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PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time Retrospective

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
2012, Diablo III, Indie Games, Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3, PC vs. Consoles, Podcast, PWNCAST

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time Retrospective

This week we take a look at the past six months, some of the highlights, some of the disappointments. We talk about our recent top ten and some of the games that didn't quite make the list, and look forward to a future six months that are rammed with promising games.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21, Recorded: July 12th, 2012

Some of the things that get covered this week:

  • Best games so far in 2012
  • Disappointments in 2012
  • Max Payne 3
  • Good but not great: The story so far?
  • Retail vs. Indie - treading water vs. innovation
  • PC vs. Consoles - invention vs. stagnation?
  • A strong year for MMOs
  • Best of the rest - a look forward to the second half of the year

...and much, much more.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.

Click the banner at the top to play the file, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time Retrospective PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time RetrospectivePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time RetrospectivePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time RetrospectivePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 21 – 2012 Half Time Retrospective

Why We Love... Kane

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Command & Conquer, Joseph Kucan, Kane, RTS games, Westwood Studios, Why We Love

Why We Love... Kane

Video games have had many villains over the years, but perhaps none so charismatic as Kane - the megalomanical sociopath with an IQ of 192, who calls himself the Messiah and leads the Brotherhood of Nod.

Ah...the Brotherhood of Nod. Fiendishly difficult to define, depending upon who you speak too, and which games you take note of, the Brotherhood is part Abrahamic religion, part multi-national corporation, and part decentralized nation-state...or, indeed, none of these things.

It could, of course, just be an entity designed to fuel Kane's imperialist tendencies, but then he has as vague a past as his cult: reportedly several thousand years old, rumoured to be the original brother of Abel, or indeed an alien from outer space.

Why We Love... Kane

Which would make him Xenu. Hmmm....

Click here to read more...

Borderlands 2 Hands-On Preview | The Crunk Crumpet Crumpocalypse!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Borderlands 2, Crumpets, Crumpocalypse, Games previews, Gearbox, PC games, PS3 games, Tiny Tina, Xbox 360 games

Borderlands 2 Hands-On Preview | The Crunk Crumpet Crumpocalypse!

Borderlands 2 keeps getting better every time we see it. Barely a fortnight after showing off a new build at E3 2012, Gearbox turned up in London with an even newer, shinier one that showed off those promised PC features and resolutions to advantage. It's as crisp and colourful as it is thoroughly badass, but it turns out that our hour spent exploring the town of Sanctuary, customising our characters and collecting crumpets for an insane thirteen year old demolitions expert didn't give us much time to marvel at the graphics.

Before we even had time to sit down, however, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford had something new to show us. Borderlands 2 will feature a profile-specific metagame known as 'Badass Rankings,' which effectively allows players to level up right along with their characters. Everything you do, every challenge you complete, will gradually unlock Badass Ranks linked to your player profile - and in turn provides persistent stat boosts that will affect all of your classes regardless of their level. There's no Badass Rank level cap, so even players who've sunk hundreds of hours into the game and completed the campaign countless times will still be able to work towards becoming the ultimate Borderlands 2 player on the leaderboards. If you thought the original Borderlands was addictive, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Borderlands 2 Hands-On Preview | The Crunk Crumpet Crumpocalypse!

Handsome Jack and his Hyperion corporation may have assumed dominance over Pandora (thanks mainly to their advanced repurposed technology and looming moon base), but the natives are getting restless. An armed resistance opposes the charismatic megalomaniac at every turn, led by none other than Roland, the soldier from the original game. Helped by Lillith and Mordekai, these so-called Crimson Raiders hunker down in the humble town of Sanctuary, which players will call home for much of the adventure.

Please be aware that the following preview contains some spoilers and so many crunk crumpets that it's going to be a crumpocalpse. Tiny Tina's words, not mine.

Click here to read more...

