The first game was a surprise hit from the Vigil Games team. Despite being an original creation, the world felt so lived in and like it had a deep past with plenty of scope for further stories, making for a world we’re eager to dive back into.
For the sequel, you play as a different Horseman of the apocalypse, Death. Rather than joining your bother War, immediately after the events of the first game, which would have been a great starting point given the tantalising conclusion, your adventure will run alongside that of your brother's. This parallel story may throw up the odd familiar face, but we're told to expect plenty of new locations, which is definitely better than going through all the old ones with everyone telling you that you've just missed your brother.
The gameplay demo we witnessed showed off the combat, which even at this early stage looks like a huge improvement over the first game. War favoured a very powerful approach, whereas Death seems to have a much more fluid and agile style that makes his brother seem even more cumbersome. Death's main weapon is his signature scythe, but he can split it into two blades to change styles on the fly mid-combo. Attacks are slick and fast, more in the style of God of War’s Kratos than War. He also has a hammer for powerful attacks and we’re told there will be a lot more weapons to come, many more than you’d find in the original Darksiders.Click here to read more...
Toys For Bob's CEO, Paul Reiche, has said that Activision have been 'bizarrely supportive' of their new venture Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, giving them 'Hollywood-style backing' and a 'really big marketing budget'.
In the grand scheme of things, a good number of perfectly serviceable games geared towards the younger generation tend to disappear into obscurity as a result of a lack of support from their respective publishers. With Activision's rather inconsistent track record outside of Call of Duty, we asked Reiche last month just how supportive Activision have been, and he couldn't have been happier.Click here to read more...
After a brief panic of thinking I'd spent a full year queuing for games at Gamescom I stirred myself awake to remember an early Olympics title would of course be released the Christmas before the event itself. Especially after the previous games on the Wii sold by the tonne. It's still heart breaking to see Sonic standing next to archrival Mario with no signs of murderous intentions though.
Our hands-on session with some of our German cousins was in the form of a multiplayer party with laughs and smiles hiding the pride of wanting to win at all costs. Wiimotes at the ready then.
First up we tried the pistols event, a simple shooting game that soon became surprisingly tough. You have to hit multiple targets in a time limit over numerous rounds. The targets change size, rotate, move and sometimes need to be hit in a specific sequence. It’s good to see a game that we can’t perfect within minutes, although we expect there’ll be easier settings available to the casual crowd. Your character choice can also have an impact, as picking one with a high 'skill' rating can make your aim better (despite you being the one doing the physical aiming). Either way, it felt dirty picking Shadow just for his stats.
Choice in games is a good thing. Being able to decide not to rip innocent bystanders to pieces with your tentacles, or choose not to turn them into linguine before absorbing them into your body after kerb stomping them or surfing their shock-stricken bodies down the street, being able to choose not to do that is quite a big thing. 'We really listened to the community after Prototype released,' says Radical's studio head Ken Rosman, 'and interestingly one of the things that stood out was people asking "Why can't I just put this guy down?" We wanted to have you kicking ass, but we also wanted to give you more of a choice.' It's a nice touch, and one that makes a lot of sense considering that civilians no longer restore your health.
But it doesn't end there. We were a little worried, after seeing the game just before E3, that there really wouldn't be much of a change-up between the core gameplay of the two games. But it would seem that Radical are taking a healthy approach to this side of things too: leaving the open-ended gameplay, fine tuning the combat mechanics, adding in more cool ways to take down military vehicles and streamlining the interface to allow for choice on the fly.Click here to read more...
'We've drawn influences from a wide ranges of sources,' Criterion's Richard Franke tells me. 'Pinball, destruction derbies, gameshows, disaster movies, they're all in here. But really we just wanted to distill the essence of Crash Mode and release it as a massively OTT arcade game.' There have been those who've taken one look at Burnout Crash! and lamented the notion that, to them, it doesn't seem like a Burnout game.
They're wrong, of course. Burnout has always been about engaging in exaggerated car-based shenangians, empowering the player with powerful machines, and foregoing realism in favour of fast-paced fun. Crash Mode was a logical evolution of the 'sod it' mentality brought about by fluffed driving: once you lose control, you might as well see how much damage you can rack up. There will be those disheartened by the bright colours and Rockstar-esque radio offered up in this game, but, if anything, Burnout Crash! takes the Crash experience of the franchise deeper than it has ever gone before. In so many ways, this is a quintessential Burnout game.
