After playing WildStar for several weeks, we figured it was about time we did our jobs and picked the game apart. So here it is: a big, fat, bumper WildStar podcast that goes into detail regarding our likes, dislikes, criticisms, and joyous songs of praise for Carbine's upcoming MMO extravaganza.
You can either hit the play button on the video below and listen to us discuss the game over a bunch of our captured game footage and video material from Carbine and NCsoft, or there's an audio-only option should you want to pop it onto your phone or iPod for listening to on your travels.
One final mapjabbit to go. But there are platoons of Torine sisters and killer crocs, flying sharks and crashes aplenty. There's a fair amount of hapless dying in this episode as we get stuck in enemy territory, but silver lining as we discover floating islands in the clouds, and finally, finally complete the cartography mission we set out to do last episode.
There's a lot of WildStar goodness still to come this afternoon, and we finally crack out our critical thinking caps and get stuck in to some beta impressions, so make sure you don't go anywhere.
I've been on a bit of a VR trip of late. Ever since THAT mind-blowing EVE: Valkyrie Gamescom demo, in fact. So when I had an opportunity earlier this week to check out the upcoming sci-fi adventure game Loading Human, from developers Untold Games, I absolutely jumped at the chance.
You can read my account of the 30-45 minutes hands-on session in my preview here, but here's a TL:DR brief summary anyway:
Untold Games are pointing the way forwards for adventure games with Loading Human; this is a tantalising possible future for the genre and for interactive storytelling in general. But whether or not it takes off sooner rather than later will all come down to execution. We're on the cusp of having the most immersive interactive narrative experiences any of us have ever seen; fingers crossed that the tech holds up.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Flavio Parenti and Elisa Di Lorenzo -- the creative and technical heads respectively at Untold Games for this project -- and our discussion ranged from the origins of Loading Human to how the team are pressing forward in rather pioneering fashion, to point the way forwards for the adventure genre.Click here to read more...
I'm stood in line at Boots, patiently waiting for the pharmacist to pop some antibiotics in a bag, feeling utterly loathsome and wondering if the workmen who've been noisily drilling in the recesses of my mind will permit me some respite from this godawful migraine, when my phone buzzes. It turns out that a space has opened up at noon for a chance to go hands-on with Loading Human -- the deliciously ambitious sci-fi adventure game that was revealed only a few days ago, and makes use of the Oculus Rift and the Hydra motion controller. I have an hour and a half to rush back home, grab my stuff, and then race across town. I slap myself in the face, grab the bag of prescription drugs, and run my arse off... for about 100 metres before collapsing in a coughing fit.
I made it in the end, though.
How could I not, in truth. When I made my predictions for 2014, I stated confidently that this year would herald a great shift as VR would become a consumer reality, and spoke about how the recent wave of experiential titles -- games such as Dear Esther and Gone Home -- would be most gloriously served by the the increased prospects for immersive gaming presented by devices such as the Oculus Rift. Step forward, then, Loading Human -- described by developers Untold Games as "an old-school adventure game" that certainly fits the mould, but is inspired by sci-fi pillars such as The Matrix and Strange Days as much as it is by Monkey Island.
The concept behind Loading Human is deliciously meta in nature. You play Andre -- a man dying of Alzheimer's diseased -- who finds himself placed into a virtual world by his Nobel Prize-winning genius wife Michelle, so that he might relive his memories and recover himself. The Oculus Rift will immerse you in the virtual world within the virtual world of the game itself (INCEPTION GAMING!), and motion controls such as the Razer Hydra or Sixense STEM will be the tools by which you interact with the world around you. Just as Andre is rediscovering himself, so too will we be rediscovering a means of interacting with virtual worlds.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (Steam Early Access, £16.99)
Developer: Little Green Men Games
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
Starpoint Gemini 2 promises to be an intoxicating proposition for fans of space sims and RPGs. Throughout a freeform galaxy wracked by fierce conflict, players will battle, mine, salvage and trade their way to bigger and better starships bristling with turrets and fighters, exploring dozens of systems, all while pursuing a lengthy storyline and levelling up their character with perks and skills.
However, we've heard it all before, since the original Starpoint Gemini made much the same boast but fell short in the execution. Little Green Men Games have therefore gone back to the drawing board to deliver a firm foundation for the sequel: a fully 3D, PhysX-powered sandbox universe to explore and conquer in real-time, allowing us to directly control our capital ships in tense naval battles among the stars.
