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BigBen Interactive

E3 2017 – WRC 7 Preview – Arcadey Realism (PS4)

[embedded content] There are a lot of racing games out there, everything from hyper realistic driving sims like Project CARS 2 to the super arcadey titles like Crash Team Racing (I really, really love me some Crash Team Racing). When I saw Project CARS 2, I made note that I am not very into driving sims. I can respect the tech that goes into them, but I’m really bad at the nuance these games require, ending up driving on the shoulders and ramming into walls. I worried when went to see WRC 7 that it would be much of the same thing, that I would spend a lot of time driving in the dirt and wrecking my car. The benefit of rally cars in real life is that they already drive in a very arcadey manner in real life, so translating them into a game, even ultra realistically, makes for the arcadiest driving sim that you can imagine. Now that’s not to say I didn’t still spend a lot of time driving in the dirt and wrecking my car. Turns out it’s pretty much all driving games that I’m bad at, so there’s a little self-discovery that went along with this…

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Open gamescom 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will open gamescom 2017 when it begins on Tuesday, August 22 in Cologne, Germany, organizer Koelnmesse announced today. gamescom is the world’s largest event for video games, and this will mark the first time Merkel has opened it. Felix Falk, Managing Director of the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software, said: We consider it a great honour and a sign of recognition that Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel will this year participate in the opening tour of gamescom.  The visit of Dr. Merkel underlines the importance of the games industry for the cultural, digital and business location of Germany. Whether virtual reality, gamification or 3D simulations: the technologies of the games industry already play a central role in the digitalisation and networking of the economy and society. Germany needs a strong games industry in order to also secure itself a top position in the digitalised economy. Koelnmesse President Gerald Böse added, “The participation of the Chancellor is a sign of great appreciation for us. With her visit she honours the development of gamescom into one of the most successful and largest events in the German trade fair system.” Last year’s gamescom drew 345,000 visitors. By comparison, READ FULL STORY…

E3 2017 – Moonlighter Preview – Merchant or Hero? (PS4)

[embedded content] Sometimes it’s those indie games that have the most clever of mechanics, taking styles that we’re used to and turning them on their head. Moonlighter looks like a Zelda-inspired dungeon crawler at a glance, and that’s not an incorrect assessment. There is definitely an element of dungeon crawling in the classic Zelda style, that top-down view where you can see the walls of each room of the dungeons you enter. The surprise for Moonlighter comes when you get outside the dungeon. The hero of Moonlighter is only moonlighting as a hero (hence the name). During the day, he’s a merchant, a shopkeeper that owns a store in town. The two jobs go hand in hand. As a hero, you’ll collect items that can be used to upgrade and craft new gear, or can be sold at your store to try and turn a profit. During your time at the store, you set the items out as well as setting the prices, which can either come across as too cheap or will turn your customers away as they find your products too expensive. In my preview session at E3 2017 I had a chance to fight my way through a couple…

11 bit studios

E3 2017 – Tower 57 Preview – Climb the Tower (PS4)

[embedded content] Sporting a very BioShock vibe, the logo for Tower 57 seeks to evoke that same kind of dystopian utopia feeling, that retro-futuristic look at how our lives could have been if the fantasies of the early 1900s had played out. It’s a style they call dieselpunk, set in an awful future where the 1% utilize what remains of the world’s resources while the bottom 99% have to fend for themselves. Humanity lives in towers now, and Tower 57 is under attack. It’s time to rise to the top and save it. I chose three characters and the developer hopped in next to me, selecting three of his own. Though only one character per player can be active at any time, you can switch back and forth between them at will. Currently the game only supports two player co-op, mostly because of the intense chaos on screen being difficult to add any more players to. Each character has a variety of fun weapons to dispatch foes, such as Abe Lincoln and his flamethrower, which caused quite a bit of hell as I lit everything on fire. Tower 57 is tough though, and I lost two of my three characters pretty…

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E3 2017 – Fortnite Preview – Action Builder (PS4)

[embedded content] Fortnite has been kicking around for much longer than a fortnight. It’s been undergoing a lot of work since it was first revealed at the Video Game Awards in 2011. Nearly a full six years later, on July 25, 2017, it will finally be getting a paid early access release, with 2018 bringing the full free-to-play version to market. It’s been a long time in the making, but obviously Epic Games is confident in the idea. My E3 2017 presentation of the game gave me a chance to go through the tutorial and some of the early missions, learning the ropes and getting a feel for what exactly Fortnite is. No developer wants their game to be compared to other games, but gamers like to have an idea of what they are getting into. At a very basic level, Fortnite is Minecraft meets a wave based zombie-horde shooter, but that’s an oversimplification that really fails to do Fortnite any justice. Each level is played in three different rounds. There’s the exploration and materials gathering phase, followed by the building of your fort and defenses, and finally the timed waves of monsters that come flooding towards you, testing your fort…

