Despite the less-than-stellar reception it's received in the press, Call of Duty: Ghosts remains one of the most anticipated launch titles in the Xbox One line-up. Not because the game itself, so much as the power of its bran...
For some reason, Crimson Dragon feels like the weirdest Xbox One launch title. Maybe that can be attributed to the spiritual Panzer Dragoon sequel's tumultuous development (from 360 Kinect exclusive to budget, $20 Xbox One game).
I didn't get try out any of those carry-over Kinect functionality that's been talked about, like the ability to barrel role by leaning my body -- news that would make the early Mario Kart-playing me "woah" in amazement. Thankfully, the controller worked just fine.
Well, except for the really lazy, floaty reticule. I don't know if ii's supposed to be that dragons are unwieldy means of transport or what.
We learned the sad news this week that PopCap'sPeggle 2 won't make launch day. But it's still "launch window" and it's still awesome in the way that only Peggle should be, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the near-final version I played last week.
Sports, television, videogames. NBA Live 14 is the Xbox One trifecta. The NBA Live series has long been dormant, finally reviving itself on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this month.
The key word I kept hearing was "relevancy," which is appropriate. It's something the series needs to regain. EA's ambitions, however, are not to just make a basketball that can compete with 2K at a fundamental level.
Leveraging a partnership with Synergy Sports, NBA Live boasts a constantly evolving game that will reflect the real life NBA season with hours of actual games being played. Really living up to the Live name, I guess.
I won't spend as much time on Dead Rising 3 as I did with some of the other Xbox One pre-launch previews as we've covered it a fair bit in the past. We first saw it at E3 and thought that it looked and sounded rough. But our Tokyo Game Show preview from a few months later had us feeling better about it. I was most relieved to see that Dead Rising 3 embraced the spirit of the first game at gamescom. It's absolutely bonkers and makes no apologies for that.
I feel even better about it now that I've spent a fair bit of time playing it last week.
People keep asking me about Ryse: Son of Rome. I think everyone has questions because we've heard so many conflicting things about the Xbox One launch title since its announcement. Is it a string of quick time events? How does it use Kinect? How's the combat?
I spent hours with Ryse, playing from its beginning through five levels, putting it fully through its paces. Knowing that some of you are on the fence on this one, I'm glad I can now give a clearer picture this week as we're just days away from the Xbox One launch.
Stats run sports. Yes, we have heartwarming stories of moxie and upsets and unexpected onside kicks right after the Super Bowl halftime show and they make for great narratives, but numbers are invaluable at easily quantifying what used to take a wicked good eye and more memory than is worth expending.
Anecdotes say Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is a choke artist who can't finish games. Numbers show that from 2008 to 2012, the number of game winning drives or fourth quarter comebacks he orchestrated increased each year, including five of the Cowboys' eight wins in 2012.
One the failings of Madden has been an inability to convey information and to teach football. Madden 25 took some steps to address this with the Skills Trainer, while CoachGlass goes a step further, actually working in-game to allow you to make informed decisions with an intuitive interface.
Forza Motorsport 5 has been on my Xbox One launch list since its announcement; I knew this was a game I had to have from the beginning. I've played it several times over the past years at trade shows and other events, but every instance was little more than a few laps around a course.
Honestly, outside of showing off the fancy new visual muscle and some of the new Xbox One controller perks, none of these showings did the game any justice. Even as a racing fan, these hands-on experiences were a bit of a bummer.
Microsoft made it all better last week by giving us hours to spend with the game. I was able to start from the very beginning of the game, working my way up, just as you'd do on the first day you bring a new racer home. While Forza 5 was already at the top of my to-buy list, this lengthy run with the game made me want it even more.
Last year, after a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Black Forest Games was able to take what started as a Mario rip-off with the Great Giana Sisters and turn it into a unique, beautiful platformer. After being one of the first Steam Greenlight games released, as well as popping the title on to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is now available in Mario's home base.
Daylight? More like Darklight. Because it's so fu*king dark in here and I can't god damn see and there are fu*king ghosts everywhere god damn it Hamza why did you make me preview this game.
