Yesterday we ran our video interview from this year's Gamescom where Chris Roberts previewed the first playable section of Star Citizen - the Hangar Module - but in the early hours of the morning the team at Cloud Imperium finally allowed all of its backers access to their virtual ships for the first time. So, we felt it would be be rude not to do a quick walkthrough of what you can find in the initial release. Carl provides commentary as he explores the Business Hangar, jumps in his Hornet fighter, and rides an elevator.
Just because he can.Click here to read more...
It's had a tortuous road to release and undergone a fair few makeovers, but the game formerly known simply as XCOM, is finally with us, and we've got the first 25 minutes of the game for you to check out.Click here to read more...
I called Respawn's shooter "thrillingly, beautifully frenetic fun" in my hands-on preview of Titanfall earlier in the month, and at Gamescom we got the chance to sit down with the studio's community manager -- Abbie Heppe -- to chat about Pilots and Titans and parkour and jetpacks and loads of guns, and how all those things combine to create one of the most exciting shooters we've seen in a long time.Click here to read more...
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Despite new challengers entering the MMO landscape over the last year or so, Guild Wars 2 has managed to continue its climb to the top with the recent news it was the most successful MMO launch ever. To that end, I sat down with lead game designer Isaiah Cartwright to talk about the recent influx of content updates, specifically the Living Story progression, and ask where the game will be heading in the near future. Watch the video interview after the jump.
Deep within the business centre of the Koelnmesse in Cologne, hidden away amongst the copious amounts of stands privately previewing the latest games, Cloud Imperium studio head and creator of the Wing Commander franchise Chris Roberts was presenting an early look at the first playable part of Star Citizen - the Hangar Module - which will allow players to walk around and interact with the ships they have purchased via pledging to the crowdfunding campaign.
Ahead of its release to all backers this Thursday, I was invited to join in on a press session at Gamescom to see the Hangar Module in action before its public unveiling last Saturday, as well as to sit down with Chris and chat about the project's progress so far. We've got it all for your viewing pleasure, right after the jump.Click here to read more...
My name is Jonathan Lester. I'm a hypocrite. And I think I want an Xbox One.
I should covet a PS4 more than anything on this planet, even if we ignore everything that happened before Gamescom 2013. By my own criteria, Sony's press conference was utterly perfect; cutting away all the hype, dubstep and bullshit that tends to rot most live shows to the core. Instead of a dubstep montage, Sony literally sat down and talked us through the user interface in a live demonstration, before showing us a cavalcade of great-looking games in a no-nonsense, matter-of-fact way. Not just stodgy AAA exclusives, but indie games, fantastic boutique titles, the type of innovative experiences I bang on about time and time again to anyone and everyone who'll listen. It was genuinely magnificent.
Then we bring back the last few months of staunch indie support and coherent communication, and the choice ought to be obvious.
And yet, gun to my head, I might choose the other One.
Click here to read more...
We've had to wait a bit for Rayman Legends, and it rather speaks volumes that Ubisoft are sending out Xbox 360 review code where possible for Rayman Legends. But Michel Ancel and Ubi Montpellier's glorious masterpiece is complete, and glorious it is indeed.
We've captured the opening scenes for your perusal in the usual unadulterated fashion, which means you'll see me screw up in some really basic places because this was the first thing I did after getting back from Gamescom.Click here to read more...
After NBA 2K13 led me to fall head over heels in love with the sport of basketball last year, I was intrigued to see what 2K Sports and Visual Concepts are planning for this year's instalment. After getting hands-on with the game -- read our NBA 2K14 preview here -- I had a chat with Chris Snyder, the senior director of marketing at 2K Sports, to get his take on things.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested) | PS4 | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
When you have a sports game franchise so comprehensive in its quality that it beats the competition into hiatus for several consecutive years, how do you go about avoiding complacency? It's a question that NBA 2K13, as good as it was (and it was very good), slightly sidestepped. After all, if it ain't broke...
