GregHorrorShow: Game Awards 2014

Game Awards 2014 Main

Now that everyone has had time to digest their turkey and Christmas pudding, it’s a good opportunity to look back at last year’s game offerings and dole out some awards.

So let’s start at the very beginning – well, 2013 to be precise…

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MISSED GEM OF 2013

Game Awards 2014 AC IV

WINNER: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4)

Black Flag missed out on a place in last year’s list as the PS4 launch was too late in 2013 for consideration. I was burned out on Assassin’s Creed by 2012’s title which I felt had a poor lead character and not a particularly great story. Black Flag throws the Assassin’s Creed rule book out of the window (well, not the whole book) and gives you a fun character and interesting world to explore, along with decent gameplay to compliment it. The sailing aspect is excellent and I never got bored of my crew striking up a shanty 🙂

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

Game Awards 2014 Innovation

WINNER: Nemesis System (Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor)

There were some cool new ideas in games last year. The prospect of a single player game being online and full of people isn’t a new one, we’ve had quite a few of those trailers over the last few years, where the game pulls back and reveals the other characters are real players (The Division etc.). Despite it’s faults Watch_Dogs was the first game that I thought handled it quite well, with other players able to hack your game and you having to force them out. Photo Mode is one of those things that you can’t believe wasn’t in games before – the ability to pause the action and be able to set up a photo opportunity might not sound that ground-breaking but it changes how you play the game and has led to some amazing in-game shots of titles like The Last Of Us: Remastered, DriveClub and Infamous: Second Son. For me though, the biggest innovation has to be the Nemesis system in Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, which gives personality and meaning to the enemies you encounter throughout the game. Essentially enemies are named and remember the previous times you’ve met in battle. They can also be promoted through the ranks of the opposition army and it’s fun to have some history with opponents. When you clash with them the camera pans in and the enemy will taunt you or threaten you. The other cool thing about this feature is that it isn’t limited to specific characters or events – you can sometimes find yourself in a battle with two or three of these named enemies if they happen to be in the same area you’re fighting in. It’s a great addition to an open world title and gives the game world a huge boost.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Invasion Multiplayer (Watch Dogs)
  • Photo Mode (Various PS4 Titles)
  • Shadow Gameplay (Contrast)

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BEST DLC (CONTENT)

Game Awards 2014 DLC

WINNER: Last Of Us – Left Behind (PS3)

The Last Of Us was my game of the year for 2013 and February saw the release of the long awaited story DLC ‘Left Behind’ in which you played as Ellie. Set before the events of the main game it was a look at Ellie’s relationship with her close friend Riley. Well written and with some truly memorable moments this is quite possibly the best DLC I’ve played. Wholly recommended and for you lucky folks who have picked up The Last Of Us Remastered on PS4, this DLC is already included on your disc – enjoy!

RUNNERS UP:

  • Second Assault (Battlefield 4)
  • Intercept (Killzone Shadow Fall)
  • Ignition Pack (DriveClub)

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BEST DOWNLOAD ONLY GAME

Game Awards 2014 Download2

WINNER: Transistor

I’ve never played Supergiant Games previous title ‘Bastion’, although I always loved the art style. So when the studio’s follow up for announced as a PS4 exclusive it was a title I was really looking forward to. At that stage I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the world, art, music and gameplay of Transistor. I also thoroughly enjoyed the second season of The Walking Dead and I certainly wasn’t expecting to get as much out of Resogun as I did – I’m looking forward to picking that up on Vita as well when it arrives. A title that didn’t technically land this year but arrived on Vita was the superb Rogue Legacy – if you haven’t checked that out yet then make sure you pick it up!

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Walking Dead: Season Two
  • Resogun
  • Rogue Legacy

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2015

Game Awards 2014 Anticipated

WINNER: Uncharted: A Thief’s End

While 2014 might’ve been a little disappointing, with lots of top tier releases being delayed into 2015. On the flip side it means that this year is already full of quality titles just waiting to jump into your PS4 as the months progress 🙂 For me the biggest of these is Uncharted: A Thief’s End. I *love* this series, which never fails to keep me entertained and I can’t get enough of the characters created by the wonderful folks at Naughty Dog. The gameplay reveal in December has left me even more psyched than ever, so roll on November! It was hard to narrow down the runners up to just three when factoring in titles like Batman: Arkham Knight, Bloodborne and No Man’s Sky. However the other three games I’m most excited for have to be Hotline Miami 2, Metal Gear Solid V and the new Rainbow Six game, which I think could be amazing if they nail it.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Metal Gear Solid V
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

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BEST GAME TRAILER

WINNER: Uncharted: A Thief’s End

As mentioned above I’m a huge fan of Uncharted and boy was this reveal trailer impressive. Giving a glimpse at what might be possible for PS4 in the future, even if the gameplay only looks half as good as this it’ll be a huge step up for the series. Cuphead isn’t even scheduled to come to Playstation platforms but I adored this trailer, which reminded me of all the old cartoons I used to watch as a kid – what a great artstyle! If you needed an excuse to get excited for Velocity 2x then this trailer was it, showcasing the new platforming sections as well as the ship based gameplay… and THAT music! Sadly Assassin’s Creed Unity didn’t live up to the hype but the series continued it’s great run of trailers with this gem, scored by Lorde’s version of Tears For Fears.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Cuphead
  • Assassin’s Creed Unity
  • Velocity 2x

