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...
If the entire BioShock series has passed you by this generation -- anyone? -- you can now pick up the whole lot for a shade over sevel Quid. The superlative original game still stands tall with its compelling setting and fearsome twist, while 2K Marin's sequel was arguably redundant yet hit hard with a more emotional storyline.
Infinite? I was riveted for the duration, but the more I think about it, the less I like it. Still worth playing, though, so you can wade into debating its ambitious plot and moaning about its rubbish tower defence bit. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
If the entire BioShock series has passed you by this generation -- anyone? -- Steam is willing to let you have the entire trilogy with change for a Tenner. The superlative original game still stands tall with its compelling setting and fearsome twist, while 2K Marin's sequel was arguably redundant yet hit hard with a more emotional storyline.
Infinite... speaking personally, I was riveted for the duration but the more I think about it, the less I like it. Still worth playing, though, so you can wade into debating its ambitious plot and moaning about its rubbish tower defence bit. Thanks to Major Soapsuds @ HUKD!
If the entire BioShock series has passed you by this generation -- anyone? -- Steam is willing to let you have the entire trilogy with change for a Tenner. The superlative original game still stands tall with its compelling setting and fearsome twist, while 2K Marin's sequel was arguably redundant yet hit hard with a more emotional storyline. Infinite... well, speaking personally, I was riveted for the duration but the more I think about it, the less I like it. Still worth playing, though, so you can wade into debating its ambitious plot and moaning about its rubbish tower defence bit. Thanks to good_kid_maad_city @ HUKD!
On another personal note, I'd highly recommend picking up the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2. It's fantastic.
These three high-profile games have all been individually discounted to around the £4.99 mark over the last few months, but if you're in the market for the lot, MacGameStore's Aspyr Fantastic 3 bundle is pretty impressive. $19.95 equates to roughly £12 over here, which is a decent saving. Thanks to pgregg @ HUKD!
Titanfall on Xbox 360 is great fun. It's not as sharp as its Xbox One sibling, nor is it as impressive in terms of framerate, but at its core it's still the same fast-paced, exhilarating experience that we've come to find on the other platforms thus far.
Put simply, I'm not entirely sure that the difference between the Xbox 360 version and the Xbox One version is worth forking out £400 for.
We're nearly five months on now from the release of the Xbox One and the PS4, and we've seen prices fall a little in that time, but I'd still posit that there's little reason to invest in the advent of this new generation of video game consoles, and the Titanfall situation perfectly illustrates why: we're not ready to let go of last-gen just yet.
We speculated that the delay of the 360 version, and the fact that no-one had seen or heard anything much about it until a couple of days before release, might have been because it was crap. That's a fairly tried-and-tested strategy in the games industry: if you have a crap game it's either vertical slice time (hello Aliens), or you follow that old adage of if you haven't got anything good to say, don't say anything at all. It's all helped along by the fact that 2014 has seen some of the most hilariously overblown scrutiny of games and visuals and technical specifications and comparisons that a tiny, tiny, very vocal niche care about. As soon as you put something out there in the virtual ether, it's going to get torn apart, and so we often jump to the conclusion that no news is probably bad news.
But in this instance it would seem that the reverse is true: that the Xbox 360 port is good enough to have probably posed a challenge to the more expensive, pleasebuyaconsoleforthis Xbox One version of Titanfall, and that says much about the fragility of this first year of next-gen gaming. With third parties going for an expansive approach, and hamstringing the potential of current-gen versions to allow for feature-complete last-gen games, the exclusive big hitters matter more for Sony and Microsoft, and it makes sense to try and make things as easy for the likes of Titanfall and inFamous: Second Son as is possible. Given the choice between forking out forty quid for a really enjoyable version of Titanfall on Xbox 360 and ten times that for Titanfall on Xbox One, many might have gone for the former over the latter.Click here to read more...
Chances are that you've already played Borderlands 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Civilization V and BioShock Infinite... or one of them at the very least. If you've missed out on all four, however, you can grab the whole quartet for £16.00 from Green Man Gaming. Be sure to use their OQE4LG-WEQPSE-SMCME1 for the additional saving.
