Having survived Day 2 of Gamescom, now with the general public at the event, Matt and Carl share their highlights from out the Koelnmesse. We hear about the awesomeness of Titanfall, and how NBA 2K14 will retain its sporting crown. Elsewhere, we hear about COD: Ghosts' multiplayer offerings, we go over Everquest Next: Landmark's newly announced features, and we briefly tease what Harmonix have been working on with Disney Fantasia.
Ask me what my favourite games controller of all time is and I'll almost certainly point you towards the Nintendo Gamecube's Wavebird. The GameCube controller certainly had its issues -- a dodgy C-stick and that tiny little Z shoulder button to name but two -- but in terms of ergonomics, it made my hands the happiest they've ever been. When Nintendo brought out the Wavebird, my palms reached nirvana. It was heavier, felt sturdier, and it was seamless in its wireless connectivity. It was pure comfort and thus an absolute joy to hold.
Then Microsoft made it better.
The Xbox 360 controller decided this generation battle for me, that and the fact that Microsoft's console arrived earlier and proved cheaper than the PS3. And though I love my PS3 dearly for its superior collection of diverse exclusives, I've always found the DualShock controller to be abhorrent. The thumb sticks are the wrong places, it feels squashed and lightweight, and playing on it with my giant mitts for long periods of time results in an imagined sensation of bone deformation. The DS4 is a definite improvement, however, and you can read all about that here.
But the Xbox One controller might be in another league in terms of comfort. It's smaller than the Xbox 360's game pad, sitting in the hands the way that Ubisoft's limited edition Ghost Recon Future Soldier pad did, albeit without the mesh grips (more on that in a bit). But the shape is still incredibly pleasing.Click here to read more...
Wednesday saw the first day of Gamescom proper as the press and trade visitors descended upon the Koelnmesse in swarms. We give our overview of an eventful first day that saw us checking out the likes of Beyond: Two Souls, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Dark Souls, Wasteland 2, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Elsewhere, my microphone breaks, Toby proves to be huge hit with just about everyone, and we can't get the Peggle 2 music out of our heads.
Seriously, it's slowly driving me insane.
Platforms: Xbox 360 (tested) | PS3 | PS4
Developers: Blizzard Entertainment
Publishers: Blizzard Entertainment
This isn't the first time that we've seen Diablo on consoles. The first game popped up on the original Playstation back in 1998 and delivered Blizzard's delicious dungeon crawler to a new audience, albeit with one or two little hiccups along the way. Developed in conjunction with Climax, the console version had players taking direct control of the central character, and dropping the online multiplayer in favour of couch-based co-op.
Much of the same can be said of this revival of Diablo III on home consoles. The swift accuracy of the mouse is replaced with twin-sticks now and a collection of face-buttons, and I'm not giving anything away by saying that the console version of Diablo III is a rather different beast than its PC predecessor.
Direct control makes a big difference. On PC, the mouse does everything, and does it well, allowing players to give an array of commands in a single second. Drinking a potion, powering up a buff, moving out of harm's way, and delivering an attack takes four speedy clicks: action is almost as swift as thought. But that's simply not possible on consoles. Now, for example, we have an all-new Evade mechanic. Flick the right thumbstick and your payer character will roll or dash or teleport (depending on your class) out of harm's way. It costs nothing, can be used in repetition to escape large clusters of enemies, and it's essential to your survival on any remotely challenging difficulty level. The Evade does a single point of damage too, so it can be used to trigger traps for enemies or just for a bit of wanton barrel smashing should that take your fancy.Click here to read more...
Recorded at the end of a long day of press conferences and showcases, we reflect on EA and Sony's presentations from Gamescom 2013 and we deliver some swift first impressions after getting hands-on with Ryse, Project Spark, and PEGGLE 2!!
Carl gets very excited by PopCap (actually, both of us do, it's a little erotic), and Siri tries to gatecrash the video postcard.
The first day of Gamescom is at an end. The press conferences are over, the headlines are typed up and both Matt and Carl are currently crushing a whole bunch of next-gen games to bring you hands-on impressions from the bleeding edge.
However, now that's all done and dusted, it's time to pick apart the biggest headlines of the day and discuss some of the most genuinely surprising revelations we learned over the last 24 hours. Even though Sony's press conference was more sedate that we expected, there were still a fair few megatons to drop...
PopCap plans to push the limits of next-generation hardware with their upcoming sequel, which has surprisingly chosen Xbox One as lead platform. As opposed to, say, iOS.
It's an odd state of affairs, but hey, we've got a fever. An extreme fever. And the only prescription is... well, you know.Click here to read more...
