Developer: Kojima Productions
"Kept you waiting, huh?"
As soon as Snake opens his mouth and Kiefer Sutherland's soft voice growls out, it's clear that nothing will ever be the same again. Metal Gear Solid V is the biggest shakeup the series has ever received, a complete mechanical overhaul that brings the classic stealth gameplay into a new console generation, keeping the depth intact but making both stealth and action infinitely more intuitive. Everything has changed, from regenerating health to slick gunplay, but in the main it's a change for the good.
However, this ain't Metal Gear Solid V. Neither full game nor free demo, Ground Zeroes is a gaming oddity; a bridging point that acts as a graphical showcase, ephemeral tutorial, versatile replayable sandbox and shameless cliffhanger designed to whip the fanbase into a frenzy before The Phantom Pain's rumoured 2015 release. As such, what will delight some will deeply disappoint others, leaving its value very difficult to pin down.
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Developer: Kojima Productions
Ground Zeroes is a curious little thing. Neither full game nor free demo, Kojima's attempt to bridge the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and the upcoming Phantom Pain acts as both a FOX Engine showcase, a playable tutorial for Snake's massively overhauled gameplay and a shameless story teaser that sets up one heck of a cliffhanger. With concerns about its length, value and Jack Bauer making headlines, I approached my first hands-on session with a degree of trepidation.
Over more than five hours of contact time, however, I gradually came to realise that Ground Zeroes is more than the sum of its parts. Crucially it's a sandbox; a freeform playground designed to ease players into the new Metal Gear Solid experience by letting us experiment with the retooled mechanics on our own terms.
The scene is set in a lengthy intro cinematic that sees Snake rappelling into Omega Base, a Guantanamo Bay-inspired Black Site in which Paz (remember her?) may have been incarcerated. His mission is to extract her alive by any means necessary, even as we're introduced to the horrifically disfigured new villain Skull Face, who sets a sinister plan into motion involving the nefarious XOF forces. It's an excuse to get Snake back into his skintight stealth suit, but scant seconds after assuming control, you'll realise that Metal Gear has changed in several fundamental ways.Click here to read more...
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes releases later this month, giving players a taste of the FOX Engine's capabilities, a storyline teaser and insight into Snake's new abilities. However, many gamers are desperately concerned about its value, following a report that the campaign can be completed in less than two hours.
Now that I've spent several hours with Ground Zeroes' 95% preview build, I'm finally in a position to confirm or deny these allegations firsthand.
Or, more accurately, tell you that they're absolutely correct... and completely misleading.Click here to read more...
Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2 released this week, but failed to stack up to its predecessor when it came to the scores. "This is not the ending I was expecting for the Lords of Shadow series," Brendan concluded in our full review, "and it’s certainly not the one it deserves," after pouring scorn on its awful stealth sections, drab modern-day setting and rehashed mechanics. Not awful, then, but disappointing.
However, a disgruntled MercuryStream staffer claims that disappointment was a foregone conclusion following a truly horrific development cycle. From a tyrannical boss to an obsolete engine, the anonymous developer alleges that just releasing the game was a minor miracle in and of itself.Click here to read more...
Wow, well that was quick. After ShopTo slashed their prices yesterday, Gameseek has gone even further with an extra £4 saving!
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is set to act as a prologue for Metal Gear Solid V proper, introducing players to new gameplay tweaks (such as regenerating health), the more open-world campaign structure and Kiefer Sutherland. There's some confusion regarding its length and value, mind. Thanks to InsaneNun and oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Developers: Mercury Steam
Hundreds of years after Gabriel Belmont’s journey began; we’re here to witness the grand finale as we see him return as Dracula, to take on Satan and his acolytes one last time in the hope of finally finding peace and an escape from his immortal torment.
If the events of the original Lords of Shadow, the expansion DLC and Mirror of Fate are a little faded in your memory, there’s a summative cutscene early on to bring you back up to speed. Robert Carlyle and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles from the first game, attempting to add as much brooding and grandiosity respectively as possible. And lots of hammy dialogue so cringe worthy, it’ll give you a sore neck.
There’s also a recurring theme of Gabriel’s humanity trying to break through the darkness, aided by some touching scenes with spectres of his loved ones. Bosses are well characterised too, with one in particular haunting my thoughts long after with the echoes of gentle sobbing receding through the corridors of the castle as I left them with their shattered realisation of what they had been become.
A notable change for this sequel is the modern setting, which adds so little to the experience, but loses so much. Expect gritty streets, grey concrete corridors, factories and sewers galore. These settings are as dull as they sound and it’s a real relief when the Castlevania of old turns up and we get to see some castles. That said, even the gothic locales lack the impressive scale of the original LOS. With the whole game set indoors, or during overcast/nigh time conditions, it’s a gloomy affair throughout and detail seems left to to hide in the shadows.Click here to read more...
