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First Contact | Fenix Rage is a profanity-inducing piece of precision platforming

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Fenix Rage, First Contact, Indie Games, Let's Play, PC games, Platformers, Videos

First Contact | Fenix Rage is a profanity-inducing piece of precision platforming

I've just called a bundle of pixels a "cancerous badger's nutsack". Ten seconds earlier I told the game to which these pixels belonged that I would perform an inventive, illegal sex act upon its relatives on a bed made of lava and nightmares.

Fenix Rage is an incredibly aptly-named game. It's all about dying over and over and over again and resurrecting until you just get better, and it'll make you apoplectic with rage. I for one am quite glad about this. It's given me a chance to practise my more creative swearing for Destiny's loot cave.

It's a game that's a lot like Super Meat Boy at its heart: simple controls, fine margins, increasingly complex levels, and oodles of death. But is it any good? Well, the review is on its way, but in the interim, here's a look at my first half hour with the game.

Check out the game's official site here.

Game Night | Guild Wars 2 - Fire Elementals, Refreshing Armpits, and a Dance Epidemic

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game Night, Guild Wars 2, MMOs, PC games, RPGs, Videos

Guild Wars 2 is FREE this week, and so, after a year of constant nagging, Jon and Carl finally managed to persuade me to set aside my MMO reservations once again and leap into the fray.

Everything was going swimmingly, public events were popping up all over the place, much to my delight, and after almost falling to my death, we had a nice little dance party.

And then someone suggested we go fight a massive fire elemental.

Opening Scenes | Hyrule Warriors - First 20 Mins Gameplay

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Gameplay footage, Hyrule Warriors, Nintendo, Omega Force, Opening Scenes, Videos, Wii U games

Opening Scenes | Hyrule Warriors - First 20 Mins Gameplay

I can't get enough of Hyrule Warriors. It helps, of course, that I'm quite a fan of the musou genre, but Omega Force have quite outdone themselves with this hybrid mashup. I spent much of yesterday listening to the game's outstanding soundtrack, which mainly consists of epic, widdly, J-rock variations on an abundance of Zelda themes.

Much like the OST for Pacific Rim, it instantly makes whatever you're doing seem more awesome than before.

Anyway, our review is already out, in which I gave it 8/10 and called it a bunch of fun, along with branding it as probably the best Warriors game to date:

Hyrule Warriors doesn't pretend to be anything that it isn't. It does exactly what it says on the tin, producing what is probably the best Warriors game to date, and doing so by taking many of the best aspects of The Legend of Zelda and successfully incorporating them into the classic 1-vs-1000 gameplay. The fan service is astonishing, the level of detail very welcome indeed, and the action can be truly satisfying, with the various bosses going a long way to making the repetitive action seem quite refreshing at times. A triumphant mash-up indeed.

Not only that, but we've also gone and captured the game's first battle on Hyrule Field, which features lots of Spin Attacks from Link, and an appearance from King Dodongo.

Hit the jump to see Hyrule Warriors gameplay in action >>

The Masterplan Early Access Gameplay - The Arcade Payday Hold 'Em Up

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Early Access, Games previews, Indie Games, PC games, Shark Punch, Strategy games, The Masterplan, Videos

The Masterplan Early Access Gameplay - The Arcade Payday Hold 'Em Up

The Masterplan is like a top-down Payday in many ways. The Early Access version of Shark Punch's hold 'em up is just a smattering of levels at this point, but already there's something glorious about the whole affair. Much like Starbreeze's criminal FPS, you're given a location, some intel, and it's your job to get and get out with the swag, hopefully before anyone calls the police.

Here's the official blurb:

Drawing inspiration from both legendary tactical turn-based games and classic heist movies alike, the goal of The Masterplan is to put together the right crew, get the right equipment, and finally plan and execute the biggest heist ever.

Set in the early 1970s, the game features beautiful hand-drawn 2D art and an authentic soundtrack recorded by a real band. The gameplay blends a physics-based world and a clever AI system with an easy to approach "real time with pause" user interface.

