I'm quite excited for Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault. I must admit that I'm more of an offline player than an online one, having had my backside handed to me on numerous occasions, but that's what this expansion is all about. Just like Western Front Armies, Ardennes Assault will be a standalone slice of strategic action, but one that eschews the linearity of COH 2's campaign for something a little more dynamic.
My preview for Ardennes Assault went live yesterday, and here's what I had to say about my time with the game in my closing paragraph:
The bottom line is that Ardennes Assault finally brings the feeling of grand strategy and broader tactical thinking to bear on a game that has been renowned for tactical gameplay on a smaller, more individual scale. Company of Heroes has long been a series that is all about making the best with what you have, realising the importance of different individual units and the ways in which they can complement one another. Now, added to that formula, there's more of an opportunity to be a true armchair general, as well as a major on the field. It looks like it truly present the best of both worlds, and that's very exciting indeed.
As well as going hands-on with the game, I also had the opportunity to sit down with campaign designer, Mitch Lagran, to have a chat about the changes that Relic have made and the ambitions that the studio has going forwards.Check out the interview after the jump >>
It's always a good sign when a preview event starts wrapping up and the first thing you think is 'Nooooo, please let me take this game with me'. It was nice to place the latest standalone expansion pack for Company of Heroes 2 in context, with our gaggle of assembled European writers given a tour of the Bastogne barracks -- the operational heart of the Allied war effort during the Battle of the Bulge -- before checking out the game inspired by that bloody piece of history.
Inspired is certainly the word, as Relic have used the events of the battle to bookend this particular experience. Essentially, Ardennes Assault gives players the freedom to plan out their own military machinations in the region by way of a 'meta map'. If The Western Front Armies provided a multiplayer introduction to this newly explored theatre of war and the factions involved, the Ardennes Assault pack is the singleplayer counterpoint -- an expansion that zooms in on three individual companies and their commanding officers, struggling to take control of a region filled with constantly shifting German divisions. The idea is clear -- to present a relatively open ended canvas, framed by history, upon which we armchair generals might paint our personal tactical masterpieces.
Our two-hour session with the game consisted of playing the same mission multiple times. Set not far from Bastogne in the town of Houffalize, the skirmish in which we were involved saw us trying to join up with an allied column to the north, cutting through German-controlled territory, overrunning the enemy's artillery stations, and co-opting the massive guns for our own purposes. By focussing in on this single mission (there will be 18 in total we're told -- seven rather broad encounters and eleven more scripted scenarios) several times over, we were able to see how the different companies performed, and how the map changed depending upon what stage of the campaign we were at when we took the plunge.Click here to read more...
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
For many, Titanfall was the vanguard of a year of games that didn't live up to their hype. I am not one of those people.
Titanfall has kept me coming back week after week, month after month, because its gameplay is evergreen. I'm not just throwing myself through the grinder for randomised loot or arbitrary metagame levels, rather I'm playing simply because the thrill of snapping necks, dropping mechs and effortlessly traversing an entire map without touching the ground is nigh-on perfect, and worth every minute. The small yet dedicated fanbase clearly feels the same, enjoying the fact that the skill ceiling is as high as the lofty maps themselves.
So the third and final map pack is Respawn's opportunity to go gonzo; to create a crazy, visually diverse and utterly innovative last hurrah before presumably concentrating on a multi-platform sequel.
This didn't happen, sadly, but IMC Rising is still an excellent expansion that subscribes to a familiar template: two undeniably brilliant maps and a third that reveals a unique edge after a few matches.Click here to read more...
Busy collecting Grimoire cards and Emblems in Destiny this week? Well, allow us to help you out. Through promotional trading cards for the game, affiliate websites, and the emergence of limited edition codes, 26 codes have been uncovered that can be used multiple times and redeemed on Bungie.net for rewards.
All you have to do is register on the site (sign up the Dealspwn Destiny clan while you're at it), link up you PSN/Xbox LIVE accounts to ensure maximum benefit, and then enter in the codes by clicking "Redeem Code" in the drop-down menu from your account name.
