When playing a game for the first time at a gaming expo, often with fellow gamers looking over your shoulder, you want it to have that essential pick up and play feel where you can settle into that groove of having a great time and looking like a badass all at once. Gunnihilation is that game.
Playable on PC at Play Blackpool, but using an Xbox One controller, this twin-stick shooter has classic retro visuals paired with vitally responsive controls as you combine shooting with platforming to enormously satisfying effect. It's also playable in co-op, which is even better.
When aiming with the right stick, there's a coloured aiming line (each player has their own colour), which makes life easier when the screen starts to swarm with enemies and their slow-moving weapon fire. This isn't a one hit kill game though and you can take a decent amount of damage before snuffing it and respawning.
There’s something not quite right with The Order: 1886. It’s undeniably gorgeous, a testament to the power under the hood of the PS4, but having played it at expos and press events and watched extra footage, many are struggling to form an attachment to the game. Where there should be a giddy urge to have the game in our lives as soon as possible, which should be a part of any AAA console-exclusive, we find ourselves struggling to gather much enthusiasm for Sony’s first big game of 2015. Given the rather lacklustre gameplay scenes we’ve seen so far, we can’t help but think that Sony has decided on some oddly dull demos to try and hook us journos and gamers in. Are they avoiding spoilers, or does The Order: 1886 just not have that much to show?
As I’ve already mentioned, the graphics aren’t an issue. After seeing what Ready at Dawn was able to do with God of War on the PSP, it’s great to see them unleashed on the PS4. The level of detail in this steampunk take on Victorian London is astonishing and that line between cutscene and gameplay has been obliterated. That said, Uncharted 2 effectively did the same thing back in 2009.
The constant presence of ‘cinematic’ widescreen borders really isn’t working for the game either. Especially as the widescreen ratio is a relic of cinema film exhibition. Seeing as most movie content is consumed at home nowadays, it’s something the movie industry should be moving away from to accommodate the different aspect ratios of cinema screens and TVs. So to see a game attempt such an act isn’t fooling anyone.Click here to read more...
Today’s session sees our detective leading man making his way through a sinister mansion full of strange noises, tortured sobbing, wet ripping sounds and a host of nasties sporting dead-eyed barbwire couture. Forget any concerns about the ‘haunted mansion’ cliché, this is the sort of nasty setting we’ve missed in recent years. And don’t forget, this is just one stage of Shinji Mikami’s blood-soaked love letter to the genre he helped to define.
It’s also the first decent taste of horror on new-gen hardware and it suitably impresses on the graphical front from the start. It’s the shadows that really put you on edge though. Be it the flickering shards emitted by your gas lamp as you edge down a dim corridor, the light behind a sheet betraying the twitching silhouette or the gradual pouring of light into a dark room as you slowly creak open a door into the unknown.
Enemies are often first spotted via their shadow as they stagger around a room in a daze before the smell of your flesh sends them into a frenzy. The crazed residents certainly have an undead look to them, but they aren’t your usual shufflers, instead they’ll dash at you, bringing up memories of everything from 28 Days Later to Siren: Blood Curse. Why they’re often wrapped in barbwire is the sort of question we’re not sure we’re ready to answer.
Some will attack with gaping maws and scratching paws, but others carry knives or even shotguns. Headshots are often the best tactic, although blasting half a skull apart isn’t always guaranteed to stop them. Wilier enemies wear bullet-proof masks, so you’ll either have to shoot them in the back of the head or give them a belly full of lead. Because life needs to be tougher for Sebastian, some enemies reanimate and come back at you, either straight away or the next time you come back to the area. He can burn a corpse to put them down for good if he has any matches, but just like bullets and health packs, they’re in short supply.Click here to read more...
Even as a resolute console gamer, I couldn’t wait to get my face into an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Even with the recent Project Morpheus announcement for the PS4, I was keen to see how the one that got the ball truly rolling for VR again handled.
