Ubisoft have warned gamers against early reviews of The Crew. Let's reiterate that: Ubisoft are warning people against a product they fear might be rushed and not up to scratch.
Hello pot, meet kettle.
"While we fully anticipate that you might see some reviews immediately at launch — largely built around the preview sessions we facilitated during the past months or the limited content of the closed and open betas — they won’t be based on optimal conditions or reflect the finished game," Ubisoft have said.
"We sincerely hope everyone will take the time to customize their ride as they progress through all five regions, explore every corner of the map solo and with friends, dive into our competitive and cooperative mechanics, race to the end of the main campaign, choose a Faction and compete with your crew in Factions Wars, and so much more."
To be fair to Ubisoft, The Crew is a game heavily predicated on its connected world and its online experience. We've long said that it's an ambitious title, probably the most ambitious racing game of the year. It's the same sort of missive that Bungie sent out ahead of Destiny, suggesting that reviewers appraise the game across its first few weeks out in the public domain, and warning against early critical appraisals that would surely be ill-informed and ultimately unreliable.
It's okay to scoff, for a moment, at Ubisoft attempting to tell critics how do to their job in the wake of the shambles that was Assassin's Creed: Unity's release, but I kind of want to play devil's advocate here. See, in spite of the (perfectly justified) savaging I've given Ubisoft over the last few weeks, I actually sort of agree with them on this count.Click here to read more...
Space combat fanatics should pay attention, because GoD Factory: Wingmen brings zero-G dogfighting back with a vengeance. Its 4v4 carrier assault missions with massively customisable fighters are superb, and better yet, a new update adds a slew of new maps. £7.49 will save you 50%, making this a nice cheap discount ahead of Cyber Monday and an absolute bargain.
Our GoD: Factory Wingmen editor's choice review provides an in-depth look at how this latter-day space game makes dogfighting fun again, and how its ship design suite, progression and unlocks provide a compelling draw outside of battle. A brand new update has released to fix my major concern, the single starfield, by delivering new arenas with unique features and flair. Definitely worth checking out, and supporting a game that deserves a thriving community.
Asymmetrical multiplayer is big right now. Nintendo have to take their share of the blame for this, really, having designed an entire console around the unique properties of a GamePad that only one person can use when it comes to local multiplayer, but I'm talking more about the likes of Evolve and Fable: Legends and BioWare's upcoming Shadow Realms. We've expressed admiration for the inventive nature of asymmetrical multiplayer in theory -- looking more to the player count side of things, where there's usually a team of players up against a single adversary, rather than the design approach of something like Nosgoth -- but we've also posited that the reality could be quite different, particularly for the lone wolf player.
The thing about all of these games, and actually this does extend to games like Nosgoth too, is that the importance of teamwork is evident as soon as you start playing. Most multiplayer games have elements of this, of course, but there's generally space for solo artists and multiplayer mavericks to be able to do their things as well. To take a look at the biggest name touting asymmetrical multiplayer right now -- Evolve -- is to see a game where every human class has a crucial role to play in the battle against whichever monster you find yourself up against.
It's this aspect of the game that makes Evolve a genuinely thrilling proposition when everything falls into place. The problem is, however, that you either have to do some legwork outside of the game to get that to all fall into place, or pray that the matchmaking system is up to scratch, that you can look for other players wired for sound, hope that they have stable connections and are competent with the character class they're inhabiting.
In short, the things that make games like Evolve interesting in the first place are the very things that make it difficult to build a consistent experience.Click here to read more...
Super Smash Bros will release in time for Christmas, meaning that Boxing Day plans are pretty much sorted. If you're not in the market for the Gamecube controller/adapter bundle, The Game Collection are currently running a pre-order for £36.95, which will save you £2 versus the next cheapest retailer Base.com. You can watch a Nintendo rep blatantly let me win a few matches in the linked video above.
Thanks to Ninjin00 @ HUKD!
Developer: Digital Extremes
"Free-to-play cooperative space ninjas."
