In today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, Carl and Matt attempt to survive their first experience together of the Multiplayer portion of Naughty Dog's latest PS3 game The Last Of Us. Watch as they gather supplies, see the downside to being on fire, and tackle the harsh reality of a fungal-based apocalypse, all after the jump.Click here to read more...
Walking away from this year's slew of E3 press conferences, and a couple of pre-recorded video presentations, I can't say I felt enormously "pumped", as UFC's Dana White might have put it, for the next generation of video games consoles as I was perhaps hoping. Last year's E3 was a carnival of bombastic, bloody excess -- a gaudy and gory pantomime of slickly presented hammer blows, one after the other. We criticised the uber-violence, we lamented the lack of gameplay footage from some quarters (praising Ubisoft for bucking that particular trend), we slammed Nintendo for not being ready for their own, unopposed console release.
Some things don't change.
But others do. The industry listened and, with more to explain this year, publishers and platform holders stepped up their game, targeting their audience in intelligent fashion. By and large, the worst thing we could level at most of the press conferences, Sony aside, was that there was enough time to adequately express and explain the scope in design and ambitions for some of the next-generation titles.
The most curious games of the pressers -- the likes of Project Spark, The Crew, The Division, Titanfall, and Destiny -- also left us with a small taste of confusion in the mouth, though fact dumps and leaks for the last two had helped a little. There were things to point to of great interest, games to follow up on and titles that piqued our curiosity with seemingly innovative features, far-reaching designs on multiplayer and a connected experiences, but little (at least for me) that immediately made me bolt upright in my seat, and start drooling.
Actually, that's a lie.Click here to read more...
There was an opportunity here.
One last chance, you could say, for Nintendo to capitalise on the only time they have left. Despite releasing a clear year before any hint of threat from the next-gen consoles, The Wii U has faltered and choked; failing to deliver even the bare minimum of multiplatform ports alongside any hint of a consistent first party pipeline.
E3 2013 was their final opportunity to make up for lost time, but instead of bringing things home with an emphatic reveal, Nintendo flinched, fumbled and blew it over the course of 41 minutes.
As a day-one Wii U owner, I've been showing Nintendo some tough love over the last few months, and often gone out to bat for them as devil's advocate. Now the gloves come off. Unfortunately, unbelievably, yesterday's showing was just making the best of a bad situation.
Click here to read more...
The E3 instalment of Nintendo Direct for this year is done and dusted, and we'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you soon, dealing with all of the reveals from this year's press conferences and presentations, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on Nintendo's offering this year...
Well, now we know why there was no press conference.
The Nintendo Direct E3 showing took just over half an hour to run its course. That's ridiculous when you consider that Sony filled two hours to bursting point and, even at 4am BST, I still could have soaked up more. By contrast, I kept looking at my watch during Nintendo's pre-recorded video.
This was supposed to be the thing that broke down that final hurdle in my mind and convinced me of one unassailable fact: that I needed a Wii U.
But it didn't.
The Wonderful 101, the Wii U's arguably only truly unique prospect, emerged unsung; Bayonetta 2 looked flashy, but won't arrive until next year. Same with Mario Kart. And Smash Bros. There was no urgency here at all, and you'd have been forgiven for wondering if news of the PS4 and Xbone's impending arrivals had even reached the ears of those amassed at Nintendo HQ.
2014, came the resounding chorus. 2014. 2014. Please wait. 2014.Click here to read more...
The Sony press conference for this year is done and dusted, and we'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you after some sleep, dealing with all of the reveals from today, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on Sony's presser...
Let's quickly recap: no new draconian policies dictating what you can or can't do with the games that you've bought; no regulation on used games; no online requirement for the PS4; no licensing palaver or need to register online every day; indies can self-publish on PS4; Playstation Plus will be required to play online on PS4, but the service is being expanded, and you'll get DriveClub for free.
And it costs £349/$399.
