The final chapter of a trilogy needs to go out with a bang, so when all else fails, letting us create enormous elemental explosions bristling with lava death snakes is a good bet.
We're big fans of The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing here at Dealspwn. NeoCore's underdog action RPG series has delivered sensational quality and great replayable gameplay at a bargain price, working towards a trilogy that adds up to a fraction of Diablo III's RRP. Satisfying and occasionally hilarious, we heaped praise on both The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing and The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II.
There's a lot riding on part three, then, and based on the latest preview build I'm confident that it's on course to deliver. However, we'll face a surprisingly tough decision: should we import our character from the previous games or jump into the two new classes? One of which is capable of summoning the aforementioned superheated death snakes on a whim.Click here to read more...
Horizon Shift is one of those cracking "what if?" ideas that makes an overplayed genre feel fresh and new again. After spending years developing scrolling Xbox Live Indie SHMUPS, gradually iterating and experimenting, British outfit Flump Studios are creating something rather special.
They're clearly good sports, too, since they got in touch and sent me a preview code even after I brutally thumped Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection. That's the level of confidence we're dealing with here, and I'm absolutely thrilled to report it's well-placed. As a hybrid between Space Invaders, Bullet Hell/Danmaku SHMUPs and Tempest with a killer twist, I've played plenty of similar games yet nothing quite like Horizon Shift.
The basics are all familiar, of course. Tutorial stages introduce you to what initially appears to be a Space Invaders clone as you move laterally along a horizontal line -- your Horizon -- and defend it from incoming attackers. Mechanically it's slippery and responsive without being twitchy as you weave through oncoming fire and blast back ruinous salvos of your own, with a crisp eyecatching art style that keeps clutter to a minimum. Hitboxes are precisely defined. Movement is smooth and intuitive, including a delightfully unexpected double jump.
However, it doesn't take long for Horizon Shift to reveal its true colours. Space Invaders comparisons are skin deep, because in practice Horizon Shift is more like two games of Tempest flattened out into 2D and stuck together back-to-back. Sounds crazy? It is. But it's awesome - and it isn't even finished yet.Click here to read more...
Every decision we've made, every sanity-shredding revelation we've uncovered, every terrifying monster we've slain and augmented reality puzzle we've solved over over the last two years has led to this. The Orochi Tower is open, chuck, and promises to bring the first season of The Secret World's story arc to a breathtaking conclusion.
There's a lot riding on Issue #11, then, and I'm delighted to report that it's potentially one of the most astonishing pieces of content to have ever graced an MMORPG.
I don't say that lightly. Armed with questions and concerns, I delved into the newly-released content pack (available today for subscribers and those who bought the Fall Of Tokyo bundle) with The Secret World's lead designer Romain Amiel and Communications Manager Tor Egil Andersen, who were kind enough to lead me on a guided tour of a huge swathe of the Orochi Tower on a test server. Not only does Issue #11 represent a completely unique venture for an MMO, 21 different stories assembled into a staggeringly replayable tower, but it's also set to bring back our previous decisions in an awe-inspiring if unexpected way. Plus a hint at what's to come in The Secret World's future.
All the screenshots you see here were captured directly from the guided tour. Click to enlarge.
My wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see >>
Just watched the Just Cause 3 gameplay trailer? Excited? We're pretty sure you are. As if the trailer wasn't enough, we've dug out some extra details -including a few surprises- that will make the wait until 'Holiday 2015' seem even further away. So here are the Top 7 reasons to be excited about Just Cause 3.
Infinite C4 packs for everyone? Yes, Avalanche. Just, yes. They know damn well that we just want to run around Medici, blowing shit up and having a never-ending supply of C4 is a dream come true. Just think of all the crazy escapades you'll enjoy when combining it with this...Click here to read more...
J-Stars Victory VS+ is one hell of a crossover. Starring a huge cast of Shonen Jump manga and anime royalty, it's custom-designed to answer some age old fan questions in utterly insane two-on-two bouts. Who would win in a fight: Monkey D. Luffy or Naruto? The cast of Bleach or the Saiyan of Dragon Ball? What would happen if Toriko and Assassination Classroom fought to the bitter end?