Might & Magic: Duel of Champions Preview | It's A Kind Of Magic

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Card Collection Games, Card games, F2P, Freemium, Games previews, iPad games, Might & Magic, Might & Magic: Duel of Champions, PC games, Ubisoft
Discuss:
PC

Might & Magic: Duel of Champions Preview | It's A Kind Of Magic

Magic: The Gathering has a lot to answer for.  A pioneering collectible card game, it both paved the way for hordes of imitations, and rudely scuppered most of their chances by being far too good in the first place. But Ubisoft have clearly decided to eschew the path of straight imitation for one that strives for a little more individual invention.

They managed it with Assassin's Creed: Recollections and now, in what seems to be an attempt to pimp the Might & Magic franchise out into as many genres as possible, Duel of Champions is on its way.

The main objective will be instantly familiar to genre fans: the aim of the game is to whittle your opponent's health from 20 down to 0 through a combination of maruading Creatures, dazzling Spells, and benefit-bestowing Fortunes - all of which are represented in card form.

Might & Magic: Duel of Champions Preview | It's A Kind Of Magic

Might & Magic: Duel of Champions sees a return to the more traditional turn-based approach to such games, after the somewhat divisive real-time mechanics featured in AC:R, but there are a few rather key differences to note when placed alongside the mighty Magic: The Gathering. After selecting your starter deck from one of three factions - Haven, Necropolis, or Inferno (the Stronghold barbarians will be unlocked further into the game) - you're greeted by a tutorial that eases you into the game.

Click here to read more...

Blast From The Past | Uplink

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Blast From The Past, Hacking, Introversion, iPad games, PC games, Simulation games, Strategy games, Uplink
Discuss:
Uplink

Blast From The Past | Uplink

I've been playing something of a classic of late. More so than any other game in the past month, the last week or two has been utterly dominated by furiously engaging in duplicitous hacking activities, crippling multinational conglomerates, ruthlessly emptying bank accounts on the other side of the world, and placing the blame for my nefarious activities on the shoulders of my peers and colleagues.

Introversion finally ported Uplink to the iPad, and it's still just as good as it was over a decade ago.

It's a triumph of functional design, you see - a high concept game that has you taking on the mantle of a bedroom hacker, breaking your way into computers systems of one company on the orders of another in return for large sums of cash that can be used to upgrade your own software and hardware, and allow you to take on bigger targets.

Blast From The Past | Uplink

Much like rotoscoped films and Jet Li, Uplink doesn't seem to have aged. It is, in fact, a whole paradoxical bundle of timelessness, with its economic interface and constant telephone bleeps a retro throwback to the early days of the internet and dial-up hacking, yet set in a 2010 future that sees 8-core CPUs (pretty realistic) running at 200 GHz (hahahahaha), with quantum units of memory that we can't really fathom yet.

Click here to read more...

OUYA | Does The Console Revolution Start Here?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Android, Ed Fries, F2P, Games consoles, Kickstarter, Ouya, Why not?, Yves Behar

OUYA | Does The Console Revolution Start Here?

Oh yeah! Owyah! Ooh err, missus. I'm still not entirely sure how to pronounce it - wait, it's "OOO-yah" - but there's a new console on the block. Julie Uhrman, Yves Behar, Muffi Ghadiali and Ed Fries have loosed the OUYA on an unsuspecting world, and it doesn't play by any of the rules.

It's cheap: so affordable that a console will cost less than a boxed game special edition. All of its games will be free in some capacity, whether freemium or providing a substantial free trial. It's targeting the living room while AAA publishers scramble to jump ship from their "burning platforms," fleeing out of the lounge into the mobile space. It's designed to be easy to hack and homebrew, a fully-open device surrounded by closed ecosystems. Even its genesis, buoyed up from the beginning by a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign, is so recklessly avant-garde that other platform holders must be green with envy. The OUYA plans to turn console gaming on its head, willing to face up to the big boys and do its own totally unexpected thing.