You can see your Grimoire cards immediately on Bungie.net once you've unlocked them, but you'll need to take a trip to the Tower and visit the Postmaster to nab your Emblems and Shaders. Don't expect to be able to to use the latter until level 20.Hit the jump for the free list of Destiny codes >>
GAME have dropped their price for Skyrim: Legendary Edition on console down to £13.99 for today only. The PC crowd will be giggling with glee at the game having been half this price recently for them, but if you're a console gamer, this is a cracking deal that'll save you a couple of quid or so. Already a leviathan of a game, the Skyrim: Legendary Edition also bundles in the Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn DLC.
We'd recommend the X360 version over the PS3 for stability reasons.
Thanks to Bure11 at HotUKDeals.
Infamous: First Light is out in the US today, and our review went live earlier. Here's what we said about the game:
Infamous First Light packs a whole bunch of content in at a decent price, and fleshes out Second Son's most interesting character in fine fashion, with a sibling story that tugs at the heartstrings thanks to another great performance from Bailey. It's an extension, perhaps, more than an expansion -- more of the same sort of thing, but with a slightly different flavour -- but given how much fun Second Son was, that's no bad thing.
But if you're still uncertain whether or not to buy the standalone prequel to Second Son, here's a little look in more depth at some of the changes you can expect to find playing as Fetch rather than Delsin, along with a video of the game's opening 10 minutes.Click here to read more...
I had a blast with Infamous: Second Son. For me, it was probably the best game in the series thus far, a polished experience that did the basics incredibly well, delivered some cracking performances from its leading stars, and dazzled the senses with a gorgeous Seattle sandbox and plenty of interesting abilities. It didn't seek to really break new ground or reinvent the wheel, but Second Son was supremely satisfying because Sucker Punch managed to nail things where they counted -- combat, traversal, scale, story. Would it have been nice to have Seattle live and breathe a little more rather than simply being an obviously gamified sandbox? Perhaps. But frankly I was having too much fun to really care.
Given the hot topic of female protagonists in the gaming industry, it's not surprising really that Sucker Punch were asked in the run up to Second Son's release about the possibility of a female playable protagonist. That questioning only became stronger when we were introduced to Abigail "Fetch" Walker -- a Neon-powered Conduit with some serious baggage in her past and a heavy chip on her shoulder. That Sucker Punch followed through and have given us a fat slab of Fetch's backstory to play through here in First Light is admirable.
More importantly, it's pretty damn good.
Laura Bailey is back to voice Fetch, and once again, the strength of Sucker Punch's performance capture really comes through. Anyone familiar with her story in Second Son will already know the end state of this prequel, set two years before the events of the original game. Fetch is making a living on the streets with her brother in First Light, making ends meet by doing unsavoury jobs for unsavoury people. By the time we meet her in Second Son, she's lost a huge deal, not least a sense of control, and First Light tells the story of how she goes from being a woman trying to hide her powers to being a Conduit fixer and assassin, to eventually becoming a powerful renegade filled with rage and anger.Click here to read more...
EA have slashed prices on Titanfall and its DLC over on Origin for a day, meaning you can pick up the base game for just £13.49. The individual map packs have also been discounted, and EA have shaved a third off of the price of the Season Pass. Additionally, ifd you've not gotten into the game yet, you can pick up the Titanfall Digital Deluxe Edition, which contains the base game and the Season Pass, for just £23.99.
It's a cracking game, we're still playing it, and the latest map pack, Frontier's Edge, is an absolute winner. Thanks to shahidali47 @ HUKD!
Alien Isolation is shaping up nicely. Having spent four solid hours playing the latest Steam build, I can report that its adaptive AI and terrifying unpredictability makes for a very different kind of horror game.
However, the fact that sections starring the original Alien voice cast are only going to be available as pre-order DLC -- or paid DLC down the line -- has got many a hackle up across the internet. I naturally asked lead designer Gary Napper exactly why they'd taken the controversial move.Click here to read more...