Bits and pieces of information have been dribbling out of Microsoft's showcase today and we take a little look at a few of the announcements, dishing out some initial impressions regarding the Fable Legends announcement, the news that European Xbox One pre-orders will also include a free copy of FIFA 14 while stocks last as well as the exclusive FUT Legends announcement, we marvel at a Ryse appearance that doesn't make us want to claw our eyes out, and we discuss the further details of Microsoft's plan for self-publishing as outlined this morning by Phil Harrison.
It's Gamescom week, folks! We've shipped both Matt and Carl our to Cologne, Germany to get hands-on with all the upcoming games and hardware, but before the madness begins we sat them both down to chat about what they were most looking forward to. Plus, everybody's favourite mascot, Toby The Dealspwny, makes an appearance!
Be sure to check back daily for more bite-sized video impressions from this year's show.
For the past two years Carbine Studios have released a steady stream of information for their upcoming MMO WildStar. We’ve learned about the Paths system, the races and their history, the active combat with telegraphs, and how housing and Warplots will work, amongst other things. However, one of the topics Carbine have stayed silent about is that of the business model. Were we going to see a monthly subscription? Perhaps it would be Buy-to-play like Guild Wars 2? Would we be seeing a Free-To-Play option? The community has theorised over the issue for months, with all sides of the discussion weighing the pros and cons of each possibility.
Today, we put the theory-crafting to rest – we now know what the business model for WildStar will be, and it might surprise a few of you.
We were invited into a conference call alongside other industry journalists to chat with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney about the ways (notice the plural, there) that players can get involved in the upcoming Sci-fi MMO, but before we get into the Q&A let’s get down to the facts. Players will need to buy a copy of WildStar, and it will have a monthly subscription fee in line with most other titles in the genre, but those players who dislike the idea of a subscription have an alternative option. They can purchase something called a C.R.E.D.D. (or a “Certificate of Research, Exploration, Destruction and Development”) using their in-game gold from another player, which can be used to grant them an extra month of game time. This, in theory, means that if somebody plays the game enough (or has a knack for making huge piles of virtual cash) they can play WildStar for free.
Those of you that know how EVE Online and its PLEX system works will be familiar with this concept. Players will be able to buy C.R.E.D.D. on the official WildStar website, and then take this item and put it on the Commodities Exchange (WildStar’s version of an auction house.) Here, they can set a price of in-game gold pieces and sell it on to somebody else. The idea is that it one player gets a huge amount of gold without the risks of going through dastardly gold farmers, and the other player gets 30 days of game time without paying any real money. “In our findings, people really, more than anything else, more than anyone loves a business model, people tend to hate business models,” Gaffney said as he explained why Carbine went for this model. “They’ve been burned by them before in different games, and it’s kind of true about all models. So for people who don’t like sub games, “oh we don’t think the monthly updates are worth it,” or they just don’t like to pay to play, we provide the C.R.E.D.D. option.”
Click here to read more...
We're expecting big things from Microsoft at Gamescom this year. After a cavalcade of PR cock-ups and communication mishaps, and what seems like U-turn upon U-turn, Microsoft have a chance to wipe the slate clean and do what they ought to have done from the start: give us reasons to buy an Xbox One. That means putting the console in the hands of the public, it means showing off the exclusive games that the company has been touting. The secretive morning showcase on Tuesday is being heavily tipped to contain an unannounced exclusive, and we're praying that the little sneaky comments and glimpses of Crackdown 3 might be fully realised in Cologne.
Bizarrely, Microsoft aren't streaming a press conference. We would have thought that it would have been the perfect opportunity for the company to deliver some simple facts and set a new message for a console that's looking markedly different in terms of features and services from the one that was produced back in late May. A clear line of self-publishing is needed, not to mention some kind of proof that this new Kinect camera is actually worth the money, and that its power is going to be used in innovative fashion, not as a wasted casual peripheral. There's going to be an enormous booth on the show floor, though, so the public will have plenty of opportunity to get in front of an Xbox One.Click here to read more...
We're halfway through August, and that can only mean one thing: Gamescom is just around the corner. There's a new dawn approaching for the video games console industry, and although E3 and the respective reveals of Sony and Microsoft earlier in the year have started the pre-game, next-gen carousel, the world's largest consumer show marks arguably the biggest stage thus far for the Xbox One, the PS4, and (lest we forget it exists) the Wii U.
Once again, we'll be getting to grips with some of the biggest upcoming titles of the next twelve months, interviewing some of the developers working hard behind closed doors, bombarding you with the latest news from the show and giving you our opinions on some of the hottest properties in the industry. Everything's shifting over the next year or so, and that makes this Gamescom a bit special. We're expecting a few surprises, with Sony and Microsoft no doubt still with one or two cards to play and new reveals to come, and everything will be easily navigable from this page.
Do also keep abreast of action as it happens via our main site Twitter stream for 140 character reports straight from both the show floor and clandestine closed-door meetings. Our Facebook page will have a steady stream of site links too.
