If you're new to the Might & Magic Heroes series, sorry, but the seventh instalment isn't going to make things easy for you.
Set between Heroes VI and Heroes V (yes, they're in canonical order, just run with it), Heroes VII chronicles the epic power struggle ignited by the Falcon Empress' murder. Ivan Griffin, a noble member of the Griffin Family, steps into the vacuum and gains the support of the other races of Ashan, who advise him from behind the scenes as a Shadow Council. In order to convince the unwilling hero to step up to the plate, the council representatives tell their own stories to convince him that he's the right man for the throne.
Or, in other words, we've got another excuse to partake in some streamlined strategic turn-based battles that resemble Chess and Pokemon in equal measure, with all manner of mythological creatures at our command. Limbic Entertainment clearly don't want to deviate from the formula, but they have been busy ensuring that Heroes VII makes Ashan feel like a living, real place.Click here to read more...
Seeing as the whole team has been playing the pants off Destiny this week, it wont come as a surprise that our features are dominated by Bungie's $500 million title. We have multiple videos, a Strike guide, Matt talks about his journey to Lv.20 and is also prompted to talk about review scores in the wake of Destiny's 'mediocre' scores.
Other videos include looks at Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U and The Masterplan on Early Access. With the FIFA 15 demo landing this week, Matt sees if EA's claim of additional emotion is being backed up. We also take time to examine Notch's decision to sell Minecraft to Microsoft which has been big news this week, especially if you live on Twitter. Rounding up the week, I take a look at next week's release lineup and point you towards the net's cheapest prices and my Sunday Seven has tips on how breeze through Destiny's Strike missions.
After a few quiet weeks in the Reviews department, we have verdicts on no less than seven games this week. Big console titles include Destiny and Hyrule Warriors. There are plenty of smaller titles to check out too including, Murasaki Baby, Fairy Fencer F, Iron Fisticle, Fantasy Life and Heavy Bullets. So folks, enjoy the links below, have a great week and I'll be back soon with coverage from the upcoming EGX expo. Excited!Click here to read more...
I wonder how many postman lost their fingers this week as eager gamers yanked their copy of Destiny through the letter box after waiting for what seems like forever, *again, sorry Pat." It'll come as no surprise then that Bungie's shooter dominates our Features section this week with multiple videos, guides and early impressions chats. You see, there's not much point rushing out a review without playing the hell out of this online-orientated title first, so it'll be ready when it's ready - the way it should be.
Don't worry if Destiny's not your cup of tea, we have plenty more for you to enjoy. Matt's been rooting through the Bayonetta's wardrobe to show off her new outfits in a video for Platinum's sequel on the WiiU. Our previews include early looks at Dragon Ball Xenoverse, The Division, Pillars of Eternity, Act of Aggression and Hearts of Iron IV. Jon's reviewed the new Xbox One FTP space ninja release, Warframe. Finishing up the week I've been through all of next week's releases in my weekly guide, complete with the best pre-order prices. My Sunday Seven feature this week focuses on the best under the radar releases coming in the next few months before Christmas.Click here to read more...
Some say that Real Time Strategy is a dying genre, but Eugen Systems are having none of it. After shifting a million copies of Wargame, the passionate PC studio plans to bring the RTS back to its roots.
Act Of Aggression may be the spiritual successor to 2005's Act Of War, but judging by what Eugen co-founder Alexis Le Dressay showed me at Gamescom 2014, it's also set to be a spiritual revival of the classic fast-paced, over-the-top and brutal RTS action we once adored in the Command & Conquer days.
Set in the 2020s, Act Of Aggression sees three factions fighting over real-world locations in the strategic equivalent of a Clancy-esque techno thriller. The US' conventional military might faces off against the shadowy Cartel: a high-tech criminal syndicate who tacitly fund a vast number of PMCs, bringing sleek and futuristic tech to the table. Like the Brotherhood of NOD, perhaps, only eschewing religion for big business and bigger tanks. Finally, the United Nations rely on the Chimera; a hardbitten Private Military contractor empowered to act on their behalf.
