Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lara Croft and the steady hand of death

Tomb Raider is easily my most conflicting game this year so far. Don’t get me wrong, the controls are precise, the transition from the old blocky grid-like movement to modern free form running is great, and the visual fidelity is outstanding, especially with TressFX enabled. But there’s one small section of Tomb Raider I’ve gone back and forth on, changing my mind whether it’s executed poorly, or its subtle nuances make everything fit together.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fast cars and cops are back in Need for Speed: Rivals

EA announced a new Need for Speed game, Rivals, will be coming later this year. Though it's not the first Need for Speed title to use Rivals (that honor goes to the 2005 PSP exclusive Need for Speed: Underground 2: Rivals), it will use the same Frostbite 3 engine appearing in other EA games, including Battlefield 4 and Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. Need for Speed: Rivals aims to combine the open-world of last year's Most Wanted with the exciting police chases of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Surprisingly, Criterion Games, who announced at E3 last year it would oversee all future Need for Speed games, is not developing Need for Speed: Rivals. Instead, a Gothenberg-based studio called Ghost Games will be handling development. However, the creative director of Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit, Craig Sullivan, joined Ghost Games to oversee the project. Along with the return of Autolog, Rivals will include a new feature called AllDrive, allowing players to seamlessly drop in and out of single and multiplayer races. Need for Speed: Rivals arrives for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on November 19, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions coming at a later time.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is real and coming this November

Following the announcement of Call of Duty: Ghosts with a live-action teaser trailer, the first gameplay trailer appeared at last week's Xbox One presentation. Along with the trailer, developer Infinity Ward showed a behind-the-scenes look at the new engine powering Ghosts, comparing soldier and dog textures from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 to Call of Duty: Ghosts. You read that right; Call of Duty: Ghosts will feature a dog as part of your squad that can help sniff out bombs and, presumably, play fetch. While plots details are sparse, Call of Duty: Ghosts is set sometime in the future, 10 years after a global event leaves the United States crippled and no longer one of the world's strongest countries. Call of Duty: Ghosts releases for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC on November 5, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions following shortly.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Set sail with Edward Kenway in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

As previously rumored, the next installment in the Assassin's Creed series is indeed heading to the high seas with Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. This time taking a step back in history, rather than moving forward, with Edward Kenway, father of Haythem Kenway and grandfather to Conner from Assassin's Creed 3. Set during the golden age of piracy, Kenway sails through the Caribbean encountering historic pirates such as Blackbeard and Anne Bonny while plundering treasure from the the king he once served, attempting to redeem himself as a 'man of quality' to his family. Black Flag will improve on the sailing and naval combat first seen in Assassin's Creed 3, giving players the option to explore the open sea as well as deserted islands. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is due to release for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC on October 29, while PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will arrive sometime later in the quarter.

Saints Row 4 PAX East Demo

If you weren't able to make it to PAX East in Boston back in March, Volition and their newly-minted publisher Deep Silver recently released a video showing off the gameplay demo they were showing for Saints Row 4. The video highlights some of the crazier parts of Saints Row 4, including a virtual Steelport, the dubstep gun, superpowers, a mech-suit, and aliens. Originally created as the expansion Enter the Domintarix for Saints Row: The Third, whole parts including missions, story, and voice-acting were thrown out in order to not feel like an expansion, instead going for a full-fledged sequel where the player is the President of the United States. As the the video above shows, the more eccentric parts of Enter the Dominatrix remained. Saints Row 4 releases on August 20 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.