The user interface is lovely, keeping things simple and allowing players to better survey the area, identify obstacles and issues quickly, and try to plan out the perfect heist. Left-click to select, right-click to move and aim and interact, and there are a selection of useful hotkeys for brandishing weapons and (this is easy to forget at first) concealing them once more. Simple stuff, but when applied to an intricate tapestry of guard patrols, security cameras, a steady stream of potential witnesses, and obstinately locked doors, The Masterplan really comes alive. I have to talk about the music as well, because it's simply superb. The band recordings conducted for this game have brought an aural "crime caper" soundscape into the mix, with the dizzying horns rising and falling as the drama in the level unfolds and is dealt with. It's brilliant stuff.

The Masterplan Early Access Gameplay - The Arcade Payday Hold 'Em Up

It's early days indeed on the content side of things, but the core gameplay works very nicely indeed as it stands. I rather hope that the toolset of your goons expands as you progress, and I'm eager to see what other systems can be brought it to further deepen the options available to players. There's some serious potential here, but it hinges on building upon the solid foundation with some scope and ambition. One of the best things about Payday 2 was the manner in which you could specialise, and the persistent nature of progression. Borrowing those systems wholesale for this wouldn't work, but it'd be nice to see a simple continuity in your goons much like Cannon Fodder or XCOM -- improved efficiency in certain areas through use, perhaps, and (hopefully) the ability to name them ourselves. It's a simple device, but it fosters a surprisingly strong connection.

Click here to read more...

Destiny Review Impressions - Part Three | PvP and the Crucible

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Activision, Bungie, Destiny, FPS games, Videos

Probably the most fully-realised aspect of Destiny, today we turn out attention to the Crucible in this ongoing series of review impressions, taking a look at game modes, maps, and balancing.

Check out Part One: Initial Impressions.

Check out Part Two: Customisation.

Destiny Review Impressions - Part Two | Customising the Experience

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Activision, Bungie, Destiny, FPS games, Videos

Hello there Traveller! Welcome to Day Two of our ongoing series of critical vidcasts regarding Destiny. Yesterday, Carl and I shared our initial thoughts on the retail version of the game, delighting in the game's exquisite gunplay and lamenting the empty feeling of the game worlds. Today, it's all about customisation. We talk about character creation and classes before moving onto equipment, upgrading gear and the economies present in the game, and also assessing Destiny's approach to dispensing loot.

Destiny Review Impressions - Part One | Feeling Good

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Activision, Bungie, Destiny, FPS games, Videos

Bungie basically laughed in the face of conventional review-making earlier this week, surfing into town on a swagalicious wave of money and hype. So, given that conventional reviews are sort of out of the window for this action-RPG-FPS-MMO hybrid, we thought we'd bring you a running commentary of our impressions and critical thoughts over the next few days by way of a daily vidcast.

Today we take a look at the basic gunplay, the exemplary sound design, the oddly empty worlds, and the awesomeness of the Tower and ask why the hell does a new-gen game have loading times that are longer than GTA Online's.

Also, does Carl have PS4 buyer's remorse having bought a new console for this game? Or are all of his generational dreams coming true?

Let us know how you're getting on in the box below.

Bayonetta 2's Cosplay Closet | Peach, Fox, Samus and more - Taking a look at Super Mirror 64-2

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, Bayonetta 2, Cosplay, Games previews, Nintendo, Platinum Games, Videos, Wii U games

Bayonetta 2's Cosplay Closet | Peach, Fox, Samus and more - Taking a look at Super Mirror 64-2

With four Super Mirrors available in Bayonetta 2 (although only one that we can talk about currently), there's a fair bit of opportunity to play dress-up in Platinum's madcap action bonanza. To give you an idea of what to expect, hit the jump for a bunch of gameplay footage of Bayonetta in action, dressed in a variety of costumes and outfits from Super Mirror 64-2.

The Super Mirror's are all available at different intervals via Rodin's shop -- The Gates of Hell -- and the Mirrors themselves all cost 100,000 in currency. Unfortunately, you only get one costume included in that price (for 64-2 it's Fox's outfit), and every other costume costs another hundred grand as well. Cosplaying is an expensive pastime when you're an Umbra Witch.

Bayonetta 2's Cosplay Closet | Peach, Fox, Samus and more - Taking a look at Super Mirror 64-2

The effects that the costumes have on the game itself are fairly minimal -- this is pure bonkers fan service, and there's nothing wrong with that. Most of the little changes are cosmetic, but there's something undeniably grin-inducing about rolling a Morphball about the place, or kicking the butts off of angels and demons with a set of tiny Arwings.

Click here to read more...

