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505 Games

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...
Payday photo

Overkill is bringing Payday 2 to PS4 and Xbox One

This year, presumably
Jun 12
// Jordan Devore
Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will appear on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 at some point, Overkill Software and publisher 505 Games announced today. Details for these ports of the co-op heist title were unusually sparse, although ...

Check out Sniper Elite 3's multiplayer and co-op modes

Plus survival mode too
Jun 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Sniper Elite 3's new trailer sure is full of the gore porn. Headshot, after headshot, after headshot. We've seen a lot of the single-player, but now we're able to see all the multiplayer options. First there's 12-player comp...
Payday 2 photo
Payday 2

Breaking Bad's Gus plays The Dentist in new Payday 2 DLC

Watch you gold fillings
Jun 03
// Brett Makedonski
When Payday 2's Big Bank Heist is available for download on June 17, there will be a new mission contact in the mix. While he may be fresh to Payday players, he's a well-known and calculated voice in the crime worl...
Terraria photo

PS4 and Xbox One are next for Terraria

Releasing sometime this year
Jun 03
// Jordan Devore
After making it to Xbox 360, PS3, and PS Vita, Terraria has set its sights on PS4 and Xbox One. Publisher 505 Games says these ports will be out later this year with all of the 1.2 content "alongside some brand new functional...
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...
Sniper Elite 3 photo
Sniper Elite 3

Learn the skills you'll need in Sniper Elite 3

Shooting people in the head is the big one
May 07
// Brett Makedonski
Being a sniper isn't easy work. The bad ones aren't long for this world. That's why you'll want to know everything you possibly can before trying your hand at this dangerous profession. As demonstrated in this video, there a...
Sniper Elite 3 photo
Sniper Elite 3

Try to kill Hitler again in Sniper Elite 3's pre-order mission

Release date and pre-order offers revealed
Mar 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
505 Games has released new details regarding Sniper Elite 3, including a release date. You'll be able to take down targets this coming June 27 on PC, with releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 a fe...

