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Gamescom 2012

Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition | Wii U Hands-on Preview

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition, Gamescom 2012, Hands-On Preview, Rocksteady Studios, Wii U games

Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition | Wii U Hands-on Preview

Platforms: Wii U

Developer: Rocksteady

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive

Wii U versions of core multiplatform titles are going to play a big part in the console’s future. Nintendo wants to compete directly with Microsoft and Sony this time rather than settle for a casual market. The Wii versions of regular titles always felt like poor ports, so what better way to convince gamers you’re serious this time around than starting with one of last year’s biggest action titles, Arkham City.

Our hands-on demo begins during the Ra’s Al Ghul section of the game where Batman has been poisoned and he’s tracking down a ninja to try to find the antidote. This session served the purpose of showing us a broad selection of the unique Wii U features.

Batman Arkham City: Armoured Edition | Wii U Hands-on Preview

This new take on the game has allowed Rocksteady to add elements that they may have regretted not including in the original. For example, those of you who wanted to detonate explosive gel traps individually rather than simultaneously are now free to do so. Batman sets them the same way, but now you use the Wii U Game Pad to survey the scene in Detective Mode and then tap the specific gel trap on-screen that you would like to detonate. This allows you to manipulate groups of enemies with much more precision. One explosion will take out one guard while the others run away, hopefully right towards one of your other traps. It’s one of the more satisfying elements to take advantage of the Game Pad and the precise inputs via the screen mean you’ll always select the right one and at exactly the time you want.

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The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Preview | Console Crime

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Focus Home Interactive, Frogwares, Game previews, Gamescom 2012, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Preview | Console Crime

Formats: PS3 | 360 | PC

Developer: Frogwares

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Frogwares have been providing Sherlock Holmes titles for years now on the PC with only Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack the Ripper making its way to a console. But keyboard-loathing point and click adventure fans will be pleased to hear that the latest case to crack will be tri-platform, coming to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. The developers and publishers are keen to expand the Sherlock Holmes brand and bringing their games out on all three platforms, specifically the consoles, is key to that goal.

Influenced by the movies from the 60s rather than the ridiculous Guy Ritchie eyesores, the experience will be a traditional one, instead of something that’ll have Arthur Conan Doyle spinning in his grave. For the first time in the series, we’ll be seeing a very dark side of Sherlock Holmes. The trailer even goes as far as to make him look like a murderer so we’re intrigued to see how events will play out. During the course of the game, we’ll be playing as both Holmes and Watson. Our money’s on Holmes being a bit murdery on the side. Look at his evil face! He totally did it.

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Preview | Console Crime

The control format will be the familiar point and click style on the PC, but the console experience has been specifically designed to allow full analogue movement control in both regular and first-person viewpoints. This will remove that stiff feeling that these games often provide on consoles. The camera will also be controllable, showing off the fully 3D environments.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Hands-On Preview | Multiplayer Mutons

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
2K Games, Firaxis Games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Strategy games, Turn-based strategy games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Hands-On Preview | Multiplayer Mutons

Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (version tested)

Developers: Firaxis Games

Publishers: 2K Games

I'm playing a game with the phrase XCOM in the title and there's an Xbox 360 controller in my hands. That's not right. Strategy games don't work on consoles, at least not with any particular amount of depth. The phrase 'console strategy game' is something of an oxymoron, surely?

Well it rather depends in what context one is using the term 'strategy game'. For starters, turn-based strategy has been doing absolutely fine on platforms other than the PC, thankyouverymuch, and we've come a long way since UFO: Enemy Unknown back in 1994. That it's been nearly two decades since the original PC classic is absolutely crucial. This is not a remake, that cannot be stressed enough. The original is available on Steam right now, and it's still very much a cracking game - but it's also most definitely a game of its time. Firaxis, then, have eschewed the straightforward remake, instead breaking the structure of the game down into component parts, polishing them up, throwing away or upgrading bits that have perhaps rusted over time, and reassembled those integral elements to create what's looking to be an astounding homage.XCOM: Enemy Unknown Hands-On Preview | Multiplayer Mutons

Yet, although the game trades undeniably on nostalgia, with plenty for old school fans to revel in, Firaxis are fully aware that those die-hard fans are not enough. A game like this needs a bigger audience, and who would begrudge a studio with such a fine history in this genre the opportunity to put their game in front of as many people as possible. For that, as Lead Producer Garth DeAngelis explains, the studio needed to look towards console. Why can't there be a triple-A TBS game on consoles these days?

