The topic of this week's Why We Love may well be a divisive one, so let me start off by saying it's not how the Mako was used that I love because lets face it the planetary exploration in Mass Effect was incredibly repetitive, but that doesn't stop the Mako from being a video games vehicle that I love. I realised this whilst playing through Mass Effect yet again at the end of last year as a 'bad' version of Commander Shepard, and when I dragged my new character into Mass Effect 2 I couldn't help but sit back and feel slightly disappointed that I no longer had the little tank at my disposal, yes you get to pilot the Hammerhead but it's just not the same.Click here if you want to read more!
Between regular game patches, the rise of online multiplayer gaming, and a focus on digital downloads, current generation consoles practically demand a working Internet connection. That being the case, publishers have spotted an opportunity to offer additional game content, for a price of course, to those eager to squeeze a little extra playtime from their most beloved titles. But following the recent announcement that Battlefield 3 will launch with the 'Back to Karkand' expansion pack, a wave of discontent spread amongst fans, stretching as far as our very own comment thread. Why aren't developers providing us with the content we deserve, and is it time for us to start calling the shots?How the future of DLC is changing, and how much it's costing us >>
So let's spice things up with a little cheer and optimism, as we list the most badass, lovable and just plain good protagonists who've arrived this generation. Introducing, The Top Ten 7th Gen Protagonists!
Let's kick things off with Platinum Games' shape-shifting, alluringly-proportioned witch, Bayonetta. She might not be the most well-written character - although it's much better to be so-bad-it's-good rather than just plain bad - but when you can summon dragons made of mystical hair and beat ten shades of holiness from demonic cherubs, you deserve a place on our list!
inFamous' crackling protagonist won over many a gamer's heart in 2009, with his so-gravelly-I-make-Christian-Bale-sound-like-a-schoolgirl voice and bald noggin. Despite his design being plucked from Superheroes 101, Cole was an eminently likable character whose journey you truly felt a part of. When Cole discovered a new power, fizzing in his palms, you experienced the same electrifying rush of possibility and potential.Click here to see which other sparkling central characters made Felix's top ten...
Ken Levine was right. Although the technology is getting better, characters becoming more photo-realistic, modes of storytelling more mature, and aspirations more lofty, sometimes what should be a tender, intimate moment just gets ruined by the dawning realisation that what one is watching more closely resembles mashing Barbie and Ken dolls together than anything else.
Of course, although technological shortcomings have broken the spell of romance for many a gamer, sometimes you can't just blame the jagged pixels and horrifically animated kissing. Sometimes the writers are to blame too. Sometimes the flirtatious banter is more cheesy than Stilton dunked in fondue, more stilted than...well...stilts.
Of course, some scenes are shot very tastefully indeed and really add something to the experience. I was really impressed with Mass Effect's incorporation of sex, it didn't need to show anything hugely explicit at all and was actually far better for it. Indeed, my seconds-long montage with Liara was all mood-lighting and airy close-ups of relatively inoffensively nude body parts.
But then, there are Team America-esque sequences, scenes that make you cringe, and some that make you burst out laughing - intentionally or otherwise. There are also some that make absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things whatsoever.
We've picked out six of our favourites. Scenes that have made us laugh, cringe, groan and sometimes just let out a small noise of perplexity. Let's get sexy...
Mass Effect is no stranger to transmedia, what with the novels, graphic novels and the occasional Hollywood rumour we've seen in the past few years, and now a straight-to-video anime feature is set to land next year.
Co-produced by Tokyo-based anime and international feature film production company T.O Entertainment and Dragon Age anime producers FUNimation (due for release this year), EA's official release states that 'the anime video will tell the tale of an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets.'Hit the jump for more, and a blurb from Casey Hudson...
Mates. Buds. Compadres. Amigos.
Videogames have taken a stab at true love, but when it comes right down to it, there's no deeper connection than two best mates who look out for each other through thick and thin. Allow me, therefore, to take you through ten of the greatest Bromance stories ever told.
Conventional logic dictates that this pair should be the deadliest of enemies, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every time Mario needs some more disposable income or some time away from the missus, Bowser's always happy to hook him up with a princess kidnapping and go through the motions. In an awesome display of taking one for the team, Mario was also willing to go deep inside the digestive tract of his erstwhile foe to save the world... which is quite frankly further than even the tightest of bros are willing to go. Even on a stag night.
When Commander Shepard is forced to go off the books and recruit a crack team of surly ne'er-do-wells to save the universe, there's one Turian that he knows that he can rely on time and time again. Garrus always has his back. Whether he's doling out sage advice or devastating sniper cover fire, this is one partnership that survived two games and will hopefully make it into the third.
