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Welcome to ONE Gamer! You may notice that it looks a whole lot like 360 Gamer and thats very much the point. You see, ONE Gamer isnt a brand new magazine, its the same magazine rebranded to echo our expanded focus to include the next-generation console but at the same point were not leaving the 360 behind, not by a long shot. We could possibly have waited until closer to the Xbox Ones launch IAN before we made the switch, but theres so much to talk about and crucially were talking games here and not the much-maligned TV or sports coverage that we wanted to make sure that everyone who shares our enthusiasm for the Xbox One knows that this is the place to nd all the latest news, previews and screenshots of the titles that could well redene gaming in the year ahead. Certainly weve a few more reasons to be excited by the new console, with games such as Titanfall, Forza 5 and Destiny all promising great things. And Microsofts humbling Xbox 180 over pre-owned and always-on should make gamers a little more comfortable, even if the price tag is still rather off-putting compared to the PS4 (though its worth bearing in mind, the One price includes the integral new Kinect, while the PS4s camera is an optional extra). But equally were aware that theres a lot of life still in the Xbox 360, with the likes of GTA V, Batman: Arkham Origins and current-gen versions of all the usual COD/Battleeld blockbusters to look forward to before the One even launches. So while the name of the magazine may have changed along with the website ( and our social media networks (, were very much your one-stop shop for all things Xbox 360 AND Xbox One. Enjoy the issue!

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Editorial Director Darren Herridge Finance Director Tim Harris Distributed through the UK newstrade by Seymour Ltd, 0207 429 4000 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT Printed in the UK by Precision Colour Printing Ltd Xbox Ond and Xbox 360 are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. ONE Gamer is a fully independent publication not affiliated with Microsoft Corporation, and the views expressed within are not necessarily the opinions of Microsoft, its software partners or third-party software publishers. All copyrights and trademarks are recognised. ONE GAMER is published four-weekly by Uncooked Media Ltd. All text and layout remains the copyright of Uncooked Media Ltd. All characters and artwork shown in this magazine remain the and trademark or their respective owners. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written permission of the publisher. ONE GAMER can accept no responsibility for inaccuracies or complaints arising from editorial or advertising within this magazine.

Ian Collen, Joint Editor

has been carrying more knocks than a hundred-year-old door in recent months but hes found a not entirely unpleasant way to numb the pain: pink wine. We cant say were completely convinced by his argument but the rest of the team hasnt taken much persuading to give it a try. The only trouble is that right now anyone with so much as a stubbed toe is half-cut by lunchtime.

is the man wed go to if we needed someone to kill a prostitute with a sex toy. Obviously were talking about Saints Row here, and not the low-budget ladies of the night stalking the friendly neighbourhood streets of Bournemouth, but for our Saints Row IV hands-on Will seemed to prefer using the power of his mind rather than a rubber phallus or the Dubstep Gun. He really is that classy.

has bravely travelled across the country and to the farther reaches of the globe for the good of what was 360 Gamer, and his rst task for the newly branded ONE Gamer was perhaps his toughest adventure yet: to hack and slash through Dynasty Warriors 8 for our review (over on page 98). Its not that the Warriors games are bad, but they tend to leave an X imprint on your thumb for a few months.

may have taken James grape-fuelled medical advice a step too far, heading down to London for a night on the Chardonnay after treading barefoot on an upturned plug. Actually she was there to celebrate with her Ready Up pals, but we soon had her chained back at her writing desk although we did at least grant her half a glass of ros to help with the alltoo-inevitable hangover.


EST. 2003

ONE GAMER 2013 Uncooked Media Ltd ISSN 1747-8103

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03 50 102 118 124 126 127 128 129 Editors Letter News Buyers Guide Live Life Subscriptions Mailbox Competition: Deadpool Back issues Next issue

Batman: Arkham Origins Battleeld 4 Below D4 Dark Deadfall Adventures Dead Rising 3 Deadpool Destiny Dynasty Warriors 8 Final Fantasy XV Forza Motorsport 5 Grand Theft Auto V Halo Xbox One Killer Instinct Kingdom Hearts III Mad Max Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Mirrors Edge PES 2014 Project Spark Quantum Break Ryse: Son of Rome Saints Row IV Spartacus Legends The Division The Elder Scrolls Online The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Titanfall WWE 2K14 86 80 76 70 96 72 30 93 88 98 42 22 78 60 68 16 74 26 64 84 62 82 38 111 100 34 90 46 18 66







Forza MotorSPort 5

Metal Gear Solid V: the PhantoM Pain



dead riSinG 3


the Witcher 3: the Wild hunt

PoWeR oF one

34 The Division
Massively online persistent worlds are the future and Ubisofts barnstormer sure looks like the most impressive take on this new and shifting genre

93 96 98 100

Deadpool Dark Dynasty Warriors 8 Spartacus Legends

111 116

Saints Row IV Destiny

With a small rocket booster, your soldier is capable of jumping up to three storeys, leaping across huge gaps or wall-running in a way that would make any Persian prince jealous
TiTanfall PaGE 18

60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 90

Halo Xbox One Project Spark Mirrors Edge WWE 2K14 Killer Instinct D4 Deadfall Adventures Mad Max Below Grand Theft Auto V Battlefield 4 Quantum Break PES 2014 Batman: Arkham Origins The Elder Scrolls Online

laRGeR Than liFe

78 GRanD TheFT auTo v

September will spawn a monster that will take up eight gigs of your hard drive space before devouring your life for months. Should be fun, though!




Richard Melville

When we visited E3 last year, Call of Duty: Black Ops II was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated games at the epic games show, wedged between exhibition halls full of tributes, knock-offs and loose variations on the theme that Call of Duty has managed to channel and make its own in the midst of lesser rivals. While Medal of Honor: Warghter oundered at E3 2012, one excited journalist actually headed to the emergency room off the back of his excitement for the latest Call of Duty and no, were not joking. We took him there as the show doors opened. Fast-forward to E3 2013 and were chatting with Activision, ready to unveil the latest missions from Call of Duty: Ghosts and this, crucially, is the instalment that will straddle the generations by appearing on the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. The pressure on developer Innity Ward is immense, trying to satisfying two console audiences (and, in fact, trying to create the audience for the Xbox One), with a host of rivals doing the exact same thing not least of which EA, with direct competitor Battleeld 4, and Bungie with Destiny, its hugely hyped follow-up to Halo. And the fact that Bungie was signed to a huge deal by Innity Wards
FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Activision DEVELOPER: Treyarch RELEASED: 05 November 2013 (Xbox One TBC) XBOX LIVE: Yes


ABOVE: Ropebased antics are key on the Mission Impossible-esque skyscraper level.

BELOW: Mess with the Ghosts and this might be the last thing you see.

overlords at Activision can only add to the pressure. But even without all those added pressures, this is still the single biggest videogame franchise on the planet. So how can the studio possibly meet the annual, seemingly insurmountable mountain of expectation for the Call of Duty series? Well rst of all by completely subverting that expectation, abandoning the long-inthe-tooth Modern Warfare formula and delivering something thats completely fresh and new, much as opposite number Treyarch did with the rst Black Ops. Ghosts story kicks off with two brothers and features a single special forces unit that is ghting an entire army. Whose army is it? Innity Ward wont lift the lid off that just yet, but

were aware that they have guns, boats and that they walk around in biological warfare suits. Theyve also destroyed most of San Diego and the action is set ten years after the event. The action is straight-up silver screen spectacle once again, fusing the kind of plot you would expect from Tom Clancy but with a tense overlay of Mission Impossible-style drama and set-pieces.


The Hollywood bombast is hardly surprising, given that Activision has signed up noted tinseltown scriptwriter and movie director Stephen Gaghan to help with the development of the latest chapter of Call of Duty. In addition to penning the Academy Award-winning Trafc and working on gritty shows like NYPD Blue, he also directed the brooding and surprisingly controversial war ick Syriana, which continued the George Clooney and Matt Damon bromance. And it is certainly no coincidence that the two brothers in the game mimic this kind of buddy movie dynamic.

With Ghosts, we wanted an allnew story with all-new characters and to help us with that, we brought in Stephen Gaghan Mark Rubin, the games executive producer, explained to us. Rubin is understandably cagey about the key story points, but he describes a mass event that takes out the United States government. So far, so another episode of 24 yet again. But the premise this time round is that youre no longer part of the fully loaded Team America-style mega force in fact, Youre the underdog says Rubin. Gaghan himself is even more tightlipped about the plot, but he does touch on the brotherly dynamic that sets Ghosts wheels of war in motion. With the brothers in the game, theres a family dynamic, he explains. Its like getting called up from the minor league to the major league. Most of my work is following that plot arc. Minors to the majors sounds a lot like going from the frying pan and into the re, to us. However, even though there are still the spectacular set-pieces and



Richard Melville

ABOVE: For much of the early game, youll build your cache of weapons and be seriously underpowered compared to the enemys arsenal.

dramatic action at key points, the single-player campaign is all about stealth and being a ghost in front of the enemy. Covert cameras and close combat neck-snapping is joined by a heavier use of remote weapons, bombs and sniper ries. Compared to the usual wartorn desert assaults and airstrikes, this is a denite change of pace for the series and a sign that Innity Ward has perhaps left the gun frenzy to the multiplayer missions while taking time to address the key story and plot.

