Developers: Square Enix
Publishers: Square Enix
Despite the recent Tokyo Game Show giving players a chance to explore an open world portion of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, visitors to the Eurogamer Expo were stuck indoors in a strictly linear series of combat tutorials. With the combat system being my biggest grievance with the FFXIII series though, this is exactly what I wanted.
So after a cutscene that made little sense without the relevant context, I’m thrown straight into a tutorial. Given that Lightning Returns is making bold steps to move away from the ‘bash X to win’ mentality that has plagued 90% of the battles in the last two games I was certainly keen to get stuck into the lesson.
Lightning fights alone in this game, so forget the notion of parties. Stop! Come back, long-suffering Final Fantasy fan. To give combat the depth of a team you have various Schemata outfits to choose from. If you think of the interchangeable dress-spheres from the divisive FFX-2 on the PS2, you’ll find the concept easy to follow.
Lightning is now able to freely move around the battlefield unleashing attacks and spells without menus. Instead, four abilities are assigned to the controller’s face buttons. Each of these abilities consumes varying amounts of the ATB (Active Time Battle) gauge. Usually, the stronger they are, the more they’ll take.Click here to read more...
The Golden Joysticks landed this week to reward some of the best games of the last twelve months... and some crap ones too. Elsewhere, we've been inundated with trailers, mainly for the big three FPS games. This is going to be an expensive Christmas for shooter fans. We also heard that the PS4 pad almost copied the 360's analogues, which would have given some real credence to Mikami's statement that the two upcoming consoles are "almost identical."
In the reviews, Jon did something a bit naughty with his review of The Stanley Parable, which was probably a result of Warface boring him out of his mind. We also covered Episode 1 of The Wolf Among Us and -just in time for Vettel wrapping up the season- F1 2013.
It's been one of our busier weeks in the features section, we've got playthrough videos for Ethan: Meteor Hunter, the Leap Motion, Warface and the The Crew. Matt shot a video of his latest impressions of Ryse: Son of Rome along with a write up of his pre-season training with Football Manager 2014. Jon interviewed the team behind The Crew and also took advantage of the Vita's screengrab feature to bring you a photo diary from his trip to Tearaway. We've got the weekly podcast for you too, which seems to have been renamed the Biscuit Buzz. And rounding off the week, I got my hands on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, so head on over and see if it's third time lucky for wayward series.Click here to read more...
The big news this week was the next-gen delays with Watch Dogs and DriveClub both slipping to a vague 'early 2014' release date. Of course, we're a bit disappointed, but let's face it, there's a shit-tonne of games to play before then. Elsewhere, a video finally showed us how the new
Owl Steam controller works, Kingdom Hearts had another HD collection announced and we even caught a cheeky glimpse of Kingdom Hearts III.
Matt reviewed Beyond: Two Souls this week and wasn't best-pleased with Cage's new effort, which has split media opinion more wildly than any title in recent memory. I quite enjoyed it, but can see some major flaws in it and think it's a long way off the brilliance of Heavy Rain. Elsewhere, Jon avoided the save file glitch to bring you a review of Pokemon X/Y and also found the time to be the best he could be on Just Dance 2014. Salvation Prophecy proved to be packed with neat ideas, but was extremely rough around the edges and Montague's Mount was best described as a Myst Opportunity. Geddit?
In the features, Matt and Carl have been making a nuisance of themselves on the streets (and waves?!) of Los Santos in more insane playthrough videos for GTA Online. Matt also took time to deeply examine why Beyond: Two Souls failed so miserably, but we cheered him up by sending him off to interview the team behind Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Elsewhere, you can find our weekly news podcast, a feature on the impact of the recent delays and even a preview of a game where you control a roach in Journey of a Roach. If you'd rather collect Pokemon instead of insects though, you should probably check out Jon's Pokemon X/Y guide and Top 10 feature. And finally, for those of you craving next-gen materials, there's my hands-on report of Sony's flagship PS4 shooter, Killzone: Shadow Fall.Click here to read more...