But NBA 2K14 is looking to deal precisely with that question. At first glance, it's clear that certain things have changed. The production team made a very big deal out of touting their new compression systems, systems that have allowed the developers to add an extra 3,000 animations onto the existing framework in the game. The results are instantly recognisable. There's a smooth fluidity to the on court action that makes player movements seem more natural and versatile than ever before. Those in-between animations mean that the player has more direct control -- instead of having to wait half a second for an animation to finish, intervention to react to the opposition is a very real prospect. Games can be won and lost in single moments, heightening the dramatic ebb and flow of a match, and making every single player decision a vital consideration.
The full mapping of all ball controls to the right stick takes advantage of the extra animations, making it easier to move from one action to the next, triggering fakes, dummies, and skill moves more naturally. The balletic build up to a shot or layup by someone like Wade, Parker, Kobe, or Wall, for example, can be more readily manipulated. The right stick feels like an extension of their hands, the controls intuitive, with spins and crossovers simple to pull off. But there's a need for precision too; wild use of the stick will surely lead to fumbles and turnovers when facing a defence of any real skill. The right stick makes sense when playing big too, making dummy movements and eventual fadeaways and hook shots easy to perform.Click here to read more...
The above video is not the Peggle 2 preview, but it does do a rather good job of summing the game up nicely. Yes, we got hands-on with PopCap's ridiculously addictive bouncing puzzler at Gamescom this year and we didn't want to leave.
The video after the jump is taken from Microsoft's evening event on Press Conference Day at Gamescom 2013 and features a number of terrible puns from the very start as well as exploring a few levels from one of the game's new Peggle Masters -- Luna -- whose ability renders all blue pegs ethereal and intangible for a couple of turns.
There may also be tears, opera, and a discussion of Lars Ulrich's gaming habits. You have been warned.Click here to watch our Peggle 2 hands-on preview >>
The final postcard from Gamescom sees Carl reflect upon meeting Chris Roberts and chatting about Star Citizen, Ragnar Tornquist is apparently obsessed with wangs, AssFlag might actually be the pirate game for which we've all been waiting, and Microsoft finally show us the Xbox One's UI and Kinect features.
"Prepare for Titanfall," a female voice crackles over the in-game mic as I punch a button on the keyboard. I turn my gaze to the heavens and wait, breathlessly. An aircraft screams by overhead and a shape appears, hurtling towards the ground, barrelling through the clouds. It lands with a thud that kicks up a dusty film, fogging my vision for a few milliseconds. I hammer the 'E' button on my keyboard with impunity just as a smouldering enemy Titan stomps around the corner. Its cannon misses me but the red mist signifies a little collateral damage.
It is of little consequence.
Iron walls envelop me, there is a whirr of mechanical activity, blinders slide back to give me a full view of the smoking, but still standing, enemy ahead. But he is reloading, and I have a cannon that fires four rockets at once. Titan Kill, the screen blinks as I blast the mech and its pilot into oblivion. The grin on my face will not fade until hours later.
I'll be honest, I had my reservations about Titanfall. Despite the obvious talents of the developers involved, many of whom followed Jason West and Vince Zampella after their acrimonious departure from Infinity Ward, this industry hardly needs another Call of Duty. As awesome as mechs are, would they really alter the gameplay significantly? Videos so often promise one thing, only for gameplay to shatter dreams and expectations. I deliberately forced myself not to get my hopes up, instead attempting to engineer some sort of detachment.
I'd wondered too where Titanfall might fit into EA's roster. They already have a massive triple-A first-person shooter franchise; two if you count Medal of Honor. But where the latter has found itself swimming around in recent years bereft of personality and desperately searching for an identity, Titanfall seems a perfect addition to EA's stable. The focus here is on short, sharp bursts of intense action. Matches clocked in at under ten minutes, the action never more than a street or two away. You're constantly involved, constantly on the move, always watching, always fearful. After all, around any corner there could be an armoured leviathan spitting mechanical death at you.Click here to read more...
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.