A key movie device that has elbowed its way into the game is somewhat notoriously, following the games unveiling at the Xbox One reveal event a dog called Riley. Despite all the internet memes, though, and rather than just being a mascot for big softies, Riley is a dangerous weapon, playable and fully loaded with cameras and enough weapons tech to take out a Taliban tea party gone bad. And if you think that the inclusion of a dog is ction taking over from the quest for even more realistic combat in Call of Duty, think again. Canines really are used by special ops forces, most famously in the raid that ended with the death of Osama Bin Laden; Cairo the dog helped the


Part of Innity Wards effort to show off the raw power of the Xbox One, the underwater stages reeds and aquatic life are brought to life by the shimmering light above the ocean. Wrecked modern vessels give way to abandoned shing nets, all signs of a city recently rocked by disaster rather than an ocean housing ancient shipwrecks. The sense that an epic war has just happened and you somehow managed to survive it runs throughout the game. Youll be directed by a single companion here, though there are multiple enemies and a roaming water vehicle that appears to be checking the area. The sharks are the least of your worries, given the size of the enemy boat that youre tasked with destroying. The actual ocean is the Caribbean in South America, perhaps home to the enemy that has rocked California to its core. As you get closer to your foe, youll hear sonar pings and the water acts as a neat silencer for your kills, though single headshots arent possible. The propelled explosive aimed at the enemy boat via your underwater iPad more than makes up for the lack of sniper action, however, as long as you dont miss


ABOVE: Into The Deep is about stealth rather than combat and shooting, targeting and killing enemies is much harder below sea level.

BELOW: Maybe bringing all that loose change along was a bad idea

spec ops unit depicted in the Zero Dark Thirty movie and was even praised by President Obama. Riley is the same breed used by these forces a Belgian Malinois and assists the brothers by enabling the player to directly control him (hes got simple sensors which direct him left or right), and you get instant video feedback from a kind of armoured iPad that you carry around on your back.

Naturally Riley is motion-captured, with a canine in the studio joining the actors who portray the special ops soldiers and enemies themselves. And for all the giggles that rippled across the internet after Ghosts initial reveal, seeing the animal in action is borderline terrifying. The motion-capture sessions saw retired Navy SEAL Christopher Connell observe as poor buggers wearing ballistic-grade suits were attacked by the military working dogs in training. Amazingly, the dogs are trained to jump for enemy arms rst in order to knock weapons from their grip something that clearly has valuable applications in-game. The glimpse of the future that the Riley-cam provides isnt a new device for shooters as a whole, but it is new to Call of Duty and gives the game a degree of tactical strategy that wasnt there before. For some, the presence of the pooch will create a genuine connection to a world populated by carbon copy GI Joes who so often feel like military mannequins. Innity Ward has said that the inclusion of Riley was designed to add an emotional element to the game and alongside the script and post-apocalyptic setting, its already there based on our time with the game. The opening scenes showcase a catastrophically shattered landscape

it looks part earthquake, part nuclear disaster. The Innity Ward crew is keeping quiet on the cause of the fragmented city of San Diego but, like the controversial nuclear bomb episode seen in 24, we can see that rather than an all-out war, Call of Duty: Ghosts sees a pared-down team ghting against a disaster that has already happened.


Before we get into the new levels and new gameplay, its worth talking about the technology at work under the hood. From the rst time you watch the action unfold on the screen in front of you, youll see that Ghosts looks noticeably improved over Black Ops II and given thats it has only been a year between the two titles, thats an impressive feat. So how is it possible? While Innity Ward wouldnt conrm it, we highly suspect that its engineers were among the rst to play around with Xbox One development kits and have had serious time to unearth some new tricks that it could then port to the Xbox 360. Displacement mapping means the environments that were previously at as a pancake are now imbued with real texture and dimensionality think proper landscape features like rocks and outcrops. The developer walked



Richard Melville

us through the new process, showing before and after effects on a bank of rocks, and it absolutely adds greater depth and makes the terrain far more impressive close up especially when youve got a sniper rie in your clammy virtual hands. Its all part of the neat new graphics engine being employed in Ghosts, with volumetric lighting and high dynamic range lighting also mentioned to us in

ABOVE: From the start, key moments like this show that youre the underdog and, in many ways, ghting a war thats already been won by the other side.

RIGHT: The new volumetric lighting means that youll see light stream through the trees, rather than just being static rays that dont move.

passing as our handlers play through a jungle level, which means that youll see shafts of lights streaming through the trees, as opposed to the static lighting effects that are always on and dont fade or disappear as you pass them. And another intriguing process explained by Innity Ward is Sub-D, a technique that adds extra detail to the games elements as you get closer to them.

A distant wall might be rendered simply in the distance, but it becomes increasingly detailed as you approach. We were shown a sniper scope that loses all those jagged edges that attempted to form a circle in the last game, so were left with a perfect circle and far more detail to boot. And much to the delight of the graphical whores among you, a 60fps framerate is retained among all the new


visual bells and whistles at 720p. Obviously the next-gen Xbox One version looks more impressive, with deeper textures and clever ame effects, but the 360 version is still a treat for the oculars.


Not content with expanding its technical horizons, the latest Call of Duty is broadening the scope of its battleelds as well. Ghosts now enables you to swim underwater and, in so doing, manages to increase the level of tension tenfold. In the Into The Deep level that the Innity Ward folks proudly walked us through, the background sounds bubble and stream while killing an enemy takes a good few shots but make no mistake, stealth is still very much the name of the game. Sharks circle you during play and boats cause tidal disturbances, distracting you from the mission of observing an enemy vessel and taking out enemies Bond-style when required. The real hazards here are the huge chunks of falling debris whenever explosions occur, not to mention the risk of your comrade getting stuck between rocks and blood spilling into your goggled eld of vision. Your view is slightly reduced and obscured by the scuba mask that presents a novel

TOP: Riley is already the unwitting face of the game and signals some new gameplay modes. We wonder whether hell be making the multiplayer

RIGHT: Everything moves much slower underwater, such as discharged casings drifting away.



Richard Melville

The multiplayer Free Fall level features shifting maps and a building that topples while youre in it. No pressure, then.

widescreen feel to the depths of the ocean action (think the gas mask in the Metro games) youll nd yourself looking down just to make sure that you can see what lies beneath, as well as whats ahead of you. The tablet that you use to view Rileys canine camera also comes into play when you launch your small, rotor-propelled missiles to take out enemy boats in this H20-soaked level. Needless to say, the explosions that occur beneath the waves are truly devastating. Experiencing them underwater gives you a whole new appreciation of the videogames clichd big bangs, playing out in spectacular slow-motion by nature of the fact that youre submerged in water. That reduced rate of blast radius death grants you a small period of grace, but you also have to contend with the giant chunks of debris that tumble from above. The No Mans Land level is set in the San Diego crater, which actually encompasses a space ten miles north of the city, and puts you on the edge of Californian mountains that crumble as you look at the devastation of Americas Finest City. One key scene sees Riley running ahead and getting thoroughly spooked, as the cliff edge he approaches crumbles away and takes a luxury home with

it, plummeting to the ground like a childs doll house. Its also here that we get our very rst glimpse of how Riley can help attack enemies, as you hurl tear gas grenades into a house where soldiers are holed up while Riley heads in and chases them ambling out into the open. Slow-motion is used to full effect again, as their exit enables you to target enemies from the side as they rush outside, unaware that youre standing beside the door waiting to shoot them into the next world. And the clifftop forest setting means that youll be momentarily blinded by those new lighting effects, meaning a few seconds of near-terror as your character adjusts to the light before regaining his vision.

No Mans Land introduces your canine companion, Riley, and sees the two brothers exposed to the horror of San Diego from a great height. Cracked freeways run into the distance and, while the action happens, there are distant helicopters giving the impression that theres life out there somewhere but the pilots arent going to be your friends. As an opener it owes something to The Walking Dead. While Spanish enemy voices can be heard in the distance the brothers don Ghost masks, though strangely they arent wearing any biological protection. Combat is about the stealth again and youll see your brother in your sights, directing you as a kind of practice mission that goes from deep forest to open mountains in a few minutes. Its an intelligence-gathering mission but it does require covert kills. The broken homes that house the enemies are familiar to the brothers, though the burned-out vehicles arent the kind that can be driven but standard issue Jeeps are available later in the game.

