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Rebellion

Review: Zombie Army Trilogy

Mar 06 // Chris Carter
Zombie Army Trilogy (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Rebellion DevelopmentsPublisher: Rebellion DevelopmentsReleased: March 3, 2015MSRP: $49.99 What you're getting for $50 is three games, which take place over 15 levels called "chapters." They're roughly 20-30 minutes each, and are kind of designed like the maps from Left 4 Dead, but with less of a point "A to B" feel to them. The gist is that in 1945, Hitler has unleashed the depths of hell as a last-ditch effort to win World War II, and...that's basically it. Except now in addition to the previously all-male cast, you're getting four new female combatants. None of the characters have any real personality, but it's a nice little extra. Since this is based on Sniper Elite after all, your primary weapons are long-range rifles, with the secondary slots going to weaponry like SMGs and shotguns, in addition to a last-ditch pistol. You'll also have a few incendiary devices at your disposal like mines, grenades, and trip wires, as well as the power to kick, which functions as your only melee attack. Trip wires are my favorite part of the arsenal, as it's incredibly fun to set traps and watch zombies spring them. The first thing you'll notice after a few rounds though is that the animations feel slightly off. The kick in particular is ridiculous looking, especially if you keep stomping on enemy after enemy. Depending on your view this might either be Army of Darkness-level camp or a flaw of the outdated engine -- I'm mostly somewhere in the latter group. [embed]288533:57630:0[/embed] Having said that, the gunplay is fun, taking place mostly from a third-person perspective, with the option to zoom with rifles. The zombies themselves are well crafted, as they're both sufficiently cool looking and have an interesting set of movements. Other denizens like skeletons help spice things up -- it helps that they look like they were taken straight out of a Harryhausen film. Checkpoints flow through each stage, allowing you to recover and play again if you happen to fail on the last section of a lengthy level, and you'll find the occasional safe room just like Left 4 Dead, allowing you to stock up and continue your journey. The pacing is spot-on, as Zombie Army Trilogy doesn't have a whole lot of down time. You'll also have interesting objectives to pursue, like finding the location of an ancient artifact to summon a powerful foe, or turning off a factory that creates an army of armored zombies, or defeating elite or boss enemies. If you get really cocky you can tackle the higher difficulty levels, like "Sniper Elite," which allows for wind contingencies, bullet drop physics, a heart rate to control, and an impact on your stance. It's cool in theory, but all of these don't feel all that important when you're tangoing with the wonky engine half the time, or battling lag in online play, which I experienced on occasion. Solo play is fun when you're going through each chapter and encountering new scenarios at a decent rate, but once you're done, replay value plummets. You're going to want to play online with three other people, especially if you have the skills to tackle the four difficulty settings which cleverly can scale to up to four players, even if you are going solo. Horde mode is another way to keep the party going, but the "endless" style of play can get tiresome given that there are hundreds of horde-style games out at this point, and Zombie Army Elite doesn't stand out above them. It's basically something to play after you've exhausted all of the campaign, but if I ever have the itch to play online, it probably won't be with Horde mode. If you can get past the cheap-feeling engine and have three buddies on hand, you'll have a lot of fun with Zombie Army Elite. It's a blast to overcome particularly tough sections with a team, and hitting an on-point shot from 50 feet away can provide quite the rush. While the package has a lot of problems that prevent it from justifying that $50 price tag, I enjoyed my time playing the entire campaign online. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Zombie Army review photo
One giant horde mode
The Sniper Elite series has been around for quite some time, entertaining fans since 2005 on pretty much every platform known to man. But alongside of the core historical-centric games there has been a lesser known sub-franch...