Was Oculus Rift set to become the future of gaming? Well to look forwards, I needed to look back. More specifically, I visited the Play Blackpool expo, an event that focuses on retro consoles and arcade cabinets. So rather appropriately, I was able to try out one of the earliest attempts at VR in the Nintendo Virtual Boy and Mario Tennis. Who was I kidding though; the main reason I had for attending was for a little glimpse of the future by being able to get my head into an Oculus Rift.
So when FortressCraft Evolved, another take on the often-copied Minecraft formula was one of the two games available at Play Blackpool, I have to admit I was a little deflated while waiting in the queue, and a bit more so when I discovered that the demo was an on-rails flythrough, with just head-tracking allowed.
Then I tried it.Click here to read more...
If you read my hands-on preview of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 a few weeks ago you may be interested to take a look at my new hands-on preview video of the game. Taking place at what may turn out to be the first stage of the game, you'll see a variety of new weapons in action such as the Void Sword and the Cestus Claws. And you see Gabriel rip a knight into what can only be described as a red splash. It's messy.
With only Ryse on the horizon, this is one of our most eagerly-awaited hack n' slash titles. Kratos better come out of retirement soon if he doesn't want to lose his title.Click here to see the video.
Developers: Square Enix
Publishers: Square Enix
Despite the recent Tokyo Game Show giving players a chance to explore an open world portion of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, visitors to the Eurogamer Expo were stuck indoors in a strictly linear series of combat tutorials. With the combat system being my biggest grievance with the FFXIII series though, this is exactly what I wanted.
So after a cutscene that made little sense without the relevant context, I’m thrown straight into a tutorial. Given that Lightning Returns is making bold steps to move away from the ‘bash X to win’ mentality that has plagued 90% of the battles in the last two games I was certainly keen to get stuck into the lesson.
Lightning fights alone in this game, so forget the notion of parties. Stop! Come back, long-suffering Final Fantasy fan. To give combat the depth of a team you have various Schemata outfits to choose from. If you think of the interchangeable dress-spheres from the divisive FFX-2 on the PS2, you’ll find the concept easy to follow.
Lightning is now able to freely move around the battlefield unleashing attacks and spells without menus. Instead, four abilities are assigned to the controller’s face buttons. Each of these abilities consumes varying amounts of the ATB (Active Time Battle) gauge. Usually, the stronger they are, the more they’ll take.Click here to read more...
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Guerrilla Games know they’re up against it when competing for our time in the busy arena of FPS multiplayer games. How do you encourage gamers to give you a fair shot when Call of Duty and Battlefield are so dominant? How about unlocking all the core features from the start?
All weapons and class abilities will be available without the usual grinding; enabling you to try everything and discover what combination works best for you. This is a great idea and allows for a more even playing field for newcomers against players that have been living in the servers since launch day.
The XP system has been overhauled to reward skill rather than time committed to the game. This involves ticking off a series of over 1500 challenges like using specific weapons for kill milestones, headshot goals and so on. The rewards will come in the form of weapon attachments like extra scopes or secondary ammo, incendiary or buckshot for your shotgun for example.
There’s a big focus on Warzone modes created by the community this time. These editable modes allow players to choose specific settings for matches. For example, you can limit the number of respawns, number of players, how long the spawn waves are, toggle friendly fire, allow or ban cloaking or even choose which weapons will be available. The way players are ranked on the scoreboard can be tweaked too. So if you’ve set up a sniper match you can make sure that headshot kills are given top billing.Click here to read more...
There are a lot of racing games on their way, perhaps too many for those of us planning to splash out on a next-gen console soon. So which of them are shaping up to be worthy of your attention? I endured the queues and hardware crashes of the Eurogamer Expo to tear around various racetracks to bring you my impressions of five of the most anticipated racers of the future on both existing and next generation platforms.
After passing the real-life McLaren P1 -Forza 5’s flagship car- numerous times over the course of the Eurogamer Expo, I eventually gave in an joined the queue to see how it handled in the game, as chance are I wasn’t getting my hands on the real thing anytime soon.
It was worth the wait. As a late convert to the Forza series after Forza 4 ended up beating Gran Turismo 5 to the checkered flag by a few cars’ lengths, I was always keen to see what lied ahead.Click here to see what else the future holds for racing games.
