Well, I guess this is adieu then Lara. The news from Gamescom today that Rise Of The Tomb Raider will launch “exclusively on Xbox” next year means that, at best, PC gamers will have to wait out whatever window of time Microsoft’s money hat has paid for. Irritating, but nothing we’re not used to. More troubling is the suggestion that this is actually a lifetime exclusive. If that is the case (and I strongly suspect it isn’t), then it would represent one of the dumbest partnership deals I can recall.
Alpha and Early Access reviews offer our preliminary verdicts on in-development games. We may follow up this unscored review with a final, scored review in the future. Read our full review policy for details.
If you’ve played Geometry Wars or Renegade Ops you know how to play Secret Ponchos: move with the left stick, aim with the right stick, and shoot. It’s a twin-stick shooter, but not just another twin-stick shooter: Secret Ponchos wisely tweaks and embellishes genre conventions to create something that feels more like a new type of fighting game. It's different and fun, but only if you play it with a good group.
The Aliens: Colonial Marines legal saga may be stumbling toward at least a partial conclusion, as Sega has tentatively agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle the lawsuit against it. The publisher hasn't admitted to actually doing anything wrong, of course, but the expense of litigation and the uncertainty of the outcome has left both sides anxious to grab what they can and split without a fuss.
Monolith has rolled out a new trailer for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor at Gamescom that takes a closer look the singularly unpleasant minion of Sauron who murdered Talion's wife and son.
Once again, gaming's secret society of wizards have collected around Cologne, Germany, and summoned forth a festival of games. Gamescom is back and, over the next few days, fresh news, trailers and previews will ooze from its hallowed halls. Already the incantations have summoned corporate executives to deliver press conferences, providing surprise announcements and extended footage. Here's what went down on Gamescom's first day.
Mike Bithell, creator of indie darling Thomas Was Alone, showed off a new gameplay trailer for his follow-up, Volume, during Sony's Gamescom press conference. The trailer helps tie Volume's story to the Robin Hood legend it's retelling, and also shows how a futuristic Mr. Hood would hide from robots.
Ubisoft showed some new footage of Far Cry 4 at Gamescom 2014, highlighting the world of Kyrat that players will explore. The new trailer looks at three distinctly different areas from the game, from jungle wildlands to snowy mountaintops and a spiritual retreat.
A new trailer for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter has turned up at Gamescom, and while it's not particularly informative, it is a handy reminder that the game will launch next month—and that preorders will soon be available.
Last week's Sierra teaser has paid off pretty much as expected, as Activision has brought the famous name back from the dead, with plans to use it as a publishing label for "edgy" independent projects. It will also re-release at least some old Sierra classics, beginning with an updated King's Quest and a new Geometry Wars.
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Baldur’s Gate was one of my formative PC gaming experiences. I have vivid memories of sitting in the glow of my old CRT monitor on a Friday evening after school, dungeon crawling until the sun rose. I’ve never been one for misty-eyed nostalgia, but last week I felt compelled to reinstall it. It was almost midnight, and I had work the next day, but I didn’t think I’d be playing for long. Just enough to sate my nostalgia. Three hours later and I was still up. Its claws are in me again—almost 16 years after I first installed it on my old beige Pentium II—and, surprisingly, it still holds up.
This is technically a development diary, expanding on the world of The Witcher 3, and its ecosystems and politics. But given that it's set predominantly around old ruins, there isn't much actual development to be seen. Unless, that is, CD Projekt RED make their RPG sequel by chanting near ancient groves and resonating structures. If nothing else, it would explain the delay.
One of my favourite Call of Duty missions took place on a suspension bridge, as part of Modern Warfare 2's excellent spec-ops mode. It was the last time I really connected with a series that has increasingly moved towards flimsy, bombastic encounters and the repeat performance of the same explosive set-pieces. For comparison, here's seven minutes from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's suspension bridge campaign sequence. Spoiler: it ends with the bridge collapsing, and a cutscene in which the player reaches out to catch their buddy as they fall to their death.
The big bombshell of Microsoft's Gamescom presser was the announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider—the follow up to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot—will be available "Holiday 2015, Exclusively on Xbox".
Piranha Bytes knows you probably didn't like Risen 2, and so the studio symbolically kills it off but 30 minutes into the sequel. There's our hero from 2012's pirate-themed adventure, still nameless after all these years and looking as though he just wandered off the set of Assassin's Creed IV. But piracy apparently isn't what you want, and so he dies in front of a glowing portal in a ruin without so much as a last "Arr."
First up during Microsoft's Gamescom press conference, Assassin's Creed: Unity. This time, we get a nice montage of game footage, as Arno runs around, above and through buildings, before the trailer cuts to some impressively populated crowds. It's not the most action-heavy of trailers, but it shows off the setting and tech nicely, and hints at some Assassin-based lore nonsense.
Gamescom 2014 has arrived, and is kicking off with the press conferences. Microsoft is up first, and, as always, will be focusing on their console concerns. But while PC won't be directly mentioned, expect plenty of multi-platform talk through the company's third-party partners. The action kicks off in a few minutes, at 1pm BST, 2pm CET, 5am PDT or 8am EDT.
As part of Battlefield 4's Battlefest event, DICE ran a stunt video competition—inviting players to record their most daring feats of murder and carnage. They've now revealed the winner, and, despite having seen a ridiculous number of Battlefield-based stunts over the years, I have to say I'm impressed. Think of it as an homage to West Side Story, only, instead of groovin' gangs, it's a battle between an actual jet and shark.
Here's a first, brief look at Hearts of Iron 4. And I do mean brief: of the minute-long tour through the beginnings of World War 2, around 12 seconds are given to this latest offering from Paradox's Clausewitz Engine. If you're a veteran grand strategy fan, you already know what to expect. Maps, men and giant arrows.
It feels like aeons since it was announced, but it looks like Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will be ready to play soon. The above video is the first substantial look we've had of the remake, aside from a bunch of teasingly brief animated gifs. According to creator Edmund McMillen writing on his blog, the round worm depicted in the footage above will replace the Parabite early in the game.