Taking place from a top down, 2D perspective, the aim of the game is still to blow up as much as you possibly can around some traffic-heavy junctions. Buildings dot the surrounding areas, waiting to be obliterated, their garages occasionally hiding classic golden cars that will net you a lot of money if you can send them on their way too. each round kicks off with you sending your car careering into an otherwise perfectly happy nest of traffic and blowing uop everything in the near vicinity. Over time your 'Crashbreaker' bar will reload, allowing you to explode time and time again, using the gamepad (or Kinect) to manoeuvre about each time the blast sends you flying into the air.Click here to read more...
Mass Effect 2, which I've been playing through again in large amounts of late, has a bewitching effect on me. I know the story isn't as good as that of the first game. I realise that I don't really care about half of the characters in the second game, that there are no 'Virmire moments' that have me yelling exclamations at the screen. It's plain to see that this game quite literally phones in the plot twist. But, when I play it, I don't care. Genuinely. I've gone through it three times now (just started round four), and for all of the gripes that I have with the game on reflection, for all of the inadequacies that the RPG fan in me cries at, I cannot get away from the intense feeling of excitement that swarms over me every time I play the damn thing.
It's causing major ambivalence as I sit through this Mass Effect 3 presentation. On the one hand, buzzwords like 'accessiblity' and 'self-contained narrative' are freaking me out ever so slightly. On the other hand, Shepard's just jumped into a massive mech, the powers menu has three times the number of options Mass Effect 2 had, and the music is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Yes, as the demo progresses and Shepard offers to rescue a vent-dwelling young urchin, I begin to realise that BioWare has ransacked every butchers' shop for all of the ham in the entire world, but even so I can feel a little squeak of excitement bubbling up inside me that threatens to override all of my journalistic principles.Find out how Mass Effect 3 is shaping up after the jump...
While out in Germany a couple of weeks back, we sat down for a brief chat with Mass Effect 3's Associate Producer, Mike Gamble, to grill him on a few things about the upcoming finale to BioWare's space opera trilogy. Expect details on how the third game will welcome new players into the fold, how BioWare is ramping up the customisation options for this game and whether or not the studio feels constrained by rigid genre distinctions.
Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): We heard in the presentation that Mass Effect 3 will offer a really good entry point into the series for new players. In a series where story matters so much and emotional connections have been made with a number of characters, how are you hoping to pull that off?
Mike Gamble: Well what you just said lends credence to what I'm about to say. Having played both of the first two games, you feel that it's important to play through those games before this one because of the emotional connections that you've made with the characters through that experience. Players who haven't gone through those games don't have those connections. But what we've tried to do with Mass Effect 3 is make it so that players can form those emotional attachments just by playing this game, they don't need a backstory to go on.Click here to read the ret of our Mass Effect 3 interview...
Now I’m not saying looks are everything, but after slumming it through the grey roughness of the original Metro 2033 game, it’s amazing to see the difference in Metro: Last Light. This game looks gorgeous. Yes, it still has a bit of a grey fetish, but like Killzone, it’s made pretty work of some of the colour palettes old-timers. And the game’s still only at pre-alpha code level, so it could get even better.
Those of you that played through the original game will find that the story of Last Light follows on from the (SPOLIER) ‘bad’ ending where you did launch the missiles to destroy the Dark Ones. So it would seem that your initial fight will be against human enemies, we’re sure there’ll be a few mutants along the way too. We’ve already seen those winged gargoyle-like arseholes (they pissed me off a lot last time) flying about in one of the trailers. Towards the end of the presentation, we also saw some large troll/gorilla-like creatures that featured some astonishingly slick animation and textured rocky skin that almost distracts from them trying to rip Artyom’s face off.
Some introduction footage shows off some brighter environments over the ruins of Moscow, the clouds even occasionally break to reveal a glimpse of blue sky. Don’t expect flowers and rainbows though, it’s not called Metro for nothing. The first descent into a tunnel shows off some great water effects on your visor along with the fine detail of rust bubbles on the ladder. Once down, Artyom uses a lighter to scare away a veil of webbing with large crab-like spiders, which again shows off some excellent lighting effects.Click here to read more...