The answer depends entirely on your skills as you smash foes through buildings and brawl across expansive 3D stages with the same superhuman abilities we love from their respective series, putting the Kamehameha up against the Hokuto Hundred Crack Fist. Though originally released exclusively in Japan, us Western otaku will finally be able to get involved with J-Stars Victory VS+, which is set to release this summer on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita.
Now that I've sampled the latest PS4 build, I'm happy to that that it's coming along nicely... and also thrilled that Fist Of The North Star's long-suffering Kenshiro should finally star in a game that's worth a damn!
Click here to read more...
F1 2015 has emerged from the pits gleaming and ready to race. Sporting a brand new engine, it's rebuilt from the ground up, both in terms of visuals, content, handling, AI and presentation.
That's a good thing too, because we had to bring out the Safety Car for F1 2014. "To be honest you're best off ignoring it and investigating next year's effort instead," we wrote in our review, criticising its recycled content and lousy GamePad controls. There was fun to be had with the right racing wheel, but it's clear that Codemasters had their work cut out.
Now that we've been able to get hands-on with "next year's effort," I'm delighted to report that F1 2015 is a very different beast. Though there's work to be done, it's clear that Codies are dead-set on finishing in pole position and are well on the way to doing just that.
Seeing as we're talking about a racing sim, it's only fitting that we start with the engine. F1 2015 is powered by EGO 3, which is brand new and built entirely from scratch. Every asset is therefore completely original, from the models and textures to the re-recorded engine sounds for each manufacturer and even the race engineer banter, which will now burst forth from your DualShock 4 if playing on PS4. Lighting and frame rate has been boosted across the board with PC and current-gen systems in mind. Booting up the Singapore circuit during a vicious midnight rainstorm, I was keen to put Codies' boasts to the test.Click here to read more...
It shouldn’t be too surprising that the Nazi Zombie Army spin-offs for the Sniper Elite series have been rather popular. After all, pairing up the brilliant yet disgusting x-ray cam with 4-player co-op gameplay in which you slay the undead masses comes across as a sure fire recipe for success. So, with the creation of a third and final campaign – in which you’ll be taking out Zombie Hitler himself – developers Rebellion have decided to take all the graphical and gameplay improvements from Sniper Elite 3, apply them to their two previous campaigns, and release it all as Zombie Army Trilogy.
It’s a watershed moment for developers Rebellion, as they are self-publishing the release on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One for the first time. You could tell there was a sense of pride about it all as the team showed off the game to a crowd of press at the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square, London, a venue famed for showing cult horror classics. Four of the developers gave us a live demonstration on the big screen, showing us a bit of the third campaign and the newly added Horde mode, but after that we were invited to get hands-on and see for ourselves why, regardless of if you’ve played it before, Zombie Army Trilogy will be an essential purchase for co-op fans.Click here to read more...
Playing the beta? Check out Brendan's Battlefield Hardline Survival Guide!
After getting to grips with the game last year and lamenting that it felt like a BF4 mod rather than anything particularly fresh, Battlefield: Hardline proceeded to miss its original drop date, and got pushed back to this year. We rejoiced in the hopes of the developers using the extra time to work out what it was that they actually wanted to do with Hardline, maybe even giving the game some semblence of an identity beyond that of its predecessor. Well, now there's a new beta out and, having spent several hours playing cops and robbers in the new build, here are a bunch of our impressions on the latest slice of action from Visceral games and DICE.
Battlefield Hardline is back and much has improved. Instead of feeling like a palette swap, it now feels like a DLC pack.
Improvement is a very relative thing, I suppose.Click here to read more...
To say that we were not exactly impressed with Battlefield: Hardline's testing period last year would be an understatement, and we weren't the only ones to find ourselves wondering if Hardline would just be a skins-and-maps download expansion for Battlefield 4. To call Hardline a palette-swap might have been something of a disservice at the time given that what we saw of it was just a sliver of the full game, but that didn't stop many fans from levelling that accusation at Visceral Games and DICE, and writing Hardline off as an attempt at annualisation that one could afford to skip out on until Battlefield 5 turns up.