Formats: PS Vita (tested) | 3DS
Developer: Armature Studio
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Past industry form indicates that you'd be forgiven for dismissing the presence of a handheld game when it has a bigger and shinier counterpart on your main console. So often we’ve seen them stumble into our hands as shabby ports or overly simplistic, barely related tie-in fodder. Armature Studio is here to change things with their new Vita game. From what I've played, it truly deserves a place on your shopping list if you've enjoyed the last two Rocksteady games and are planning on picking up Origins on October 25th.
This game will follow on from the events of the console game Arkham Origins, rather than rehash the same story. The Blackgate in the title refers to the prison where the majority of the game will be set. Home to the non-insane criminals of Gotham -although a few are clearly borderline- various well-known villains ‘run’ different parts of the prison. So expect to take on some infamous faces to get the jail back in order. The story is delivered via motion comics, which I suppose is reasonable given the source material, but there’s no getting around they’ll always feel and look like the cheap option.
But there the grumbling ends, let’s talk gameplay. The action unfolds in 2.5D. The environments are designed to appear 3D, but your movements are essentially locked to a 2D plane, so left and right along with a bit of vertical exploration too. Occasional use of the grappling hook also propels you into the foreground or pulls you deeper into the screen. Sometimes you may appear to be on a 3D surface whilst being attacked by thugs from all angles, but you only have to aim your attacks to the left and the right.Click here to read more...
First things first. This hands-on report will be spoiler-free regarding the first game. I'm currently playing that one through (I know, I'm late) and several previews for the new game have blown the first game’s ending. I don't want to do the same if you're yet to play Lords of Shadow. So read this, then get on it, you don't want to get left behind again.
The word on the wire is that this concluding part of the Lords of Shadow saga is going to be a more open world affair. That's not on display here though as this is more of an introduction. Don’t worry; it’s much more exciting than it sounds. There's a massive, Holy Transformer thing for starters! But more on that later.
The original game is one of the best-looking games of the generation. Seriously, go borrow a copy and see. Packed with gorgeous scenery and pin-sharp images, it truly shames the genre’s competition with only the God of War games being able to stand up to it. Much of this was possible thanks to the fixed camera angle, as it allowed the developers to really focus on detail for set scenes rather than create fully-viewable environments accessible via a player-controlled camera.
This did make the odd fight awkward though as you could disappear behind large bits of scenery or more likely behind the massive troll beasts trying to squeeze the Holy Spirit from your guts. Not being able to move the camera also made exploration difficult, especially if a side-route was off-camera.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 (previewed) | Xbox 360
Developers: Digital Extremes
Publishers: Namco Bandai
The Senior Vice President of Paramount Pictures, Brian Miller, took to a stage assembled on the lofty upper floor of London's Science Museum earlier this week to pay tribute a number of games - Mass Effect, Halo to name but two - without which, he said, the upcoming Star Trek game might never have been possible. "They showed us that there was a market for this sort of thing," he said, having declared that Digital Extremes and Paramount Pictures were readying a film tie-in "unlike anything that's ever been done before".
His inference was clear: film games tend to be crap. He's right, of course, cinematic IPs often end up spilling out into other other forms of media around release as part of generating hype and cashing in on a franchise's popularity. Licences are dished out with less than twelve months to go before general release, and corners are cut as dev teams scramble to fashion something (anything!) worthwhile.
But not in this case. Digital Extremes have been beavering away, with assistance from Paramount themselves, for three years on this game. The story has been penned by BAFTA award-winning scribe Marianne Krawczyk in conjunction with the film's writers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci and, as Miller noted, this game sits canonically in between the events of 2009's film and the sequel coming this summer.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Wii U
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.
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.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 | Vita (tested on both formats)
Developer: Superbot Entertainment
Four player brawlers are something of a rarity these days, especially if your dusty Nintendo consoles have been boxed up for a while. Skirting around the much-mentioned copycat nature of the game, what we have here is an impressive collection of PlayStation’s most iconic first-party characters (and Fat Princess) plus a select few third-party heroes kicking the pixelated hell out of each other.
