Long-time readers will know I have a soft spot for the Warcraft franchise, especially World of Warcraft. As a day-one player who has experienced everything the game has offered, including the Mists of Pandaria expansion, I’ve seen it go through a fair few changes. New races being added, enhanced weather and lighting systems being introduced, a new class thrown into the mix, talent points being redesigned, and a constant stream of rebalancing for everything involved, That said, some things have stayed the same in the face of change. New abilities would continue to crowd up toolbars, the rise of damage and health numbers for players and NPCs alike spiralling up exponentially, and the models for the playable races becoming more and more dated as the years went by. With the upcoming expansion Warlords of Draenor approaching, Blizzard saw it as an opportunity to fix these things, and so with patch 6.0.2 being unleashed last week I returned to the MMO behemoth for the first time in nine months. It was time to see if the game that sent the genre mainstream still had the ability to pull in new punters and veterans alike.
I’ll tell you one thing though – WildStar’s combat and traversal systems have spoiled me rotten compared to WoW's seemingly archaic mechanics, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The inclusion of the Worgen, Goblin and Pandaren made it quite clear that the original race models needed an update. The blocky, expressionless and (in the case of humans) hairlipped choices on offer just didn’t blend with the rest of the updated visuals of the game. Thankfully, after years of waiting the update has arrived – except for Blood Elves, who will have to wait a little while longer to be made more beautiful. If I’m honest, I really shouldn’t be impressed by the new visuals and animations considering what the competition has produced elsewhere in the genre, but I really am.
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Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developer: 2K Australia
Publisher: 2K Games
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is ridiculously good fun. I really can't stress that enough.
This awkwardly titled segue might appear to be a lazy off-year cash grab, but it actually delivers the most fundamental mechanical update the series has ever received. Low-gravity combat. We're still shooting and looting, but now we're soaring merrily through the air (or vacuum!), using a nuanced double jump to gain extra height or boost our way around sprawling three-dimensional stages.
It's awesome, and unlocks a host of exciting new encounters as we take on airborne foes in the air, rain down firepower onto smart squads of jetpack troopers or employ an epic Butt Slam attack to smash down into enemy formations; cracking their faceplates and watching them asphyxiate to a wub wub soundtrack. On top of that, insanely powerful laser cannons and freeze-shattering Cryo weapons slot perfectly into the Borderlands experience, giving us more ways to brutalise anyone stupid enough to stand against us. Now that I'm used to The Pre-Sequel's very Australian humour and voice cast, I don't think I can go back.
It's so much fun, in fact, that while I'm playing I can ignore all of its many, many, many flaws.Click here to read more...
Welcome back to Click To Play , the new-old regular series that takes a look at a new browser-based curio each week to further the fine art of procrastination. We accept absolutely no responsibility if you get caught at work/school/uni gloriously wasting time on the games listed here when you should be working.
This week: Assembots
Assembots is basically what you'd get if you crossed robots with Lemmings.
Each stage sees you attempting to guide a certain number of robots from one factory to the next and, just like the eponymous heroes of Lemmings, your mechanical chums in this will simply trundle forwards until you give them a new instruction or they hit a wall. The game eases you into things with a smattering of commands available from a horizontal array at the bottom of the screen, and to begin with you'll dig through dirt walls and platforms, climb walls, and turn into stationary pillars that can be used to activate switches and prevent robots from hurling themselves off of cliffs. You'll only have a limited number of these commands, however, so it's important to think carefully before applying them to a robot -- you simple click the command (or use the hotkeys) and then click the robot you want to apply it to.
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AI War: All Of It | GamersGate | £2.70 (RRP: £12.99)
If you're spoiling for some incredibly tough space strategy action with the scale of an old-school 4X title, AI War is pretty much your dream game. Arcen Games delivered an absolute corker that has massively grown over the last few years with numerous DLC packs and sweeping expansions. It can all be yours for £2.70 from GamersGate, who'll also flog you the DLC separately at a massive discount if you already bought it in a bundle.
Be advised, though, I'm not kidding about AI War being hard. In fact, I didn't feel capable of reviewing it, because I sucked so badly at it.
Better late than never. There's still time to take advantage of the tail end of The Humble Bundle's weekend sale, which slashes some weird and wonderful games published by Devolver Digital down to size.
Personally speaking, and with links to our reviews, I'd recommend grabbing crazy Pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend for £3.49, glorious madcap shooter Serious Sam 3 for £2.99 (and the previous games, with the exception of Serious Sam 2!), elegant roguelike shooter Heavy Bullets for under a fiver and Cosmic DJ for £1.99.
Either way, the deals end at 18:00 BST today.
