This is more like it. So much of Splinter Cell: Blacklist's pre-release promotion has focused on plot, and characters, and lines like "we’re going to stop all the attacks”. Finally, we get a proper look at an aspect of the game it's worth caring about: the scope and variety with which you can approach each encounter. The "100 Ways to play" trailer might not offer quite that number of unique conflict resolutions, but it's still an encouraging look at what playing the game will involve.
Third person action
This is the only game I’ve ever had to pause because I was laughing too much to play. I want to tell you about the exact section that caused me to crease up. I want to sit you down, do the voices, and perform a poor recreation of the whole thing. And I want you to know about the other hundred-odd moments that physically contorted my real-life face into real-life grins or my real-life mouth into real-life laughs.
I won’t tell you about all of them because I’ll spoil them. But I want you to know because they’re so joyful, so playful, that they turn this third sequel to an average Grand Theft Auto clone into one of the most fun videogames I’ve ever played.
Grand Theft Auto V steals its way onto the current batch of consoles next month, and from everything Rockstar have shown so far, it's looking pretty good. A shame then, that a PC version still hasn't been announced - even if is history tells us we will eventually get our hands on the game. Now, though, a comment by Chris Evenden, Nvidia's senior director of investor relations, may be hinting at a sooner-than-expected PC release.
Saints Row 4 was already pretty high on my list of things I absolutely have to own. While the demo version I played had some lackluster moments, the promise of a more absurdly tuned version of Saints Row: The Third is more than enough to keep me interested. That anticipation has now risen to near-unbearable levels, thanks to the revelation that the game has The Safety Dance on its soundtrack. Also some songs that aren't The Safety Dance, if you can bring yourself to care about those.
There are a number of questions that surround each Assassin's Creed release. Questions like, "where will it be set?" Or, "will I get to stab a person?" Or, "which glowing trinket will I be asked to collect one hundred of?" Less common are questions surrounding the series' overarching story. Nevertheless, Ubisoft have confirmed that there is a plot arc, and that its ending has already been mapped out.
Saints Row 4 - which as I understand is not a biblical rowing simulator, but rather an open world WTF-'em-up - got a big ol' livestream the other day courtesy of developers Volition. See a man drive a car into a variety of things, see another man wield a giant purple dildo, and gawk at some of the game's seemingly quite fleshed-out minigames in this recording of the event, which as a bonus lets you skip ahead during some of the more boring bits. Australians: this is what the real Saints Row looks like, in case you were wondering.
Saints Row 4 now has a slightly more innocent twin, and it's planning a backpacking trip to Australia after its lewder brother was twice denied entry. Following the Australian Classification Board's decision to give the absurd sequel a "Refused Classification" status - effectively banning it from sale - developer Deep Silver Volition have released a "slightly modified" version, which, according to local distributor AIE Interactive, has been awarded an MA15+ rating.
I can't imagine many of the players who glided, swooped and pounced through the previous Arkham games stopped to imagine what it would be like to control one of the many anonymous, psychotic thugs. But, as this new trailer reveals, Batman: Arkham Origins plans to deliver on the experience anyway - with an asymmetrical "3v3v2" multiplayer, developed by Splash Damage. Players will fill the rosters of the Joker and Bane's gangs, hunting down a third two-man team comprised of Batman and Robin.
Check back later to read Evan's impressions of this newly announced multiplayer mode.
Tread lightly, for I have bundled so much Castlevania news into this post, that at any moment it could burst into a grotesque shower of spiders, gothic scenery, and weirdly angry coffins with legs. Konami released a selection of screenshots for the updated, polished, and DLC-bundling Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ultimate Edition. Have a browse through, and anticipate the weird things you'll get to slice come the demo, which, according to the game's Facebook page, is due for a Steam summoning tomorrow.
Then, when you've filled your eyes with the horrors of 2010; gaze into the future courtesy of the extra screens depicting the PC-confirmed Lords of Shadow 2, due out this November.
Will Australians be allowed to play a silly game about a hyper-violent US President in a hyper-violent perversion of reality, trapped in a hyper-violent riff on the Matrix? Previously, the answer was a flat no. Saints Row 4's inclusion of alien anal probes and beneficial drug pick-ups caused the game to be 'awarded' the country's first "Refused Classification" status. Deep Silver had since re-submitted the title, hoping to slip it through with all the unfiltered absurdity intact. The final ruling has now been made, and the answer, unfortunately, is still no.
