Platforms: PC (tested) | PS3 | Xbox 360
Developers: 2K Marin
Publishers: 2K Games
The year is 1962. The Bay of Pigs Crisis has just happened. Paranoia is rife on the US mainland as the Cold War begins to kick off, and the world is plunging into a quagmire of paranoia, secrecy, mistrust, and clandestine ops.
Only the Communists aren't the real enemy at all.
The above forms the basis for 2K Marin's tactical action title, and if it sounds eerily familiar, well that's because it is.
"There wasn't a “Big Bang moment” where the [XCOM] service just came into being, so we really wanted to tell an origin story, and we really liked the idea of setting the game in 1962, just after the Bay of Pigs incident," producer Nico Bihary tells me. "So you have this global atmosphere of paranoia, it's the start of the Cold War, and set against that backdrop we have this really believable story about how XCOM could be formed.
"So we have this clandestine organisation, constructed to defend against enemy threats and covering them up, but it takes time. So we wanted to zero in on the Bureau as this organisation that really hasn't matured yet technologically or organisationally to fight off a massive alien threat, but was really established early on to be a counter-intelligence group."Click here to read more...
I've roped in my flatmate to help me review Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. He knows nothing of the franchise, not of the frat-tastic fistbumping of the first two games, nor of EA's desire to distance this third game from the perceived missteps of its predecessors. He is the perfect guinea pig for this co-operative experiment.
And he has a point.
Four, maybe five hours into the game we're shooting up a graveyard somewhere in Mexico, for reasons that have thus far been totally skipped over. AI goons that all look pretty identical are running blithely into oncoming fire. My 'Alpha' is refusing to stick to cover, but on the plus side I'm earning 'Decoy' and 'Bait' points for a score that's never fully explained for leaderboards that seem to be an afterthought.
"We can be stealthy," said my character two minute earlier.
"Yeah, I can tell by your loud weapons and iconic masks," replied a sassy female operative who's joined us presumably just because she can.
This is before we activate Overkill, slow time down, and create a scenario where every round of rifle fire is explosive, and enemies explode like jam-filled piñatas.Click here to read more...
The name stands for Trans-World Ops. Visceral could have gone anywhere in the world for this game. Anywhere! But instead of being a little imaginative, Alpha and Bravo are held up in the middle of an existing (real-life) humanitarian crisis down in Mexico.
Moving that to one side, and trying to ignore the elephant in the room that is the boneheaded approach to a real-world conflict, it's so brown.
Still, this marketing trailer for a marketing demo will delight you if you get hot under the collar at a pleasing shade of ochre, or if you find tan tantalising, if you burn for bronze and salivate at the very thought of sepia.Click here to read more...
As someone who really didn't mind the fratastic boneheaded lunacy of the first two Army of Two games (hey, at least they knew exactly what they were, right?), I've been missing that bro-verloaded absence of seriousness in what I've seen of the third game thus far.
But this trailer features a little dash of Salem and Rios...and...AND...there's even a cheeky little fistbump in there.
Although vexingly it looks like it's in a cutscene.Click here to read more...
Judgment day is almost upon us! Ahem. Anyway, a new video from Kill Screen features Gears of War writers Rob Auten and Tom Bissell chatting about the complexities of penning scripts for games and how the role of the writers fits in around the game's design team.
There's also a second vid, courtesy of Microsoft, showing off some footage from the recent UK community day.Click here to read more...
Microsoft and Epic Games have dropped a new Gears of War: Judgment video onto the interwebs today, giving fans a look at the new multiplayer modes, weapons, in-game rewards, and a slew of gameplay updates.
Baird is on hand to walk interested parties through the new, class-based OverRun mode, as well as explain the deliciously dangerous new grenade types. We splurged the official blurb after the jump to go along with the informative vid.Click here to read more...
Well it was only a matter of time. Just as with Halo 4 before it, Gears of War: Judgment has leaked online, although it's done so a good month ahead of release; and, as with the Halo 4 debacle, Microsoft are threatening gamers with lifelong account and console bans if they're caught with illicit code.Click here to read more...
EDF 4/EDF 2025 has gotten itself an English language trailer. It's a bit basic, involving lots of people getting messily eaten and trampled by hilariously awful, gigantic creepy-crawlies, whilst screaming. A lot.
