As an institution within the videogame racing genre, Mario Kart has always been an example of what arcade style racing is all about. Focusing on simple, pick up and play gameplay, while still offering high level skill based action, the Mario Kart series has been going strong for over twenty years; and it doesn't seem like it'll stop any time soon.
Now, the series is finally taking its first steps onto an HD platform, and after spending about an hour of playtime with it, I just don't see how they can go back after this. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Mario Kart 8 is one gorgeous game.
As the first full HD release of the series, the developers at Nintendo went the extra mile with creating a game that is visually spectacular, but also the most content rich game of the series.
Earlier this week I got to spend some time with Ultra Street Fighter IV, Capcom’s fourth and final iteration of the original 2008 game. My demo was presented by professional fighting game player turned Capcom employee Peter “Combofiend” Rosas, who walked me through the fifth and final new character, Decapre, as well as the other changes of the version.
The game features five new characters, including four adopted from Street Fighter X Tekken. These characters are Hugo, Elena, Rolento and Poison. The first two characters are meant to play like their versions in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, and the later two are more similar to their SFxT versions.
Practice makes perfect in racing games. "Sight reading" a new course (so to speak) might turn out okay, but any perfectionist will spend hours learning the every nuance of every track in order to shave precious seconds off their times. But what if that weren't an option? What if the racetrack wasn't a static entity?
That's what Krautscape has going on. One of the many defining characteristics of this indie racer is that the leader procedurally generates the track. As you pass through the gates that mark the building points, different lanes dictate different directions to send the action.
That's a unique concept for a game, but not enough for developer Mario von Rickenbach. That's why the vehicles can also fly. That's right, if you don't like the way that the track is going, find a place to soar off the edge and take the lead away. Pick your spots wisely though, because a miscalculation could end up in a supposedly savvy move putting you even further behind.
Let's face it: massively multiplayer online games can be intimidating for some people. Between the incredibly nuanced systems that some titles tout, and the tales of time and dedication required to "properly" play a game, it's not exactly an inviting scene. It's tough to fault those that shy away from the genre altogether.
Funcom's out to make an accessible free-to-play MMO, and it's got the world's most beloved toy brand behind it. LEGO Minifigures Online is a game that's technically aimed at children, but it's plenty reasonable to expect a more mature audience will find a certain cathartic thrill, too.
Rocksteady Studios has found itself in a somewhat precarious position with Arkham Knight. The team's two previous installments in the series are so universally revered that it begs the question "What can it do to live up to, and surpass, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City?" Rocksteady's opted to take the path of increasing the scope of everything and changing the formulaic approach to some of the series' conventions. It remains to be seen how well it'll work.
Arkham Knight is the first in the "Rocksteady Trilogy" (this term kept coming up, presumably to distance themselves from Arkham Origins) to give Batman free rein of Gotham City. The plot device driving this iteration is that Scarecrow has threatened to release a fear toxin so the entirety of the city has been evacuated. Well, except for all the thugs, criminals, and super villains that refuse to leave. They'll be Batman's punching bags en route to finding Scarecrow.
If this version of Gotham City sounds like semi-familiar territory, that's because it kind of is. The cynically analytical might say this walled-off playground full of baddies smacks of Arkham City with skyscrapers. The optimist might suggest that this added verticality is a welcomed progression for the series.
The adventure genre has seen a bit of an upswing in recent times. With Telltale Games and Double Fine's recent efforts helping to revitalize the genre, a new generation of gamers are experiencing a type of game that was once relegated to a niche audience. The adventure genre has also proven to be a natural fit for the mobile space, which sees many ports and recreations of classic titles. But now, we've got brand new title to keep an eye on.
During this year's Game Developers Conference, I got the chance to check out an upcoming adventure title, The Perils of Man, from former LucasArts developer Bill Tiller, who worked on such classic titles as The Dig, Full Throttle, The Curse of Monkey Island, and A Vampyre Story. And this one seeks to recreate and renew the wonder from the genre's past.
Mario Golf: World Tour features four player multiplayer via online, or local play with just a single cartridge. As it should, but you know the best part of all this? Everyone is playing simultaneously. You don't have to wait...
[Update: Frima Studios has reached out and informed us that it miscommunicated its statement about not being able to clear the game solo. The game can be beaten singleplayer, but only about 80 percent of the optional paths are accessible without a cooperative partner.]