With one short month to go before Far Cry 4 lands, we take a decisive look at all the available evidence, including our very own hands-on sessions, to make the case that we could be looking at a Game of the Year contender here. So dive into this week’s Sunday Seven: Why Far Cry 4 is Set to Own 2014.
You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but the honey badgers are arguably the most vicious creatures in Kyrat. Hunting missions will make a return, but using fire or explosions to kill animals will result in damaged pelts that are worth less cash and possibly not be as useful for crafting. Looks like we’ll have to avoid using rocket launchers and mines on the monochrome missile-like bastards then. Other animals that want to eat your eyes include wolves, rhinos, leopards, eagles, cave bears and much more. Come at me, nature!Click here to read more...
A great week for Wii U owners who can feel super smug as the Umbran witch makes her Nintendo debut. There’s quite the musical theme elsewhere with the latest Just Dance title and Harmonix’s motion-controlled take on Fantasia. The words Firaxis and Alpha Centauri are probably enough to get our PC-gaming readers excited, not to mention a certain Dreamfall title. Read on for the full rundown along with links to our past coverage and the cheapest prices.
Fans have only been waiting since 2006 to find out what happens next in the Dreamfall saga, so yeah, they’re pretty pumped for this one. We get the feeling this is going to be a Kickstarter success story and can’t wait to play the new episodic format. The game is also coming to PS4 at some point, but release dates vary from next week (wrong), to November, to next year. Expect reviews of the PC version from our very own Carl Phillips soon.Click here to read more...
The big question to be posed to the latest in a line of yearly, iterative games is always "what's new?" People won't drop fifty quid for a game that makes the odd cosmetic change or just swaps old rosters for new. We like progression, we like to envisage some sort of movement forwards in the quest to create the most authentic, awesome representation of a sport or pastime, as if there's a perfect goal to be reached that yearly series creep closer to each year.
Of course, when a new batch of consoles have been released, but you're still tethered to the old bunch, I would imagine that keeping up, let alone trying to improve in meaningful fashion, can seem like a Sisyphean task. Unfortunately, in a year where games are shinier and sparkier than in previous ones, you have to make some strides in terms of gameplay.
Sadly, F1 2014 doesn't really do that. In fact, in many ways it does the exact opposite.Click here to read more...
What's better than being able to freely download and play a game for an entire weekend, then paying a tiny discounted price to own it forever if you enjoy it?
Being able to freely download and play TEN games! I suppose that it's ten times better if you want to get technical. Steam are now running ten simultaneous free weekends, allowing you to download all of the full versions and play them as much as you like until the early hours of Monday morning, while also offering serious discounts. There's no way you'll be able to play all of them, but there's something here for everyone.
Your best bet is to browse over to the splash page and see what takes your fancy, but for completion's sake, here are the ten games in question along with their discounted prices, links and reviews where possible.
Let us know what you're playing!
GOG's weekend sale is now live, offering major savings on a slew of niche games published and developed by Retroism and Enlight Software. It's an odd selection, including some ancient Sid Meier titles like Pirates Gold, Colonisation and Covert Action (£1.48 apiece) alongside the Seven Kingdoms and Capitalism series. Bizarre, shonky yet strangely compelling cyberpunk adventure BloodNet is also up for grabs at £1.48, while the mech-on-mech showdown Slave Zero is well worth a look for genre fans.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out today in the UK, and our full review will be going live very soon. It's a fun and famililar burst of shooting and looting, meaning that our Borderlands 2 survival guide is still packed with plenty of relevant tips, but the low-gravity setting, ace bouncy combat, new enemies and brand new characters mean that even Vault Hunting veterans can potentially be caught unawares.
Never fear, because I'm here with a few useful, practical and sometimes completely esoteric survival tips that are as spoiler-free as humanely possible! Ten, in fact, though I don't really see much point in ordering them this time.
Double-jumping is all the rage these days. Taking a look back at the platformers of yesteryear, Titanfall did the business and now everyone else is falling over themselves to follow suit.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, however, takes a totally unique approach to double-jumping. In a low-grav situation, you'll gain extra height if you hit the button without touching the stick, but holding a direction turns it into a powerful lateral boost instead (depending on your momentum at the time). You'll need a few hours to fully get used to it, as the additional altitude can be used to pour devastating firepower down on foes or engage aerial foes in the air.
Conversely, the boost provides a major speed increase, the ability to circle strafe in the air or the extra oomph you need to make it to a distant platform. Or even pulling back from a botched jump and ensuring you return to the platform rather than falling into the abyss. Practice makes perfect.Click here to read more...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's a difference between a great deal and a great game. This is a great deal, netting you a Steam code for Planetary Annihilation at a major saving.
