I hate pre-order bonuses.
We complained about games releasing buggy and broken last year, moaning about the plethora of half-baked, pitiful excuses and the all-too-visible corporate policy of certain companies that was haemorrhaging into their titles. But we were all to blame, all of us complicit in the burgeoning, ubiquitous pre-order culture that allows companies to make budget projections far in advance, and then screw over whoever and whatever they need to in order to hit their projected deadlines.
Pre-order bonuses, of course, have been the sweetener, the bait for the early adopter. Invest early you blind fool, companies have said, and get free DLC, get free customisation items, enjoy these perks that you can't get anywhere else. It has been galling and miserable to watch, and it has been depressingly effective. We wondered aloud just how much more will be snipped off of games to allow for this duplicitous process, how many more features fenced off and restricted to those willing to stump up cash early and pay to play something they've no idea is any good or not.
Enter Evolve, a game clearly desperate for attention.
You have to feel sorry in a way for Turtle Rock. They game they built fell off of the map last year and missed its planned release date. The Big Alpha was a big mess, with dubious netcode issues, and plentiful worries about balancing and longevity. Where's the rest of the game, people asked, and rightly so. Then they realised that they hadn't actually shown people why on Earth this thing deserved it's full price, and finally unleashed a barrage of information explaining how there were more characters, more monsters, more modes, and more reasons to play... hopefully.
Here's the thing, though. To use those new characters and the Wraith without grinding, you'll have to pre-purchase the game. Not pre-order... pre-purchase.Click here to read more...
This week's Xbox LIVE Deals With Gold go live today, with discounts on Warframe boosters, Terraria, and Never Alone on Xbox One, and a big fat 2K sale for Xbox 360 fans with BioShock 1 and 2 down to £3.74 each, Mafia II at the same price, and the excellent Spec Ops: The Line for under a fiver.Click here for the full list of deals >>
If you missed out on GAME's recent deal, then you're in luck. Green Man Gaming are running a similar offer if you take advantage of the voucher code below. They're also selling the original BioShock at a reduced price and can be brought down to £2 using the voucher code, which is a fantastic bargain if you've yet to play it.
Thanks to goonertillidie @ HUKD!
It's not a huge saving here, but The Game Collection have undercut the next best offers for the latest WWE game by £2.
Our review is currently being grappled with 1001 armbars, but word on the net suggests that despite looking visually impressive this year's offering is rather lacking in terms of features (although not as bad as the last-gen versions.) In other words, unless you're a hardcore fan of the wrasslin' you might want to hold off until our judgment is delievered. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
For today's offering in GAME's Advent Calender Sale for PC titles, it's all things Borderlands 2 and the recently released Pre-Sequel. You can get the GOTY Edition of Borderlands 2 for £7.50 which includes everything DLC-wise. As for the Pre-Sequel, the £20 price point provides a saving of around £8. All purchases are redeemed and player via Steam.
Those of you who are missing bits and pieces of DLC will find this an opportune time to complete the experience, as add-ons like The Mechromancer class and Tiny Tina's Attack on Dragon's Keep are under £2 each. You can see all the listings by clicking the banner at the top.
Today's offer from GAME brings us another chance to get hold of BioShock Infinite for £4. While the listing says it is for Mac, it will work on PC as well due to it being a Steam code. It's also worth noting that that there's a reduction on all the DLC for the game as well, including both episodes of the excellent Burial At Sea. If you're interested in getting that we suggest getting hold of the Season Pass for £4.66, as buying each episode individually will cost over a fiver in the end.
Thanks to nickrm2 @ HUKD!
Here's a fine price for last year's entry in the NBA 2K series, with the PS4 version falling to the £15 mark. The listing from The Game Collection will save you arounda fiver compared to the next best offer elsewhere.
Setting the standard for which the latest version has built upon, Matt called NBA 2K14 "probably the best sports game on the planet" in his review last year. If you're looking for a cheap way to get into the series, you'll more than get you money's worth with this deal. Thanks to ScottishDuck13 @ HUKD!
The next set of deals are up on Gamersgate, and today's highlight sees BioShock Infinite fall to the £4 mark when you put in the voucher code below at the checkout. While there's a chance it could see further reductions via other sales, as its stands there's a saving of around a fiver to be had.
The debate still rages as to whether it was the masterpiece we had waited so patiently for, despite it's solid combat mechanics. That said, at this price none of that really matters, as for a fiver it's a ride worth taking.