Review: Rekoil: Liberator

Feb 04 // Ian Bonds
Rekoil: Liberator (PC, Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed])Developer: Plastic PiranhaPublisher: 505 GamesRelease Date: January 28, 2014 (PC), January 29, 2014 (XBLA)MSRP: $14.99 Rekoil: Liberator's (or just Rekoil as it's known on PC) marketing touted the title as being a straight-forward shooter, where things like perks for kill streaks didn't exist. It offered the "pure shooter experience" where the genre went "back to it's roots" and eschewed earning weapons through rankings and held only scoring as key. While that certainly can level the playing field, it can also be a rather shallow gaming experience if you have nothing to work for beyond the leaderboard. Still, maybe there was something to this idea. When it came to actually viewing and playing the game, however, all of those hopes fell away in a poorly-executed, trite mess. There is no single player story, no campaign to speak of, and no real explanation as to why you're shooting at whomever wanders into your crosshairs. The Dark Water corporation and the Minutemen militia serve merely as skins and teams with no rhyme or reason as to why they're trying to give each other lead poisoning, and I suppose that's to allow players to cut to the chase and get to shootin'. [embed]269862:52452:0[/embed] The problem is, it's just too generic. While being able to choose whatever loadout you want from the start is nice, all the weapons behave in pretty much the same way -- which is to say, they all have shit accuracy. Save for the RPG or the shotgun, aiming with any of the weapons and hitting your target with any amount of precision is pure luck. Don't even bother with iron sights, either, as the targeting reticule or red dot may end up blocking your view rather than assisting your aim. The whole game is downright ugly too, as character models are barely a step above PS2 blockiness, and every map is a wash of greys and browns. The character models are as basic as they get, with only mild differences between skins ("oh, this guy has a hat!", "look, it's the same guy, only with a mask!" or even "finally, some diversity...he has dreadlocks!"). As for the game modes, you get your typical deathmatch, team deathmatch, free for all, king of the hill, capture the flag -- er, briefcase -- and so on. There's at least one mode worth playing, called Rekondite, where one player is apparently the Predator from the movies, only with a knife. You can run faster as you invisibly stalk your foes, and if they kill you, they become the invisible hunter, with the winner being the who racks up the most kills as the Rekondite. Not that the knife is a one-hit-kill weapon in this game. No, that would be too much like other shooters, where the melee is actually useful. In fact, most of the control schemes in Rekoil will have you throwing your controller in anger. Switching between primary and secondary weapons, grenades, and your melee -- which, yes, are all a separate selection; you can't melee or throw grenades without selecting them -- is done on the d-pad, but I could never get it to be consistent in which direction I pushed to pull up an item. Sprinting is also a hit or miss exercise, as I could never keep running for longer than a few seconds and could see no meter on screen telling me I had no more sprint stamina, or anything of the sort. Apparently, you run faster depending on which weapon you're holding in your foot-shaped hand, but that still never lasted longer than a few feet from when you started sprinting. The thing that drove me the most out of my mind in the game is that, in any team match, friendly fire was always turned on. Always. In my first match, I killed 3 people on my own team (because everyone looks like they're all on the same team) and did not get penalized for it. While it subtracted from my match-end tally, the announcer in the game at the time lauded me for my skillful headshots. And since the number of kills you rack up or however long you keep the briefcase doesn't unlock new weapons, all team-killing does is bring down your possible leaderboard rank. Even when I wasn't slaughtering my own generic looking squad on purpose, they were often cut down as I tried to hit enemy forces, as they just ran directly into the path of my bullets. Causalities of war, I suppose. If there's one good thing to say about the game, it's that I didn't really have any issues with getting a match to connect or really experienced any lag (which, from what I hear, is more than can be said for the PC counterpart). Matches were running smoothly (or as smooth as the engine would allow with the floaty aiming) and no latency issues were detected in the few matches I played. Rekoil: Liberator is as generic as they come. Basic maps, uninspired character models, the "same-old, same-old" game modes we're all used to. What it tries to do to make itself stand out it fails at, and what does make it stand out is nothing to be proud of. And the one aspect every shooter should have -- competent shooting -- just isn't there. There is literally nothing to justify the $15 price-point, and woe to those that drop the coin into this steaming mess.
Rekoil: Liberator photo horror
It's difficult to have a unique idea in a genre that's as over-saturated as 'first-person shooter' is. With Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield already out there year after year, making a multiplayer game enticing while offering something fresh and unseen is becoming harder and harder for developers to accomplish. The makers of Rekoil: Liberator are proof of that.


Rekoil comes out this month on PC and Xbox Live Arcade

Oh look, another first-person shooter
Jan 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Plastic Piranha's Rekoil is coming out at the end of this month. Expect the Windows PC version on January 28 through Steam. The Xbox Live Arcade version is titled Rekoil: Liberator, and that's out January 29. Each version wi...

Here's a little Sniper Elite 3 in your eye

Dec 21
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new trailer has released for Sniper Elite 3 and, along with the typical one-man-army machismo, you can enjoy a high resolution bullet to the eye, rendered in painstaking detail. Man, do I not want to see that. I'm not...
Terraria Vita impressions photo
Terraria Vita impressions

Terraria feels so right on the Vita

And it looks better than it ever has on the hardware
Dec 18
// Brett Zeidler
You might not think it, but Terraria is definitely one of the more hotly anticipated games to come to the PS Vita. I myself have been looking forward to playing it on the go for the better part of this year after putting ple...

Terraria on PS Vita: Launch dates confirmed

It's almost here
Dec 08
// Harry Monogenis
505 Games has announced that the PS Vita version of Terraria has been officially approved for release by Sony. It's been a long time coming, but it's finally happening. Those located in North America will be able to...
Cancellation photo

Publisher cancels Ashes Cricket 2013 after release

Customers who purchased on Steam will receive refund
Nov 29
// Alessandro Fillari
  It's very rare to see titles on Steam pulled and customers offered a refund, but now we've seen it happen once again. Last week, Ashes Cricket 2013 was released for PC and many fans of the sport jumped at the chance to...
PS Vita photo
PS Vita

Terraria coming to PS Vita this December

PS Vita version to be published by 505 Games
Nov 23
// Harry Monogenis
Sony has revealed via a magazine advertisement that Terraria will be making its way onto the PlayStation Vita this December. The advert, which was spotted by VideoGamer in this week's edition of MCV, shows a screenshot of Re-...