As well as brawling, the game is also something of a platformer as the game is set in 2D levels with players able to leap around platforms and sometimes even bounce off the walls or fall into traps below.
The stages are set in a pleasing variety of familiar locations that PlayStation-generation gamers will get a real nostalgic kick from. Jak & Daxter’s Sandover Village, the dojo from Parappa the Rapper, Metropolis from Ratchet & Clank amongst others are just a taste of the arenas you can look forward to. These stages will feature cross-over or “mash-up” elements from other games too. While the creatures from Patapon might be dancing in the background, you should be more concerned with the large figure of Hades from God of War III, who attacks the stage at will. Carmelita Fox from the Sly series makes appearances with her stun gun while even Buzz gets in on the action in the LittleBigPlanet stage, by asking a question and electrifying the platforms below the wrong answer. The LBP stage will also randomly assemble itself as you play, as if you’re fighting inside the level editor. The plane level of Uncharted 3 is reimagined in 2D with a surprise appearance from the Songbird of Bioshock: Infinite and Ratchet’s Metropolis level is suddenly invaded by the Hydra from God of War.Click here to read more...
Developer: Gazillion Entertainment
The tagline that the Gazillion Studios team, would like us to take on board for Marvel Heroes is: “Marvel meets Diablo on Steroids.” Considered the President of the company is one David Brevik, co-founder of Blizzard North and creator of Diablo and Diablo II, we’re inclined to take notice.
This upcoming action MMORPG would be a tempting enough prospect for fans of the genre and the world’s most iconic name in comics. Consider this though: the game will be free-to-play. Sure there will be optional micro-transactions, but you’ll be able to play all the way through the game without spending a dime. “We’re aiming to create the highest quality free-to-play game ever made,” ambitious, but there’s no denying the potential.
Brevik displays an infectious enthusiasm for the game: “I specifically sought this project out; it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. The heroes and their powers fit really well into a Diablo-style game. Not only that, but there are things that these heroes can do that have never been done in an action role playing game.”Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox 360 (version tested) | PS3 | PC
Developers: Arkane Studios
Publishers: Bethesda Softworks
Chances are, you’ve probably heard about Dishonored being a game keen to emphasise the vast amount of choice when approaching an assassination mission. Rather than trying to muscle in on Assassin’s Creed’s turf, the game is a first person title.
The game world is a strange mix of Victorian architecture and steampunk mechanics. Narrow foggy streets are patrolled by police on mechanical stilts. There are regular policeman too, although they’ve got something of a WWI German feel about them thanks to single-spike helmets and over-enthusiastic moustaches.
The task at hand was assassinating the female host at a masquerade party in a nearby mansion. Powers that I had at my disposal today included a psi-push, invisibility, possession, slowing down time, seeing through walls and naturally, unleashing a swarm of rats to devour enemies. Weapons include a crossbow with regular, tranquiliser and explosive rounds, pistols, sticky grenades, mines and long knife. The dual wielding of weapons and abilities will be familiar to players of Bioshock 2.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 (version tested) | Vita
Developers: Insomniac Games
You might be wondering where Insomniac Games have been since announcing their multi-platform title, Overstrike. Well, since then this is their second Ratchet & Clank title, it would seem they’re not quite ready to move out of mama Sony’s house quite yet.
In recent years we’ve had the awesome Crack in Time and last year saw the enjoyable inclusion of multiplayer to the series with All 4 One. Today’s demo was single player but there will be online and splitscreen co-op options for two players. This could work very well as the action was a little dumbed down for All 4 One to allow four players to share a single screen. It was fun, but not quite the full co-op experience long-time fans craved.
Much has been made of the new game’s tower defence mechanics that are a first for the series. Don’t worry; the game hasn’t turned into a top-down facebook game. It’s still the lush-looking planet hopping adventure that the series always delivers. Regular platforming and shooting sections nestle in between the new tower defence challenges.
Click here to read more...
