My review of Horizon: Zero Dawn is now live! I really liked this game, but there's a strong chance they sat down and made the game specifically with me in mind. It's the only way I can explain the process of them making a game that I've always wanted. It's got robot dinosaurs and dinosaur robots. It has great bow and arrow 'gunplay', a massive, gorgeous world, a fantastic protagonist and oodles to do.
It's not flawless, but it's a spectacular first outing for this new franchise.
Read the review and find out for yourself if you like!
When the original Halo Wars debuted in 2009 many were not only wondering if a traditional RTS game would work on a console, but also if the Halo franchise could successfully transition to another genre. The answer to both questions was a definite yes, with the game quickly becoming a favourite among fans. Here we are, several years later, and the long-awaited arrival of Halo Wars 2 has us strangely asking the same questions. But this time with the added word 'still'. Does Halo as an RTS experience still work?
Spoiler alert, the answer is once again 'yep', as seen in Creative Assembly and 343 Industries surprisingly robust and polished sequel.
Perhaps it’s the years since releases, but playing Halo Wars 2 today is a refreshing experience. Like its predecessor, it presents its grand sci-fi story set in the Halo universe against the backdrop of controlling units and scrambling to build up a sizable force to attack or defend a particularly important part of the map. In terms of the basic setup not much has changed, and even though this game is getting a simultaneous release for both Xbox One and Windows 10 (with both versions played for this review), the core design is clearly in-line with the console origins of the original game.
Like its previous effort Lords of the Fallen, Deck13's upcoming The Surge once again presents players with an action RPG where melee combat is the order of the day. And the pacing and mechanics feel somewhat similar to those seen in the Dark Souls series. And sure, it's a comparison that could apply to any melee combat heavy game these days, but with its action RPG elements The Surge is definitely shaping up to be a Dark Souls-like. Which, isn't a bad thing.
The following gameplay footage clearly shows the game's sci-fi setting and influence on both the weaponry and combat, even though it all still looks a little rough around the edges.
That being said, The Surge could very well turn out to be a sleeper hit when it launches in May for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Chalk this one up as another step that Nintendo is taking in the right direction after previously linking purchases directly to specific hardware. A situation where if you bought a second or newer console, none of your purchases carried over. Confirmation of this change came from the recent setup and UI leak, which as it turns out was a stolen Nintendo Switch. One that was subsequently returned to Nintendo, with the people responsible currently being investigated.
But, that little saga aside, it's great to see that the Nintendo Switch will act like any other modern mobile or tablet device. Where purchases are tied to accounts and not hardware. It's a shame that this sort of system wasn't implemented for the Wii U or 3DS, as cross-platform support for certain eShop content would have been great.
Over the weekend BioWare released a new gameplay video for Mass Effect Andromeda, focusing on the combat and various skill that will be at Commander Shepard's Ryder's disposal. Although it's light on squad mechanics it does give us a good look at the very fast and fluid action that we can expect. Compared to the original game, the series has definitely come a long way, and the new skill system seems to be built around being able to change play-styles on the fly without being locked into any specific skill tree.
Check it out.
Having a jet pack and being able to zip around an environment seems to play a huge role in combat, perhaps as important as using various obstacles for cover. As you'd might recall combat in the original trilogy was mostly cover based, with special skills and abilities playing off that basic setup. Here things look a lot faster, and fluid. And for the most part, impressive.
We can understand that there are still Windows XP purists out there, as it was one of Microsoft's best operating systems. But Vista? We can't think of a reason why anyone would still be using that thing. Anyway, with Microsoft dropping official support for these OS's a while ago, Blizzard is looking to implement a similar policy in the near future. Which means that the Windows XP days of World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, are coming to an end.
Here's the official statement.
Starting later this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions.
After these older operating systems are no longer supported, the games will not run on them, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version. We’ll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game.
We're curious, will this change affect any of our readers?
Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, but based on this new look at the upcoming Dawn of War III the sheer amount of units we get to see on screen is impressive in its own right. Add in hero units, explosions galore, variable terrain, and some pretty great animation, and Dawn of War III looks to be a combination of everything that has come before it. And more importantly, a straight-up hardcore Warhammer 40,000 RTS game.
With this and the wonderful Company of Heroes franchise, we thank the space gods that Relic are still creating noteworthy RTS experiences. And to think, we were worried that it looked a little too MOBA-like based on early screens and footage. The trailer also gives us hints at the story which will focus on the mysterious appearance of something called the Spear of Khaine.
Not that those elements are no longer there, as the gameplay footage we see here is devoid of both UI elements and showing us any objective-based stuff. But it sells a scale unlike anything seen in Dawn of War II. That is, Warhammer 40,000 battles being fought on an epic scale.
In addition to the above Prophecy of War trailer, you can find additional race specific trailers for the Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar.
After quite a few years of being held in Sydney, this year's EB Expo is heading back to Queensland for a two-day event over October 7-8 in the Gold Coast. For those that might recall, EB Expo originally began as an event held in the Gold Coast in 2011 before moving to Sydney where it has been held for the last five years. As for the reasons behind the change we don't really know much outside of the fitting new tagline #BackInParadise.
EB Expo is back in paradise, hitting the Gold Coast this October 7-8!
We recently took Arkane Studios' reimagining of the Prey IP out for a space station spin and found, among some very awesome gameplay, that the game is definitely taking some great cues from some very, very great games, while also forging its own identity. And it's definitely something you want on your radar this year.
Here's a snippet from our time with the game (video preview incoming, too):
For fear of spoilers, because the game’s intro is very, very cool, I’ll leave out just how you begin your adventure, but I’d be remiss not to at least explain that Prey as a reimagined IP wears its heart(s) on its sleeve. This is very much a love letter to System Shock and BioShock, to Portal and even to Dead Space. It’s even a bit of a love letter to Arkane Studios itself, and the game’s intro heavily reflects the influence of the games mentioned above to a point where the BioShock influence is almost a bit *too* heavy. However, as with all Arkane products, the game very quickly comes into its own and the systems you realise you have at your disposal become the real launching point for your experience, and that experience is very much decided upon by you, the player, and just how you want to play Prey.
According to the leak, by NeoGAF user hiphoptherobot, they got sent their Nintendo Switch pre-order a few weeks early. And so naturally they un-boxed it, fired it up, and captured the footage of the initial setup stuff and the overall UI. Normally, the part about someone mistakenly getting their console weeks ahead of launch would be the news story here. But as Nintendo have shown us basically zilch on the UI and console navigation front, strangely, this is our first look.
And well, the word we'd use to describe it would be "basic". Another word would be "functional". Check it out.
As seen with Nintendo's planned online subscription service for 2017, it looks like all things Switch launch are centered around getting the system out there with a few games. With other services, including stuff like popular apps, and social interactivity left by the wayside. In fact, based on the limited information we have, most if not all of the social stuff, including in-game voice chat will be handled by a separate phone app.
With the full game out March 31 it was only a matter of time before we got word that an Open Beta was happening for Ghost Recon Wildlands. And for any big game release that features online stuff, these days the term Open Beta is sort of a 21st century version of those CD demos that used to come on the cover of magazines in the '90s. You know, to drum up hype for an impending release. Or it could simply mean Open Beta. As in opening up certain parts of the game to a huge audience in order to stress test its features.
Onto the dates! Okay, so the Ghost Recon Wildlands Open Beta is happening next weekend from February 23, 10PM AEDT, until February 27, 10PM AEDT -- on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Open Beta will give players access to two provinces (out of a total of 21 in the final game), as highlighted in the trailer below.
Also, for those that take part in the Open Beta and buy the full game, they'll get access to exclusive missions including one called the "Unidad Conspiracy." Which we're hoping is all about a dad attending the same university as his son, causing all sorts of generational and wacky hi-jinks.
