I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day about The Last of Us, and how one of the best things about the game is that it grabs you right from the start with that incredibly powerful opening fifteen minutes, and how he found himself shedding a tear or two at the culmination of the prologue, such was it's impact.
I cry at films and books and the occasional piece of music a fair bit. Not necessarily because what I'm taking in fills me with a sense of sadness, it's more that I find myself rather susceptible to emotional overloads, particularly when there are multiple forces at work. You'd perhaps expect, then, that games by their very nature would be even more successful at eliciting such an emotional response, but it's a difficult thing to pull off.
Not for the following ten games, mind.
NB. Be aware that there are some pretty major spoilers for a number of games after the jump.Click here to read more...
This collection was one of the first of the HD re-releases to be announced and since then we’ve had many more come and go. With the long development time, you’d expect perfect conversions, with little need for rose-tinted glasses to help you get through it. So let’s take a look.
For many gamers, this will be their first taste of these games, and after going back to check the PS2 versions you can see there are clear improvements thanks to the high-definition remodelling. There are also a few downsides, but more on those later.
Ico is the first title you’ll want to play through. Far from a game-long escort mission as you might have heard, this is still one of the most original titles out there. You play as a small boy, abandoned in a castle by his village for being born with horns. After escaping your would-be coffin, you find a fellow prisoner to free, the ethereal girl, Yorda. By holding R1, you take her hand, forming one of gaming’s greatest bonds.
From here, you must both try to escape the castle and its sinister Queen. You can climb ledges, shimmy, rope climb and pull levers to navigate the environment. Yorda’s movement is limited to jumps and climbing low walls with you often having to reach out a helping hand.Click here to read more...
If you own a PS3 and you've never played either of these two games then, frankly, shame on you. You're missing out on two beautifully crafted experiences of artistic development. How we howled in rage when Sony announced that backwards compatibility on the PS3, our only doorway back to the past for those of us who blithely sold their PS2s, would become a thing of the past itself. It does allow them to cheekily re-release old games with a shiny makeover, though, and we'd be frustrated by that...but seeing people making a fuss over Team ICO again is frankly worth it.Feast your eyes upon the launch trailer for ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection below...
Is it a bad thing that the recently announced Zone of the Enders and Metal Gear Solid Collections have garnered more attention than some big-budget blockbuster releases? Is the current crop of next-generation offerings so bad we're forced to reserve excitement for HD ports? Maybe so, maybe not. Perhaps it's just nostalgia. Regardless, the latest Team Ico Collection trailer has hit the net, showing the visual leap between the old PS2 tech and the steps made in the remake, along with a release date for the bundle; the 22nd of September, this year!Click here for the trailer
Sorry, everyone, but I'm probably about to ruin your whole day. Sony and Team ICO have confirmed that their two hotly-anticipated titles, The Last Guardian and the ICO/Shadow Of The Colossus HD Remix, have been officially delayed and will miss their launch windows. We might see the HD collection before the end of the year, but it's likely that we'll have to wait until 2012 for The Last Guardian.
Full details - and a statement from Team Ico boss Fumito Ueda - below.Click here for the heartbreaking details >>
The release of the Shadow of the Colossus/Ico HD collection was just beginning to loom on the horizon when this black cloud thrust itself in the way. Now it looks likely that the game will receive an autumn/winter release rather than the Spring date we had previously been told to expect.Click here to see why...
Our favourite pastime is becoming more and more ubiquitous these days, with a third of Brits claiming to be gamers and a whopping 74% of the 18-24 audience gaming regularly. However, many of us seem to be having an identity crisis. According to a new survey of over 2000 subjects (commissioned by developer/publisher PlayFirst), only 40% of males 'strongly' identify themselves as gamers, despite two in every three subjects playing games on a daily basis (including casual games or iPhone apps) on a daily basis.
60% of females who play games regularly also refuse to identify themselves as gamers. While the entertainment medium is becoming as common as reading, music or even reading in some age groups, there still appears to be a stigma attached to the label. [Gamesindustry]
I'm a gamer. Are you? Does the term 'gamer' still have a derogatory connotations... or have we grown beyond the need for the word altogether? Have your say in the comments!
A quick look at the comprehensive creation suite suggests that LBP2 might well be the last game we'll ever need to buy. However, every games company in the world has now been given a few months of extra breathing space as the release date has been been pushed back into January 2011.
Media Molecule will apparently be using the time to polish LBP2 in order to ensure that it "gives you the best experience imaginable". Which, in devspeak, means that it isn't anywhere near ready yet. [Media Molecule]
We all know that godawful movie adaptations of videogames far outnumber the few half-decent attempts out there. Seriously, we're spoiled for choice. This has made us more than a little suspicious about Misher Films' upcoming take on Shadow of the Colossus... but executive producer Kevin Ping Chang has updated us on the current progress of the project. Surprisingly, it appears to be shaping up rather well.