I could probably end the review right there, to be honest. Since its PC release, Warframe has boasted what's probably the most kickass high concept on the market; a F2P yet massively expanded take on Mass Effect 3's cooperative multiplayer, which casts us as ancient spacefaring ninjas free to bring death to power-armoured marines, robots and zombies with outlandish guns and Sci-Fi samurai gear. It's a game in which you can throw down on a spider tank with an electric katana, breed a mutant dog to bring into combat, enhance your equipment with collectible cards and even find yourself abducted by a cyborg Frankenwolf in the middle of a match because you insulted one of the factions.
It's also shonky, unpolished, grindy, hinges around a bizarre economy and throws in a huge number of overlapping gameplay systems without worrying about whether they all work properly. Warframe is too crazy to live. And I love it.
If you haven't jumped into Destiny yet, I'd highly recommend giving Warframe a whirl, especially now it's out on Xbox One. And free. It might just be the cure for your Science Fiction slaughterfest bug.Click here to read more...
Developer: Nine Dots Studio
Publisher: Bandai Namco
GoD Factory: Wingmen is the definition of an underdog success story. Nine Dots Studio poured their heart, soul and thousands of Pounds of their own money into creating an extraordinary multiplayer arcade space sim, which then subsequently failed on Kickstarter. However, thanks to a strong prototype, great gameplay and backing from Bandai Namco, the finished product has finally made it onto Steam.
Forget the backstory, though, because we're finally able to take GoD Factory: Wingmen out of the hangar, rev up its engines and listen to her howling roar. Two teams of four pilots leap into the cockpits of painstakingly customised fighters, screaming into what's truthfully billed as 'a mix of Ace Combat, Armored Core, Star Fox, DoTA and more.' Fast-paced, thrilling, visually lavish and pleasingly tactical, it's a very different breed of space shooter.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (Steam Early Access, F2P)
Developer: Paradox North
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Every game and their mum seems hell-bent on becoming a MOBA these days, and I must admit to loosing an exasperated howl when I heard that Magicka was headed down the same road. "Oh not again," I said to no-one in particular, vaguely in the direction of my cat. "We've already got League Of Legends and DOTA 2. Why does it actually need to be a genre?!" My cat seemed even less interested than I was.
However, now I've played Magicka: Wizard Wars, I can report that it's shaping up to be surprisingly brilliant.
See, the original Magicka is actually quite a good fit for a team-based arena multiplayer game. Your robed warlock walks around the battlefield in traditional clicky fashion, capturing control points and slashing with their melee weapon at imps and opponents, but the radical spell combination system allows you to concoct ridiculous cocktails of devastating abilities out of numerous elements. Flaming death beams? Freezing rocks? Water blasts that soak then shock your foes? Defensive domes or reflective shields? You'll create your own abilities on the fly... then loose them at both friend and foe with hilarious results.
Or just gleefully run around setting your friends on fire - if some of the trolls are anything to go by. Either way, it's utterly ridiculous in a very promising way.Click here to read more...
Unreal Tournament was -- and still is -- the best multiplayer FPS ever made. No arguments. Its sequels and spinoffs ran the gamut from great to awful, but we've been clamouring for a new successor over the last few years, much as we enjoyed Marcus Fenix' burly brown escapades.
Now it's finally happening. Epic Games have revealed that a new Unreal Tournament title is headed to PC, Mac and Linux, where it will be available to download for... free?
That's right. Free. Not draped in garish adverts or lousy with microtransactions, but properly, completely gratis. Rather than cashing in on misery, Epic intends to develop the game in conjunction with the community and start a new modding revolution - with developers able to sell their wares should they want to.Click here to read more...
Towerfall Ascension was too big for OUYA, so it jumped ship as soon as possible and brought its awesome local multiplayer to new platforms. Notably the PC and the PS4... the latter version falling foul of Brendan due to its lack of online multiplayer (by design) and rather expensive price tag. £11.99 was a little steep in fairness.