Well this has been a strange week. In a turn of events we seem to have Sony saying dumb things instead of Microsoft. The oddest statement came from a Sony executive saying 'Nobody gains from console exclusives." We're pretty sure the rest of the company would strongly disagree. We also learnt the PS4 won't be supporting bluetooth headsets. Microsoft teased the possibilities of the Xbone cross-playing with the PC and also mouse and keyboard support, which could prove interesting with FPS titles.
In our reviews we leaped out of a plane with Skydive and took to the air again to slam dunk the new NBA 2K14. Elsewhere, Jon got his mech on with Bionic Dues and also found time to cover Chainsaw Warrior. To reward him for his fine reviewing efforts we sent him some T&A, albeit in the form of the god-awful Girl Fight. Not to worry though, I got to review Dragon's Crown.
Our features section is absolutely packed this week with interviews for XCOM: Enemy Within, Forza 5 and Watch Dogs. We've also been getting our hands on lots of upcoming games with full reports for Ace Combat: Infinity, XCOM: Enemy Within, Kromaia and we have War Thunder limping to the finish line too. Matt and Carl have a few playthrough videos for you, which the Los Santos PD would love to get their hands on as there's some fairly damning evidence of their antics in GTA Online. And PS4 and Xbone be damned, Jon isn't ruling out the Wii U enjoying a Merry Xmas. Check out his article to find out why.Click here to read more...
We've been excited for Watch Dogs ever since Ubisoft stole the show at E3 last year. The systemic world of Big Brother-ridden Chicago set our minds racing at the potential for emergent gameplay and open-ended mechanics.
But exactly how are Ubisoft going about implementing all of these systems? Where did the idea for Watch Dogs come from in the first place? How distinct are the action and stealth elements of the game?Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS4 (tested)
Developers: Gaijin Entertainment
Publishers: Gaijin Entertainment
Gaijin Entertainment want a slice of Wargaming's enormous war chest. That's basically the reasoning behind War Thunder -- a free-to-play MMO that will see players take to the skies, leap into naval ships, and roll out across the land in hulking armoured tanks. Sound familiar?
The big difference is that Gaijin are looking to have that trifecta of WWII action happening simultaneously, whereas Wargaming have thus far kept their tanks, warplanes, and warships separate from one another. Mind you, Gaijin's vision won't be happening any time soon, as only planes will be available when War Thunder eventually emerges from its lengthy open beta to release fully this winter.
Wargaming have gone and nailed their flag to Microsoft's mast, with World of Tanks coming to Xbox 360 before the year is out. But Gaijin are looking towards the PS4 to complement the PC, with full cross-platform play being touted as one of the game's USPs.Click here to read more...
Forza Motorsport 5 might be one of the only launch titles across the board for next-gen that I'm actually excited about in a genuine, I WILL BUY THIS fashion. I've been a fan of the series since Microsoft started packaging the second game in with Viva Pinata and an Xbox 360 controller at the advent of that console's lifespan, and it's easy to see why. Turn 10 have never subscribed to the binary choice between arcade and simulation racing, instead preferring to see things as a spectrum and offering players the choice of defining (and then re-defining) the Forza experience that they want to have.
And if you've read anything I've written over the past year or so, you'll that my perspective on things is very simple: choice rocks!
But there's a lot riding on Forza 5. The next-gen race is set to be the closest one yet -- enormously similar PC architecture, near-parallel release windows, increased connectivity and openness -- and Forza 5 is leading the charge for Microsoft. It's looks big, bold, and beautiful, but what's actually changed? What does the new tech afford Turn 10 that hasn't been the case before? What the hell does Drivatar even mean?Click here to read more...
There are a lot of racing games on their way, perhaps too many for those of us planning to splash out on a next-gen console soon. So which of them are shaping up to be worthy of your attention? I endured the queues and hardware crashes of the Eurogamer Expo to tear around various racetracks to bring you my impressions of five of the most anticipated racers of the future on both existing and next generation platforms.
After passing the real-life McLaren P1 -Forza 5’s flagship car- numerous times over the course of the Eurogamer Expo, I eventually gave in an joined the queue to see how it handled in the game, as chance are I wasn’t getting my hands on the real thing anytime soon.
