A brand new teaser site for Battlefield 4 is as steamy as that scene from Titanic. No, not the bit with the iceberg, that car scene... look, it's a steamed-up window, okay? Once you're bored of wiping the virtual glass (and logged in for a unique Battlefield 3 dog tag), you can check back on the 27th for the promised gameplay trailer.
Apparently the 'Battlefield 4 art' will be unlocked when enough players log in, but I'll save you the trouble. See that picture above? Yeah. There it is.
So, it’s been a rather interesting few weeks for EA, Maxis, and gamers around the world, hasn’t it? We’ve covered the launch and the frustrations it brought, and since then we’ve spent over a week in the city building simulation. Fans have flocked online to share their views via message boards, social media sites, and YouTube videos of varying quality and comprehension (and I’ve even rapped about it… no, really.) In fact the whole thing has been remarkably similar to the events of Diablo 3’s launch almost a year ago. However, although we held off for a few updates to see if things could be salvaged, we are at the point where we cannot wait any longer to pass judgment. We know some of you have waited patiently for our verdict… so I’m going to delay that by another paragraph with a quick anecdote, because I’m annoying like that.
Earlier this week, my editorial overlord Matt and I sat down to record this week’s podcast in the hopes of discussing the topic of the moment, SimCity, in great detail. We had hoped to go over our impressions of the game, discuss the impact of the always-online connectivity, and generally try to figure out what went wrong… but once we had completed said recording, we came to the realisation that what we had just recorded was a mess. A mostly vague, momentarily informative, but inconsistent mess overall. It was only when we spoke afterwards about how I was having a difficult time reviewing the game in its current state that the flow of the conversation and our opinions returned with a sense of purpose, because underneath all of the problems that currently exist we both knew there was a game worth spending time with, and one that had the capacity to provide an entertaining experience.
In a way, the end result of the podcast was a direct reflection of the game itself, but whereas we decided to shelve our recording, Maxis and EA decided to push on and publish their work prematurely… a move that has cost them dearly.Click here to read more...
EA CEO John Riccitiello has resigned, claiming personal responsibility for the publisher missing several financial targets.Click here to read more...
EA have launched a fairly large sale on Origin, perhaps to apologise for a certain shoddy launch and distract us from the Game Of Thrones that's currently taking place in their upper management (more on that later). Highlights include Crysis 3 for £19.99, Battlefield 3 for £9.99 (download and physical), the Mass Effect Trilogy for £19.99 and Burnout Paradise's Ultimate Box for £2.49.
Whether you're willing to take advantage of this sale is another matter entirely. Some rumours of serious vulnerabilities notwithstanding (that could potentially provide a back door onto your PCs, though unlikely), there's still a lot of lingering resentment floating around the interwebs. Perhaps Moore or Gibeau will help to address that when they assume Riccitiello's Iron Throne?
Just a quickie: According to a new tweet from DICE, we'll get our first look at Battlefield 4 next Wednesday. A brief clip on Vine contains some close-up shots of tank treads, and tells us to "Prepare 4 Battle" on March 27th.
Short and sweet, but with luck, we'll have much to discuss in nine days' time.
Falling below the £5 mark for the first time, The Hut are providing a very tempting deal for this FPS reboot. With the use of the voucher code above you can bag yourself a saving of £3.50, and the Executive Package Edition also comes bundled with golden skins for your weapons in the multiplayer side of things… which is nice.
The single player story is short and linear, not taking full advantage of the breach mechanics it proudly boasts, but the slick control mechanics & well produced visuals make Syndicate a pleasant if forgettable ride. The co-op is the saving grace, feeling much more like its predecessor as well as providing more open levels. For less than a fiver, it’s certainly worth checking out. Thanks to esclad @ HUKD!
Well, this is an interesting turn of events. We’ve already had sneaking suspicions about the possibilities of the game being capable of offline play (with the servers in truth just being cloud saves) but thanks to an intrepid modder it appears we’ve taken the first steps of overcoming the online restriction. A user named UKAzzer took to Youtube and Reddit to show off his handiwork – a mod that removes the game’s ability to close a game in progress if the player is not connected to the server for around 20 minutes. This allows for a kind of offline play, although at the time of writing there are still a number of restrictions in place.Click here to read more...
It’s not quite at the £20 yet, but this is a rather fantastic deal for the recently released Crysis 3. Simply Games are providing a download key which can be redeemed in Origin and ready to download in minutes. Overall it beats the next best price for a PC copy by almost a tenner.
Yes, its storyline isn’t brilliant, and yes, it fails to provide the freedom that the initial entry in the series provided, but Crysis 3 is a very good looking game, and the stealth mechanics of the nanosuit and bow are a joy to behold (if a little overpowered.) With strong multiplayer progression included, it’s a worthwhile purchase overall at this price. Thanks to krasaffcheg @ HUKD!
SimCity's Lead Gameplay Scripter has revealed some of the inner workings of the Glassbox engine in a recent blog post, specifically the pathfinding behind traffic and public transport. Many players are wondering how deep the rabbit hole goes, having noted numerous issues with cars and buses missing their destinations, and fixes are apparently on the way.Click here to read more...
Just a quickie: Maxis have launched a real-time server update page for SimCity, which shows how well each server is holding up along with how full they are. Gosh, all those unbroken green lights sure are purdy.
