It's been a while since I got properly stuck into a SHMUP, but the love for the classic genre has never really gone away. It's more that the sheer number and diversity of the games we cover has meant that specialised skills have begun to fall by the wayside. Just as my fighting game knowledge and racing line proficiency have deteriorated over the past few years, so too have the decisive nerves required for bullet-hell shooters and Defender's dynasty.
Actually that's probably all balls: I've never been particularly brilliant at games full stop, and so it might seem a little strange when I say that Resogun is my favourite out of all of the PS4's launch lineup. After all, it's a side-scrolling (sort of) lateral SHMUP, full of nervous moments, neon fireworks, and leaderboards to climb. But it's short and sweet, and comes from Housemarque -- the developers behind the excellent Super Stardust HD.
It's a game that has five levels to begin with, divided into three phases a piece, with three ships to choose from, and an ever-changing cylindrical battlefield. The controls are simple: one stick to steer, one stick to shoot, with bombs, a boost button, and an Overdrive laser to help out when things get dicey. There's no real bullet-hell in this game, rather the challenge comes from throwing loads and loads of enemies at you from both sides, and nudging you to try and rescue the imprisoned humans dotted about each level.
I died a lot, because I'm rubbish at multitasking. As it turns out, attempting to fight off swarms of foes on two fronts, as well as determining where the next human I needed to save, dodging projectiles, trying to gather up energy to power my Overdrive, and chatting into a microphone prove a little too much for my fuzzy brain to handle, as you'll see in the video below.Click here to read more...
Killzone: Shadow Fall is one of the jewels in Sony's PS4 launch lineup, and we've gone and captured the first 20 minutes of gameplay for you to check out. It's graphically rather impressive, although some of the lip-synching could be better. Rest assured that we'll have a Killzone: Shadow Fall review for you very soon.Click here to read more...
Kinect isn't just a gimmick any more. Well, I suppose it is, but it's a damn good one nonetheless. Xbox One's powerful depth sensor is capable of automatically recognising us, our profiles and even when we put down our controllers; tracking our movements and keeping us in frame during Skype calls. Plus, if you outstretch an arm and clench your fist, you'll discover that the Minority Report dream is almost here.
However, by far our favourite thing about Kinect is its microphone, which lets us control the Xbox One using simple words and phrases. It's powerful, enjoyable and feels a bit like helming our own videogame starship. You'll need to say the exact phrases, though, the words of power, in order to navigate your new console without touching a controller.
So here, dear reader, is an exhaustive list of voice commands to show off to your friends today.
Bear this in mind: If you see text written in green, chances are that you can read it aloud to perform an action. Also, after successfully performing a voice command, Kinect keeps listening alertly for a few seconds (an icon appears in the top-right corner of the screen) so you don't necessarily have to say "Xbox" each time to get its attention.Click here to read more...
The next console generation begins today, friends. My Xbox One has just arrived, meaning that it's time for me to spend an entire day bunking off work to play with it...
...wait, what? Make an unboxing video? Really? With this face?
Fine, Matt. Fine. FINE.
So here's the contents of an Xbox One: Day One Edition FIFA 14 package, liberally scattered over a sofa by a fat guy wearing devastatingly handsome patent leather gloves. Apologies for the light level, though, since it played havoc with the detail. I'm not unboxing it again.Click here to read more...
The Xbox One launches worldwide tomorrow. It seems like it's been more than a handful of months since Microsoft's widely derided initial reveal. We've had u-turns aplenty and constant mixed messages, but is the Redmond company bouncing back at just the right time? There are still so many questions to be answered, not to mention a few niggling technical issues that Microsoft could probably have done without, and there's still the matter of that price point... but can the Xbox One's rather impressive launch lineup make up for that?
I've made no secret of the fact that I pre-ordered an Xbox One. Perhaps I subconsciously can't say goodbye to eight years of Gamerscore, but Microsoft's console has managed to capture my imagination despite the truly horrendous reveal event back in May.
The launch lineup plays a major role. I'm not expecting any legendary games for the ages here, but unlike the usual shelf-fillers, Microsoft have secured an open-world zombie game, zoo management sim, first-party racer and other varied delights you'd rarely expect from a brand new console. There's also a spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon, one of my favourite franchises of all time, though it's a bit cack by all accounts. Seethe. Still, Titanfall's coming, which makes me very happy indeed.
