Platforms: PC | PS4 (tested) | Xbox One | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested)
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Apologies to those of you who've followed my writing on Assassin's Creed over the last couple of years as I'm going to repeat myself a little bit here, but for those of you coming into this review in need of a little context, here's the beef: Assassin's Creed III was a sprawling, clunky, overstretched, uneven adventure with a dull central character and too many diffuse game components that failed to come together to present an engaging, cohesive world. There was little freedom, too much linearity in a paradoxically gigantic world, a lack of verticality (the first thing anyone does in AC is climb the nearest tall steeple or spire), and an abandoning of the thing that had made the franchise great. The key has always been in the title: we want to assassinate people.
Thankfully, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag does much to bring stalking one's prey however you like back in a big way.
We'll get to the pirate stuff itself, but let's look at how the more familiar elements to the series have been tweaked up and expanded upon for this game. The best things from Assassin's Creed III -- things like running assassinations, the wide variety of darts, and treetop parkour -- have all returned. But now there's verticality to go with that. Not on the scale of the urban hives of activity that Rome and Constantinople and the Crusader cities presented to us, but enough to warrant more than enough rooftop hopping.Click here to read more...
I've been rather underwhelmed by the exclusive offerings of both Sony and Microsoft up to this point, but Dead Rising 3 has given me a hefty hook and provided some much needed excitement. With more news each day of further game delays, and the wise choice looking like patience and prudence this Christmas, Capcom Vancouver have turned up with a game that I really, really want. I don't know how good it's going to be, I don't know just how deep all of the systems run, but I do know this: that game put the biggest smile on my face at Microsoft's Xbox One showcase yesterday, and it still hasn't come off. It's funny, it's empowering, it's expansive and ambitious, there's reams of choice and customisation. This is how you craft catharsis.
Dead Rising 3 is one of the Xbox One's flagship launch titles, carrying a hefty amount of expectation upon its shoulders. It's had a bit of a rough year in terms of reveals to the public at E3, framerate issues and Gamescom , and the stuttering, see-sawing marketing messages from Microsoft, but njow, close to launch, it looks like it's coming out of the gates hot. - Dead Rising 3 Preview
We sat down with executive producer Josh Bridge at a showcase event earlier this week to chat about how the power of the Xbox One is being used to propel the franchise forwards with this third game.Click here to read more...
Platforms: Xbox One
Developers: Capcom Vancouver
Publishers: Microsoft Studios
In line with Microsoft's seeming inability to get their PR and marketing messages straight earlier this year, I don't think any of us were particularly thrilled by Dead Rising 3's appearance at this year's E3. The trailer looked dour and grim, anathema to our memories of a series that has often been characterised by over-the-top, hilariously creative undead bashing.
Then Dead Rising 3 turned up in playable form at Gamescom, though we didn't have time to see it sadly, and all of the reports there were of dodgy framerate issues, but there were hints towards the freeform, anarchic nature of the older games, lashings of crafting and customisation, and Chinese whispers of yes it is pretty grey and brown, but I carved zombies up with a nitrous-boosted digger.
As it turns out, we can have our cake and eat it too. Alan Jarvie's art direction for this game might lean rather more towards the gritty, realistic end of the spectrum, but that's ok. The zombies in Dead Rising 3 do feel a little bit more fearsome, the tone is set a little darker, there's actually a bit of a horror feel to things this time around. But that doesn't mean you can't have hilarious, side-splitting moments of emergent brilliance and rampant hilarity. Dead Rising 3 is looking like a game that gives the best of both worlds, with enough variety in terms of game modes, customisation, and crafting to play the game however we want.
And just in case you haven't been listening to Game Buzz or read any of our stuff over the past...forever, we love choice.Click here to read more...
UK developer The Indie Stone announced last night that Project Zomboid will be making it long awaited appearance on Steam as an Early Access purchase from Friday. Considering the zombie survival sandbox title has been greenlit for quite a while now, the news will no doubt be welcomed by those who voted for its inclusion on Valve's digital marketplace many months ago.
To mark this occasion, the price for the title has been slashed over on Desura to £4.99. That's a 50% reduction on the price it will be from Friday, and purchasing on the indie-focused store will immediately grant a Steam key to pre-load the game. Those who have previous purchased the Alpha build will be able to claim a key as well, with details on how to do this found here.
A lot has changed since I last got hands-on with Project Zomboid earlier this year in a set of episodes for Dealspwn Playthrough - the engine has been revamped, the crafting system given more depth, and the struggle against zombie hordes made a much more dangerous affair. You can expect us to check out the latest build once it hits the game this Friday.
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
At this year's Gamescom, I was invited to join a press session hosted by Terry Michaels, Senior Producer on EQN, to learn a bit more about the upcoming MMO EverQuest Next, which was announced last month during SOE Live. Admittedly, a lot of the information that was shown was already fairly common knowledge, and so if you have yet to learn about what EverQuest Next involves, or just fancy a recap, you can do so by taking a gander at our reveal round-up from last month. Or, for those of you in a hurry, here’s the short version: Everquest Next is a Free-to-play sandbox MMO where players can mix and match class abilities, rip apart the world with spells and abilities to explore four levels of world depth, with each server potentially being unique depending on how players react to its story arcs. Alongside this is EverQuest Next: Landmark – a stand-alone game where players can create their own buildings and landscapes using the same tools as the developers which can then be placed in the main game (or, alternatively, players can sell them as blueprints to others for real money.) There’s a lot more detail not covered in that brief summary (and it’s certainly worth reading up on) but those are the main points.