The more things change, though, the more they stay the same. It wouldnt be Call of Duty if there wasnt a level that attempted to push some buttons, and for Ghosts its looking to be the multiplayer level that is unlocked when you pre-order the game. Free Fall is shocking from the start, thanks



Richard Melville

You can be sure that the setpieces will be spectacular, if occasionally controversial.

Oh, the memes that are oating around cyberspace in the wake of the Xbox One Reveal. Not just the ones about TV TV TV or Don Mattricks cold dead eyes, but the ones about the unofcial star of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Riley the dog. And the developers themselves were as surprised as anyone about how the games big new feature was portrayed and received and even started having thoughts about ofng the poor pooch. You know whats funny about that is, we were all watching the Xbox One reveal event in our theatre, Innity Wards Tina Palacios told And after we got the reaction in real-time we didnt expect any of this at all, by the way the studio became divided. Half of them said, Okay, the dog absolutely has to die. And then the other half Im on this half said, Whoa, no way! People love him. Its a constant debate, but we do have an answer Its intriguing that, with only a few months till launch, theres apparently still scope to change what appears to be a central component of the gameplay. Hopefully Innity Ward doesnt make a rash decision and kill Riley off based solely on all those post-Xbox One reveal .gifs and memes. Having a hint of squad-based action in Call of Duty especially with badass dogs that are, in the real world, literally trained as special forces operative from when theyre puppies, like some sort of Dr Seussian super soldier programme is pretty cool when youve stopped laughing.

to the striking visual similarities to the events of 9/11. The level is set inside a collapsing skyscraper that eventually becomes horizontal during gameplay, meaning that exits and maps are constantly shifting as you move through. You will need to move across delicate glass windows, too, and such fragile environments pose a new challenge; for the rst time in the game youll need to be careful of what youre shooting and when. Our favourite mission so far featured the covert inltration of a skyscraper in the midst of a reworks display in a city. Suitably aping the similarly named Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol lm, which sees Tom Cruise running around the outside of a

towering Dubai structure like a special forces window cleaner, you walk around the walls of a skyscraper after arriving on a zipline from the roof of the building opposite. Silenced weapons are used to shoot enemies through the glass before entering the tower and inltrating the computer room. If youve played Splinter Cell youll no doubt see some similarities, but the tension does eventually lift. Navigating a building from the outside is another nice new touch and youll be killing several team members quickly before breaking in. In terms of the toys on offer, the ghosts use any weapons they can get their hands on and as ever, theres quite an arsenal. So far the most


recognisable returning rie is the AK-47, the brute of a gun that offers serious stopping power, quick reloads and a hefty build, but has a kick that more complex ries do not. This old favourite is joined by the waterproof Micro Tavor Assault Rie 21 or MTAR 21 for short which is lightweight and designed for urban combat. It also boasts dual eject ports so that soldiers can use it whether theyre left or right-handed. Theres also a built-in scope and a short stand for when the user is at on the ground, whether on a stakeout or offering covering re. The Vector submachine gun also returns from previous instalments. Its accurate, lightweight and fast, and while it doesnt inict a huge amount of damage it has little recoil and isnt as loud as heavier weapons denitely useful when youre trying to maintain your ghostlike stealth. Perhaps the most interesting weapon in the game, though, is the APS rie that can re underwater, as seen in the Into The Deep level. Its a thin and wide weapon that is slow but offers a hefty impact, even against the natural resistance while shooting in the water. The APS can be steadied with an enlarged handle, too, which sits ahead of the trigger like a keel on a boat.

Sadly we havent yet come close enough to enemies to see many of their weapons, other than boats and helicopters, so we couldnt glean any clues as to who they are based on their preferred arsenal. The initial enemies are actually checking for radiation by the looks of their suits and scanning equipment, so were thinking that its denitely a nuclear bomb that has left San Diego in such a broken and sorry state Call of Duty: Ghosts is at once everything youd expect of the series a Hollywood-inspired, screenwriterscripted piece of big blockbuster entertainment while at the same time delivering plenty of fresh new avours: the underwater action, collapsing dynamic levels and a canine companion whose bite is denitely worse than his bark. And while it may take a good year or so until we start to see the true power of the Xbox One, as developers start to gure out all the tricks and tools at their disposal, this is still looking every inch a product of cutting edge videogaming. Just as we gasped when we saw Halo 4 and Tomb Raider in action, to see Call of Duty: Ghosts being played is to be astonished at what talented developers can still do with the ageing Xbox 360 horsepower, while the new technical feats and under-the-hood

effects make it more than worthy of being part of the Xbox Ones rst wave of attack. For all the chutzpah of its rival over in Stockholm, the Californian Call of Duty crew at Innity Ward are once again set to deliver the biggest, explodingest roller coaster ride of the year. Whether youre planning to run and gun on the current or next gen of Xbox tech, Ghosts should set the new standard for shooting excellence.

ABOVE: San Diego, in bits. A South American operation seems to be to blame, and were thinking nuclear bomb, but Innity Ward is keeping schtum.

BELOW: One man and his dog in a wasteland seems a bit Fallout 3 to us.


Kingdom Hearts iii

FORMAT: Xbox One PublisheR: Square Enix DevelOPeR: Square Enix 1st Production Department ReleAseD: TBC 2014

Will the first Disney/Square mash-up title to appear on an Xbox really be based around a quest to buy Donald Duck a pair of trousers adorned with needless appendages from the last alternative clothing store in the universe? Probably not. He doesnt wear trousers and no amount of extra buckles will ever change his mind. That said, his sailor outfit certainly seems to have a bit of Britney Spears Toxic video about it. If he ever invites you to a party youd better check the dress code, lest you end up in an unconformable situation. Should it state wipe proof then be advised.

But yes, this image heralds great news for the Xbox One with a 2014 window tentatively offered. Well assume its a long way off, though, so theres plenty of time to imagine that since Disney has acquired Marvel Entertainment, Pixar Animation and LucasFilm since Square developed 2006s Kingdom Hearts II the third game could feature Buzz Lightyear and Darth Vader joining forces against Spider-Man and Jar Jar Binks as Minnie Mouse is in the parlour, eating bread and honey, and King Mickey is in his counting house, counting all his money.

Well, it could happen. We just imagine that the House of Mouse wouldnt be quite so flippant with its new properties. You can certainly expect humanoids Sora and Riku to return, however, and for there to be a hunt for the seven guardians of light and the Key of returning Hearts. See, the story wont be half as ridiculous as weve just theorised. Itll be the last chapter in the Dark Seeker saga, too, and if that means nothing to you then youve got plenty of time to seek out the previous games available on various Nintendo and Sony consoles.


On foot its wise to avoid Titans head-on, but youll have the agility and weapons to take them down.

FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: EA DEVELOPER: Respawn Entertainment RELEASED: Spring 2014

Future WarFare
given that respawn entertainment was founded from the ashes of Infinity Wards almost surreal legal battle with activision, its perhaps no surprise to see that its debut title is a first-person shooter that could, at a passing glance, be simply dismissed as a futuristic spin on that winning modern Warfare formula. however, the truth is that Titanfall is set to go considerably beyond the boundaries of your more conventional fps fare. Titanfall is a multiplayer-only title, for starters, and while that may deter those who prefer to play at their own pace in single-player and save all the glory for themselves, respawn is structuring the game so that its essentially a single-player campaign in a multiplayer environment something which could

The former InfInITy Ward developers claIm They donT WanT To make anoTher cod clone. so WITh an onlIne-only World, a combInaTIon of super-agIle soldIers and ToWerIng mechs, does The emergence of TiTanfall sIgnal The fuTure of fps gamIng?
become a common feature on the Xbox one. This means youll still be playing as a solitary, central character, complete with cut-scenes and mission briefings. you will also be fighting against aI enemies (though pvp gameplay is a sure-fire bet) so you wont be dying every 30 seconds and can rack up a healthy body count just as you would

BELOW: This is what becomes of Usain Bolt when the machines finally win.

Nice to see Isaac Clarke found a second job after the Dead Space series got locked in stasis.


Ian Collen

in single-player. The difference here is that your allies will largely be fellow gamers, each going about their own business but as part of a much wider, global team. Secondly, Respawn has opened up the landscape beyond the usual FPS restrictions of linear corridors and cover points. With a small rocket booster, your soldier is capable of jumping up to three storeys, leaping across huge gaps or wall-running in a way that would make any Persian prince jealous. Plus, there will be far wider and more open battlefields without barriers that open up huge three-dimensional playgrounds for you to explore and really mix up your tactics and strategies. And finally there are the Titans: 24foot-tall towering mechs equipped

with some seriously potent firepower that you can pilot, as well as battle against on the enemy forces, giving you two contrasting playing styles and numerous strategic options but more on those in the Clash of the Titans boxout. The result is a game that might look like a routine shooter but is unlikely to play like one. It could be described as a single-player campaign in a shared game world, but at the same time is also a multiplayer with the cinematic flair that Infinity Ward pioneered in its single-player experiences. What it wont be, despite the obvious firstperson similarities, is Modern Warfare in slightly shinier skin. Though the gameplay is focused purely in a multiplayer environment, there is a full storyline complete with

ABOVE LEFT: Of course, you wont be the only member of your team ready to drop in a Titan so youre free to stay on foot if you want to.