"UFO Defense was more of a classic PC title than anything else," DeAngelis told Dealspwn at Gamescom, "but we sat down at the beginning of the project and said 'We want to make the best game possible regardless of platform, and basically we love this franchise so much that we want as many people playing this game as possible too'. That means we can't just release it on PC. There are millions of gamers who we feel are waiting for something special on console, for a breath of fresh air unlike anything they've played on those systems before.

"There are a lot of shooters and action titles on the market, and we take certain cinematic elements from those games, like the over-the-shoulder viewpoint, and the cameras sweeping down onto the battlefield, but the depth in terms of gameplay, we wanted more than just super-hardcore PC fans to play that. It's a very deep game, it's a big game, and we think that there's an audience for a game of this magnitude. We looked at games like Skyrim and Dead Souls, and these are games that have sold really well on consoles, and we think we can provide another large experience to that demographic. So we approached it holistically, not just on mouse and keyboard, and split up the team, and the UI guys did a fantastic job of mapping the controls to the gamepad, and it feels natural whatever you're playing it on."

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown Interview | Garth DeAngelis On Reimagining A Classic

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
2K Games, Firaxis Games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Interviews, Strategy games, Turn-based strategy games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Interview | Garth DeAngelis On Reimagining A Classic

Having gone hands-on with XCOM: Enemy Unknown beforehand, we sat down with Garth DeAngelis a few weeks back to talk about the upcoming turn-based strategy title from Firaxis, and chatted about how you combine reimagining a hardcore PC classic into a modern-day titles suitable for all-comers.

Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): What did it mean to Firaxis to take on a series with such a rich heritage?

Garth DeAngelis (Lead Producer, XCOM: Enemy Unknown): I's almost like an aligning of the stars. It really made a lot of sense for this company, with such a deep history in terms of turn-based strategy gaming, to help usher this series into the modern day. I know the company is very excited.

Matt Gardner: Of course, much of the core game has been retained, but there are some elements that have been discarded. How have you gone about deciding which bits should stay, and which should go?

Garth DeAngelis: We have a dartboard in the office, and we put all of the mechanics on there and just threw... [Laughs] I wish I could say that it was a science, but it wasn't really. There were certain gameplay pillars that our design team wanted right from the beginning, they took that original game apart and said “Ok, this is what made UFO Defense so special”. Things like having a high level strategy with research and engineering; we have to have a turn-based combat model with destructible environments, fog of war, permanent death; we need the classic aliens. There was a laundry list of those classic features we had to have. But as we moved through the development process and began prototyping, we began to realise that we wanted to reimagine it rather than remake it, and some of the mechanics lying underneath each of those things have changed.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Interview | Garth DeAngelis On Reimagining A Classic

So game design, game narrative, these are things that have evolved over time, and we felt it was important to incorporate some features that have been pushed to the forefront over the last few years, and perhaps do things that might not have been possible all of those years ago. You can still buy the original game, so making a carbon copy would have been pointless, and why not use the collective knowledge and experience gained in that time to really push for something special?

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Firaxis: "Accessible Doesn't Mean Compromised"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
2K Games, Firaxis Games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Interviews, Strategy games, Turn-based strategy games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Firaxis: "Accessible Doesn't Mean Compromised"

Garth DeAngelis, the lead producer on XCOM: Enemy Unknown, has suggested that accessibility doesn't need to be "a bad word", suggesting that looking to widen the audience for your game and designing a hardcore experience are not two mutually exclusive goals.

