Splatoon is fresh, messy, raucous and brilliant.
Swapping guns for paint, soldiers for squid and gritty grey authenticity for wild vibrant style, it's the best thing to happen to third-person shooting in quite some time and a game that only Nintendo could have delivered. Approaching the genre in a totally different way, it's full of radical new mechanics that are easy to learn yet change absolutely everything about how you play.
In fact, I can categorically state that Splatoon is the most fun I've had with a multiplayer shooter since Titanfall. Which is hardly surprising seeing as both games boast breathtaking new traversal methods, smooth polished mechanics and unique personality.
Unfortunately, they also share something else in common: they're a bit skinny at launch.
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Magicka 2 is many things. It's a raucous sequel that builds upon the original game's superb spellcasting system, allowing us to create our own insane elemental magic on the fly. It's a parody that pokes fun at every license under the sun, yet still retains its own unique identity. It's a cooperative romp and a single-screen multiplayer delight.
But most importantly of all, Magicka 2 is the simple childlike joy of "accidentally" setting your friends on fire... then getting away with it.
From the original Magicka through its numerous DLC packs and HellDivers, Arrowhead Game Studios have cultivated a deliciously unique brand of competitive-yet-cooperative mayhem. Pieces Interactive are clearly on the same wavelength. Magicka 2 jams friendly fire firmly on then hands you and your pals a book of devastating spells, many of which will freeze, soak, electrify, pummel and/or disintegrate friend and foe alike. The result: an unsubtle game, but quite possibly the most fun you can have with your robes on.Click here to read more...
What is Rocket League? Put simply, it's football/soccer with large remote controlled cars, and it's kinda brilliant.
I've been getting stuck into the new beta and Rocket League is already shaping up to be an essential PS4 multiplayer title. There will be local multiplayer options in the final game, but this beta has focussed on the online matches and is already showing huge potential.
The controls are basic enough to make the game easy to jump into. Acceleration and brakes are on the R2/L2 buttons and you can jump with X. Powersliding for sharp u-turns and turbo boosts are also available. The football isn't bogged down with any rules, it's just a case of bash and barge the large oversized ball into the gaping goal at the other end of the pitch. There's no shoot button, you just have to drive into it and hope none of the other players get in the way.
You can drive up the curved walls surrounding the pitch in order to try and get near the ball when it bounces high, but most of the action is on the main pitch, with timed jumps -like headers- playing a key role in maintaining possession or goalkeeping. There's no assigned goalkeeper, so it's down to everyone to get back and help cover when on the defence. At this early stage, I've not really seen anyone 'dribble' the ball, it's more about hoofing it up the pitch and chasing after it. The lack of tactics is what makes it so refreshing though.Click here to read more...
Gaming fans should get themselves up north for the excellent Play Blackpool event running from May 2nd to May 4th. The show is an absolute bonanza for fans of all things retro, indie and arcade.
The show floor will once again be packed with consoles from every generation and fully unlocked classic arcade cabinets (do not insert coin!), featuring a classic selection of games for you to try. The console range is incredible and you're bound to find a few that you never even knew existed. Or maybe you'll finally get to play on something you've had your eye on for a while. Last year, I got to try out Nintendo's ancient Virtual Reality headset, the Virtual Boy which was actually very impressive considering it was in people's houses in 1995.
The range of modern indie games has been expanded this year. In addition to the wide selection of PC titles, there will also be Xbox One and PS4 areas sporting a wide range of titles, especially ones that feature local multiplayer. If you've wanted to try out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, then this is the place to do it, just like I did last year. Llamasoft have confirmed they'll once again be bringing something for you to play on it and a few other studios are said to be bringing VR games too.Click here to read more about the show.
When it comes to awe-inspiring war machines, it's hard to beat a battleship. Even the most menacing Jagdtiger or iconic Supermarine Spitfire can't hold a candle to thousands of tons of floating death bristling with cannons, torpedoes and air support.
And yet so few games have managed to do justice to naval warfare -- and fewer still have made it fun. Partly this is down to the slower speeds and stand-off bombardments involved with ship-to-ship engagements, plus the advent of the unsportsmanlike air-to-ship missile in the last few decades.