To be honest, playing through familiar game types like Conquest and Team Deathmatch in this week's beta, that's probably still a fair reaction. Then again, when you slap a huge, recognisable brand like "Battlefield" on a game, you're rather limiting your own options for diversification.
That being said, the Bank Job map included in this beta actually does a decent job of making the Heist game mode that we tried out last year feel like something a little new. Robbers go for the loot, and have to work together to drill through and collect the swag, defending their position until they're ready to depart and head for a randomly generated exit route via a spawned helicopter. The cops, of course, have to stop that from happening... by any means necessary.
Scurrying around the Downtown level we played on last year, things devolved into spray-and-pray anarchy relatively quickly, but on the Bank Job map, the overwatch spots for the cops and the tight corridors of the bank make teamwork an absolute must. It's no Payday 2, mind, but it's a little more strategic than we've previously seen, particularly when plotting your entry routes to the target building. Outside, however, things get pretty familiar pretty quickly, and vehicles are disabled in this mode, sort of nerfing Battlefield's trademark best qualities. The addition of things like ziplines and grappling hooks are nice, but if you're a fan of heist titles that lean towards meticulous planning, you're going to be disappointed here.Click here to read more...
The title says it all, really. Watch me crush some AI hunters, destroy their ship and eradicate the humans from Shear in this new gameplay video, playing as the brand new Wraith Monster in the newly-announced Evacuation Mode.
Then click here to read our Evolve preview.Click here to watch our new Evolve gameplay footage >>
Watch your back, Hunters.
It might be easy to spot a rampaging Goliath or a menacing Kraken as it hovers overhead, but Evolve's newest monster is the stuff of nightmares. She'll hunt you in the shadows, pick you off one by one and rip an unprepared hunting party to pieces with massive bladed scythes before melting into the mists. The Wraith completely changes the way you play, whether the hunter or the hunted, and adds a nervy new dimension to Turtle Rock's shooter.
Last week I attended a lengthy hands-on preview session to personally test out the Wraith in action, as well as the newly announced Evacuation campaign that adds some much-needed value to the package. Though Evolve is still a tough sell, there certainly seems to be a lot more bang for your buck now.Click here to read more...
You're going to absolutely love The Order: 1886, PS4 fans.
Well, if you adore quick-time events, that is. And games rigidly holding your hand. And not being able to deviate from mission parameters at all. Oh, and if the mere thought of instafail stealth gets you all tingly. Basically, if you're a fan of outdated, outmoded, excruciatingly linear game design, you're going to love The Order: 1886.
I find it quite interesting that in a period where more and more games are seeking to give more power to the players, just how stupid The Order: 1886 deems those holding the gamepad. This slice of cinematic (yep, there's that word) steampunk Victoriana shares the Puritanical tendencies one might have found in that time period, only it rigidly applies it to your enjoyment and engagement. I was recently privy to a brief hands-on demo of the game, and it succeeded in convincing me that everything I feared about The Order: 1886 was true.
It's a gorgeous game that absolutely hates being a game.Click here to read more...
"The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 2 punches well above its weight and ends up as a markedly superior game. Seriously, even the optional tower defence sections are good enough to be a standalone game in their own right."
I'm not trying to take credit for Deathtrap -- even I'm not that egotistical -- but I certainly called it in our Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II review. NeoCore are already masters at creating rock-solid action RPG gameplay with compelling progression and great combat, so having discovered a knack for tower defence too, they decided to build a brand new game mixing all three elements together.
The result is half Diablo-style dungeon crawler, half tower defender and all delightfully OTT gothic horror romp. With multiple classes, tricky mazes, hordes of enemies, addictive levelling, versatile upgrades, co-op, infinite user-generated content and more besides, Deathtrap expertly blends the strategy of tower defence with the insanely hectic combat of Diablo. It's an example of a tower defence RPG hybrid that actually tries to break the mold, and rise above the pack in an otherwise crowded sub-genre.
And because it's built on the dependable Van Helsing foundation, it's also an example of an Early Access game that actually works!Click here to read more...