This was a press conference that, admittedly after some box-ticking waffle, got down to continuing the message Sony had delivered back in February. This wasn't a press conference of antagonism, we weren't presented with a product and forced to #dealwithit, Sony couched the PS4 specific terms, as if to say "Hey, we're listening," before Andrew House almost started issuing battle cries towards the end.
The epic swathe of indie games did it for me, along with the phrase "self-publish" which shows that Sony have faith in creatives as much as consumers. Final Fantasy XV sent shivers down my spine and did, for the first time ever, the extended look at Destiny. No, they're not necessarily exclusives, but Sony made them sparkle. Same goes for the intriguing appearance from The Elder Scrolls Online.
The one bum note was perhaps the mandatory PS Plus subscription for PS4 owners looking to play online but given the expanded opportunities and massively increased server-side considerations that this next generationwill surely usher in, that's perhaps to be expected. Quite frankly, if you're a PS3/Vita owner and not on PS Plus already, the joke's on you.Click here to read more...
The Ubisoft press conference for this year is done and dusted, and you can catch up on all of the news from the show here. We'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you tomorrow, dealing with all of the reveals from today, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on Ubisoft's presser...
Once again, Ubisoft delivered an entertaining press conference that provided something for almost everybody. Sure, the Rabbids game was a bit of a mess, and seeing some proper in-game footage for Assassin’s Creed 4 would have been much better than the CGI stuff we got, but there was still plenty to take away and get excited about.
After a somewhat confusing introductory trailer, The Crew had me curious as to how much of the US of A would be accessible to players, because the concept of the game came across as much more interesting than the upcoming Need For Speed game. The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot charmed me with it trailer, managing to jump up my most anticipated list in the process, and while Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Rayman Legends didn’t show anything particularly new, their appearance in the show was a reminder of games heading our way later this year.
Of course, Ubisoft once again closed the show with a surprise, giving us a new instalment in the Tom Clancy franchise that impressed me with its scope. The Division’s use of an external tablet looked like a good fit, with the gameplay coming across like Watch Dogs and The Last Of Us mixed together – a combination which I am absolutely fine with. With it being a persistent MMO as well, I am very eager to learn more about how teams of players will be facing off against each other.
Kudos to Aisha Tyler for keeping it going, and for once again proving you can have celebrity hosts who aren’t ridiculously out of place... well, aside from being freakin’ huge compared to anyone in the games industry.Click here to read more...
The EA press conference for this year is done and dusted, and you can catch up on all of the news from the show here. We'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you tomorrow, dealing with all of the reveals from today, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on EA's presser...
EA's presentation was as stolid and robust as always. Time slowed to a crawl as sports sequel after sports sequel interminably waved their virtual jockstraps and feature sets at us in an attempt to out-bro each other, which I suppose is fine if you like that sort of thing. It was nice seeing NBA Live back for another run at 2K, though. Good luck with that.
However, elsewhere, we got some tasty treats. More Titanfall details and a crazy Plants vs Zombies tie-in? Check. Mirror's Edge 2? You bet. Morrigan? We missed you. Star Wars: Battlefront? I'm so ready.
Predictably, though, DICE stole the show with a sensational Battlefield 4 multiplayer debut. The drab and straight-up boring singleplayer trailers became a distant memory as tanks rolled through the streets, commanders annihilated armoured columns with tablet-guided missiles and entire squads base-jumped off of collapsing skyscrapers. I very much need this in my life.
Though with Peggle 2 on the horizon, I probably won't have time to play it. Bring it on, PopCap - and give us a Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank sequel while you're at it!Click here to read more...
Short on ammo, low on health, you've got your back to the wall, and you're surrounded by Infected. The Last of Us delights in placing players in situations with seemingly insurmountable odds of survival, yet survive is exactly what you must do. With Naughty Dog's impressive tour-de-force just around the corner, we've put together seven tips to help you help Joel and Ellie survive their ordeal.
Always, always scope out the area after being altered to the presence of enemies with R2. Sink some pills into expanding the range of your detection ability, and it'll make sneaking through areas and getting the jump on foes much easier. It's also worth paying heed to your companion as much as possible as Ellie/Joel will point the way ahead if you get stuck, as well as rooting out the occasional hidden item.Click here to read more...