Evil Controllers PS4 Evil Shift Hardware Preview – A Natural Custom Controller (PS4)

[embedded content] I’m not the type of person who thinks that I need a custom controller. We’ve done a bunch of reviews for brands like SCUF that have paddles on the back and other crazy features to help the pro gaming scene, but I’m comfortable with my standard controller. I felt like games are designed with the standard controller in mind and I didn’t need any fancy extra features. At least I felt that way until I sat down with the brothers behind Evil Controllers. These sharp and talented minds are doing more than checking boxes and adding bullet points. They are creating the natural evolution of the controller. Think back to early game controllers. A directional pad,  and the A and B buttons. We didn’t need much more for control of simpler games in a simpler time. Over time, as our need for additional control inputs in games has evolved, so have our controllers. The current DualShock 4 has 18 buttons (more if you count the ability to use the touchpad in sections) in addition to the dual analog sticks. That’s natural evolution, and today’s games would be impossible to play without every one of those inputs. The issue…

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E3 2017 – Gran Turismo Sport Hands-On Preview – Nothing Else Like It (PS4)

Gran Turismo is a staple of almost every PlayStation console. At this point, a PlayStation console without a Gran Turismo game in some form feels like blasphemy (I’m looking at you, Vita). Gran Turismo Sport is taking a while to finally release on the PS4, but as Sony showed us at their booth this year at E3 2017, the wait is nearly over. We went hands (and feet)-on with the game, and have a preview ready for you below. Sheer Spectacle If you happened to take a look at Sony’s E3 booth this year, then you’d be hard-pressed to miss Polyphony Digital’s section. There were eight cockpits, each hooked into a PS4 Pro, running the E3 build of Gran Turismo Sport. These cockpits also included the just-announced Thrustmaster T-GT racing wheel, a $799.99 feat of engineering that has so many acronymic technologies, it’s dizzying. Sony (or perhaps it was Polyphony Digital?) decided to turn up the spectacle on their game to 11. As if it wasn’t enough to have eight players compete in a race, the competition was being broadcast to the audience, which consisted of anyone passing by the booth while at E3, and potentially others watching online. A READ…

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E3 2017 – Middle-earth: Shadow of War Preview – Preparing an Army (PS4)

[embedded content] Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was an unexpected surprise and a much-lauded game, even earning our Game of the Year award in 2014. Taking familiar open-world elements, it added the Nemesis system, which made each and every enemy, every death, and every AI interaction feel deep and meaningful. Orcs remember Talion. Their looks change after prolonged battles with them, maybe a scare where one was cut, or burns where another was hit with a flaming arrow. As the orcs defeated Talion, their rank grew within the orc hierarchy, so often you would find some little grunt that had once gotten that final blow on you ended up being a Warchief after not too long. Shadow of War is the next game in the series and once again takes amazing strides in moving the Nemesis system forward. Instead of just trying to recruit allies to his cause and undermine the hierarchy, Talion is looking to create an army and take back Mordor from Sauron and forces of evil. One of the fascinating parts of this story is that it is all within Tolkien’s canon, so we ultimately know the outcome of Talion’s mission. He’s going to fail and Sauron retains…

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E3 2017 – Extinction Preview – What Big Teeth You Have (PS4)

[embedded content] When I first saw Extinction my reaction was that it looked extraordinarily similar to Attack on Titan, which seemed to make the developers presenting it slightly uncomfortable. Obviously, every game wants to be able to be identified on its own merits, but I meant it sincerely as a compliment. I absolutely loved the recent Attack on Titan game and the fast-paced action against massive and monstrous enemies seems to be mimicked here in its own unique way. The goal in Extinction is to save humans from the oncoming evil. Ground combat is essentially a hack and slash game against regular sized enemies, but Avil, the game’s main character, can also rapidly run up walls to easily get to the top of the Ravenii, the massive ogre-like creatures that you see in the trailers. If there are no buildings nearby you can always run up the actual monster itself too, which will be necessary because the only way to take them out is to cut off their heads. Different Ravenni have different armor that needs to be removed before you can remove their limbs. Once you do, you can lop off their feet to keep them from moving and their hands to READ…

dead alliance

E3 2017 – Dead Alliance Preview – Use the Horde (PS4)

