[Update: Official trailer added. Extinction is described as a "1-4 player cooperative game mode featuring a unique blend of fast-paced survival action, FPS base defense, scavenging and class leveling." Get to the chopper.]
I've always found Treyarch's Zombies mode to be a fun bonus for the studio's otherwise fairly serious Call of Duty games and have longed for Infinity Ward to offer something similar in its titles. Seems we may be getting exactly that in Call of Duty: Ghosts if an image of a loading screen for "Extinction" (shown below for the spoiler averse) is to be believed.
Aliens? Yeah, looks like it. There's been an official teaser that matches the design of the creature as well as achievements for Ghosts that reference the mode. Neat. I'd assume we'll hear more from Infinity Ward leading up to launch but, if not, that's only a week off.
Batman: Arkham Origins had to endure a lot of cynicism from the peanut gallery as it rushed headlong from sudden announcement to pre-Christmas release. It's hardly surprising, too -- after the Arkham series earned high critical acclaim, the third installment appeared to be little more than a hollow cash-in.
It was set to be a contentious prequel, Warner Bros. announced downloadable content in tandem with the reveal of the full game, a pointless multiplayer mode was added, and it had switched developers from the beloved Rocksteady to the less lauded Warner Bros. Games Montréal and Splash Damage. Most people had come to expect little more than a stopgap release -- a bit of filler, made to scrape a quick buck off the Arkham name simply because that's what could be done.
Guess what. Arkham Origins is exactly what most people expected. Except slightly worse.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was quite the accomplishment when it was released. It wasn't everything an old-school Deus Ex fan could ask for (those boss fights), but it was a very reasonable compromise, and a great game in its own right.
Fast forward over two years later, and the Director's Cut is now gracing the twilight of the current console era, with new content and improved visuals in tow. While I'm not quite sure those extras are enough to sway fans who have already beaten the game from top to bottom, the good news is it's still the same great game we all enjoyed back in 2011.
While it's still popular to suggest Sonic the Hedgehog hasn't had a decent game in decades, this generation alone has at least shown significant improvements. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was an enjoyable, if controversial game, while Sonic Generations remains a genuinely great experience that finally nailed the 3D gameplay Sonic Team's been so thoroughly challenged by.
Unfortunately, Sonic Team's biggest struggle is with its need to constantly reinvent the Sonic formula, even after it's found something that works. Following Generations, we are already seeing a dramatic shift in style, this time to a game that scraps much of what has defined Sonic's 3D games, and embraced something far more akin to Mario's latter day console adventures.
After years of rivalry against Nintendo, it's amusing to see Sonic Lost World liberally, shamelessly steal from Mario Galaxy. However, while Lost World isn't a patch on the Galaxy games, the art of theft works considerably in Sonic's favor. Indeed, this game may very well be onto something.
[Update: If you're curious about those PlayStation 4 or Xbox One bundles that you pre-ordered GameStop and Amazon have both released a statement detailing what they'll be doing.]
Ubisoft has pushed two of its high-profile titles, Watch Dogs and The Crew, off until its next fiscal year. Watch Dogs was originally slated to help round out this year's annual holiday crush in late November. The Crew never had a formal release date, but was expected in the first quarter of 2014.
Now, both of them are expected sometime after April 1, 2014. With regard to Watch Dogs, the development team said "We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience."
The Watch Dogs news doesn't come as much of a surprise, given that Ubisoft hasn't ramped-up the marketing as one would expect with a game that's set to come out in a month. However, it's quite the blow for people that were looking forward to picking it up alongside an Xbox One or PS4.
Skylanders has had a bit of an odd history. Initially, it launched under the auspices of the Spyro name, and made a very small splash in the market -- so small, that barely anyone knew what it was. Fast forward to six months later, and it was the hottest toy on the shelves, so much so that many retailers couldn't even keep it stocked consistently.
A sequel was greenlit, and the rest was history, as Activision raked in over a billion dollars from the Skylanders franchise alone. It's a massive success, and now, the third iteration is attempting to claim the throne once again, fighting off the juggernaut that is Disney Infinity.
Let's just say it's going to be a very interesting holiday season for videogame toys.
This doesn't appear to be the case in the UK however, with the Wii U version slightly cheaper at £23.99 on Amazon.co.uk, compared to the 360 and PS3 versions which are £24.99. The PC version on Amazon costs just £14.36. Other UK retailers, like GAME and Play.com, have priced the Wii U version at £29.99.
I can understand the annoyance at paying more for a game that's cheaper on other platforms but in this case I can sort of see justifying charging more. The Wii U GamePad support is pretty extensive and those are features gamers won't necessarily get on another platform. Still, I'd be really interested to see a breakdown of how sales of the Director's Cut were split between all platforms, especially as this is the first time Human Revolution has appeared on Wii U.
I recently got to play a solid few hours of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and was able to do whatever I wanted, outside of the select core missions Ubisoft wanted to specifically show off. There was a lot to do, but I wanted to focus specifically the open ocean world and how you'll be interacting with it here.
Why? Because it was easily my favorite new feature for the Assassin's Creed series due to it being something fresh and different. Plus I liked ramming my big ship into tiny little ships because I'm the best pirate ever.
It's here! It's finally here! Pokemon X and Y is out this week for the 3DS and it's pretty much going to be the only thing anyone talks about leading up to the next-gen consoles. Oh, Beyond: Two Souls is also out this week. It has emotions and stuff. You like emotions, right?
