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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #11 - The sound of suffering

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #11 - The sound of suffering
The Old Dragonslayer may have been more troublesome than expected, but Carl has a plan - a scheme so brilliant it couldn't possibly fail - an 80's style action montage to get more souls and level up. Does the musical interlude work? Does Carl manage to take down the Old Dragonslayer? Should Carl be allowed near a microphone again? All these questions and more are answered in the conclusion of our Dark Souls II series.

If you want to learn more about Carl's feelings on Dark Souls II, you can read his review here.

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carmageddon: Reincarnation, Driving games, Games previews, PC games, Stainless Games, Videos

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

Max is back! Yes, one of the original video game nasties is making a comeback and how we've missed its cathartic delights! Carmageddon: Reincarnation emerges onto Steam later this week, and you can pre-order the Early Access for $29.99, helping to shape the game's development into alpha, beta, and beyond.

It's in pre-alpha right now, and there's not a lot to the game at present, so it's looking like it still has some way to go. There's only one mode at the time of writing and two tracks, but there are six cars from which to choose -- all of them classics.

I have to say, that whilst the game might be pretty unfinished at the moment, the unmistakeable Carmageddon feel is certainly present. It's difficult to get a feel for the handling and the damage modelling in this pre-alpha state, but everything runs the way you'd expect, though the option of remapping some of the keys would be nice. Steering with the arrow keys and having the powerup default set to Enter is not great.

FIRST LOOK | Carmageddon Reincarnation Early Access Smashes It Like It's 1997

On the track it's business as usual, with three ways to win: come first in the race, smash all of your opponents to bits, or run over every pedestrian in the level. As you'll see in the video, I had an absolute blast. But don't mess with the police, seriously; they will be the death of you if you give them half a chance.

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Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Facebook, Oculus, Oculus Rift, Tech, Virtual Reality, VR, VR headsets

Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

Yesterday, a cash-rich Silicon Valley leviathan paved the way for the acquisition of a plucky startup. As surprising as Facebook's pending purchase of Oculus might have seemed last night, that's all that really happened. As announced last night, is set to be bought by Facebook for approximately $2 billion USD, with the transaction due to take place sometime later this year in Q2 2014.

First up, the official quotes. Here's what Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe had to say about the coming acquisition:

“Mobile is the platform of today," said Zuckerberg, "and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Iribe. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

And the internet went crazy.

Forget the kneejerk reactions, Facebook's acquisition of Oculus gives VR another shot at the mainstream

The Oculus Rift as a gaming device has enormous potential, and I've waxed lyrical about how awesomely immersive an experience the device can offer. But for VR to be a mainstream success, it needs to look beyond games and that is hardly a new concept. Look at the media hubs that our consoles have become, the connected experiences offered by the tiny computers each of us carries in our pockets. There are reactions to this news declaring the gaming applications for the Rift dead in the water as a result of this news, but they rather sound like nonsensical tantrums fuelled by anti-Facebook hate. The key to all of this is independence -- how much leeway will Oculus be given to continue as they have done, albeit with greater financial security, resources, and opportunities?

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HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dark Souls, HD remake, Metroid Prime, PS4 games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Uncharted, Wii U games, Xbox One Games

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

HD remasters and re-releases are big business, and in the wake of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition earlier this year, and the Final Fantasy X/X-2 re-release a few days ago, I've been thinking about some of the other games from the past fifteen years that would make for no-brainer re-releases on current, new-gen platforms like the Xbox One, the PS4, and the Wii U.

Sometimes, it's all too easy to attribute a re-release to a cashgrab, and the line shifts depending on who's drawn it, and how much the person in question values a game. Convenience is often one of the greatest reasons for picking up a game again on a new platform, particularly if it's a beloved title. But there are also certain practical improvements that we all look for when it comes to these revamps, from graphical improvements -- resolutions, textures, framerate, AA -- to additional content, smoother handling, new features, and making the most of the opportunities afforded by new tech.

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

In the case of the Xbox One and PS4, that means gameplay broadcasting and sharing services. On the Wii U, that extends even further to the unique capabilities of the GamePad and a greater focus on online multiplayer.

With that in mind, here are a few of my own personal picks for games I'd love to see make the jump from previous generations to the current one.

Metroid Prime Trilogy

HD Remasters We'd Like To See On New-Gen Consoles

This is a no-brainer. Metroid Prime still, somehow, looks absolutely outstanding, and both the first game and Echoes received a bit of spit and polish for the Collection that released on the Wii. Not only is it the best and bravest move Nintendo have made with one of their precious properties, but the explortory nature of the gameplay would lend itself brilliantly to incorporating the Game Pad. Scanning alien planets, pinpointing enemy weaknesses, plus you could use the motion control to steer the Morphball, and if Nintendo fancied adding in a spot of extra gameplay, you could get a nice little Commander-esque mode going on with the Game Pad in competitive multiplayer.