Become President Obama in the new Payday 2 DLC

Plus President Bush, Clinton, and Nixon masks too
Nov 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The Armored Transport downloadable content for Payday 2 comes to PC tomorrow for $6.99. In it you'll get new armored car and train heist jobs playable across the game's six maps. Plus expect three new weapons, four new mask ...
Payday photo

Payday 2 has sold 1.58 million copies

80 percent of which happened through digital distribution
Sep 13
// Jordan Devore
Payday 2 is doing very well for itself. At retail, it broke into the NPD's top 10 for August 2013 but, here's the thing about that: the game's 1.58 million copies sold, according to Starbreeze, were 80 percent digital. Intere...

Jimquisition: Time To Get Paid

Aug 26 // Jim Sterling
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Payday 2 is a success, because the people making and publishing it weren't completely stupid. What sorcery is this? Yes, it's one of those episodes where we celebrate one game getting it right and not stuffing everything up. Speaking of stuffing, Jim at last unveils the Dragon Dildo ... and does things with it. Terrible things.

Review: PAYDAY 2

Aug 19 // Jim Sterling
PAYDAY 2 (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Overkill SoftwarePublisher: 505 GamesReleased: August 13, 2013 (NA), August 16, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $29.99  Dallas, Chains, Hoxton, and Wolf are reunited for a second string of amoral moneymaking, propelled by a variety of missions involving breaking and entering, classic bank robbery, and even simple property damage across a range of maps that, while often recycled, feature randomized elements to keep things interesting. Yet again, success hinges on teamwork as four players strategize, watch backs, and hold off waves of progressively deadly police forces.  This time around, missions are picked up by accessing, a virtual map that locates and displays all active online missions. There is an offline mode too, but the allied A.I. is so utterly useless as to render it an endeavor without meaning. Suffice it to say, you're going to need to go online if you've any hope of making out like a bandit. Missions appear and disappear in real-time as they become available, and range from simple one-stage jobs to longer, story-based crimes that take place over several days and are broken up into anywhere from two to seven stages. Missions are also graded by difficulty, allowing you to hop right into an easy job or ramp things up by tackling an Overkill mission. The harder the difficulty, the greater the enemy resistance, and the more likely an appearance of vicious special enemies, such as the annoying Shield or terrifying Heavy.  Each mission is impressively paced, and far more varied than last time. In one stage, you'll be tasked with entering a mall and doing $50,000 worth of damage for a protection racketeer. Another involves robbing three stores at once and making out with the goods. One multipart stage involves robbing an art gallery, holding a position from cops after the escape van crashes, and finally executing a shady trade of goods before the police invariably show up. Oh, and yes, there is a mission where you have to break bad and cook up some meth.  A good number of missions can be played either stealthily or noisily. If you go in, all guns blazing, take hostages and decide to smash-and-grab, you'll end up defending your location against timed police assaults before fighting your way out with your earnings. A quiet approach involves sneaking past cameras, knocking out opponents, pretending to be guards over a pager system (which is always amusing), and hoping to Hermes you don't get anybody too suspicious. It's more difficult to pull off a stealth win, requiring both practice and a mastery of special skills, but it's possible. I've not seen it done personally, but it's possible! Players level up and earn spending money after each successful job, which can in turn be used to gain new skills, unlock guns, and customize masks. There are four skill trees to choose from -- Mastermind, which involves dominating enemies while supporting allies; Engineer, which uses vault drills more efficiently and can use mines or turrets; Enforcer, which is all about combat and shotgun efficiency; and Ghost, the handy stealth class that can sneak in and evade detection.  Guns are all of the standard variety -- pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, etc. -- but there's a heck of a lot of them, and all can be customized with parts randomly won at the end of a job. Masks are also a big deal this time around, the usual clown varieties added to with mummies, demons, and other ghoulish fun. Masks are also acquired as random "drops" and can be further customized with material skins, logos, and colors. With the skills, weapons, and masks combined, there's plenty of scope to create your perfect master criminal, and the encouragement to progress is there in spades.  Everything costs money, though, and while you'll be earning buckets of cash at the end of each stage, it can disappear quickly. Unlocking skills takes both unlockable skill points and an injection of hot cash, with the dollar toll rising to hundreds of thousands in no time. This isn't usually a problem, but if you tend to respec a lot, as I did in the early goings, you'll find yourself playing catch-up as you don't get all your money back.  Each heist is nicely designed, with a terrific sense of escalation, especially when the plan gets chaotic and things start to go wrong. The idea of risk and reward adds an extra level of dynamism to each job, as you have to weigh going back for extra valuables against the army of SWAT specialists now standing between your escape van and goods you've left behind. You can also unlock assets (if you're hosting the game) that add extra benefits during the game, such as a hidden ammo cache or an inside man.  PAYDAY 2 is just as fun, and measurably more involving, than the first game, but some issues get in the way of the amusement. Matchmaking could stand to be more efficient, as joining an existing game holds the match up for everybody, while the lack of any sort of host migration -- which shouldn't even be a consideration these days -- is a real pain in the ass. There are also a number of glitches and bugs that can occur, and the way stages simply end -- as well as a number of missing features such as safehouse customization -- lead to a title that feels somewhat unfinished.  Despite some of these flaws being quite egregious, Overkill has still provided a massive laugh of a game, and it says a lot about the quality of what's there that potentially dealbreaking issues don't really manage to kill the overwhelming enjoyment I've been having with the thing. Matches are tense and the fantastic music keeps the blood pumping, while finally getting to within hopping distance of the escape van provides a sense of exhilaration rarely found in similar shooters these days.  PAYDAY 2 is undeniably rough and needs a couple of updates to fill in a few blanks, but the thrill of robbing banks, smashing jewel cases, and cooking meth is too great for the asking price not be returned to the player in spades. If you're willing to work with a team and get involved in some delightfully chaotic situations, the world of poorly made drills and unnecessary amounts of violence is one well worth investing in. 
PAYDAY 2 reviewed photo
Stands and delivers
Nobody could ever claim PAYDAY: The Heist wasn't a good idea. Tapping into every human's secret desire to be part of a beautifully orchestrated, flamboyantly daring theft of grand proportions was a masterstroke, and while the...


Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons also coming to PS3, PC

Spread the brotherly love
Aug 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons just came out for Xbox Live Arcade to little marketing and fanfare this past week. We're here to remind you that's it pretty great though, and something worth adding to your XBLA collection. Or, ...

Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons Achievement Guide

Aug 07 // Brett Makedonski
Take a Break Kids usually play close to home. As it states in the description, this Achievement will pop outside the brothers' house which is in the Prologue. At the very beginning of the game, as you're carting the father to the doctor, stop immediately before the bridge and instead travel south on some stone steps. Run along the beach until you find a pile of rocks in front of the water. Interact with them as the little brother to begin skipping stones which will unlock the first Achievement. Wishing Well For your wish to come true, you need something to throw. At the start of Chapter 1, you can see a well off to the right and a girl playing with her ball in the distance. Go take her ball and throw it down that well, you giant jerkface. I can't believe you emotionally scarred that sweet, little girl for a measly 20 Gamerscore. Black Sheep It's a long walk. In Chapter 1, you'll come across a wheel that needs to be run on in order to lower a bridge. Run on it with the little brother, and send the big brother across to pick up a sheep. Carry that sheep back across and to the lower left where the bunnies are playing. Drop him in the coal, which will turn him black and unlock the Achievement. Bunny Buddies Are bunnies colorblind? Also in Chapter 1, at the exact same location as the Black Sheep Achievement, there's a white rabbit hopping among a group of black rabbits. Drop the white one in the coal to knock out this Achievement. Falling Star Patience is a virtue. As soon as you reach the cemetery near the beginning of Chapter 3, there will be a statue off to the right-hand side. Interact with it with the little brother for approximately six seconds. A star will go shooting across the sky, and the Achievement will unlock. A Sad Tune  Give something back which was believed to be lost. This one's pretty morbid. At the beginning of Chapter 4, the path forks. Off to the right side, there's a guy who's, well, he's not having a very good time. Climb up the tree with the older brother, and let him down. Then, venture around the right side of the tree and work your way around the ledge. Grab the music box and give it to him. He's probably still bummed out, but you did everything you could. Windpipe  Find the right tone. In Chapter 4, after raising the platform that the inventor's stranded on, there's a giant organ-type device in the upper-left part of his home. Turn the crank with the little brother and push the other part with the big brother until you hit the right tone. Love Birds  A caged heart cannot love. This is a two-parter. In Chapter 1, right before the wheel that leads to the sheep, there's a bird cage that needs to be opened. Do that, and free the bird. Then, in Chapter 4, immediately before the hang-glider, there's a telescope that's impossible to miss. Look in the telescope, and zoom in on the lower-right. There will be two birds chilling out on a branch, and the Achievement will pop. Call of the Giants  First take a deep breath. In Chapter 5, right before using the giant crossbow, go down the path to the right. Waiting there is a giant horn. The little brother is ineffectual, but the big brother has what it takes to make some noise. Behind the Curtain On your feet you could never get here. At the start of Chapter 6, you'll hop in a canoe. At the end of the first straightaway, there'll be a "unique" waterfall off to the right. Go through it to earn this Achievement. Turtle Soup Life, Drop, Slide, Plop! During Chapter 6, you'll come to an ice cavern which is home to a crying mama turtle. Off to the right are her babies, which have all found themselves in some sort of predicament. Pull one to the top of the giant slide and send him to his mother. There's another waiting to be slid down at the top of the slide. For the final turtle, the big brother will have to boost the little brother up. Once he's down, reunite him with his family. Whale Song Rest and smile, sing for a while. In Chapter 6, immediately after climbing out of the ice cave that houses the family of turtles, you'll come across a two-man saw. Run past it, climb up a ledge, and a bench will be waiting. Take a seat on the bench, and the whales below will put on a show for you.
Brothers tips photo
O Brothers, where art thou Gamerscore?
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons is an anomaly when it comes to Achievements. Not a single one will be unlocked through normal gameplay. However, every last one takes only seconds to get and isn't dependent on anything othe...


