Platforms: Xbox One
Oh Kinect. When you first emerged we were so excited. Well, sort of. We dreamed of 1-1 connections between our physical bodies and the virtual simulacra that appeared upon the screens before us. Imagine, we thought to ourselves, if we could do a Hadouken and have our avatars do the same with no delay or lag or hideous crashing. Wouldn't that be great?
And then Fighters Uncaged came along and slapped us in the face with a hard dose of reality by being utterly horrible and quite possibly the worst fighting game ever made, and yes that includes Clayfighter 63 1/3. Kill it, we cried. Kill it with fire.
Still, here comes Daoka with another swing at things and, guess what! Fighter Within isn't awful.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
I was not kind to Ryse: Son of Rome the first time around.
In my carefully titled Ryse: Son of Rome Preview Impressions piece, I lambasted Crytek's coming game for its heavy reliance on button-mashing and QTEs. This was coming out of Gamescom, mind, where we'd been privy only to a frenzied hack-and-slash co-op demo that I played through once with Carl by my side and then returned to slice my way through a day or two later with a bunch of strangers. Though I have a soft spot for games in this genre, I was left rather unimpressed.
After spending an hour or so getting to grips with the singleplayer component of the game last week at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase, however, let's say that my position has softened somewhat. We are not automatons, and so we get excited for and pass scorn on games just like anyone else. It would be remiss of me to suggest that I'd wandered into my session with Ryse with high hopes, it's important to note that. You never hope that a game is going to be bad, but from everything I'd seen and played, I was readying myself for a hatchet job.
But, to my pleasant surprise, I had a great time.Click here to read more...
Deadfall Adventures is looking to bring a few new elements to the Indiana Jones-esque adventuring sub-genre for which Nathan Drake and Lara Croft might well be the poster children these days. For starters, the game has taken on a first-person perspective, bringing the easy immersion and immediate action of stepping directly into a player-character's shoes. But then there's also the fact that the game goes back to classic source material for its inspiration, particularly the novels of H. Rider Haggard.
We sat down with producer Martin Kreuch at a Deadfall event last week to have a bit of a chat about Allan Quatermain and his great-grandson, how to string up your chums in multiplayer with deadly traps, and why the Steam Box initiative is really exciting from a development standpoint.
We'll have a Deadfall Adventures review for you later this week.Click here to read more...
I was not kind to Ryse: Son of Rome coming out of Gamescom. Nothing I had seen of the game, nor the limited hands-on time I'd had with it, had given me much of a sense of excitement. Here was what looked like a QTE-stuffed slaughterfest with a rather basic combat system and a heavy emphasis on being cinematic -- an adjective that nearly always makes me groan.
That being said, I admitted towards the end of my rather ranty video that I'd probably end up playing it anyway because I'm a sucker for hack and slash titles, I love the setting, and the genre is so poorly represented much of the time that anything looking even remotely interesting deserves some kind of recognition.
And then I got hands-on with the singleplayer earlier in the week.
The preview is coming next week, and I won't be doing a full u-turn, but I will say this: I had fun. It's a game that I now rather want to play, in the same way that Viking: Battle For Asgard was a game that I wanted to play, and then greatly enjoyed. That doesn't mean Ryse is a good game, I can't make that assessment yet and my hands-on time answered precious few of my many questions, but it does mean that for certain fans of a certain subgenre, it's going to hold some appeal.
Of course, it helps that I had the chance to chat extensively with the design team. It's clear that the team have taken inspiration more from Rocksteady's Batman series than the God of War; the cinematography -- that is to say the manipulation of the camera to frame the action -- is simply superb; and I dig on the setting and the time period, even if the story does take a few historical liberties in terms of accuracy.
But we'll get to all of that. In the interim, here's my interview with design director Patrick Esteves, and he can tell you about the game in his own words.Click here to read more...
Zoo Tycoon was, by some degree, the most delightful thing I played at the Xbox One showcase earlier in the week, even if I'm a little dismayed I won'[t be able to stick an afro on my zoo keeper. A fan of previous Tycoon games, the Zoo sub-franchise was one that I never got around to playing. But here, revitalised on Xbox One, Frontier Developments have crafted something a little special.
At it's heart, Zoo Tycoon 2013 is the same as it's always been: you build a zoo, adopt and look after the animals within, completing challenges along the way, attract new customers, and balancing the roles of architect and managing director. But now Frontier have a chance to make that experience more personable thanks to the improved Kinect sensor and their history with games such as Kinectimals and Disneyland Adventures.Click here to read more...