This foundation -- sans storyline and several features -- is currently available on Steam Early Access. Though Starpoint Gemini 2 still has much to prove, I'm delighted to report that it's shaping up very nicely indeed. Full power to engines, launch all fighter wings and fire at will!Click here to read more...
It seems 2013 was the year that Matt Gardner (Senior Editor of Dealspwn and resident Slash lookalike) revealed his hatred for me, or perhaps more specifically his passion for seeing me suffer. Just a simple trawl back through the games he assigned me to review last year yield a collection of games that in the main were harder than your average. Couple it with the fact that 2013 was also the year I finally finished Dark Souls and a look back on the year makes me realise what a ruddy hard slog it was.
Not that I’m complaining of course – some of those games were bloody brilliant – but such exposure to challenging games made me take a big step back. Often in gaming we praise the difficult game, the one that is a challenge, to the point where difficulty has become almost synonymous with quality in a game. But in reality, is this really the case? Throughout 2013 ,the difficulty in the games I reviewed has been high, but the quality hasn't always been there. I've reviewed the very good - games like Spelunky - down to the really quite bad - step forward A-Men 2. So clearly this theory of 'difficult equals good' doesn't always ring true, in fact I believe now more than ever that this way of thinking is completely wrong.
To start with we have to look at why we like “difficult” games, and then dig deeper to see how this is being used in today’s games, for better or worse.
One school of thought is that our love of a difficult game stems from our early gaming days. A time when technical limitation rather than designer choice made mid games saves rare or even non-existent. Where a game had to be finished in one sitting, lives were limited, and a mistake was costly – no hiding behind a bin for three second for that bullet wound to the head to heal back in the 80s, no siree! And we loved those games, those early experiences, and for those of us old enough to remember them, nostalgia sometimes clouds our judgement for what we really want in a game. Everyone knows we love the good old days. Everyone knows older games were harder. Well therefore everyone likes hard games. Strike one for the prosecution.Click here to read more...
Happy Monday folks! On today's episode of WildStar: The Noob, we continue to embrace the Path of the Explorer by strapping some mapping devices to a bunch of rabbits, and then sneakily infiltrating enemy territories in order to deploy our lupine adventurers.
DISCLAIMER: Dealspwn in no way endorses sellotaping GPS devices to floppy-eared pets.
What's better than spellslinging with dual pistols? Spellslinging with dual pistols that you've built with your own hands! Time to learn about tradeskills!
That's right folks, Shepherd Borg learns how to craft guns in the latest episode of WildStar: The Noob. And then just as things are getting good, we break the game and have to quit out.
You can catch up with previous episodes of WildStar: The Noob here, and do be sure to take in Carl’s most recent WildStar info wrap-up, which lifts the lid on a whole bunch of awesome customisation material, as well as checking out his Crafting 101 Dealspwn Playthrough.
Only a few short weeks to go now before the concluding part of the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy and we're celebrating with a video playthrough to show you the new combat system. The apparently not backwardly-named Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, has ditched the stale combat of the last two games by assigning various attacks and spells to the face buttons of your controller.
Customisation is back in style too as you can enter battle with three different Schema, each with their own set of skills to give you extra combat options. With around 70 Schema to choose from in the final game -each of them customisable too- the depth on offer is looking absolutely huge. For the most part, Lightning will be on her own, but the Schema changes give the game a quasi team-based feel and the slicker combat feels like Square Enix could be onto a winner. Plus, Lightning is easily the best member of the XIII cast.
So take a look at our video to see half an hour of combat, customisation and cutscenes. You can even try out the new combat system for yourself by downloading the demo from PSN or XBL.Click here to read more...
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We've explored a lot of the PvE side for upcoming MMO WildStar, but for today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, after several requests from our viewers, we finally get involved with the hectic PvP that will be available. Carl provides commentary as he takes Reinhold the Aurin Stalker into the battleground of Walatiki Temple. See how he fairs in his bid to snab some tiki masks by hitting the jump.
You can jump into Larian's latest RPG -- Divinity: Original Sin -- over on Steam right now thanks to Early Access. The game is currently in alpha, meaning that bugs and placeholders and limited options abound, but you can actually get a really good feel for things, and the co-operative roleplaying element of Original Sin is on show for all to see.