Sniper Elite 3 photo
Sniper Elite 3

Sniper Elite 3 lets you pay to kill Hitler now


It was only a pre-order incentive before
Jul 16
// Brett Makedonski
Now that Sniper Elite 3's been out for a few weeks, anyone that's developed an adequately itchy trigger finger can set their crosshairs on a significantly more prominent figure. Adolf Hitler's the target this time, and he's k...
Free Sniper Elite V2 photo
Free Sniper Elite V2

Download Sniper Elite V2 for free on Steam


24-hour deal is in motion
Jun 04
// Jordan Devore
Rebellion is letting Steam users download its World War II shooter Sniper Elite V2 for free and yes, you get to keep it "forever." The 24-hour promotion is good until tomorrow at 10:00am Pacific. Sniper Elite V2 is that game ...
Sniper Elite 3 photo
Sniper Elite 3

Go ahead and pre-order Sniper Elite 3 so you can kill Hitler


That's a sentence I just typed
May 20
// Brett Makedonski
Rebellion wants to retcon history and change the way that De Führer fell. Specifically, it wants you to be the one that takes the shot that ends Hitler's life. Well, Rebellion wants all of that if you pre-order Sni...
Evil Genius photo
Evil Genius

Evil Genius is back on Facebook of all places


Play the open beta
Dec 19
// Jordan Devore
I love me some Evil Genius. Enough that I'm willing to try Evil Genius Online, which is Rebellion's free-to-play approximation of the classic base-building game. It's playable now in open beta on Facebook and while it's got t...
Sniper Elite 3 photo
Sniper Elite 3

Sniper Elite 3 targets 2014 for next-gen consoles and PC


Follow-up to Sniper Elite V2
Mar 14
// Jordan Devore
Rebellion is partnering with 505 Games on a new installment in its World War II sniping series for next-gen platforms and PC. Sniper Elite 3 will once again feature OSS sniper Karl Fairburne when it arrives later next year. "...
Nazi Zombie Army photo
Nazi Zombie Army

Rebellion's teaser was for Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army


Coming exclusively to PC this month
Feb 14
// Jordan Devore
Rebellion has delivered the full announcement for its mystery game, which seemed to be Sniper Elite-related with an extra hint of otherworldliness. Pretty much! It's called Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, and it's a standalo...
Sniper Elite V2 photo
Sniper Elite V2

New Sniper Elite V2 content takes you to St. Pierre


Two new weapons also included
Feb 06
// Keith Swiader
A counter-attack is coming to Sniper Elite V2 in the form of the St. Pierre downloadable content, publisher Bastion today announced. The add-on sees you thwarting an attack on the western front led by General Rodebrecht, a ri...
Sniper Elite V2 photo
Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 announced for Wii U


Bone-shattering sniping -- now with motion control!
Feb 05
// Keith Swiader
Sniper Elite V2, the stealth-action World War 2 sniper shooter that released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC last year, has been announced for release on Wii U, though no specified date was given. “Sniper Elite is ju...
Rebellion teaser photo
Rebellion teaser

Rebellion has a foreboding teaser for its next PC game


From the team behind Sniper Elite V2 and AvP
Jan 29
// Jordan Devore
Developer Rebellion sent out a spooky teaser trailer for its new game with some clues as to what it might be about: "...one man is utterly alone amidst the chaos of war. But there are worse things to fear than bombs and bull...
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Live show: Sniper Elite V2 groin shots on Mash Tactics


May 02
// Bill Zoeker
Let's kill Hitler! That's the plan for Mash Tactics, today. King Foom is on a mission to shoot Hitler right through his dangling bits in the new World War II shooter, Sniper Elite V2. This game might not seem like much at fir...

