A common pattern for when a successful single-player IP has turned into a series is to tack on a multiplayer bit of some form. Unfortunately, when this happens, the multiplayer portion is often a half-assed attempt thrown in...
Final Fantasy XIV was a disaster. I never played the original version, but from what I hear it was pretty bland and uninspired in all areas. It takes some serious gall, as well as business sense, to straight up cancel an MMO and rework it from the ground up. Square Enix has done just that with the second Final Fantasy MMO, now adding the title A Realm Reborn.
An apt name, it seems, as playing through the various closed beta sessions over the past months has been quite a delight. Playing MMOs can be quite exciting when they're executed well. That being said, I definitely have some reservations about FFXIV: ARR; not everything was peaches and rainbows.
We're here folks! Breathe that big ol' sigh of relief because by midday you'll seeBioShock Infinite's first piece of downloadable content, Clash in the Clouds, available for download on the PC through Steam.
Clash in the Clouds is an intense combat-oriented DLC where players can climb the leaderboards by beating up various enemies from BioShock Infinite. For some it's been a long time coming, but I had patience and I certainly wasn't disappointed with the time I spent playing Clash.
Activision’s Skylanders franchise has always smelled of a money grab to me. Copperish, like the smell of old pennies scrounged up by hard-working parents so little Linda Anne can have all the newest and coolest Skylanders characters while mom and dad work three jobs amidst recession. Jim Sterling is rather partial to the plastic lot, however, so they can’t be all bad, right?
In fact, they’re not. The new Skylanders: Swap Force is indeed rather cute and pretty fun. Vacuous, but quaint enough.
Skylanders is videogames as toys; or, Toys: The Videogame. I guess I forgot that videogames practically were, once upon a time. It’s no less inane and gimmicky and capitalistic than the stupid garbage we pestered parents for 20 years ago, but it’s a heck of a lot more polished and less likely to break like the slot cars I took around hairpin turns too quickly causing them to go flying off the track. Plus, what can be more embarrassing than having paid money for pogs?
All things considered, Dragon's Crown is one of my most anticipated games of the year, if not the most. As many of you know, I'm a massive fan of action games as well as brawlers, old-school games, and of course, Vanillaware.
Everything about Dragon's Crown looked great, but as we know, there's nothing quite like actually playing something to really judge whether or not what sounds good on paper holds up in practice.
If the first 10 hours are any indication, I don't think I have anything to worry about.
In an unexpected surprise here at Comic Con, Konami showed off an extensive hands-off gameplay walkthrough detailing more of the game’s systems, music, and environs. The demo took place a brief time after the events seen in the E3 demo, after Dracula has awoken from his thousand-year slumber and is exploring his castle in an effort to reclaim his lost power.
There are more reasons than ever to be excited about this game, so find out what it was all about below.
Once considered the flagship reboot of the XCOM franchise with a side meal strategy game to go with it in Firaxis' XCOM: Enemy Unknown, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has found itself playing second fiddle in the eyes of many series fans. Straddling the line between action and strategy, The Bureau is making deliberate strides to blend the core tenets of the series into a modern third-person action game.
Rayman Legends is finally almost here. The delay of the Wii U version after the announcement of PS3, 360, and Vita ports seems worlds away, but I'm finally about to embark on the evolution of the gorgeous, 2D platforming goodness I fell in love with in Rayman Origins. Better still, this past half year of extra development time has brought about a lot of additions to the game that we wouldn't otherwise have seen.
Series creator Michel Ancel called Legends "the biggest Rayman game ever," as well as the most polished. There was trepidation even at Ubisoft Montpellier when the game got pushed back because, Ancel noted, the team "didn't hear about how [they] would be able to use that time." Turns out, they were able to cram quite a few more things into Legends, along with churning out several excellent ports.
In addition to the addictive Kung Foot minigame I posted about earlier, Legends has gained "Invasion" levels, an antagonistic appearance by Dark Rayman, new 3D bosses, and complete remasters of the team's favorite levels from Rayman Origins.
In a recent hands-on with Splinter Cell: Blacklist, I had a chance to see exactly what our othereditors have been excited about regarding both the game's single- and multiplayer components. I spent a little time with a couple of single-player missions set primarily in the Middle East in broad daylight, and then jumped into a few Spies vs. Mercs rounds in a Hacker's Den before finishing out with a co-op mission with another journalist through Eastern Iraq.
Much of what I played was familiar territory in regards to gameplay conceits of both the series and of similar games in the genre, and the Spies vs. Mercs mode remains as strong as ever, but the mission I actually came away the most impressed with was the one spent with a complete stranger that had us both working together to complete a number of objectives.
