If I had to describe Heart of Thorns in one word, it would be ‘humongous.’
Even after two weeks in the Maguuma Jungle I still haven’t traversed all of the new multi-layered zones, which in turn means I haven’t unlocked all of the masteries or taken part in all of the different events. Of course, all the content in the world means nothing if the game is no longer fun, but that is certainly not the case – Guild Wars 2 continues to be an enjoyable MMO experience, and Heart of Thorns adds to that with its own, non-traditional progression.
Most MMO title launches, and even expansions, tend to come with launch day issues. Less intensive titles like Destiny have fallen prey to this apparent curse, and even World of Warcraft’s servers couldn’t handle the sudden influx of players back when Warlords of Draenor launched last year. It’s something that most of us on the MMO scene have come to accept as the norm, and so we bunker up around launch time for the inevitable bumpy ride.
But it didn’t happen with Heart of Thorns. No, everything went smoothly.
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I love The Secret World.
If you're a regular, chances are you already know that. I've written article after article, update after update, in an attempt to shine the spotlight on what I'd consider to be the best MMORPG on the market and an exceptional game that dared to do something revolutionary. After three years of waiting, the very last piece of the puzzle has released and the first major story arc has come to a close.
So it's fitting that my final review for Dealspwn.com is the final DLC pack for one of my favourite games. And immensely pleasing that Issue #11: Reaping The Whirlwind is one of the most extraordinary MMO expansions I've ever played.
Issue #9 introduced us to Tokyo and its sinister filthy inhabitants. Issue #10 let us meet the cult and the man behind the bomb that changed everything. Issue #11 finally lets us assault the Orochi Tower to put an end to... her... schemes and get some answers. Of course, seeing as this is The Secret World, there'll be a few questions too.
Just in case you're interested, Funcom gave us a guided tour of Issue 11 before launch, which contains sweet flowing wisdom and major spoilers.My wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see >>
Use Green Man Gaming voucher code B1CYB0-CLSSD1-ARAAGM for the extra saving!
Set during the Battle Of The Bulge, Company Of Heroes 2: 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. It's a great expansion and you can save an absolute packet.
You'll need Company Of Heroes 2 to play it, which is also discounted to £6.00 when you use the voucher!
Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm collector's edition now £14.99 via Amazon. Click here to buy! >>
If you're looking for the swag-tastic physical version of the Starcraft II: Heart Of The Swarm expansion, Super-Bargains are currently selling it for a delightfully cheap £14.99 via Amazon. Note that it's not fulfilled by Amazon, though the seller has a 92% reputation rating based on more than 2,500 reviews. Thanks Godlikezebra @ HUKD!
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...
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...
Diablo III was broken, but Blizzard have fixed it. Not only have the recent patches made grinding fun and rewarding, but Reaper Of Souls adds some great meaningful content (including the best act in the game and brilliant new class), alongside a new way to experience the game in Adventure Mode. Some of you have already abandoned Diablo III and frankly I can't blame you... but it's worth a second look to check out the free updates - then pay a competitive £15.95 for the expansion if you like it.
Remember to use the voucher code from liking their Facebook page! You can unlike and re-like them if necessary. Thanks to Trogador at HUKD for this burninating deal!
We were all pretty excited about these new-fangled consoles, but it looks like we're going to be busy next year. Sorry.Click here to read more...
Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls is set to throw us into battle against the fallen angel Malthael and his horrific twisted army, which contains all manner of disturbing mobs. You can mug up on them thanks to a new Battle.net blog post, which acts as a bestiary of sorts, containing both pictures and handy descriptions of the Death Maidens, Ghastly Seraphs, War Beasts and more.
It's something that has been hinted at in recent months, but last night BioWare revealed their next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Titled Galactic Starfighter, it will add "free flight" PvP space combat to the game for the first time. The operative phrase there is "free flight," as the PvE space missions have all been on-rails - something that has been criticized by many since launch. We've got all the details about the upcoming update, including the announcement trailer, after the jump.Click here to read more...
Diablo III will indeed be getting a new expansion pack entitled Reaper Of Souls, following some expert teasing last week. As we suspected, the Angel Of Death will be our adversary this time around, throwing players into a battle against the End Of Days. At least we'll have a new class, artisan, loot drop system and more on our side.
