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11:15 AM on 08.14.2014

Gamescom looks absolutely hellish

Gamescom is in full swing, and it's difficult to envy those attending Europe's largest gaming convention this weekend. Just look at all those bodies. Envision the endless queues and pungent odors housed within the Koelnmesse. The things we do for videogames... Brian Albert [Twitter via Kotaku]

Kyle MacGregor



The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise photo
The Halo Channel is a huge indicator of Microsoft's plans for the franchise
by Brett Makedonski

Xbox's flagship franchise isn't something that Microsoft's going to stray from anytime soon. Why would it? If there was any doubt about Halo's lasting appeal, it was dashed with the E3 reveal of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Life was suddenly jolted into fans of the franchise as many that weren't on-board with the Xbox One resigned themselves to getting the console primarily to pick up the four-in-one package.

As The Master Chief Collection provides an experience that ties together the included titles, Microsoft wants to offer a means to tie together everything Halo that fans could possibly want. At the company's gamescom 2014 press briefing, The Halo Channel was introduced, and during a speed run meeting with 343 Industries, we got a better glimpse at what it'll be like.

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Until Dawn has hundreds of endings and thousands of branches photo
Until Dawn has hundreds of endings and thousands of branches
by Dale North

Supermassive Games' Pete Samuels and Will Byles held a behind-closed-doors session during gamescom to give us a better look into upcoming PS4 horror title Until Dawn. During that session they explained how their PS3 Move-only campy teen horror title transformed into a PS4 adult horror, starring top-tier actors and featuring high-end technologies.

Until Dawn is all about player choice, offering thousands of play paths that lead to hundreds of possible endings. A lot of this is tied to one of the game's mechanics called the Butterfly Effect.

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Ori and the Blind Forest is a lot more than just a beautiful game photo
Ori and the Blind Forest is a lot more than just a beautiful game
by Brett Makedonski

One glance at Moon Studios' Ori and the Blind Forest is enough to be immediately enamored by the game's visuals. Actually, it's almost an inevitability. Every piece of media that Microsoft releases for Ori draws attention to the glistening colors and stunning backdrops. Not as if that can be helped, mind you; it's a part of the design that just tends to precede everything else.

At its press demos at gamescom 2014, Moon Studios was almost sheepish about the fact. It was well aware of the recognition that the game has gotten for its looks thus far. Now, it wanted to show that Ori's brilliance is rooted in something deeper.

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8:00 AM on 08.14.2014

Ryse: Son of Rome on PC shows tons of detail, runs at 4K

This fall, Xbox One launch game Ryse: Son of Rome comes to the PC with some significant visual upgrades. This morning at gamescom, we met with Crytek's Brian Chambers, senior producer on Ryse, to check out the PC build for the first time. It looks goooood.

Dale North



I felt genuine delight and a little confusion from Sony's gamescom press conference photo
I felt genuine delight and a little confusion from Sony's gamescom press conference
by Bill Zoeker

Sony came and delivered pretty much what I expected from their gamescom 2014 press conference. They had a boatload of indie games with interesting visual styles. They've continued their expansive trajectory of porting bigger indie games, with the announcement of DayZ coming to the PS4.

Of course they also announced slightly confusing and hard to believe hardware features with Share Play and the PlayStation TV's PS4 Remote Play. I used to raise a red flag when Sony promised cool hardware features, as they used to fall flat. However, they seem to be pulling off most of their offerings so far this generation.

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4:45 PM on 08.13.2014

Battlefield Hardline's single-player campaign reminds me of Far Cry 3

Up until now, Visceral Games has concentrated on showing the multiplayer side of Battlefield Hardline. That's been fine, but unlike most other Battlefield titles, I'm actually somewhat interested in hearing about the single-...

Jordan Devore



Microsoft's gamescom press conference wasn't as bad as I expected photo
Microsoft's gamescom press conference wasn't as bad as I expected
by Bill Zoeker

Microsoft's press conferences often leave me with cranial damage from head-to-desk impact, but their gamescom 2014 presser felt pretty okay to me. I'm excited to see Microsoft making an attempt to partner with more indies. After their poor policies left them with a bad name among the independent development community, it seemed like the PlayStation 4 had substantially more launch content than its rival in the form of indie ports.

In retrospect, with it becoming clear that Rise of the Tomb Raider is not as exclusive as they made it out to be, I'm quite miffed. During the conference, any games that were only timed exclusives, had clear visual and spoken indication of the stipulation. We've been getting more clarification that Tomb Raider is maybe just a prolonged timed exclusive, but the language used in the presentation was pretty obviously meant to make us think Rise of the Tomb Raider would only be on Xbox. That's messed up.