Developers: Daedalic Entertainment
Publishers: Daedalic Entertainment
Double Fine came under a bit of fire recently for the way in which they've handled the game formerly know as the Double Fine Adventure -- Broken Age. After all, instead of creating a game to spec gifted the generous $2 million budget by an eager, anticipatory community on Kickstarter, it seems that Tim Schafer and co. were more happy creating half a game with double the budget. Adventure games don't need astronomical budgets to be gripping, magical affairs. Nor has the appetite for them dimmed over the course of the years as some might tell you, it's more that other trends have risen and fallen in fashion.
Daedalic Entertainment have been producing retina-pleasing adventure games for years. Perhaps best known for their Deponia series -- a setting that rather left me cold, I'll admit -- I fell in love with their delightful tale of a would-be magician and a dimension-hopping bunny in Night of the Rabbit earlier this year, a sumptuous point-and-click affair that evoked the narrative spirits of Mssrs. Carroll, Lewis, and Milne.
But whereas The Night of the Rabbit was like flicking through an interactive children's book come to live, Memoria attempts to engage in the epic. Picking up from where Chains of Satinav left off, Memoria finds the hero of the last game, the bird catcher Geron, seeking to find a way to reverse the curse that has trapped the spirit of his friend Nuri in the body of a raven. An encounter with a mysterious trader named Fahi leads to the possibility of salvation, but it comes at a price: Fahi demands the answer to a riddle involving a certain demon hunting princess, Sadja, who vanished 500 years ago in the midst of a war that shook the foundations of the world.Click here to read more...
Developers: Ubisoft Montpellier
By rights, we should have been enjoying the delightful whimsy of Rayman Legends by now. But then, Ubisoft couldn't be held responsible for Nintendo's failure to provide a platform with even a whiff of the possibility of breaking even let alone making a profit. So Rayman Legends is going multiplatform, and whatever the circumstances surrounding that shift and whatever effect that move might have had on the Wii U, one thing is certain: more people will play it now. And that's a good thing.
But it turns out that the very best thing about Rayman Legends might not be the pinsharp HD aesthetics, the inventive level design and taut platforming, or the way in which you can manipulate an area's moving parts with Murfy. If the preview event I attended a few weeks back is anything to go by, the best bit comes in the form of a football match.
Yes, you read that correctly.Click here to read more...
In today's episode of Dealspwn Playthrough, Carl puts his border control hat on and dives into Papers, Please, the dystopian immigration puzzle game from indie developer Lucas Pope. Watch as Carl guides you through the gameplay mechanics, accepting and denying people for the glory of Arstotzka (as well as hear his failed attempts to pronounce the country's name correctly.) See it all after the jump.Click here to read more...
PayDay 2 is out on PC today, and it's all we can do to keep working rather than skiving off to play some more of its sensationally enjoyable co-op. This randomised crime spree simulator is one of the most exciting multiplayer experiences out there despite a fair few quirks and eccentricities, offering players a wealth of depth and variety so long as you're willing to work together with friends and get your hands very, very dirty.
Indeed, we called it "one of the most exciting cooperative games on the planet" in our extensive PayDay 2 review.
There's so much to consider when planning the perfect heist, not to mention dealing with the fallout once everything inevitably goes wrong, that we've taken some of our experience with the preview and review builds to present you with a ten-step survival guide. We'll see you back at the safehouse.
In most missions, chances are you'll have to hunker down and wait for an objective to complete. Drills take an eternity to crack a vault or safe, even if you've brought along a skilled Technician, meaning that you'll want to turn your surroundings into an impenetrable bunker to keep the police at bay.Click here to read more...
Another week, another Xbox One U-turn. Wait, I'm sure I've written that sentence before.
This week, though, comes the revelation that Kinect is completely optional.
"Like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor,” Xbox One architect Marc Whitten has revealed. “You have the ability to completely turn the sensor off in your settings. When in this mode, the sensor is not collecting any information. Any functionality that relies on voice, video, gesture or more won’t work. We still support using it for IR blasting in this mode."
“You can turn the sensor back on at any time through settings, and if you enter into a required Kinect experience (like Kinect Sports Rivals for instance), you’ll get a message asking if you want to turn the sensor back on in order to continue.”
Over the course of the past month or so, Microsoft have basically spent their time contradicting their big Xbox One reveal. After all, that was a presentation all about how incredible it would be to have a console that was always connected, linked with a camera that was strikingly more powerful than that of this generation, affording Xbox customers functionality that could not be found anywhere else.
Of course, that might still prove to be the case. There'll undoubtedly still be a whole bunch of things you can do with this super-powered Kinect device if you have it that will delight gadget hounds no end. For the record, many gamers I've spoken to have been rather more excited about the futuristic possibilities of a console so intrinsically linked with this superior Kinect tech.Click here to read more...