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Be advised: I'm still playing Titanfall and loving it. Though many players have departed over the last few months, angrily citing the lack of a metagame and arbitrary unlockables, the evergreen gameplay and superbly designed maps of Respawn's shooter ensure me a fresh and exciting experience every time I scamper along a rooftop or crush fleeing infantry into bloody smears under steel heel.
Mind you, Titanfall dropped the ball hard post-launch, which I've poked and prodded at relentlessly. From dwindling player numbers on objective gametypes to long matchmaking times and the lack of cosmetic customisation, there's been plenty to moan about. Thankfully Respawn have managed to patch things up in any sense of the phrase, resulting in a sharper, faster, more engrossing and customisable experience after a sequence of updates. Update 5 brings a new economy into the mix that adds a new dimension to Burn Cards, alongside extra fixes and tweaks that improve and expand the gameplay experience for free.
Frontier's Edge feels like the last piece of the puzzle: three thematic stages that lack the obvious gimmicks of Expedition's trio, designed to tempt players back onto objective gametypes with smart scalable design. Come back for the update, then stay for the maps. We'll discuss both over the next few hundred words.Click here to read more...
Call of Duty: Ghosts Season Pass PS3/PS4 | 365 Games | £11.99
This is a fantastic deal for any fans of Call of Duty's multiplayer. For £11.99 you get all four map packs for Call of Duty: Ghosts. With each pack usually costing £11.59 on PSN, this is an incredible saving. The standard digital price for the season pass is £34.99 and prices are around £25 on eBay. The pass is for both the PS3 and PS4 versions, so if you upgrade you won't have to buy the maps again.
Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII at HotUkDeals.
Been holding off on Ghosts DLC in the hope of finding a good season pass deal? Well you're in luck as CDKeys are currently offering the pass for £12.59, which drops down to £11.99 if you use the site's 5% off Facebook voucher.
The four packs include Onslaught, Devastation, Invasion, and Nemesis, the last of which isn't out on PSN just yet, but will probably cost more than this deal when it finally arrives.
Cheers to Jas10 for the tip.
The Sims 4 has gotten itself a new 20-minute gameplay video showing off a whole host of content for the upcoming bundle of virtual puppet-mastery.
But the video also mentions something about a "Premium Membership" too, and that sounds rather familiar.Click here to read more...
Titanfall's next season pass map pack -- Frontier's Edge -- has started revealing its secrets. The first of the three new maps is Dig Site, a deep quarry that gives Titans plenty of cover to negotiate while pilots leap overhead or brutally face off atop massive mining equipment.
We've got a first look at the new stage below.Click here to read more...
We've long railed against this industry's tendencies towards pre-ordering here on this site. Most recently, we saw five different collector's editions for Watch Dogs, one or two of them filling the reward of pre-order special editions. This has been common for some time: pre-order a game from a certain retailer, get some bonus swag thrown in for free. Usually it's a character skin or perhaps a shiny, golden weapon. But every so often, it might prove to be something meaningful -- a map or two, free DLC, gameplay content not to be found in other versions of the game.
When that happens, publishers and retailers wheel out the phrase "giving consumers choices". But that's utter rubbish. What they've done is slice bits off of the top in a truly anti-consumer move, and muddied the waters of convenience. These days, it's not uncommon to pay full price for 95% of a game.
In short, when retailers get involved with anything other than game distribution and sales, it's a little suspect.
Imagine our joy, then, at discovering that GameStop is preparing to get its sticky fingers even stickier. The world's largest games retailer is apparently looking to become more involved in the development processes of big games. GameStop execs recently met with investment company R.W. Baird to talk about their place in the games industry currently, along with plans for the future. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian has recently revealed, via VentureBeat, "that the brick-and-mortar chain wants to find ways to give customers more value when they preorder games."Click here to read more...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: you probably ought to investigate The Secret World. It's an MMORPG like no other, a thought-provoking, deeply atmospheric and peerlessly-written experiment that flies in the face of everything you'd expect from the genre. A twisted version of our world where everything is true, every fairy tale, conspiracy theory and horror story, where a working knowledge of sheet music and ISBN numbers is just as important as a deadly skill rotation. Not to mention steely nerves and a willingness to actually flex your grey matter.