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings is generally considered to be an astounding RPG triumph: an unflinching, mature and open exploration of adult themes and the blurred lines between true good and evil. Dave awarded CD Projekt Red's effort with a laudible 9/10 score in our full review... and the Polish powerhouse isn't finished with their masterpiece yet. Version 2.0 promises to add a host of tweaks, improvements and new features to the package for free when it releases at the end of next month - and will provide the framework for an Xbox 360 port that promises to be "the most complex RPG on consoles."
We've got the full details below thanks to a demonstration from CD Projekt, starting with the Version 2.0 update.
First things first. Version 2.0 will hit as a completely free patch on 29th September, available via automatic update through your client of choice. It contains as much content as most premium DLC packs; including extra content, bug fixes and technical enhancements without players needing to pay a penny for the privilege.Click here to read more...
There were a number of obvious favourites doing the rounds at Gamescom this year. A quick sweep of the floor and press centre yielded up vastly similar names: Battlefield 3, Skyrim, FIFA 12, Assassin's Creed: Revelations to list a few. But it was SEGA who housed my two personal favourites - one of them was Aliens: Colonial Marines, which Tom previewed a few days back. The other was Binary Domain.
In case you haven't heard of SEGA Japan's futuristic shooter, imagine if you took I, Robot, mashed it together with The Terminator, stuffed it with Gears of War and seasoned it with Mass Effect. If that doesn't make you squeak a little bit with anticipation, then check to see if you're still alive. In short, the year is 2080 and robots are commonplace. However, someone in Japan has been manufacturing robots that are indistinguishable from their human counterparts, breaking several international laws in the process. Cue the arrival of a crack squad, assembled from across the globe and headed up by one gruff sonofabitch named Dan Marshall.
We got to see a little bit of it at E3 a couple of months ago - the team from SEGA Japan demonstrating the early stages of the procedural damage engine, AI, squad commands and combat, and touching upon the trust and consequence system that forms the backbone of your relationship with your squad-mates (not to mention blasting the legs off of an enormous robo-arachnid) - and things looked fairly promising. Two and a half months on and we're starting to get really quite excited.Click here to read more...
I wasn't really expecting much from Dishonored considering it had been tacked onto the end of Bethesda's Prey 2 presentation, which made it seem like a bit of a last minute addition to their line-up, the dunce of the class if you will, almost as if they'd been looking around the office, spotted it in the corner and then thought, 'Oh yeah, this is new too, lets throw it in with the rest of our upcoming games!' However, having seen the game in action I can't understand why they decided to seemingly undersell it because it looks like it'll be really good fun. Luckily, it quickly became apparent that Bethesda are actually incredibly enthusiastic about this one too as they guided us around one of the levels.
So what exactly is Dishonored all about? Well, you’re thrown into the shoes of an assassin who has a couple of supernatural powers up his sleeve, which mixes up the gameplay a little bit, and it’s set in a world that’s just had an industrial revolution and all the current technology is now powered by whale oil. To get it out of the way now, you’re not on Earth, which I’m guessing is something that may work its way into the plot to some varying degree. A deadly plague has also recently broken out and surprise, surprise, it’s been spread by rats, who the locals are less than pleased to see scurrying about. Basically, it’s an immersive first person action game with environments that feel like 19th century London; I personally felt like it was a combination of Steampunk, Assassins Creed, and Bioshock, with a tiny bit of The Darkness thrown in for good measure. Those of you with keen eyes might pick up on its similarity to Half Life 2, which has come about because the art director from said game has stepped on board for Dishonored. It should also be noted that the developers didn’t want to create a canyon of fake building, so you’ll be able to enter the majority of the building that are present in the game.
Click here to read more...
Crusader Kings is one of Paradox Interactive's most respected grand strategy franchises; taking the Europa Universalis framework and using it to tell an epic saga of dynasties, machinations and all manner of dynamic, real-time skulduggery. The sequel is set to be one of the most historically accurate games ever made, so with my thinking cap firmly on, I sat down with Paradox to see how Crusader Kings 2 development is coming along.
Put simply: family comes first. Arranging the right marriage and securing heirs is more important than waging epic battle - though excitingly, you'll have as much trouble keeping your scheming spouses, courtiers and sons in line as you will with rival rulers.