As always the PC version is much more competitive, though, especially now that the Humble Store have knocked an extra £3 off the asking price. Be aware that it's local multiplayer only, so you'll ideally want to have your PC set up on a living room HDTV with several controllers. Gameplay-wise, it's a little like Worms crossed with Super Smash Bros, only nothing like that whatsoever.
Format: PS4 (reviewed) | PC
Developer: Matt Thorson
Publisher: Matt Makes Games Inc.
TowerFall Ascension is all about traditional local multiplayer. So much so, there’s no point even reading the rest of this review if you’re not likely to invite friends round to your house to play with you. Still here? Did I mention it would help if your friends were regular gamers with a fondness for pixelated sprite-art games that could have run on a Sega Master System without breaking a sweat? Try not to make too much noise on your way out. Ok you two, thanks for staying.
This multiplayer-focussed game features screen-sized arenas to duke it out against each other in 2-4 player deathmatches / team deathmatches or you can play 1-2 player co-op against waves of monsters over multiple maps.
Controls are simple retro fare with three buttons handling jumps, firing arrows from your bow and a dodge move that can also be used to catch any arrows fired at you. Navigating the 2D stages with well-timed jumps is a breeze and you can make your way around with serious speed thanks to a hole at the bottom of the screen dropping you back in from the top when you dive in. Exit to the sides will see you come out the other side too. Arrows fired into any of these exits or holes will also come out the other side.Click here to read more...
AirBuccaneers (Steam Code) | IndieGameStand | PWYW (RRP: £11.99)
AirBuccaneers is that rarest of beasts: a multiplayer airship shooter. We really don't have enough of those. Though paying a minimum of £0.61 will save you a healthy £11, the servers are apparently a bit of a ghost town online, especially compared to the thriving Guns Of Icarus. Either way, you'll get a Steam code, so consider hitting the forums if you're on the fence.
All eyes may currently be on Titanfall, but don't count out PopCap's first shooter. It's surprisingly tactical, pleasingly vertical and features truly exquisite classes who make for an asymetrical and perfectly unbalanced experience. The randomised progression system is a major sticking point, but on the whole, it's a surprising success.
That said, it was just too on Xbox One at launch. This is much more like it. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
As I leap from the exploding carcass of my massive exosuit after crushing an entire squad of enemies underfoot, wall-run across the side of a building, jump several stories into the air and kick an opposing player in the back of the head in the space of ten exhilarating seconds, I can't help but wonder where Titanfall was all my life. It promised to be The Next Big Thing, a new FPS paradigm from the creators of Modern Warfare, replacing traditional military ground pounding with enormous mechs, parkour-enhanced mobility and verticality we've rarely seen from the genre. We were so ready.
Well here it is, and we've finally got the measure of it. Titanfall doesn't do anything truly revolutionary, but Respawn's rollicking shooter delivers a welcome shot of adrenaline directly into the heart of the genre, packaging familiar components in a truly satisfying and accessible way. More importantly, though, it's fantastic fun, regardless of whether you're a hardcore FPS gamer or just want to blow off some steam. Every match feels like an epic battle, from first charge to desperate extraction, set throughout some of the best maps that we've rampaged through in years.
However, The Next Big Thing probably should have been bigger in a few key areas.
Click here to read more...
Whilst I'm a fan of some "me time", smashing a single-player game, there's definitely a different type of thrill to be had in sharing gaming with others. Multiplayer has been around for years in various guises, but there has definitely been a shift over the last few years, particularly in the last couple of gaming generations, to focus more on online multiplayer. Steps forward in technology have allowed for people all across the world to join together in their gaming experiences. And it has been widely embraced as a result, so many people worldwide now enjoy a spot of online multiplayer as part of their game time.
But I'm here today to tell you why I prefer my multiplayer a little bit closer to home. Why for me, local multiplayer is king when it comes to group gaming.