The divisive 'Resolution Wars' continue unabated, as yet another game reveals very different resolution targets on the PS4 and Xbox One. Hideo Kojima has confirmed that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes runs at a native 1080p on Sony's machine, but will be upscaled from 720p on Microsoft's platform. Here we go again, as they say.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, however, a new clutch of comparison screenshots demonstrate that we're in for a handsome visual experience on all platforms - even including last-gen consoles.Click here to read more...
Konami's attempt to bring Castlevania into the 21st century with 3D hack & slash action raised eyebrows, but was ultimately highly successful due in no small part to Patrick Stewart, who makes everything awesome. The improved PC version packs advanced support for NVIDIA and AMD GPU features, including all of the DLC as standard, and is a bit of a steal at £4.99. The sequel is out later this month. Thanks to MADDDOGGX @ HUKD!
As the prelude, prologue and tech demo for Metal Gear Solid 5, we weren't exactly expecting an enormous freeform campaign from Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. However, according to an early hands-on report, Snake's upcoming £20-£30 adventure can be completed in less time than it takes to watch a handful of the original game' cutscenes.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 (tested) | Xbox 360
Lords of Shadow 2 opens with a rather epic tutorial level that, as you'll know if you've read Brendan's EGX preview, sees Dracula at the height of his power defending his castle from an angelic siege. Beset upon all sides by celestial forces, he takes the fight to the Golden Paladin and climbs up the heavenly golem attempting to smash his home to bits in order to dish out some serious punishment.
From then on, though, the Belmont family endure a rather rough few centuries.
To cut a long story short (and to avoid spoiling the delights of a Patrick Stewart-narrated family history), we rejoin Gabriel Belmont several hundred years later after he's been killed and resurrected a few times. An old man, barely in command of even a sliver of his former powers, his castle has mostly crumbled away, and a city built atop its ruins. Zobek informs Gabriel that Satan is preparing for a a massive invasion, and that his minions have been sent to Earth to get things moving along and to pave the way for his return. Gabriel -- essential a barely animated corpse wrapped in an opulent red curtain -- is frankly in no state to do anything.
A spot of murder and a bit of bloody feasting later, though, and he at least looks the part.Click here to read more...
Metal Gear Solid V's playable prologue, Ground Zeroes, is getting a retro-tastic exclusive mission on PlayStation... but Kojima has a surprise in store for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners. A deal with Microsoft sees Raiden returning from an alternate future to save the Earth from the invasion of the body snatchers, bringing his trademark brand of razor-sharp ultraviolence to what appears to be a thoroughly outrageous piece of exclusive non-canon content.
We've got the trailer after the break, alongside some new details about Ground Zeroes' European release date and pricing.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PSN | XBLA
Developer: Mercury Steam
The 3DS was always going to struggle with the ambitious graphics in Mirror of Fate, but we no longer have to fend off its ugly with a crucifix, because Konami have unleashed a HD makeover on the PS3 and Xbox 360 digital stores and at a bargain price of £9.99.
For those of you who missed the 3DS version (a mildly respectable 6/10), the game ditches the 3D action feel of Lords of Shadow for something more in line with the classic 2D Castlevania games. So expect lots of platforming, exploration and fending off opponents from both sides.
Admittedly, the formula has been watered down a bit. Levels aren’t particularly big, levelling up is very linear and there are many (optional) concessions to the lower difficulty levels with extra checkpoints (even in boss fights), weaker enemies and map guides.
Visually, the game feels like it’s a part of the new saga and looks a hell of a lot better than the seriously jaggy 3DS version. It’s not slap-your-face-gorgeous like the first game, but it’s a massive step up from the handheld.Click here to read more...
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is looking to end the Lords of Shadow saga in style early next year. Although, if you're yet to play any of the series, I'd advise staying away from this trailer as it gives away the endings for the first game and Mirrors of Fate. Speaking of Mirrors of Fate, which was originally a 3DS game, I'll have a review of the HD remake for you later on today. While you're waiting, check out my recent hands-on preview of Lords of Shadow 2.Click here to see the new trailer.
The term "open world" tends to cause delight and concern in equal measure, especially when linked to a stealth series like Metal Gear Solid. Hideo Kojima has now spoken out to clarify exactly how 'open' his cross-generation sequel will be - and to assure gamers that it won't turn into Animal Crossing. Not that we'd entirely hate that idea.Click here to read more...
Thanks to goonertillidie at HotUkDeals.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance may be taking its sweet time in coming to PC, but Hideo Kojima reckons that the latest production build looks rather tasty. "Rising PC version looking good, even the shadow looks beautiful," he tweeted via his translated English account, alongside a screenshot. It's lacking in resolution, but by the looks of things, the shadows have been noticeably improved.
There's still no release date or even hint of a window for the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance PC port, but we'll keep you posted. Review here.
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...
If you're excited about Metal Gear Solid 5, Konami are about to make your next bathroom break a long haul with three brand new official gameplay videos. Clocking in at between nine and thirteen minutes apiece, they're an exciting look at the Ground Zeroes scenario, along with both night-time and daylight stealth gameplay.
We've got it all after the break.Click here to read more...