PayDay 2 launching August 13 on Steam

August 16 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Aug 07
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
It's time to pull off the ultimate heist as PayDay 2 arrives next week. It'll be out first on August 13 for Steam on PC, then August 16 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. To go along with that announcement is the latest trailer and batch of screens. Spoilers: In it we see people committing crimes. Whoa!

Review: Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons

Aug 07 // Brett Makedonski
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons (Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed], PlayStation Network, PC)Developer: Starbreeze StudiosPublisher: 505 GamesReleased: August 7, 2013 (XBLA), TBA (PSN, PC) MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points, $14.99 Brothers follows, well, two brothers as they embark on a quest to cure their ailing father. Despite speaking in a language of gibberish, it's easy to pick up on each's character traits. The blue one is older, stronger, respectful, and more emotionally mature. The red one is younger, mischievous, and nimble. As expected, they play off one another, and the game does a good job depicting them as incomplete parts to a cohesive whole unit. The most easily recognizable theme of Brothers is the bond between siblings, and Starbreeze turned this into the core mechanic of the game. The left analog stick controls the movement of the blue brother, the right analog stick controls the movement of the red brother, and the respective triggers function as each's action button. The pared-down control scheme offers a level of simplicity that's rarely seen in videogames, which would be nice if it worked fluidly. Unfortunately, the dueling-stick approach never becomes consistently comfortable. It isn't bad when the brothers are moving side-by side, but it's difficult to replicate when they're further apart. Throughout the three to four hour game, moments of Zen-like unity occasionally occur, which are quickly erased when the camera swings around and you've unwittingly made one brother run into a wall. [embed]258764:49747:0[/embed] Surprisingly, the control issues aren't game-breaking. In fact, they're relatively easy to look past. They constantly walk the line between "kind of irksome" and "frustrating", but never really cross it. It's completely due to Brothers' structure that this is the case. A more challenging game might not get a pass, but Brothers makes it evident that it's not here to challenge you. Rather, Brothers almost always moves along at a relaxed pace. You'd be hard-pressed to qualify its puzzles as such, because nearly all of them have an immediately obvious solution that's easy to perform and difficult to screw up. It's less about skill, and more about carrying out the requisite actions to further the adventure. It's possible to die, but if it happens, you likely won't make the same mistake twice. There's a bit in chapter four where the brothers are tethered together by a rope and need to climb around the outside of a structure. As one brother hangs on, the other pendulums laterally to the next hold. It's an uncomplicated section, and most will instantly identify the required strategy. However, when it comes to implementation, it's tough to not feel a sort of guilty cleverness if you move through the area too fast, almost as if you're somehow outsmarting the game.  That's how Brothers lures you in -- with its accessibility. It provides comfort with its simple puzzles, radiantly beautiful backdrops, and charming musical score. It's truly immersive, especially in the first hour or so (I'm convinced that a heads-up display would provide no greater disservice to a game than to this one). Then, things go off the rails. For a game that sets the tone with such serenity and a lackadaisical carefree attitude, Brothers turns dark and it does so quickly. I don't wish to spoil a single instance, but Brothers certainly crescendos throughout the entire experience, as it all becomes progressively more bleak and somber. Everything from narrative points to set pieces to isolated incidents that you weren't even necessarily supposed to find, they all ooze a positively depressing aura that seemed impossible from the outset. All of this is made considerably more notable by the fact that Brothers is a love story, or, maybe more accurately, a collection of love stories. Regardless of how melancholy things may get, there's always a love-induced spirit overshadowing everything, for better and for worse. Whether it's a pair of cave trolls reunited, a man absolutely wrecked by the death of his family, or even a couple of birds that have been uncaged and found one another again, Brothers never lets the player forget that love is the primary motif for this tale. That's precisely what makes Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons so endearing -- the undeniable contrast created by the highs and lows that come with the entire experience being driven by love. It's so strong that it even dwarfs the game's core mechanical flaws, making them feel trivial when they should sully the whole affair. It's a powerful venture that isn't necessarily about where you began or where you end up; it's about everything that happened in between. 
Brothers review photo
Family bonding
It all starts innocently enough with a pair of brothers making their way through town. Sure, there's a task at hand, but urgency isn't an issue. It should be, but it isn't. Soaking in the warm glow of the sun and playing with...


