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...
Company Of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies was one of the biggest announcements of Rezzed 2014: a standalone multiplayer expansion pack that will act as a new point of entry for the series. The US Forces and Oberkommando West will grant us completely unique gameplay experience set throughout a brand new theatre of war, which slots straight into the existing multiplayer of Relic Entertainment's impressive RTS.
Want to know more? So did we. Luckily Company Of Heroes 2 producer Greg Wilson and game director Quinn Duffy were on hand to answer our many questions about the two armies, maps and new tactical opportunities that commanders will encounter on The Western Front.
Naturally we also had time to quiz them about Homeworld, the next Warhammer game and developing during THQ's implosion. They're fantastic sports, as you'll see in the video below.Click here to read more...
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Reaper Of Souls is brilliant.
It makes Diablo III feel like a full game, complete, floating on a raft of exceptional patches. With Jay Wilson now a footnote in franchise history, Blizzard cut out the fat, replaced it with muscle and used the new expansion to genuinely expand their dungeon crawler. The new act and class are pure gold, while Adventure Mode turns the campaign into a glorious interconnected sandbox ripe for the pillage, giving the game an unpredictable personality and solid backbone. Effectively Reaper Of Souls is to Diablo III what adamantium is to Wolverine.
Unfortunately it also costs thirty British quid. Is Reaper Of Souls a rip-off or a devil's bargain?
That's a lot of money for 25% more story and a single new class, so I'm delighted to report that you're paying for quality. Act V is easily the biggest, best and most interesting segment of Diablo III hands-down, both in terms of art direction, enemy variation, storyline and some fantastic bosses. Blizzard has pushed the boat out on memorable set pieces (such as a dramatic showdown atop an active siege weapon) and thoughtful new foes who require different tactics to defeat. Plus, we get to tie up a massive loose end in the most violently cathartic way possible, while learning about exactly why The Angel Of Wisdom decided to go rogue.Click here to read more...
Diablo III: Reaper Of Souls pre-order| GMG | £22.99 (save £2 vs Gamestop)
Diablo III's first major expansion is now exactly a month from release, adding a new campaign and introducing a terrifying new enemy in the form of fallen angel Malthael. Unlike the fairly useless Tyrael (who transformed from an epic sword-wielding legend into a... bald guy), the Angel Of Death is at the height of his powers, and leads a horrific crusade to steal the Black Soulstone for himself. With new enemies, classes and environments to get to grips with, there should be a decent slab of game here, and Green Man Gaming are making with the savings. Note that you'll need the base game to play - and that the auction houses are set to close in a matter of weeks.
Thanks to ivandias @ HUKD!
While the listing states it is just for Mac, the redemption code for Steam will mean it works for PC gamers as well. Please note that this is not a standalone title and you need the base Civilization V game for it to work. Thanks to ecuador @ HUKD!
It appears that hot on the heals of their Red Cross fund-raising effort, Maxis have more SimCity news to share. It was announced today that that first expansion pack for the troubled city building simulation, titled Cities Of Tomorrow, is coming and will be released on 15th November. Set fifty years from today, players will be able to upgrade their metropolis with neon-clad buildings, install monorail systems, and generally turn their city into something like Blade Runner (but without the replicants, sadly.) Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint on making people pay for it) it appears the expansion pack will not provide an offline mode for the game or increase the size of city limits, although there is mention of more verticality with the new additions.
You can check out the announcement trailer by hitting the jump.Click here to read more...
Death is your faithful companion beneath Bitterblack Isle.
It's soaked into the very walls of the gothic demesne that ensnares your party, permeating the bones and bodies that litter the bleak labyrinth sprawling ahead of you. It glints in the eye of werewolves the size of people carriers who rip your pawns to tatty shreds, or cannibalistic necrophagous beasts gorging themselves on charnel. Death stalks you constantly, literally calling to you from the shadows, lashing out of every booby-trapped chest and dripping from the teeth of countless over-levelled horrors. At your lowest ebb, death itself appears to you as the grim reaper, a horrific persistent adversary who kills with a single touch and hounds your every step.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is out to kill you, but with enough patience and skill, you can bring death to its knees.
Click here to read more...
According to Firaxis producer Dennis Shirk, Civilization players are more interested in revolutionary new gameplay systems rather than bitty little extras, leading to them publishing proper expansion packs rather than regular DLC.Click here to read more...