The mantra "It's all about the games" always rings true. Consoles live and die by their exclusives, by the killer apps that encourage you to buy one over the other, and by the ease with which you can access these formidable selling points.
Microsoft know that. It's why they've funnelled $1 billion into the acquisition of exclusive properties for the Xbox One and the expansion of Microsoft Studios. It's why Don Mattrick took the time in a press conference that had nothing to do with games to emphatically tease no fewer than 15 unique games on Microsoft's next-gen system. It's why Microsoft are confident enough to stick an enormous middle digit up to the consumer audience and dare us not to buy the Xbox One.
The "clarification", if you can call it that, of Microsoft's policies (which are, of course, subject to change at any given point) regarding the Xbox One and game ownership made for some dark reading. We had hoped against hope that Microsoft would strive to make their systems more open, more friendly, and more transparent. We were foolish and suffering from a severe case of denial. The signs have been there all along.Click here to read more...
We love our readership, especially when people get stuck into an opinion piece that we've written, or are picking apart reviews and interviews, sharing their thoughts. In fact, ever since we started amassing a few vocal regulars (thanks folks!) we've put out feelers regarding the notion of a semi-regular Community Corner column. If you've had a reaction to a happening in this fair industry of ours, or maybe want to wax lyrical about a recent game, or have been ruminating on an aspect of gaming or gamer culture with a fresh, unique perspective... we want to hear from you!
Alternatively, as stevenjameshyde has done, you could always make us laugh, which brings us to this rib-tickling imagination of What Might Be given the marriage of Call of Duty and the Xbone...
* * *
Ahead of it’s official unveiling at E3 next week, I’ve been granted an exclusive sneak preview of the way that Kinect is being integrated into Activision’s flagship next-gen title. Microsoft are hoping that the soon-to-be-unveiled list of features will end all doubts about how Kinect can be successfully integrated into ‘core’ games, and drive gamers towards the Xbox One as the console of choice for the definitive CoD experience
(NB: The list below is a work of fiction. It starts out with some pretty neat ideas, but rapidly descends into a poor attempt at satire. You have been warned!)Click here to read more...
E3 2013 is going to be utterly insane. With the next console generation breathing down our necks, the 'Big Three' of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are going head to head in a battle for hearts, minds and pre-orders. Coy digs will be taken. Terrible teleprompted jokes will be cracked. Dubstep will reign supreme.
Sadly, I won't be attending personally this year (of all years, argh!), but I've danced this dance enough times to know broadly what to expect from the all-important press conferences scheduled for June 10th. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will use this platform to address us directly; showing us exclusives, revealing entirely new franchises and confirming third-party support. We've pieced together everything we know so far, as well as our own experiences at E3 from previous years, to present you with a comprehensive breakdown of what the three console manufacturers will bring to the table.
Note that the following article is one part confirmed fact, two parts informed guesswork and a soupçon of rampant drooling speculation. I've endeavoured to make it clear which is which - and of course, there'll still be plenty of surprises along the way!
Let's start with the Redmond heavyweight, since they'll be holding their press conference first and have been making headlines aplenty over the last fortnight. Microsoft will look to supplement (and in many ways, make up for) the Xbox One's entertainment-loaded reveal event with a presentation concentrating on games, exclusives, DLC announcements and features.Click here to read more...
OUYA is set to hit retail at the end of this month, and as a backer, I've already had an extensive look at the Kickstarted cube both inside and out. This cut-price alternative promises to distrupt traditional consoles with an inclusive take on homebrew and free-to-play development, with every title available to download for free and playable in some form (whether a timed trial, or via microtransactions). Though the pre-launch software lineup is a little on the anaemic side, there's still a number of completely free applications on the marketplace, both in terms of games and handy applications that allow you to make the most of the little cubic contender.
So, to get you started, here are ten fantastic free OUYA games and applications that should net you hours of fun without having to pay a single penny (though a donation to the hard-working developers probably isn't too much to ask...).