I've been rather underwhelmed by the exclusive offerings of both Sony and Microsoft up to this point, but Dead Rising 3 has given me a hefty hook and provided some much needed excitement. With more news each day of further game delays, and the wise choice looking like patience and prudence this Christmas, Capcom Vancouver have turned up with a game that I really, really want. I don't know how good it's going to be, I don't know just how deep all of the systems run, but I do know this: that game put the biggest smile on my face at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase yesterday, and it still hasn't come off. It's funny, it's empowering, it's expansive and ambitious, there's reams of choice and customisation. This is how you craft catharsis.
Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One's flagship launch titles, carrying a hefty amount of expectation upon its shoulders. It's had a bit of a rough year in terms of reveals to the public at E3, framerate issues and Gamescom , and the stuttering, see-sawing marketing messages from Microsoft, but njow, close to launch, it looks like it's coming out of the gates hot. - Dead Rising 3 Preview
We sat down with executive producer Josh Bridge at a showcase event earlier this week to chat about how the power of the Xbox One is being used to propel the franchise forwards with this third game.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Developers: Capcom Vancouver
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
In line with Microsoft's seeming inability to get their PR and marketing messages straight earlier this year, I don't think any of us were particularly thrilled by Dead Rising 3's appearance at this year's E3. The trailer looked dour and grim, anathema to our memories of a series that has often been characterised by over-the-top, hilariously creative undead bashing.
Then Dead Rising 3 turned up in playable form at Gamescom, though we didn't have time to see it sadly, and all of the reports there were of dodgy framerate issues, but there were hints towards the freeform, anarchic nature of the older games, lashings of crafting and customisation, and Chinese whispers of yes it is pretty grey and brown, but I carved zombies up with a nitrous-boosted digger.
As it turns out, we can have our cake and eat it too. Alan Jarvie's art direction for this game might lean rather more towards the gritty, realistic end of the spectrum, but that's ok. The zombies in Dead Rising 3 do feel a little bit more fearsome, the tone is set a little darker, there's actually a bit of a horror feel to things this time around. But that doesn't mean you can't have hilarious, side-splitting moments of emergent brilliance and rampant hilarity. Dead Rising 3 is looking like a game that gives the best of both worlds, with enough variety in terms of game modes, customisation, and crafting to play the game however we want.
And just in case you haven't been listening to Game Buzz or read any of our stuff over the past...forever, we love choice.Click here to read more...
Platform: PS Vita
Developer: Media Molecule
Tearaway is everything we say we want from a videogame. It's a gorgeous, colourful and exuberant burst of creativity that cuts through the Christmas slew of grim shooters like a pair of oversized safety scissors; a papercraft adventure where anything is possible. A whimsical world that impossibly exists right there behind your Vita screen, which grabs you and pulls you into it by way of the camera and touchpad, letting you directly affect the action onscreen with your face and fingers. With Media Molecule at the helm, many Vita owners have been looking to the acclaimed studio to bring some much-needed joy to the system.
Yet I must admit that I had my reservations about Tearaway, despite my colleagues descending into fits of uncontrollable enthusiasm every time its very name was mentioned. In the trailers, I saw little more than a platformer that sometimes swapped buttons for waggles or prods, nothing worth getting particularly excited about.
Now that I've gotten hands-on... so very hands-on... with an extensive preview build, however, I can report that Tearaway is likely to be one of the most creative and downright enjoyable games of Christmas 2013. Regardless of platform.Click here to read more...
The launch of the Xbox One is looming, and so we pause for a moment to take stock of a couple of Microsoft's launch offerings. First up? Ryse: Son of Rome. The first-person game that became a third-person game. The third-person game that became an Xbox One game. The Xbox One game that defied Kinect.
Well, sort of.
Ryse's journey has been one of constantly changing design focuses, conceptual rock jumping, and constant delays. It's finally arriving this November. But is it actually looking any good. We've been hands-on with a small portion of the game a couple of times since it was unveiled in its newest, QTE-stuffed form at E3 this year, and here are a few thoughts ahead of the game's next-gen release.Click here to read more...
The Crew is set to let us race through a massive open world on next-gen consoles and PC, at least, when it finally releases. To find out more about the ambitious proposition, I sat down with product manager Charles-Arthur Bourget earlier this year to learn more about what the exciting project has to offer - both in terms of raw scale and its innovative attempt to move the boundary between singleplayer and multiplayer.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): When The Crew was first announced at E3 2013, it very looked exciting, but was rather difficult to pin down. So perhaps most importantly of all: what is The Crew?
Charles-Arthur Bourget (Ubisoft): What we started with when we first starting developing the game is to recreate the entire USA. So we started with a huge playground to play with, and a lot of variety in that playground. The map is actually 5000km², it features a lot of different environments. So not only can you do your classic illegal street racing in the busy city centres, but you could also go offroad through the forests, on dunes, in the desert, there's pretty much no restriction when it comes to driving around.
So when we say it's an open world, we take it very seriously. It's for you to decide where you want to go.Click here to read more...