The first, and perhaps most fundamental reason why I prefer local multiplayer is because in my opinion, the best fun you can have is with people who you know. If you're playing against people you know, then that automatically brings a whole host of sub-plots, backgrounds, competitiveness, history and all-round fun that quite simply isn't there when you're going up a against faceless enemy number 2,549. And that's because before even turning on the machine, you're all bringing shared stories to the table, little comedy nuances and points of intrigue that could shape the gaming session.Click here to read more...
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare may be the friendliest and most delightful shooter around, but you'd be surprised at the amount of depth that lurks just beneath the cheerful surface. War is hell, even when it's utterly adorable.
So to maximise your vanquish potential, keep your chlorophyll safely within your stalks and ensure you a tasty brain banquet, here are ten essential tips to bear in mind while playing online. Some are tricky, some are common sense, but all will keep you alive when the goop and concrete starts flying!
Chomper is easily the most unique class in Garden Warfare, and my personal favourite (especially the Fire variant!). His stealthy burrowing skill and instant-vanquish melee attacks are perfectly suited for sneaky offensive actions... but when you're playing 'Gardens & Graveyards,' you'll discover that he's also one of the best defenders the Plants have to offer.
The Spikeweed ability lets you lock down three approaches to your capture points, tying up attackers for your ranged team-mates to painlessly dispatch. Chompers can burrow under objectives, instantly scoffing any zombies who breach the perimeter, or flank around to quickly neutralise any pesky Scientists setting up healing stations. In a pinch, Goop attacks can slow down All-Stars and Engineers racing for the control zone. Remember that any zombie vanquished by a chomp attack cannot be revived, forcing them to slog all the way back from the nearest spawn point.
Finally, never underestimate the psychological impact of a Chomper defensive team. Once the foe knows you're there, they'll have to advance slowly and methodically, wasting valuable time as they desperately try to work out where you're hiding. The horror. The horror!Click here to read more...
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare has no right to be any good. It's everything we're supposed to hate: the corruption of a beloved franchise into yet another multiplayer shooter. Peashooters, zombie workmen and Sunflowers trade charming tower defence for ironsights and circle-strafing, more casualties of the war on wallets that never changes.
So I'm genuinely delighted to report that, despite all odds, Garden Warfare is a rather lovely little thing! PopCap may lack experience with the gritty genre, but their unsullied innocence allowed them to inject fun, happiness, colour and real personality into what's often a crushingly drab shooting gallery. Sunflowers and zombies merrily flounce and flail around some vibrant maps, working together to push the simple objectives or 'vanquish' as many foes as possible. It's easily the most stress-free and family friendly shooter out there, eschewing K/D ratios, sprinting, gore and microtransactions to create a safe and relaxing environment for newcomers to enjoy.
Don't mistake a cheerful and casual approach for a lack of depth, however. Behind the smiles lies an impeccably unbalanced set of classes and abilities that can cater for any play style. Often you'll find me sniping flowers from rooftops as a mobile zombie foot soldier, whereas much of my time is spent ruthlessly stalking my undead prey from beneath the Earth, hunting my quarry as they vainly flee in abject terror, only to meet their grisly demise as I smash through the tarmac and devour them whole with razor-sharp fangs.
I am Chomper! I am Death! And I am having an absolute blast with Garden Warfare, even if I might not be able to recommend it quite as highly as I'd like.Click here to read more...
The OUYA's selection of true exclusives is thin on the ground, but Towerfall is easily the jewel in its crown (alongside a superb redux version of MirrorMoon EP). This superb local multiplayer experience toes the line between brawlers and artillery games, throwing you and three friends into nuanced arenas armed with a fistful of arrows and unique character classes.
It's fantastic, hectic old-school fun... and is about to massively expand its audience by jumping to PS4 and PC as an enhanced version with new cooperative shenanigans, powerups and arenas.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (£11.99)
Developer: New World Interactive
My first competitive Insurgency match did not go well. In fact, "embarrassing rout" might be a more appropriate term.