However, also shows off the Wing Diver suit, which will carry you out from underfoot, and let you take the fight to the alien scum from the skies.Click here to read more...
The Defiance beta key giveaway proved rather popular, and we all left beta weekend number one with flushed faces and beaming smiles. Not that we were allowed to talk about it. Anyway, the good news is that there's a second beta event coming up in under a fortnight.Click here to read more...
There will be a Gears of War: Judgment multiplayer demo, and it'll kick off on March 15th...but only if you pre-order the game from GameStop.
So that's a big middle digit to anyone outside of the US.Click here to read more...
Bravo finds himself "on the wrong end of a rocket launcher" in the second Army of TWO: The Devil's Cartel video of the week Don't worry, there are no confusing camera shots of skateboarders in this one, just a load of solid, TPS gameplay footage...which, you know, is what we actually want.
Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel will launch on March 28th for PS3 and Xbox 360.Click here to read more...
Playing through the latest short demo of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, there's an extremely strong sense of ambivalence. On the one hand, I'm in Mexico, in the present day, smack bang in the middle of one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. I know this because Visceral and EA have told me as much. It's also really brown, sandy, and dusty. On the other hand, the co-operative shooting has been tightened up immensely by new developers, Visceral Games. One side of my brain is quietly muttering, "This is wrong". The other half doesn't give a flying proverbial because it's quite a lot of fun.
At least those shades of brown look lovely. Frostbite 2 is once again the star of the show. Sandbags splutter and burst, pillars flake and crumble, and the dynamic lighting effects once inside are glorious to behold. It just seems a little bit of a shame that, given the TWO in Army of Two stands for Trans-World Ops, the developers settled here rather than, I don't know, anywhere else.
But I made these points in my post-Gamescom preview.
Getting hands-on with the game again, it's clear that Visceral have put in something of a shift. It's still really solid, and feels tighter than either of the previous games. The cover system is a simple, but crucially important feature, that feels snappy yet never sticky. The gunfire feedback, both aural and visual, is exceptional, and aiming mechanics and weapon handling feel responsive and yet also weighty and impactful, without being sluggish; Overkill yields its own reward.
After spending an inordinate amount of time blowing chunks out of pillars, I sat down with lead designer, Julien Lamoureaux for a swift chat.Click here to read more...
Thinking of making a co-operative shooter? Well, if you are, "it had better have splitscreen", according to Visceral Games, who've taken over development for Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel.
We sat down with Lead Designer Julien Lamoureaux for a brief chat at a recent press event to chat about the upcoming third-person shooter, and he told us flat out that for co-op games like Army of Two, "splitscreen is a no brainer".Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (version tested)
Developers: Insomniac Games
Publishers: EA Partners
Let's be honest; we actually rather liked the look of Overstrike - a quirky, colourful, Saturday morning cartoon of a shooter, with wildly innovative weapons, deliciously inviting and truly complimentary co-op action, and plenty of cheesy one liners. But, as Insomniac's Ted Price noted, that E3 trailer back in 2011 was more of a tantalising series of vague promises more than anything else. It was an attention-grabber, though the prospect alone would have been more than enough. Insomniac Games being given complete freedom and autonomy over their very own, completely new IP - a four-way co-operative extravaganza with unique weaponry from the people who brought you Resistance. Yes please.
But, of course, Overstrike is no more, and instead we are presented with a title that appears to have had its available colour palette dominated by greyscale, and an altogether more serious tone brought to the table. Fuse - the phoenix born from Overstrike's ashes - revolves around the same concept: four-way co-op shooter action, with plenty of outlandish weaponry upon which to feast. But it's not just a simple name change for the sake of it - which frankly we'd have disputed anyway, Overstrike is so very badass....OVERSTRIKE! - but rather a reflection of the one thing at the heart of this game. Fuse, the alien element that powers the weapons and abilities of A-Team wannabes Overstrike 9, is no longer simply a MacGuffin; it's the foundation upon which everything in this game rests.Click here to read more...