For a game all about hacking, it's, well... unsurprising that Watch Dogs is now attempting to hack into our wallets. If successful, it will leave a dent approximately $130 big, so let's hope that the Limited Edition's extra goods are enough to patch up the gaping hole left behind. Will it also comfort you to know that Watch Dogs won't require internet connectivity? Because that, too.
"You wanna be a space ninja?"
That was the cry Digital Extremes PR settled on at PAX when tempting booth loiterers to play Warframe, a PvE third person shooter involving space ninjas. Turns out, because booth loiterers are only human, the answer was a resounding yes.
The game is currently in open beta and has been since March. You might have seen it hovering around the periphery of the Steam most-played top ten and, occasionally, venturing in. With its ninth update the developers announced 3 million registered accounts and you might see anything from 10,000 to 30,000 concurrent players on its servers.
And now it's time for our semi-regular feature: let's all close our eyes and hope really hard that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is going to happen some day, despite the lack of firm confirmation or evidence to suggest that it will. It worked for Mirror's Edge 2 dammit, it can work for this - and series creator Michael Ancel is only too happy to fuel our optimism. This time, he's suggesting the game could be re-announced in the next year.
Like a morally dubious, neck-bothering Batman, Sam Fisher wants to make you think he is everywhere as part of his tireless campaign to stop ALL OF THE ATTACKS. He's in you house, he's in your office, he's in your pantries, he's in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Ubisoft's upcoming sneak and snap 'em up that continues to pump out unintentionally hilarious trailers.
Here's a new trailer for Pirates! An Assassin's Creed Story (Not Affiliated with Sid Meier), or Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag as Ubisoft still insist on calling it. This is the reason why you shouldn't be too concerned about their plan to only make games which can be turned into a franchise. Because they can always pull a bait-and-switch and turn their 'brooding assassins and magic time wizards' series into something about pirates.
Anyway, the trailer. It's even got a sea shanty, albeit an unrealistically mild one, because - again - this is basically just a game about pirates.
In an unusual move, Avalanche have filled their *sigh* 'Gameplay' trailer with next to no footage of the game being played. There are brief frames of video that might correspond to what you'd see while directly interacting with the finished product, but for the most you're getting in-engine scenes of the bits in between the playing. Cutscenes and cinematic finishers acted out by some brooding stubble attached to a leathery sack of hair-trigger violence, who seethes through a dust strewn wasteland.
Doesn't Orcs Must Die contain enough ways to make Orcs die? No. Surely we can get a little more murderously creative than dissolving the brutes in acid or transmogrifying them into chickens. Fortunately, Orcs Must Die! 2 has now been bestowed with Steam Workshop support. Tweak those traps, figure out the most satisfying method of julienning the lumbering oafs, and then share proudly with your friends.
Getting refused classification in Australia isn't Saints Row 4's only achievement. It can now also take the title for most ridiculous Independence Day speech since, well, the film Independence Day. The exceedingly silly open-world action game is celebrating July 4th with a fireworks display of lunacy and absurdism. There can't be many better ways to celebrate freedom than hearing Keith David say "anal-probing overlord".
A new Lego game tapping into Marvel's deep catalogue of super-weirdos was announced back in January. The concept of a Lego game set in the Marvel universe is a deeply pleasing one, particularly if it realises these thoughts I have about a plastic hulk barging through walls, scattering blocks all over the place. Oh hey, "leave a path of destruction as you smash through LEGO walls and throw cars using hyper strength" it says here - yaay.
Over a hundred Marvel heroes and criminals will be represented, including big-hitters like Hulk and Abomination and all the ones that have had their own films, like Captain America, Spider-man, the blonde one with the hammer, the grumpy one with the claws, the drunk one in the tin suit and the purple one with the insane bow skills. See a few of those chaps in action in the new Lego Marvel Super Heroes video and screenshots below, and enjoy some blocky variants of classic Marvel covers. They are adorable.
Grand Theft Auto 5 was absent from the E3 conferences, suggesting that Rockstar understand that the series has broad enough appeal to bother tangling too much with platform holders. A set of nine new GTA 5 screenshots should tide fans over until its September console release, but we'll hold out for the as-yet-unannounced PC version. Every GTA game has found a home on PC eventually, so hopes are high for this one.