Indeed, the OUYA is an unprecedented and wildly exciting beast, but it comes with a unique set of potential problems and pitfalls along with a huge amount of barely-constrained potential. To this end, we're going to explore what the OUYA could mean for gaming, and discover why the only question facing Uhrman's new platform is: "why not?"

Click here to read more...

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Dragon's Dogma, Draw Something, Fez, Gravity Rush, Journey, Kid Icarus, Mass Effect 3, Top Ten, Top Ten Games So Far In 2012, Top Ten Tuesdays, Vessel, Waking Mars

Halfway through 2012, now that the E3 backlog has been shifted, it's time to take stock of the past six months. We've had games aplenty and, although it seems everyone's saving nearly all of their big guns for the winter gridlock, the first half of the year has seen some fantastic games. Here are our highlights from 2012 thus far...

Honourable Mentions

Diablo III - It finally arrived, and is awesome. Apart from the DRM. And the lack of a proper end-game. And the fact that it was built around an auction house. And the fact that it wasn't properly stocked. And the persistent connection issues.

But that aside, Diablo III is absolutely brilliant.

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sine Mora - The alliance between Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture yielded an absolute cracker early this year with a steampunk SHMUP that managed to breathe some new life into a classic genre.

Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai - In an age of on-disc, day one DLC, in an age of publishers demanding that every last drop of gameplay is as fully monetised as it possibly can be, it's refreshing to find a company that still releases expansion packs as they used to be. There was so much brilliant content to this that frankly Creative Assembly could have released it at full price.

10. Waking Mars

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sifting painfully through the endless swathes of poorly organised titles in the app stores for something of real quality can be frustrating. But every so often you come across a game like Waking Mars. A scientifically-minded platform-puzzler built around giving and creating life to the red planet rather than taking it away, Tiger Style's game proved to be a perfect synthesis of aesthetics and execution, delivering a strikingly complete and joyously satisfying experience.

Click here to read more...

Might & Magic Heroes VI: Pirates of the Savage Sea Hands-On Preview

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Crag Hack, DLC, Expansion Pack, Games previews, Limbic Entertainment, Might & Magic Heroes VI: Pirates of the Savage Sea, PC games, Turn-based strategy games, Ubisoft

Might & Magic Heroes VI: Pirates of the Savage Sea Hands-On Preview

Thunderbirds Are GO!

In many ways, the turn-based Heroes spinoffs of the Might & Magic series have proven more resilient than their RPG brethren, tending to rise higher in the critical standings, attracting greater audiences, and delivering more memorable experiences. But it hasn't all been plain sailing. Heroes VI, releasing in October 2011 to moderate acclaim, fared fairly well. Sadly the same could not be said of its developers, with tensions between Black Hole and Ubisoft stretched to breaking point. Something had to give and the buggy Heroes VI was left somewhat stranded without support.

Enter Limbic Entertainment, who've been furiously patching the beast for nine months to try and restore some semblence of order. But there's no doubt that something big is required. Something to bring fans both old and new together again, to breathe new life into Heroes VI.

Might & Magic Heroes VI: Pirates of the Savage Sea Hands-On Preview

That something, or should we say someone, is Crag Hack.

Click here to read more...

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And Plans

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Bioshock, BioWare, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, Gaikai, Heavy Rain, Podcast, PWNCAST, Sony, Xenu

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And Plans
This week's PWNCAST is all about story...well almost. First we chat a little bit about the Sony-Gaikai mashup, we discuss the implications of the recent EU court ruling on pre-owned games, and then we dive into a forty minute chinwag about some of favourite gaming plots, the joys of emergent narratives, and how games have evolved as a deep, personal storytelling medium over the years.

This podcast may also featured a van full of Scientologists.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20, Recorded: July 6th, 2012

Some of the things that get covered this week:

  • Sony's Gaikai buyout
  • EU Court of Justice's ruling on digital games
  • Story in video games
  • Favourite writers in gaming
  • Favourite gaming plots
  • Most affecting stories/characters in gaming
  • Emergent narratives - story through gameplay
  • MMOs - truly create your own stories

...and much, much more.