Felix rated Gears Of War 3 very highly indeed in our full review. The multiplayer is certainly fantastic, though I personally feel that longtime fans may feel let down by a campaign that refuses to match its predecessors in terms of variety or thrills (it has its moments, mind). Though we've seen Gears 3 cheaper, Amazon have the best price at the time of writing - saving you about £2 on The Hut and much more elsewhere.
All hail taswir1 at HotUKDeals.
EA and Visceral have released the Gamescom 2012 walkthrough video of Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel, showing off nearly twelve minutes of gameplay footage, and explaining the game's Overkill mechanic.
You can check out my Devil's Cartel preview here, and Jon recently wrote a rather compelling piece detailing why the game might actually be doomed from the start, and debating the game's controversial and devastatingly current setting.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (previewed)
Developers: Visceral Games
Publishers: EA Games
I always thought that there was something refreshingly honest about Army of Two. In a sea of rather serious dudebro shooters, at least Salem and Rios at least knew who and what they were, as well as the nature of their target audience. Who hasn't engaged in a little fistbump or a joyous hi-five after blasting through a particularly difficult mission in co-op with a friend next to you on the couch? Seeing that reflected in a game was satisfying. Instead of blithely ignoring the meatheaded nature of the genre, Army of Two gleefully revelled in it, and gained my respect for it. Let's face it: none of these games exactly give us a deep emotional experience or reflect on the darker side of war. The fact that it happened to be a solid little throwaway shooter made it something on an actually-not-all-that-guilty pleasure.
Which is why I might be the only person a little bit sad that The Devil's Cartel sees you play as neither Salem nor Rios, and there's nary a hint of air guitar or victory dancing in sight.
Instead of the divisive frat boys that EA Montreal created, new overlords Visceral have seemingly opted in favour of a couple of blank slates - Alpha and Bravo - deployed on a covert mission down in Central America, where they find themselves in the middle of a tumultuous Mexican drugs war. Much of the gameplay seems unchanged, although there's a lightheartedness that's missing, though the producers assure us that the game will see some banter and a few touches to provide some respite from what looks to be a rather darker setting than the PMC skullduggery of past games.
If there is one thing to be said for The Devil's Cartel, it's that dumb, violent, co-op fun has never looked better than this. Frostbite 2 once again razzles and dazzles, with so much of the cartel drug lab in which we find ourselves for our hands-on demo proving to be destructible up to a point. Furniture positively explodes into clouds of splinters, with concrete walls and pillars spitting chunks of debris with every flying bullet. It's pleasantly anarchic stuff.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360
"Coruscant is the jewel at the centre of the galaxy," explains Star Wars 1313's lead artist Dave Smith in a new dev diary we were privy to behind closed doors, tucked away in Activision's booth at Gamescom. "You think of Coruscant in a golden hour, but you go down and it gets ever darker. In every city you have a bad part of town. But this is a city made entirely of those 'bad parts of town'."
This is true. For so long, Coruscant has shone, bathed in the glorious hue of dusk, or glittering in the night sky - the diamond at the heart of Republics Old and New. But not in this game. A planet whose rich politicians enjoy a life of luxury upon the surface, hides five thousand levels of increasingly deep, dark territory. Level 1313, a place where the sun has never shone, is a pit of inequity. Here, with the weight of over a thousand levels above pressing down upon them, the gutters of the planet come teeming with criminals from all backgrounds.
"Level 1313 is a character in and of itself," we are told by LucasArts. "A dark, vast, subterranean metropolis. We wanted to make it feel oppressive." There's little idealism here. None of the spiritual binaries encompassed in Jedi or Sith, and none of their parlour tricks either. This is a place bereft of lightsabers and the Force, where one's mortality is never far from thought, and characters are couched in fifty shades of moral grey.Click here to read more...
The closed beta is done. All hail the open beta! Ghost Recon Online can now be tested out by anyone, with Ubisoft moving the game into open beta.
You'll need an Uplay account to sign up, but they're free, and chances are you'll probably have one already if you've touched an Ubisoft title in the last few years.
Ubisoft have also kicked off their weekly missions initiative. The first one - named Eagle Eye - will reward players with some rare Mark IV armour if they can maintain an accuracy of 15% over 5 matches.
You can get stuck in over on the Ghost Recon Online blog.