Other biggies this week are two repacked re-releases: Borderlands 2 and Dishonored Game of the Year Editions. Oh, videogame industry. No wonder gamers love Steam sales so much.
I played Super Mario 3D World at E3 this past year and for whatever reason it just didn't interest me at all. Yeah, it's neat and it's about time they made a 3D Mario game with mulitplayer, but the demo made it feel like yet another New Super Mario Bros. game. You know, the series that has been rehashed four times now if you count New Super Luigi U.
Technically those games are great -- don't get me wrong. And they're fun to play in co-op for sure, but something about them just never made me want to finish them. They didn't have the spirit of pretty much all of the earlier Mario games that made me fall in love and 100% each and every one of them.
I wanted to give Super Mario 3D World another chance though, and the hands-on time I got with the game yesterday has completely sold me on it. That spirit I was referring to before is undoubtedly present with the latest Mario game.
Sonic is returning to the Smash series and will be trading blows with Mario as well as the other blue boy, Mega Man. Sonic vs. Mega Man... first the Archie crossover, now this. With this news and Mighty No. 9's hitting just about every single stretch goal, I've never been a happier gamer.
The Smash site has new screens of ol' Needlemouse, who's looking a lot sharper than in his Brawl days. You'll notice that there is a level based on Sonic Lost World, so that's gonna be fun. Also, please enjoy the short clip above, provided by Games HQ Media.
Assassin's Creed IV it truly an open world experience. There's so much to do, a ton of things to explore, and it's all happening in a near seamless sandbox. I had to know just how long it would take a player to 100% the game, and as I feared, I don't have nowhere near the time to please my OCD nature with this one.
I asked Ashraf Ismail, director on Assassin's Creed IV, how long it would take and he told me that "one guy in the office actually did it two weeks ago for the first time. He got a 100% sync, which was mind blowing. This was one of our testers, so imagine he's a tester who knows the game really well. He's been working on the game for a year and a half. From zero to a hundred on one build [of the game], it took him 48/49 hours. The thing is, he knew what he was doing is the crazy part."
Nearly 50 hours for a guy who knows the game like the back of his hand. Wow. For the rest of us that are not as familiar with the game like this tester is, Ashraf estimates that it will take anywhere from 60 to 80 hours to get a 100% sync.
Don't worry though. For the core storyline, it will take you roughly 20 hours to complete that. Still, beyond the story there's all sorts of side missions, the whole open naval combat, all sorts of hidden things to find -- There's a lot, suffice to say. There's even a throwback to Altaïr's ultimate armor from Assassins' Creed II. You'll find a couple of ultimate-like armors that you'll want, and to get them you'll have a bunch of side activities to engage in.
So yeah, 50 to 80 hours. And that's not even factoring how much time you'll invest in the multiplayer, or even the free companion app for mobile devices.
[Note: Join us Thursday @ 2pm PST for a live video + chat discussion about this review.]
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is easily my favorite Zelda game in the series -- a not altogether uncommon opinion, now that many years have passed and most people grew the Hell up over the "kiddie" visuals. One of the most original, charming, and funny entries in the series, The Wind Waker was different enough to truly stand out, but smartly retained everything that makes a Zelda game what it is.
Given its remarkable art style, not to mention the inherent timelessness of cel-shaded graphics, the decision to remaster the game for a high definition console seems like a no-brainer. It makes total sense to see Zelda's answer to Waterworld grace the Wii U as its very first official HD remaster.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's still a lovely little game.
The Wonderful 101 was originally pitched as a Nintendo franchise crossover title, and the remnants of that plan remain in the final design. The cast of playable characters are all easily linked to some of Nintendo's biggest names. Wonder Red (the game's lead) can break blocks and shoot fireballs with his hands, not unlike the worlds most beloved super-powered, baby-bodied plumber.
There are similar connections between other playable characters in the game -- Wonder Blue = Link, Wonder Green = Fox McCloud, Wonder Pink = Samus Aran, Wonder Yellow = Donkey Kong, and so on.
In the end, it's for the best that The Wonderful 101 became its own game. There is plenty here that will appeal to fans of other Nintendo properties, but this is very much a one-of-a-kind experience, and deserves to be billed as such. It draws upon other Hideki Kamiya titles like Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and Devil May Cry, Super Sentai shows of the '70s, the previously mentioned Nintendo titles, with a touch of Pikmin thrown in on the side, all while infused with a unique wildness that will leave even the most jaded among us on the edge of their seats.
Yeah, you read that headline right. Trust me, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around it too, but sure enough, a Japanese-style role-playing game from Ubisoft. Even stranger, Child of Light is by writer Jeffrey Yohalem and creative director Pat Plourde, two of the main people behind Far Cry 3.
Child of Light is a 2D action JRPG made on the UbiArt Framework engine, the same engine that's made that last two wonderful-looking Rayman games. The team is looking to make a love letter for JRPG fans, those that fondly remember the golden age of Squaresoft, with influences from Final Fantasy to Grandia.
It's been a few weeks since Disney Infinity was released, and I've scoured every inch of content there is to offer. Since there's a ton of confusion as to what exactly needs to be purchased to unlock what piece of content, I decided to create a comprehensive overview of pretty much everything you'll need.
I'm covering Series 1 here (the first five Play Sets), and if there's enough content to warrant it, I'll cover Series 2 and 3 in a similar fashion down the road. Expect impressions of the two Series 1 Play Sets that are sold separately very soon.