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Dust 514 Hands-On Preview | The FPS That Went F2P

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
CCP, Dust 514, EVE Online, FPS games, Free to play, Gamescom 2012, MMOFPS, PS3 games

Dust 514 Hands-On Preview | The FPS That Went F2P

Platform: PS3

Developer: CCP

Publisher: Sony

How do you take on the mighty big guns of Call of Duty or Battlefield? Giving your game away for free isn’t a bad place to start. We’ve seen the free-to-play market really boom this year, a trend further enforced by the large presence of many free-to-play titles at this years’ Gamescom Expo in Germany.

To be honest though, those hungering for ‘proper’ games haven’t had anything to match the core experience offered by bigger premium games. CCP would like to change that attitude though with their new PS3 title, Dust 514, an MMO first-person shooter.

They’re not just breaking the rules with their pricing though; they’re putting PS3 gamers into new territory by forming an alliance with PC players. Dust 514 belongs to the game universe of EVE Online, a very different experience featuring orbital spaceships far above the planets in space. EVE Online is huge too. It’s set in the galaxy of Eden with seven thousand solar systems and fifty-sixty thousand planets.

Dust 514 Hands-On Preview | The FPS That Went F2P

Admittedly, not much of that scale has an impact on the PS3 game, as the warzone planets for the console experience require more than a randomly named ball in space on a map. With a parent game boasting such big numbers though, we’re hoping at least for varied looking environments to battle in.

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Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Preview | Drag Me To Hell

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
FPS games, Gamescom 2012, Nordic Games, Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, The Farm 51

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Preview | Drag Me To Hell

Platforms: PC | Xbox 360 | PS3

Developer: The Farm 51

Publisher: Nordic Games

Painkiller Hell & Damnation wants to rock it old-school and we’re more than a little up for that in the midst of all the identikit military shooters. Brash and often ridiculous weaponry complimented by simple ‘kill everything’ gameplay is just what the FPS world needs write now. While usually the domain of the PC gamer, the game will be coming to Xbox 360 alongside the PC release, with a PS3 version to follow in 2013.

The game is actually a HD remake of the original Painkiller and the Battle out of Hell expansion pack. Thanks to the polish added by the Unreal Engine 3, the game is looking pretty impressive, although we’re only shown a brief stage in a night time graveyard and the opera house.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Preview | Drag Me To Hell

The aim of the game, for all you newcomers, is to get Daniel to collect 7000 souls for Death. Death isn't too keen on Daniel, seeing as he should have died a thousand times already, so he's going to put you to work even though you're now technically dead after a car crash.

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From Deus Ex To Disney: Warren Spector Reflects On Evolution, E3, and Epic Mickey

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Deus Ex, Disney Interactive, Epic Mickey, Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two, Gamescom 2012, Interviews, Ion Storm, Junction Point Studios, Looking Glass Studios, Musicals, Warren Spector

From Deus Ex To Disney: Warren Spector Reflects On Evolution, E3, and Epic Mickey

My first impression upon meeting Warren Spector for the first time is that he'd make a fantastic uncle: the sort of uncle who'd make you presents rather than buy them, and they'd always be thrilling and unique and fun. When we sit down in the cramped confines of a Gamescom business centre booth late on the Friday afternoon of the show there are no signs of the back-to-back interviews he's been doing for the last two and a half days. He's jovial, animated, and keen to discuss Epic Mickey 2.

"You have to remember that Disney approached me to do this game, and they pitched an idea with three killer pillars that still form the core of Epic Mickey today, one of which was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit comes back," he explains. "And I just thought 'Holy cow!', I mean think about this as a foundation for a story, whatever your medium, whether you're making a movie or writing an opera or a novel or making a video game: Older brother, rejected by his father in favour of the younger brother who steals the life that should have been his. Can you say Biblical? Can you say The Human Story? What better basis for a story can you get?!"