This is a classic example of a budding bromance that was cruelly cut short. It took a .44 magnum round and several cans of petrol to drag these two apart, even after the steadfast Ghost heroically dragged his comrade in arms out of a deadly firefight and was pivotal in securing each and every objective that Task Force 141 threw at them.
A tragic end to a solid bromance that was forged- and severed- by fire.Click here to keep reading, bro!
Ignore the cynicism, it's Valentine's Weekend! Instead of 'Why We Love...', this week it's more of a 'Who We Love...' to get into the spirit of things. With that in mind, a few members of the team took the opportunity to show the world how they feel...
This Valentine's Day I only have eyes for a certain Drell mercenary. I have always been notoriously picky when it comes to matters of the heart but any human foolhardy enough to wish to woo this childish daydreamer now has an even more monumental task on his hands. For what mere mortal could compare to this handsome and exotic alien with the strength, skill, bravery and rapier mind of an assassin but the heart and soul of a tortured poet? Sure he is riddled by guilt and the angstiest of existential angst but he more than makes up for it with his fascinating, mysterious past, gentle manner and quiet capability.
We could go to a quiet little bar somewhere in the far flung reaches of the galaxy and he could call me "Siha" in that achingly melodic voice. And later, from our cosy little space ship (shhh, in this fantasy he's not dying ok?!) we could look back on that magical first Valentine's night and he could recall it exactly. How full the moons were, the way their light played upon my hair, how I squealed when he noticed a rare Kahjian bug nestled in it, how he told a slightly risqué turian joke and made me laugh until my ice brandy shot out of my nose... Every little detail. Every. single. tiny. little thing.
On second thoughts, I wonder whether Link is still available...
This week has heralded a deeply cynical EA viral marketing ploy deepening mystery surrounding Bioware's upcoming game reveal. Clever clues, suggestive videos and rumours galore have been doing the rounds recently... so here's what we know so far.
This video, coupled with the Vostok connection, caused speculation about whether BioWare could be working on a multiplayer project that's set in the Mass Effect universe. This ties in nicely with news from earlier this year that BioWare was seeking multiplayer developers... and we theorised that a standalone MP title could well be on the cards.
Could Bioware's latest project be a multiplayer Mass Effect? Mass Effect 3? Or an entirely new IP? Sound off in the comments! We'll have to wait until December 11th for the definitive answer.
And now for something completely different. Casual games outfit Zattikka has managed to acquire the venerable Monty Python license for use in Facebook and browser-based casual games.
Monty Python is one of the most iconic comedy licenses around, but there has been no new material for over 20 years. By acquiring these rights we will be transporting Monty Python into the 21st Century, with a totally new experience for their unique comedy that will delight old and new fans alike. - Zattikka CEO Tim Chaney
Apparently the Pythons will be "looking over" Zattikka's shoulders during development to ensure that the franchise is treated with respect. We'll know more in early December. [VG247]
Suda51's mature Kinect title Codename D is bound to be a twisted and ultraviolent affair- but we didn't really know anything about it bar the fact that it's set in a nightmarish fairground. However, a new interview suggests that the entire body is going to be used as a weapon in an attempt to restore the player character's "lost self".
Using Kinect, you become the controller and face off against enemies, clearing missions in the hopes of restoring your lost self. It’s a game that will let you experience the invigorating feel that can be had because of Kinect.
It’s a no gun, no sword action game. It’s a game that will let you experience the invigorating feel that can be had because of Kinect. -Suda to Famitsu Magazine
Kinect needs these mature titles like the desert needs the rain. 2011 can't come soon enough.
Videogames have let us clamber into the virtual bridges and cockpits of truly incredible spaceships over the years, from the smallest fighters to gargantuan dreadnoughts. However, top ten lists tend to become dominated by the same usual suspects- and to this end, here's a true roundup of gaming's most awesome combat vessels that may include some unsung heroes you've sadly never even heard of. Strap in. Lock S-Foils in attack position. Engage!
Honourable Mentions: The Pillar of Autumn, DarkStar One, Millennium Falcon, USS Sovereign
Despite a fairly dodgy name, the Hellbender is an absolutely incredible war machine. Standing alone against the Bion menace, its powerful shields and ability to hover in midair allow it to become a devastating stationary weapons platform or blistering dogfighter at a moment's notice- packing enough raw modular firepower to annihilate entire fleets of Bion warships and ground troops. The jump engine allows the Hellbender to strike at any target system without warning, making it capable of inflicting massive shock and awe.