We've got all the details and the entire opening cinematic below.Click here to read more...
Firaxis have finally blown the lid off XCOM: Enemy Within, which has been revealed as a major expansion for last year's sensational XCOM: Enemy Unknown (my personal GOTY). Enemy Within promises a "massive amount of new content" including maps, enemies, abilities, weapons and gameplay elements when it releases on November 15th.
We'll also be able to construct a genetics lab to tinker with our operatives' DNA. And mechs. Get all the details below.Click here to read more...
Platform: Wii U (eShop & retail)
Developer: Nintendo EAD
We love an underdog here at Dealspwn.com, so a Wii U game starring Luigi ought to be a double whammy worth patting on the head while making reassuring noises. Available both as an eShop download and a brand new retail edition, New Super Luigi U is billed as a DLC pack for New Super Mario Bros. U, but it's more a total conversion that changes each and every one of the 80-plus levels into shorter, meatier and utterly ruthless new forms. Luigi can jump higher than his chubbier brother, but he's an absolute sucker for punishment.
I must admit to harbouring very low expectations for New Super Luigi U, seeing as it's relatively unambitious at face value, and the first level seemed to confirm all of my darkest fears. Following a cutscene that's identical to the original game save Mario mysteriously not showing up to Princess Peach's tea party, Luigi is thrown into the same storyline and world map as before, only with a Mario-shaped hole. The first stage is simply a shorter version of its predecessor, the same challenges and enemies squashed down into a cool ninety-nine seconds, but now you control a protagonist who handles like a new-born foal on an ice rink. First impressions are important - and appalling.
Stick with it, however, and you'll discover a seriously impressive and taxing new proposition for New Super Mario Bros. U fans... but one that doesn't quite step out far enough from Mario's shadow to be brilliant in its own right.
Click here to read more...
Neverwinter, the free D&D MMORPG from Cryptic Studios, will receive a weighty free expansion on August 22nd. Fury Of The Feywild will add Sun and Moon Elves to the roster of playable races alongside a new questline, dungeons and rewards.Click here to read more...
Civilization V: Brave New World releases next month, massively fleshing out trading and culture while adding some major new features. The new global congress allows players to impose game-changing rules on the world, while Shaka is back to utterly ruin everyone on his starting landmass within a handful of turns.
We've got a suitably epic launch trailer below [which is a fortnight early, as mrflump reminds us in the comments], with more details available in our Civilization V: Brave New World hands-on preview and interview with producer Dennis Shirk.Click here to read more...
Firaxis have announced a second major expansion for Civilization V, which focuses on expanding international trade, culture and diplomacy. Becoming a cultural powerhouse of great musicians and artists will be a valid victory condition, while nine new civilizations ought to keep you busy for a while. Details below.Click here to read more...
An avid team of skilled modders and military enthusiasts are hard at work creating the first major expansion for Red Orchestra 2, and the latest trailer shows off some of their painstakingly authentic research in action. This whopping ten-minute highlights reel contains plenty of footage, historical notes and in-depth explanations about how the American and Japanese forces have been balanced to represent the differences in weapon quality and manpower.
We've got some initial Red Orchestra 2: Rising Storm impressions here.Click here to read more...
Flying Wild Hog have announced that current owners of Hard Reset (their gloriously old-school cyberpunk FPS) will be rewarded for their loyalty with a free upgrade to the new Extended Edition. If you've got it on Steam, the update will take place automatically next month.
“To show our respect for all the PC gamers who picked up Hard Reset, we decided that the upcoming expansion will be FREE for all those who already own Hard Reset on Steam. The [upgrade] should be available sometime between the last week of April and the first week of May.”
The Extended Edition contains five new levels, a new boss, plenty more enemies and a graphical update amongst other improvements. It released in the US last week.
You can check out our 8/10 Hard Reset review for more details, and if you don't already own it, you can grab a Steam code for peanuts in the last day of the Indie Royale St. Patrick's Day Bundle. Not bad for £3, considering that you'll get a free upgrade.