Chang has reassured us that the colossi battles will be momentous affairs that won't use montages to shorten the action, and that series creator Fumito Ueda is being kept in the loop at every stage.
“I think people realize the value of having the creator’s involvement more nowadays. They obviously know the material the best. We want Ueda’s feedback as much as possible, especially in terms of knowing certain character’s motivations for what they’re doing, where the character is born, etc. With that information we can begin to build the movie.”
It's always great to see directors actively seek out the creator's feedback... and as one last reassurance, Chang has revealed that he's an avid fan of the game and has completed it several times. Team ICO fans can sleep a little easier. [Play Till Doomsday]
We reported that some odd shenanigans were happening over at Good Old Games earlier this week, with the online distribution company claiming to have shut down. However, we correctly identified this as a PR stunt... and it's now out of Beta and open for business once again. Account access is now back to normal.
Listen up, GOG: A publicity stunt is no excuse for denying your members access to their accounts and games portfolios. Shame on you.
Happy 121st Birthday, Nintendo! [thanks, Kotaku]
Ok, so its release is still an age away, but nothing in the gaming universe was ever going to excite me more than the looming arrival of both a new Team Ico game and the remastered rerelease of my Favourite Game Ever. If you have already played either of these two games then you will know why they are special and if you have not then you owe yourself the chance to find out. Both titles feel like works of art as well as games and, while their stories are very simple, leave a lasting effect on the player, with a subtlety of tone and a poignancy rarely found in this medium. I am not sure how well they will transfer to HD but i am looking forward to finding out. Thanks to Bob100 at Hotukdeals!
Our regulars may remember that we caught wind on a secret parallel project that Ninja Theory were running in parallel with Enslaved. Subsequent rumours appeared to suggest that this project might be none other than the next Devil May Cry... and Capcom have just announced that this is right on the money.
Entitled simply DMC, this new stylish hack & slash promises to deliver a little backstory to set up Dante's larger-than-life character. Here's what we know, fresh from the press release.
“Set against a contemporary backdrop, DmC will depict a duplicitous world where nothing is ever as it seems and the line between good and evil is constantly blurred. Spurred into action by the promises of a trusted relation, Dante bursts into this world intent on revenge at any cost.”
It's far too soon to talk release dates, but naturally DMC has been confirmed for both Xbox 360 and PS3. We'll keep you updated by the wire.
Yet Another rumour has been confirmed courtesy of the Tokyo Game Show! We've been howling about the possibility of a PS3 HD revision of Team ICO's classic titles for months now... and finally, the poorly kept secret has been let out of the bag.
“We can confirm that we will be releasing an HD version of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. More information will follow during the Media Briefing at TGS tomorrow ”- SCEJ Rep to VG247
It's about damn time... and we'll be bringing you the details tomorrow. [Thanks, VG247]
Famitsu magazine has spilt the beans on the crossover project from the (worrying) minds of Suda 51 and Shinji Mikami. We promised you that we'd deliver the details as soon as we heard anything... so here goes.
It's entitled Shadow of the DAMNED; and will feature motorbikes, demonslaying and a hellacious romp through the underworld. We'll know more after the EA presser later on today- but at least you're now ahead of the curve! Shadow of the DAMNED apparently has a Summer 2011 release date, and we'll keep you informed after EA reveals the full details. [via 1UP]
Xbox 360 owners have been able to get their teeth into an early taste of Dead Rising 2 with the exclusive Case 0 prologue... but Capcom has now announced that their upcoming survival horror sequel will also have an exclusive epilogue to round things off.
Due to our incessant begging for some closure for Frank West (the beloved protagonist of the original Dead Rising), the intrepid photographer will be back in the imaginatively-titled Case: West. I guess there's a case to be made that this is slightly spoileriffic... but hey, we're just glad to see Frank back.
With EA's Online Pass and THQ's similar systems, not to mention Ubisoft's dalliance with game-breaking DRM, sneakily worming holes into the pockets of gamers everywhere and trying to stifle and suffocate the used games market, Treyarch have issued a statement suggesting that siphoning more money out of your audience isn't necessary to promote new games, and that they will be instead be advocating massive post-release support to gamers from trading in their copies:
'I want to take that in the other direction and bring consumers really great reasons to keep their games, rather than trade them in,' said studio head Mark Lamia. 'Multiplayer is critical to the success of this series. It has such tremendous staying power – there are millions of people playing Call of Duty every day.
'It’s entertaining people on a magnitude that’s mind-blowing and we work really hard to make sure it’s supported for a long time. The effort that goes into the multiplayer is a living thing – we have a team that continues to work on it for World At War. We’ve done that for a long time and expect to do so for this game.“We’re going to support the hell out of Black Ops. That will be our focus post-release: making sure we keep our fans engaged, and hopefully as a result, they’ll want to keep playing our game and won’t want to trade it in.'