The stage is set for epic showdowns on asymmetrical maps, with the time-honoured gameplay pillars of resource collection, base-building, tech trees and high-octane combat between dozens of powerful units and aircraft. However, despite its old-school pretensions, Act Of Aggression is loaded with cutting-edge new features that make real strategy the key to victory.Click here to read more...
The last time we left our heroes, they'd emerged from a vicious street fight and secured a new base of operations. The Division's first gameplay trailer gave us a look at how players will cooperate to take back New York from the deranged survivors of a chemical attack; using both gunplay, strategy and RPG-esque skills to outmanoeuvre and outsmart their foes.
It's all right here in this E3 video. Watch it, else nothing that follows will seem wondrous. Or make any sense.
Ubisoft brought the next chapter to Gamescom 2014, or perhaps more accurately, the prequel. After showing us the daytime section again, running on Xbox One and iPad, they whisked us off to a new section of the game set during the previous night. Manhattan feels like a totally different place after sundown, an eerie and haunting environment that feels preternaturally wrong as you carefully pick your way through the ruined streets. A once bustling city now silent and deserted, save for the packs of hard-edged operators stalking through the rubble.
However, the day/night cycle is more than just a stylistic choice. New threats come out to play once the sun sets, and you'll need to work together in order to survive until dawn.Click here to read more...
As much as I enjoy Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball (and Naruto) games, they've been missing a trick. By rigidly following the series story arcs and religiously focusing on the characters, they've never given us the chance to see how we'd fit into their universes. They've got all these cool powers, abilities, weapons and skills, yet we're rarely able to create our own avatar and really become a part of their world.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse is finally going to change all that. Now we're the star of the show.
Dimps have been teasing a mysterious new character for weeks, and finally revealed their identity at Gamescom 2014. The new hero is us, a fully customisable new chararacter who we can design to our specifications. We can choose our race, appearance, power set and skills, then travel back in time to intervene in key story moments with and against legendary series staples. Then spend our downtime strolling around a future city and interacting with other players much like a Monster Hunter hub town... before seeing what the Scouter says about their power level.Click here to read more...
I have a confession to make. Despite being Dealspwn's Grand Strategy Guy, the reviewer who always dives headfirst into the likes of Crusader Kings II, March Of The Eagles, Sengoku and loving every single beardy minute of them, I've never been able to get into Hearts Of Iron. There's just too much tedious micromanagement for me to handle in Paradox' World War-themed series, and I'm not alone.
Paradox Development Studio freely admit it, and they're trying to make the experience more engaging for us filthy fence sitters without killing the depth; cutting out the fiddly fluff to focus on the big bloody picture. While also addressing some of the fan feedback from Hearts Of Iron III. From what I saw at Gamescom 2014, as the lead designer showed me around the latest production build, it looks like they're on the right track... by turning boring micromanagement into awesome accessible historically-flavoured micromanagement.Click here to read more...
This has been a belter of a week for previews. We have early looks at some of the hottest titles of the future including Batman: Arkham Knight, Project Cars, Far Cry 4, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Magicka 2. Ever-keen to shove a microphone into faces we have interviews for the likes of Project Cars and Epic Games, the team behind the ever-popular Unreal Engine. Other video features include looks at Bayonetta 2, Project Cars, GoD Factory: Wingmen and Velocity 2X. Article pieces provide a beginner's guide to Adventure Mode in Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, take a look at the label of 'Gamer', ask if the new 3DS is going too far and we take a look at the release schedule for the week ahead. Apparently the dudes that used to make Halo are releasing some shooter next week. May be worth checking out.