In a similar way to Skylanders, you place plastic toys on a docking station plugged into your console and those toys will appear on-screen allowing the player to use them in-game in specific Playsets.
Characters are linked to Playsets, specific stages based around famous Disney films or locations. John Day told us more at a recent hands-on event:
“In a given Playset you experience a single universe in a really immersive way. So when you play in Cars, you play as a Cars character you do things that makes sense to Cars like racing or building up the town of radiator springs. And if you play in the Pirates of the Caribbean Playset you get a very different experience, you play as a Pirate’s character, you get a pirate ship you sail the high seas, you fight the Kraken, the Kraken eats you, that’s what happens in Pirates. The two never really cross over, Jack sparrow will never go into the Cars Playset and McQueen will never go into the Pirates Playset."
Essentially a Playset is a campaign; it’s the main meat of a game that, until now, would be a separately released product on a disc.Click here to read more...
The Dark Room is playing at The Underbelly, Cowgate until August 25th at 20:40 each day. More info.
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You awake to find yourself in a dark room.
It's dark and roomy and the hangover from the night before is only just starting to wear off and you're somewhere deep in the bowels of Edinburgh and a gurning illuminated head is shouting at you in a deep and booming voice.
"How will you find the light switch?" the head intones. "Can you see?"
"I can see," I reply.
"Bullshit you can see! You're in a dark room!"
This little exchange will no doubt be familiar to many who discovered John Robertson's The Dark Room floating around YouTube back in the early part of 2012, the comedic homage to the impossibly fiendish, acerbic text-based adventure games of yesteryear, many of which seemed to make no sense and took an all-too evident delight in bullying players. Now it's returned for another month to the Edinburgh Fringe for a riotous, sell-out run as a live-action, interactive text-adventure (it's on throughout this month, go and see it! - Ed.) , helmed by a wild Australian and his sinister, omnipotent alter-ego.
"The Dark Room is bastard hard," Robertson will tell me the day after I witness his performance as the Floating Head who serves as The Dark Room's dungeon master of sorts. "And it's deliberately designed to be so."
At the start of the show Robertson introduces himself, clad in leather trousers, a corset surrounding his midriff, and with a shock of blonde hair that makes it look like he just put his finger into an electrical socket. As himself, he's a wild bundle of comedic energy, so much so that it's almost exhausting. He talks rapidly, rising and falling in volume dramatically.
"I see we've got some children here this evening," he says, scouring his audience. "This changes NOTHING!"Click here to read more...
Dealspwn Playthrough is back, and today we're taking a look at Saints Row IV, the upcoming bundle of open-world insanity from Volition and Deep Silver that sees you play as POTUS with superpowers, attempting to thwart an alien invasion by a race called the Xin.
You can catch the first half hour of the game in our Opening Scenes video, but today we're showing a little bit of footage from the first few hours in which Matt lays the smackdown on a Xin flashpoint before using his superpowers to scale an alien tower in search of sweet XP and Cache credits.Click here to read more...
We’ve been looking forwards to Saints Row IV ever since Deep Silver surprised us all with its announcement earlier this year. Yet much of its hard-earned limelight has been stolen by Rockstar’s upcoming GTA V. Rockstar release a few screenshots, one gameplay trailer and the world goes nuts, despite the press not even being allowed to touch it. Same old story, same old Rockstar.
Well, balls to them. Less than a month before GTA lands, one of the worst gaming droughts we’ve seen ends with numerous big hitters and none of them look half as entertaining as Saints Row IV. Here at Dealspwn we’ve had plenty of updates, trailers, interviews and hands-on sessions and it’s time to tell you why you’ll be having more fun with the dudes in purple.
It's crude, rude, and lewd and you'll enjoy it all despite knowing better. Sure, we have games that try to be funny and just come out as embarrassing (hello Lollipop Chainsaw and Deadpool) but SR games have consistently amused with humorous missions and characters you'd never be able to call boring.
Unlike the competition, Saints Row has always allowed you to create the game’s leading star so there are no complaints about how they look or sound. Get under their skin and they still manage to have a fun personality thanks to a decent range of voices to choose from and a tongue-in-cheek script.
Rockstar tried to use Niko, Roman and it's collection of racial stereotypes to tell an interesting story in GTA IV, but amidst all the dull friend missions, overcooked accents and never-ending escort jobs, they proved to be a collection of unlikable, tediously miserable bastards. Whereas here we have a street gangster who became so popular they went from the crack house, to the whorehouse to the White House despite a seedy obsession for all things purple and gangsta.
What was the point of Rockstar trying to make Niko out to be this wounded soul, haunted by his past in Eastern Europe when most players were going to make him run down pedestrians, shoot pigeons and kill all of the prostitutes in Liberty City with molotovs before robbing their still flaming purses? Yeah Rockstar, a kill/forgive choice at the end was really deep after what we'd put the poor fucker through.Click here to read more...