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BEST PS VITA GAME

Game Awards 2014 Vita

WINNER: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The Vita has had some great games this year, original titles like Murasaki Baby, Freedom Wars and Luftrausers as well as excellent ports like Fez and a solid version of Football Manager. I enjoyed the super addictive Rogue Legacy and Velocity 2x, both requiring a different set of gaming skills while I thoroughly enjoyed the cold war setting and espionage gameplay of CounterSpy. That being said it was a more unusual title that ended up being the one I got the most out of – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Yes, that is a real title and yes, it’s a fantastic game! The story of a group of students who wake up to find themselves trapped in their school. The only escape is to kill another student and get away with it by beating a courtroom judgement. All seemingly masterminded by an evil, robotic teddy bear. Crazy, for sure, but a great gaming experience.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Rogue Legacy
  • CounterSpy
  • Velocity 2X

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BEST GRAPHICS

Game Awards 2014 Graphics

WINNER: DriveClub

Just look at that picture. Click it to see the full size version. That isn’t a press shot or some PR trick, I took that screenshot during a race using DriveClub’s Photo Mode. It is insane how good this game looked before the weather update added different conditions. And now? Well, it’s certainly one you could show to friends and family to show what the PS4 can do. Big shout outs to Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare for some ridiculously good facial animation, Destiny for a wonderful art style and Alien: Isolation for an almost perfect recreation of the original film’s world. But this year’s award goes to the DriveClub – possibly the best looking game I’ve ever played.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Destiny
  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Alien Isolation

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BEST STORYLINE

Game Awards 2014 Story

WINNER: TellTale’s The Walking Dead (Season 2)

The return of Clem, and the fact that you were controlling her, in the second season of The Walking Dead had me in two minds about the direction the game was taking. I loved Clem and felt that maybe she was better left behind in the first season and that the new run of episodes should feature just new characters. How wrong I was, while it stumbled at times, this season of the game was superb and I found myself with a decent resolution by the time the final credits rolled. I really enjoyed the story of Transistor, delving into the back story there was great – although I felt that game was more about the characters than a specific storyline per se. I ended up liking the story of Murdered: Soul Suspect as well, which had some interesting twists and turns. The closest game to beating The Walking Dead though was the superb DLC for The Last Of Us ‘Left Behind’, which as I mentioned earlier looks at the relationship between Ellie and Riley.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Last Of Us – Left Behind (PS3)
  • Transistor
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

Game Awards 2014 Download

WINNER: Transistor

The music in Transistor is a huge part of the game and what an amazing soundtrack. The excellent Darren Korb delivers a brilliant score, with some help from vocalist Ashley Barrett and this is one of those games where you’ll be raving about the music for a long time afterwards. Destiny‘s score had some wonderful moments and the recreation/remix of original music from the Alien film gives Isolation a really strong score element. Child of Light was another title that I thought music played a big part in and the score is definitely worth checking out. Special nod to Velocity 2x as well which I thought was also a great soundtrack.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Child Of Light
  • Destiny
  • Alien Isolation

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

Game Awards 2014 Music

WINNER: Grand Theft Auto V Remastered

Adding 162 new tracks to an already huge and impressive soundtrack is a great way to help flesh out some of the radio stations in your game. Doing it with quality artists like Jackson Sisters, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chvrches and Lorde just increases the richness of your world no end. Good lord even Bobby Brown’s ‘On Our Own’ from Ghostbusters II is in here! Just, wow. Watch_Dogs had a good soundtrack but was hampered by the fact you had to unlock tracks in game rather than them all just being on the radio. FIFA 15 delivered again, for the sake of clarity I did help shape the soundtrack to that one a little, but even the stuff I played no part in was great. And Battlefield 4 technically shouldn’t be in here but it missed out last year based on time constraints and deserves a nod for ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Battlefield 4
  • FIFA 15
  • Watch_Dogs

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BEST VOICE ACTING

Game Awards 2014 Voice

WINNER: Infamous: Second Son

I enjoyed Infamous: Second Son, although I did feel a little let down that the characters weren’t more fleshed out. Having said that what was on display here was seriously impressive in terms of voice casting, with Troy Baker and Laura Bailey doing most of the heavy lifting. Matched with some superb facial animation, Infamous gave us the best voice acting of the year. Both ‘Left Behind’ and ‘Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ weren’t far behind though, the latter also helped by having the fantastic Kevin Spacey on board.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Last Of Us DLC
  • Transistor
  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

Game Awards 2014 Single Player

WINNER: Transistor

The haunting quality that Supergiant Games gave to the world of Transistor was a big part of why I wanted to explore the world and discover more about the characters but if it didn’t have the gameplay to back it up, this game would not be taking this award. Taking the time to plan out your moves before erasing them and trying a different solution was an addictive process. As you hit ‘go’ to put your plan into action there was a rush of the unknown as you desperately hoped your plan would work as desired. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t but it almost always felt satisfying. Shadow Of Mordor’s main accomplishment is taking various elements from other titles, mixing in the Nemesis system and having everything work together really well. Sadly the story wasn’t up to scratch, a problem which also hampered Advanced Warfare. Again the gameplay in Call Of Duty was strong though and graphically it was excellent. Far Cry 4 delivered more of the same goodness from the previous game and it’s emergent world was great fun to be a part of. Also a quick nod to Dragon Age: Inquisition which I’ve been enjoying but haven’t spent enough time with for serious consideration here.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare
  • Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
  • Far Cry 4

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

Game Awards 2014 MP

WINNER: The Last Of Us: Remastered

2014 was a bizarre year for multiplayer games, with most of the year being taken up with last year’s titles like Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Killzone: Shadow Fall. There just wasn’t anything that attractive in the multiplayer space on PS4 – Xbox and PC owners had Titanfall but judging from others comments, even the allure of that wore off fairly quickly. FIFA 15 was up to its usual tricks and I got pulled back into Ultimate Team mode again. Destiny had its hooks into me for a while there as I was really enjoying the multiplayer and more recently (now that it all works) DriveClub has been amazing fun – both in terms of time challenges and straight up races. For me though it was another 2013 title that I ploughed countless hours into. The Last Of Us Remastered hit PS4 this year and with the package containing all previous online maps and the extra Interrogation mode, there wasn’t a better online experience in 2014. The meta-game with your camp remains a really nice touch – meaning that everyone always has something to play for – even if you’re having a bad round the need to get supplies means that you’ll never just write a round off. Added to that the fact the game still looks glorious despite its gritty nature and you have one hell of an online experience on your hands.