Whether you're a Kickstarter backer or are thinking of hopping on the bandwagon at launch, hopefully you'll be able to hit the ground running.
If Vector looks great on Android phones, its big-screen debut is something else. Sporting gorgeous visuals and plenty of unlocks, this Canabalt-inspired parkour platformer packs fluid animations, detailed backdrops, involving gameplay and loads of content for absolutely free.
Hardware optimisation needs work, though, as evidenced by a stuttering frame rate.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Wii U | Xbox 360
UK Release Date: June 21st
Developers: Trickstar Games
Publishers: 505 Games
When a press event is arranged less than a month before a game is due to be released, it's to be hoped that there'll be extensive hands-on opportunities with a build of the game in question that's pretty close to being finished and going gold. You might, too, be hoping that a previously unseen aspect of the game might finally be unveiled, that there'd be plenty of fresh news and juicy new tidbits of information to gobble down and fashion into headlines.
Given that we had seen absolutely nothing of Ashes Cricket 2013 until a few days ago, anything beyond "this is a cricket game" was going to be new information.
Cricket games are tricky things to pull off, particularly given the fact that matches in real-life can last for the best part of a week. The Brian Lara series was always excellent at capturing the flashy side of things, providing a welcome arcade-ish slant on the game, and making it the prime choice for multiplayer shenanigans. EA Sports' Cricket series, on the other hand, took more of a simulation approach to things, with its focus on fine margins making for a hardcore singleplayer experience, even if it wasn't exactly thrilling to play with your friends.
Trickstar, of course, are no strangers to cricketing titles, having shipped International Cricket 2010 a couple of years back, to mixed reviews. The presentation was critically savaged, along with the poor commentary and the multitude of bugs, though the game did play a pretty good game of cricket. For this follow-up, three years on, Trickstar threw everything out and started from scratch.Click here to read more...
It's been a fairly slow month for releases this May which isn't particularly surprising as we gear up for arguably the most important convention season in the past decade. There've been mixed receptions for the likes of Fuse and Soul Sacrifice, and high praise for dead certs (Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D) as well as surprise hits (Van Helsing), but we've still managed to pick out three tip-top gems that should certainly be on your radar now if they weren't already.
GRID 2 - The review is well underway after receiving the code slightly later than expected, but Codemasters have delivered a fine follow-up to their seven year-old smash hit. The Race Driver was never about simulation driving, and it's nice to see a serious arcade racer back behind the wheel. The content-stuffed, narrative-driven singleplayer mode puts to bed the myth that plotlines don't have any place in racing games, and its perfectly complimented by a plethora of multiplayer race types. It's just a shae about that lack of cockpit mode for full immersion.Click here to read more...
ALERT: May contain spoilers for a decade-old game. You have been warned. If you've not played this game, rectify that fault immediately and then come back and read this.
When it comes to Western RPGs, or at least those games that give you a choice in how you can affect the world around you and the characters that inhabit it, I nearly always begin by doing an initial runthrough as myself. I make the decisions that I feel I would make were they presented to me in real-life, immersing myself in the story honestly, in the hopes of a return by way of emotional or narrative payoff later on.
But you could be a absolute dick in KOTOR, and in the subsequent playthroughs that I've made (I do one every year), I've been both beatified saint and abhorrent sinner, and everything in between. It's important, I often feel, when it comes to BioWare's games in particular (and Bethesda's for that matter), that to see as much as the game has to offer, you always need to do at least three plotline runs: one for yourself, one as a good guy, and one as an utter bastard.
KOTOR was perhaps the game that made me feel really horrible about myself for the first time, when it came to some of the decisions I made. Like when I Force Persuaded Zaalbar to murder Mission, just because this 14-year old girl character's voice was getting on my nerves. Mission has been something of a Marmite character for everyone who's played the game over the last decade, but that's only because the scriptwriters and Cat Taber did such an excellent job at bringing this adolescent street urchin to life. I fired up the game last night, and within an hour I'd blackmailed a doctor helping out the poor and the helpless into giving me all of the money he had, and bounty killing a woman who's only crime was resisting the drunken advances of a would-be rapist.