Its essentIally a sIngle-player campaIgn In a multIplayer envIronment


Generally having a 24-foot mech on the battlefield would make for your number one target in order to dominate the match. However, theres a great balance and freedom of choice between the speed and agility of staying on foot against the strength and firepower of the surprisingly nimble Titans that make each as effective as the other. For while the Titan has such potent firepower as the Arc Cannon and a Vortex Blaster not to mention the ability to crush enemy soldiers like ants underfoot there are equally good reasons to leave them alone. You can opt to have your Titan act as an AI companion, for one, and you can also use your agility to leap aboard enemy Titans, destroy their power source from above or even hack into the AI and convert it into an ally. Youll also have access to the anti-Titan weaponry required to take them down, as well as a neat invisibility trick teased in the trailer. But if youre going to tackle a Titan youre probably just as well jumping aboard one yourself, and thats sure to lead to some intense shootouts although a little tactical nous can be just as efficient as pulling out the big guns.


All things considered, Titanfall is a title that could well shape the near-future of the FPS genre on the Xbox One
BELOW: Titan-onTitan showdowns are sure to provide quite a scrap.

cut-scenes and background narrative in place. The exact specifics of this futuristic conflict are unclear, but it features a global company, The Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation battling against Militia forces. In a

welcome step forward for equality in the FPS world, you get to play as either a male or a female character which presumably means that the man seen in the trailer mourning the death of a loved one will have a lady equivalent and there wont be any love interest, or anything to make the developers lives any harder than they already are. Clearly some attention will be paid to your chosen character and not just in terms of customising their look and loadout although you can be sure that this will be pretty extensive. Wed expect relationships with AI characters to develop, and quite possibly even relationships with fellow gamers as you start to recognise a few names and

faces as you progress from battle to battle, and new in-game friendships and alliances are formed. If nothing else, having multiplayer gameplay seen from the same side and not in your typically hostile and fastpaced Deathmatch environment could make for a nice change of pace, and should make those less keen on headto-head gaming feel more welcome in the online world. But lets not get too carried with ourselves, though Titanfall is still fundamentally a first-person shooter at its core, and that means that a certain amount of familiarity will be needed. Seeing the game demoed at E3 certainly gave us a few reminders


Ian Collen

Despite the obvious Fps similarities, this isnt moDern WarFare in slightly shinier skin

The rocket pack makes you as agile as a cross between Mirrors Edges Faith and a Halo Spartan.

LEFT: With your rocket boosters strapped on, theres barely a rooftop or distant hiding spot that isnt within reach.

BELOW: You didnt bring an assault rifle to a Titan fight, did you? Good luck

of the likes of Battlefield, with the ABC objectives and a unit of troops rolling into a hostile environment ready to tear it to pieces. However, where Battlefield offered up its tactical strengths through working as a team and with players combining different styles and firepower, Titanfall puts a lot more options into your singleplayer hands. During gameplay the character we were following leapt into action from a hovering dropship the handy rocket pack on his back ensuring a safe landing and easy access to the safety of the nearby rooftops. Clearly if youre faced with some tricky odds or a beefed-up Titan bearing down on you, running away is a safe and sensible solution. Popping between cover points and nailing headshots is all very much par for the course, and

Titanfall looks set to do that pretty well, with the added agility making for fast-moving and truly three-dimensional environments. Obviously jumping into a hulking Titan is going to have plenty of appeal, though that savage firepower is sorely tempting, but seeing the demo and how the player would regularly jump in and out of the cockpit kept things lively and interesting. Especially when he was forced to eject and was catapulted into the air, but managed to steer his descent onto the head of a rival Titan, before blasting out its power supply and leaping off to continue the fight. Its exhilarating stuff and, all things considered, Titanfall is a title that could well shape the near-future of the FPS genre on the Xbox One, and that makes it a game to keep a very careful eye on.


FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Turn 10 Studios RELEASED: November 2013

Forza has long been as much about automotive sophistication and the simulation-based racing it offers as it has been about those nickel-slick visuals, but when a new console comes around its hard not to want to showcase just how good the Turn 10 team can make a game look on the Xbox One. Seriously, when looking at stills from the latest version, especially in the showroom ForzaVista (formerly AutoVista) mode, you really could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at the real thing. So, if its not stating the obvious, Forza Motorsport 5 is going to be something of a looker. The new nextgen engine is the clear difference, promising even greater realism and detail than ever before, with surfaces such as metal, leather and concrete looking real enough to touch. Cars are now coated with three layers of paint to allow for further degrees of degradation, while the damage model itself is sure to be even more intricate, with tyre wear and such like also adding further handling-related consequences to your exuberances on the track. That detail will extend onto the cars themselves, not only in those luxurious shots showcasing working engines or pristine interiors that you would happily lick a meal off, but also through cooperation with auto manufacturer Calspan that takes trueto-life mechanics and modelling to a new level and all at a sumptuous 1080p and 60 frames per second. There will be a new physics system tied in as well, but Turn 10 is keeping most of those secrets under wraps for the time being. This largely expected, but still eagerly anticipated, upgrade in detail also stretches out onto the track, with added surface degradation and accumulated rubber and debris causing the kinds of problems an F1 driver would encounter in the nal few laps of a particularly bruising Grand Prix. The courses have all been laser-scanned for millimetreaccurate precision (not to mention the buildings also taking on a near photographic appearance) and the

BELOW: If you squint your eyes, this engine looks a little like a Predator with his mask taken off. Or maybe a moody owl.


Ian Collen

environments are being brought further to life with realistic crowds and dynamic elements such as passing helicopters. That said, not a great deal of the new tracks has been revealed, with yet another street circuit being showcased, this time Prague. Weve nothing against these of course, but seeing supercars tearing down sun-soaked city streets is all very Project Gotham and we tend to expect a little more these days. The team is boasting of world famous circuits so we are expecting to see a few less lampposts and a few more pit lanes in the coming months, but Turn 10 would do well to look at how Codemasters made the tracks as much the star of the show as the cars in the recent GRID 2. If you want a decent indication that there will be a little more variety to the Forza roster this year, you only need to look at the inclusion of open-wheel cars for the rst time in its history. So far only IndyCar Race Series vehicles (in particular the 2013 Chevrolet #1 Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12) and historic Grand Prix racing cars have been touted, but there are sure to be more to add further depth and diversity to the handling and challenges within Forza Motorsport 5. Of course, there will be the usual assortment of gorgeous supercars and general car porn for auto enthusiasts to drool over while the rest of us

smash them into barriers with reckless abandon. Only a handful have been teased so far, with the likes of the McLaren P1 (and F1), Pagani Huayra and Ferrari F12 Berlinetta seen in action, but that gure is sure to rise into the hundreds between now and November, with classic sports cars, muscle cars, purpose-built racers and extreme exotics all on the menu. It may not reach Gran Turismo gures, but for us Forza has always been the better racer and thats only going to improve when the Xbox One hits. At the heart of this is Cloud-based gaming, and while many people were quick to baulk at even the possibility of always-on connectivity, the simple truth is that when the Cloud is doing all the data-crunching rather than the console itself, a lot of space is freed up for smoother gameplay and improved performance all round. Not only does the Cloud make streaming data (such as loading whole cities seamlessly on the y) almost effortless, it also enables a host of emerging tricks such as the Driveatar AI system (discussed further in the Win When Youre Singing boxout) or learning your customisation preferences. Yes, we know that the demands of an always-connected console may have some limitations, but it does also open up a host of possibilities possibilities that Forza 5 will be among the rst to exploit.

ABOVE: Multiplayer is going to be a big deal once more, but the new Smart Match system should make matchmaking more evenly balanced.


You may have heard all the hype about how Forza 5 was going to do away with AI opponents altogether, but while thats not strictly true there will certainly be much more of a human factor to your fellow racers in single-player. The reason is the new Driveatar (or driver avatar), which uses the Cloud-based streaming to track your driving style. It will store data about whether you cut corners, brake late, drive smoothly or aggressively and so on, and then create a virtual prole of you that will be translated into an AI driver in another players game. The result is that you will be taking part in other gamers races and they in yours, but just not actually at the wheel although you can still see how your simulated self got on in those competitions and even earn credits for their efforts! What this creates is a non-scripted and unpredictable AI based on real human inputs, ensuring that each race will be different from the last and even ofine, a cache of stored racers can be randomised before you reach the start line.


Ian Collen

ABOVE: We went to Prague and got propositioned by a pregnant prostitute. You can be sure that Forza 5 will clean up those streets.

BELOW: If Cloud can handle all the data, then the Xbox One can focus purely on making everything else run as beautifully as possible.