Runners Up

  • Destiny
  • FIFA 15
  • DriveClub

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GAME OF THE YEAR

Game Awards 2014 GOTY

Winner: Transistor

Well, who would’ve thought in the first full year of PS4 it would be a turned based strategy game that would take home Game Of The Year? The simple truth is I got lost in Transistor in a way I simply didn’t in any other game this year. The music, the art, the gameplay… the characters… the world. Wonderful stuff and much deeper, tactically, than you might originally give it credit for. The style of the cut scenes had me hammering the screenshot button again and again. My only complaint would be that I’d have liked a bit more story told through the game rather than unlockables but it’s a small gripe in the grand scheme of things. I can’t wait to see what Supergiant come up with next.

Runners Up:

  • The Last Of Us: Remastered
  • Far Cry 4
  • Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

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So that’s 2014 done and dusted!

I’d love to hear if you agree with any of the choices above and what your favourite games were from last year. Here’s to 2015!

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Infamous: Second Son – Review (PS4)

Infamous SS MAIN

I am a big fan of the Infamous series and Second Son was one of my most wanted games for the new generation of consoles. With Sucker Punch’s Playstation expertise, could this be an early killer app for the PS4? I wish the answer was a resounding ‘yes’ but despite some fantastic high points, and coming 6 months after the release of the PS4, Second Son still suffers from early console-cycle jitters.

Let’s start with a positive. Graphically I’m not sure I’ve seen a better game… ever. The lighting, the rain, the neon. I could go on and on and before I do stop, I must mention the cutscenes – Infamous: Second Son has some of the most well crafted scenes I’ve ever seen – a testament to the amount of facial motion capture they did. They are also among the best acted, with some great, believable performances.

Gameplay-wise the enemy AI is robust and will not hesitate to flank you and hide behind cover when necessary. Encounters felt challenging but enjoyable for the most part, although there were a few frustrating boss fights thrown into the mix. Luckily, Second Son does a decent job of giving you different options so that you can change tactics on the fly. You begin the game with smoke powers and as the story progresses you’ll unlock neon and a few others (which I won’t name so as not to spoil it). The powers each have a distinct look which is really cool but unfortunately all of them are essentially just the same set of attacks in a different art style. It’s a real shame because it feels a bit like a wasted opportunity – if they had given the powers a genuinely different feel it could’ve been a game changer. As it is they are still fun but you’ll likely find yourself finding a favourite and just sticking with that.

Infamous SS 1

Second Son tells the story of Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist turned superhero. Delsin is, unknowingly, a conduit for superpowers – having the unique ability to absorb and use other conduits powers. Conduits have been labelled ‘Bio-Terrorists’ by the government and the D.U.P (Department of Unified Protection) are sent in to capture any conduits they can find. When the D.U.P endangers the local people, Delsin and his brother Reggie (a sheriff) find themselves thrown into a battle with this dark, government force. Along the way you’ll meet other conduits that Delsin can nurture or prey on as you look to sort out the situation he’s found himself in.

The story is fun and the characters are definitely memorable which is why it’s all the more disappointing that great side characters like Fetch and Eugene are barely used. I would have loved to see more missions with accompanying characters so you had a chance to get to know them better. This for me was probably Infamous: Second Son’s biggest crime, especially with how well crafted the characters felt. It felt like a mis-step to introduce these cool characters and then just brush them aside until the final act.

Infamous SS 2

Infamous: Second Son is a graphical powerhouse that I had a lot of fun playing. It tells a good story in a concise timeframe (around 10 hours) and the animation in cutscenes is something to behold. In spite of all that I do feel that the side characters could have been developed more and while the gameplay is decent, it is more of the same from the last two games. That isn’t a big issue for me but people should be aware it is not with fresh gameplay that Second Son makes it mark… graphically however, it stomps most other titles into the ground.

Rating: 8/10

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MOST WANTED 2014 – PS4 EDITION

MW PS4 2014

A few weeks ago I took a look at the upcoming slate for PS3 and Vita to give you a taste of the titles you should be keeping an eye out for. Well, as promised, here’s another look at upcoming games – this time focusing on the shiny PS4.

This is a much bigger list with a LOT of titles to talk about – so grab a cup of tea or coffee, settle in and prepare to get hyped about what’s coming up this year (and maybe beyond).

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Infamous: Second Son

I loved the last two Infamous games on PS3. Both were great fun, with good characters and a cool comic art style for cutscenes. Well now that Cole McGrath’s character arc is done, Infamous is moving to the PS4 and we have a new hero/villain in Deslin Rowe – voiced by the ever fantastic Troy Baker (of Bioshock Infinite and Last Of Us fame). Firstly the graphics look stunning – check out the video above. I can confirm it does looks that good, having seen it first hand at a Sony event last year. Secondly we’re promised more fun with moral choices and the decision to be a good guy or a bad guy. Infamous: Second Son is the first *big* PS4 exclusive game release since the console’s launch and it’s shaping up to be a great one. Roll on March!