And then there's Kinect, which looks set to turn the basic user experience into a futuristic playground. I can talk to my console. I can command it to dominate my entire AV system with its IR-blasting functionality. I can access my entertainment, friends list and games collection with a few well-chosen words, a prospect that might become old hat in a few days, but fills me with genuine childlike excitement nonetheless. Kinect may have missed the dream of Minority Report on Xbox 360, but I don't mind skipping straight to the Starship Enterprise on Xbox One.
My only major concern about the Xbox One, save that it seems to be tougher to develop for than the PS4 and the fact that Microsoft needs to get their rear in gear regarding indie development, is that it probably isn't an "All In One" entertainment system. Without proper media streaming (why isn't it a Windows Media Extender? WHY?!!) or proper TV guide support in the UK, it feels more like a middle man that squats between your television and the TV content you already watch and pay for. We'll know the truth of it soon enough.Click here to read more...
Next-gen is here, as you'll no doubt know having watched our magnificent PS4 unboxing video. So we all sat down to have a little chat about our thoughts on each of the big three consoles that'll be adorning the shelves this Christmas, and deliver our thoughts as consumers and critics on the major platforms up for grabs.
First up, it's the PS4...
Much has been said about the key titles slipping into next year, leaving early PS4 adopters with only Killzone: Shadow Fall standing out as a must buy exclusive. It’s a good thing I bloody love that series then isn’t it?
Everyone seems to forget about the third-party titles around launch. For either console, players are going to be throwing their cash at Battlefield 4, COD: Ghosts, FIFA 14 and Assassin’s Creed IV. These games will keep PS4 gamers going until next year when the likes of Infamous: Second Son and DriveClub (PS+ Edition at least) arrive. Add there’s the new Uncharted to look forward too.
The above third-party titles have seen a drop in sales as gamers wait for the next-gen versions, so it looks like plenty of you are going next-gen as soon as possible. I can’t see either console bombing to be honest though, so I wouldn’t be expecting a price-drop by March (or even summer) when the other titles turn up to the party. Some of the older game’s prices may have dropped by then, but can you avoid spoilers for that long?
I’ve been glad to see Sony’s core message always stick to gaming in the build-up. I’m buying a games console after all. Sure, I’ll use LoveFilm or Netflix, but there’s no need to make a song and dance about a last-gen feature every five minutes.
Although there’s no reason to buy the camera this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how Sony uses it. The damn thing has eye-tracking in it and Sony rarely mention this, so it’d be nice if they start putting the camera to good use next year or at least make it sound like attractive piece of hardware to us and developers.
Overall, it’s a no brainer that I’m ordering a PS4. The exclusives work better for me, I’ve always preferred the DualShock controller, PS Plus has been fantastic value so far (Contrast on launch day too) and the money I’m saving over an Xbone will pay for some extra games.Click here to read more...
Nintendo's handheld may have had a rough start in life, but this year, the 3DS has become one of the best consoles on the market. And I do mean 'consoles,' not just 'handhelds.' A superb game collection, compatibility with all DS games and massive first-party support (i.e. excellent new entries from classic franchises) means that you'll rarely be able to put it down, even if the stereoscopic 3D is a bit of a gimmick.
It's a smart buy this Christmas, then, and a cinch to set up. However, with two different models available - alongside the new 2DS that can be bought for less than £100 - we're somewhat spoiled for choice.
Luckily we're on hand to help with a buyer's guide containing practical advice, the best games and links to the cheapest prices around.
Click here to read more...
Sony's official unboxing video was a thing of hammy brilliance, so it's perhaps no surprise that when we came to make our own, we took lashings of inspiration from Yoshida and co.
That's right folks, next-gen (current-gen now I suppose) is finally here, and Sony kindly sent us a PS4 unit and some titles to review. Naturally, the first thing we did was take some pointers from our wonderful community, strap on some gloves, and give Sony's latest console the unboxing treatment.
BEHOLD! Greatness awaits! Maybe.Click here to read more...
I have only played X Rebirth for a handful of hours thus far, with the video below chronicling my return to the X universe for the first time in several years. It seems Egosoft have pulled their usual stunt of releasing a buggy, broken mess of a game, apologising profusely, and will no doubt rectify the thing over the course of the next few months.
The X universe has always been the stage for one of the more impenetrable space sim franchises out there. The sheer level of detail and scope and depth that Egosoft have continued to bring to their prized series has kept hardcore fans coming back for more, but has also presented a rather steep and immediate learning curve for those who don't want to spend an hour learning and customising key bindings and sifting through endless reams of charts and information.Click here to read more...