And it's being optimized for use with an Xbox controller by Melbourne-based studio Tantalus Media -- who you might remember from the recent Twilight Princess HD Zelda re-release. This new version of Cities: Skylines though, will coincide with the Windows 10 version, which thanks to UWP, probably makes it fairly easy to get it running on Xbox One hardware. At this point you're most likely asking yourself, "A city sim on a console?" Well, Sim City did it a few times over the years, and if there's anything that Sim City did -- Cities: Skylines can do it too!
The Xbox One version of the game will come with all base content of the core release plus all the stuff from the nightlife expansion Cities: Skylines – After Dark.
Here's the announcement trailer showcasing footage from the Xbox One version of Cities: Skylines.
"Paradox is a company that’s proud to publish and support ‘niche’ games, and we’re happy to be able to bring those specialized experiences to console as well." said Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive. "Cities: Skylines has built one of the biggest and most active communities we’ve seen among Paradox’s fans, and that’s saying a lot. We can’t wait to welcome Xbox One players into that group, and I’m eager to see the towns and cities they can build."
Without a doubt, Cities: Skylines is a great game and a worthy successor to the Sim City legacy of city builders past. If the Xbox One version can manage a stable frame-rate with a control scheme that is both functional and somewhat intuitive then this could be a noteworthy addition to the Xbox One line-up.
That's right, additional Acts 6 through 10 that will see players revisit familiar locations and new ones too to witness the results "of your past deeds". Which we assume translates to thousands of new monsters to replace the ones you've already killed. And new loot. With a planned release date sometime in June or July this year, this represents Path of Exile's largest expansion to date with a number of new items and changes.
Here's the new announcement trailer.
This follows on from the announcement that Path of Exile is getting a console release on Xbox One slated for around about the same time.
So, get out that sharpie or pencil and mark the weekend of October 27-29 in your calendars. Yeah, even if you've moved all your dates and appointments onto one of those fancy new Palm Pilot devices. This is the stuff of permanent markers. Since its debut a few years ago PAX Australia has grown to become one of the premiere gaming events in Australia and its line-up of panels, fan events, and big game previews make it an event you won't want to miss.
"Australia's gaming community has given PAX such an incredible home here," said Jerry Holkins, co-founder of PAX and Penny Arcade. "This year will see the fifth PAX Aus erupt in Melbourne, and there's every indication it will be the best one yet."
PAX Australia will once again be held in Melbourne at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and tickets are scheduled to go on sale March 14, 2017. Friday Only, Saturday Only, and Sunday Only tickets will cost $65 AUD, Three Day Passes will cost $165 AUD.
Or, Prey in name only. The more we see and hear about Arkane's dark sci-fi horror release, the more we can't wait to play it. The latest gameplay trailer doesn't feature a whole lot of new footage but it clearly showcases the mimic (or Typhon) alien entities and the abilities that Morgan Yu will has it his or her disposal when taking them head on. Like, being able to transform into a turret.
Check it out.
New details have also emerged about how the game plays, with players given free roam of both the inside and outside of the large space-station Talos I. We also have confirmation that Morgan Yu is one of the lead scientists experimenting on the aliens and a key part of the development of Neuromods -- which "install" alien abilities into a human subject through the magic of eye needles.
Ribbons! Truth be told, this was something that we kind of missed whilst playing Battlefield 1. Getting ribbons for being a solid healer, or dealing out assault damage, we enjoyed our ribbon-based rewards. And now thanks to the next update ribbons are making their way back to the Battlefield. Also coming in the next update is an increase in the Class Ranks to 50, which is a pretty major step-up from 10. Plus, voting for the next map after the end of each round.
These new features are coming alongside a number of notable fixes and changes, that you can read here. The full list is quite extensive, so here are some of the more amusing ones we came across.
Fixed English spelling error for magnification.
Fixed an issue where players could get stuck in a table.
Grenades and dynamite will no longer fall through the floor of the windmill balcony.
Fixed Conquest spawn locations on Suez. Moved one up so player no longer spawns underground, moved another out of a tree.
Improved cavalry victim experience. You should no longer get killed by cavalry using a saber from multiple meters away.