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Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect was on my list for PS3 games I was looking forward to, only for Square Enix to confirm a few weeks ago that the game would also be coming to the PS4! Soul Suspect focuses on Detective Ronan O’Connor who must solve his own murder from beyond the grave. As if this wouldn’t be difficult enough he’ll also need to fight off various demonic enemies as well. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out as I think it’s a really cool idea for a game.

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Galak-Z – The Dimensional

At first glance Galak-Z seems to be another bullet-hell shooter in the mould of old classics like R-Type or the more recent Sine Mora. However there is a lot more going on here than is readily apparently from screenshots. AI plays a bigger role than usual for a game of this type – for example, enemy ships will fall back and radio for assistance if they get the chance. Despite appearances this isn’t a twin stick shooter – Galak-Z controls much more like old arcade games with a button for thrust rather than stick movement (think Asteroids). Add to that a superb cartoon art-style and you have a pretty interesting concept.

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Child Of Light

Child Of Light is another game with an interesting art-style and it sees you taking on the role of Aurora in an RPG with some platforming elements. Aurora is a young girl from Austria in the year 1895 who contracts a mystery illness, falls unconscious and awakes in a fantasy world that she must fight her way out of. I’m not a huge fan of RPG games (aside from Persona 4 Golden) but this game looks beautiful and has the potential to be really fun and challenging.

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Lily Bergamo

Coming from Suda51, the man behind titles like Killer7 and Shadows Of The Damned, Lily Bergamo is a bit of an unknown quantity. We know it’s a Playstation 4 exclusive and that it has a wicked cool look that contrasts colour and black ‘n white. The above is all we’ve seen of it but I can’t wait to find out more – the game is scheduled simply as 2014 so hopefully we will get more info at E3 in June.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Here’s one for the gamers jaded by the recent Assassin’s Creed games – a third person action adventure game set in the Lord Of The Rings universe that seems to be influenced in all the right ways by Ubisoft’s Assassin juggernaut. The video above is lengthy but gives you a great feel for the game, which will be set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You’re back from the dead as Talion (a ranger) and you are trying to track down whoever killed you (and your family). The trail leads to Mordor and who knows what you’ll find there!

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Helldivers

Helldivers is a top down shooter in which you are part of the Helldivers unit, tasked with battling the alien enemies of mankind. Battlefields are procedurally-generated so you won’t come across the exact same level twice, which should help add to the longevity of the game. Helldivers features a single player campaign and (up to) 4 player co-op content, so this will be a good title to jump into with friends. One of the great features already confirmed is the ability to play cross platform, so whether you have the PS4, PS3 or Vita version you should always have someone to play with! Helldivers is cross-save as well as cross-play so if you’re making good progress on PS4 and want to transfer to your Vita to carry on during your commute to work/lunchtime then you can. This is definitely a title worth keeping an eye on.

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Transistor

Transistor is a turn-based strategy game in which you take control of Red, a singer who has found herself in possession of a sword, the Transistor of the title. Over the last year lots of people have being going missing from Red’s world and she feels this sword may have something to do with it. She now finds herself being pursued by a band of assassins who also want Transistor, an impressive weapon who can talk to Red and help her out along the way. Transistor mixes the ability to move as you wish in real time with the ability to stop time and plan your next attack. When Red’s ability bar is full you can pause the action and set up a succession of moves to take out enemies, which are then played out at super speed. Which is totally badass.

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Watch_Dogs

Ah Watch_Dogs – delayed and pushed back. Doesn’t always bode well (especially after that really terrible trailer was accidentally released looking like a PS2 game) but I have faith in Ubisoft, particularly having played the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV on PS4. In Watch_Dogs you are Aiden Pearce, a man not afraid to use his hacking talents to get what he wants. In a surveillance heavy world you’ll be doing your best to fend off the authorities and complete your mission. Regardless of hold ups and a lack of recent news on the title, the video above still fills me with hope. Come on Ubisoft, make it as awesome as it can be and we’ll all be happy 🙂

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Deep Down

Deep Down was one of the graphical highlights from the PS4’s reveal event and since then we’ve learned some facts that have changed our idea of what this title is. Initially thought to be a single player game it turns out that Deep Down is, wait for it as it’s a bit of a mouthful… a free-to-play fantasy online role-playing game. Got all that? So firstly it’ll be free to play – great news. It will be an online RPG – again, great stuff. Deep Down also had another trick up it’s sleeve. After convincing the world it was going to be a Skyrim-a-like fantasy game it takes places in both that environment *and* also New York in 2094. Well, it certainly won’t be boring!

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Destiny

When the guys behind Halo have a brand new game coming out people tend to take notice. And Destiny is no different. Coming on like a bigger and more social version of Borderlands the game takes place 700 years into the future, after the collapse of what was the golden age of space exploration and colonizing of planets. Now we share Earth with various alien races and as one of the last Guardians you and your team will be asked to investigate and stamp out alien activity. The game is a first person shooter with some role playing aspects and it looks like it’ll be great fun with friends.

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Alien: Isolation

Ok! Ok! Let’s clear the elephant from the room. Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the lowest ranked games I’ve ever reviewed. This is *not* made by the same people or is it even the same type of game. Replacing Colonial Marines run ‘n gun playstyle with the horror of the original Alien film, Isolation puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley – daughter of series stalwart Ellen Ripley. The game is set 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years before the events of Aliens. You will be investigating your mother’s disappearance and getting hunted by a Xenomorph while you do it. I think this looks pretty cool and at some stage someone will have to make a good Aliens game this century. Right guys? Right?