The broad premise is much the same as before. Four hundred years of European history (starting from the auspicious year 1066) provides players with a sandbox playground full of disparate provinces, regions and fiefdoms to ally with and conquer. You'll raise taxes, raise armies and raise hell in the Holy Land in the time-honoured fashion... but that isn't really what Crusader Kings II is all about. Rather, it's about establishing a successful lineage, with the objective being to secure a bloodline that rules for many generations.
Click here to read more...
One of the biggest challenges facing the PS Vita handheld is its ability to work with first-person shooters. The addition of a second analogue stick -and they are proper sticks now instead of nubs- is an important leap forwards from the original PSP and from our hand-on experience it’s a challenge the device and developers are already relishing.
Nihilistic are bringing the Resistance series to the handheld market for the first time in FPS form, after the third-person adventures of Retribution. The improvements are instantly noticeable, making the console’s 2012 arrival seem very far away for everyone outside of Japan.
In Resistance: Burning Skies, you play as a New York firefighter. The game takes place just before Resistance 2, during the early stages of the Chimeran invasion of America’s East coast, New York specifically during our demo. Producer Frank Simon said: “We really wanted to give it the experience of what it would be like to be a normal average person going about your lives when the Chimera suddenly attack the east coast of the United States.”Click here to read more...
We're big fans of Nordic Games here at Dealspwn. Their never say die attitude and willingness to go up against the biggest publishers on their home turf is a refreshing antidote to the usual triple-A hype. Our industry thrives on smaller companies who make a splash with their independent titles, and I was eager to swing by their booth at Gamescom to check out their product lineup. As it turns out, they do much more than just singing games.
Inflatables are awesome. As are racing games. Nordic has clearly paid attention to these fundamental laws of the universe and taken advantage of both with the Inflatakart: a resilient inflatable gaming chair that's shaped like a racing buggy. As a big kid at heart, I simply couldn't resist having a go... and despite my considerable girth, found it easy and comfortable to climb into and use. The Steering wheel features a sturdy mount for a Wiimote, which fits securely and provides an intuitive way to take advantage of tilt control. Build quality is absolutely excellent, and I'm reliably informed that the Kart has been tested up to and including loads of one hundred kilograms. It's certainly now been tested up to 88.
Getting out was fairly embarrassing, however. The expression 'beached whale' has never been more appropriate.Click here to read more...
The first Prey game completely passed me by and I've been waiting to pick it up in the bargain bucket for a while now, in fact I'll probably grab a copy when I get back to the UK, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from Prey 2 when I stumbled into Bethesda's press presentation. Needless to say it's impressed me greatly and I'll be running out to the shops first thing in the morning on release day to make sure I get a copy, although I guess I could save myself a lot of time and effort by pre-ordering it. First things first though, it's time for me to fill you in on what I got to see!
Prey 2 plonks you in the shoes of U.S. Marshal Killian Samuels, who was part of the same abduction event in the first game, and was sat aboard the passenger flight that ended up crashing into The Sphere. Immediately following this he weaves around the wreckage dispatching a load of hostile aliens, before he's overcome and savagely knocked unconscious. We then jump forward several years to discover that he's become a bounty hunter and is currently looking for tagets to capture on the planet Exodus. Killian has no idea what's happended in the interim and you'll have to piece together his back story as you make your way through the game. The developers wanted to create another game that made you feel like you were taking control of one man, who was up against an overwhelming force, and it's also got a unique alien noire theme to it.Click here for more Prey 2 goodness!
When the British Prime Minister is kidnapped as part of a coup d'etat, none other than legendary ninja Ryu Hyabusa is willing to take up arms against a sea of troubles - and by opposing, end them. And end them hard. The moody new London setting is a refreshingly dark and dank change of pace from the first two games, with familiar landmarks and tube stations providing a canvas to liberally splash with an inordinate amount of viscera. Though the voice acting is insultingly stereotypical ("looks like Jack the ripper is back again," quips a mockney soldier as he observes a fallen comrade), on the whole the new setting is by far the most pleasing part of the package. Team Ninja have to prove that they're capable of making a Ninja Gaiden game without Itagaki at the helm... but from what I experienced in the Gamescom demo level, Itagaki may have been more important than they'd like to admit.