Then again, two simple words made all of that manageable: Force Storm.Click here to read more...
What a ride. The OUYA leapt onto the public stage thanks to one of the most successful crowd funding campaigns of all time, raising an extraordinary amount of money for an extraordinary device. Following months of development, several weeks of frenzied manufacturing and worldwide shipping, all backer units have now been dispatched, and our adorable little cube has finally arrived.
But now the dust has settled and we're able to get to grips with the shiny new hardware. We've exhaustively tested the OUYA to the point of disassembling it; keen to explore its interface, marketplace and potential as a disruptive game-changing platform. A thorn in the side of the big boys, perhaps.
Before we begin, we need to make one thing very clear. Not only are these backer units potentially different from the retail model in hardware terms, but the firmware and game selection will also be radically improving in the month before launch. As such, this is an in-depth look at the OUYA in its current state, features, hardware, interface, games and perhaps what to expect come the end of June. Not a value judgement or final verdict.
Which is a good thing too, because while the foundations are present and correct, Boxer8 have their work cut out over the next few weeks.Click here to read more...
True exclusives are something of a dying breed. The days of seeing wildly different games stacked upon the platform-specific shelves of high street retailers are slowly fading away...
... and not just because the high street is dying a slow and painful death.
Microsoft, of course, have never really been one for investing hugely in talent. Unlike Sony over the past decade, or Nintendo in the decade before that, Microsoft's notable first and second party output can probably be counted upon one hand. There's Halo and Forza and Gears and Fable and... Kinect?
The Redmond lot have, particularly in this generation, relied more heavily on splurging out on contracts for third-parties, pushing the quality of their XBLA output (which has been fantastic), and, of course, delivering timed exclusives.
So when Microsoft say that they're investing $1 billion into new games, what exactly does that mean?Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 | Xbox 360 | PC (version tested)
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Gearbox promises that the last piece of Borderlands 2 season pass DLC will be the "biggest yet," and it's certainly set to be the most imaginative by far. Rather than taking us to another Pandoran continent, this new expansion sees Lillith, Brick and Mordekai take time away from Crimson Raiding to play a tabletop RPG hosted by foulmouthed youngster Tiny Tina. Our current vault hunters (Maya, Salvador and co.) are just the player characters in a game within a game - Bunkers & Badasses, no less - set in a grand old land plagued by the Handsome Sorcerer and his hellish minions. Skeleton warriors, longships, dwarves, dragons and orcs are fair game for some serious killing, all narrated by our omnipresent dungeon master who's queen of all she surveys... and makes half of it up on the fly.
Sadly, no-one has the heart to tell her why Roland hasn't turned up to play. We'll explain it when she's older.
But back to the task at hand, we've got a fantasy world of half-timbered hamlets, haunted forests and crumbling castles to look forward to from Tiny Tina's Assault On Dragon's Keep. As our eponymous host commands: "roll for initiative, suckas!"
Click here to read more...
The cube has finally revealed its secrets after seven long months of tapping, picking and microtransaction sales. Bryan Henderson from Edinburgh made his way to the centre of Curiosity to discover that he's set to become a God: the overlord of 22 Cans' Project GODUS who has some creative sway over the Kickstarted God Game and gets a cut of the profits.
It's an odd, though not entirely unexpected (Carl amazingly called it in one of our Game Buzz podcasts a few weeks back - burn the witch!) end to a brave experiment into... well... what exactly? The dust hasn't yet settled, and we're still working out whether Curiosity can be described as a success. Personally, I find myself caught between genuine excitement, inevitable disappointment, a little kneejerk anger and undeniable admiration for one of the most effective hype merchants this industry has ever seen.
So over the next few hundred words, let's explore what Curiosity means for Mister Henderson, Mister Molyneux, the faithful players and for the industry at large.Click here to read more...