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Reaper Of Souls Is Good & Pricey... But Diablo III's Free Updates Are Worth Reinstalling For

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action RPG, Blizzard, PC, PC games

Reaper Of Souls Is Good & Pricey... But Diablo III's Free Updates Are Worth Reinstalling For

I reinstalled Diablo III the other day... and I'd suggest you do the same if you have the time.

It's my job, of course. Blizzard pinged us a code for the long-anticipated expansion, Reaper Of Souls, which launched last night with nary an Error 37 in sight. Offering a new class (the brilliantly cathartic Crusader), a new act with Blizzard's first attempt at procedural urban environments, some great new bosses and a massive adventure mode for item hunters, the new content is matched my a seriously hefty price tag. Naturally I reinstalled Diablo III well ahead of time to make sure that I could take several classes straight into Westmarch to test their tasty new level 70 skills - and our full review will be ready soon. Spoiler alert: it's pretty decent.

However, the last time I mentioned Reaper Of Souls on-site, readers suggested that we took another look at Blizzard's controversial dungeon crawler due to some utterly enormous patches. Update 2.0 revamped Diablo III in numerous key areas earlier this month, rebuilding its progression, loot, difficulty settings and the core gameplay experience in fundamental ways. Some early critics even appear to be giving Reaper Of Souls credit for things that are actually included as totally free updates.

The net result being that Diablo III is now a vastly superior game even if you don't spend a single extra penny. And definitely worth another look.

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Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blackpowder Games, Indie Games, PC games, Videos

Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

Betrayer is a bit of an odd game. Arriving from some of the creative team who spearheaded the likes of F.E.A.R. and No One Lives Forever, it plonks you down in a monochrome representation of the New World with no real information about where you are or what it is that you're supposed to be doing, and lets you figure out pretty much everything for yourself.

It looks fantastic -- the black and white aesthetic setting an eerie tone -- and Betrayer's striking visuals are nicely complimented with environmental sound design that really pops, but the progression is a little stilted, and it'll be interested to see how (and if) the game kicks on from text snippets to something a little more grandiose.

Let's Play... Betrayer | A Monochrome Mystery

It's a game that presents you with an ever-increasing number of questions early on, and you'll have to wait for the review in a day or two to see if they get answered. In the meantime, however, here's a little taster of the game's opening scenes.

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Titanfall IMC Campaign #9 – Jon & Matt Protect Their Robot Buddies

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Titanfall IMC Campaign #9 – Jon & Matt Protect Their Robot Buddies

This is it! The final chapter. The Militia are trying to shut down the Spectre production lines, and we have to stop them. Not that it really matters if we win or lose. Soemtimes I feel like the Titanfall campaign is an enormous comment on the linearity of game narratives and how, ultimately, our choices don't really matter even when it feels like we have choices, as if the game were some kind of mech-fuelled Stanley Parable.

But then I slap myself in the face and realise that I'm overthinking it, that the campaign makes about as much sense as condom machine in the Vatican, and that I have no idea who the hell Blisk and Graves and Barker and any of these named incidental characters who I don't give a monkeys about actually are.

Still, it's a been a fun ride.

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Graphics, Graphics vs. Gameplay, inFamous: Second Son, PC games, PS4 games, Titanfall, Xbox One Games

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

"Looks aren't important." It's the old adage that gets trotted out every once in a while when a game comes along that's beautiful to look at, but perhaps drops the ball in terms of gameplay mechanics or a forced, mediocre script, or design that's limp and sweaty and uninspired. It's the cry of critics and fans styling themselves as a sort of would-be industry intelligensia, playing down the crude concerns of those only interested in the whizz and wonder of blockbusters and spectacle. I'm often a little flippant about it on this very site, and the graphical side of things sometimes get a bad rap. The suggestion is that good gameplay can meaningfully enhance a game with poor graphics, but shining production values can't save a game that's mediocre at its core.

That may be true on paper, but then why do we go so absolutely nuts over games with good graphics? Are we idiots? And I say "we" because I'm a just as much of a sucker for a pretty game as the next person up. We can chat some jumped-up waffle about how graphics don't really matter, and that is true to a certain extent, one only has to look back at some of the timeless classics of our industry, but times change, technology moves on, and with new possibilities come new expectations.

COMMENT | Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves... Graphics Are Super-Important

It's the vistas that have brought me to think on this topics lately. There have been so many moment in inFamous: Second Son where I've found myself pausing for a moment on top of a skyscraper and swooning over the draw distance and the pinsharp detail. We've come such a long way since the infamous N64 fog days, and these graphical evolutions help to create a greater sense of connection to the virtual worlds we inhabit. As technology has advanced quicker, as PC capabilities continue to break boundaries faster than ever before, so our expectations have rocketed. Immersion has become the grail in terms of gaming experiences.