Let's Play... Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition - Adventure Mode

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, Gameplay footage, PS4 games, Videos, Xbox One Games

Let's Play... Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition - Adventure Mode

The new Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition has been devouring our time here at Castle Dealspwn lately. Jon's putting the finishing touches to his review and I recently put together a beginner's tips guide. After getting back from my hols though I've finally been able to finish the campaign mode which, as players of the original version will know, has meant the Adventure mode has finally unlocked.

This part of Diablo III's end-game sees you tasked with bounties or killcount targets to bring in some seriously fat XP and gold rewards, not to mention all sorts of shiny loot. Blood Shards are rare rewards too and also a new currency that allows you to gamble for some exceptionally rare items. So, take a look at my new video and see some early missions and bounties I take on during my first day with Adventure mode. This is also where you earn keystone fragments to unlock the raid-like Rift missions. We'll have some coverage of those soon, although I'm wondering if I had better hit Lv. 70 first.

Click here to watch the video.

VIDEO | What's New in Infamous: First Light?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Action Games, DLC, Expansion, Infamous: First Light, PS4 games, Sandbox games, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sucker Punch, Videos

VIDEO | What's New in Infamous: First Light?

Infamous: First Light is out in the US today, and our review went live earlier. Here's what we said about the game:

Infamous First Light packs a whole bunch of content in at a decent price, and fleshes out Second Son's most interesting character in fine fashion, with a sibling story that tugs at the heartstrings thanks to another great performance from Bailey. It's an extension, perhaps, more than an expansion -- more of the same sort of thing, but with a slightly different flavour -- but given how much fun Second Son was, that's no bad thing.

But if you're still uncertain whether or not to buy the standalone prequel to Second Son, here's a little look in more depth at some of the changes you can expect to find playing as Fetch rather than Delsin, along with a video of the game's opening 10 minutes.

Click here to read more...

VIDEO INTERVIEW | What's next for WildStar?

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Gamescom 2014, Interviews, MMOs, NCsoft, Videos, WildStar

It's been almost three months since WildStar launched, and the team at Carbine Studios have already dropped two sizable content patches into the game. They're not done yet though, and so to learn a bit more about what is in store for the MMORPG I sat down with Lead System Designer Nick Roth at this year's Gamescom. We get the lowdown on the new zone of the Defile, the first in-game holiday event Shades Eve, and the all-new 5-man dungeon The Ultimate ProtoGames.

Gourmet Wizard Bacon - Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #2

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Josh Sawyer, Let’s Play, Obsidian Entertainment, PC games, Pillars Of Eternity, RPGs, Videos

Gourmet Wizard Bacon - Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #2

We left our fiery Godlike, Garion, and his merry band of personality-less beta backer templates poised on a knife edge last time. Would we admit that we'd allowed the baby murderer to escape, or would we attempt to lie and sow misinformation amongst Medreth and his goons?

To be honest, it all seemed like the perfect setup for a bit of amateurish combat. Only here's the thing... I got slaughtered within 30 seconds the first time wrong.

Thankfully, I'd also forgotten to hit the record button so the scenes of my extreme failure are lost lost. But the point is that modern games and mouse-spamming hack'n'slash titles have made me soft. Diablo III is a perfect example: it's a game you can play incredibly drunk. Or sleepy. Or while doing two other things simultaneously. Pillars of Eternity, like the Infinity Engine games before it, demands one's full attention. And then laughs at you by overruning you with combat boars.

BUT I HAVE FIREBALLS, WILD PIGGEHS! HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?!

Ahem.

Click here to read more...

Kidnappers and Baby Murderers: Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #1

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beta, Josh Sawyer, Let's Play, Obsidian Entertainment, PC games, Pillars Of Eternity, RPGs, Videos

Kidnappers and Baby Murderers: Adventures in the Pillars of Eternity Beta #1

Some pretty grim things have been going on the Dyrwood. A betrothed noblewoman passing through the village on the way to the altar has gone missing. There's a orlan woman holed up in the pub who's apparently guilty of murdering a bunch of babies. Soldiers are clashing with townsfolk and an all out class war is brewing in the streets and in downed flagons of ale.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the place is surrounded by bandits and brigands and ogres and a dragon who's gone and burned the face off of the potions merchant.