The Pillar of Autumn is a classic... but it turned out to be much more useful as a bomb than it ever was as a spaceship. The Spirit of Fire, on the other hand, is a much more impressive piece of military hardware. Once a humble colony ship, it was retrofitted as a planetary assault carrier that can engage multiple Covenant vessels in atmosphere as well as deploying unstoppable waves of ground troops to the battlefield. The combination of raw firepower and decisive tactical edge guarantee its place in UNSC history.
Any ship that's designed to crack planets more than deserves its place on the list, but the Ishimura's primary claim to fame are the nightmarish Necromorphs that haunt its claustrophobic corridors. Despite being a shameless homage to Event Horizon and System Shock 2, the Ishimura's mix of tight tunnels and massive zero-G environments make it a perfect setting for an unforgettable survival horror experience.
The Normandy is a fantastic vessel with a couple of major design flaws. First of all, its cargo lift frequently results in crew suicide due to its unbelievably slow transfer rate. More worryingly, it now sports an impractical 'open plan' new look thanks to the Collectors blowing it to seven shades of hell.
Still, credit where credit's due. The Normandy saved the galaxy from an implacable alien menace and inspired a Cerberus remake, cementing its place in the list.
The TIE Defender is a clear case of design by necessity. Let's face it: the standard TIE Fighter is godawful, featuring no shields and a pathetic array of weaponry. Realising their mistake, Sienar Fleet Systems went back to the drawing board added two more lasers, two ion cannons, a tractor beam, shields and two supplementary missile hardpoints. It had a cost to match, but rebel pilots stand little chance against the Defender's ludicrous armaments. Plus, it looks monumentally badass.Click here to find out which totally awesome spaceships made the top 5...
It is dark when we arrive on Freedom’s Progress. The shuttle drops us off in a wide-open space, box-like buildings scattered around a concrete courtyard of varying levels, lampposts the only source of light in the darkness.
We proceed into what I can only assume is a house. Lights flicker as we enter, plates and cutlery still on the tables. It’s as if they simply vanished. Miranda remarks on the lack of bodies or structural damage. No obvious signs of conflict. Curious.
We pass through blast-doors into another compound. Almost immediately we are beset on all sides by LOKI mechs. But the security systems were supposed to be inactive, and why would the mechs suddenly perceive us as the threat? We deal with the hostiles efficiently, and pass on to the next area. Miranda discovers the mechs were reprogrammed to attack on sight. Someone else is on Freedom’s Progress, and they don’t appreciate the company.
In a laboratory we encounter a squad of Quarian soldiers. Guns are drawn, and both sides stare each down the barrel. A female Quarian enters the fray to defuse matters. Tali? She survived the destruction of the Normandy? I am glad she’s alive, but curious as to why she’s here.
A stray Quarian, Veetor, was on Freedom’s Progress before it was attacked. Tali and the others arrived here to find him. They suspect damage to his suit has rendered him delirious, prompting him to reprogram the security systems in fear of further attack.
I agree to join with the Quarians in securing Veetor. He’s hold up in a warehouse. Myself, Miranda and Jacob will enter the warehouse from the front, while Tali and her crew approach from the side to distract the mechs. Prazza, one of the Quarian soldiers, does not believe he can trust us. He calls me a Cerberus operative. Am I an agent of Cerberus now?
We begin our approach to the warehouse. We encounter some security drones, but they’re the least of our problems. Veetor’s reprogrammed a YMIR heavy-mech. It’s already slaughtered most of Tali’s crew, who attempt to betray us backfired, and is en route to our position.
We assemble inside the courtyard. The YMIR is tough, protected by shields, not to mention reinforced armour-plating. I order Miranda and Jacob to take position on either flank, and together we whittle away at its shields, dashing from crate to crate. We manage to rupture the YMIR’s shields, and the mechanised beast responds with a volley of missiles. I am hurt, blood misting my vision, but manage to destroy the YMIR with a well-placed shot from my heavy pistol. Pieces rain down on the courtyard.
We find Veetor inside the security control room. Bathed in orange light from the monitors, he’s clearly lost his mind, stammering about “swarms” and “monsters”. We reason with Veetor, convince him we’re not a threat, and in turn, she shows us security footage from the day of the attack.
What I see fills me with dread. Organic coffins, floating above the ground, being ferried to ships I do not recognise by what appear to be Collectors, a space-faring race of insectile humanoids who usually do business with slavers and mercenaries in the most distant regions of space. They’re known to use advanced weaponry. Powerful enough to disable a colony?
On the screen, we see they’re collecting the people. Veetor tells us about the “swarms”, insects the Collectors use to neutralise the populace so they can be stored in those coffins and shuttled away. The Collector’s have since left, leaving Veetor in tatters.
Tali arrives. I agree to hand Veetor over to her, but only if he hands over the data he gathered on the Collector’s and their attack. She agrees, but we must go our separate ways.