Theres still a lot to see from Forza 5, not least how its Career mode will take shape although you can be sure that the online side of things will be typically robust with ongoing challenges and Rivals to take on. Will the Xbox One and aforementioned Cloud create more open world possibilities in a Test Drive style? Certainly theres talk of merging singleplayer and multiplayer so that friends can drop in and out of the action, but perhaps shifting this into a vast freeroaming landscape that builds upon the foundations of Forza Horizon might require something a little more focused than what were currently

expecting from Forza 5. Hmm, Forza Horizon 2, anyone? Basically Forza 5 will be everything you expect it to be a beautiful and intricate racing game that couples sumptuous visuals with a near-perfect handling system. However, theres clearly also the scope to push the next-gen boundaries beyond those simply expected of new hardware, with the Cloud playing a part along with Turn 10s obvious ambitions to make the most beautiful, realistic and yet gleefully playable racer ever to roll out of the garage. Clearly looks arent everything, but theyre certainly going to help.



FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Konami DEVELOPER: Kojima Productions RELEASED: TBC


Hideo Kojima recKons tHat Metal Gear Solid V will be His risKiest addition to tHe series yet, and from wHat weve seen tHat may well be tHe case as tHe smartest stealtH game on tHe planet returns to maKe you tHinK as mucH as act
you could offer him a pewter bowl containing nothing but brown m&ms or a crazy host of other such rock star riders, but rumour has it that if you want to get Kiefer sutherland interested in your project then youd be advised to have it feature a kiloton of exhausting torture scenes. Hey, if it wasnt for the inclusion of extremely uncomfortable methods to get people chatty he would never have let 24 go on beyond a single days cycle. the mans magnificently blood crazy, ysee, which is why he wasnt actually acting in the lost Boys and is now totally on board to be the voice of (not solid) snake. its neither polite nor proper to dwell too much on the grimmer aspects of Metal Gear Sold V s content (or legally advisable to carry on the pretence that sutherland is some kind of ouch demon), but since Konami has released two different flavours of trailer for the Phantom Pain were duty bound to get our hands a little bit red and sticky with the harsher one first. you see, the majority of scenes shown in the extended directors cut are exactly the same as those actual gameplay ones found in the trailer for wider, less adults only, release. whats interesting is that all the really nasty stuff is put right in the opening segment and so it wastes little time in showing a woman being electrocuted,

BELOW: Why do we have a sudden urge to stop and pick flowers?



Will Johnston

head covered with a bag, her torso not really covered by a black brassier and tactically redundant stockings riddled with holes in a manner reminiscent of how EVA/Tatyanas hosiery melted when she, too, was horrifically zapped in a questionable scene from Metal Gear Solid 3. Right there is a little bit of fictional history repeating expect more of it. Other cut-scene nastiness comes in the form of a bout of waterboarding, followed by gunshot execution, an agonisingly long section in which Snake holds down a writhing young boy as other hands rummage about in his intestines to eventually remove a package that might be a bomb (The Hurt Locker, anyone?) and yet more waterboarding (hello, Revolver Ocelot!). But possibly most effective of all the extra visuals is a scene in which

child soldiers are shown how to aim AK-47s and are seemingly eager to please their trainer. Theres no blood, no death and no physical or phantom pain just signifiers of moral abuse. But its this part that contains real-world Sierra Leone-style blood diamond issues, so even when not resorting to noninteractive on-screen violence you realise that the game will be pretty damned affecting. If only a giant mech or a psychic in gimp garb turned up, we could at least file away the first two minutes of imagery as mostly fantasy, but no. And so you can begin to see Hideo Kojimas problem in being both creator and producer. On the one hand he has a story to tell and difficult subject matters to deal with, as well as some that you can bet will be pretty daft. On the

ABOVE: Hmm, Seiko watches. Its not just the theme music thats going to be a little bit James Bond. BELOW LEFT: Writing a dissertation on the sexualisation of women in games? This here sniper is codenamed Quiet and is based on a well fit Dutch model.

other he has a game he wants to sell in great numbers to a lot of people while satisfying his existing audience. His solution: to go with his creative impulses. Excitingly, while fans of the series are clearly going to receive a lot of whats made them so enthusiastic over the years, its the differences in the actual gameplay that will set V apart from whats come before and make it marketable to all those

ITs jusT A BOx

Just like Metal Gear Solid (and unlike Metal Gear Rising), part V s cover art will feature the words Tactical Espionage Action because its a stealth game as long as you dont go nuts with a machine gun which youll be able to, should subtlety and mission score not be your thing. There was a time when stealth was just a matter of avoiding the sightlines of guards, or slowly creeping past them while hidden inside a properly marked cardboard box. And in the next game youll be able to do a similar thing on a horse. Check it out: Punished Snake has totally fooled these soldiers into thinking that theres nothing unusual about a saddled beast trotting past them while our hero remains hidden from view. We assume that there wont be a button to stop smirking.


ABOVE: Is that Master Miller on his back the guy who was impersonated by Liquid Snake way back in the first Metal Gear Solid? TOP: Expect serious issues and political commentary to be part of the package.

THEyRE Only nOOdlEs, MIcHAEl

Perhaps Hayter has had Botulinum toxin treatment? We dont know, but one of the reasons Kiefer Sutherland has taken over Snakes vocal duties is because Metal Gear V will be the first game in the series to feature any form of facial mapping technique that uses an American actor, with Japanese dubbing being added later. According to some pre-E3 spiel, Kojima was looking for an actor who could provide a subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice, rather than words. Punished Snake is meant to be 49 years old and Sutherland was thought to be able to convey the age pretty well, what with him being 46. Thing is, David Hayter is 44 presumably pretending to be five years older is beyond his (probably not) frozenfaced capabilities.

who couldnt give a fig about David Hayters voice or Para-Medics love of Godzilla movies. All of those ridiculously elongated conversations peppered with exposition and meandering waffle that could crop up during the most inopportune times to perfectly ruin any sense of hands-on immersion? Theyll not be making quite so many appearances, because Kojima reckons such inclusions are very much last-season. He should know, since hes the one who pretty much invented their use in games in the first place and used expanding storage space to feature more of them. From the actual gameplay that has been demonstrated, once the torture has ended its apparent that hes been regarding other games with envious eyes. The wide-open and dusty world

and ability to ride a horse evokes memories of Red Dead Redemption. The manner in which Snake has access to other modes of transport including tanks and other armed vehicles comes across as a bit Battlefield, at least it does when considered in conjunction with the way he can survey enemy strongholds at great distance before infiltrating quite Far Cry 3. Real-time lighting changes, shifting real-time weather patterns, missions that can be taken in any order, yet will still manage to serve an overall (and we expect totally confusing) narrative? Yep, you get the idea. Metal Gear Solid V is also looking to be inspired by the usual mix of movies, previous Gear games, philosophical musings on the nature of humanity, soldiering and David Bowie. Yes,

RIGHT: At least when Volgin tortured Tatyana he looked too much like Street Fighters M Bison to be taken seriously.



Will Johnston

its the differences in gameplay that will set the phantom pain apart

This pale prune is called Code Talker hed better not speak in hexadecimal.

really consider Zeros codename of Major Tom in Metal Gear Solid 3, and how Snakes natty mercenary outfit in the second half of this game (the Phantom Pain part) is called Diamond Dogs. Snake? Ah, well by this point hell be known as Punished Snake, so you can throw in some Old Testament Bible stuff as well. Part three was set in 1964 featuring agents called Adam as well as EVA, and youll get the reference if you figure that in Genesis it was the snake, or rather serpent, that was cursed (or punished) by God to crawl on its belly, as a result of suggesting to Eve that she wouldnt actually die should she eat from the tree at the centre of the garden of Eden. In doing so she gained knowledge of good and evil, and provided yet another excuse for men

to subordinate women for thousands of years all Punished Snake did, of course, was be truthful. Phantom Pain is initially set in 1975, shortly after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and will feature a prologue in which Snake (the codename for the same Big Boss who will become the villain by the time of the original 1987 Metal Gear game, if youre not already confused) is working for mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontires. He then infiltrates an American black site in Cuba to extract two prisoners, one of whom is a child soldier, and the prologue concludes with Frontires base of operations somehow being destroyed while Snake is blasted into a coma for nine years and awakens to form Diamond Dogs, his own soldiers-for-hire clan.

The open-world action then shifts forward to Afghanistan in 1984, back when the Russians were the bad guys and the Taliban the good guys, and Punished Snake begins his mission to find out who caused the explosion that knocked him out for nearly a decade. Our assumption is that hes been somehow blamed, but thats conjecture for you its a lot of fun until you get proved wrong.