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Gaming industry legend and MGS creator Hideo Kojima is drip feeding us Metal Gear Solid V – first up is Ground Zeroes, due for release in March. MGS V: Phantom Pain comes after that but it’s likely that will be 2015 at the earliest. Anyway, you know what you’re in for with Metal Gear Solid – crazy, fun, stealth action. Unfortunately, the series veteran voice actor David Hayter has been dropped so Keifer Sutherland is lending his dulcet tones to Snake. If you’re not a fan of MGS this game isn’t likely to get you on board but it looks amazing – check out the graphics in the video above – and I am a fan of the series so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I haven’t played any of the other Witcher games but the developer has reassured newcomers they will be able to get straight into the game regardless (don’t they always!). Hopefully that will be the case as the previous titles are very highly thought of and I haven’t heard many people talking negatively about the series. You will be playing as Geralt Of Rivia, the aforementioned Witcher, as he travels across the world in the concluding part of his story. This game looks amazing and should have the gameplay to back it up as well.

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Mirror’s Edge 2

A collective sigh of relief occurred when a sequel to the wonderful but not commercially successful Mirror’s Edge game was announced. Rumour has it that this will actually be a prequel to DICE’s title and will tell the origin story of Faith, the first game’s protagonist. Not much is known about this one but the first game was really cool and pretty innovative so I’m looking forward to seeing what EA bring to the table this time out.

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Tom Clancy’s The Division

The Division is one of those games that I use to show people how good games on the PS4 can look. With improved graphics and a huge amount of destructability, The Division looks like it’ll be a powerhouse when it hits the new consoles. Based on real world research that estimates a global pandemic would see society fall apart in just 5 days(!), the game takes place after just such an event and you’ll be fighting for survival against other players as well as the game’s AI. It certainly looks like an interesting set up and seems like another title that will be great fun with friends.

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The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 is one of the games on this list I’m most excited about – graphically it looks amazing and I love the sound of the story. Set in London, in an alternate steampunk-esque universe, The Order: 1886 sees you take on the role of Galahad – one of a handful of knights from an ancient order that are sworn to protect mankind from all kinds of mutants that roam the city. This is a third person action adventure game with an interesting take on QTE events. It is thrilling to have a game set in London, with a stylized Whitechapel recreating the old days of city life.

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No Man’s Sky

Hello Games that made the wonderful Joe Danger titles are a small team. So imagine everyone’s surprise when No Man’s Sky was revealed unexpectedly at the VGX awards late last year. This is a game in which you travel on foot and by spacecraft to explore a procedurally generated world. The idea is when you start the game you will have no information on your surroundings and will need to investigate to find new planets/territories. Sounds really interesting and it has a cool art style.

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DRIVECLUB

DRIVECLUB is a racing game with a difference. The entire game is laced with social aspects that permeate through races as you drive. For me this is a really smart idea and means that as you race for position against other drivers you will also be compared to your friends via PSN. Not in terms of race time or position but more abstract things who took this corner best, or who was fastest in this stretch of track. It should, hopefully, lead to a much more immersive game because even if you’re losing a specific race you can pick up some XP by beating your friends along the way. A reduced version of this game is planned to be released free for Playstation Plus subscribers so keep an eye out!

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Uncharted

I absolutely love the Uncharted series so I was stoked that Naughty Dog announced a new game, which will be exclusive to the PlayStation 4. The trailer above shows us a map of Africa, specifically Madagascar, so if the game takes us there it could be a really interesting setting. Because the voiceover wasn’t Nathan Drake people are undecided as to whether he will actually feature in the game or if we’ll be playing as one of his ancestors in an earlier time frame. I hope it does feature Nate, Elena and Sully (at least!) but I have faith in Naughty Dog and can’t wait for whatever they deliver!

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Cyberpunk 2077

Unfortunately it looks a lot more likely that Cyberpunk 2077 will hit in 2015 but it’s definitely one to keep on your (long term) radar. It’s an RPG title based on a tabletop RPG game and is unsurprisingly set in a dystopian cyberpunk universe. The developers have said the game can be played in first or third person view and will feature a highly customizable main character as well as a varied and interesting game world. Count me in!

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Still with me? Yep, it was a touch on the long side BUT it is a great time to be a gamer and these ‘new’ consoles have kicked off a boom in gaming.

If you haven’t jumped aboard the PS4 train yet this year will give you plenty of gaming reasons to consider it – I think for most people the end of this year will be the tipping point, as great games continue to be revealed.

So is there anything from the list you guys are excited for? Or anything I missed that you’re looking forward to?

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GregHorrorShow: Game Awards 2013

GameAwards2013Main

Well what a year it’s been for gaming! With the arrival of new consoles in the Autumn we were left wondering whether the support would still be there for the PS3 and if you needed convincing you only had to look at The Last Of Us, Beyond: Two Souls and Gran Turismo 6 to see there is life in the old dog yet.

As the PS4 didn’t arrive until November 29th (and I didn’t receive mine until early December) nothing for that platform will be eligible for this year’s awards (as they run November to November). Also there were a few games I held off of so I could get the superior PS4 version, namely Assassin’s Creed IV and Battlefield 4, so they also won’t feature.

We start with a new award, that recognizes the fact that I simply can’t play every game within the year. The ‘Missed Gem’ award goes to a game from the previous year that I didn’t play until this year but feel would’ve warranted a mention last time out if I had played it in time.