LittleBigPlanet 3 is out next week, and I sat down with Sumo Digital designer Jonathan Christian for a massive last-minute chat. Over eighteen minutes we cover the new story details, brand new gameplay features, differences between versions, amazing new create mode functionality and working with Hugh Laurie.
This is pretty much everything you need to know about LittleBigPlanet 3 in one convenient place.
I'm currently hard at work on our Sunset Overdrive review, and by hard at work I do of course mean "grinding, swinging and leaping across a vibrant colourful city while shooting a huge horde of crazy enemies with insane weaponry." I know, it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
As such, I can't deliver any sort of value judgement until next week, and I don't plan to. We're a classy outfit here at Dealspwn.com. But based on the first two hours of gameplay, those official videos and previous contact time at preview events, I'd like to offer a purely descriptive preview of what Sunset Overdrive has to offer, and to point out a incredibly basic fact about what Sunset Overdrive is bringing to the table at this late hour. Or more accurately, what it actually is and what it definitely isn't.
See, there's a big difference between a "sandbox" and a "playground," and understanding the distinction will help you make the most out of Insomniac's high-velocity shooter.
Click here to read more...
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...
People tell me that cutting-edge graphical tech is absolutely crucial for attaining that most hallowed of made-up buzzwords: immersion. I understand that point of view and the logic behind it, but also contend that it's complete and total bollocks.
See, for the last few weeks I've been compulsively glued to a primitive early alpha that uses the bare minimum to ground you in an evocative lonely Sci-Fi universe, by making your computer monitor look like a different computer monitor.
Duskers casts you as a astronaut castaway in the depths of space, running out of rations and going half-mad from isolation, desperately eking out the last of your days by salvaging any usable supplies from derelict space hulks. You'll use your precious supplies just to travel between them, meaning that you have to find food or die of starvation, but in a unique twist you'll never personally leave your ship.
Without a viable space suit, you'll instead rely on a handful of remote-controlled drones that become your only means of exploring the wrecks, your eyes, ears and hands, and also your only friends in an otherwise hostile and empty universe. As such, both you and the astronaut stare at the same arcane control interface -- your computer monitor and keyboard -- connecting and immersing you in the game world in a unique and deeply chilling way.
After all, your drones aren't alone out there... and without them you're as good as dead.Click here to read more...
DieselStormers is billed as "high-octane carnage for 1-4 players featuring customizable motorguns, gas-guzzling knight armour, generated levels and randomized loot" on its Steam Early Access listing, but I much prefer the description that Black Forest games gave me in an interview last summer. It really is "Metal Slug meets Left 4 Dead meets a nuclear pinball machine."
Back then it was known as Project Ravensdale, and following their release of the brilliant Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Black Forest games were confident in another Kickstarter success. They failed, but a name change and Steam's Early Access scheme finally put DieselStormers on track.
Which leaves us with an unfinished yet very promising cooperative run and gun romp that resembles the legendary action platformers of yesteryear, only in a Dieselpunk fantasy universe with goblin bullet hell death balloons, persistent crafting and electric ninja ropes a go-go.Click here to read more...
Chances are, you're either a big fan of the Dark Souls series or you just can't be doing with their brand of no-nonsense difficulty and downright unresponsive controls.
Me? I'm not a fan and haven't been since I played the original Demon's Souls. So why am I the one talking to you about Bloodborne, a game by the same devs and seen as a potential killer exclusive on the PS4 for fans of From Software’s series? Well, after trying out the recent Alpha, I'm thinking maybe Bloodborne will be worth a look after all and those of you that aren't fans of the Souls games probably shouldn't dismiss it so soon.
Is it still hard? Of course, and the checkpoints (or lack of them in the Alpha) will certainly make your eyes water a little and I'm sure there will be plenty of difficulty settings to nail that feel of trapping your junk in your zip, or stubbing your toe for hours on end or what other kink that makes you keep playing these bastards.
So, let's dive into the Alpha demo. First of all you're given the option of four different characters with four varying weapon loadouts. The first is the one you may have seen in past footage with a blunderbuss gun and a saw cleaver, this was the first one I tried. The second was armed with a pistol and a sword that could split into two blades at the touch of a button.Click here to read more...