ABOVE: This sandstorm wasnt scripted, but it will help Snake to remain hidden. BELOW: The scene in which this package is removed from a conscious boys guts wont cause as much fuss as the hot girls in bikini tops will



FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Capcom DEVELOPER: Capcom Vancouver RELEASED: November 2013

Thats impossible 2006 really was the year of Chico Time and Shakira revealing that, counter to popular intuition, her hips didnt actually lie? Global nancial meltdown was unthinkable, the weather had yet to go mental and HDTVs werent as commonplace as they are today? Crazy days indeed. Well such technical paucity in the reasonably recent past is certainly worth considering, since the original Dead Rising was released just ten months after the Xbox 360 arrived and despite the exclusive looking incredibly next-gen on cathode ray tubes, it was already rigged for a high-denition future to the point of ignoring the present. During the rst heavy zombie onslaught it was impossible to read its conversational text on a standard TV for goodness sake. Hell, we didnt even notice the photo quality of magazine covers that lined the many shelves of Willamette Parkview Malls book stores until a PC was connected to a 360 development kit, a screenshot taken and the games environment could be viewed as it was meant to be. Crazy, blurry days, indeed. When asked about an SD patch, Capcom merely shrugged and let out a girlish giggle. Text would not, and could not, be made larger and so it was at this point that many of us checked out the health of our bank accounts and nervously ventured to buy our rst HD televisions in an actual shop on an actual high street it suddenly seemed to be worth it. Just as the series began in 2006, Dead Rising 3 will also be a system exclusive, this time for the Xbox One. So what technical advances does it bring? Play it while suffering from atulence and youll nd your stealthy approach to an entire city full of the zombie apocalypse will be ruined; these vastly more numerous undead dont understand English but, thanks to Kinect, will be

BELOW: While cars will be handy for open spaces, over 30% of the citys buildings will be explorable.


Will Johnston

able to hear you break wind, or shout to gain attention away from a soonto-be-eaten survivor. Or answer your phone, or have a voice spasm due to Tourettes syndrome. Thats progress, sure, but at least progress can usually be disabled should it not be to your taste, or balanced so you wont get ruined for murmuring expletives. Because by turning the tech completely off you wont be able to shake the controller to fend off grapples or taunt bosses during battles. Potentially more fullling than being killed due to a poor diet or allergies (or not being able to wave your pad about) comes SmartGlass interactivity and a reason to nally upgrade your phone or get some form of tablet computer, since a larger device will certainly come in handy should you want to play as a Commander in Battleeld 4. In Dead Rising 3, however, the groovy new technology is used while youre playing the game on a larger screen to enable extra assists such as calling in airstrikes, unlocking special missions or updating briengs. There will be proper Live drop-in, drop-out co-op throughout, but you can also have

a friend use SmartGlass to provide assistance as they sit next to you. There are further benets that come with the new hardware, of course, but theyre mostly about size, density, scope and some rather pleasing yet potentially disastrous new applications of a physics engine. The Californian metropolis of Los Perdidos (which translates as The Lost) is reputed to be well over twice the size of both the previous Dead Rising games combined, and wont be separated by any loading times whatsoever. For new hero and mechanic, Nick Ramos, this means that he has a lot of distance to cover to get what he needs, when he needs it, before he can escape the city or suffer a devastating military barrage that will extinguish all life. Thats where Nicks muscle car and 26 other nely detailed and weighted vehicles come into play, as theyll be needed both as as transportion and as modiable weapons. The problem with them is that the extra processing power enables zombies to not only grab onto your chosen ride and attack, similar to the way in which they do in the wonderful State of Decay, but their

ABOVE LEFT: Thats right, its a circular saw AND a sledgehammer. Which actually makes some form of weighted sense.

Remember those timed missions where youd have to decide who got to live and who would perish because you couldnt get to everyone, as the seconds tick-ticked away and people died screaming? Well such scenarios will be gone, at least during Dead Rising 3s standard story mode. However, rushes against the clock will appear as optional extras for those bad ass enough to suffer them. You know, fans of the previous two games. Those guys. Also new is the way you level up, since it will be possible to add attributes to specic weapon skills rather than just nd cards that enable you to perform a Chinese burn or whatever. Better than that, there wont be any damned escort missions because no one in the history of gaming ever liked them, ever. The overall suggestion were getting here is that Capcom is making the game easier to get into by taking out a heavy reliance on farming and adding the ability to nd every weapon you come across back at your locker, should one happen to break.



Will Johnston

ABOVE: Believe it or not, Los Perdidos is actually based on the ctional city of Los Angeles.

BELOW: You try getting through this lot in a golf cart.

combined heft will directly affect the cars handling. These zombies arent just balloons of guts waiting to be burst, but rotting hunks of meat that, if suffered in numbers, will cause vehicles to veer off course or come to a groaning halt. Considering all the extra humanoids shambling on screen (a lot more than before), such niceties really didnt need to happen to make for a full next-gen experience. Its a nice touch.

Set ten years after Dead Rising 2, part three takes place in a time when survivors have nally gured out that they dont actually need to nd workbenches to attach knives onto bats with duct tape, which means that Ramos can mod a whole host of new weapons on the run providing that hes not about to be devoured. Oddly, the lack of benches somehow makes for a far deeper level of customisation where greater numbers of objects can be combined for more effects than ever before. If all this is thus far sounding very serious, thats because it is. Despite comedy being the series honk-honk backbone, its going to be signicantly toned down in favour of more horror and tension. Dont Hispanic men like daubing zombies with lipstick and ghting them with heated frying pans while wearing pretty summer frocks? Apparently not so much, as so far Dead Rising 3 does appear to have quite the straight face, though silly suits will still be there for those who seek them out.



FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Ubisoft DEVELOPER: Ubisoft Massive RELEASED: TBC 2014

sickness. Earlier today hospital officials said they were admitting patients with symptoms that seemed to be severe adult chicken pox. But now we have new information, and we go to Andy Field outside South West Medical Centre. Good evening, Andy, what can you tell us? Unofficially, as Andy explained, doctors suspected that at least five adults admitted to the hospital may have smallpox, the deadly disease that makes skin a scaly, reptilian hell, causes death from respiratory failure and had been confirmed as eradicated from the planet in May 1980. During the same month in 1796, English physician Edward Jenner scraped pus from the blisters of a milkmaid suffering from the far less harmful cowpox and inserted it into the body of his gardeners son, James Phipps, who became the first person in history to be inoculated against such a horrific death. After 184 years of improvements to such a method, it was Around three months before the 2001 attacks on New Yorks Twin Towers, Oklahoma Citys KMSA 10 aired a special TV report hosted by Sheilah Kast, now a journalist well known to fans of CNN, PBS, ABC and National Public Radio. Good evening, we interrupt our regular programming to return to South West Medical Centre in continuing coverage of an outbreak of a mystery supposed to have been wiped out but it was back, somehow. Although, no no it wasnt. Not really. What had actually happened was Operation Dark Winter, a seniorlevel bioterrorist attack simulation of a smallpox outbreak in the United States that had been carried out in private but was since made available for all to examine. It was so believable that real journalists were used to create fake news bulletins, and the mathematics that powered its prognosis suggested truly terrible things. Hospitals would be inundated with victims and swiftly become overwhelmed, the population would panic, casualties would be biblical. There would be mass hysteria and mob violence and the country would descend into chaos you can watch the Sheilah and Andy report on the initial outbreak on YouTube. Being a Tom Clancy-branded game, The Division aims for some level of authenticity and so is partially based

TOP: Bronson runs from an exploding Molotov cocktail since someone still hasnt forgiven him for Danny Kendalls death. BELOW: New weapons will be rare and so youll have to decide who in your online team deserves them most.



Will Johnston

ABOVE: Examine a map and it will automatically be scanned by some technology George Bush Junior knew about in 2007.

LEFT: The lighting will be exceptional and able to effortlessly handle buildings damaged by players munitions, too.

on Operation Dark Winters results, as well as the National Security and Homeland Security President Directive (more commonly known as Directive 51), created and signed by president George W Bush back on 04 May 2007. Since then only a small section of the full document has ever been revealed to the public. Were talking about the continuity of the government of the United States of America I would think that would be relevant to any member of Congress, let alone a member of the Homeland Security Committee, said Committee member Peter DeFazio when even he was denied access, even in a room that was specially constructed to deny any possible spying measures. Directive 51 is the very definition of Top Secret classification and even

those who need to know what it contains wont find out until something cataclysmic has happened. Its also a perfectly wrapped gift for conspiracy theorists and within The Divisions fiction something vaguely similar will be enacted, after terrorists infect bank notes with a virulent disease and release them into the shopping frenzy that is Americas Black Friday run-up to Christmas. America begins to die as its shopping tills ring out its all pretty poetic. As stipulated by Dark Winter, such an attack causes the United States to collapse into anarchy in just five days and leads to special agents being instructed to follow some very special protocols. Its within this apocalyptic vision that the game takes place, in an open-world and extremely detailed New York City setting.