Considering Bobby Kotick's ruminations regarding possible subscription fees, we rather think that this is excellent news. No one time codes for Black Ops' multiplayer is a refreshing statement of intent. It's sad to see it being touted as a heroic achievement though: multiplayer is a boxed standard, not a special feature.[MCV]
Shock horror! Another developer prefers to build on the X360 rather than the PS3. The Force Unleashed's producer Cameron Suey has admitted in an interview that PS3 version of the lightsaber-toting game was broadly inferior because of the building process, suggesting that he prefers 'putting builds on the 360' and that 'There were times, especially on the original Force Unleashed, where on the PS3, we weren't quite up to speed.'
That said, the game was still fairly average on both console platforms, with few immediately visible differences. This isn't the first time, though, that Sony fans might well have felt a certain pang of indignation at the fact that the superior power of the PS3 is being hampered by a number of developers preferring to build most of their games mostly using the Xbox before then broadening out and porting across in the final third. [GamesRadar]
Well Sony still haven't fully confirmed it yet, but there's yet more fire to feed flames of the rumours surrounding the possibly impending release of a Team Ico bundle on PS3. It would appear that American shopping giant Walmart is taking pre-orders for a double bundle pack featuring Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
Forget God of War, forget your Killzone 3...this would be an absolutely magnificent addition to the PS3's arsenal. Rumour or not, this is absolutely something we want! [Kotaku]
Game Buzz is a weekly opinion column designed to take an irreverent look at one of the biggest news stories to break in the past week. Every Friday we’ll be bringing you another slice of reaction to topical gaming news, and inviting you to agree, disagree, shout assent, vent rage, scream and complain to you heart’s delight. This week, following Roger Ebert's apology (of sorts) for his stance on the games vs. art debate, Felix wades into the battle to ask what the hell the fuss is all about.
Yesterday, Roger Ebert, an outspoken critic of videogame's merits as an art form, conceded he "was a fool for mentioning videogames in the first place". Ebert is considered the most important film critic alive (the dead critics only watch George Romero films), but drew ire from the videogame community when he claimed the medium "can never be art". As expected, countless fans bombarded his site arguing quite the opposite, Matt did a previous piece in the series rubbishing the movie critic's stance, but Ebert was unperturbed.
Until now. Confessing he had no basis for his claims, having never played a videogame in his life, Ebert admitted he shouldn't have said that, but still believed in what he said. So... you were wrong for saying videogames weren't art, but still think what you said is right? Regardless of Ebert's double-negative, bend-bending semantics, it brings us yet again to the well-worn question, 'Can Videogames Be Art'?
Roger Ebert claims Citizen Kane is his favourite film. I studied Orson Welles' magnum opus in college, and found the opening scene, drifting up the grounds of Xanadu as the great building itself remains the same position despite the constantly shifting perspective, an amazing cinematic achievement, particularly considering the film was made in 1941. I was born in 88, almost forty years later, when TVs were the size of small cars and people wore jeans just below the nipple, so I can only assume the 40s were a fairly primitive place.
Citizen Kane is considered the greatest film of all time, pioneering cinematic techniques and narrative conventions. It's considered to be the film that propelled the medium into being an art form, paving the way for the likes of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Laurence of Arabia and Vin Diesel's eye-opening insight into the world of male nannies, The Pacifier. The videogame industry, according to people like Roger Ebert, is still awaiting its Citizen Kane before it can ever be even considered an art form.
My problem with all of this? Citizen Kane is BORING! I'm pretty sure when I was watching it in class, Gears of War had just arrived through my letterbox, and all I could think of, as Welles kept muttering about sleds from his deathbed, was Epic's bloody, brutal assault on brain-cells and narrative coherence. Citizen Kane, and Ebert's choice of it as his favourite film and a powerful weapon in supporting his anti-videogame claims, is so indicative of those stubborn, old-school types so petrified of change. Videogames scare them, because they live on discs too small to fit on their gramophone player.
With the aftermath to the Lost finale still brewing, we at Dealspwn thought it was a perfect time to remember our favourite, and not so favourite, videogame endings, from the emotional and the exhilarating, to the downright bad and ugly. So put on your nostalgia goggles, and if you spot a game you've been holding off on, I advise you avert your gaze to our lovely list of writers and current competitions!
With the last colossi vanquished, you return to Dormin's lair to claim your reward and resurrect Mono. Only Lord Emon's men stick a sword in your chest, and you're then possessed by Dormin himself, who reveals the sixteen colossi contained all his power, and with each of their deaths, Wander's been storing Dormin's fractured essence, making him the perfect vessel. The Dormin-possessed Wander is ultimately slain by Emon, who casts Wander's sword into a magical pool.