Less than a month to go now before the PS Vita arrives and we can’t wait. There’s a fantastic number of titles available around the launch and we’ve been everywhere from LA and E3, Germany and Gamescom, and more recently London and Manchester to try them out. So take a few minutes to look through our guide to see what you fancy picking up.
Developer: Evolution Studios
Anything that reminds us of Micro Machines or Mashed is always going to get our attention so this looks ace already. This simple top-down racer is a much more casual affair than the other MotorStorm games, favouring quick thrills over gruelling punishment. There are plenty of modes to choose from in addition to races. Some events task you with overtaking as many opponents as you can before time runs out. The most addictive game so far has to be the lapped time trials where you chase trailing arrow ghosts around the track trying to beat a medal time. After that you’ll want to beat your friends’ arrows and then the rest of the world. The devs told me they lost “weeks of development time” competing amongst each other at the office, and we can see why. The game will be released for the PS3 and Vita as a single download, allowing play at home and on the go, all for a “competitive” price. Click here to read Matt’s interview with producer, David Bramhall.
MotorStorm RC might initially frustrate a few series stalwarts. The controls are a little fiddly and may take some getting used to, but for anyone bred and raised upon a feast of quirky 90s top-down arcade racers, this will be a nostalgia trip of pure joy. The game looks gorgeous on both machines, there's plenty of fan service packed in there from Evolution and, fired up four ways on a PS3, we can see this being a straightforward party hit. - MattClick here to read more...
With the Vita on a seemingly unstoppable display of going from strength to strength, it was almost unsurprising to see a complex title like Little Big Planet appear so at home so soon on the new handheld.
During our hands-on time, we were able to try out a few levels that showed off how the Vita's extra features would be uniquely utilised during gameplay. We also got to see a demonstration of the create mode too and we're now convinced it has the potential to be more user-friendly than the PS3 versions.
First up, our hands-on experience. Traditional left-to-right platforming levels heavily involve the Vita’s extra features. You can move blocks for Sackboy by dragging your finger around the screen, wheels can be turned by touch and catapults are activated by pulling the base back with your finger and releasing. An indented wavy piano keyboard needs to have its sunken keys pushed out again by using the rear touchscreen pad and hitting the right keys will open a door.
While LBP2's platforming levels were very familiar, the create mode opened up the more obscure minigames, encouraging creativity. We're glad to see that creativity injected into the traditional levels now too thanks to the Vita's control input advantages over a PS3 pad.Click here to read more...
This is one the first action beat em' up titles we've seen on the PS Vita and from this hands-on demo it's fair to say that it's one of the most visually appealing Vita games yet. Despite the demo being in English, there’s not much we can gleam about the story. There’s a mystical cat in a quaint town square, then monsters attack.
The aesthetic style is a hybrid of comic-book visuals and anime cell-shading. Storyboards illustrate some plot elements and you can move the Vita around to peak around the frames, providing a rather pleasing semi-3D effect. The gameplay seems to have been influenced by a wide range of sources as gamers will be able to spot elements of Bayonetta in the combat and the Spider-Man games in the way you utilise walls as traversable surfaces.Click here to read more...
This was familiar turf for players of the recent multiplayer beta, with some local matches over a LAN connection bringing Manchester PlayStation Access attendees together before encouraging them to pull each other off ledges.
Uncharted 2 surprised everyone by making a fine first effort with the multiplayer and U3 looks set to surpass it easily with its dosage of cinematic sequences and power plays where a team is given a temporary stat boost. Today we played around on a few maps new maps with team deathmatches being the game of choice. One map was set in a desert village, similar to that seen in the recent single-player footage. There were lots of close alleys with corners and walls to hide behind, making for a fast-paced match where itchy trigger fingers and sharp melee skills proved most lethal. The climbing was brilliant here too as it can be used to perform grab kills to pull opponents over a ledge. It’s uber-slick and will probably cost us many lives in the pursuit of enjoyment over a decent kill/death ratio, as it does leave you vulnerable to being swatting off the wall in a hail of gunfire.Click here to read more...