And speaking of amusing, as soon as we heard that ribbons we're back we immediately thought of this. Because our minds are hard-wired with Seinfeld references.
And, if we're being completely honest, he's the most interesting character to join the Nexus in a while. Well, since the last Diablo hero. And that axe guy from WarcCraft II. Okay, so we're a bit biased! But, as Lucio's abilities are transferred almost verbatim from Overwatch to Heroes of the Storm, his AoE healing and speed boosts should prove to be quite the asset for any team. Which you can see in full in the new Lucio spotlight video.
Check it out.
Overwatch support hero, Lúcio, is now available to play in Heroes of the Storm! He brings with him his Wall Ride ability, making it possible to traverse impassable terrain and walk through the enemy team. His basic abilities include Soundwave, which allows him to deal damage to an area, and knock enemies back. He also has crossfade, an ability that can passively heal or speed boost himself and surrounding allies. Lúcio’s first Heroic Ability lets him shield all nearby allies for six seconds with Sound Barrier, just as he does in Overwatch. He also has a secondary Heroic Ability, Reverse Amp. This new skill allows him to hurt enemy heroes for 4 seconds with his Crossfade track, causing Healing Boost to inflict damage, and Speed Boost to slow their movement speed by 45%.
The addition of Lucio also signals the start of the "For Azeroth" event where teaming up with friends will unlock sweet in-game loot for both Heroes of the Storm and World of Warcraft.
And just like the extended Director's Cut they're now asking for $5 million, with no strict timeline. For those that need a refresher, a little while back we reported on the existence of a new game based on the film Apocalypse Now that promised to be a cross between Fallout: New Vegas and an acid trip. Based on that strange premise, no gameplay footage or art to speak of, it's currently on track to fall way short of its $900k Kickstarter goal.
Regarding the huge leap in funding, and the fact that it's being carried out via a separate site ApocalypseNow.com, the developers have stated the following.
"ApocalypseNow.com will be an engaging space where fans and backers can get the latest updates, communicate with the team making the game and continue to support the project through the entirety of the game's development cycle. The team will rely on this dialogue with the community to help them to create an Apocalypse Now game worthy of the motion picture in every way."
Also, the game has an estimated delivery date of 31/10/2020.
Now, we're not against the idea of an Apocalypse Now game. But an RPG where you play an assassin and can do whatever -- including drop acid and chill in the forest against the backdrop of bullets firing in the distance -- we really need to see some sort of proof of concept.
Following a successful beta that had over 6 million people don the attire of either a samurai, viking, or regular iron-clad knight, For Honor is out now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. And speaking of PC, the beta drew the largest audience in Ubisoft history for a PC beta. Which is fitting, seeing as the game is based on history. As in the time that a global threat meant that samurai warriors and vikings and knights all decided to go to war. The middle ages they called it.
Anyway, that's according to that one episode of Ancient Aliens we saw on The History Channel.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal in collaboration with other Ubisoft studios, For Honor offers an engaging campaign and thrilling multiplayer modes. Players embody warriors of the three Great Factions – the bold Knights, the brutal Vikings and the deadly Samurai – fighting to the death on intense and believable melee battlefields. The Art of Battle, the game’s innovative combat system that puts players in total control of their warriors, allows them to utilize the unique skills and combat style of each Hero to vanquish all enemies who stand in their way.
Did you manage to go hands-on with the beta for For Honor? What did you think of the combat? After not really feeling one way or another we were certainly impresses and plan to dig into the full version over the next few days.
Well, well. It sounds like Nintendo is fully embracing the AAA potential of the next The Legend of Zelda game by offering up its first Season Pass for a console release. Or, as it's being called, an Expansion Pass. And hey, Breath of the Wild looks and plays amazingly well so we're totally down for this. For an additional $30 AUD you get two DLC packs that will be released this year, plus treasure chests containing exclusive items and clothing that can be found in-game on day one.
Here's a clip of Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma introducing the additional content.
