Microsoft aren't messing about when it comes to Xbox One exclusives, and they've got an early foot in the door. Following a strong start last Christmas, they've secured a fearsome suite of big games from shooters to racers, platformers, dancing games, Kinect showcases, insane open worlds and even a radical new editing suite powered by user-generated content.
Though we'll have to wait and see whether they actually live up to the hype, here are the hottest exclusives slated for 2014 along with the European release dates for your calendar.
"Gone are the artificial walls and fences of the first game, with barriers placed far more realistically this time around. If you want to fashion yourself a shortcut in a race, the chances are that you can. If you want to veer off the beaten track and tear up a vineyard, you absolutely can. Wooden fences are there to be smashed in the name of curiosity, the European countryside a canvas on which you can paint a petrol masterpiece. But the roads themselves real natural rather than purposefully crafted , and it's clear that Playground have done their research." - Forza Horizon 2 hands-on previewClick here to read more...
UPDATE: ALL CODES HAVE NOW GONE OUT, CHECK YOUR INBOXES!
We've given our PS4 gamers the chance to get a hold of a beta key for our most anticipated shooter in years, but fear not Xbox fans, we didn't forget about you. In fact, we have a bunch of codes to give away on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. The codes are not region locked either so they should work wherever you're playing.
The hype for Bungie's upcoming shooter has been building significantly since players got their hands on the Alpha build and with new missions and extra multiplayer maps to enjoy in the latest Beta version, we really think you should give it a try.Click here to enter the draw.
With Jon posting his hottest upcoming PS4 titles piece yesterday, something has become abundantly clear: Sony are rather on the slim side when it comes to exclusives this autumn and winter. LittleBigPlanet 3 is a game that the PS4 is crying out for, but it's being developed outside of the walls of Media Molecule's offices. PlanetSide 2 offers the expansive-yet-accessible F2P FPS that the new-gen platform has been crying out for, but why the hell has it taken so long, and will anyone care given that the game has been free and awesome on PC for years? We've struggled collectively as a team to muster even a smidgen of enthusiasm for Driveclub after a PR omnishambles and countless delays, especially given that the racing genre is packed to the gills this year and Evolution are facing staunch competition from the likes of Forza Horizon 2 and The Crew.
And I'm going to punch the next person who crows about The Last of Us Remastered like it's the sodding Second Coming.
Wightmad suggested that the Wii U is getting better exclusives than this. Looking at Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros, I'm inclined to agree.
But, as we've suggested before, Sony are playing a long game indeed, and they're using the same weapons Microsoft employed with the Xbox 360 to do so: third-party partnerships. We could discuss the ethics of this until everyone involved is blue in the face, but the fact remains that both companies are investing heavily in cultivating third-party partnerships and bringing exclusive snippets of big-name games back from the haggling table. It could be as simple as running exclusive ads with your console appearing at the end, or something as brazen as securing a massive chunk of gameplay.
Microsoft have already done this with FIFA, essentially making Ultimate Team an exclusive piece of DLC. That's a big audience, football is massive, and people will jump ship for that. But Sony are doing something even more daring. They're going after Halo fans.
They're going after me.Click here to read more...
Watch Dogs | Grainger Games | £29.99 | Review
Watch Dogs is cracking game in so many ways. The chases are awesome, the ways you can manipulate the city of Chicago are pretty damn cool, and I got a real kick out of some of the infiltration and intrusion missions. But it's also enormously bloated. There's a lot of content here, and it's certainly worth picking up, but you can't help but feel that Ubisoft could have trimmed off a large quantity of excess fat here.
Still, £29.99 for it on next-gen consoles is a top shout. Hats off to Bure11 for spotting it.
After a successful Alpha test last month, we've been itching to play more Destiny and have been all over the new Beta which launched earlier this week. Our first video of the new build includes the opening cinematic and the entire first mission.
We'll have lots of Destiny coverage for you over the next week included the competitive multiplayer, co-op strike missions, closer looks at specific features and much more. We're giving you the chance to get involved too with our latest competition where we have three PS4 beta codes to give away.Click here to see the video.