Into the thick of this omnishambles we stride -- a fiery, horn-topped Godlike Cipher, and a band of nondescript party members -- determined to fix things. I like to try and be honest, I'm a bit of a smartypants at times, and I do like a clever quip here and there. One of the best things about the early parts of the beta, and the conversation options is that you can construct your character's personality through interaction. Will you be reasonable or quick to temper? A cruel mercenary or an honest hero with genuine good will? You can turn off all of the character highlights if you want to make decisions based simply on the writing and the lines of dialogue, and you can choose to have the options unavailable to your particular character build vanish so you don't know what you're missing.

It all depends what sort of role-playing experience you want to have.

Apparently mine involves terribly accented voices performed by yours truly. Pressures of the "record" button and all that jazz. In any case, here's a little walkthrough of what to expect in the first half hour of the Pillars of Eternity backer beta.

Nintendo: Smashing it in Convention Season - Gamescom Showcase Impressions

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
3DS Games, Bayonetta 2, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Nintendo, Splatoon, Super Smash Bros. 3DS, Super Smash Bros. Wii U, Videos, Wii U games

Nintendo: Smashing it in Convention Season - Gamescom Showcase Impressions

Nintendo don't often make much of Gamescom. In the past, they've actually been fairly rubbish at noticing Europe is even here to be honest, in spite of Iwata highlighting the issue several times over the past few years.

But they turned up to this year's show with a host of playable games to demo to the public, and behind closed doors they didn't bother with flashy presentations or snooze-inducing, heavily-scripted developer walkthroughs where you watch someone else play the game, instead they just let people play and let the games speak for themselves.

Letting the games speak for themselves could well be Nintendo's motto. They've never been the best when it comes to corporate communication or getting the word out (the mind-bending originality of the Wii, and that console's aggressive Ant-and-Dec-fronted marketing aside) but their games shine when placed in the perfect environment. It's a shame in some ways that it's only after you've picked up a Wii U and played some of the exceptional titles on offer that the console's essential nature reveals itself.

Nintendo: Smashing it in Convention Season - Gamescom Showcase Impressions

Thankfully, over 300,000 people had the chance to do just that at this year's show.

Jon and I have both gone hands-on with a number of Nintendo's upcoming titles now, so we thought we'd have a little chat about some of the highlights for the Japanese company from this year's show.

Click for our Nintendo @ Gamescom discussion >>

Character creation in Pillars of Eternity is vast and deep and brilliant | Dealspwn Playthrough

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Dealspwn Playthrough, Josh Sawyer, Obsidian Entertainment, PC games, Pillars Of Eternity, RPGs, Videos

 

Character creation in Pillars of Eternity is vast and deep and brilliant | Dealspwn Playthrough

I spend an inordinate amount of time creating characters for RPGs. For my first runthrough of any game where you can stamp your personality on proceedings, I always like to play naturally, making decisions that I would make, immersing myself in roles close to my heart depending on whatever I'm feeling at that time. I tend towards offensively capable builds, mixing melee stylings with a bit of magic wherever possible.

I pore over stats and attribute screens, deliberating over single points, trying to give myself wiggle room as a conversationalist. Lockpicking and trap setting nearly always come in second to having the gift of the gab. Talking my way into and out of situations has always been something I've revelled in here in the real world, small wonder that I like my avatars to be able to do the same.

Character creation in Pillars of Eternity is vast and deep and brilliant | Dealspwn Playthrough

Thankfully, Pillars of Eternity is stuffed with options when it comes to character creation, if the beta is anything to go by. Choosing between the two sexes is straightforward enough, but then there are six races, each with a few sub-races from which to choose too, then you need to choose between the eleven classes on offer, knowing that all of them are relatively flexible when it comes to the next stage: Attributes. The beta dishes out plenty of points, and there's no wrong way to build a character, but that almost makes it worse. The paralysis of choice and all that.

What I love already about Pillars is that there are options here in character creation that barely have any mechanical impact whatsoever, things like determining your cultural background and your place in the world. Chatting with Josh Sawyer, the game's Project Lead, a few weeks ago, it became clear that these sections are almost entirely included to give players a chance to role play in a deeper fashion, fleshing out the backstories and origins of their characters, and creating a deeper, richer narrative that really roots characters in the lore of the game and the world that Obsidian have created.