Though the co-op missions don't demand the precise stealth of earlier titles, they are still incredibly fun and actually do require some tactical skills.
The Third Street Saints are on the rise. Once a lowly street gang from Stillwater, the crime syndicate achieved celebrity status in conquering the burgeoning metropolis of Steelport. Now, you, their intrepid leader, have inexplicably captured the presidency. Everything is gravy. Well, except for that twenty percent approval rating. Also, there's an armada of aliens bearing down on the capital and snatching people up like it's War of the Worlds or something. Maybe it's time to kick some extraterrestrial ass. Because 'Merica.
Saints Row IV is still as juvenile, irreverent, and hilarious as ever. And it feels pretty amazing too. Over the past few days I've had some time to go hands-on with a preview build of the game featuring what's ostensibly the game's opening hours and thus far I'm having an absolute blast.
Action role-playing games are usually hit-or-miss in the way that they're received. The slightest deviancy in mechanics can turn a thrilling affair into a mundane and unexciting one. For the past few years, From Software's Demon's Souls and Dark Souls have perfected this formula and championed the genre.
After seeing a hands-off demo at E3, I wouldn't be surprised if Deck13's Lords of the Fallen gives From Software a run for its money. If this happens, it's because Lords of the Fallen looks like it'll strike that exact same chord with players -- tough as nails, but doable once you slow down and figure out your approach.
"I think we have a demographic for it," I was told by a Namco Bandai PR rep. Let me back up -- mere moments earlier, he asked what I thought of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures; I returned his questioning with nothing more than a five-second blank stare. Fittingly, that blank stare was encapsulating of all that Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures appears to stand for -- an emotionless venture that's devoid of any soul or effort, and will simply be dismissed as an awkward misstep almost immediately.
But here we are, me telling you about a videogame that makes me twitch when I think about it, you sadly shaking your head at the shell of a character the once iconic Pac-Man has become.
“You know what the world needs? A videogame adaption of Mad Max, a franchise that’s sat in stagnation for almost three decades.” That’s apparently what someone at Avalanche Studios said, because here we are in 2013 as the Just Cause developers are working on their interpretation of the continuation of the saga (and yes, I know there’s a movie reboot on its way). To be fair, it might not be as outrageous as it seems, because the game looks really damn cool.
Mad Max’s theatric ties are obviously apparent because Avalanche looks as if it’s taken special effort to ensure that the game bleeds cinematic flair at every turn. In a style that’s somewhat reminiscent of Max Payne 3’s execution system, particular action shorts are graced with slow-motion camera attention, making the whole affair feel like two-thirds videogame, one-third movie.
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 undead survival thing is over and done with for a lot of you, and I'm not far behind myself, but this was a lovely surprise for me at E3.
What sold me on the premise more than anything, I think, was that the zombies didn't merely exist to be killed -- to make you feel like a badass. While a well-placed shot will still do the trick, a swarm could come out of nowhere, and they were serious trouble if they got anywhere near your face. Good luck shaking even a couple of zombies off once they're within range.
The other standout feature for me was that the extensive crafting system allows you to uncombine items at any point free of penalty. That kind of freedom is always appreciated, especially as someone who would never experiment with weapons otherwise. As familiar as How to Survive initially looks, in practice, there's nothing quite like it. Perhaps it's the pacing. Do keep an eye on this PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network release.
The "step-based locomotion technology" behind FIFA 14 makes the game feel grounded, putting a greater emphasis on the fluidity of movement. It's cool to see, because dribbling and positioning are paramount in soccer/football, so making the movement feel more than just moving the stick to glide players along the field is neat. Each step feels a bit more meaningful and just holding the stick in either direction lazily could give opposing players time to get into better position.
Beyond that, new ball physics allow for less linear shots, letting you truly Bend It Like Beckham as balls curve and drop in a more accurate manner. In addition, players approach shots in a more realistic way, cutting their stride as they approach the ball rather than doing weird, scissoring, stuttering leg things.
Iteration! Unless you're super into FIFA and wanted to buy it anyway, you might want to wait for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases. Perhaps next year's Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases when they get the next gen bugs ironed out a bit. Same could be said about most sports games, really.
Madden 13 was really the shot in the arm the franchise needed after several years of feeling remarkably stale. The implementation of a physics system in retrospect seems paramount for something striving to be simulation football and last year finally brought it, resulting in the most different feeling title the franchise has seen probably since the generation began.
The anniversary-named Madden 25, celebrating 25 years of the franchise, goes back to familiar ground a bit. It's once again a game of refinement, tweaking, and iteration, featuring an evolved version of last year's physics engine, which cleans up some of the rough edges from the prior game.