Gears of Fable? Oh go on then. Fable Legends has copped a fair bit of flak forits more action-oriented approach to the Fable universe, but there might just be space for a co-op TPS that leverages the IP for fresh purposes.
You can decide for yourself by checking out the 10 minute video we captured at a recent Microsoft showcase. There was no game sound to record due to the in-game audio being pumped out through headphones, so we've stuck in some favourites from the Fable OST.
Titanfall's next season pass map pack -- Frontier's Edge -- has started revealing its secrets. The first of the three new maps is Dig Site, a deep quarry that gives Titans plenty of cover to negotiate while pilots leap overhead or brutally face off atop massive mining equipment.
We've got a first look at the new stage below.Click here to read more...
Back when Fuse was still called Overstrike 9 and looked like a badass Saturday morning cartoon stuffed with throwaway lines, brimming with personality, and looking both mechanically and aesthetically interesting, we were super excited for it. But apparently EA weren't. Insomniac never said it outright, at least not on the record, but it was clear that somewhere in between Overstrike 9 becoming Fuse, someone cracked out the mood-hoover and sucked all of the fun and characteristic charisma out of Insomniac sails. Still, they must have stashed it all somewhere, bottled it up and hidden it away from EA, because then along came Microsoft with a boatload of cash and creative freedom, and suddenly Insomniac have uncorked their creativity and are back with a bang in Sunset Overdrive.
The party line is clear -- "this is the game that we always wanted to make" -- but the smiles are back too. I canvassed the opinion of a few of my colleagues at the showcase and the top pick of the day was largely given to Insomniac's bright effort.
Sunset Overdrive is a mish-mash of Crackdown, Jet Set Radio, and Scott Pilgrim in many way. Community lead James Stevenson likened its underpinning concepts to aspects of The Omega Man, and that scene from I Am Legend where Will Smith is spanking golfs balls off of a roof in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. The whole point of Sunset Overdrive is to embrace the fun nature of gaming, centred around the philosophy that things don't have to be grey and grim and depressing just because it seems to be the End of Days.
How the world has reached that point in this game sets the tone perfectly for the action that follows. The story kicks off in the fictional metropolis of Sunset City, an urban sprawl industrially dominated by the massive corporation FizzCo. FizzCo has created a brand new energy drink called Overcharge Delirium XT, and they throw an enormous party to celebrate its release -- a party that you, the protagonist (a nameless character who's highly customisable...yes, you can even play a female assassin if you want) are hired to clean up. Unfortunately, everyone who drinks Overcharge Delirium XT turns into a slavering mutant, and you find yourself stuck in Sunset City, it's streets overrun by assorted monsters, Machiavellian FizzCo reps trying to cover everything up, and other human enemies capitalising on the frenzy.Click here to read more...
Do you hear the people sing, singing a song of angry men? No? Good, and that's just how we like it. Russell Crowe has been forcibly gagged and dragged out of the Parisian streets for a double bill of Assassin's Creed Unity trailers, which will probably make a reasonable substitute for actual news on what's shaping up to be another painfully slow week.
You'll see some intriguing exposition that blends real events with Assassin's Creed canon (which will be enough to tell you that my limp Les Mis joke is chronologically flawed!), followed by a gameplay trailer showing off fluid animations and enormous crowds.Click here to read more...
I remember interviewing Ted Price at an EA showcase a couple of years back and wondering where the boundless energy of the Ted Price I had in my head had gone. The game Insomniac was showing off there was Fuse, and only a few weeks before, a new trailer had emerged that probed our deepest fears for that game -- the transformation of a colourful, mechanically-noteworthy shooter into a grey mess with a far more serious tone.
I asked him why the name had changed from Overstrike 9 and it looked like something behind his eyes just died.
But Sunset Overdrive is different. It's colourful, loaded with bonkers weaponry, and seems utterly determined to prove that post-apocalyptic games can embrace a frenzied party of irreverent fun, all the while channelling the spirit of Crackdown and Jet Set Radio and, according to Insomniac's community lead James Stevenson, The Omega Man.Click here to check out my interview with Insomniac's James Stevenson >>
Platform: PS3 | PS4 (reviewed) | X360 | XO
Developers: Edge of Reality
It’s always amused me just how much people hate Michael Bay. I mean, it’s a film about toys. Of course it’s just robots hitting each other and stuff exploding. Don’t like it? Well stop paying a fortune to watch it at the cinema thus encouraging him to make more. Seriously, I had to delete one person from facebook because they were complaining about how awful the film was despite them paying to watch it twice.
