loki out of his prison to raise an evil force of the criminally unhinged. His plan? To rescue Earth and then make all of humanity his subjects. In response, Nick Fury puts a call out to all of his heroic chums and figures such as the X-Men and Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four so that they can snap up the Cosmic Bricks first.Click here to read more...
In my EVE: Valkyrie hands-on preview, I called my brief time with the game The Most Immersive Gaming Experience OF My Life. Given that I had a chunk of free time, not to mention the fact that I was bubbling over with excitement like a simmering cauldron of joy, I tracked down Ian Shiels, the game's user experience designer, to have a chat about Valkyrie's beginnings and where the team are planning on taking it.
Hilariously, this was the day when all of our audio equipment went tits up and we also happened to be in the largest noisiest booth ever, so apologies for the background noise on this one.Click here to read more...
EVE: Valkyrie vs. Oculus Rift HD sounds like some sort of 90s remix.
As I pull the Rift HD headset over my head -- a feat that proves a bit more difficult for me than my fellows due to something of a fat head with an unkempt shrub on top of it -- one of the CCP reps reminds me to look around. I don't need telling twice. As the cushioned visor slips down over my temples, the claustrophobic business booth fades away and my vision is filled by a launch tunnel and the cockpit of a small dogfighter.
I wasn't sure if a three-minute game demo could feasibly make such an impression on me that I'd be thinking about it weeks after it happened. But, make no mistake, the cluster of minutes I played of EVE:Valkyrie form The Most Immersive Gameplay Experience I Have Ever Had.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3 | Xbox One | PS4
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Let’s clear something up – I loved Return To Castle Wolfenstein back in 2001. While it was the multiplayer that stole much of my free time (I was the sneakiest of Medics, yo) its single player campaign was fun, challenging, and full of interesting weapons (and foes to use them on.) Fast forward to 2009 and it’s a very different story. Wolfenstein felt incredibly off in almost every aspect with a single player campaign that didn’t engaged me at all, and a multiplayer that had no real focus (don't get me started on those Veil powers... ugh) ultimately being my sole regretful purchase of that year. So, to say I was nervous heading into my hands-on session with the next entry in the franchise was something of an understatement – I really wanted this to be as fun as RTCW.
Sat down in a room with a handful of other journalists, I was allowed to play the beginning of the game in its current Alpha build form, as timeless hero “B.J” Blazkowicz is joined by an team of Allied soldiers raiding the fortress of Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strass, one of the recurring antagonists of the series. It’s here we return to the familiar World War II setting – artillery fire off in the distance, storming castles with huge halls inside, and, of course, many Nazis to kill. Sure, it’s nothing we haven’t seen or played before, but after a somewhat lengthy intro cinematic, it all kicked off.
And to borrow a quote from another infamous gaming series, war has never been so much fun.Click here to read more...
During this year's Gamescom, Matt kept bringing up three topics of conversation. The first was how good Peggle 2 was. The second was how to refine our Octodad dance. However, the third was simply this - "Carl, why is there a MACHINE FOR PIGS?!"
Today, we attempt to answer that question.
In the latest episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, Carl dares to go through the first 25 minutes of Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs from The Chinese Room and Frictional Games. Watch as he braves getting out of bed, marvel at his billiard skills, and shake in terror at the idea of a machine. For piggehs!
This episode also features a first for the series - a reaction cam. Carl didn't do this willingly, and was forced to do so by Matt. As such, we here at Dealspwn apologise profusely for the following video, which you can find after the jump.Click here to read more...
We've made no secret of our optimism towards WildStar, the upcoming MMORPG from Carbine Studios, and the recent DevSpeak video on how the game will attempt to mix up crowd control is yet another reason we're keeping a close eye on it. So, it was only natural for Carl to take some time out to chat with Carbine's head honcho Jeremy Gaffney about the latest developments for the game. Watch it for yourself after the jump.Click here to read more...
I must admit, I was impressed by my hands-on time with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. It might be that Edward's story sees him play the role of pirate for a far greater period of time than assassin; or perhaps it's the return to the roots of the series with freeform assassination missions making a return; or could it be that the on-ship, naval gameplay is far more intrinsic to the entire experience than it was in Assassin's Creed III?
The answer is simple: it's all of the above.