It was worth the wait. As a late convert to the Forza series after Forza 4 ended up beating Gran Turismo 5 to the checkered flag by a few cars’ lengths, I was always keen to see what lied ahead.Click here to see what else the future holds for racing games.
GTA Online was finally unlocked in GTA V this week and promptly broke as everyone bottle-necked in a forced tutorial race. Nice going, Rockstar. There are plenty of other glitches and bugs -as expected nowadays around a launch- but at least they're slowly being patched. Elsewhere, the Battlefield 4 beta went live and we have video and impression pieces for you to check out.
Our other features include hands-on previews for Mike 'Thomas Was Alone' Bithell's new game, Volume, and one of the best surprises of the Eurogamer Expo, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate on the Vita. Carl fights through the glitches to give us an impressions piece for GTA Online and we have a few new interviews for God Factory: Wingmen, Assassin's Creed IV and the next entry in the Carmageddon series. There's more from my trip to the Eurogamer Expo too as I get my hands on the top upcoming racing games.
There's a slight calm before the storm in our reviews section at the moment, but we've brought you some tasty verdicts for the Shadow Warrior reboot, the PSN title Rain and the Mad Catz Tritton Kunai Headset. We'll have more for you next week, including the epic adventures of Dragons' Crown on the PS3 and Vita.Click here to read more...
Here's my final roundup of the Developer Session videos from this year's Eurogamer Expo. Don't forget to check out the coverage from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 too. As I mentioned earlier, you can watch them through your PS3 or 360 on your TV by clicking the 'Watch Later' icon (the little clock in the lower right corner). Trust me , it's much easier than using the terrible search option on the consoles. Here's a list of the final sessions:
Last week I rounded up the developer session videos from Day1 and Day 2 of the Eurogamer Expo, which hopefully gave you a nice afternoon of chilling out and catching up on the inside knowledge of the hottest upcoming games. Want to do it again? Of course you do. Why not add the videos to your 'Watch Later' list on YouTube, then enjoy them on your TV via the YouTube app on your PS3 or 360. Well here's Day 3's coverage for you:
I got hands-on with a few levels from Mike Bithell's new game Volume at Eurogamer Expo this year. It's an interesting title -- a top-down stealth-based puzzler that's all about misdirection and quick, decisive movements rather than patient, shadowy skulking -- and after I'd slipped my way past a number of gun-toting guards and gotten a feel for the game, I had a chat with the man himself about life after Thomas Was Alone.Click here to read more...
Formats: PS Vita (tested) | 3DS
Developer: Armature Studio
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Past industry form indicates that you'd be forgiven for dismissing the presence of a handheld game when it has a bigger and shinier counterpart on your main console. So often we’ve seen them stumble into our hands as shabby ports or overly simplistic, barely related tie-in fodder. Armature Studio is here to change things with their new Vita game. From what I've played, it truly deserves a place on your shopping list if you've enjoyed the last two Rocksteady games and are planning on picking up Origins on October 25th.
This game will follow on from the events of the console game Arkham Origins, rather than rehash the same story. The Blackgate in the title refers to the prison where the majority of the game will be set. Home to the non-insane criminals of Gotham -although a few are clearly borderline- various well-known villains ‘run’ different parts of the prison. So expect to take on some infamous faces to get the jail back in order. The story is delivered via motion comics, which I suppose is reasonable given the source material, but there’s no getting around they’ll always feel and look like the cheap option.
But there the grumbling ends, let’s talk gameplay. The action unfolds in 2.5D. The environments are designed to appear 3D, but your movements are essentially locked to a 2D plane, so left and right along with a bit of vertical exploration too. Occasional use of the grappling hook also propels you into the foreground or pulls you deeper into the screen. Sometimes you may appear to be on a 3D surface whilst being attacked by thugs from all angles, but you only have to aim your attacks to the left and the right.Click here to read more...
I miss Carmageddon. I miss its ridiculousness. I miss the thrill of playing it as an adolescent. For every contentious game that would follow it, pretending towards some semblance of seriousness even in their controversial hypocrisy, Carmageddon remained a deceptively sophisticated title (the car physics, the destruction modelling, the sheer invention of some of the powerups) couched in utter anarchy and total catharsis.