WAndEring As A CLOud
Microsoft had been saying a lot about the power of the cloud, but not in a manner that stopped the entire internet from picking up forks and flaming torches and forcing an everyone-online/DRM-enabling backtrack. So what does this mean for games like The Division, which will be using the 300,000-server network? Apparently it wont be using such technology for actual gameplay (and so, presumably, extra processing) but it will be using it in other, so far undisclosed, things. Were guessing lightning-fast matchmaking so that offline players will be free to play unhindered. It will be early days for such new wizardry, but its games like this that could really benefit from extra rendering occurring far away up in the digital ether, as on-board chips do the rest. Thanks, Luddites.


ABOVE: Expect gunplay to be of the usual exacting Tom Clancy standards and for stealth to be paramount.

to see it in action is to witness something very special indeed

Playable as a solo experience but actually designed to involve a vast (yet so far undisclosed) number of players, what were looking at here really is the next generation in action: an MMO-RPG that is so rich and reactive in detail and connected via cloud technology that it simply would not be possible on current systems. Its also important to point out that, on a broad surface level at least, The Division is still quite recognisable as a cover-based shooter, but with skills and abilities that can be levelled up with experience points awarded for performing a variety of actions, and cast over a sandbox representation of the Big Apple. Despite being based on scenarios already imagined and prepared for, its also a tad sciencefiction as evidenced by the array of currently impossible technologies that its characters employ. Youll be able to beam a holographic representation of the city onto the ground, for example, and electronics can scan survivors for infection, test the environment for info and store details to your database. But should you shoot the infected on sight, and what would be the ramifications on the local population? Its going to be harsh and it will be up to you and your optional teammates to decide how to go about restoring order, as a source and cure for the attack are sought. While AI civilian scavengers pose a threat its

BELOW RIGHT: Apparently, scarce as other supplies may be, Post-It Notes remain in merry abundance.


TOm ClAnCys The DivisiOn

Will Johnston

ABOVE: Any game that enables us to use automated gun turrets gets at least one thumb up on basic principle.

BELOW RIGHT: As far as stealthy ways to orientate yourself go, wed always opt for a paper map and a red lamp.

possible to encounter other players who, as agents, have decided upon a different course of action and have gone rogue or at least interpreted the directive in their own way. Any resultant damage the city suffers will be persistent and of an acute visual quality, and even the sight of bullets crashing with perfect destructiveness through car windows will tell you that something very new has arrived when the game is released. While the exact number of possible players is unknown we do know that, as with Watch Dogs, Ubisoft will be implementing tablet interaction for those that want it, this time in the form of players who can control flying drones over the city and provide assistance in a wide variety of ways. Theyll be able to buff friendly players defensive as well as offensive statistics,

be used as recon units and be able to detect enemies behind cover, then pass that information directly to their team. Brilliantly, while such devices arent really suited to controlling human units, the lag they suffer only adds to the sensation of remote controlling a tiny vehicle. Thus far The Division is one of the Xbox Ones most impressive postlaunch titles and to see it in action is to witness something very special on the horizon indeed. Whether you play alone as a single operative or as part of a team will be up to you, but theres certainly a little something of Borderlands about the way numbers launch from the bodies of the shot, acting as a reminder that while it will provide a lot of pleasure should you want to go solo, its strength will be when played as a collaborative piece.

iPAd OR yOuRs
That little dinky machine you see hanging in the sky? Thats being controlled by another player using a tablet device. And what theyre currently doing is highlighting a human target that would otherwise be hidden by a structure and as allied bullets puncture such a weak defence and render flesh to mush, so the damage will remain. This city will wear its scars with some form of technical pride, though weve still to see if the game really will be fully Battlefield 4. Will you be able to use C4 to destroy any building? hopefully.


FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Crytek RELEASED: November 2013

It probably says a lot about Ryse: Son of Rome that the principle reaction to seeing the game in action was how good it looked. Yes, its on a nextgeneration console and so it damned well better offer a signicant visual upgrade from what were used to, but even compared to the rest of the Xbox One portfolio Ryse managed to impress more than most. The ipside to this, however, is that those same folks also came away with a sense of concern about its apparently generic gameplay. Style over substance? Weve been here before. Ryse is essentially a linear hack and slash adventure that sees you rise up the ranks of the Roman army as grizzled soldier Marius Titus. It starts with the death of your family and follows a tale of revenge against the barbarians responsible before winding up with a ght to save Rome itself Crytek might as well have called him Maximus Decimus Meridius. But rather than being set in the Colosseum, the action in Ryse will take you right across Europe from Rome itself to the battleelds of Britannia with Dover getting a fair amount of attention in the initial screenshot release. Whether we will be getting a realistic and authentic Roman experience isnt entirely clear yet, although our rst impressions (shaped by the lead having a pretty burly London accent and other


historical nger-pointing) are that this is more of a creative landscape, modelled on certain events but letting the fresh narrative and the gameplay dominate rather than a need to stay true to the facts. Much as Assassins Creed tied in key historical landscapes with a fantastical air, so Ryse seems like more of a Roman-themed adventure than a history lesson. Regardless, the game will still be a beautiful (if brutal) reection of that era, with the Far Cry and Crysis developer doing typically great things with its CryEngine 3. The studio is claiming a graphical benchmark for the next console generation and were not about to dispute that.

BELOW: At least the game gives us the chance to use our joke about Gladiator being a free-roman adventure. Sorry. BOTTOM RIGHT: Do we really need button prompts in every single ght? Hopefully some less patronising middle ground can be found.



Ian Collen

Besides the expected increase in detail across the board, Crytek is also implementing fresh advancements in performance capture, as well a huge step forward in facial animations. This means that youll get far more natural movement and see genuine emotion on peoples faces although worryingly the developer seems particularly proud of how enemies react when youre about to plunge a blade into their exposed neck. This isnt going to be one for the kids. While the graphical quality isnt being questioned, the gameplay most certainly is. At the core of these concerns were the repeated button prompts popping up during each and every clash. This led some to assume that Ryse was essentially a collection of quick-time events tied together by some beautifully cinematic cutscenes and spectacular set-pieces, but the reality is that those prompts are simply nishing moves called Executions in the game that require orchestrated judgement for the best possible result. If youre off with the timing or miss the button completely, youll just get a less impressive and rather more routine kill.

For the most part the action is about combining your sword and shield in a system that could easily be compared against the likes of Batman, Assassins Creed or even God of War if your own history is a PlayStation one. Fighting foes who approach in convenient groups of two or three, you mix attacks with blocks and counters and when your opponent is near death you get the option to drop in one of more than a hundred context-sensitive executions with fresh takedowns being unlocked as you progress, along with other perks for sweet skills such as health boosts and the like. Where Ryse mixes things up a little bit is by adding some limited squad controls to the action, enabling you to guide units into battle, draw on the long-range skills of your archers or huddle your troops into the defensive turtle position to fend off an incoming downpour of arrows. But is this really going to be enough to make it a genuinely standout launch title for the Xbox One? Probably not, which is why we can only hope that Crytek still has a lot more to show over the coming months because, no matter how good

ABOVE: Dress Marius up in a black cape or a white hoodie and the combat makes a little more sense.

Ryse looks, if it plays like a routine hack and slasher that could have come from the PS2 then people are going to lose interest pretty quickly. Although weve no real problem with a Batman-like combat system, it would certainly benet Ryse if it loosened the shackles and put a little more freedom in the hands of the player, rather


Its worth bearing in mind that Ryse was originally devised to be a fully Kinect-controlled game, played from a rst-person perspective, and those execution moves are most likely a byprocess of the simplied combat needed within the restraints of a motion-controlled system. There will still be some degree of Kinect integration, though, with voice commands enabling you to bark orders across the battleeld to get your troops into position, launch long-range attacks courtesy of your archers or just pull up your shield to block an incoming attack. The game will also boast some fairly extensive SmartGlass compatibility with the option to launch the campaign from your mobile or tablet device, or review and share recorded in-game footage via the Ones DVR. Plus youll be able to manage your inventory and tweak your character without having to leave the main console action, and even get hints and tips on Achievements and strategy delivered to your device relevant to your location or situation in the game.



The sTudio is claiming a graphical benchmark for The nexT console generaTion and were noT abouT To dispuTe ThaT

RYSE: Son of RomE

Ian Collen

than just mashing the X button until an Execution prompt pops up. Weve seen some creative swordplay in the likes of Metal Gear Rising and, while were not looking for something as oTT as that, it would be nice to see a developer put a little trust in gamers to understand and toy with some more complex inputs. The blood and brutality on display in Ryse makes this a pretty decent bet for an 18-rated title, so theres no need to over-simplify things for a younger audience and the overall theme is hardly likely to draw in the new breed of casual gamer either. So come on, Crytek, why not give us a combat

system that makes us think just that little bit more? That said, there are still four months until the Xbox one launches and a lot more of Ryse still to see, so maybe there are a good few tricks up its heavily armoured sleeve. Theres also a co-op mode that really does echo Gladiator, pitching two combatants in a Colosseum arena and seeing how long they can last against increasingly difficult and varied enemies. Are you not entertained? Well, if not by the gameplay then certainly you should be by the spectacle but were just greedy and really hope that Crytek can ultimately deliver on both counts.