Another year, another hacker group somehow bored during silly season. This time it's a group by the name of DerpTrolling, who've gone and leaked a "very small portion" of login details they've amassed from the likes of the PSN, 2K's servers, and Windows Live amongst others.
The details were posted on Pastebin along with a message from DerpTrolling saying the following: "Dear Internet, The following is a very small portion of Lord Gaben and the rest of his crew's glorious raids across the high seas of the Internet." This was then followed up with "Let this be a warning to all. Nothing is safe from Derp."Click here to read more...
Huzzah for price-matching, as now you have two places from which to get Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for £25. This latest deal will save you around a fiver over the next cheapest offer for either console version.
Although it didn't really offer anything particularly new, and the story didn't capitalise upon the potential that was there, it doesn't change the fact The Pre-Sequel is great fun, especially in co-op. You can read all about it by checking out our review. Thanks to Ninjin00 & raph65536 @ HUKD for the heads-up!
2K announced that Evolve's Big Alpha has been extended through Thursday this week after the delayed launch on PS4. We've been jumping in the game a fair bit over the past few days, and aside from a slew of technical issues (it's an alpha, we rather expect that), there are a number of concerns and question marks that we still feel are hovering over Turtle Rock's asymmetrical shooter.
I just don't get it.
To be clear, I understand the concept well enough. Four hunters working together, using their enhanced mobility, unique class skills and an awesome pet Skag (good girl, Daisy!) to take down a single powerful player-controlled monster. Cool. This would have been a seriously neat idea for a cut-price PC download à la Natural Selection 2, but even after interviewing Denby Grace and playing multiple builds over the last few months, I still don't get exactly how Evolve can ask for £44.99 on PS4 and Xbox One with a straight face.
Most matches tend to follow a familiar template. If playing as the Hunters: follow Daisy around for 15 minutes, run in circles and kill a Reaver or twenty while waiting for the Monster to get to Level 3. Then get eaten and repeat in a set of geometrically and visually similar maps. Indigenous wildlife adds some welcome Left 4 Dead-esque flavour, but all too often matches just get boring and repetitive rather than tense. And that's all there is. That's your lot, unless the Monster player is inexperienced, in which case you quickly track down and kill them with no fun or sport whatsoever. I admit that I'm grossly oversimplifying things, but that really is the size of it.Click here to read more...
If Firaxis’ latest title has taught me anything, it’s that I should be very glad that I live in the time period I do. You see, those left behind on Earth have to deal with a dying planet, while those blasted off into deep space are going to have to contend with giant space worms. It’s a horrifying prospect either way, and no one is a winner. Thankfully, I only have to experience the horror virtually through Beyond Earth, the latest instalment of the Civilization franchise. A spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri, it initially appears to have familiar overtones, with menus and the UI bearing resemblance to previous Civ titles, but the changes emerge even before the first turn has started.
While only eight factions are available to choose from, the ability to select specific starting bonuses is a great example of how the game focuses on choice throughout its gameplay. Sure, faction specific perks are there, but allowing players to choose between starting with a Clinic for extra health (something I’ll cover later) or a worker unit allows them to focus on their own style of play while providing a sense of flexibility. This is important, because while planning ahead has always been an aspect of the Civ series, Beyond Earth contains new challenges that, if the player is unprepared for, will punish without mercy. If players are to survive, they are going to need to adapt, or perish in the process.
And it’s all thanks to the untamed and unforgiving planet.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developer: 2K Australia
Publisher: 2K Games
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is ridiculously good fun. I really can't stress that enough.
This awkwardly titled segue might appear to be a lazy off-year cash grab, but it actually delivers the most fundamental mechanical update the series has ever received. Low-gravity combat. We're still shooting and looting, but now we're soaring merrily through the air (or vacuum!), using a nuanced double jump to gain extra height or boost our way around sprawling three-dimensional stages.
It's awesome, and unlocks a host of exciting new encounters as we take on airborne foes in the air, rain down firepower onto smart squads of jetpack troopers or employ an epic Butt Slam attack to smash down into enemy formations; cracking their faceplates and watching them asphyxiate to a wub wub soundtrack. On top of that, insanely powerful laser cannons and freeze-shattering Cryo weapons slot perfectly into the Borderlands experience, giving us more ways to brutalise anyone stupid enough to stand against us. Now that I'm used to The Pre-Sequel's very Australian humour and voice cast, I don't think I can go back.