There are two main characters in this game -- making it a perfect title to play with a friend (you can team up or split up whenever you want) -- and you have the opportunity to assign them to one of three classes at the start, but little beyond that at this stage of development. However, from then on, everything's pretty much open. You get plonked down in Rivellon, assigned to investigate a recent murder, and that's about it. You can go off and pretty much do whatever you like.
We have a half-hour playthrough complete with some initial impressions and commentary after the jump, in which our heroic duo set some Orcs on fire, beat up an enormous crab, and then pick a fight with a bunch of random NPCs... just because they can.Click here to read more...
It's basically this year's Surgeon Simulator, with lots of potential for slapstick comedy, controls that are hilariously warped, and a premise that might just be one of the best we've ever come across. For that alone, it's probably worth picking up on the cheap in this first week or two.
You play the role of a family man -- a loving husband and father -- who happens to be an octopus. No one suspects a thing, and your job is to keep it that by carrying out everyday activities in a normal fashion. But that's the thing: in a game where the character handling takes oodles of inspiration from QWOP, even the most mundane tasks can prove absurdly difficult, and the simple act of walking can have inadvertently hilarious results.
Also, who knew mowing the lawn would prove so difficult?!Click here to read more...
In this week's Game Night, the Dealspwn Trio decide to give the latest Battlefield title a go in a few rounds of the Conquest Large game mode. Of course, things don't go according to plan when Matt has a few issues, leaving Carl and Jon to continue the fight by absolutely not playing a different game.
No sir.Click here to read more...
Yes, this is what we've all been waiting for: Nintendo springing into action, facing up to their mistakes, being candid about the challenges ahead, and coming out swinging. It's action stations, and president Satoru Iwata has outlined the path ahead for Nintendo. This is the road to redemption!
Let's recap. Nintendo's corporate strategy meeting today yielded some very interesting information. You can read through the whole thing here, but here are the main points in bullet point form:
There's a lot to unpack from that, and some things that we've heard Nintendo say before and then fail to execute. But there's also a lot of new stuff to pick apart, particularly when it comes to smart devices and this new idea for a QOL-improving service.
Nintendo's biggest difficulty with the Wii U has been making it seem essential in any way, shape, or fashion. And I don't just mean for us gamers, but actually mainly for the millions of people who'd never call themselves "gamers" who bought a Wii or a Nintendo DS. Nintendo haven't found a way to capture the minds of those people, and that barrier begins with the Game Pad. We've said it ever since we first had a Wii U in our hands; that people would see the Wii U as some sort of tablet accessory -- a mere extension of its predecessor, and therefore unessential.
That's not lost on Iwata either.Click here to read more...
Today’s episode of WildStar: The Noob sees us engaging more heavily in our destined Path: that of the Explorer. We claim some territory for the Exiles, fail to infiltrate a cave, come face to face with some pesky flying sharks again, and go deep into uncharted territory to try and find out what happened to a fellow adventurer who went missing some time ago.
You can catch up with previous episodes of WildStar: The Noob here, and do be sure to take in Carl’s most recent WildStar info wrap-up, which lifts the lid on a whole bunch of awesome customisation material.
Just when we thought we wouldn’t have any WildStar to Wrap-up, we’re back with more details for the upcoming MMORPG. While we’ve been hammering the site with video content up the wazoo thanks to our access to the game’s first 15 levels, Carbine haven’t been resting on the laurels. For instance, they finally got round to doing that Stalker livestream, showing off the super-stealthy bastard in all its glory. Not only that, but the long awaited Pappy Vs Frost developer PvP showdown actually happened, and although Stephan Frost was (perhaps not surprisingly) victorious, Chad Moore definitely gave him a run for his money, so kudos Mr Lore-man!
That said, the highlight of the stream was clearly Hugh Shelton’s glorious beard, something I made quite clear to him on Twitter.
— Carl Phillips (@CarlPhillipsUK) January 19, 2014
Seriously though, it's as if he and my virtual alter ego McGarnagle were actually separated at birth. Evidence is below.
Anyway, let's get down to business.
Carbine and NCSOFT decided it would be fun to include me in a conference call for the next big information blowout on customization (which, yes, I know is spelt the American way, but I can’t stay mad at those scamps at Carbine. Basically, what I’m trying to say is – please send all your grammar correction feedback in the direction of Jeremy Gaffney.) You see, customisation (take that, letter ‘Z’!) is always fun in MMOs when players are given the opportunity to utilize it, and because Carbine recognised this early on in development they decided to incorporate it into the heart of the experience. To talk about this, head of PR for North American Michael Shelling headed up the call with several members of the Carbine team - social feature team lead Joseph Piepiora, creative director Matt Mocarski, systems designer Nick Roth, and class designer Hugh Shelton.