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Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated photo
Sony does more for Vita than it gets credit for, but it's okay to be frustrated
by Kyle MacGregor

A lot of people seemed disappointed when Sony closed its gamescom press conference without much mention of the PlayStation Vita. And it isn't difficult to understand why.

The struggling portable seemed like an afterthought yesterday. Anyone hoping for an exciting new Vita reveal was left wanting. Adding insult to injury, the system actually managed to lose an exclusive, as Tearaway was announced for PlayStation 4.

There was a single moment during the event that seemed indicative of Sony's approach to the handheld. Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell took the stage in Cologne, and showcased his upcoming project, Volume, a stealth title destined for PS4 and Vita next year. It's an independent game from a tiny, but talented developer. And it's cross-platform to boot.

Outside of cursory mentions like that, Sony's show was all about PS4. And why not? It's the newer and more successful system. Sony allocated its airtime wisely, highlighting its breadwinner, rather than choosing to fight an uphill battle. It made perfect sense, too, given Microsoft's strong showing earlier in the day. 

That's a rational outlook, though. Sadly for Sony, humans aren't always rational creatures. Vita owners felt spurned, and they made sure Sony heard about it.

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Infamous: First Light shows off how great Fetch really is photo
Infamous: First Light shows off how great Fetch really is
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Jack of all trades, master of none. Sure Delson from Infamous: Second Son has the ability to suck up other people's powers for his own, which is pretty cool in its own right. But those that just have one specific power to manage have way more control over their gifts. 

Case in point, Fetch is just a badass. I loved speeding through the city non-stop. That's right, you're not metered down here -- you have unlimited use of your dash ability. Here other power sets are pretty cool too, but largely resemble Delsin's. Projectiles, hover jump, super attacks -- it's all there, but you know, all neon-y. 

The core of the story follows Fetch when she gets by the anti-Conduit department, and goes up until the point Delsin and Fetch meet. So you're getting about five hours worth of content with this First Light standalone DLC. You'll only be exploring the first whole island of Infamous' Seattle. 

On top of the story is a wave-based horde mode where you can compete for the highest score on leaderboards. And if you own Second Son you can use Delsin in this horde mode. 

If you liked Second Son and don't think $14.99 is a whole lot, than you won't go wrong with First Light. 

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2:55 PM on 08.13.2014

Mordor Shatitself?

Here are some of the weird and neat things we found running around the gamescom show floor today. I don't even know what's going on with those noodles.

Dale North

2:05 PM on 08.13.2014

Weaponized horse poop CONFIRMED for MGS V

Poop is something frequently omitted in videogames. How many epic adventures have we all played without seeing our heroes take a quick trip to the water closet en route to saving the world? A lot. Probably. Thankfully, that w...

Kyle MacGregor

2:00 PM on 08.13.2014

How Far Cry 4 plans on making memorable missions

Think back on Far Cry 3. Reflect on all the memorable moments you had with that game. What sticks out the most? The missions or the unscripted stuff that happened in the open world? Chances are you primarily remember the unsc...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

1:51 PM on 08.13.2014

Hideo Kojima not keen on remaking his previous games

Considering most of the Metal Gear Solid games have been re-released in various fashions over the years, it's surprising that Hideo Kojima isn't too keen on remaking his older games. When asked at Konami's Metal Gear Solid V ...

Alasdair Duncan



Prepare to hate your co-op partner in Project Totem photo
Prepare to hate your co-op partner in Project Totem
by Brett Makedonski

Even though I wasn’t optimistic about the prospect, I wanted to put my best foot forward. With a cheery tone to my voice, I affirmed the stranger’s request to play Project Totem cooperatively with me. The entire meeting he had seemed so eager, feverishly scribbling down notes as the Press Play developers explained their unabashedly simple, yet deviously difficult game. I was the one playing and talking, but he probably deserved a shot too, right?

“Damnit, he’s going to suck, and it’s going to piss me off,” I thought.

And, I was right. Well, sort of. Project Totem’s co-op play is designed in such a way that you’ll probably come to this conclusion about your partner regardless of their skill set. Failures by me? Temporary miscue, sure to never happen again. Failures by him? Does this dolt even have opposable thumbs, or does he simply mash the controller against his forehead?

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1:15 PM on 08.13.2014

See some new screenshots for LittleBigPlanet 3

After the runaway success of the first two LittleBigPlanet titles on PS3, fans had been clamoring for a follow-up on Sony's new hardware. With the announcement of LittleBigPlanet 3 at E3 coming to both PS4 and PS3, the LBP co...

Alessandro Fillari