Big thanks to Alex for this week's suggested topic. Remember, if there's something you'd like us to discuss on the PWNCAST, or any questions to like to put to the team (Jon takes music requests), do drop us a line at contact@dealspwn.com.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.

Click below to play the file, or right click on the banner at the top, and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And Plans PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And PlansPWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And PlansPWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And PlansPWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 20 – Plots And Plans

Secrets Of Grindea Preview | Sweden's Epic Loot

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Gotland University Games, Indie Games, PC games, Pixel Ferrets, RPG, Secrets Of Grindea

Secrets Of Grindea Preview | Sweden's Epic Loot

'Grinding' has become a dirty word these days, but the 16-Bit RPGs of yesteryear thrived on the thrill you can only get from powering up your characters above the level curve through hard work and toil. Even now, gamers love the heartwarming satisfaction gleaned from persistent upgrade systems and completing item sets, and student developers Pixel Ferrets realised this when they set about creating their masterpiece in the making. Starting out as a humble university project, Secrets Of Grindea has evolved into a mechanically capable, visually exciting and deeply referential top-down RPG that pokes fun at traditional genre clichés and the concept of grinding at every opportunity, yet supports players with deep character development systems, a huge host of addictive distractions and cooperative support for four simultaneous heroes.

After winning the Students' Choice Award at Gotland Game Conference 2012 (which I was privileged to attend in a judicial capacity), Secrets Of Grindea outright won the Swedish Game Awards, demonstrating that Pixel Ferrets' upcoming title deserves to be taken very seriously indeed. I've recently become addicted to their pre-alpha build, and have torn myself away long enough to write about it.

Listen up, folks, because Secrets Of Grindea is set to be the most impressive indie RPG since Cthulhu Saves The World... and become one of Sweden's most valuable indie exports.

Click here to read more...

Blast From The Past | Battlezone '98

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Strategy games, Activision, Battlezone, Blast From The Past, PC games, Tanks
Discuss:
PC

Blast From The Past | Battlezone '98

Ever since Jon decided to bring his Tank-tactular coverage to a close, he’s been a little depressed. In fact, yesterday he was lovingly holding the picture of himself with one of the tanks at Tankfest whilst singing a rendition of “I Can't Live (If Living Is Without You)” (He’s still doing it now. It’s rather haunting…and creepy. - Ed). So, being the good friend I am, I thought I’d help sate his need for tank-related material by reminiscing about one of my fondest gaming memories involving the huge war machines. The game in question is Activision’s reboot of a classic title.

The 1998 version of Battlezone took the basic principle of its wireframe predecessor and mixed in a genre that was making huge strides in terms of mechanics and popularity at the time; Real time Strategy. It was a pairing that was incredibly effective in execution, but we’ll get into that later. The story for the game was that the space race as we know it was a cover-up. Extra-terrestrial material known as Biometal had fallen to Earth, and when the US and the USSR got their hands on it they found out it was capable of producing powerful vehicles and weapons. Naturally, they wanted more of the stuff to play with and so began a race to the moon to secure the deposits there. It doesn’t take long for this cold war to get hot, and so begins a campaign across our solar system to control the precious resource.

Blast From The Past | Battlezone '98

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Resident Evil 6 Demo Impressions | Triple Threat

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Capcom, Horror games, Resident Evil 6, Survival Horror Games, third person shooter

Resident Evil 6 Demo Impressions | Triple Threat

The Resident Evil series has undergone so many iterations and spinoffs over the last few years that it's practically unrecognisable as the original tense PSOne survival horror game. With each subsequent title and change in focus, the fanbase has become increasingly fractious; some embracing a more action-heavy experience while others rail against every tweak to the classic formula. With cooperative-centric Resident Evil 5 and divisive Operation Raccoon City raising more than a few eyebrows, deciding on how to balance the next core franchise entry couldn't have been easy.