We've been binging on reviews this week (not at all to clear our desks before Destiny arrives) to bring you verdicts on odd titles like Hatoful boyfriend and Deep Under the Sky. Slightly more normal releases include Runers and GoD Factory: Wingmen. The clear winners with a brace of 9/10 scores though are the excellent Velocity 2x and Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition.Click here to read more...
Magicka was an absolute blast on PC, but its sequel feels right at home on a big screen and a DualShock 4. Preferably accompanied by three pals and an irresponsibly large pizza.
In case you don't know, the original Magicka actively shattered every videogame wizard cliché in the book, apart from the floppy robes. As opposed to demure back-line damage dealers, its protagonists were incompetent yet fearsomely powerful screwups who could combine numerous elemental forces into ridiculous situational spells. Think Rincewind, only with Vivi's skillset and an appetite for uninhibited destruction. Loosed into combat against hordes of foes, we'd translate arcane death beams, fireballs, shields, water, life and ice directly into pain.
Often "accidentally" aimed at our comrades, because why not.
It was the perfect opportunity for a hectic, silly and surprisingly deep cooperative experience, and a tradition that Magicka 2 plans to continue. Having played a very early build at Gamescom 2014, I can attest that it's shaping up to be an utter riot that's going to be best enjoyed by a team of friends in the same room. Partly because Paradox have tweaked the experience to work brilliantly on a console, but also because you'll want to be within easy high five/punching distance once the griefing starts.
To put this in perspective: within three minutes I'd set the developer on fire and pushed a fellow correspondent off a cliff with a water jet. Before they teamed up and evaporated me. Friendly fire is best shared with friends, no?Click here to read more...
You probably already know that Far Cry 4 will throw us into a massive Himalayan sandbox full of guns, elephants and deeply flammable
people scenery. Having played the slightly buggy (but admittedly not yet optimised) latest build at Gamescom 2014, I can report that the sandbox is indeed massive, the guns fire bullets and everything really does burn rather nicely.
What you might not know, however, is that we'll also be able to cross into a bizarre spirit dimension where we'll hunt demons with a slow-motion bow and mystical pet tiger.
Let's call it 'Fluffykins.' Or 'Mister Bloodwhiskers.'
Between wrangling elephants, swooping through breathtaking ravines in wingsuits and setting things on fire, our protagonist Ajay Ghale can optionally find time to meditate, whereupon he unlocks the memories of the legendary hero Kalinag. Reliving the fables through his eyes, we'll enter the mythical land of Shangri-La to protect it from a demonic invasion, which completely switches up the pace of the game in the process.Click here to read more...
There are a number of reasons to get a current/new-gen console right now. Destiny is almost here, The Master Chief Collection is just over the horizon, and there is a now a decent backlog of launch titles to pick through. The thing is, as good as all as those games may be I haven’t had the feeling of “OH DEAR GOD I NEED IT RIGHT NOW” like I have done in previous generations. At this year’s Gamescom that all changed, and it’s all down to the hands-on session I had with Arkham Knight.
Actually, I’ll be most specific – it was the Batmobile.
I was given the opportunity to sit down with a small section that take place near the start, as Batman is sent into the ACE Chemicals Plant to rescue some hostages and see who’s up to no good. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t get a sense of how big the city of Gotham is this time around – one of my biggest queries about the game – but I did get to see how the Batmobile can be an asset to the Caped Crusader when face to face with the bad guys. The short of it is that’s incredibly satisfying, but I’m guessing you more want details so let me tell you story all about how Batman & the Batmobile kicked some ass.Click here to read more...
When we head over to Gamescom each year it’s usually the done thing to go and check out all the games. After all, there’s more than a few of them there, and here at Dealspwn we do like our games. However, we were presented with an opportunity to chat with some of the people behind the Unreal Engine 4 – the latest version of Epic Games’ proprietary engine – to discuss how it has been doing in the hands of developers, and in turn learn more about the community-driven Unreal Tournament project. In a day full of presentations to other developers, I was lucky to sit down with Technical Artist Zak Parrish, Lead Programmer James Golding, and Senior Designer of the UT project Jim Brown, to find out more about one of the industry’s leading development tools.