The game, though, feels unfinished despite leaving early access. Planetary Annihilation was very promising in preview and is fantastic fun when you're wielding huge robot armies and smashing moons into each other, but the lack of tutorials, multiple factions and a more digestible UI can make this insane RTS an overwhelming and frustrating experience for newcomers. I doubt I'll have time for a full review, but I personally wish that Uber had spent more time rounding what feels like a fun yet incomplete product into a full package.
The Humble Weekly Bundle is now live and distinctly Canadian, taking aim at developers and studios based in the Vancouver area.
Beat 64p to get Shank and the first two Penny Arcade Adventures (well worth doing, though Robert Boyd's later Penny Arcade Games are vastly superior), while also getting unfunny wasted opportunity Deathspank: The Baconing and Boximals Bounce.
Beat £3.73 to also receive Shank 2 and PvZ GOTY. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
People tell me that cutting-edge graphical tech is absolutely crucial for attaining that most hallowed of made-up buzzwords: immersion. I understand that point of view and the logic behind it, but also contend that it's complete and total bollocks.
See, for the last few weeks I've been compulsively glued to a primitive early alpha that uses the bare minimum to ground you in an evocative lonely Sci-Fi universe, by making your computer monitor look like a different computer monitor.
Duskers casts you as a astronaut castaway in the depths of space, running out of rations and going half-mad from isolation, desperately eking out the last of your days by salvaging any usable supplies from derelict space hulks. You'll use your precious supplies just to travel between them, meaning that you have to find food or die of starvation, but in a unique twist you'll never personally leave your ship.
Without a viable space suit, you'll instead rely on a handful of remote-controlled drones that become your only means of exploring the wrecks, your eyes, ears and hands, and also your only friends in an otherwise hostile and empty universe. As such, both you and the astronaut stare at the same arcane control interface -- your computer monitor and keyboard -- connecting and immersing you in the game world in a unique and deeply chilling way.
After all, your drones aren't alone out there... and without them you're as good as dead.Click here to read more...
WoW, all of it | Battle.net | £9.99
This isn't so much a deal as a new night-and-weekend job that you'll pay monthly for, but there's no denying that World Of Warcraft is still very much the Daddy in the MMORPG space. With the latest expansion looming, Blizzard have bundled the base game, 30 days of subscription and every single previous expansion (including Mists Of Pandaria) into a single £10 purchase.
Even I'm not sure I can resist this. Oh gawd. Thanks to rudy691 @ HUKD!
GOG.com are opening up their new DRM-free Galaxy client to beta testers, and those who get on board with the new Steam competitor will receive a free copy of AvP 2000 for their trouble.
It's as easy as putting your email address in the box. Full credit and thanks to jaystan @ HUKD, who found this before I did!
For Star Citizen, the last seven days have been rather eventful. CitizenCon took place over the weekend with fans getting a first look at some of the ships being made, and the planetside module was shown publicly for the first time. On top of this, multiple stretch goals have been reached as recently as last night (yep, we're up to an eye-watering $58 million now.)
Of course, not everyone could make it over to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the project's existence, so the folks at Cloud Imperium opened up all the currently-flyable ships to all backers of Star Citizen for seven days. So Carl, who has only flown the Anvil Aerospace Hornet up until now, wasn't going to miss an opportunity to sample the other flyable craft in the game. Heading into the Vanduul Swarm mode, Carl recorded his experiences with three of the available ships - the RSI Aurora LX, the Origin Jumpworks M50, and the Origin Jumpworks 300i.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out our previous videos to see the Hornet fighter in action, and stay tuned to the site as we'll be showing off the final ship not featured here - the Origin Jumpworks 350R - in a video that focuses on the racing mode of Arena Commander.
Having got hands-on with Lara Croft & The Temple Of Osiris at Gamescom this year, I'm actually more excited about this puzzle/platformer/shooter hybrid than the next game. Fun co-op and some great set pieces make Tomb Raiding fun again, not angsty and needlessly gritty, while Keeley Hawes retakes her rightful place as the voice of Lara in this gamer's opinion. Anyway, a tenner is a steal thanks to GMG's P65PW6-F9B91D-TW2AG2 voucher code.
The Blink Bundle contains 9 games of varying quality, as per usual. Unmechanical is by far and away the star of the show -- find out why in our full review -- and I really like MURI's knowingly primitive MS-DOS style. Otherwise, there's a mix of the stylish, the bad and designed-specifically-for-Youtube tat (The Howler).
Thanks to Dr4gOns_FuRy @ HUKD!
As the name suggests, Castle Of Illusion HD is an attractive and fairly faithful adaptation of the legendary platformer. I say "fairly" because it introduces some 3D sections -- heresy! -- yet they work well and the package reminds us why we fell in love with gaming back in the day without cracking the rose-tinted specs. GetGames' cheap £2.49 price is the de-facto "deal" level, but still worth a go.
Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!