It certainly wouldn't have looked like that a few days ago, but now that things are fast approaching what could be called 'normal,' Carl and Matt are hard at work designing a little slice of heaven against surprisingly restrictive size limitations. Look out for our full review soon, once Carl's put all the fires out.
You’re probably wondering when the hell our review is actually going to materialise – we promise it’s on its way, but with key features still disabled in the launch week it would be unfair of us to finalise our verdict at this stage. While Matt has already given his account of the launch (spoiler alert: he wasn’t happy) I’m here to present my initial feelings on the game and my approach to it all, although I should stress that I will be leaving the in-detail analysis for the actual review.
Ever since its announcement, I have designated SimCity as an MMO title and will be reviewing it as such. In a way, I feel a part (not all) of the problem has been with Maxis and EA’s simple omission of the word “Online” from the title, but I can understand the reason behind doing this – MMOs still have a certain stigma towards them, and when you’re a big player in this industry, sales are everything. Regardless of the name though, we have seen a launch weekend that has been somewhat similar to every single MMO launch for the past decade, and players not used to the fiasco, having stayed well clear of the genre in the past, are only just feeling their queue-based-rage boil over for the first time.
As for me? Hour-long launch queues from World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, SWTOR, and even Guild Wars 2 has mellowed me somewhat. These days I just go and play Jetpack Joyride for a bit… or make a sandwich.
Make no mistake though, even I find the server issues inexcusable. Switching between servers just so players can play the game (or, more importantly, with friends) is ridiculous, and the sooner the capacity issues are resolved, the better. Here’s where I buck the trend though – I still have faith SimCity will end up coming out of this with some level of dignity, because the latest interaction of SimCity has the capacity to be the most enjoyable and addictive entry the franchise has had… once a number of issues are addressed.Click here to read more...
Burnout: Paradise has yet to be beaten this generation. Criterion's open world racer will keep you hooked for months on the collectibles scattered around the map alone. This edition features lots of extra DLC, although not the Big Surf Island expansion. It's an essential purchase for anyone that missed the game first time around. It also features the best motorbikes in gaming, which at the time of release were an enormously generous free bit of DLC. What happened, EA?
Thanks to gerrymig at HotUkDeals.
We've just heard from EA about how they're fixing the utter farce that has been the launch of SimCity this week. The game requires an always-on internet connection and they’ve been unable to cope with demand on their servers with gamers losing data or not even being able to activate their copy of the game.
Here’s what they had to say, “So what went wrong? The short answer is: a lot more people logged on than we expected. More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta. OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically. The number of disrupted experiences has dropped by roughly 80 percent. So we’re close to fixed, but not quite there. I’m hoping to post another update this weekend to let everyone know that the launch issues are behind us."
Yes, EA, that was dumb. Almost as dumb as designing the game with an always-online connection backbone. But at least the experience seems to be stabilising now, although not enough for us to finish our full review yet. To make up for all the drama, EA will be giving away a free game. Check out the details below:
In this week's show we lament the omnishambles of the SimCity launch, particularly in the US; we ask whether or not Crytek 3 can really be considered a "masterpiece"; we discuss "generational fatigue" and how it should be a development consideration rather than an excuse for a disappointing game; we take a brief look at EA's faltering relationship with the Wii U; and we natter a little bit about the upcoming Thief reveal.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
Click the banner or the title link above to play the podcast, or right click and select 'Save Link As' to download the file onto your hard drive.
SimCity has released in Europe today, and so far, the servers seem to be holding [UPDATE: Carl and Matt report that they're incredibly shaky as of 14:08... uh-oh]. Though we'll likely have an incredibly nervous weekend in store, some long load times are nothing compared to the problems it's facing Stateside in what has become a disastrous opening week.Click here to read more...
EA held a Full Spectrum event in New York yesterday, to discuss the games industry’s approach to LGBT issues. Though the industry is slowly becoming more inclusive, the general consensus was that more diversity is needed from top to bottom, and that the nature of the development culture around video games - as being a predominantly "white dude-ly" industry - needs to change.Click here to read more...
Our brethren over on the other side of the pond have already displayed their disapproval at EA for their handling of the US launch on Tuesday, but in a shocking twist, the EU launch for SimCity wasn’t quite as horrendous as we were expecting it to be. Although the initial servers were filled up incredibly quickly, with the dreaded server queue timer mocking everyone from the launcher, the activation of a third EU West server allowed players (including myself and Matt) to jump in-game and begin creating our self-bankrupting communities (in Matt’s case anyway. My little burb of Mongoosehampton is doing swimmingly.) There have been reports of the US version having several features turned off to ease the stress on its servers, but this has not been the case for the EU version... for now.
We would like to point out though that this does not mean we are giving an “all clear” to the game just yet - and we'd like to hear from you. Our review is in progress as we type this, and while we absolutely plan on giving SimCity a fair assessment, there are still a number of concerns we want to look over before letting you know if it’s worth your time and money. In other words, watch this space.
Dead Space 3 will receive its first story DLC pack on March 12th, EA announced today, in the form of the Awakened expansion. Promising the most disturbing content we've seen from the series thus far, it will offer a more creepy and horrific take on the dismembering necromorph action.
We've got a new trailer and screenshots after the break. Matt described Visceral's effort as "fun but ultimately forgettable experience" in our 7/10 Dead Space 3 review.Click here to read more...
EA's Chief Financial Officer has spoken out to amend a comment he made last week, wherein he suggested that "all" EA games will feature microtransactions from now on.
Apparently that should read, "all mobile games."Click here to read more...