It's so much fun, in fact, that while I'm playing I can ignore all of its many, many, many flaws.Click here to read more...
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out this week, and the review embargo is up. But we're not quite ready to drop the verdict of Gearbox and 2K Australia's latest just yet. Our review will be along later this week, but in the interim, here's a little look at the game's opening scenes.
Definitely check out Carl's interview with the devs too.
Forget Lilith. Zer0 wh0? There's a new vault hunter in town, an unstoppable force of pure chaos, and its name is...
...Claptrap? Oh no.
Oh yes. The irritating yelllow robot who everybody hates to love has finally got his chance to shine in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and having stepped into his chassis for an hour at Gamescom, he's possibly the most ridiculously brilliant character in the series to date.
And possibly the worst. See, whereas most vault hunters bring a single powerful primary ability to the table, literally anything can happen when you hit that left bumper. Sometimes you'll turn into a pirate galleon. Sometimes you'll force bizarre statuses on your entire team, such as infinitely throwing grenades or bouncing off all surfaces like a mad pinball machine. And then, damage done, you can ask for a high five. I'm going to regale you with my stories from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel soon, but right now, it's time to do the moon dance.Click here to read more...
Yet another game has fallen prey to a major delay, pulling it out of a holiday season release and shunting back into Spring 2015. Evolve, Turtle Rock's intriguing shooter that pits four humans against one nightmarish player-controlled monster, will now miss its October launch in favour of releasing next February.
2K claims that the game will benefit from four months of extra polish, citing an "overwhelmingly positive response from press and fans," but should we be worried that the asymmetrical multiplayer experience isn't shaping up properly at this late stage?Click here to read more...
Another day, another Humble Bundle. This time, 2K have shacked up with the HB team and are practically giving away a bundle that includes Bioshock, The Darkness 2 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
There's a $1 minimum for the base pack, which will net you the three games mentioned, but if you beat the average (currently $7.34) you'll also nab yourselves Bioshock II, Spec Ops: The Line, and Mafia II, along with a few more surprises yet to be announced.
Pay upwards of $20, and you'll also unlock the superlative XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Bioshock Infinite. As always, you can choose how your donation gets divided up between the developers, the Humble Bundle team, and the supported charities -- in this case they are the American Red Cross and Action Against Hunger.
Look at Ken Levine in the photo above, taken at E3 2011. That's a man passionate about bringing a BioShock game to Vita, holding the handheld proudly aloft, barely weighed down by an astonishingly vast sack of cash poured into his pockets mere seconds before the event.
Three years on, however, and we've practically given up hope. After all, Irrational Games has all but closed down and Sony has confirmed that they aren't supporting the Vita with much in the way of AAA games any more. Today, Levine has banged yet another nail into the coffin, though does give us a hint of what the vapourware project might have looked like.
Hint: it wouldn't have been a shooter.Click here to read more...
Alpha Centauri fans rejoice, because Civilization: Beyond Earth is looking seductively hexual in a newly-released walkthrough video from co-lead designer Will Miller. Sid must have been busy. Either way, the video is exactly the same as the demonstration journalists witnessed behind closed doors at E3, so enjoy your full access pass to what will hopefully be a seriously impressive 4X contender.
You'll see diplomacy, survival, exploration, hexagons aplenty and combat on multiple fronts, alongside a newly-confirmed October 24th release date. We've got our fingers crossed for this one (partly because we've been playing so much Distant Worlds and Endless Legend recently that our hands have deformed, admittedly).
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Borderlands 2 is probably the most impressive handheld game I've ever played. How could it not be? It's Borderlands 2!
Not a limp little spin-off or tatty tie-in: Borderlands 2 in its entirety. Every mission, every bandit, every ridiculous procedurally-generated gun, loads of DLC, all of it. Beyond a graphical downgrade, two-player cooperative cap and a few controls remapped to the rear touch pad, this is nothing less than the full PS3 version, even allowing you to transfer save files and Badass Ranks between the two platforms.
And that's a problem. Handheld games need to be designed and optimised specifically for their platform, but Iron Galaxy were locked into delivering an identical port, meaning that they had to find some corners to cut along the way. Many of which can make Borderlands 2's portable version as disappointing as it is astonishing.
Click here to read more...