His eyes light up as he says, clearly still excited about the prospect for seeing how players deal with the underlying themes and moral quandaries of his game because, as he puts it himself, it's really all about the gamers themselves.

From Deus Ex To Disney: Warren Spector Reflects On Evolution, E3, and Epic Mickey

"Estranged brothers, separated at birth, have to reunite and form a family again. If I were making a movie, I would say 'Here's how I forge a family, what do you think?'. In a game, what I say is 'How important are friends and family to you?'. Every choice, every decision you make is going to help you answer that question for yourself. Take what you learn back into the real world, my friend! That's what I kind of like about games. The new game is about the possibility of redemption, but it's not 'Everyone is redeemable, don't you agree?', it's 'Do you think everybody is redeemable, or is there evil so profound that it's beyond redemption?'. Is the Mad Doctor legit? Is he really a hero? You have to figure that out, go. You can wrench emotions out of that, and by forcing the player to make those decisions, you can wrench emotions out of them too. No other medium can do that."

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Medal of Honor: Warfighter Hands-On Preview | Bring A Buddy

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Danger Close Games, EA Games, FPS games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Medal Of Honor: Warfighter

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Hands-On Preview | Bring A Buddy

Platforms: PC (tested) | PS3 | Xbox 360

Developers: Danger Close Games

Publishers: EA Games

Medal of Honor: Warfighter looks good. I mean it really looks good. The scalable nature of Frostbite 2 is so on-song that it's retina-meltingly good. Of course, this is on PC, the folks at Danger Close want to show their game off in the best possible light, so the monster rigs are out in force.

The Medal of Honor reboot from 2010 was about two things: authenticity and identification. A real conflict, a current conflict, in terms of the Afghan setting, married to a level of research in depths few studios reach. Interestingly, it was the quieter moments from that game that rang truest. The thought-gathering sections before the gunshots and the death, seemingly outnumbered and with the slimmest chance in hell of victory. But of course that was the point: extraordinary missions for extraordinary soldiers.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Hands-On Preview | Bring A Buddy

The efficacy of such authenticity is somewhat debatable - one assumes that the affecting nature of that game will rather depend on how much leeway you were willing to give it in terms of emotional engagement - but the concept of making war a somewhat more personal experience, of highlighting the things at stake and what those fighting have to lose should they be lost themselves, is one to be applauded.

Of course, Danger Close are keeping the singleplayer element of heir follow up - Warfighter - under incredibly secretive wraps but, having wrested control of the multiplayer back from DICE, they're looking to ensure that the competitive side of the game is as distinct as possible. In short, they're keen to differentiate between this game that that rather large property of their EA stablemates.

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Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Hands-on Preview | It Takes Two, Baby!

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Disney Interactive, Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Junction Point, Warren Spector

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Hands-on Preview | It Takes Two, Baby!

Platforms: PC | PS3 (tested) | Xbox 360 (tested) | Wii

Developers: Junction Point

Publishers: Disney Interactive

Gaming is littered with underappreciated siblings, and battles between brothers and sisters. Luigi will always be overshadowed by his fat, red brother; the Williams sisters are always trying to gain the upper hand over one another, battling it out for favour and victory (in fact most of the Tekken backstory boils down to family troubles); Liquid Snake's driving goal is to prove that he's better than his brother Solid Snake; there's Kasumi and Ayane, Dante and Vergil, Kratos and Hercules, and a good deal more besides.

But one of the greatest stories, a real life story, in fact, is that of Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Rabbit. The tale of Oswald's jealousy - envious of the acclaim and success Mickey claimed instead of him - and the story of his redemption, not to mention Mickey's, all came out win the first game. This second title sees Mickey called back to the Wasteland for another adventure. The world of forgotten characters has found itself beset by earthquakes, and though the residents are rebuilding slowly under the direction of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the mysterious return of a suspiciously friendly Mad Doctor heralds fresh destruction. Now Mickey and Oswald must team up and work together to get to the bottom of The Mad Doctor's transformation and uncover its true meaning.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Hands-on Preview | It Takes Two, Baby!