To start off, I had to ask about Epic’s newly opened UK office. Comprising mostly of the team at Pitbull Studio, last month’s announcement was a huge boost to the industry here in the UK. I asked the team what it was like officially bringing them into the Epic family and setting up shop on our shores. “I moved back over here in January to help set up the UK office, and that’s been super exciting to be back in the UK and seeing Epic make a commitment to the UK and embrace all the talent and stuff that’s going on here,” said Golding. “We already have a lot of developers using the engine in the UK and interested, so that makes sense, and we’ve had this relationship with Pitbull for a couple of years now, working super close with those guys and we’ve been treating them like peers, like part of Epic, for a long time, so it feels very natural.”Click here to read more...
Confession time – when it was announced I didn’t give much hope to Shadow of Mordor, despite the cool premise that was being presented to me. “An Assassin’s Creed style game set in an open world Middle Earth? There have been worse ideas,” I thought to myself, but it was the reveal of the Nemesis system that piqued my interest. “If it’s exactly as they’re saying it will be, that could be very interesting” was my response. A game where your villains change every time you play or make a decision? I chalked it down to the overhyping of a system that created the illusion of choice and an elaborate AI army, and went about my business.
But then I went to Gamescom and saw the Nemesis system in action. It’s real folks. It actually works, and it’s going to be the stuff of YouTube gold.
Before we get into it though, here’s a quick round-up of everything else that was shown and told to us during the presentation. The game will take place directly after the third Hobbit film The Battle of Five Armies, filling the gap between the recent films and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. As Sauron’s forces begin their invasion, they wipe out the Rangers of the North protecting Gondor, including Talion – the main character for the game. (Un)luckily for him, a wraith brings him back to life who turns out to be the spirit of Celebrimbor – the Elf king who forged the rings of power that led to this entire mess in the first place. As such, the player will assume control of both Talion and Celebrimbor in a quest for revenge against the Dark Lord’s forces.Click here to read more...
It's Sunday roundup time folks, where you can find the links to all our features and reviews in one handy place. The previews and interviews are flowing thick and fast again with extensive coverage on the likes of Assassin's Creed: Rogue, Project Cars, Quantum Break, Dreamfall Chapters, Shape Up, Act of Aggression, WildStar, Bayonetta 2 and Pillars of Eternity. Feature pieces see Jon taking some time to re-evaluate what we should expect from the Vita going forwards. Matt shows us what's new in Infamous: First Light. There's a new regular feature that takes a look at the new releases in the week ahead. Only a brief summer vacation stopped me playing much Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4 this week, but I managed finish the campaign and record a video of the newly unlocked Adventure mode for you. I also had time to put down some thoughts about being tempted towards an Xbox One despite having a PS4.
This was one of the best weeks we've had in a while as far as review scores go, with everyone picking up a decent number of stars. Check out our verdicts for the likes of Metro Redux, Infamous: First Light, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. See you all next week.Click here to read more...
Quantum Break is still one of the Xbox One's biggest wildcards. Promising to transcend the boundaries between games and television, Remedy's latest creation finally broke gameplay cover at Gamescom, revealing that the creators of Max Payne are still capable of creating a handsome shooter with some nifty slow-motion mechanics.
We had to know more, so naturally I attended the Quantum Break showcase at the first possible opportunity. The lights dimmed. Our guide stepped up to the plate. And Remedy unveiled... an expanded version of the demo we already saw during Microsoft's press conference.
Wonderful, quoth Jonathan sarcastically. However, it's clear that while Quantum Break's gunplay looks rather fun, the time-based puzzling and intriguing transmedia setup are what's really going to set it apart from the crowd. Like Max Payne crossed with Bernard's Watch and Blinx: The Time Sweeper, perhaps.Click here to read more...