Thankfully World Of Warships plans to change all that. Set during World War II's escalation of legendary sea battles and truly iconic vessels, Wargaming's latest free to play project manages to capture the grandeur and majesty of sea power while providing a fun and engaging moment-to-moment gameplay experience. Damn the torpedoes and let's take a look.Click here to read more...
Primal Carnage is now £1.39 on Steam. Thanks macleanie!
Evolve isn't the only asymmetrical multiplatyer game on the market, and in fact it's pretty late to the party. Plenty of games already offer exciting gameplay between carefully imbalanced teams, and Primal Carnage delivers some seriously enjoyable dinosaurs vs human showdowns. The sequel is out later this year, but you can currently get the original for just £1.39 (a massive saving!) and I believe that you'll also get a 50% off voucher for Primal Carnage 2 into the bargain.
Note that Primal Carnage was recently in the Blades Of Janus bundle though, so check your backlog!
Evolve can be utterly fantastic.
Alongside a trustworthy team of communicating players who are familiar with the maps and their roles, hunting monsters is superb. You'll stalk your prey and make careful plans, working together with deadly precision, setting traps and battling fierce native wildlife before everything goes to hell in one brutal ambush. On the other side of the coin, however, there's a unique satisfaction that comes from playing as the horrific fiend itself, as nervy evasion gradually shifts into cruel opportunistic slaughter. Prey into predator.
The 4 vs 1 idea was too brilliant to die with THQ, so at its best Evolve is capable of some truly exceptional multiplayer matches.
I just wish this happened more than 50% of the time. Half of the games I've played were an absolute blast, but more often than not it's frustrating, unsatisfying or worse boring.
Our full review will be coming later this week (even if some of our peers couldn't wait to slap on a score straight away), but after several days' play online and off, I have to report that Evolve is a tough sell at full price.Click here to read more...
Don't subscribe to PlayStation Plus? Sony want to tempt you in with an entirely free weekend of PS4 multiplayer for all PSN members, whether you subscribe or not.
"From 13th February at 6.00am GMT/7.00am CET for the whole weekend we are opening the doors to the world of online play," gushes the official announcement, "giving you the opportunity to take on your friends and fellow gamers from around the globe in epic online battles."
Chances are you already subscribe to PlayStation Plus to access the Instant Game Collection, weekly discounts and other benefits, but if you don't, cancel everything and make sure you get as many multiplayer-only trophies as possible!
You'll need to use GamersGate voucher code 10AN-PREV-FEB2015 for the 15% saving.
If you and three mates are looking to get into this brutal first-person slasher, £1.98 per copy is pretty good going. Otherwise the solus version will set you back £2.64 once the voucher is applied.
This insanely quick multiplayer arcade dogfighter is cheap as chips at £2.24, though many of you probably picked it up in the Je Suis Charlie Humble Bundle (check your backlogs!). Thanks FantasyDeals!
Is the price not minimal enough for you? Even though it's cheaper than even Bundle Stars' offering last week? Okay, if you've got four mates willing to chip in, why not go in as a team with a 5-pack for £6.74.
It works out as £1.34 per copy. Stonking bargain.
Primal Carnage has the honour of being one of the few good Dinosaur games on the market, and a great asymmetrical multiplayer game in which humans take on massive reptiles. The sequel is out this year, so to celebrate, the original has been permanently discounted to £5.59 on Steam.
You'll also receive a voucher to buy Primal Carnage: Extinction at a 50% discount. It's currently in Early Access - details here.
Nidhogg is a breath of fresh air: an epic fencing game wherein two opponents leap, stab and riposte around some tricksy environments. Local multiplayer is where it's at, though, a properly mental and thoroughly silly affair. If you've been holding out for a deal, this might get you off the fence(r).
Depth only £11.39 on Steam. Click here to buy! >>
If you've ever wanted an asymmetrical sharks versus divers multiplayer game, you're in luck, because Depth exists and its 40% off on Steam. Reviews are good and though I haven't personally tried it, I'm not sure I can resist. Does anyone actually want to play as the divers though?
Thanks to Executable @ HUKD!
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...