But my time with the game itself, PS4 controller in hand, was brief. I needed something more, and luckily my guide through the demo happened to be lead writer Darby McDevitt, who, with the final business day of Gamescom drawing to a close, was happy to give me an interview and chat about where the team was taking the saga with this title.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS4 (tested) | Xbox One | PS3 | Xbox 360
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
You could have been forgiven for forgetting that Assassin's Creed III had "assassin" in the title. There was one example, maybe two if you squinted, of some actual assassinating in Connor's adventure. For the most part, it was a bloated mess, punctuated by lengthy fetch quests, instafail linear sections, and walking lengthy distances as colonial luminaries delivered historical lectures in audio that kept fading in and out of earshot. To be honest, we've rather been lamenting the series' slow abandonment of freeform assassinations, but it appears that the decline of stealthy sandbox murder-plotting might be at an end.
Black Flag is bringing them back in a big way.
Ubisoft have expanded Edward's set of clandestine tools. The blowpipe is particularly fun, sending guards to sleep or, better yet, sending them into a berserk frenzy whereupon they promptly attack their chums. But by far the most welcome change, is that Edward won't prematurely reveal himself when he performs ranged attacks or attempts to skewer a nearby guard. Gone are the days of a professional security type coming over to investigate, lured into the perfect position for a sly and stealthy assassination, only for our murderous protagonist to stand up as if to shout surprise, wrecking the "Avoid Detection" objective, and completing his grisly business almost insultingly visible to all. Now Edward can grab people from the bushes, whistling from leafy cover and snatching guards unaware without tripping the detection meter. The same goes for darts and guns and knives. Click here to read more...
The end of August saw what was possibly the most ridiculous fortnight of the year so far. We had a windfall of big-budget, outstanding titles from Saints Row IV to PayDay 2 to Disney Infinity to Rayman Legends. Oh, and Sam Fisher and Suda51 and a bunch of Sectoids showed up too. As did Platinum Games.
As such, this has been one of the toughest Game of the Month pieces to sort out. Not in terms of the outright winner, perhaps, but the runners-up have been hotly contested. And then there's all of the fantastic indie titles such as SteamWorld Dig and Papers, Please and Gone Home and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Shelter.
Here in the UK, we've actually had some sunshine this August. But thankfully, there were so many reasons for staying inside this month, safe from that massive cancerous ball of fire in the sky. Let's take a look at the best of them...
Saints Row IV -- Saints Row IV might not be the game that the die-hard Saints Row 2 fans have hoped for, but neither is it the bundle of juvenalia that The Third became. Instead, Volition have taken the best of both worlds and forged a fantastically self-aware opus that proves phenomenally engrossing whether you're dipping into it for a quick, cathartic blast after a long day or settling in for a few hours of extended gameplay. It's wonderfully referential and surprisingly refined in its approach to mixing things up, it's frequently funny and provides a challenge consistently even when you fear you're about to become too powerful. But best of all, it's a whole damn heap of fun, whether alone or playing with a friend. 9/10Click here to read more...
Yes, that's right! There's another podcast this weekend, aren't you lucky? Having had time now to collect our thoughts and reflect on the games we saw and played in Cologne this year, Carl and I look back on Gamescom 2013, we ask if Microsoft managed to wipe the slate clean as hoped, and we pick out some highlights from the show.
Oh, and sing the Octodad song we invented whilst delirious from fatigue.
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.
Click the banner or the title link above to play the podcast, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
Whether you love it or hate it, it's hard to deny that Dark Souls has made a huge impact on the games industry thanks to its unforgiving combat, devious boss battles, and incredible vistas. I was invited to have a quick chat with Tak Miyazoe, global producer for Namco Bandai, to learn more about the upcoming sequel Dark Souls II. Watch the interview for yourself after the jump.Click here to read more...
It has been a fair few months since we last spoke to the folks at Red Thread Games about Dreamfall Chapters, and much has happened since then. At the time they just hit their Kickstarter target, but when the crowdfunding campaign ended with a grand total of over $1.5 million, it meant the Norway-based developers would be able to create a bigger and more in-depth sequel. Having shown off an example of what they call "game spaces" at this year's Rezzed convention, giving players a preview of how Zoe Castillo will be able to interact with her surroundings when the game releases next year, I jumped at the chance to speak to the two of the men responsible for bringing the worlds of Arcadia and Stark back to life - Dag Scheve and Ragnar Tørnquist - at this year's Gamescom.
In the interview, we talk about life after the Kickstarter, getting the old gang back together, their previous project The Secret World, developing with the Unity Engine, and the characters of The Longest Journey saga.
Then the word 'wang' is used, and the whole thing goes straight to hell. To find out the context for it, and for the rest of the interview, hit the jump.Click here to read more...