So with that in mind, we’re going to focus on the new tidbits of information about Landmark that were revealed at Gamescom.
During the reveal we got to see two classes – the Wizard and the Warrior – but up until now we had no idea what class players would be assuming during their time in Landmark at the end of the year. Well, Michaels announced during the press session that it will be the Adventurer class that will be playable in the creation sandbox, and that any progress earned whilst playing (or creating) will transfer over into EQN. This means that, because of the multiclass setup to mix and abilities from various classes, most players should have a strong line-up of actions to perform right off the bat when EQN does go live in the future. Michaels implied that although the main focus of Landmark will be creation and a way for the community to help build the world of Norrath with the developers, it would also be the entry point for the entire EQN experience when it launched later this year.Click here to read more...
Just a quickie: Sony have informed Polygon that inFamous: Second Son is going to release in February 2014. Which I suppose is just inside the 'launch window,' if you're being generous. The anticipated Sucker Punch sequel has turned some heads for its new fire and smoke-related abilities, along with its sumptuously-modelled Seattle.
The brand new inFamous: Second Son Gamescom trailer introduces Fetch, who's seriously bad news.
Capcom have thrown together a montage of Dead Rising 3 gameplay footage, which frankly looks excellent barring an inconsistent frame rate (which could be down to the video). Well worth a watch if you're thinking about getting involved in the Xbox One launch title, since you can see an enormous range of ridiculous guns, silly costumes and outrageous combo vehicles in action.
Before you ask, Capcom have reiterated that Dead Rising 3 won't come to other platforms. Ever.Click here to read more...
Developers: Volition Inc.
Publishers: Deep Silver
The 3rd Street Saints are much more than a bunch of purple-flecked gangbangers these days. In fact, they're running the country, and you, as the Boss, now answer to the name of Mr. President. There are a bunch of familiar faces in your Cabinet -- Keith David is your VP (now playing himself rather than the duplicitous Julius), Kinzie is your Press Secretary, Shaundi is heading up the Secret Service, and Benjamin "muthaf***ing" King is now your Chief of Staff.
And they all get kidnapped by aliens.
If you thought Saints Row: The Third went a little over the top, look away now. Saints Row IV goes bigger, better, and more batshit crazy than ever before. The Earth gets invaded by a race called the Zin, a bunch of extraterrestrials who resemble what the offspring of Mortal Kombat's Baraka and Goro might look like if they ever got it on. Their leader -- Zinyak -- is an egomaniacal Brit (to hear him speak), who finds himself amused at the Saints' tenacity, and isn't adverse to throwing verses of Shakespeare at you whilst bombarding you with waves of goons to demonstrate his superior strength and intellect.
The Zin enslave the human race, beaming them up to God knows where, and incarcerating key humans, such as the President, in individual virtual prisons, not unlike the Matrix. And much like the narrative in the Wachowski brothers' sci-fi opus, the game involves you breaking down the virtual code from the inside, exploiting glitches and corrupting the code of your own simulated dungeon, and gradually turning the red of the Zin into the purple of the Saints.Click here to read more...
Dealspwn Playthrough is back, and today we're taking a look at Saints Row IV, the upcoming bundle of open-world insanity from Volition and Deep Silver that sees you play as POTUS with superpowers, attempting to thwart an alien invasion by a race called the Xin.
You can catch the first half hour of the game in our Opening Scenes video, but today we're showing a little bit of footage from the first few hours in which Matt lays the smackdown on a Xin flashpoint before using his superpowers to scale an alien tower in search of sweet XP and Cache credits.Click here to read more...
Saints Row IV is in the house. Brendan is preparing a Sunday Seven for later that highlights just why Volition and Deep Silver's open-world playpen of insanity will rock your world later this month, but in the meantime why not check out the game's opening scenes in this new video.
There are spoilers, you understand, but if you're on the fence and somehow still not sure of what to expect at this point from Saints Row IV, put it in your face.
We'd also assume that if Keith David was our friend (how we wish it were so), he'd tell you to watch this. So you should. Because Keith David told you to.*Click here to read more...
After months of waiting, chinese whispers, and downright teasing, Sony Online Entertainment finally revealed what they had up their sleaves with Everquest Next last night, and while there are still a lot of unanswered question what SOE did show was definitely something worthy of the hype they have built up over the last several months. During the keynote at SOE Live in Las Vegas, the development team took to the stage and showed how exactly they plan on making EQN the next step in the evolution of the MMO genre. We’ve got the details, including the keynote itself, for your perusal after the jump.
Be seated comfortably though, because this one, as they say, is a doosy.Click here to read more...