Of all the titles on display at IGN's independent games mixer at GDC, I couldn't help but be intrigued by one in particular. It was kind of tucked away in a corner, but that didn't mean that it wasn't getting its share of traffic. That's because it immediately looked cute, colorful, and challenging -- three criteria that certainly help indie games flourish. At first glance, it seemed like the kind of game that could win your heart in an instant.
The game in question is Chariot, a co-op platformer by Frima Studios. Chariot's centered around a princess that's out to take her recently deceased father to the resting place of his choosing. She does this by lugging his casket through perilous ancient caves in an effort to please him.
Hey you, what if I were to tell you about a free-to-play shooter that has you fighting against zombies. Not impressed? Well, I don't blame you. Zombies are kinda all over the place now. Fine, what about a free-to-play shooter...
Obsidian is probably the last company you'd expect to make anything like Armored Warfare, a free-to-play MMO tank shooter. It's certainly different than anything the company has brought us in the past, that's for sure.
I got ...
Harmonix revealed a multiplayer mode for Fantasia: Music Evolved at GDC last week alongside some new songs and levels. I jumped in front of a Kinect sensor to try out the new mode, and it wasn't long before I was flapping my arms to the beat.
Can't you hear that boom, badoom, boom, boom, badoom, boom, bass?
There's something about Skyforge that's kind of unbelievable. It's an MMO that's doing away with the multi-server issues by having millions playing together on one server, visuals are highly detailed putting in on-par with cu...
With all the cool tech demos and innovative ideas on display at GDC Play, it's a bit surprising that a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer is one of the most worthwhile things to check out. But hey, good games are good games, and that's exactly what Monochroma look like it is.
At first glance, Monochroma invites comparisons to Limbo. Hell, executive producer Burak Tezateser said as much as soon as the demo started. For good reason too: the color scheme made up of hues of black and grey, the small boy protagonist, the unsettling environments -- it all positively smacks of the style popularized by Playdead. However, Monochroma has enough going on that it doesn't need to use these comparisons as a crutch.
You know those games where you're responsible for creating your own entertainment -- the sort that drop you into a world and hope that you're creative enough to craft your own experience? They're usually pretty hit or miss. That's more or less what Gaslamp Games is doing with Clockwork Empires, but the developers are taking away this element of chance by ensuring that whatever scenario arises will be entertaining as all hell.
Clockwork Empires is a sandbox colony builder in a Victorian England setting. But, just because you have the theoretical ability to build an empire, doesn't mean it'll actually happen. Rather than assign tasks to the citizens of your township, you can only sort of suggest jobs for them to do. Most of the time they'll go and harvest resources or whatnot, but if they're feeling particularly uppity, they may just mope about.
That's why it's paramount that you keep those little buggers happy. You're responsible for keeping them fed, giving them shelter, and (most interestingly) balancing any social issues that come about. For instance, if two members from different social classes marry, it'll anger some of the townspeople. It may seem backwards now, but it was very much a real issue in the period the game takes place in.
One thing about this year's GDC is that virtual reality made a huge splash. And that would be an understatement. With the news of Oculus Rift development kit 2 and the reveal of Sony's VR headset, it's looking like there will be an interesting future for these peripherals. Now, we've got another title looking to jump on the VR hype.
After an impressive debut on Steam Greenlight, the developers from Vertigo Games are taking their experience with simulation titles and applying it to new type of online game for the PC. And with the big push for VR happening now, they plan to have World of Diving take advantage of the Oculus Rift in surprising ways.
The fantasy genre has been a staple of the gaming scene for a long time. They go hand in hand, really. Because of this, it’s common to see titles that look to similar to each and don’t necessarily distinguish themselves from the pack.
Well, I was lucky enough to check out a new title within the genre that seeks to leave a big impression on fans. In Bound By Flame, players can walk the fine line between good and evil, and leave a very visible and lasting impression on their character and the world they inhabit.
At GDC, the developers at Spiders, creators of Mars: War Logs and their last fantasy title Of Orcs and Men, showed off a near-final build of their next action-RPG title. During this private showing, they displayed several sections of the game and went into detail about the choices and customization players can expect in their adventures.