Personally, as an effects fan, I quite like the films (not seen the new one yet though), but wish they were about 45 minutes shorter. I approached the latest tie-in game with low expectations, but with a willingness to be pleasantly surprised, despite High Moon Studios -whose Cybertron series has been widely praised by critics and fans alike- not being at the helm. Fingers crossed they get to work on a brand new entry to the series once they’re done with helping out on COD: Advanced Warfare.
Rise of the Dark Spark is only a tie-in the sense that it’s been released alongside the movie, as most of it takes place on Cybertron with a few Earth levels bookending the campaign. Throughout the adventure you get to play as a large number of Autobots and Decepticons. The game handles like a standard third-person shooter with you mowing down waves of enemies with a variety of light and heavy weapons.Click here to read more...
In Murdered: Soul Suspect you play a dead detective solving his own murder. This is more of an old-school adventure game, a bit like LA Noire, but without the action bits. It's not had the best of reviews to be honest, but Game Collection £17.95 is a mighty tempting price, especially as it's even cheaper than the last-gen versions. You'd be able to give this a go and sling it up on eBay when you're done and probably recoup most of your money.
Thanks to Jas10 at HotUkDeals.
I've always enjoyed the Forza series in general and applauded Turn 10 for the way that they've managed to create a game series for racers and drivers and car aficionados of all capabilities, ensuring that petrolheads come back time and time again thanks to exceptional vehicle modelling, options to tailor the Forza games to one's own specifications in terms of simulation and skill, addictive progression mechanics and rewarding unlocks, and car-porn camerawork that might make the BBC Top Gear team deliver an ovation.
The original Horizon made all of that even more accessible, choosing to target a younger, fresher audience with a Festival concept and a soundtrack curated by Rob Da Bank. It might not have been to everyone's tastes, but it clearly worked. Although Criterion had already busted open-world racing right open with Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Horizon delivered something perhaps a little more cohesive, a little more robust, and a little more diverse.
'People told us that they'd play Forza Horizon to relax,' Playground Games' Ralph Fulton told me at a recent event, and it's not difficult to see why. In my review, I likened the spirit of Forza Horizon to the same spirit that encourages driving fans to take their beloved vehicles out for a Sunday spin. You do it for the love of it, the feel of the car, and the thrill of the open road. It's not about casual or hardcore, it's about capturing that spirit, and Horizon managed to do that in a way that few other games in the genre can come close to boasting.
The dusty tracks of Colorado are abandoned in the sequel for the sweeping coastlines of Southern France and a Northern Italy, on a map that Playground are touting as being three times the size of the original game's. The difference is clear already, and for this European writer at least, enormously welcome. Even in the short demo I breezed through, everything seems a little more vibrant, the vineyards and rolling fields delivering more colour, peppered with quaint Mediterranean villages. The Lamborghini that adorns every shot of Horizon 2's marketing is certainly more at home here - a millionaire's paradise, and a driving fan's dream.Click here to read more...
The Division caused a massive stir at E3 2013, generating an enormous amount of excitement and an active community despite still being nebulously dated for next year. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, Ubisoft has published a helpful interview with Game Director Ryan Barnard, who explains the premise, mechanics and vision behind the online action-RPG. Watch it below.
The Division looks to be a neat mix between cooperative gunplay and classless RPG customisation. Here's hoping that Massive Entertainment deliver on its potential -- and their promises -- next year.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS4 | Wii U | Xbox 360 | Xbox One (reviewed, £11.99)
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
'MetroidVania' platformers may be as ancient as Mother Brain and wall chickens, but they still pull in the punters. From Shadow Complex to Dust: An Elysian Tail and Strider, there's nothing more satisfying than constantly earning new skills and abilities while exploring brilliantly-designed levels, then eventually backtracking to beat challenges and humiliate enemies that once lorded it over us. Guacamelee! proved to be a superb example of the genre back when it released as a PSN exclusive last year, offering all the bells and whistles we expect, only with a heaped serving of spicy Mexican flavour to punch things up.