[embedded content] We’ve all played first-person shooters. Team Deathmatch. Capture the Flag. Zone control. Every one of these modes is popular to almost every gamer in some form or another. One side pitted against the other in a fight to victory. Many games have done a variety of things to try and make this dynamic more interesting. Various abilities for characters. Unique parts of the map that can turn the tides. Dead Alliance adds zombies. Though the two teams may be taking on one another, the maps are crawling with undead, mostly harmless at first though they will take a bite if you get too close. These zombies present an interesting challenge in positioning, as strategies, like posting up and waiting for an opponent to round a corner, can quickly be ruined by the hordes of decaying flesh around you. It’s a brilliant solution to camping in first-person shooters, but it’s not all that the zombie hordes in Dead Alliance are good for. There are a variety of character abilities called zMods that will actually make the zombies work for you. The Enrager makes a single zombie super powerful and sends them running towards the nearest opponent. The PAM grenade turns READ…

E3 2017 – Seeking Dawn Preview – Rough Around the Edges (PSVR)

[embedded content] I don’t usually like to take a negative tack when approaching previews for games. It’s typically understood that these titles are in early stages, often pre-alpha, not to mention only being a small slice of the full experience. Previews are more to get a sense of the gameplay, not judge the final release. Sometimes though, a preview goes badly, and I feel the need to mention the problems, if for nothing more than to assist the developers with identifying flaws before release and fixing them. Seeking Dawn is an ambitious VR RPG shooter that looks something like Farpoint on steroids. Alien worlds and crazy bugs are just the tip of the iceberg. The worlds are bigger, there are different gear loadouts to use, and various items to pick up. There’s also cooking, crafting, survival elements that will need to be addressed in addition to some kind of construction mechanic. On top of all that it can be fully played in co-op. I told you it was ambitious. Problems From the Jump Visually it looks fantastic. I was thoroughly impressed, although I was playing on a Vive for my demo. In fact, Seeking Dawn is in primary development for Vive and Oculus, but in…

DICE

E3 2017 – Star Wars Battlefront II Single-Player Hands-On Preview – Seamless Space Fighting (PS4)

Having a Star Wars game is kind of a big deal. So when you announce that your game’s campaign is going to be canon, people take notice. It also better be a good single-player experience. During the busy pre-E3 show that was EA PLAY 2017, we managed to score hands-on time for one of the upcoming game’s single-player story missions. Our impressions are ready for your reading pleasure below. A Posthumous Decree First, we were shown the mission we were going to play, as executed by a member of the development team. A short cinematic shows Iden Versio meeting with one of her Imperial superiors, who has a message from the now-deceased Emperor Palpatine via a useful but eerie message android. Easily the first thing we noticed while playing Star Wars Battlefront II is the look of the game. The first game looked incredible, and this sequel keeps in that tradition. The Frostbite engine looked incredible running on a PlayStation 4 Pro, and the level that we were playing had such intricate details, from the wiring and pipes running through the space station we started in, to the sprawling machinery seen on the outside of Star Destroyers. Even explosions READ…

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E3 2017 – Marvel’s Spider-Man Preview – Gorgeous Web Slinging (PS4)

You know your game has high expectations when you close out Sony’s E3 press conference. Insomniac Games has been hard at work since at least 2016, when Marvel’s Spider-Man was first publicly introduced to gamers around the world at last year’s E3. We were able to take a sneak peek at an extended version of the trailer shown this year, and have our impressions ready for you below. A Strong Showing Marvel’s Spider-Man was a centerpiece to Sony’s press conference, and for good reason. The game looked intricately detailed, running at a smooth click and showing off the platforming chops of Insomniac Games interspersed with an incredibly fluid combat system. I do remember thinking that perhaps this trailer was too good to be true. My mind even drifted to the thought that we were seeing pre-rendered footage. A representative from Insomniac Games began the presentation by telling us that a huge source of inspiration for the game’s web slinging traversal was the Spider-Man 2 game from over a decade ago. Indeed, that game had movement mechanics that have not really been replicated since its release in 2004. Spider-Man the character has a very unique method of moving around, and READ…

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E3 2017 – Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Preview – Shining Beacon (PS4)

Harvest Moon has been around for two decades. The first game came out on the SNES in 1996 in Japan, followed by the North American release in 1997, revolutionizing and becoming the most familiar and notable series in the farm simulation genre. The latest Harvest Moon wants to celebrate that longstanding legacy by returning to its roots and giving fans and newcomers alike a taste of the classic. Ditching the fully 3D games that have been common lately, Harvest Moon: Light of Hope returns to the top-down isometric view and simple graphical styling of days gone by. The core of the series is all about cultivating your farm, relationships, and taking care of various objectives as time moves forward.  This newest game brings the overall goal of restoring a lighthouse and the surrounding towns but being a Harvest Moon game, of course, you can expect Light of Hope brings back the staples that Harvest Moon fans know and love as the series returns to consoles for the first time in a long time. I had a chance to go hands-on with it, but honestly, it’s hard to demo a game like Harvest Moon is the space of about 20 minutes. READ…