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MISSED GEM OF 2012

GameAwards2013Gem

WINNER: Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead (Season 1)

Everyone has rightfully raved about The Walking Dead. I’m one of them (check out my review) and I can safely say it was a fantastic experience. It’s a point and click adventure game, which wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea but the story here is soooo good. Highly recommended.

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BEST GAME INNOVATION

GameAwards2013Innovation

Winner: Grand Theft Auto V (Multi Character Selection)

GTA V was a trend setter in many ways but one of the most impressive aspects of the game was the way you could switch between the main characters at will. With a button press you would be pulled to an overhead view of the map, moved across to wherever the other character was and then plonked down to them. This in itself isn’t a completely original idea, Driver: San Francisco had a similar mechanic that allowed you to swap between vehicles. The difference here are the little character vignettes when you land with a new character; Franklin pulling his friend away from a fight, Michael finishing a coffee and tossing the cup away or Trevor… well God knows what Trevor will be doing! This small touch gives you a real feeling that the world of GTA V is continuing around you at all times. It’s a very nice mechanic.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Crysis 3 (Multiplayer Highlights)
  • Bioshock Infinite (Skyhooks)
  • Metal Gear Rising (Precision Cutting)

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BEST DLC (CONTENT)

GameAwards2013DLC

WINNER: Mass Effect 3: Citadel

The ending of Mass Effect 3 left a bad taste in many people’s mouths, even with the update Bioware released. If that was the case for you, or if you just loved the game/series then give the Citadel DLC a spin. This is the ‘Christmas Special’ of Mass Effect, a set of side missions that see you fighting off enemies, carrying out a heist and planning a party for your crew… Yes, that’s right organizing and hosting a party 🙂 It. Is. Awesome. And great fan service. The Walking Dead: 400 Days also deserves a mention as it carried on with the hard choices of season 1 straight off the bat, even if the characters were new. Soul Sacrifice on Vita was supported with a ridiculous amount of free DLC post launch which was all really cool so make sure you check that out as well.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Battlefield 3 – End Game
  • The Walking Dead – 400 Days
  • Soul Sacrifice – Various Free DLC Packs

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BEST DOWNLOAD ONLY GAME

Hotline Miami 1

WINNER: Hotline Miami (Vita)

Enough people were raving about it on PC last year but 2013 was the year I finally got my hands on Hotline Miami – the super fast, super violent and super challenging top down kill fest. I absolutely loved this game and don’t know anyone who played it that didn’t get hooked. The Vita version looks super crisp and the soundtrack is awesome. Most of the games in this category I played on Vita (though all of these were on PS3 as well) with some great titles like Guacamelee, Thomas Was Alone and Lone Survivor. Another pleasant surprise was Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – it had Robocop’s gun in it! ROBOCOP’S GUN!! 🙂

RUNNERS UP:

  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  • Guacamelee (Vita)
  • Thomas Was Alone (Vita)

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MOST ANTICIPATED GAME OF 2014

GameAwards2013MostWanted

WINNER: Infamous: Second Son

Well, the clear winner for this in my eyes was Cyberpunk 2077 but it turns out that isn’t arriving until 2015 so I had to have a rethink! A new Uncharted has me interested but so little is known about it at this stage, same goes for Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture. The Witcher 3 and The Order: 1886 are definitely on my radar and No Man’s Sky looked awesome at VGX earlier this month. For me, at the moment, it has to be Infamous: Second Son. The game looks so damn good up close (I wasn’t allowed to play it but watched a hands off level playthrough) I could barely believe it. I’m hyped for this one, roll on March.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Witcher 3
  • The Order: 1886
  • No Man’s Sky

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BEST GAME TRAILER

*Warning Contains Strong Language*

WINNER: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

I’m not sure I need many words here, as someone who grew up in the 1980’s… just watch the Blood Dragon trailer to see why it won 🙂 GTA always has great trailers and the below is no exception, super use of music as well. Love this Last Of Us one, not always a fan of live action stuff but this is clever. And Killzone always looks amazing, Shadow Fall is no different.

RUNNERS UP:

GTA V

Last Of Us

Killzone Shadow Fall

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BEST PS VITA GAME

GameAwards2013VitaGame

WINNER: Persona 4 The Golden

If you’d told me a year ago that a Japanese RPG would win my Vita Game Of The Year in a year when a Killzone title came to Vita, I would’ve called you a liar. I haven’t really ever played a JRPG before but then again Persona 4: The Golden isn’t like other JRPG’s. Like The Walking Dead this is a game all about your relationships with characters (Oh Chie) and P4G grabbed me from the start and didn’t let go. Don’t let the fact Killzone: Mercenary didn’t pick up GOTY deter you from grabbing it if you have a Vita – it’s the best handheld shooter ever made. Soul Sacrifice was another title I might not have played on a home console but it just seems like a great fit on Vita and it’s really fun in short bursts. Tearaway was a beautiful game that put you in a superbly realized papercraft world and utilised all of the best Vita features. A charming game.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Tearaway
  • Killzone: Mercenary

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BEST GRAPHICS

GameAwards2013Graphics

WINNER: Beyond: Two Souls

It was a pretty close run race in this category with four superb looking games. The Last Of Us probably came closest to nabbing this with it’s fully realized, if grim, world and characters but while the animation of Beyond: Two Souls might’ve been off at times, graphically the game was stunning. Especially impressive considering they were using actors that people recognize and could more easily spot any faults. Also the fire/flame effects were majorly impressive. Los Santos in GTA V was such a wonder to look at sometimes I would just stop and admire the view – I can’t wait to see what Rockstar deliver on PS4. And while it was stylized, Bioshock Infinite created a beautiful world in Columbia and then filled it with dark, interesting people. Definitely a world to be explored and experienced.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Bioshock Infinite
  • GTA V
  • The Last Of Us