Capcom's compromise (Capcompromise?) is nothing short of inspired. Resident Evil 6's globetrotting story will be presented from three unique perspectives, each of which will offer a different take on what it means to be a Resident Evil game. Throughout three lengthy standalone campaigns, playable either in cooperative multiplayer or solo with AI support, we'll trawl through atmospheric corridors, desperately fight for survival against overwhelming hordes and flee from an omnipresent nemesis - with characters and events intersecting at key points in the narrative. Resident Evil 6 will be three games in one, ensuring that absolutely everyone is catered for.

As a recovering Dragon's Dogma addict, I've recently been granted access to the exclusive Resident Evil 6 demo (more details here, Dragon's Dogma owners), and taken a detailed look at how these three campaigns will play out. Be aware that this article may contain early-game spoilers.

Click here to read more...

Top Ten Tuesdays | Awesome Videogame TANKS!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Battlezone, Command & Conquer, Halo, Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Lylat Wars, Metal Slug, StarCraft, Tanks, Top Ten, Top Ten Tuesdays, World Of Tanks

Top Ten Tuesdays | Awesome Videogame TANKS!

Tanks are awesome. We've been drooling all over tracked war machines this week, thanks mainly to a soujurn down to Tankfest 2012 and an interview with World Of Tanks CEO Victor Kislyi. We've done tank PWNcasts. Tank daily bites. Tank updates. So what better way to finish our love affair with rolling treads and massive guns than a hostile takeover of our weekly Top Ten list?

So, here it is: our top ten favourite tanks taken from throughout videogame history. Whether they have the biggest guns, the thickest armour or the fondest memories, these epic gargantuan killing machines have earned a place in our hearts.

For fairness' sake, Mechs (and Wanzers) have been disqualified from the list. Besides, they have a Top Ten of their very own...

Top Ten Tuesdays | Awesome Videogame TANKS!

Honourable Mentions: M1A2 Abrams [Battlefield: Bad Company 2], Prism Tank [Red Alert 2], Devil's Tongue [Tiberian Sun], Rhino [Grand Theft Auto]

Click here and let us give TANKS >>

World Of Tanks: Victor Kislyi Interview | The Lord Of War Talks British Tanks, Update 7.5 & The Future Of Wargaming.net

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Free to play, PC games, Victor Kislyi, Wargaming.net, World Of Battleships, World Of Tanks, World Of Warplanes

World Of Tanks: Victor Kislyi Interview | The Lord Of War Talks British Tanks, Update 7.5 & The Future Of Wargaming.net

Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi doesn't like to hide behind PR departments and press releases. Inviting the Wargaming community and us hacks down to Tankfest 2012, he proudly showed off World Of Tanks to all and sundry, taking notes about fan feedback and suggestions within the cavernous halls of Bovington Tank Museum. Over thirty million players have now signed up to World Of Tanks, making it one of the most successful online games on the market as it continues to evolve through regular updates.

Amidst the rolling thunder of several dozen armoured vehicles, I sat down with Kislyi to discuss the newly-announced Update 7.5, British Tanks, the secret of creating a Free To Play success and the future of Wargaming.net. Please beware: this interview may be pictured by some gratuitous photos from Tankfest.

World Of Tanks: Victor Kislyi Interview | The Lord Of War Talks British Tanks, Update 7.5 & The Future Of Wargaming.net

Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): World Of Tanks has just surpassed thirty million registrations. That is a huge deal for any online game, let alone a Free To Play title. When you started up Wargaming.net and eventually made World Of Tanks, did you ever think that it would be such a huge success?