We’re back with yet another wrap-up of the 6-week-long class reveals for WildStar, which highlights some of the important or more eye-catching details from the previous seven days. After the success of the first week (I’m stating it as such because I’ve managed to get our resident Playstation junkie Brendan frothing at the idea of Carbine’s upcoming MMO) which focused on the Warrior, we continue with the second class in the series of reveals. Or, in this case, yet another re-reveal, because you haven’t earned the good new stuff just yet.
You gaming peasants.
Now, I enjoy smashing things with giant swords in a virtual space as much as the next person, but sometimes conventional warfare just doesn’t cut it (decide amongst yourselves if that’s a pun or not – I’m far too tired right now.) So it’s just as well that we get to look at the first of WildStar’s ranged classes with the second week of the Class Drop – the Esper. This class is the nearest thing to a traditional mage in regards to the rest of the MMO genre, capable of being either a damage dealer or a healer, but as the latest DevSpeak video demonstrated, this is no ordinary mage thanks to its array of mind-bending abilities. Fancy utilising deadly illusions to destroy foes? Perhaps you want to make you enemies think there are horrific monsters nearby? Maybe you want to hurl glowing daggers of death? Personally, I feel the following image sums it all up perfectly.
If you read my hands-on preview of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 a few weeks ago you may be interested to take a look at my new hands-on preview video of the game. Taking place at what may turn out to be the first stage of the game, you'll see a variety of new weapons in action such as the Void Sword and the Cestus Claws. And you see Gabriel rip a knight into what can only be described as a red splash. It's messy.
With only Ryse on the horizon, this is one of our most eagerly-awaited hack n' slash titles. Kratos better come out of retirement soon if he doesn't want to lose his title.Click here to see the video.
Compulsion Games' curious-looking platform-puzzler has been on our radar for some time now, and it popped up on those of a whole bunch of others when Sony swapped it in for Driveclub when it came to their PS Plus launch offering on Playstation 4. The review is coming later today, but in the interim, here's the first fifteen minutes or so to give you an idea of what to expect.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
Kinect Sports actually proved to be a pretty solid launch title for the original incarnation of the motion control peripheral. Once you understood the limitations of the hardware -- something that could be said of Wii Sports' debut as well -- the game became an absolute blast, and a party staple to be enjoyed with friends and family. No, it wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better than most of the drivel that came out for the Xbox 360's Kinect camera.
Fast forward to late-2013, and Rare have some unfinished business with Kinect, and now, with the improved motion sensor in Kinect 2.0, can they finally deliver the motion control experience we all hoped for several years ago?
The answer, actually, might just be yes. A muck-about with Kinect Sports Rivals: Preseason -- the free Wave Race-esque download that'll be launching alongside the Xbox One in a matter of days -- not only shows off the impressive subtleties of movement that the new Kinect camera picks up on, but it presents the whole thing in a slightly more visually impressive manner, even if everything is still incredibly bright, wholesome, and, dare I say it, saccharine. Then again, we've been complaining about the drudgery of greys and browns in gaming for years, so I'm going to shut my face on that one.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Oh Kinect. When you first emerged we were so excited. Well, sort of. We dreamed of 1-1 connections between our physical bodies and the virtual simulacra that appeared upon the screens before us. Imagine, we thought to ourselves, if we could do a Hadouken and have our avatars do the same with no delay or lag or hideous crashing. Wouldn't that be great?
And then Fighters Uncaged came along and slapped us in the face with a hard dose of reality by being utterly horrible and quite possibly the worst fighting game ever made, and yes that includes Clayfighter 63 1/3. Kill it, we cried. Kill it with fire.
Still, here comes Daoka with another swing at things and, guess what! Fighter Within isn't awful.Click here to read more...
The next console generation starts this week, at least if you're American. The PS4 and Xbox One are just scant days away, heralding a brand new age of gaming goodness, and the promise of a new wave of exceptional titles.
However, before the PS4 and Xbox One move in, they'll have to clean house.
This generation has seen any number of stupid design decisions, awful consumer-hurting business practices and downright lazy omissions seep into videogames - that we'd like to see killed off in their entirety going forward. Here are ten of the most deserving offenders that, frankly, should be first against the wall.
In no particular order:
Add your own in the comments. There's more. There are always more.Click here to read more...