Fighting against fellow humans was easily the most satisfying part of the first two games, and once again, you'll be thrown into arenas against waves of incoming forces. Like their predecessors, these mercenaries use a mix of ranged and melee attacks, with more powerful foes bringing shields or rocket launchers along to the party. Combat, therefore, revolves around blocking attacks, dashing behind foes and planning quick, decisive strikes from your Katana and throwing stars. The infamous Flying Swallow attack no longer decapitates opponents, instead, it triggers a cinematic takedown when it connects. Brawling is just as fun as you might remember, though frequent knockdown attacks still make an unwelcome appearance.
Click here to read more...
If anyone could make another great game for the PlayStation Move, it would be the team behind its best game so far. Rather than knock out Sports Champions 2, Zindagi Games have opted for a fun action title. You might recognise parts of the game from the early tech demos for the PlayStation Move back at E3 2009. It’s good to see that demo become a full game, we’re just surprised it took this long.
Medieval Moves is a first-person action adventure game with movement around the game world taking place automatically and the action kicking off between stops. This leaves your hands free to concentrate on using your weapons and other cool gadgets to get through the medieval settings against an army of skeleton warriors and other ghoulish foes.
If you’ve had a look at the screenshots, you'll be able to see it’s not exactly Skyrim as it’s aimed at a family friendly audience that favours soft textures and comedy characters. Don't let the visuals fool you into thinking this is another just-for-kids title though as this could be one of the most immersive titles yet for the Move.Click here to read more...
That's right, Halo fans. You won't just be playing Combat Evolved in HD this November, but in 3D, too. Shown to Dealspwn last week at GamesCom - sorry we couldn't tell you sooner, embargoes and that - 343 Industries showed off the new feature to a packed room of journalists, demonstrating the proprietary 3D tech in the 343 Guilt Spark level, all redone with new models, textures, lighting and, now, 3D.
We've a preview coming up that will you in some more on all this, but if you're still skeptical, know this; we've seen quite a few 3D games in the past year or so, and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition's implementation of the tech is very impressive, indeed. 343 worked very hard to ensure the gun models, environments and enemies all functioned well within a 3D plane, rather than simple tossing in stereoscopic support and be done with it. You can all try it out for yourselves when the game hits store shelves November 15th, this year.
We're not exactly short of first person shooters these days. The genre has expanded and homogenized into one of the industry's main sources of income, but in the shadow of Modern Warfare and Battlefield, one brave little title is set to revolutionise the way we play - and pay for - our online shooting experience. Hedone from ACONY games promises to deliver a polished and feature-rich package that you'd typically expect from a Triple-A outfit... but you won't need to part with a single penny for it.
Hedone is set to be the best free-to-play FPS since Team Fortress 2 - and is undoubtedly one of the surprise highlights of Gamescom 2011.
Pronounced hee-dohn (just in case you were wondering), this team-based online shooter revolves around earning heat, earning fans and getting paid to increase your reputation and arsenal. In the world of 2020, the borders between entertainment and reality have blurred, resulting in a globally syndicated combat game show. Real people with real weapons fight for a shot at superstardom every night live on camera, with their bodies being painfully regenerated by advanced cloning technology. Players assume the role of a new Hedone contestant, meaning that high scores and kill ratios will gain them a virtual fanbase that will rocket them up the leaderboards as well as earning digital currency to splurge on a massive selection of customisation options.Click here to read more...
As the presentation continued, ArenaNet Global Brand Manager Christopher Lye moved the on-screen demo to a different area of the game, this time featuring a higher level Asura character, to demonstrate some of the higher level content such as the open world dynamic events. The Asura, which are the small and highly magical race, were introduced in the Eye Of The North expansion for the original Guild Wars, however they will be playable in the upcoming sequel. The profession on show was the Guardian, a heavy-armour-wearing spellcaster capable of doing heavy damage to their foes, as well as helping to protect them. It was at the point that Lye pointed out that because the dynamic events happen randomly, each demonstration during the many press sessions had been different each time, so they had no clue which event would occur in the area.
The game loaded up into an area called Sparkfly Fen, a high level coastal area that is always under siege by the undead. The area we were dropped into was under attack by ghost pirates from a ship called the Ash Horizon. As part of a nine event chain, we were shown a small section of the different states the area could be in. With “lots of things to do during the larger scale events,” such as manning catapults to attack the Ash Horizon directly, a progress bar will show players how far through an event is, as well as how well the other players are doing at completing the objectives.
Click here to read more on dynamic events & the first look at the PvP modes!