Of course, the biggest shift with this sequel comes in the form of drop-in/drop-out co-op gameplay. At any point during the game, a friend can fire up a second controller - locally or online - to render some assistance as Oswald. Mickey is one again armed with his trusty paintbrush, able to colour in and thin out various items, objects, and characters in the game; Oswald, however, gets himself a snazzy little remote control that can be used to stun enemies, who may then be painted over to turn marauding baddies into handy allies.

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Oculus Rift Interview | Palmer Lucker and Nate Mitchell Talk Virtual Reality

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Gamescom 2012, interview, Nate Mitchell, Oculus, Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, VR headsets

Oculus Rift Interview | Palmer Lucker and Nate Mitchell Talk Virtual Reality

As you'll no doubt have seen from our big fat Oculus Rift Hands-On Preview, we got to sit down, test out the VR headset, and have a chat with Oculus founder and Rift creator Palmer Luckey, alongside Oculus' VP of Product Nate Mitchell. Here's the interview in full:

Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): So first of all, why the “Rift”? I'm just going to put this out there...that's a badass name!

Palmer Luckey: Well I was just trying to come up with something cool, you know? And I really wanted the name to reflect the idea of breaking into another reality. I just came up with it sitting at a 'Stop' light in my car, and I was just like 'The Rift...' that sounds pretty cool. So I posted it up online when I got home, and said 'Guys, we're making a headset, and it's going to be called The Rift!' and the rest was history.

Matt Gardner: What's the story behind the Rift? How did this project come about?

Palmer Luckey: I've been interested in head mounted displays and stereoscopic 3D displays for some time now, and I'd tried out tons and tons of head mounted displays. I actually have 43 unique units now, including doubles, and none of them are very good. [Laughs.] Well, what I mean by that is that none of them are lightweight or have a great field of view with good head tracking. So, being a tinkerer, I resolved to build my own head mounted display and build it the way I'd want it to be. It took a couple of years, but technology kept marching on and all of a sudden made it possible.

Matt Gardner: So can you sum up the Rift in a sentence? And what differentiates it from those other 43 headsets?

Palmer Luckey: It's an ultra-wide field of view, ultra-low latency, virtual reality headset.

So, most VR headsets have a pretty low field of view. They're like wearing a TV on your head: they're good for movies and TV maybe, but not really for immersing you into a game. The other big thing is that the Rift has really low tracker latency so when you move your head, the image moves in time with your head. It's not like you're moving your head and then the image follows. That's what a lot of other headsets with higher latency are doing: instead of feeling like you're in the game, it just feels like you're controlling the game with your head, and that's not nearly as immersive.

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Assassin's Creed III Preview | Steve Masters Talks Connor, Combat, and Continuity

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed III, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Interviews, Sandbox games, Steve Masters, Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin's Creed III Preview | Steve Masters Talks Connor, Combat, and Continuity

Assassin's Creed III is shaping up rather nicely from what we've seen thus far over the past few months. At Gamescom 2012 we caught up with lead game designer Steve Masters to get some perspective on how AC3 came into being, and what will differentiate the adventures of Connor Kenway from those of Altair and Ezio before him.

Matt Gardner: Ezio Auditore da Firenze was a much loved character. How do you go about replacing such a charismatic central protagonist?

Steve Masters: We didn't want to create the same character again. We wanted someone with a different personality, a different sort of style. Honestly, it was a huge amount of effort between a number of guys – so we had the lead creative director and the story guys injecting personality into the role, and then the concept artists as well developing his look. We've got a Mohawk consultant on board to ensure that the cultural representations in the game are authentic and that we don't do something incorrect in any way. So it's been a collaboration between a number of people, but it's spearheaded by our creative director, Alex Hutchinson, who's basically been responsible for ensuring that Connor has his own personality and his own character.