Victor Kislyi (Wargaming.net CEO): First of all, Wargaming was started around fifteen years ago, when we were making those smaller games. Most were those retail distribution boxes, and at that moment, you'd be happy if you sold 100,000 copies. That makes your day, right? Dreaming of just a million sold boxes, that's something only top games can do on the PC, right? So that's one of the reasons we decided to move away from the retail singleplayer PC gaming industry. We burned all the bridges, put all the money, manpower and threw the hours that we had into that one project. Of course, the numbers we projected were much, much more modest. Everyone including ourselves believed that if we had one hundred thousand players in Russia, that would be cool, if you hit one million players worldwide, that would be a huge, unheard-of success!

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PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Battlefield 3, Even more tanks, Goldeneye, Halo, More tanks, Podcast, PWNCAST, Tank! Tank! Tank!, Tanks, World Of Tanks

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!

Just in case you didn't realise, this week's PWNCAST is all about tanks. Tanks are awesome, and so for this podcast, with Jon having returned fresh from hugging giant mobile cannons at Tankfest, we thought we'd chat about some of our favourite tank-related games and tank-specific gaming moments.

Because tanks are awesome. TANKS!

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19, Recorded: July 1st, 2012

Some of the things that get covered this week:

  • Tanks
  • More tanks
  • Tank games
  • Tank-related gaming moments
  • Even more tanks
  • A side order of tanks
  • Tankfest
  • World of Tanks
  • Battlezone
  • Halo

...and much, much more.

This week in particular, we'd like you to get involved. Let us know what your favourite games of all time are, the games that had the biggest impact on you, and pop a nostalgic anecdote or two in the comments below.

We'll maybe even hand out a prize for our favourite.

Finally, do please keep writing in to contact@dealspwn.com with requests, feedback, and topics you'd like to hear discussed.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.

Click below to play the file, or right click on the banner at the top, and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS! PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 19 – Tanks! Tanks! TANKS!

God Of War: Ascension Preview | This Is Spartan

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, E3 2012, PS3 games, Santa Monica Studios, Sony

God Of War: Ascension Preview | This Is Spartan

"Where can Kratos go from here?"

Considering that we all asked this question after finishing off God Of War III, just imagine how Sony Santa Monica must have felt. Trapped by the epicness of their own internal mythology, all eyes were on the veteran studio, eager to discover how they planned to continue the series and develop their way out of a bit of a pickle. In what seemed to be a bit of a cop-out at the time, the solution was to create a prequel. How trite. How predictable. How... wait, did Kratos just kill a goatman with another goatman?

God Of War: Ascension takes place 6 months after Ares tricked Kratos into murdering his own wife and child, back when the Demigod was just an exceptionally skilled Spartan general on the path of conquest. Tucked into Sony Europe's private meeting room at E3 2012, I was able to get a guided tour of the demo level, a desperate defence of a coastal town overrun by bestial satyrs and patrolled by a titanic sea monster. After being walked through the new combat mechanics, redesigned platforming and myriad improvements, I can happily report that Ascension may be a prequel, but there's nothing primitive about it.

God Of War: Ascension Preview | This Is Spartan

Click here to read more...

Skylanders Giants Preview | Bigger Is Better

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Activision, DS games, PS3 games, Skylanders Giants, Toys For Bob, Wii games, Xbox 360 games

Skylanders Giants Preview | Bigger Is Better

We're big fans of Skylanders, the trans-media phenomenon that allows players to collect a range of collectible figurines and level them up within a light and frothy action-RPG (or cynical stopgap designed to replace Activision's lost peripheral sales after Guitar Hero went down the tubes, depending on how you look at it). It's a perfect example of how toys and videogames can compliment each other, using NFC technology, onboard chips and the 'magical' Portal peripheral to make models come to life. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was a deserved success, and Toys For Bob plan to follow it up by embracing the philosophy of "bigger is better."

Giants is the result: a full sequel rather than an expansion, which heralds the launch of the Series 2 toy line. Alongside new versions of the original cast, who'll ship in a range of different poses, debut the titular Giants, enormous hulking models that stand at over double the height of their predecessors. Lightcore figures also make an anticipated appearance, using current derived from the Portal to illuminate them from within despite possessing no internal battery.