Preview: Revisiting 1945 in Sniper Elite V2

Apr 02 // Keith Swiader
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: RebellionPublisher: 505 GamesRelease: May 1, 2012  The big question you may be asking is why Rebellion Games set Sniper Elite V2 during World War II, and not the present day. To put it simply, creative head Tim Jones feels the era offers a greater sense of raw combat, with more emphasis placed on a lone soldier and his peacemaker as opposed to a soldier equipped with a nifty gadget belt. Had the game been placed in a modern war, there wouldn't be the distinct feeling of desolation that Rebellion was looking to provide, because there would always be a gadget assist in your back pocket.  And "desolation" is the best way to describe the gameplay in Sniper Elite V2, though Jones also used the word "personal." You go it alone on this front, fighting your way through back alleys and bombed-out buildings as elite U.S. sniper Karl Fairburne, with the primary objective being to take out a group of V2 rocket scientists before they defect to the Russians. As I watched the gameplay demo, I couldn't help but be reminded of the first gameplay demonstration of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where Snake was traversing a war-torn Middle Eastern village during a battle. In V2, there are missiles flying through the air, bullets crackling in the background, and soldiers around every corner. All of this is happening, mind you, as you try your hardest to leave no trace of your existence. Being seen by even a small group of enemies could prove to be fatal, as close-quarters combat against, say, a Thompson, isn't the best route to take. Remember, this is 1945, so guns have crazy inconsistencies with recoil and accuracy, which, by itself, makes the mistake of being forced into such a situation even greater.  When you are lying low and sniping from a distance, you have a great deal of mechanics to play with. You could, for instance, just go all-out and try to snipe everyone in your path as quickly as possible, but you can also lure enemies out by injuring one, leaving him defenseless in the open as others come to his aid. Yes, you can be that jerk from Full Metal Jacket. You can also purposely attract enemies to your current position, and surprise them with a cleverly placed trip mine. Ideally, you'll silently take down enemies, and hide the bodies after doing so. While there are no silencers to attach to the rifles in Sniper Elite V2, that doesn't mean you can't be stealthy. Ambient noise, such as a ringing church bell or a whistling train, is useful in that respect. If a nearby sound is able to hide the firing of a round, an icon will appear on screen, letting you know when the sound is at its loudest. At this point, you can squeeze off a shot and "silently" take out an enemy. If the situation allows it, you can rinse and repeat this formula in order to advance forward. You'll obviously be doing a lot of sniping in V2, but it wouldn't mean much if the gameplay wasn't rewarding. Fortunately, it is. After accounting for distance, gravity, heart rate, velocity -- and, on harder difficulties, wind speed, where you need to track the direction of smoke flying and flags rippling -- a successful shot will award you with a bone-shattering kill camera, which will follow your bullet from the barrel to its target. The detail given here is down to the last eyeball. Yes, I actually saw an eyeball pop out of its socket. But there's more to see than that; you can see a once fully functional jaw become dismembered in an instant through an X-ray camera. What's even better is that these animations aren't canned, and will play out differently each time you see one. A point system essentially grades each kill you make. The more difficult the shot, and the more accurate you are, the more points you acquire. Racking up your score amounts to personal bragging rights. A handful of other modes are on offer in addition to cooperative campaign play. I was able to test out "Overwatch," an objective-based mode in which one player takes the role of sniper while his teammate serves as a spotter. I played the spotter, with my primary objective being to go into the heart of the battle and use my binoculars to tag enemies. Tagging enemies will slap a red icon above them, making them easy targets for your brother-in-arms. While I did have a submachine gun to defend myself, I relied more on my teammate than anything (again, SMGs are inaccurate, and they burn through ammo quickly). You'll quickly learn that strategy and teamwork are key if you want to survive. Releasing among a crowd of modern shooters, Sniper Elite V2 is actually a refreshing experience. Going back to a time where you have to rely solely on your wits to progress through a mission is just as fun and rewarding as firing from an AC-130 gunship. While you may have experience in war-torn Berlin from countless other games, going at it from a radically different perspective makes the whole experience a joy to play.
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Given how popular sniping has become in shooters these days, it's rather odd that there haven't been many games focusing on this mechanic. There have been a few here and there, sure, and you may have even seen a sniper cabine...