Having sampled Civilization V's latest expansion pack in our Brave New World hands-on preview, we were keen to explore some of the deeper and persistent gameplay systems that Firaxis' latest offering brings to the experience. To this end, we sat down with producer Dennis Shirk to discuss the totally revamped Culture Victory, archaeology, tourism, new Civs and the future of the Civilization franchise.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Dennis. In an age where "dumbing down" and "shooter fatigue" are fast becoming buzzwords, why do you think that Civilization is so enduring?
Dennis Shirk (Firaxis): That's a tough one. I think it has to do with Sid [Meier]'s original design, you know, as Mel Brooks would say: "it's good to be the king." Letting players have all the decision-making throughout the game - they make all of the decisions in terms of what happens to their people and their civilizations, from the stone age to the space age - it empowers the player. You don't just play through and then the story's done, you go back and play a different story that unfolds in a completely different way.
You can do it over and over again. There's just limitless amounts of options for players in Civ V, or any Civilization. I think that's the genius of his foundation: there's a limitless amounts of possibilities in terms of what you can do.
Dealspwn: Let's get down to business: Brave New World. Your latest DLC pack totally revamps the culture system. Could you tell us about that?
Dennis Shirk: Sure! We basically changed the way the Culture Victory works. Before, you had a really exciting beginning of the game, you were building your wonders etc. But you got to a point in the middle of the game where you're just hitting next turn, you're just trying to get the broadcast towers that's going to make your culture blast. But you're just hitting next turn and trying to fill up your five policy trees, and it just wasn't as interesting or compelling as the other victories in the game.Click here to read more...
We've got yet another trailer to bring to your attention on what is currently a bit of a slow news day, this time looking at the new monsters and enemies that players will encounter in Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. This weighty expansion is apparently so big that it will only be available as part of a brand new edition, including the original game as well as the extra content for £19.99. Existing Dragon's Dogma owners will get a few bonus goodies to thank them for the dedication - more details here.
Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is slated to release on April 26th for PS3 and Xbox 360.Click here to read more...
Queen Of Blades Kerrigan and the ravening Zerg will make their return on March 12th, 2013, by way of the long-awaited Heart Of The Swarm StarCraft II expansion. Blizzard have blown the lid off the new additions to the series and two collector's editions, which we've rounded up below.Click here to read more...
Dragon's Dogma, the severely addictive open-world RPG from Devil May Cry's producers, will be receiving a "major expansion" entitled Dark Arisen. Details are thin on the ground, but they've confirmed that you'll be able to transfer your save data into it, suggesting a standalone storyline.
A Speedrun and Hard difficulty mode will be patched in soon via free updates.
Check out the teaser trailer after the break. I'm in the current again. I feel the blood in my veins.Click here to read more...
In many ways, the turn-based Heroes spinoffs of the Might & Magic series have proven more resilient than their RPG brethren, tending to rise higher in the critical standings, attracting greater audiences, and delivering more memorable experiences. But it hasn't all been plain sailing. Heroes VI, releasing in October 2011 to moderate acclaim, fared fairly well. Sadly the same could not be said of its developers, with tensions between Black Hole and Ubisoft stretched to breaking point. Something had to give and the buggy Heroes VI was left somewhat stranded without support.
Enter Limbic Entertainment, who've been furiously patching the beast for nine months to try and restore some semblence of order. But there's no doubt that something big is required. Something to bring fans both old and new together again, to breathe new life into Heroes VI.
That something, or should we say someone, is Crag Hack.Click here to read more...
THQ has announced a standalone expansion for Saints Row: The Third, entitled Enter The Dominatrix. Priced at $29.99 (UK pricing TBA), this new and entirely separate campaign will act as a semi-sequel of sorts, picking up where the original game left off. Expect aliens and superpowers - more details after the jump.Click here to read more...
Interesting news, sports fans. EA intends to launch the official UEFA Euro 2012 game as a downloadable expansion pack for FIFA 12, suggesting that they have heeded the call to stop releasing quite so many sports games over the course of a year.Click here for all the details, screens and key features >>
We recently reported that Fallen Earth, the post-apocalyptic MMORPG, will be adopting a free-to-play model this Autumn, and as an extra incentive to get involved, GamersFirst has launched a massive free expansion pack that adds loads of new features to the proceedings. Alpha County delivers an enormous new play area, extra missions and plenty of content, and we have the full details below.Click here for the updates and changelog >>
Arrowhead Game Studios has announced that their insane and entirely unexpected expansion pack to emergent cult (if buggy) hit Magicka may release next month. Magicka Vietnam will take our four inept wizards to the steamy booby-trapped jungles, where their magical abilities will compliment good old fashioned firepower. We've got the full details below.
Rock music and cool explosions. Yeah. We can dig it.Click here for more details...