I'm currently exploring Tearaway, the much-anticipated PS Vita platformer from Media Molecule. Problem is, though, Sony provided us with one of the most generous preview builds I've tested in a long time, and getting a handle on it is taking an age.
Thankfully the Vita takes screenshots. To tide you over, here's a bizarre photo diary of my journey so far, presented by the inestimable Dealspwn McLogoface. Because he's got a Dealspwn logo on his... well, you know.
Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS4 | Xbox One
Developer: Ubisoft | Ivory Tower
Imagine an adventure playground designed to superficially resemble the United States. It's the same shape and the major cities are in the right place, but everything is larger than life. A playground is supposed to be played with and romped over rather than sticking to scale, so buildings are bigger, colours are more vibrant, distances between cities have been compressed and the whole thing is generally much more fun than it is in reality.
Now imagine that this playground is 5000km² and created for cars rather than people.
This is The Crew, Ubisoft's ambitious next-gen racer that promises to blur the lines between singleplayer and multiplayer while delivering a healthy dose of unapologetic drift-heavy fun factor. Though it has sadly been pushed back into the deepest recesses of late 2014/early 2015, we recently got to grips with a demo and found The Crew to be an audacious attempt to push boundaries in the racing genre.Click here to read more...
Developers: Flix Interactive
The folks at Flix Interactive are making big promises with Eden Star. Touted as an "immersive first-person, survival-creation game; blending unique physics-based combat, destructible environments, freeform construction, resource management and completely dynamic, freerunning navigation", the title is still finding its feet during the early days of a lofty Kickstarter campaign pursuing a pretty large £620,000 budget.
It's a game set against the futuristic backdrop of an Earth running out of resources and seeking new answers for humanity out among the stars. To this end, you step into the boots of a Pioneer -- a member of an advance migration team sent forth to find mineral-rich planets, investigate the potential for terraforming on these planets, and mine them for precious resources that might save mankind's home. One such Pioneer vessel is the Eden Star, which settles into orbit around the planet Pharus 7, once home to a now-lost colony. Your job is to establish a base on the planet's surface, protect your terraforming Eden Kit against aggressors, uncover the mysteries of the colony's disappearance, and retrieve the planet's valuable, rocky loot.
To help you in this task, your Pioneer is armed with a Remote Manipulation Device, which looks awfully like the Powerglove to us. It's so bad.Click here to read more...
Developers: Kobold Games
Publishers: Daedalic Entertainment
You could be forgiven for rolling your eyes when I explain that Journey of a Roach is a game set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a nuclear incident has ravaged the earth. After all, such games appear to be ten-a-penny these days. But not like this.
A cel-shaded, free-roaming point-and-click adventure title, Journey of a Roach puts you in control of a rather earnest, clumsily charming insect named Jim and sees you questing in pursuit of a very simple ideal: a flower. Something beautiful has managed to survive the nuclear wastes, and Jim and his hapless chum Bud are quite interested in it. Sadly, though, as they're crawling up out of tunnel, a bird mistakes Jim fingers for worms, and startles the duo, sending them crashing back down underground, where they find themselves in an old bunker and have to try and get out.
It's an odd setup indeed, and one that on paper fails to convey the slapstick charm and gentle humour that permeates every frame of this game. The thick, black lines, wacky characters (like an arachnid grandmother who's looking after a bunch of fly-babies), and semi-animated cutscenes lend themselves well to an aesthetic that evokes Saturday morning cartoons and Animaniacs b-sides. The gibberish vocals of the roaches themselves, not to mention the expressive, bulging bug eyes that Jim and Bud both have remind me a little of shows like Pingu and the Clangers. I find myself really wishing that there was a mildly amused Englishman narrating the action at times.Click here to read more...
We love adventure games here on Dealspwn, and thus we've been watching the continued rise of German outfit Daedalic Entertainment with some satisfaction. After all, whilst it might be true that adventure games are far from dead, there's no studio with such single-minded purpose in the genre as Daedalic, nor arguably one as consistently strong in their output.
We caught up with Daedalic last week to check out three upcoming games of theirs (preview roundup coming shortly), and one of those games happened to be a interesting little title set in a post-apocalyptic world. But don't run away just yet, there's a twist! You're playing as a pair of giant cockroaches who go on a quirky adventure in pursuit of the one remaining piece of natural plant life left in the world, only to fail constrrantly and wind up in all sorts of mischief.
Daedalic sent over half an hour of preview code and we've captured the lot here for you, with a little bit of commentary too.Click here to read more...
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is all set to be Traveller's Tales' magnum opus -- the LEGO game to end all LEGO games -- the best that there is. To do that, TT are doing what everyone seems to be doing these days: they're going open world, and stuffing a whole bunch of Marvel goodness into a fictional, and blocky, representation of New York City. You can find out everything that I saw at Gamescom, and my views on how the game's shaping up, in my extensive preview here (there'll be an impressions video rolling out soon), but I had a few unanswered questions.