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BEST STORYLINE

GameAwards2013Story

WINNER: Bioshock Infinite

There have been some great stories to play through this year and again The Last Of Us came very close to taking this award but this year’s winner is Bioshock Infinite. A title that had me guessing throughout and while I thought I had the twist sussed it turned out to be one of many that, by the time the credits rolled, left me reeling. As I uncovered more and more clues while playing through it was satisfying to put the pieces together. I thought Crystal Dynamics did a great job with the Tomb Raider reboot but the story was strongest in those opening few hours and fell away a bit beyond that. Those few hours though… what a ride. DmC was one of my more pleasant surprises this year (all round in fact) and I enjoyed the game’s story of greed and corruption and thought the world they’d created was very fleshed out.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Last Of Us
  • Tomb Raider
  • DmC

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (SCORE)

GameAwards2013Score

WINNER: Persona 4: The Golden (Vita)

This was a really difficult category to decide on – all four of these are great scores that you should definitely check out. GTA V was the surprise for me as I didn’t expect the score to be so awesome and well suited to the heist aspect of the game. The Last Of Us and Bioshock Infinite were more subtle but packed a big punch when necessary. However the award goes to Persona 4: The Golden for it’s crazy, fun and memorable score, which includes a few songs written for the game that are used during battles. There were plenty of other great scores worth checking out from this year, I’d also recommend Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Beyond: Two Souls.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • The Last Of Us

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BEST SOUNDTRACK (LICENSED)

Hotline Miami 3

WINNER: Hotline Miami (Vita)

I mentioned Hotline Miami last year because I’d heard the soundtrack but hadn’t played the game. Nothing can quite prepare you for what is one of the most powerful collections of tracks in gaming. The songs here perfectly capture the feel of the game and lend a kind of hypnotic vibe to proceedings. Absolutely brilliant. The Grand Theft Auto games always have stellar licensed material and GTA V is no different, featuring great songs across lots of different radio stations. Bioshock Infinite‘s use of tears to play songs was inspired, especially as it also featured ‘Columbia’ versions of them all in game as well. And Far Cry 3, well that M.I.A use was brilliant and the Skrillex track fitted so well with the mission it was used on – just good solid choices.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Far Cry 3
  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite

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BEST VOICE ACTING

GameAwards2013Voice

WINNER: The Last Of Us

This was another tough category this year as so many games delivered massive performances in terms of acting. The Last Of Us though is a deserving winner, with Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson bringing most to the table with solid support from, among others, Nolan North. Baker delivered another fantastic performance as Booker DeWitt in Bioshock Infinite alongside the excellent Courtnee Draper. Steven Ogg as Trevor gets GTA V a mention just on his own and alongside his other cast members helped to make our stay in Los Santos a memorable one. I suppose when you hire big name actors like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe you expect big things but as we’ve seen in the past bringing Hollywood to games doesn’t always work out. Luckily for us with Beyond: Two Souls it did this time and Page’s delivery and commitment to the role added real depth to her character Jodie Holmes.

RUNNERS UP:

  • Bioshock Infinite
  • GTA V
  • Beyond: Two Souls

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SINGLE PLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

GameAwards2013Single

WINNER: The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us is one of those games that has to be played to be believed. Titles such as Uncharted 2 and Journey carry the same gravitas and The Last Of Us can be added to that list of games that anyone with a PS3 should play. The journey of Ellie and Joel during the game is astounding and the world is a brutal, beautiful place to (carefully) explore. The Clickers were hideous enemies and the fact they could kill you in one hit just made things worse. Everything works here – the scarcity of ammo/supplies, the confined spaces you’d find yourself in and also little touches like finding the after effects of horrific events and finding out the mini storylines contained within. While GTA V and Persona 4: The Golden are totally different styles of game I stuck almost 60 hours into each of their single player offerings this year, which is a testament to their quality. And while the combat did drag at times in Bioshock Infinite, overall it was just such a great game that you can’t do anything but recommend it.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Persona 4 The Golden (Vita)

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MULTIPLAYER GAME OF THE YEAR

GameAwards2013Online

WINNER: GTA Online

It says a lot about the opening 6 months of 2013 that during that time my most played online games were Killzone 3 (2011), Mass Effect 3 (2012) and Battlefield 3 (2011). The one new thing I played in this time was Far Cry 3, which had a nice co-op online mode and handled really well, in terms of feel of weapons etc. Then June hit and The Last Of Us arrived, with it’s new and fresh idea of what multiplayer could be. Run and gun was out, scavenge and hide was in. I had some very tense rounds of this immensely underrated online offering. Killzone: Mercenary offered Vita owners a glimpse of what an FPS title could do online and it was very fun, despite a few issues with spawn point locations. But the award this year goes to GTA Online. Finally released in October it was… well, broken to be honest. But now that it’s (mainly) fixed it is an absolute blast. Whether doing scripted missions or just messing about with friends it has been some of my most memorable online gaming in the last few years.

