Have you ever wanted to drop an electrified pain mask on someone’s head, causing them to stagger into an iron maiden, fall from that into a cannon that fires them into an electric sign, which lands them onto the ground where a giant circular saw that descends from the ceiling chops them up, causing them to then land on a springboard that catapults them onto a hotplate and while they’re busy hotfooting it, a massive hammer knocks them onto a carousel which spins them around until the horse they’re on launches them upward into a circular saw conveniently positioned on the carousel roof?
Pope John Paul II said, whilst making an impassioned speech to the Italian Corps. Diplomatique, “War is not always inevitable, it is always a defeat for humanity”, and of the many wars waged across the expanse of human history, there are none for which this appeal is as applicable, as it is to the two Great Wars through which human suffering was taken to its furthest possible extreme. With this is mind, and with 2014 being the centenary of the start of the First World War, Ubisoft Montpellier has seen fit to remind us of the senseless violence, the human cost, of the war between 1914 and 1918 with its UbiArt framework powered, Valiant Hearts: The Great War.
Microsoft brought, rather expectedly, a strong emphasis on games to their E3 press briefing on June 9th, and whilst the line-up was predictably covered by a strong collection of AAA system sellers, such as Forza Horizon, Halo and Assassin’s Creed, there was a newly found desire to move past the inevitable array of sales dominating sequels towards something new and inventive, something that can only be truly discovered through the current swathe of upcoming indie games. Included among them, was a rather stylish looking shoot ‘em up from a small, five man team working out of such far afield places as Oakville (Ontario), Regina (Saskatchewan), New York (NY) and even Romania . I am, of course, referring to the gorgeous looking, Cuphead, from Studio MDHR.
A common theme throughout this series of articles has been the presence of Sonic Team, and once again they feature here. This surely highlights the incredibly talented and inventive studio that they once were, before losing several key members (including Yuji Naka), and succumbed to churning out near endless sub-standard Sonic the Hedgehog titles with neither a whit of quality control or indeed, effort. However, fourteen years ago, this was not the case, and after giving Sega a flagship Sonic title in the form of Sonic Adventure (his first and best 3D outing), and the brilliant puzzle game, Chu Chu Rocket, they served up another forward thinking piece of game design, with the incredible, Phantasy Star Online.
After enduring much criticism after last year’s showing at E3, Microsoft have had to go back to the drawing board and return with a revamped image, and a console with a stellar line-up of gaming titles strong enough to win the ongoing “console war”. In recent months, Phil Spencer (head of all things Xbox) has spoken frequently about keeping the company’s focus on the most important aspect of any console, the games, but was this just rhetoric, or has he, and Microsoft Game Studios as a whole, been able to back up his bold words…
Expectations are a dangerous thing, especially in videogames, just ask the likes of Bungie or Valve. Bungie struggled to maintain the high standard set for themselves with Halo: Combat Evolved – the game that launched the original Xbox – famously revealing how after a year into development of Halo 2 they had to scrap their entire graphics engine as well as large sections of the game. As for Valve, after having released Half-Life 2 in November 2004 to universal acclaim, we’re yet to hear any official news on the inevitable Half-Life 3, almost ten years on.
It has now been twenty-two years since the original Mario Kart powered its way into the hearts of gamers across the world on the SNES, with its winning formula of combat racing and familiar Nintendo characters, making it an instant classic and one of the finest multiplayer games ever created. Now though, Nintendo bring this classic series to the Wii U, presenting the first ever Mario Kart game to feature HD visuals, but putting its graphical upgrades aside, does the tried and tested gameplay still hold up today? And is it really the game that Wii U owners have been waiting on?
Crytek make their debut into the free to play market with the release of their stylish FPS, Warface. Yet the arena of the military shooter is a very crowded one, and outside of the interesting co-operative elements that-at least in part-define it, does Crytek’s latest do enough to drag your attention away from the game’s big budget brethren?