Who better to answer them than game director Arthur Parsons, a 15-year stalwart at TT, and a man who's had his fingerprints on pretty much every LEGO game there's been. I caught up with Arthur at a preview event a couple of weeks ago to chat about how the team has gone about bridging the console generational gap, what new challenges and opportunities the open-world approach has brought to this game in particular, and how TT went about assembling their 150+ character roster.Click here to read more...
Developers: Kraken Empire
Touted as a “fast-paced immersive adventure shooter”, Kromaia sees you take control of a ship in 3D space, where your task is to navigate obstacles and take down enemies. We’ll be honest, it’s not the first time a crowdfunding effort has pitched something like this, but Kromaia's distinctive aesthetics and expansive approach to player customisation are looking to set it apart from a SHMUP genre that’s very much back in vogue thanks to the likes of Kickstarter and (in this case) Indiegogo. We’ve had the opportunity to test drive a preview build of the game to demonstrate the control system, though it should be noted that this only included a survival mode. Basically, the idea is to shoot enemies and accumulate points whilst trying to dodge the enemy fire and oncoming obstacles until your shields run out and it’s game over. The ambitions of the developers at Kraken Empire do extend further than this -- there will also be a story mode which will make up the bulk of the main game, full of puzzles to solve and more tricky obstacles – but we didn’t get to see that, so we’ll have to take their word for it.
But back to what we did get to grips with. Kromaia boasts a control scheme that uses a “six degrees of freedom” navigation system, which to put in layman’s terms is essentially raising or lowering the pitch of your craft (up and down), steering left or right, or strafing left and right. This in itself is nothing revolutionary, but it’s the speed and fluidity through which you manoeuvre your ship that gives this game an edge over most. Being able to seamlessly go from strafe to turn to pitch means with some deft mouse click or button presses (the controls are customisable to your preferences) you can dodge enemies or obstacles with a certain amount of style and grace, without losing the quick-paced nature of the game. It can be quite rewarding at times to pull off a nice dodge with a quick strafe or tilt, although mastering it will require a certain amount of practice. But the good news is, it’s a control system with a large amount of promise, which is handy, because if the main game is going to be focussed around puzzles and obstacles, a good control system is vital to its success.Click here to read more...
Developers: Project Aces
Publishers: Namco Bandai
After getting hands-on with two levels of the upcoming Ace Combat: Infinity and chatting to series producer Kazutoki Kono (via a translator) for well over half an hour, I'm still not entirely sure of the big picture regarding Project Aces's free-to-play title. And neither it would seem, are the developers themselves.
Let's start with the hands-on. There are fingerprints of Assault Horizon visible here: the blistering damage modelling, the gloopy oil splashes that hit the camera when a plane goes down. But the best thing about that game -- the whole 'Make Metal Bleed' mentality and the up-close-and-personal, Close-Range Assault system -- is nowhere to be found. Instead, Infinity plays a lot like Ace Combat 6, and that's no bad thing necessarily. But I do kind of wish we could have had the best of both worlds, with a more dynamic camera when it comes to dogfighting.
The controls have been simplified to a certain extent to cater for players who've never taken to the skies in an Ace Combat game. The whole point of this F2P venture is to attract new attention to the series and expand the franchise's audience, that's something Kono was very upfront about. Standard controls will automatically attempt to balance out the plane for you, but if you purposefully want to throw your aircraft into loops and barrel-rolls (and you should!), then the full control that Expert controls offer is really the only way forward.Click here to read more...
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
XCOM: Enemy Within is a clever title. It refers to the new dangerous cybernetic and genetic enhancements that augment yet corrupt your troops, and the invasive surgical operations you'll have to perform on your valuable soldiers to use the barely-tested shady technology.
However, it also refers to a brand new enemy faction, Exalt, a power-crazed secret society out to destroy XCOM from the shadows.
This new human threat strikes out against the Council through fear and manipulation, deploying cells throughout the world to spread panic and steal your funds. If left unchecked, they'll disrupt your research, raid your coffers and escalate panic ratings within your allied countries with vicious smear campaigns. They're a faceless, implacable and mysterious organisation who'll do anything to secure alien technology and see your fragile alliance crumble.
Will you stand for that, Commander? Of course you won't. There's only room for one faceless and implacable organisation on this planet. In between curtailing the extraterrestrial invasion, you'll hunt down Exalt cells, steal their intel and assault their base in a concerted effort to wipe out every last one of them. That said, these dapper operatives aren't going to make it easy for you, and fighting them is a completely new experience that will make XCOM: Enemy Within feel even more like a brand new game.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...