RUNNERS UP:

  • The Last Of Us
  • Far Cry 3
  • Killzone Mercenary (Vita)

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GAME OF THE YEAR

TheLastOfUs 2

WINNER: The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us takes this year’s award – a combination of it’s superlative single player and fantastic online offering is more than enough to justify it’s win. All four nominees are outrageously great games and well worth playing. Bioshock Infinite‘s mix of bright, vibrant colours, stylised graphics and dark, sinister undercurrent make for a compelling game and while Persona 4: The Golden shares some characteristics with Irrational Game’s title it also has a wealth of depth that left me stunned. In GTA V Rockstar have created a living, breathing love/hate letter to L.A that will keep you gripped and amazed both online and offline.

RUNNERS UP:

  • GTA V
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Persona 4 The Golden (Vita)

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———————————————————————————–

So there you have it!

There were plenty of other decent games that didn’t get nominated but I’d still recommend. Titles like Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Rain and Puppeteer to name a few.

It’s also been a good year for Vita owners with titles like Retro City Rampage, Guacamelee, Hotline Miami, Thomas Was Alone, Stealth Inc., Lone Survivor and Spluenky making the jump over, along with exclusives like Persona 4 : The Golden, Soul Sacrifice, Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway. It was nice to see a Vita game crack the nominees list for Game Of The Year for the first time as well.

So what have you guys been playing? What have I missed? What was your favourite game this year?

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Playstation 4 – Hands On

PS4HandsOn Main

So I was fortunate enough to get some hands on time with a PS4 and some of Sony’s upcoming titles yesterday.

I had gone from ‘getting one at some stage’ pre-February reveal to ‘saving for one to get it as soon as possible’ post E3. However I still had some concerns – mainly regarding what other games would be coming for it in the first year but also on the redesigned controller.

I’ll need to wait to find out more info about new games as the titles on display were the same ones from E3, however I can confirm that the controller is great.

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PLAYSTATION 4 CONTROLLER

PS4HandsOn Pad

I had no issue with the new thumbsticks or the new triggers. I used L1/R1 for shooting in the Killzone demo so not sure if I’d prefer to use the triggers on an FPS going forward. For driving the triggers felt great.

The pad itself seemed a bit heavier than a PS3 controller, but certainly not a massive difference. The touchpad was responsive but I think will take some time to get used to.

Ok, moving on to the games.

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DRIVE CLUB

PS4HandsOn DriveClub

Drive Club was first up and whilst there didn’t seem to be any massive innovations in terms of the actual driving, the game has an interesting focus on social challenges that are integrated into the main game. As you’re driving it gives you little challenges versus your friends, like ‘stick to the driving line’ or ‘best average speed’. They last about 10 seconds but it gives Drive Club legs beyond just racing around the track. Although I’m guessing you can turn those off if you want to stick to pure racing.

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KNACK

PS4HandsOn Knack

Next up I played Knack, which was actually pretty cool. This is one for the Jak/Ratchet fans, not usually my kind of game but I suspect kids, and more casual gamers, will love it. You play as Knack, a creature made up of hundreds of small parts. You start off small but can grow by picking up other bits, usually gained by smashing things. It was good fun and actually reminded me a bit of God Of War (you even use the right stick to dodge), although certainly it was a lot less complex. Funnily enough I probably would play that genre of game on the Vita, so maybe I’ll pick it up for remote play.

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INFAMOUS: SECOND SON

Infamous: Second Son was hands off. The poor guy showing me it was frazzled, he’d been doing the demo almost every day since E3! The video above is the same as what was shown to me. He was glad I’d played the other two games in the series so he could talk about some more interesting bits rather than the basics. It looks fantastic. Truly next gen. When it switches from cut scene to gameplay it is seamless. I haven’t seen that before in an open world game. The demo is essentially a side mission (which gives a sense of the scale of the overall game) and he was causing all sorts of havoc showing off how the game plays. He was pretty candid and said the aim on this game was ‘just make it awesome-er’ 🙂 Looks like they are well on the way to achieving their goal. Second Son isn’t a launch title though, looks set to be coming around February/March time in 2014.

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KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL

PS4HandsOn KZShadowFall

Ah Killzone: Shadow Fall 😎 This was a pretty long demo, I got to play for about 15 minutes. Firstly, the graphics are wonderful. Lots of colour and some great lighting left me impressed. After watching a few others running round kamikaze-style and dying, I stepped up to the plate. Took it a lot slower and was pleasantly surprised with how it played out differently to the other guys before me. I cleared out a few areas fairly stealthily, before hitting a few tough firefights. The game controls really well – it still has that nice ‘heft’ to the character, which makes for a more realistic movement.

You also have a robot with you (like the medical droid in previous games) that you can send out to help. Swipe the touchpad to set the mode (zipline or shock or attack etc) then tap L2 to activate it. This works well but alongside using the d-pad to activate things, its a lot to get to grips with. I’m sure it’ll be fine when we know our way around the pad better. One thing that was pointed out is that rather than using the touchpad you can also hold L2 to select the droid’s mode from a radial wheel, like more traditional titles. It’s nice they aren’t forcing the touchpad onto people but I found it fine to use.

Another cool feature is that you get a few seconds of ‘slo-mo’ when you use a health pack. It’s perfect, as that is the time you might need a cheeky little time slow down advantage the most. I didn’t have a chance to explore much beyond that as the developer talking me through it was on hand and there was literally only one TV for Killzone Shadow Fall, so there was a queue behind me! As an interesting aside I mentioned Mercenary (the Killzone Vita game) and he was raving about it, even though he hasn’t worked on it directly.

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So there you have it! Now I’m looking forward to Gamescom in August, when we should get even more information about the new consoles.

Have you guys made your mind up yet on next gen? Will you be jumping in straight away? If so are you going Sony or Microsoft – why?

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