Matt Gardner: So who is Connor? What is it that differentiates this character from his predecessors, and how (if at all) does that feed into the gameplay?

Steve Masters: He's not as outgoing or flamboyant as Ezio maybe was; he's a little more reserved, he's quite taciturn, and a little bit more unrefined. He's not the product of high society, he's a half Mohawk-half British assassin. So he's an outsider – he's always been on the periphery of the cultures and societies he's been exposed to, so that's reflected in a different personality. But we wanted to take that sense of character and bring it to bear in gameplay terms as well, so he's a little bit rougher, a bit more brutal, and we've redesigned a number of the classic Assassin's Creed core moves and styles in order to reflect that and move the series forwards. Seeing his takedowns for the first time might provoke something of an 'Oh!' moment he can dual-wield now, and killon the move without breaking his flow.

Assassin's Creed III Preview | Steve Masters Talks Connor, Combat, and Continuity

Matt Gardner: Casting our minds back, before the game was officially unveiled, there was a great hubbub of wild theorising over the potential setting for this game. From the Far East to Victorian London to the slave trading in the Caribbean to the Terror of Revolutionary France. Why this setting? Why did you choose the American War of Independence?

Steve Masters: Well the American Revolution for us was a significant moment in time that brought great change to a vast society very quickly. We like to go to those pivotal moments in human history, we're all about times of great change, and the Revolution it starts a series of events that leads to an incredibly dramatic change in the relationship between citizens and their government. So as well as being one of those pivotal moments, we thought that it would be quite relevant to what is going on in the world today, and we thought we could expand the reach of the series with it.

There were some interesting gameplay possibilities too, like bringing in muskets. I mean, they're very basic guns, but their incorporation now allows us to do interesting things with pistols. We had the hidden gun before, but the introduction of flintlocks and some of the crazy weaponry that comes out of this era gave us a rich playground to work in.

There were so many events in this period there were absolutely iconic and full of dramatic potential. So we saw the time period as advantageous in both narrative and gameplay terms, as you can see from the stuff we've been showing.

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Assassin's Creed III Preview | I'm On A Boat!

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Assassin's Creed 3, Assassin's Creed III, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, PC games, PPS3 games, Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal, Wii U games, Xbox 360 games

Assassin's Creed III Preview | I'm On A Boat!

Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 | Wii U

Developers: Ubisoft Montreal

Publishers: Ubisoft

We've always rather put the turning point of the Battle of Chesapeake - one of the most decisive naval battles in the American War of Independence that saw the British General Cornwallis' supply routes cut off - down to the masterful seafaring tactics of the French military, who intervened with devastating precision and rather swung the momentum of the war firmly back towards the Americans. Of course, we know much better now. We know that, really, the determining factor was a half-English, half-Mohawk assassin with a jaunty hat and a hidden affinity for big boats with large guns.

Lead designer Steve Masters suggests that the continental shift over to  the Revolutionary Americas allows for gameplay opportunities that have yet to be explored. Far from just tacking-on a chunk of differentiated gameplay, as seemed often the case in Revolutions, the naval combat is not only an integral part of the history - it's an integral part of of the game, too, allowing Ubisoft to weave Connor's journey in and out of the truly iconic moments from this period.

"We had dramatic urban vistas before, but we get to do that environmentally and shake the gameplay up with that too," Masters told us in Cologne. "So you have these amazing sights from on deck when you're sailing the ocean, engaged in the naval aspects of the game. When you get out into the frontier, it's a completely new environment, and provides the opportunity to do things that we've never done before in this series. To leverage the technology to account for rolling terrain, scalable cliff faces, and the tree-running, I think people are going to have a lot of fun revising their platforming rulebook. It's still intuitive, of course, but we've added in completely new elements to the series with this game, and it's the setting that's really allowed us to do that. The naval battles aren't just a tacked-on part of the game. They were hugely historically significant, and putting Connor on a ship, in the thick of that action, provided yet another opportunity to explore navigation and combat in a fresh and exciting way."