There's a little Hotline Miami in Payday 2

Plus here have a new trailer
Jul 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
There's a special homage to Hotline Miami in Payday 2! You can purchase a pig mask called "The Hog" and it has some familiar sounding text associated with it too. Yeah that's about it. Just a neat little thing. Anyway, we're...
Payday photo

Payday 2 Collector's Edition comes with a real mask

Here's what you need to know going in
Jul 09
// Jordan Devore
The North American collector's edition for Payday 2 is notable in that it's priced at a reasonable $59.99. That, and it includes a wearable mask, which is a pretty good bonus as far as these things tend to go. There's also a...
Takedown photo

My teammate shot me in Takedown: Red Sabre

And I dig the game even more for it
Jun 14
// Jordan Devore
Takedown: Red Sabre should make tactical first-person shooter players happy. I'm not one, I've come to realize, but I gave it my best during a demonstration of this squad-based PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 game from S...
Zombie survival photo
I thought I was over these games
In EKO Studios' How to Survive, you'll travel from island to island, monitoring hunger and sleep meters, crafting items from junk you find lying around and, oh yeah, taking down zombies with a bow or machete. The whole u...

Payday 2 blew away my expectations, stole my heart

Jun 12 // Steven Hansen
Payday 2 (PC [previewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Developer: Overkill Software Publisher: 505 Games Release: August 2013One of the big pieces of Payday 2's revamp is that heist jobs can be segmented into multiple days and tasks. Essentially, there is a focus on the lead up to jobs that feel more holistic. This way, the team could build, "long, complex heists without having to build five hour maps," Goldfarb explained.  There is also a focus on making the natural economy useful and fruitful. Only portions of your take after heists can be spent immediately, much of it being funneled through off-shore accounts and other realistic feats of thievery. You can also use your wealth to purchase assets before jobs, like blueprints, and even sniper support. Talk about turned tables -- I have so many recollections of tons of sniper sights flitting around in Payday: The Heist, sights trained directly on me and my crew. There is also a mind bogglingly extensive upgrade, customization, and class system. The Mastermind, Technician, Enforcer, and Ghost all have huge skill trees full of some wild perks, like the ability to recruit law enforcement to your side, or a "Stockholm syndrome" perk that makes civilians see that maybe you're actually a pretty cool guy and that the cops are jerks. There's even a "Kilmer" perk, one of many nods to Michael Mann's Heat. Goldfarb noted that the Mastermind is essentially based on DeNiro's character in Heat. Beyond that, I saw a ridiculous collection of weapons and other customizables. There are a load of new unlockable masks and masks can be decorated, colored, painted, and textured. Given that everything appears visibly on your character in-game, the customization stands out even more.   Stealth is another cool possibility. In the bank heist I played, we were able to run around back and slip in through a lock picked back door, despite being a somewhat uncoordinated and unacquainted bunch. The latter did hurt us when someone -- if anyone tells you it was me, I assure you they lie -- accidentally fired a shot and ruined the entire thing. "Stealth will be difficult in pickup games," Goldfarb explained, noting that most peoples' attempts at stealth thus far had gone even more horribly wrong than ours (and usually more quickly). According to Goldfarb, some jobs are practically impossible to stealth -- though I'm sure that won't stop people from trying. If you're skilled enough, you can apparently push the stealth element surprisingly far into most jobs, though the game will be just as taut and enjoyable when things go horribly wrong, as capers are apt to do.  