Have an in-depth gander at character creation in Pillars of Eternity >>

Hohokum Review | Worms United

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Cross-buy, Hohokum, Honeyslug, PS Vita games, PS3 games, PS4 games, Richard Hogg, Sony Santa Monica, Videos

Hohokum Review | Worms United

Hohokum is beautifully endearing, whimsically comical, filled with bold colours and sumptuous aural dreamscapes. Its fluid mechanics are simple and straightforward, allowing players to concentrate on finding ways to interact with the cartoonish worlds and uncovering little visual rewards for their troubles.

But I found it to be somewhat problematic at first.

Hohokum feels like you're playing through a drug-induced cartoon from half a century ago in some ways. I half expected to be ambushed by Blue Meanies as I meandered through its myriad worlds. It's lovely to behold with its bright, bold colour scheme and cutesy art courtesy of Richard Hogg. I spent a good deal of time in one chamber of the game where the long, snake-like, cycloptic rainbow eel thingy that you control links up with a bunch of friends and they all respond to your controller inputs for a bit. It was like playing with a virtual spirograph, and I just danced for a bit with my rainbow eel chums and I looked up and I'd been doing it for almost half an hour.

That's probably my favourite bit of Hohokum so far, to be honest. it's a simple game once you peel away the quirky art. You steer this one-eyed spectrum snake around, occasionally slowing it down, sometimes speeding it up. And that's it. There are a bunch of multi-screen levels to the game that present you with some sort of bizarre tableau and just leave you to figure things out for yourselves. It's like a PixelJunk Proteus in some ways, or what Nokia's Snake did during the acid years, forgetting all about eating that square pixel, and going on a colourful bender.

Click here to read more...

VIDEO | Hohokum is a colourful, artsy, interactive cartoon that might make your heart soar

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Cross-buy, Hohokum, Honeyslug, Let's Play, PS Vita games, PS3 games, PS4 games, Richard Hogg, Sony Santa Monica, Videos

...or leave you feeling bored, confused, and shrugging

Hohokum is another one of those arty games that's going to polarise people. Some will hold it up as an example of unconventional interactive entertainment and proof that games can and are art. Others will passionately argue that it isn't even a game. There will be those that miss the point completely, some for whom this really isn't their thing. Equally, there will be others that pronounce Hohokum to be one of the best things to be seen all year.

I like the way it encourages a genuine spirit of "play" in a manner that's rather unique.

It's a combination of beautiful, striking art from Richard Hogg, various aural dreamscapes that soothe and relax, and fluid mechanics that aren't explained outright, instead encouraging you to discover little cartoonish vignettes through direct interaction as well as poring over the scenery with your eyes.

It's quite possibly the bubble bath of gaming.

The review's on its way.

Claptrap Unleashed - Carl chats to the producers of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
2K Australia, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, FPS games, Games previews, Gamescom 2014, Gearbox Software, Interviews, Videos

How come Claptrap can navigate stairs in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Why the hell does he need oxygen? What's the most badass, awesome thing in a game overflowing with badassery and awesomesauce?

Carl catches up with Gearbox's James Lopez and 2K Australia's Joel Eschler at this year's Gamescom to find out, and get the lowdown on the latest addition to the playable roster for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

VIDEO | Easing into Elite: Dangerous' Dogfighting

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Elite: Dangerous, Frontier Developments, PC games, Space sims, Videos

 

VIDEO | Easing into Elite: Dangerous' Dogfighting

I haven't used a flight stick in years, but there's something incredibly soothing about running my fingers over the firm grip of my new Thrustmaster and jumping headfirst into the Elite: Dangerous beta. There are more button inputs than actual buttons on the Hotas X (and it's not exactly short on those), but Elite is a fiddly game that takes a bit of setting up when you first jump in.

Miy first foray into the vast expanses of space took an abrupt turn for the worst when I confused a Federation police ship for the pirate target I was hunting down, and was promptly blown out of the inky black sky, at which point I thought I'd better take on a few of the combat scenario missions to chip away the years of rust, and get up to speed with the nuances of hurling a Sidewinder around the place.

VIDEO | Easing into Elite: Dangerous' Dogfighting

Click here to read more...

Top Five Surprises of Gamescom 2014

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Gamescom 2014, Videos

It's been a fairly eventful Gamescom thus far, and we're going to have plenty of previews and interviews and hands-on impressions going live over the next few weeks. There have been some rather big surprises over the last 48 hours too, and here are five things that have been announced or unveiled this week that have really captured our attention.