XCOM: Enemy Within is out later this week for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, and the hefty expansion to last year's stunning XCOM: Enemy Unknown is bringing a host of new features along with it, including a mysterious resources named Meld.
We're not going to give too much away, here, but Meld basically turns XCOM into Mechs-COM. Or Genetics-COM... but that didn't roll off the tongue as nicely.
As you wait breathlessly for our XCOM: Enemy Within review, here's a little taster video showing off a couple of the Meld introductory missions. Expect another Dealspwn Playthrough featuring ridiculously amped-up cyborgs and recombined gene-stuffed commandos very soon as well.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
I was not kind to Ryse: Son of Rome the first time around.
In my carefully titled Ryse: Son of Rome Preview Impressions piece, I lambasted Crytek's coming game for its heavy reliance on button-mashing and QTEs. This was coming out of Gamescom, mind, where we'd been privy only to a frenzied hack-and-slash co-op demo that I played through once with Carl by my side and then returned to slice my way through a day or two later with a bunch of strangers. Though I have a soft spot for games in this genre, I was left rather unimpressed.
After spending an hour or so getting to grips with the singleplayer component of the game last week at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase, however, let's say that my position has softened somewhat. We are not automatons, and so we get excited for and pass scorn on games just like anyone else. It would be remiss of me to suggest that I'd wandered into my session with Ryse with high hopes, it's important to note that. You never hope that a game is going to be bad, but from everything I'd seen and played, I was readying myself for a hatchet job.
But, to my pleasant surprise, I had a great time.Click here to read more...
Last Wednesday, Carbine Studios began its 6-week-long campaign to inform the world about the playable classes in WildStar, their upcoming sci-fi MMORPG. While we will have to wait a few more weeks to learn something completely new (such as the Engi[DACTED] and Me[DACTED] classes that have already seen their names whispered in the wilds of the internet) week one kicked it all off with the reintroduction of a classic archtype – the Warrior. After all, we already knew they would carry a sword and swing it around with gleeful abandon, but the reveals this week demonstrated how far the Warrior class has come, along with some interesting teases of gameplay systems that will get fleshed out in the coming weeks, so there’s plenty to recap.
We also got to see hoverboards, because HOVERBOARDS. We should probably get on with this before I just end up typing that repeatedly.
The week began with release of a new DevSpeak video dedicated to the sword-wielding destroyers, reminding us of the basics – they get a nuclear-powered sword, they wear heavy armour, and their M.O. is to deliver the hurt right up in the grill of their enemies. This was reflected with the reference to 80s-style wrestling moves, with power kicks and “bitch slaps” contributing to the very physical and powerful look of their abilities. In short, it was a confirmation of the style Carbine had previously demonstrated for the Warrior, but for extra clarification I've made a helpful visual guide to ensure you know exactly what the warrior is about.
Deadfall Adventures is looking to bring a few new elements to the Indiana Jones-esque adventuring sub-genre for which Nathan Drake and Lara Croft might well be the poster children these days. For starters, the game has taken on a first-person perspective, bringing the easy immersion and immediate action of stepping directly into a player-character's shoes. But then there's also the fact that the game goes back to classic source material for its inspiration, particularly the novels of H. Rider Haggard.
We sat down with producer Martin Kreuch at a Deadfall event last week to have a bit of a chat about Allan Quatermain and his great-grandson, how to string up your chums in multiplayer with deadly traps, and why the Steam Box initiative is really exciting from a development standpoint.
We'll have a Deadfall Adventures review for you later this week.Click here to read more...
Infinity Ward’s latest shooter, Call of Duty: Ghosts, hit the shelves this week and has again proved a big success, although not to the same degree as previous titles. There’s been a drop in sales, albeit one which could be explained by players waiting for next-gen versions later this month. The critical reception has taken a hit too though as the series dips into the ‘dreaded’ yellow zone on Metacritic with a current average of 75 instead of the usual 80-90 range. Our very own Mr. Lester gave the game a 6/10 rating.
Much of the criticism has been aimed at the game’s single player element, which is surprising, given that Infinity Ward should know what they’re doing by now. Have they become lazy? Are we expecting too much? Have our tastes changed? Or do we just want to get on with the multiplayer?
Well, today let’s tackle the single player side of Ghosts, by looking at what’s strong and what’s wrong with it. My experience and thoughts are based on my recent complete playthrough of the campaign on the PS3.Click here to read more...