Guncraft, the voxel FPS that challenges players to build maps, characters, vehicles and weapons on the fly, will release on Steam on August 9th. Expect some new features and trading cards, naturally.Click here to read more...
GTA Complete Package | Gamefly | £7.00 (RRP: £39)
Voucher Code: GFDJUL20UK
Contains pretty much every Grand Theft Auto game and expansion ever released, except GTA London. Thanks to aitk3n @ HUKD!
Developers: Volition Inc.
Publishers: Deep Silver
Why is The Boss now President of the United States? Why does he find himself trapped within a virtual version of Steelport reminiscent of The Matrix? Where did these B-movie aliens and their impeccable English accents come from? Do I punch a guy in the balls or in the head for being a git? These are all questions that my hands-on time with the E3 demo for Saints Row IV threw up, and for the most part, they're all questions that I ignored.
We loved Prototype, as much as you can love a game that has The Most Bland Protagonist Ever Created as its central character. But it was the sandbox freedom that we enjoyed, helping along to no small extent by creating fantastic traversal systems and plenty of fun mechanics and powers to play (murder people) with. New York was reliably boring, but that didn't matter so much to us when we were whipping apaches out of the sky with tentacles and beating tanks into submission with their own turrets. Radical Entertainment gave us a whole bunch of fun tools and told us to go play with them.
It's an approach that Volition took to heart with Saints Row: The Third, to mixed reactions. Some embraced the silliness; others lamented that the series hadn't iterated more on the choice-laden empire building of Saints Row 2. For my part, I heartily enjoyed both games, but for admittedly different reasons.
One thing is for certain, if you found Saints Row 3 too silly for your liking, it might be best if you look away now.Click here to read more...
We won’t be getting any actual information until SOE Live in August, but Sony Online Entertainment have opened up a new website dedicated to the upcoming sequel to the original MMORPG success story – Everquest. The website contains five videos that tell a different story relating to Everquest and Everquest 2, from dressing up in costumes for a wedding, to helpful parenting tips, and winning a car. You can check them out by heading over to the Everquest Next website here.
Details are rather light on the ground at the moment, but we do know that Everquest Next will use the Forgelight engine that is currently used for Planetside 2 (which means huge open areas of land and thousands of players online at once are possible) and SOE studio head John Smedley has hinted heavily at the idea that it will be a huge sandbox game, distancing itself from the theme park experience that was Everquest 2. We’ll keep you posted on any new information as it emerges.
Click here to read more...
In our fourth episode dedicated to The Indie Stone's survival horror sandbox Project Zomboid, Carl faces off against the largest horde of zombies yet as he fights his way out of the diner. Does he survive? Do the undead finally get their fleshy meal? Will those steaks ever finish cooking? All these answers and more are in today's Dealspwn Playthrough, after the jump.
We once again return to the zombie apocalypse in the third part of our adventures of The Indie Stone's survival horror sandbox Project Zomboid. In today's episode, Carl braves the streets once more in a bid to get back to the safehouse. Hijinks ensue as he battles more undead, battles against a scratch, and finds more steaks. See it all after the jump.Click here to read more...
We return to our adventures in The Indie Stone's survival horror sandbox game with the second part of our Project Zomboid videos. In today's episode, Carl ventures out into the city in search of some much needed supplies, and faces off against his first zombie horde. See how he fares after the jump.Click here to read more...
It’s not a brand new release that we’re looking at today, but a game that has been a work-in-progress for some time. Project Zomboid from UK developers The Indie Stone puts players in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with absolutely no hope of surviving, and so in today’s episode of Dealspwn Playthrough Carl throws himself into the survival horror sandbox by giving the story mode a go in the latest stable build. See how he fares at the start of his adventure by checking out the video after the jump.Click here to read more...
So after interviewing Lead Game Designer Danny Belanger, I naturally jumped at the chance to talk to cinematic animation lead Lars Bonde about the artistic challenges Watch_Dogs poses, motion capture, his influences and what the next generation promises beyond shinier graphics.
That said, we're not above talking about Drive, guns and car chases either...
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us, Lars. Watch_Dogs must pose a massive challenge compared to other games. To my knowledge, no-one's ever had to animate someone getting splashed by a taxi before, discovering that their bank account has been hacked and his wife's leaving with the kids. That must be fun for you as cinematic animation lead!
Lars Bonde (Ubisoft): The challenge has been fun! Partially because, a lot of times in games, there are so many restrictions in terms of technology and how far you can go. But Ubisoft have been really great in saying, “you know what? Go as far as you can and then whatever you can do, we can always scale things down.” Everything has been built in layers. The AI programmer Eric [Baillargeon] has really provided a lot of those opportunities for us.
We've done a lot of motion capture, shot a lot of data, have a lot of actors and we work really closely with them on what we can do. When the car runs by [in the rain], someone has to be splashed. Yes, we're not putting water in the motion capture studio and spraying it up on them, but we have all kinds of other artefacts we can use like foam or whatever. We make sure that we have a little projector or a cannon that can blow it up on them and they can react to it. We can have something race by them so they can react to it as if it's a car.Click here to read more...