"The world of Hyrule, which we created for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is so large and vibrant that we wanted to offer more for players to experience within it," said Nintendo developer Eiji Aonuma, the long-time producer of the series. "With this new Expansion Pass, we hope that fans will play, explore and enjoy the game even more."
As highlighted in the video, the first DLC pack will introduce a new Cave of Trials challenge and a new Hard mode, and the second DLC pack will feature new story content and a new dungeon.
Platinum Games' Xbox One exclusive Scalebound may have recently been cancelled, but the developer's PlayStation 4 action-RPG Nier: Automata is still on track for release next month. In a new PlayStation Underground video we get a fairly decent look at the game, its open world, combat, fishing, and riding strange creatures.
There's plnety to admire about Nier: Automata, including a New Game Plus feature as seen in the original where a large portion of the story will be told from a different perspective.
Putting aside the higher than usual $30 point of entry, for that extra bit of wallet weight you get a whole string of great indie titles. Including, The Witness, Stardew Valley, Subnautica, Day of the Tentacle Remastered, Overgrowth, Nuclear Throne, and many more. It's like a who's who of great indie and early access titles released over the past couple of years. And as usual, the money goes towards a great cause.
Yeah, there's some great stuff here.
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Overgrowth (Early Sccess)
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Super Meat Boy
World of Goo
No Time to Explain Remastered
The Stanley Parable
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
Thirty Flights of Loving
Human Resource Machine
2064: Read Only Memories
A Virus Named TOM
7 Grand Steps: What Ancients Begat
Retro Game Crunch
Tower of Guns
Song of the Deep
Monster Loves You
AI War: Fleet Command
Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora Deluxe
Secrets of Rætikon
Girls Like Robots
Streamline (Early Access)
Ninja Pizza Girl
Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
The whole package represent over $600 worth of stuff, and so many hours of gaming that in a way it's a little daunting. But hey, it's money for a crap tonne of games as well as to help those in need. Check it out.
Valve plans to shut the doors on its community-driven Steam Greenlight publishing tool in favour of a more direct, and traditional, Steam Direct model. For those that use the service regularly, Steam Greenlight was a section on Steam that smaller developers could put their games on display where the community would then act as a sort of gateway in order to determine what ended up on the Steam service proper. Naturally, it didn't always work like that.
And so, enter Steam Direct. Which as per the description from Valve below, sounds very much like a traditional model for content publication.
The next step is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam. This new path, which we’re calling “Steam Direct,” is targeted for Spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight. We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, which is intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.
While we have invested heavily in our content pipeline and personalized store, we’re still debating the publishing fee for Steam Direct. We talked to several developers and studios about an appropriate fee, and they gave us a range of responses from as low as $100 to as high as $5,000. There are pros and cons at either end of the spectrum, so we’d like to gather more feedback before settling on a number.
One of the main criticisms with the Steam Greenlight program was the over abundance of poorly developed shovelware. So it remains to be seen whether this new system will be an improvement.
Splatoon 2 for the Nintendo Switch in many ways looks and plays a lot like the Wii U original. And in case you were wondering, that's not a bad thing. Mainly because Splatoon represents Nintendo's take on the whole competitive shooter scene, and it's as accessible and fun as anything put out by the Big N since the days of the 16-bits. And in preparation for the sequel Nintendo will be holding an Open Beta of sorts for Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch from March 25-26.
Available for a single weekend, play-times are relegated to hour-long blocks. AEDT times below.
But on the plus side, the game is getting the original U.S.S. Enterprise as seen in the landmark television series from the 1960s. In addition to the game's brand new creation, the U.S.S. Aegis. Star Trek: Bridge Crew's appeal is simple, it allows four players to team up on the bridge of a star-ship and take on the roles as depicted across the many Star Trek films and televised series'. In cutting edge Virtual Reality -- i.e. the poor man's Holodeck.
So yeah, it's basically a dream come true for those that enjoy wearing plastic Vulcan ears.
That being said it does sound pretty great, and the added cross-play feature between the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift versions is an impressive feature in its own right.