It seems like all is lost, but then Mono awakens from her deathly slumber, and with a somehow still-alive Aggro, she finds a baby infant with horns sprouting from its brow, in the same pool which destroyed Wander and Dormin. Ico anyone?
So not only do you not play the Master Chief in the final level, putting a stop to a rampaging King Kong wannabe wielding Thor's hammer, then, just to tease you, the game switches perspectives to Master Chief, aboard the Prophet of Truth's Forerunner dreadnought, on-route to Earth.
Epic finale? The last clash of swords to decide the victor? Nope. Just a succinct marketing quote and a credits roll. It soon became clear Bungie stumbled a few times during Halo 2's development, and half the game was sheared off, resulting in this jarring ending. But come on? Not even a climactic race to escape the dreadnought and return to Earth? Or a Grunt-suit to sneak around in?
Recent reports indicate that a Blu-Ray bundle of pure gaming joy (and a fair bit of misery) may be headed to the PS3 early next year. According to a TSA report, a reskinned HD collection of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus could well be with is as soon as Q1 2011.
It's still all relayed rumours and whispered prophecies at this stage- but with mulitple sites reporting the same story, there's probably some weight to this one. The Team Ico titles were some of the finest and most nuanced experiences ever coded and we'd be delighted to see them make a next-gen appearance. [TSA]
Due to a combination of laziness and gaming's ever-increasing popularity, movie adaptations of videogames are becoming more and more prevalent in today's cinema. Our recent game buzz and movie news bulletins have chronicled Hollywood's increasing desire to bring our gaming heroes to the silver screen, with Uncharted, Hitman 2 and even a newly-announced Mass Effect movie on the horizon. These films are typically viewed with a mixture of resentment, fear and disappointment (due to the fact that they tend to suck beyond all reason).
However, David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake and writer of the original (and best) X-Men movie, believes that the videogame movie genre can learn from comic book adaptations. According to the legendary voice actor, recent successful comic adaptations (Iron Man, X-Men, Dark Knight etc.) have learned the value of the original comic book stories and source material- learning lessons from early failures.
"If you don't take the source material seriously, then you're never going to adapt it well. And you're certainly never going to adapt it to the standards of video game fans, who are pretty exacting and have come to expect a pretty serious product when they put down their money. [Executives] don't really appreciate how elevated that medium has become, and how far beyond studio movies video games have become."
Wise words indeed. Studio execs need to learn that game movies will continue to suck until the writers respect our beloved source material. [Kotaku]
We've been keeping a close eye on the Microsoft management reshuffle- and it's finally happened. In a surprise move, Robbie Bach has stepped down from his post, apparently because he could not commit to another three years of contractual Xbox development. J Allard has also resigned- but will remain in the Entertainment & Devices Division as an official advisor. Considering that he sired the Xbox and played a key role in Microsoft's first foray onto the internet, his expertise will be sorely needed with Natal around the corner. [1UP]
Bungie's recent deal with Activision has been dominating the recent headlines, but EA isn't to be outdone. Ratchet and Clank developers Insomniac Games has signed a multiplatform deal with EA, opening up their gaming audience threefold. Now that the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared, here's a quick roundup of what we know!
Look, we tried to resist. But how often does the chance to review a decade come along? Er. Yeah, you’re right, pretty much every ten years. Obviously.
And so, while it’s a bit of a cliché to do it, we couldn’t not.
The first decade of the 21st Century has seen the greatest quantum leap ever in gaming technology. Some will no doubt counter this with the old 1979 argument about Space Invaders, the early 80s rise of the Atari system or the arrival of computers into the home.
But consider this: if you shunned the milennium parties and decided to stay home on New Year’s Eve 1999 for a bit of a games sesh, you would have been doing it with... a PlayStation. The PS2 was still a few months away, even for the earliest of Japanese early adopters, while the original XBOX didn’t reach the UK until early 2002. And your average turn-of-this-century home PC basically featured a whopping 8GB hard drive and, if you were lucky, 128MB of RAM. Woo.
In parallel with these developments, games have also had a great decade. It might not always seem like that, and we will, of course, always be cursed with crappy film tie-ins and generic releases that should never have left the drawing board (a stage which, in many cases, appears to have been just days earlier). But there have been some breathtakers.
First of all, I should perhaps qualify my list. It’s numbered as a Top Ten but isn’t really in any order. It is also a console list as my laptop is a work machine: if I started gaming on it, I’d never see a deadline again. Hell, from what I’ve seen, if I ever started playing World of Warcraft I’d never see real sunlight again.
Finally, it’s a personal thing. There have been thousands of games this decade so the percentage I’ve played is, by definition, a very small one. Some things will have passed me by and I may well have missed your favourites. So I’m sorry for that – but hey, that’s what the “comments” are for...Click here to find out Neil's Top Ten Games of the Noughties...