This is what I remembered a few minutes into Zombie Studios' Daylight: “Horror games scare me. Why am I playing this, oh my god, why am I playing this?”
Daylight aims to address the issue of scares in games being one and done. With procedurally generated levels, which can scale depending on difficulty (more floors, dead ends, and so on at higher difficulties), and a variety of scare tactics, it could be successful at consistently providing different experiences, encouraging multiple playthroughs and experience sharing.
I only played through a small portion of the game, so I don’t know how it will hold up over an entire playthrough, let alone multiple. What I do know is that the bit I played had my heart racing faster than any game I can remember playing.
Sensory deprivation can be relaxing. It can also be terrifying in extreme measures, like the sound proof acoustic chamber that causes its guests to hallucinate. Wearing an Oculus Rift is a little bit like that. Especially in a first-person game like the upcoming PC and PS4 spook tale Daylight.
I put the Rift goggles over my eyes and I could see, but I couldn’t see. It didn’t dawn on my at first, because I was ostensibly looking at something, through Daylight’s first-person surrogate. Then a big pair of headphones was draped over my head and the chipper daytime noise and electronic pop music from the other room was drowned out by sounds pulling me into this ghost tale.
If you've ever wanted to tear across a fantasy realm with a roving band of criminal misfits, you might be able to live out your dream in Daedalic's tactical role-playing game, Blackguards. You might recall that I wasn't particularly sold on what Daedalic considers villainous, as the first few character profiles the developer released seemed pretty tame.
After sitting through a hands-off demonstration in London earlier this month, I'm more convinced, seeing quite a bit of lechery, greed, drug abuse, and being promised a whole lot more. Daedalic assures me that you can do far worse, and it's not about choosing to be good or bad, but rather deciding quite how terrible you'll be.
Most of what I saw during my hour with the game was combat. It combines traditional role-playing systems and turn-based combat amid a field of hexes with environments riddled with interactive potential. Each conflict I viewed exploited the battlefield differently, reminding me more of tabletop role-playing games than traditional tactics games like Heroes of Might and Magic.
Sony threw a PlayStation 4 shindig this week and Knack was featured heavily. We were treated to a video, narrated live by PS4 architect and Knack director Mark Cerny, with a lot of the gameplay sliced out in order to focus on the narrative, which hasn't been the biggest focal point of late.
Then, behind us, were several different demo stations for Knack. Jonathan Blow's sprawling, enigmatic The Witness, which was my favorite game of E3, had one, watched over by Blow himself. The fabulous Resogun, too, had one. With Cerny taking time out of an assuredly busy schedule to talk about Knack, I guess they wanted to make sure we'd have a chance to play it.
So, play I did. I like it a little better than I did before, partly because I understand it better.
4X (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) space strategy games have been all over the place, and recently we've had Sins of a Solar Empire to tackle the real-time side of the genre. It's been awhile since we've had a good turn-based galactic empire builder, and Horizon is hoping to scratch that itch for you.
Earth has made first contact with aliens, and it's time to expand and become a part of the galactic community. Meet your neighbors, colonize planets, and wage war for total domination. It has a bit of a classic '90s PC game vibe, with chunky 2D graphics during gameplay and low-quality 3D cutscenes, but fans of 4X space games should feel right at home with that.
Please to be enjoying this short preview of Audiosurf 2 as available in Early Access on Steam. Due for final release later this year, the music-driven game has added a fair bit of complexity to its newest official mode. Maybe a little too much, even.
If you haven’t played the eXcellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you should. However, now there is a caveat to that. You should play it, but you should probably wait until November 12 to do so because that’s when the Enemy Within eXpansion comes out
Those who own Enemy Unknown on PC or Mac will need to plunk $30 down on the expansion and start a new XCOM campaign to eXperience the content. Console owners can nab a bundle of Enemy Unknown, all its DLC, and Enemy Within for $40, which is a particularly lovely deal if you haven’t picked the game up yet.