I was able to check out both the new game and new model series at E3 2012, and emerged from the Activision bunker suitably impressed.

Skylanders Giants Preview | Bigger Is Better

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Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Multiplayer Preview | Double Team Supreme

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Danger Close, E3 2012, EA, FPS games, multiplayer, PC games, PS3 games, Xbox 360 games

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Multiplayer Preview | Double Team Supreme
Danger Close have their work cut out. Not only does Medal Of Honor: Warfighter have to contend with the looming juggernaut of Treyarch's Black Ops 2, but they'll have to persuade Battlefield 3 players to step out of their tanks and try something new. Without a particularly stable base to build from - the 2010 reboot was decidedly mediocre - Danger Close needs to go big or go home.

To their credit, they plan to do just that. While Medal Of Honor: Warfighter's singleplayer campaign is still largely under wraps, the multiplayer component has been sharpened up, kissed by the icy, beautiful  lips of Frostbite 2.0 and given a healthy injection of authenticity.

If that doesn't flick your safety, perhaps the twelve playable classes drafted from legendary real-world special forces units will.

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Multiplayer Preview | Double Team Supreme

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Blast From The Past | K240

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Amiga, Asteroids, Gremlin, K240, Strategy games, Swixarians

Blast From The Past | K240

If you have already heard our nostalgia-fueled PWNcast from last week (and if not, go rectify that mistake right now) you will be aware that one of my first proper forays into strategy gaming, and specifically the 4X genre, was K240. It was one of the standout titles from the days when the Amiga 1200 ruled my computing world, not only being one of the better looking games but one of the most challenging experiences to best. For those that have no clue of what I am talking about, the best way to describe it in one sentence would be to say “It’s kind of like SimCity on asteroids, but with aliens that like nuking everything you hold dear.”

Set in the distant future in the titular sector of space, players were tasked with building up a base on an asteroid before constructing fleets to colonise other chunks of space rock in the hope of finding valuable resources. Meanwhile, an alien race of the players choosing would be competing with them in a fight to the death. Peace was not an option in K240 and that meant things got ugly fairly quickly, but with a strong defence, a powerful fleet, and copious amount of missiles, there was always a way to take it to the enemy as long as you had the credits.

Blast From The Past | K240

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New Super Mario Bros. U Preview | A Mario Masterclass, Not A Wii U Tech Demo

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
E3 2012, New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo, Platformer, Wii U, Wii U games

New Super Mario Bros. U Preview | A Mario Masterclass, Not A Wii U Tech Demo

Mario has never looked better. As I quipped within hours of arriving back to the UK after a long haul Los Angeles flight, the clunkily-titled New Super Mario Bros U could have justifiably been named Super Mario HD, such is the visual impact of the step up from Wii to Wii U. The lavish colourful levels and adorable familiar characters pop out of the screen, crisper and sharper than ever before. In many ways, it's a new lease of life for the plumber and pals.

In others, however, it's not quite so simple. Rather than attempting to cram an inordinate number of Wii U gimmicks into their new flagship title, Nintendo decided to iterate on the Wii's New (old?) Super Mario Bros: the four-player 2D platformer. You'll still hop along platforms, bop onto enemies, collect some powerups and mischievously cooperate with a few friends along the way. Instead of a Wii U tech demo, it's a masterclass in classic Mario gameplay, designed to immediately resonate with the legion of existing fans and sucker in new players with its simple premise. A strategy which has proved somewhat divisive in terms of early player feedback, to say the least.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Though some gamers feel that a new Nintendo console deserves an entirely new Mario game, the three levels I played at E3 showcased everything we love about the series, not to mention a few nifty surprises involving the Wii U Gamepad and inflatable dinosaurs.

New Super Mario Bros. U Preview | A Mario Masterclass, Not A Wii U Tech Demo

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