I had just spent the last twenty or so minutes watching Dreamfall Chapters Book One: Reborn in action, seeing locations like Europolis brought to life and how the player would interact with the world. As a fan of the series, I was excited. In fact, seeing that the game was so close to a finished state only made me want it sooner. If you haven’t already (and don’t mind a few light spoilers – nothing big, I promise you!) then be sure to check out the gameplay presentation on our YouTube channel. Or watch the embed above. Because convenience.
Once it was over, Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist & Lead Writer Dag Scheve took some time to discuss a number of topics, such as development, the PS4 announcement, and both the good & bad sides of fandom. Before we get going though, a quick confession – I had originally planned for this to be a video interview, but technological failings on my part meant that we would have to do things the hard way. What this means is that I’ve robbed you of yet another glorious moment of Tørnquist & Scheve posing with Toby the Dealspwny. For that, I am deeply sorry.
2013 was a big year for Red Thread Games. The Kickstarter was a success and development even hit its Alpha milestone on time before the year’s end, but to me the most notable part of the year was JourneyCon. With fans from 17 different countries attending the inaugural event, it was quite the achievement for the Norwegian developers. “It happened!” exclaimed Dag, when I asked how successful they had felt it had been. “We sold out, yeah,” Ragnar began. “That was our prime goal, I think! That and that it was a good event, and it was fun. It was amazing [to learn] where people came from. There was one guy from Oregon [in the US], there was people traveling from all over Europe, there was one guy from New York! People just came in from across the world, and that was great.” Despite this, Ragnar admitted that it was a draining experience “not because of the fans, but because the amount of work it was.” With Book One emerging in the very near future, it’s no wonder he confirmed there wouldn’t be one this year, was hopeful that they would do it again in the future.Click here to read more...
With the recent news that Dreamfall Chapter would be going episodic, and being told that the first part would be with us sooner than the original November date, many fans were eager to see how the project was coming along. There have been a few walkthroughs this year at events, but at Gamescom I was invited to check out a few select scenes from Book One: Reborn. Creative Director Ragnar Tørnquist & Lead Writer Dag Scheve guided me through the developer walkthrough, highlighting the puzzles, exploration, & decision making players will have in the game.
Obviously, there are some light spoilers involved in watching this (although nothing story ruining - I was asked to stop filming at those points!) but if you're curious as to how the game will play, or just want to see Europolis in all its glory, then this video is a must see. Stay tuned to the site later today for our exclusive interview with Ragnar & Dag!
Funded by Kickstarter, assisted by real drivers and powered by impressive cutting-edge graphical tech, Project CARS is set to become an automotive tour de force. After trying out the latest build at 4K resolution and on the Oculus Rift, I caught up with lead producer Pete Morrish for a chat about the new title and what sets it apart from other racers.
Eugen Systems are going back to their roots with their next RTS. Act Of Aggression will serve as a spiritual successor to Act of War, playing much like a classic strategy game of base-building, resource collection and massed conflict with new features and automation. I caught up with Eugen Systems co-founder Alexis Le Dressay for the latest at Gamescom 2014.
Being a Templar has its perks.
Sure, the Assassins have a noble cause to fight for and a trillion useless collectibles in the vault, but a life on the run wasn't enough for Shay Patrick Cormac. Thankfully the Templars are equal opportunities employers, meaning that even former enemies get immediate access to the latest military technology (including psychotropic drugs and air rifles) subversive experimental gear and insanely generous expense accounts... on the proviso that they agree to track down and murder all their former associates.
And hang out with Haytham Kenway -- who we've already identified as the coolest character in the entire series bar none -- as a bonus. Frankly you'd be mad not to.
Assassin's Creed Unity may be jumping time periods and console generations this Christmas, but for those who haven't yet invested in a PS4, Xbox One or gaming rig, there's still some unfinished business to take care of.Click here to read more...