The climactic campaign duels can be ranked alongside some of the series’ adrenaline- pumping highs
Developer In-house (Studio Liverpool) Format Vita
Release: Feb 15, 2012 (US) »
As Sony embraces the future with its new Vita handheld, Studio Liverpool rewinds the timeline of its poster-child sci-fi racer. Now grounded in a more relatable near-future setting, Wipeout 2048 trades the futurism of, say, Wipeout HD or Fury for an earthier tone than fans may expect. As such, many tracks have wide lanes and are surrounded by contemporary-style architecture, drawing on the modern more than the imaginary.
(more…) «Wipeout 2048»
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Platforms: X360 & PS3
Final Fantasy XIII’s Active Time Battle (ATB) system was one expertly crafted change to the formula that came alongside some less welcome others. Key among these was that the usual sidequest-packed open-world structure had been replaced with a linear journey that offered the bare minimum of distractions. The reaction to FFXIII from fans and the press was mixed, which brings us to FFXIII-2, the sequel that Square Enix claims will give players what they wanted from the previous game. But while FFXIII-2 is a polished production that certainly diverges, unfortunately it’s also a baffling, boring and swampy thing to play.
It opens with a stunning cutscene in which Lightning – FFXIII’s hero, who’s now playing the role of warrior goddess — does battle with a cackling evildoer. The sequence in its entirety takes about 20 minutes to play out, during which you’re given limited control for brief stretches. This is a sign of things to come: a battle that is impossible to lose, a helping of QTEs, and some terrifically dull monologues. But FFXIII-2’s opening is so visually astonishing, featuring a gigantic city formed from crystal, monstrous armies clashing, and Lightning’s dazzlingly choreographed advance through it all. that it’s impossible to look away.
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Ubisoft breaks cover and reveals its variety show of a stealth
Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Red Storm
Format: Xbox 360. PS3
Origin: France, US
According to Ubisoft Paris level designer Florent Guillaume, the process of making Ghost Recon: Future Soldier “was an interesting way to work. There was lots of prototyping, with levels like gameplay blocks we could rearrange.” The truth of his words becomes evident in our hands-on session with the singleplayer campaign: no two missions feel the same, and the most polarised, and gripping, of those we dip into are opposites in both pace and structure.
The first is a manic shootout through the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan. With traffic at a standstill, you and your three fellow Ghosts need to push through a miniature army of enemy soldiers and panicked oncoming civilians to reach the other end of the main street. Vehicles can be used for cover, but the aggressive enemies, many wielding shotguns and hellbent on close-range kills, mean that you have to keep your blind spots under careful observation. The best strategy, then, is to make use of your gadgetry. Throw a drone up into the air (selected with the D-pad and launched like a grenade with a tap of the left bumper) and you can scan the area ahead for hostiles. Its elevation needs to be controlled via triggers to avoid detection, but once you have the enemy in your sights a press of the right bumper can tag up to four units for your squadmates to prioritise or eliminate simultaneously on your command.
(more…) «Ghost Recon: Future Soldier»
Can we abilities redeem a different breed of Agent 47 for series fans?
The mission is simple: rescue a young girl from an orphanage that’s been overrun by violent, masked mercenaries. But when a representative from IO Interactive plays through this level twice in order to demonstrate the breadth of strategy that Hitman: Absolution will offer, the pair of approaches we see couldn’t be more distinct.
The first time around, Agent 47 creeps and skulks through the orphanage’s blood-stained halls, sticking to cover, crawling through air vents, and taking care to avoid being spotted by making timely dashes from point to point. Eventually, 47 quietly subdues a guard and hides the body ir. a laundry bin, stealing his outfit in order to walk among the rest of the hired killers undetected.
The second playthiough, however, is carnage. Where before guards were overcome with sleeper holds, now necks are snapped and bones are broken in savage takedowns. The stealthy 47 improvised his way from room to room, throwing toys to distract his foes, and borrowing syringe-based sedatives found in the medical wing. His violent alter ego is equally happy to make use of items left lying around, but it’s the fire axe he seems to prefer. Previous titles saw 47 fumble up close — at least when he wasn’t attacking from behind — but melee combat in Absolution does a better job of preserving its star’s proficiency. There’s a hint of QTE about the takedowns, though, with split-second slowdown telegraphing when it’s time for you to land the next blow.
(more…) «Hitman: Absolution»
Keeping an eye on the coin-op gaming scene
In the heyday of the arcade scene (remember the neon haze and the unrivalled opportunities for second-hand smoking?), Japan-based manufacturers and
developers ruled the roost with AAA arcade games and cabinets. As this column has attested in recent months – with iOS ports (E236) and East Asian titles such as Power Truck (E237) – the landscape is changing and the power is shifting. Other territories
are beginning to produce games that imitate and aim to improve upon traditional genres.
Consider Storm Racer, the second part of China-based distributor WAHLAP’s one-two punch, which began with last month’s Power Truck. The game is
another straight-up shot of arcade racing adrenaline, which has been adapted by indie developer Insoft from a PC title and invigorated with a crisp 720p display running 60-frames-per-second visuals.
(more…) «Arcade watch»
Celebrating game enthusiasts who’ve taken things to extremes
To mark the release of Gjinness World Records 2012 Gamer’s Edition, we decided to pluck oul a handful of the more eyebrow-raising entries to share. You are fully entitled to your incredulity, of course.
Most international Street Fighter competition wins goes to UK gamer Ryan Hart, who has won over 450 Street Fighter events in 13 different countries from 1998 to 201 1 Then there’s most expensive virtual property, which SEE Digital Studios secured after paying $6 million (£3,860,000) for Planet Calypso, a virtual planet within the online game Entropia Universe.
(more…) «Record collectors»
We’ve become so accustomed to having our hands held by today’s breed of eager-to-please games that being let off the leash can feel disorienting. Aren’t we supposed to be following this path to that building? Should we really be poking about in this cave when we know that the real action is over there? Isn’t all this messing around going to… well, break something? And yet freedom to do what we like within an interactive space is as invigorating now as it was in 2001 when GTAIII broke the mould for realtime gameworlds. (What, after all, would Skyrim be without its desire to cut you from the apron strings and push you out of the door?) Which is why the existence of a new Far Cry is something to be excited about.
(more…) «Soaking up the sights in a holiday location to die for»