As I picked my way through a warren of dense urban alleys, knowing that any balcony or doorway could hide an enemy combatant, I suddenly saw movement in my peripheral vision. I dropped prone and squeezed off my first shots fired in anger... directly into my squad leader's chest, killing him instantly. With only the tiniest of UI prompts and no radar to guide me, how was I to know? Though he laughed off my apology with a hearty "no worries, mate," the experience left me timid and shaken, cowering behind a burned out car until a shotgun-toting terrorist rounded the corner. I hesitated, and died poorly.
In the very next round, however, I was a hero. Tasked with destroying enemy weapon caches dotted around the map, my squad systematically laid down their lives to push me forward, seeing as I was the only player left alive with any C4. As my last compatriot hit the ground, the whip-crack of a sniper rifle ringing in my ears, I sprinted into the control zone, threw my explosives and mashed the detonator while desperately diving for cover. As the dust settled, my entire squad respawned thanks to my last-ditch run, and I felt like an utter legend. At least until two pistol rounds ended my life less than a minute later.
Like the original Source mod that bore its name, Insurgency is an unforgiving and old-school shooter that focuses on authenticity and immersion, wherein two bullets from any weapon are enough to put you down. It punishes both the timid and the brave, instead rewarding methodical teamwork and patience. If you're willing to sacrifice K/D ratios, experience systems, stat tracking, unlocks and other modern contrivances in the pursuit of a truly skill-based arena, Insurgency deserves to become your new online addiction despite its dated looks.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (free to play)
Developer: Edge Of Reality
Publisher: Edge Of Reality
Loadout is not what you'd call a subtle game. At all. But with over 44 billion weapon combinations at your disposal, it really doesn't need to be.
Electrified cluster rockets, burning laser beams and steely spiked balls fill the air as players bring crazy bespoke boomsticks to bear on each other in short objective gametypes, harking back to the all-or-nothing days of PC shooters. Instead of syrupy cover systems, we have slippery movement, circle-strafing and dive rolls. Sprawling maps are replaced by small, vertical stages with four players per side. And classy sophistication takes a back seat to flapping pixelated willies, Gangnam Style taunts, swearing, dick jokes and explosions. It's unashamedly old-school, a welcome shock to the system after years of shooters getting progressively more involved... and free to boot.
Edge Of Reality also aren't shy about their influences, proudly proclaiming that Loadout is the deranged third-person lovechild of Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands. Or more specifically, bringing TF2's objective gameplay and Borderlands' wild weapon creation together in a single package. Unlike most shooters that just unlock a selection of scopes and attachments, Loadout lets you build outrageous bastardised firearms out of dozens of separate components and ammo types, then scandalise your opponents with the resulting monstrosity.
This is my flame-gouting, six barrelled, bio-scanning, fireball-lobbing pulse rifle. There are few like it, and this one is mine.Click here to read more...
Forced is a simple and satisfying little game, but tying it down to a genre feels like pulling teeth.
It looks like an Action RPG à la Diablo and its ilk. Steam's store description explicitly describes Forced as an "action RPG." The opening cinematic and formative first few minutes give you little reason to doubt it, introducing you to a colourful fantasy world where gladiators are bred from birth to fight and die for their gods' sadistic amusement... before unceremoniously punting you straight into the pit clad solely in a fashionable loincloth. A hovering (and pleasingly sardonic) spirit guide, Balfus, assumes the role of your coach, putting you on the road to defeating numerous demonic guardians and finally escaping the nightmarish realm into which you've been forced. A strong setup for an RPG, no?
But it's absolutely not an RPG, at least not in the traditional sense. Rather Forced presents you with a totally compartmentalised series of arenas full of mobs to kill and puzzles to complete against the clock, and replay over and over again for leaderboard times. I suppose you could call it an ARPG... if that stands for Arena Replay Puzzle Gauntlet. BetaDwarf's Kickstarted effort is an intriguing fusion of different genres that, in multiplayer, works rather well indeed.Click here to read more...