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Titanfall IMC Campaign #8 - Jon & Matt Rout The Browncoats

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Titanfall IMC Campaign #8 - Jon & Matt Rout The Browncoats

In the penultimate episode of the IMC campaign, we leap into the fray on Demeter -- a key cog in the IMC's supply lines, and one of the biggest refuelling stations on the frontier. The Militia is trying to overload the refuelling station's reactor core, and it's up to us to stop them.

Which we do, this time around. With aplomb.

The Video Game Quandary: Safety Vs Surprise

Author:
Chris Hyde
Category:
Features
Tags:
Call Of Duty, Fifa, New IP, Secret of Mana, Sequels

The Video Game Quandary: Safety Vs Surprise

When you take a step back and look at the video game industry these days, there are very much two camps of people. No, not casual, and hardcore, you'll be pleased to hear, but those gamers who are passive about the state of the industry, and those who, are more perceptive of it and demand more. It would be easy to dismiss the passive camp, especially when those in the perceptive camp (myself naturally included) get on our high horses. But passive gamers have their place, and influence what games we see in our industry, so they cannot be ignored. And what that means in real terms for game developers is that they have a choice when it comes to their next game; safety or surprise.

Do they go bold, with new ideas and risk their fanbase, or do they play it safe and give the people what they know they want? You're probably already screaming at your computer screens the former, as by reading this, you're probably in the perceptive camp, yearning for a surprise. But is it really that simple? Or can we learn thing from a more safe approach?

If you give people 30 seconds to name some successful iterative gaming franchises, they could probably list off a fair few. Series such as Call of Duty, FIFA etc are more recent examples of an ever increasing gaming phenomenon, whereby games are churned out regularly with only slight tweaks to previous instalments. They sell like hotcakes, and those perceptive gamers with a high enough pedestal condemn them for ruining gaming. And so ensues 99% of all comments section arguing on video game forums. The other 1% left for discussing how awesome a HD Secret of Mana (no, were not counting the iOS spit and polish) would be. Clearly.

The Video Game Quandary: Safety Vs Surprise

But if these iterations are so allegedly awful for our industry, then why do they sell so damn well? Firstly, there's little getting away from the fact that some people don't view gaming as a progressive industry, and more a means to an end for their entertainment needs. They couldn't care less about the success of indie developers or the progress made in a particular genre, as long as they can play the latest instalment of their favourite game every year. And for the record that's absolutely fine.

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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #10 - Live together, die alone

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #10 - Live together, die alone
Fresh off of surviving a tense boss battle, Carl continues to explore Heide's Tower of Flame and discovers a friendly face. From there, it's time to face the true big-bad of the area, but things don't go according to plan. See for yourself by watching today's video.

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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #9 - Taking the scenic route to slaughter

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #9 - Taking the scenic route to slaughter
After descending down the never-ending staircase, Carl returns to an area he previously ran away from. With better gear and more confidence in his skills, watch as Carl fights his way to another nail-biting boss battle that pushes him to the very limit.

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"Nintendo Have Been Great" | Bear Box Media's Andy Ford on developing for the Wii U

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Andy Ford, Bear Box Media, Indie devs, Indie Games, Internal Invasion, Interviews, Nintendo, Wii U games

"Nintendo Have Been Great" | Bear Box Media's Andy Ford on developing for the Wii U

Andy Ford wears a number of hats: web developer, Dealspwn regular, and now Nintendo third-party partner, he's just about to release his first game on Wii U -- a physics-based puzzler called Internal Invasion. Take the drag-aim-fire mechanics from Angry Birds, add in multiple catapult points, replace the catapults with cannons and the birds with a robot, and the setting with various cartoonish visions of a human's insides and you're most of the way there.

Internal Invasion

"Nintendo Have Been Great" | Bear Box Media's Andy Ford on developing for the Wii U

Players have to guide the medical nanobot Ro-Bert through a series of delightfully squelchy human organs, passages, and gauntlets of bone and tissue in a bid to prevent an invading virus from taking hold. You fire Ro-Bert from cannon to cannon across the game's ever-expanding 50 levels, aiming for the green arrow at the end of each level, and using the pills you find to give you little boosts of propulsion to help steer between the cannons. There's a time limit on each level, and your grade out of five at the end is determined by your speed as well as whether or not you picked up all of the pills.

Needless to say, it's fiendishly addictive; and I'm rubbish at it. I'll blame that on the fact that I was playing the HTML 5 version rather than the deliciously tactile, touch-based Wii U experience. Yup, that's my excuse.