Review: NeverDead

Feb 08 // Jim Sterling
NeverDead (PS3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Rebellion DevelopmentsPublisher: KonamiReleased: January 31, 2012 MSRP: $59.99 NeverDead's central premise revolves around a demon hunter named Bryce who cannot die. As the 500-year-old victim of a demonic curse, Bryce's physical form can be wounded, eviscerated and decapitated, but it cannot be destroyed. Should Bryce be blown apart, he can pull himself together. If he loses a limb entirely, he can grow a new one.  It's a novel concept for a videogame, and the core idea of a temporarily destructible protagonist paves the way for all sorts of clever challenges and level design. Rebellion decided to take none of those paths, settling instead on repetitive combat against a handful of skittering monsters. While the occasional fresh idea surfaces, the vast majority of the game is spent in tepid combat with the same stock enemies that are regularly regurgitated from beginning to end. Much of the experience literally does not change over the course of five hours.  Bryce is able to acquire a number of traditional guns, ranging from vanilla pistols to standard grenade launchers that can be dual-wielded in any combination. At the touch of a button, he can switch between firearms to a sword, which is awkwardly controlled via the right analog stick as opposed to face buttons. Although the sluggish input means that swordplay feels unwieldy and unreliable, it is typically the weapon of choice, since basic firearms are pathetically weak against most enemies.  [embed]221330:42637[/embed] Combat is a crude, sloppy, disjointed mess. There's a horrible lag to the camera that sees it stick for a while before swinging wildly, and Bryce moves as if the floor is made of soapy ice. The enemies fly in from all corners with such speed that it's impossible to do anything but hack and slash blindly while hoping something gets hit. Most of the time, it'll be Bryce who takes the damage, since enemies are faster and quicker to attack than he is. This seems to have been done on purpose, just to shove the limb-shredding gimmick down our throats.  As far as the limb shredding goes, what starts as a cute little stunt quickly becomes a tiresome, grueling endeavor. The ironic upshot of an invincible character who can be torn apart is that Bryce is one of the flimsiest, weakest protagonists a videogame has ever had. Almost every single hit will have an arm, a leg, or a head come flying off. There's no sense of procedural damage in NeverDead -- it's pot luck as to which limb gets lost, and Bryce will have to perform a dodge roll over the severed body part in order to re-attach it -- though reattachment often doesn't happen, because nothing quite works right in this game. If players are lucky enough to keep a limb, our hero will instead hit the floor like a ragdoll, leaving him prone just long enough for another attack to sever something.  Should Bryce's head become detached, it can be manually rolled around, and players will either have to trundle toward Bryce's neck to rejoin the torso, or wait for a while and regrow a new body. As just a head, Bryce is prone to a "death" of sorts. Small demonic creatures known as Grandbabies patrol the levels, and they can consume body parts. Should they swallow Bryce's head, players have to beat a simple, one-button quick-time-event in order to escape, otherwise he'll be stuck in the digestive tract of a monster forever.  With Bryce becoming decapitated roughly once a minute and shedding other body parts with more regularity, the core premise outstays its welcome long before the adventure is over. The game is never "challenging" in a traditional sense, since Bryce cannot die and escaping a Grandbaby's stomach is easy. However, because of this, Rebellion thought it was okay to ignore proper game balance or even stop the game during a cutscene (you can be attacked, torn apart, and swallowed by a demon off-camera while cutscenes play, because nobody bothered to pause the action). Dodging doesn't dodge anything, blocking is a pointless endeavor given the volume and speed of incoming attacks, and there are many moments where players will ostensibly feel like a tennis ball, shunted around the floor after being ripped to bits. However, apparently it's okay to have combat that lacks even basic refinement, so long as the player cannot die.  Every fight, no matter how insurmountable, will be beaten through sheer attrition. So long as the player has the mental willpower to keep regrowing limbs every few seconds, there is no battle that cannot be won. It might take half an hour to beat a section that contains less than a minute of actual gameplay, but it will be won so long as you stick with it. Never before has a game's unique idea been exploited to so blatantly get away with lazy design.  Every now and then, Bryce can exploit his immortality for an advantage. He can set himself or fire or electrocute himself, turning his body into a conduit for burning and paralyzing foes. That's all he can do, though. Rebellion had that one idea, threw it in at the most basic level, and left it at that. This happens to be one of NeverDead's biggest problems -- having ideas, but not following them through and evolving them into something truly exceptional.  Although most of the game is spent pretending to be a poor man's Serious Sam, there are quieter moments where NeverDead has the audacity to attempt environmental puzzles. Bryce can pull off his own head, as well as his arms, and he can use these abilities to interact with otherwise unreachable objects, or reach high places that he couldn't traditionally jump to. As with everything else in NeverDead, there are hints of clever mechanics with no follow-through, so instead of engaging in clever, provocative puzzles, players will just repeatedly throw their heads into air vents or onto ledges and roll around for a bit.  