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The Oculus Rift Hands-On Preview | ...Or How I Stepped Into Another World

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Hardware previews, Kickstarter, Nate Mitchell, Oculus, Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, Virtual Reality

The Oculus Rift Hands-On Preview | ...Or How I Stepped Into Another World

There's a moment, stepping back into the maelstrom of the Koelnmesse a mere half an hour after my appointment with Oculus where a fellow journalist turns to me and remarks that I look fairly dazed and confused. He asks if I'm hungover, and I have to reply in the negative. "It's nothing to do with anything alcoholic at all," I tell him. "I've just stepped out of another world, and I don't think I was ready to leave."

That world happened to be a low-res early build of Doom 3: BFG's Mars City. But instead of simply picking up my controller and staring at a screen as normal, I'd taken off my spectacles, strapped a device to my face that looked almost as if it had been created from cereal packets and duck tape, and entered the realm of the Oculus Rift.

It was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most immersive virtual experiences I have ever had in my life.

Palmer Luckey, Oculus founder and designer of the Rift, describes the device as "an ultra-wide field of view, ultra-low latency, virtual reality headset". He's not wrong, either. The current version of the Rift didn't support spectacles, so I had to remove mine, which made the experience a little fuzzy due my exceptionally poor eyesight, but as I was told a number of times, the build of Doom was an early one.

The Oculus Rift Hands-On Preview | ...Or How I Stepped Into Another World

It didn't matter. As soon as the device powered up, I was instantly in another world. The head-tracking, true to description, was absolutely spot on, and during my brief demo there were no signs of latency issues at all. The display itself serves up a resolution of 1280×800, which is then split up via optics to serve each eye individually, meaning that the 3D is totally and completely synchronised. True, the resolution wasn't exactly mindblowing, but the experience had that covered.

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Far Cry 3 Hands-On Preview | Fighting Gunfire With Fire

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Far Cry 3, FPS games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Ubisoft, Ubisoft Montreal

Far Cry 3 Hands-On Preview | Fighting Gunfire With Fire

Platforms: PS3 | 360 | PC (version tested)

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

After sitting through so many presentations at Gamescom, it was a relief to see that I'd actually get to play Far Cry 3. The recent E3 singleplayer stage was available as was a round of multiplayer. I'm eager for something a little different than another military shooter and Far Cry 3's tropical paradise setting is one hell of a place to start. Console gamers missed out on the first game and the dull African setting of the last game left a lot to be desired for many, so expectations are high for Ubisoft's title.

Single Player Demo

The start of the stage began on a cliff-top across from an island. Using the bow, I took out the guard far in the distance. The arrows realistically drop over longer distances, so it took a few attempts as my first shots landed in the water just in front of him.

Far Cry 3 Hands-On Preview | Fighting Gunfire With Fire

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SimCity Hands-On Preview | We Built This City

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
EA Games, Games preview, Gamescom 2012, Maxis, Sim games, SimCity

SimCity Hands-On Preview | We Built This City

Platforms: PC

Developers: Maxis

Publishers: EA Games

Connectivity has been the big buzzword for the past year or two, and it's only going to become more and more prevalent. Since Criterion added a hosted of finely integrated social features into their Burnout series with Autolog, EA (and a number of others too) have been attempting to cram their titles with as much competitive user feedback as possible.

And now it's come to SimCity.

Maxis' focus with this revival has been firmly centred on the expanded field of play - a SimCity community that looks to unfurl a field of play on a truly global stage. The showcase back in spring promised a more connected experience. E3 gave us a full look at the Regions concept that would see players from all over the world building cities in neighbouring environments, and influencing the conditions of those around them with their actions. Finally, at Gamescom, Maxis lifted the lid on a host of fine details, persistent social features, and an impressive foundation for a fully-fledged virtual economy.