Anyway, I caught up with Andy to have a little chat about Internal Invasion and what it's been like working with Nintendo as an indie developer. Internal Invasion wasn't original designed for the system, but as the game developed, it seems like making the jump to Nintendo's wii box of tricks (sorry) was the only way for Ford to make the game as he wanted it.

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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #8 - Return to the Scaffold of Death

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay, Namco Bandai

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #8 - Return to the Scaffold of Death
So, giants hurt.

Having been handed his ass rather spectacularly, Carl returns to where gravity bested him previously in an effort to learn what lies below. After that, he goes in search of adventures anew, but not before going toe-to-toe with an old foe - the mole-pig-things.

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Titanfall IMC Campaign #7 - Jon & Matt Defend The Airbase

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Titanfall IMC Campaign #7 - Jon & Matt Defend The Airbase

So the Militia are inbound and trying to take down one of our precious IMC airbases to sever suplly lines and cut off our reinforcements for the coming Battle of Demeter.

What this actually means in standard terms is that Jon and I romp around an airbase kicking bottom and taking names.

Apologies for the audio quality in this one -- we had to switch Skype recorders for this one and it appears to have given me the Voice of A Thousand Gods.

WildStar Preview | The Battlegrounds & Arenas of PvP

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PvP, WildStar

WildStar Preview | The Battlegrounds & Arenas of PvP
With our previous WildStar coverage, we’ve focused rather heavily on the PvE side of things up until now. Considering how much of it there is it’s understandable, but questing in the various zones and taking on raids alongside your fellow players isn’t the only way to kill time on Nexus. Oh no – if you want to put your skills to the test you can always dabble (or dive in completely) into the PvP offerings. I previously looked at one of the options available in an episode of Dealspwn Playthrough – with my Stalker coming up all kinds of victorious in Walatiki Temple – but last week I was invited by Carbine Studios to take part in a press event to sample the Battleground once more, and much has changed since I last ran around stealing Tiki masks. We’ll get to those details later on, though.

For now, let’s discuss how PvP fits into the delicious sandwich that is WildStar (and before you ask, yes – I’m writing this around lunchtime and I’m hungry, OKAY?) Like other MMOs that have emerged before it, WildStar has the usual modes to conduct righteous slaughter in, with open world and competative matches available, but in true Carbine style the developers have put their own spin on proceedings (thanks largely in part to the telegraph system, allowing for more action based content compared to tab-targeting mechanics.) As it stands, there are two ways to rack up the virtual kills before and after hitting the level cap – Battlegrounds and Arenas – and the best part of this is that taking part in does not distract from the levelling process. Players will earn XP based on their performance, along with loot to improve their gear, and specific crafting materials and recipes. The idea is that once a player hits level 6, it is up to them to decide if a career in hunting down the opposite faction is the right choice for them.

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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #7 - Level up!... the suffering

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay, Namco Bandai

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #7 - Level up!... the suffering
Fresh from finding out that gravity is still a cruel mistress, Carl returns to the keep in an effort to overcome the ambushes that had previously smited him. After that, he finally, FINALLY, figures out how to level up, before coming face to face with the first true boss of the game.

It didn't end well.

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Carl Versus Dark Souls II #6 - Vengeance!

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Dark Souls II, From Software, Gameplay

Carl Versus Dark Souls II #6 - Vengeance!
After being brutally dispatched in yet another ambush, Carl goes for some good old fashioned revenge in an effort to reclaim his souls, but not without upping his arsenal this time around. Expect fire, tears, and discovery in today's episode.

WildStar Beta Weekend Key Giveaway #3 - CLAIM YOURS RIGHT NOW!

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features


Looking to get in on the action of the upcoming WildStar weekend beta, which is set to take place between 21st - 23rd March? Well, if you haven't had any luck elsewhere, we've got 1000 keys to throw at you in what I'm dubbing the "last chance saloon." So, if you haven't put money down for a pre-order (with which you will gain automatic access to every beta weekend between now and the release on June 3rd) you may want to hit the jump to find out how to snab yourself a key.

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Titanfall IMC Campaign #6 - Jon & Matt Retake Control Of Outpost Panzer Dragoon

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA, FPS games, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall, Videos

Titanfall IMC Campaign #6 - Jon & Matt Retake Control Of Outpost Panzer Dragoon

Welcome back to our playthrough of Titanfall's increasingly incomprehensible and irrelevant story!

In episode six, we take to the Boneyard. The Militia have gone into an IMC research facility in the hopes of reverse-engineering a whole load of "wildlife repulsor technology". As far as we can tell, the IMC had a problem with SEGA-esque dragons and developed a bunch of massive repulsor towers to fend them off.

And now the Militia want them...because...erm...reasons. So we have to stop them, because we're the baddies.

At least I'm pretty sure that's what's going on.