UPDATE: Not enough? Okay then, why not also have the X-COM Complete Collection, Civilization 4, BioShock and the original Borderlands too!
Thanks to apollolo @ HUKD, both for the original deal and pointing out the four newly-added bonus games in the comments!
Gamefly are currently running a tasty little sale that sees loads of 2K games reduced by 75%. Highlights include XCOM: The Bureau for £4.99, Civ V for a fiver and Sid Meier's Pirates for £1.25. It's all on the splash page, and you can save even more with the UKFEB20OF voucher code. Thanks to xEndox @ HUKD!
However, the cheekiest thing about this promotion is a free copy of Spec Ops: The Line, which you'll be sent via email when you buy a participating game. As far as I can see, there's nothing stopping you from buying one of the UFO games for 75p, then laughing all the way to your free game.
Irrational Games have effectively closed their doors, but not after providing one of the defining IPs of the last console generation. If you want to experience the BioShock series as a whole on PC, FunStock Digital are selling the whole lot for £9.99, from the seminal original to the under-rated BioShock 2 (bite me) and acclaimed if controversial Infinite. You'll get Steam codes. Thanks to the legendary jaystan @ HUKD!
Yesterday we took a look at a handful of tips that would serve would-be hunters well in Turtle Rock's upcoming multiplayer FPS -- Evolve. But what about the one player not on that team? What about the lone wolf playing the part of monster? Well, we thought we'd deliver a few pointers to those of you who are going to look to take down the fearsome foursome as the monster, based on our hands-on time with Evolve.
Therefore, without further ado, here's the Evolve Survival Guide: Goliath Edition.
1. Choose your powers wisely
You start the round by choosing two out of four powers on offer: a rock throw, fire breath, charge, and an aerial slam. We were advised that the rock throw and the fire breath are often the best choice for the early game (you can unlock the other abilities as you evolve), because you're not enormously powerful to the begin with, and therefore ranged powers can give you something of an advantage. The fire breath in particular is handy for chasing down creatures to feed upon.Click here to read more...
We went hands-on with Turtle Rock's new multiplayer shooter Evolve the other day, and we were mightily impressed with the tense 4-on-1 gameplay. Evolve sees a team of four hunters, each with their own distinct class-based weaponry and abilities, fighting to take down a marauding beast. In our case, the beast in question was basically the lovechild a rancor and the Hulk.
It's a surprisingly tactical affair: Hunters have to stick together, and the monster must know when to stand and fight and when to run and feed. So we've put together a couple of survival guides and beginners' tips based on our time with the Hunt mode earlier this week.
First up... let's talk about Hunters.
1. Protect your Medic
The Medic is the most important class in the game. When someone dies, there's a countdown of a couple of minutes until the dropship will arrive to bring them back to the fight. If your Medic is the first to go down, that's a full two minutes to wait without any health regeneration, and there's no other way to rekindle that precious bar. It's imperative that whoever's playing as the Medic stays off of the ground as much as possible and remains a moving target, leveraging the ranged capabilities of their Medigun to stay out of trouble.Click here to read more...
Evolve is like playing hide-and-seek with big fat guns and a super-sized , super-agile, fire-breathing Rancor.
You'd look at a game that touted 4-v-1 multiplayer and perhaps scoff at the seeming imbalance. You'd wonder why anyone would possibly want to be the "1" -- after all, wouldn't everyone else be having a good time, laughing and joking around together, bonded by this virtual camaraderie and the spirit of teamwork, and you're just kicking your heels in the corner and weeping once more into a damp rag at the unfair loneliness of it all and... wait... I just clawed a guy out of the sky, toasted his support unit by vomiting fire everywhere, threw a rock at his head and now I'm pounding his lifeless corpse into the ground and I'm eating his face.
We got a chance to go hands-on with Evolve's Hunt mode recently, and Turtle Rock's latest multiplayer extravaganza is shaping up very nicely indeed. The game is set on the planet Shear -- a lush sphere home to a large variety of wildlife, some more dangerous than other -- and four hunters team up to take down one player controlling an enormous leviathan of a monster.Click here to read more...