SimCity Hands-On Preview | We Built This City

Let's start with the rather familiar wall of notifications and challenges. In this particular game, the feature is titled CityLog, with the player notified any time a friend completes a challenge or finishes up on a large building project or amasses a certain amount of money. In short, every little bit of progress your friends make in the game is tracked and fed back to you so you can make sure you're always just a little bit ahead.

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Put A Capcom Gamescom Video Blowout In Your Faces

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
DMC: Devil May Cry, Gamescom 2012, Lost Planet 3, Remember Me, Resident Evil 6, Videos

Put A Capcom Gamescom Video Blowout In Your Faces

Missed the Capcom presser? Fret not fellow gamers, as the folks over at Capcom Unity have deigned to release videos of the event, showcasing new footage of Resident Evil 6, Lost Planet 3, DmC, and properly unveiling Remember Me.

The vids are after the jump.

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Have A New Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force Trailer

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Gamescom 2012, PS Vita games, PS3 games, Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force, Sony, Trailers, Videos

Sony have finally released their Gamescom trailer for the upcoming CrossPlay title Ratchet & Clank Q-Force.The new video shows off a little gameplay footage and touches upon the story at the heart of the game.

As with all CrossPlay titles,one purchase will mean that you get both PS3 and Vita versions of the game.

Check out Brendan's Gamescom preview here.

ZombiU Hands-On Preview | The Wii U Gets Hardcore

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
FPS games, Games previews, Gamescom 2012, Horror games, Survival Horror Games, Ubisoft Montpellier, Wii U, Zombies, ZombiU

ZombiU Hands-On Preview | The Wii U Gets Hardcore

Platform: Wii U

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier

Publisher: Ubisoft

If ever a console needed a title to appeal to regular gamers rather than small children and fitness-obsessed parents it’s the Wii U. After the relentless shovelware from the original Wii, Nintendo have a lot to prove to get us onboard.

It’s not a great start for Ninty at Gamescom 2012, as they couldn’t even be bothered turning up in first-party form. Thankfully Ubisoft have stepped up -hot off the heels of a hella-strong E3 showing- to get gamers onboard, with Rayman Legends and the much bloodier ZombiU.

ZombiU Hands-On Preview | The Wii U Gets Hardcore

My brief hands-on session made apparent just how much the devs have been inspired by Demons’ Souls. For example, when you die you lose that character permanently and become someone else. If you want to get your gear back, you’ll have to track down your former zombified self and kill them. It’s more than a little similar to the bloodstain system in Demon’s Souls. Hopefully, we won’t have to trek long distances to get back to where we left off as that was a major ball-ache in DS.

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PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom Finale

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Anarchy Reigns, Dishonored, Gamescom 2012, Oculus Rift, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Podcast, Psygnosis, PWNCAST

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom Finale

After a week of horrifying internet in Cologne, struggling to upload pictures let alone podcast episodes, we look back on this year's Gamescom for our season finale. Brendan describes an intricately planned, and utterly botched clean kill in Dishonored, Jon goes weak at the knees for his import copy of Anarchy Reigns, and things get a bit heated when the subject of Playstation All-Stars rears its head. We discuss Black Isle's return, wearily ignore Ubisoft's piracy claims, and lament the passing of SCE Liverpool/Psygnosis.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26, Recorded: August 24th, 2012

Some of the things that get covered this week:

  • Jon tells us all about Anarchy Reigns
  • Brendan gives an early lowdown on Darksiders 2
  • Black Isle - Is the band really getting back together?
  • We shed a tear or two for SCE Liverpool
  • Gamescom 2012 highlights
  • Why PSASBR really isn't a Smash Bros. clone
  • How the Oculus Rift will literally blow your mind
  • Messy seduction in Dishonored
  • The gameplay possibilities in Beyond

...and much, much more.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be quite a few instances of strong language.

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Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom Finale PWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom FinalePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom FinalePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom FinalePWNCAST | Season 1: Episode 26 – A Gamescom Finale

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