The only moments of true inspiration comes with boss battles, where there is some impressively smart design going on. One particular boss is a gigantic bug that sucks in surrounding objects, and has to be killed by yanking one's arm off, letting it get swallowed, and shooting the monster's stomach from inside. These large-scale battles sometimes border on genius but every fight is so unreasonably lengthy that whatever goodwill the innovation earned is wasted. An idea ceases to become engaging when you're asked to repeat it a dozen times in a battle that goes on three times as long as it should. It doesn't matter how inventive it is. The penultimate boss, who can regenerate health faster than Bryce can recover from his ragdoll flailing, is the ultimate slap in the face and indicative of just how little the developers care for a player's patience or time.  Levels are littered with collectibles (imaginatively called "collectibles"), which are picked up for experience points. XP is spent on a range of skills that upgrade damage, make Bryce's limbs explode, or confer other combat properties. Ability slots are so restricted, however, that unlocking new skills becomes a waste of time. One would think that Rebellion could at least get upgrade systems right, or otherwise copy one of the hundreds of upgrade systems that have been in far better games, but no. Even something as traditional and basic as this is implemented poorly.  All of this ridiculous nonsense is suffered while having to babysit an A.I. partner, although it's insulting to even the most basic of A.I. programs to insinuate that the "supporting" character Arcadia has any intelligence, artificial or otherwise. The character loves charging headlong into explosions, or standing in the way of oncoming trains, and players will need to keep reviving her, lest she die and create a contrived game over. Despite having a limited ability to fight, Arcadia essentially turns a vast majority of NeverDead into an escort mission. So, that's something else to hate the game for.  It was never mentioned during the advertising campaign that NeverDead boasts an online multiplayer mode, but it does. The five-hour campaign is bolstered by several competitive and co-op challenges that range from simple survival modes to rudimentary capture-the-flag games. There are a handful of people currently playing (I'm guessing single-digit figures), but the rubbish map design and uninspired game types aren't worth hanging around in a lobby for.  Few games are as lazy and slapdash as NeverDead, but to its credit, few games are quite so obvious about it. Even the narrative premise and monster design is honest in its desperation to be controversial and edgy like a Suda 51 game. It tries so cloyingly to ape such efforts as Shadows of the Damned or Killer7 that you can almost taste the flagrant shamelessness. From boss monsters that need to be shot in the anus to camp demons with penis-shaped noses, every attempt at humor or shock value is a cynical, convoluted attempt to remind you of better, more entertaining videogames. This is a game that understands what made titles like Devil May Cry iconic, but doesn't know what made them good.  NeverDead is an embarrassment fit only for mockery. Sometimes, when I use the word ridiculous, I mean it in a positive way. With this game, I mean it with sneering contempt. NeverDead is a ridiculous videogame, one that is so clumsy, bedraggled, and neglectful that I am furious it exists, let alone carries an asking price of $59.99. There are bad games that failed due to poor budget, ill-conceived mechanics, or a simple lack of skill, and then there are bad games like NeverDead -- that could have been good if the developers hadn't cut corners, used its innovations as excuses to get away with incompetence, and absolutely, positively, failed to give a single solitary shit about the people unlucky enough to be playing. For games like that, there is not an adequate word in the English language to vocalize my disgust.
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When creating a videogame protagonist with a particular super power, there's an extra responsibility to create a challenging, rewarding sense of balance. If your hero has enhanced strength and speed, how do you keep enem...

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Here's a whole bunch of new art and screens for NeverDead


Jan 24
// Jim Sterling
Konami's NeverDead is out at the end of the month, and there's a bunch of new art and screenshots to celebrate. Seems like the game's been in development for fifteen thousand years, so I'm glad to see it finally on the horizo...
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New Sniper Elite V2 videos are looking good


Jan 23
// Harry Monogenis
Back in 2005, a little game called Sniper Elite was released on the original Xbox, PS2 and PC. With a name as silly as that, many weren't expecting much from the third-person shooter which placed an emphasis on stealth....
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Judge Dredd kicks some undead arse on iOS


Dec 01
// Fraser Brown
Most of the time when I see police officers, they are asking gangs of youths to go somewhere else, or looking at me suspiciously because a man with a beard must have something to hide. Mega-City One's top lawman, Judge Dredd...
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SEGA not considering Aliens vs. Predator sequel


May 13
// Jim Sterling
With the news that Creative Assembly is working on a new Aliens game, one may wonder whether or not Rebellion will get another crack at Aliens vs. Predator. According to SEGA, the answer is no. At least for right now.  "...

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