Of course, now I have it on my iPhone, I don't miss it as much as I used to. But there's still room for more, I feel. And so did eighty thousand other backers. We have the rights, said Stainless. It's time to make a comeback (don't call it a comeback).
It's exciting times for Stainless, who've been wary of showing too much of Carmageddon Reincarnation thus far. "The minute we put something out there," said publishing director Jason Garber, "all eyes will be upon us. We don't want to put a single foot wrong here. We want to make sure that we do this right."
With the Kickstarter bubble bursting just a little and the realities of crowdfunding and potential pitfalls making themselves known by projects that have fallen by the wayside, Garber is keen that nothing gets lost in translation. He has a point; after all, you only have to look as far as the Xbox One to see how mismanaged communication can cost you in today's industry.
So I took some time at Eurogamer Expo this year to sit down with Jason and have a chat about how Stainless have cracked on after gaining the rights to their most infamous IP, how the new technology has afforded the development team greater opportunities than ever before,how the industry has changed since the original game first launched back in 1997, and what it means to the studio to be working for themselves rather than a publisher.Click here to read more...
We've shown you what you missed from the Developer Sessions at this weekend's Eurogamer Expo on Day 1 already. But if you're eager for more inside info on the hottest upcoming games, we've got you covered with the action from Day 2. Here's the list, with the embedded videos available after the break.
*Replaced DriveClub session as the speaker was ill.Click here to see the videos.
For those of you unable to make it to this year's Eurogamer Expo in London, the developer sessions have started to make their way onto YouTube. Maybe you were there, but were too busy playing some of the hottest new releases heading to all the major formats and just didn't have the time. Well, sit back and relax and (you deserve it after surviving those queues). you'll find the following videos embedded after the break.
Note: The Xbox One and Forza 5 session videos have currently been removed from Eurogamer's YouTube.Click here to see the videos.
Steam tried to dominate the news this week by promising not one, but three revels. Well, they re-iterated that they would be letting other companies make Steam Machines, then announced their own operating system and finally unveiled a new controller. It's fine, we're all still playing GTA, so I doubt many people even noticed. We have a few new trailers for you from TGS including MGS, The Evil Within and more. There are also links to numerous dev sessions from the Eurogamer Expo.
Headlining our reviews section is Matt's extensive GTA V review. We also have verdicts on PC shooter, Alien Rage, pixelated horror title, Lone Survivor and last and probably least, Mechwarrior Online.
In our features there's a new report on SP and MP in COD: Ghosts, a preview and interview for Mad Max and also a report on the progress of the long-awaited Gunz 2. Jon takes another look at his dusty Ouya console and reports that you should probably still hold off buying one for yourself. I spent a few days at the Eurogamer Expo to get my hands on some new games and of course some new consoles. First up is my hands-on preview of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, with more on the way too.Click here to read more...
First things first. This hands-on report will be spoiler-free regarding the first game. I'm currently playing that one through (I know, I'm late) and several previews for the new game have blown the first game’s ending. I don't want to do the same if you're yet to play Lords of Shadow. So read this, then get on it, you don't want to get left behind again.
The word on the wire is that this concluding part of the Lords of Shadow saga is going to be a more open world affair. That's not on display here though as this is more of an introduction. Don’t worry; it’s much more exciting than it sounds. There's a massive, Holy Transformer thing for starters! But more on that later.
The original game is one of the best-looking games of the generation. Seriously, go borrow a copy and see. Packed with gorgeous scenery and pin-sharp images, it truly shames the genre’s competition with only the God of War games being able to stand up to it. Much of this was possible thanks to the fixed camera angle, as it allowed the developers to really focus on detail for set scenes rather than create fully-viewable environments accessible via a player-controlled camera.
This did make the odd fight awkward though as you could disappear behind large bits of scenery or more likely behind the massive troll beasts trying to squeeze the Holy Spirit from your guts. Not being able to move the camera also made exploration difficult, especially if a side-route was off-camera.Click here to read more...