It’s worth pointing out that what you’re about to read is one of the biggest articles I’ve put together, and while all the information will be key to newcomers, there are definitely some new tidbits for those that live, eat and sleep WildStar. So, hold onto your butts - it's time to talk about customisation in housing, player characters, combat, and mounts.
Those of you who have already seen our episode of Dealspwn Playthrough dedicated to housing will already know a fair bit about this, but before we got to the new bits of info, social features team lead Joseph Piepiora gave us a rundown of the basics, so here's a recap. Players first get their own house at level 14 when they go to their respective faction’s capital – Thayd for Exiles and Illium for the Dominion – and are given a quest from intergalactic corporation Protostar to visit their “housing of the future” booth. After players have toured around the exhibit (and basked in the glorious muzak-esque tones that play while doing so) they are finally given a plot of floating land on which to call their own.
We love Battlefield 4 here at Dealspwn.com. Just last night, Matt, Carl and I settled down for some Conquest Large action on PC, bringing our unique 'headless chicken' brand of negative K/D destruction to Lancang Dam. I hunted squads of snipers with carbine fire and thumped RPGs into APCs, Carl kept us in the fight with his trusty defibrillator like an absolute hero, while Matt... well, Matt couldn't sustain a connection for more than a couple of minutes on the rare occasions that Battlelog actually worked. Before eventually quitting in unbridled and thoroughly understandable rage.
It's a familiar story that will ring true for any number of Battlefield 4 players, since DICE's shooter released in an abjectly awful state last year and still needs plenty of work in the netcode department. Which, frankly, has us a little worried about the impending launch of Titanfall in two months time, even though we can't wait to play it.
EA are keenly aware of this, having come under fire from gamers and investors alike, and have promised that they've learned from their mistakes. Frankly, they'd better have, because this time there's much more on the line than just an established brand's reputation.
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Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 | PS4
Publishers: Focus Home Interactive
You have to admire Spiders' ambitions. They're a small team who want to make big games. Really big games. We're not talking shooters that you can rattle through in a matter of hours; we're talking RPGs with branching storylines, loads of customisation options, a decent story, optional companions, and an engaging combat system. These things don't come cheap, and the amount of effort it takes to craft a 20-25 hour RPG is intimidating.
That's what Bound By Flame is: a fully-fledged, high fantasy RPG on a budget that's a mere fraction of the likes enjoyed by Bethesda's and EA's studios. Made by a team more famous for porting The Testament of Sherlock Holmes to consoles than perhaps for their first stab at a truly expansive title in Mars: War Logs.
At least, that's the idea.
But Spiders are building up the time for their game at a good time. There's a dearth of fantastical Western RPGs right now, and if they can get Bound By Flame out ahead of the likes of The Witcher 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, it is to be hoped that the gap in the market might do them some favours. With a while yet to wait until the coming big-hitters make their retail appearances, it's not surprising that Bound By Flame is getting a fair bit of attention, and rightly so.Click here to read more...
Today brings us the news that Microsoft have bought the Gears Of War license from Epic Games, meaning that the franchise will now become one of the Xbox One's core exclusives. Black Tusk Studios are already working on the next game in the series, which has the potential to take the series in some exciting new directions.
So much potential, in fact, that we've come up with a quick wishlist for what we'd like to see from the franchise, both in terms of its setting, gameplay and features we so desperately crave.
Every death, every twist, every hard-won battle and every sacrifice in the Gears Of War canon harks back to a single pivotal event in Sera's history: Emergence Day. The Locust blitzkrieg changed everything, yet the games have proved surprisingly reluctant to actually show it to us beyond a couple of brief cutscenes. Even Judgment chickened out, opting to set its campaign after this all-important conflict. It's high time we experienced E-Day in all its savage and desperate glory, seeing how the pristine cities of Sera became the charred rubble we've seen in game after game, as massive sinkholes open up beneath the gathered COG war machine.Click here to read more...
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We're back with yet another Dealspwn Reload - where each week we bring you a quickfire review of the interesting tidbits of industry news, be it the exciting, the ridiculous, or the completely irrelevant, before providing a rundown of what games are releasing over the coming days, as well as what to expect on-site in terms of coverage. Get your fix by hitting the jump.