Shame about the ending, though. The Secret World closed like a TV season finale, promising grand revelations and a triumphant return to Tokyo: the horrifying ground zero that kickstarted the game's events. Two years and a shift from subscriptions to 'buy once,-play forever' later and I'm finally in a position to say "konichiwa" from Kaidan. Promising a new playfield, horizontal progression system and the beginning of the end for the current story arc (if time is actually linear in The Secret World... goodness, there's a whole separate article in there), this is the descent into madness we've been waiting for.
Was it worth the wait? For both hardcore and lapsed fans, Issue #9 is arguably the pinnacle of the experience thus far. A terrifying, chilling, haunting, deeply referential lungful of filthy air.
My wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.Click here to read more...
Games are expensive. Add in the fact that new-gen games are £10-£20 more expensive than they were on PS3/360 and it’s not surprising that many gamers opt to trade in their games as soon as they’re done.
With multiplayer orientated titles like Battlefield or Titanfall, they may keep hold of them a little while longer if they’re still fun or reliable online. The promise of extra maps to download further down the line make trading them in a risky proposition, after all nobody wants to miss out.
But what about games like Infamous: Second Son? With no multiplayer component and a Platinum Trophy available over two playthroughs through less than 20 hours of play, there isn’t much reason to keep the game. It makes much more sense to trade it in or make even more money back by listing it on eBay. Even if you really enjoyed a game, it’s worth noting that you could sell for a high price soon after launch and then buy again for a quarter of the price in a few years’ time when you fancy reliving the experience.
But that’s not exactly music to the ears of game publishers who deem every second-hand copy of their game sold as missed monies. Thankfully, most of the big houses have ditched their online passes to put off preowned sales. For years we’ve seen expansion DLC for single player games to enhance the experience and ensure we keep the game but decent ones have been quite rare. Fallout 3 had some great (but horrendously buggy) expansions, Burnout Paradise had a great blend of free and paid packages that ensured no racing fan would ever be able to part with their game. The lack of a sequel has also helped there.Click here to read more...
Platform: Xbox One (£7.99)
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
I see what you did there, Capcom. After years of releasing 'super' and 'arcade' editions of games we already own, not to mention bucketloads of deeply questionable DLC, it's time to poke a little fun at yourselves while making amends for Dead Rising 3's calamitous season pass. Half fan service brawler, half 80s retro reference and all slightly-too-forced self parody, this colourful slice of content turns the game into a four-player hack and slasher. A bit like Streets Of Rage or Final Fight, perhaps, only with hundreds of zombies and an M. Bison boss the size of an office block.
It's galling that Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha is still technically "on-disc DLC," mind, since the files are included in the latest mandatory 4GB title update. You've just swapped a physical CD for the hard drive, Capcom; making everyone who owns the game download the content then charging to unlock it. An improvement, except that we've only got 500GB to play with and you should ask our permission before taking up valuable space with stuff we might not want.
Never mind though, because I just dressed Frank West up as Mayor Haggar, teamed up with Nick Ramos in a sexy Felicia outfit and made lots of dead things even deader. Arcade Remix may not be subtle or particularly deep, but it sure is fun when you get some mates involved.Click here to read more...
Dark Souls II is set to punish you (and your wallet) all over again with three new episodic DLC packs, forming the 'Lost Crowns Trilogy.'Click here to read more...
Activision has revealed that the next Call Of Duty: Ghosts map pack -- Invasion -- brings some Mexican flavour to the proceedings. Stash some guns in a guitar case, grow out your hair and get the details below.Click here to read more...