Indeed, punching things up was the aim of the game, only our newfound identity as a superpowered Luchador also let us throw down on Day Of The Dead-themed skeletal hordes with wrestling moves, smash our way through Aztec temples and occasionally turn into a chicken for the sheer merry heck of it. Pollo power!
Fifteen months later and the Super Turbo Championship Edition has arrived on new-gen consoles, Wii U, PC and Xbox 360, boasting updated visuals, new content and all the previously-released DLC. You could say that it's the whole enchilada. Since it's currently free for Xbox One owners and available as a free upgrade for PS4 gamers who picked up the original, it's high time we gave this fierce fiesta our full attention.Click here to read more...
The Rooster Teeth Expo may have played host to some interesting intelligence regarding The Master Chief Collection over the weekend, but Microsoft also brought Insomniac's crazy open-world shooter to the proceedings. Attendees were able to watch Sunset Overdrive's full opening cinematic and an Xbox One gameplay demonstration, which you can now peruse for yourself after the break.
Expect grind rails, insane weaponry and soda-powered monstrosities a-go-go -- and the finished product on October 28th.Click here to read more...
This weekend saw thousands of Halo and machinima fans flock to Austin, Texas for the Rooster Teeth Expo, at which 343 Industries were naturally keen to drop some choice details about the upcoming Master Chief Collection. A new trailer hints at The Arbiter packing some cloudy motives this time around, which we'll be able to expand upon by finding hidden terminals throughout the campaign, while fan-favourite Halo 2 map Coagulation is getting a massive new overhaul.
Oh, and they've decided to strap guns to the Mongoose, creating the appropriately-named Gungoose. New trailer and intel below.Click here to read more...
Format: PS3 | PS4 (reviewed) | X360 | XO |PC
Publisher: 505 Games
Sniper Elite III has opted for a change of scenery for its latest long-range melon buster and visits the sandy vistas of Africa during World War II. Unlike most WWII games, there’s a surprising lack of Nazis, instead you’re generally shooting Italians with ze Germans apparently not being fans of the searing heat.
Scenery change aside, it’s business as usual, shooting Axis soldiers from oh-so far away, with gruesome slow-mo detail accompanying most shots. The series’ stable gore looks more grisly than ever on the new consoles. Skulls explode, teeth smash from jaws, bones snap, insides are ripped through and of course testicle shots are back. On the default settings, I soon tired of these slow-motion killshots that follow the bullet from your gun right up to its messy destination. I’d advise dipping into the options to turn down the frequency of them as they lose their impact by the end of the first stage otherwise. They also make it difficult to keep track of nearby enemies between shots.
There’s a tagging feature that does allow you to mark enemies via use of your binoculars. Marked soldiers will then appear through any surface, in a similar way to Far Cry 3. It’s a shame you can’t tag them through your sniper scope as switching back and forth between the rifle and binoculars is a cumbersome experience.Click here to read more...
UPDATE: Use the discount code DESPS405 on PS4 or DESXB105 on XO to get 5% off, bringing the price down to £42.51.
Missed out on the recent Alpha test? Then you're going to want to play the upcoming Beta. Pre-ordering the game guarantees you a beta code and GameSeek are currently the cheapest option for the PS4 and Xbox One versions. This may not look particularly cheap, but baring in mind it's a triple-A Activision-published game, this might be as good as it gets if the high pre-order prices of their annual Call of Duty games are any indication. Be sure to check out my preview above to see why we're so excited for Destiny's arrival on September 9th.
There's nothing quite like Titanfall on the market right now and the combination of massive mechs and jetpacks is all sorts of mad fun. Now's a great time to get involved thanks to the recent DLC drops including the Expedition levels -and there's even more due in September. A recent update has fixed a few bugs and made some improvements to matchmaking too. Be sure to check out Jon's review and have a look at our Titanfall hub to see our videos and articles, including Carl heading online with only a joystickfor company.