All told, the game has 30 missions. Add in difficulty levels and certain elements of randomization -- if you botch jobs badly enough, you can trigger various, randomized escape segments, for example -- and you're bound to get a lot of play out of Payday 2. Goldfarb noted that Dark Souls is a huge influence on the game, going as far as to call Payday 2 something of an homage. Anyone who has played the original on its highest difficulty -- or, hell, even on the "normal" difficulty -- can attest to that. Maybe that's why I love it. The game wants to beat you into the earth and has the means to do so. When you play long enough, after level 50, the game offers professional missions in which you have to successfully complete each part of multi-day jobs in sequence or be sent back to the very beginning. Devious. Let's not forget Payday: The Heist's ridiculous secret room. Beyond adding new features, the game itself is much improved over the original. Guns have been entirely retooled to feel different and the visuals have been ratcheted up. During the heist I played, we had the ability to plank up windows, which is one of many neat additions to the game. Far and away, my favorite touch was that picking up a money-filled duffel bag actually tilts the camera sideways as if the bag were on your shoulder, weighing you down. It's a fabulous little touch that immediately made me feel like I was in the climax of Heat, watching Tom Sizemore ineffectually trying to heft duffel bags through vacated streets. Payday 2 can't come soon enough.
Payday 2 preview photo
Exponentially expanded and improved heisting
Payday 2 feels like one of the most ambitious sequels in recent memory. I was a fan of Payday: The Heist, which in and of itself is high praise. Normally I can't be bothered to play online multiplayer and I've had first-perso...

Terraria looks lovely on iOS, plays pretty solid

Jun 11 // Steven Hansen
I'm not sure how Terraria's core audience will feel about this reduction in time, but I loved it. The game is clearly being re-tooled with aware of the mobile mindset and I don't think the game suffers for allowing you to chop down trees a bit more quickly. A touchscreen joystick mapped to the bottom left handles locomotion. There is also an auto-jump for smaller ledges, though holding up on the joystick will elicit a higher jump should you want or need more control. Interaction is handled either by taps and holds on screen, or with the aid of a sort of universal action button mapped on the bottom left, which will automatically activate things like tools and weapons to work on objects in your vicinity. While mining deep in the earth I found the action button a little lacking, as it kept leaving forehead-high blocks in my path that I'd then have to manually clear by selecting them on screen before I could progress -- but otherwise it handled well, though I didn't do much combat. As a sidenote, Terraria is coming is Vita soon, too. Sony's portable might be better suited for the game, but I suppose if you don't have a Vita and need Terraria everywhere, then iOS could prove a decent option.
Terraria iOS photo
Just in case you need to mine on the go...and don't have a Vita
Indie, exploration-based Terraria has developed quite a following since its release and now it's making its way to iOS courtesy of 505 games, which handled its recent console release. Ideally, 505 would have liked all three (...


How to Survive is an isometric zombie survival game

Survive on an island filled with zombies
May 30
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
505 Games has announced How to Survive, a brand new IP developed by EKO Studios. The game strands players on a remote archipelago off the coast of Columbia in the aftermath of an unexplained accident, and forces players to su...

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