ABOVE LEFT: The power of the Xbox One opens up possibilities for vast battlefields featuring hundreds of combatants.

BELOW LEFT: The demo included a spectacular assault on a Dover beach reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, only wearing sandals. BELOW: These Executions can be brutal, but its a shame theyre just a reward for tapping a button at the right time.

If It plays lIke a routIne hack and slasher then people are goIng to lose Interest pretty quIckly


While realistic settings take precedence over fantasy lands, in the latest Final Fantasy theres still room for outrageous lands to explore. Thank goodness.


The numbers game

Formerly Final Fantasy Versus Xiii, Final Fantasy XV is still a part oF Xiiis Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos. but its realistiC, aCtioN-based settiNg plaCes it apart From the eNtire loNgruNNiNg series themes FaNtasy FaNs miNds are boggled!
entrenched in the sickly sweet world of disney characters. he would create a world that, while still ruled by the mythos of crystals and goddesses from Final Fantasy Xiii and its sequels, was set in a far more gritty and dark reality. it was two years ago in a closed meeting that the creative dons of the seminal J-rpg series agreed that Versus Xiii would become XV a decision that may change the course of Japanese roleplaying games forever. the franchise will face strenuous opposition, though, and not from competitors but from its closest allies: the fans. Final Fantasy XV is out of step with the main series in several unsettling ways. in previous incarnations, each mainline title is set in an entirely new location and never linked to any other mainline Final Fantasy world until Fifteen is two better than thirteen, right? this appears to be the very basic sticking plaster that square is slapping over the longstanding problem that is this versus game, whatever that means. it started life seven years ago as the pet project of Kingdom hearts series director, tetsuya Nomura, who was looking for an antidote to his time now. the story is based in the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe and shares closely the over-arcing mythology of Final Fantasy Xiii-2, with the goddess etro and powerful crystals playing a pivotal role. our quiet protagonist Noctis, prince of the modern city-state of lucis, has visions bestowed upon him by etro, a gift that he shares with aristocrat stella from the medieval kingdom of tenebrae. accompanied by the allies they make along the way, they battle to prevent war and the destruction of the last remaining crystal of power in the world. the mythos from Final Fantasy Xiii was not a popular one, so carrying it over to a new mainline title is a strange choice indeed. the developers could have created something that we dont have hangover issues with, rather than

BELOW: Bros before foes. Especailly if theyre packing heat.

XV is out of step with the main series in seVeral unsettling ways


Kirsten Kearney

ABOVE: Your team works together, pulling off combo attacks as well as protecting one another in battle.

LEFT: You can be thrown into battle at any time, even while scaling buildings. Verticality plays a big part in the game.

persevering, but it seems that Square is determined to soldier on. Outside the main series itself, other genres of gameplay have also been explored this time. From the excellent Dissidia fighting games through Final Fantasy Tactics strategy role-playing to Chocobo Tales addictive minigames, the franchise has diversified but the main numbered titles have always served fans of turn-based roleplaying except this time. Make no mistake, this is still an RPG Noctis and his teammates will continue to develop their skills and abilities over time. The protagonist alone can change his weapon and use a variety of swords, maces and lances, but all characters armaments can be customised. But the days of ponderous battle planning and carefully arranging

your inventory are over, though; there is no move to a fight screen and no number-crunching combat strategy to contend with. Noctis goes in hell for leather, never waiting his turn, changing weapons in midair, swooping down on groups of soldiers and executing combos with allies against massive lumbering creatures, all in seconds. Gone too is the field battles might not take place on the ground at all, never mind in a clearly defined face-off as you scale buildings, jump onto passing airships and free-fall right through collapsing structures, swinging away at anything in your path. While some will find it exhilarating, others the stalwart fans of the series might be horrified at the prospect of a crystal balls-out action game that


Were used to pink-haired, huge-eyed princesses, and the idea of quirky characters with tails and bunny ears has never troubled us much in the past. However, director Tetsuya Nomura was determined that Final Fantasy XV would focus on human emotions and more realistic characters. Even during battle character portraits at the bottom of the screen will show your partys emotional state, and the psychological effects of their situations will be more akin to a real world experience with darker subjects explored than ever before. Noctis in particular tends to express himself with gestures and body language and can be quite curt with his teammates. It doesnt sound very jolly, but the wide-eyed, open and sweet nature of Stella Nox Fleuret says a great deal about the retention of certain traditions in the series. Its almost always the case that some blue-eyed, blonde posh girl shows up in Final Fantasy games, the picture of civility and innocence and undoubtedly handy with a cure spell to boot. It looks like some traditions die harder than others.


ABOVE: This time if you want to fight Leviathan youll have to go to him, cause he sure aint coming to find you.

Nomura-san says has been modelled on the tension and mood of thirdperson shooters that the developers studied extensively. Dont commit seppuku yet, though; remember it was Tetsuya Nomura who created the Kingdom Hearts games, and the action-based fighting and control over your party works much

the same as in that series. Youll select a battle party of three, including Noctis, from a larger team, and with this tightknit group will issue commands as you would in the Disney title, directing your allies to use magic, items or execute a combo attack. Each character fights in a manner befitting their style, again echoing Kingdom Hearts. The cool Prompto uses gunplay to execute moves, Gladiolus fights up-close and personal and will shield Noctis with his body, and the Katana-wielding Ignis remains cool, ever the military tactician. Even

the most stubborn traditionalist will be impressed by the seamless transition from exploration to combat to interactive cut-scene and back to exploration, never losing control of your character, never caught short by a quick-time event, never waiting for the action to load. Previously the most basic, never questioned premise of any mainline Final Fantasy game is that it will actually be a fantasy game, set in a fantasy world. Nomura recently admitted that discussions about using a real-world setting have been ongoing

The mosT basic, never quesTioned premise of any main final fanTasy game is ThaT iT will acTually be a fanTasy game, seT in a fanTasy world


Kirsten Kearney

since VII and he has finally realised his dream. There are parts of XV that look exactly like the Shinjuku district in Tokyo; members of the art team have designed areas of the modern country of Lucis based on their daily commutes into the office and have included within the game such everyday sights as tollbooths and police cars. Viewed from some angles it looks depressingly familiar, however the modern metropolis holds the one remaining crystal in XV s world, enabling its inhabitants to progress their culture through an industrial age while the nations of Niflheim, Solheim, Tenebrae and Accordo have been locked in a cold war. Having pooled all their resources into weaponry these other societies

have been unable to progress past medieval existences. Although that may not have been great for the welfare of the populous, it at least assures us of some Fantasy high jinks, sleeping in ramshackle inns and exploring the world map by Chocobo or lovely airships, alongside the more modern transport methods. Nomura is the guy to pull off such a contrast if he can make your party jump from Halloweentown to Neverland without blinking in Kingdom Hearts, he can certainly have you take a cab out of downtown Tokyo and ride into ye olde peasant village on a big yellow creature that says kweh. It might be quite an uphill struggle to win fans of the previous games over to the idea of an action-based Final Fantasy set in a real-world

ABOVE LEFT: Some areas in the game are set in a realistic modern world, based on the Shinjuku area of Tokyo.

environment, incorporating the mythology of a previous and muchmaligned title in the series. If you put aside your preconceived ideas of what the game should be, though, and take a closer look at this 15th instalment in the long-running series, you may well feel that familiar swell of excitement overtake you once again, as one of the most popular RPGs in the world gears up for its next big release.



Up until 19 June gamers in Poland were going to have quite a few problems should they have wanted to play an open-world action-RPG that had been developed in their own country and touted, by its developer at least, as redening the genre its set to exemplify. Even single-player Xbox One games would have needed access to Xbox Live twice a day to authenticate themselves before Microsoft did a full about-turn and, of the 21 supported countries that would have had access to the network from the consoles launch, Poland just wasnt one of them. Well everythings alright now, right? Sure, despite installing our games on the consoles hard drive, well still need a disc in the tray so that the corp knows were not lthy pirates. And well have to carry those discs to friends houses should we visit for a session. And we cant have a library of games that are accessible to ten favoured people. But at least everybody will be able to play The Witcher 3 wherever they are and whenever they choose. And when weve had more than enough of the games 100-plus hours of adventure having enjoyed all we plan to enjoy of its branching narrative, its morally murky decision making, monster tracking and hunting, raunchy sex scenes, world thats meant to be 20% bigger than the one found in Skyrim and 35 times larger than the previous instalments environments, its 36 different nal game world states and three possible epilogues we can og it to whoever we want.

TOP: You can tell by this image that youre in the presence of a monster-hunting veteran. BELOW: Not only are there loads of trees youll be able to get lost in them, too.



Will Johnston

The Wild Hunt certainly looks to be bigger in overall scale than Bethesdas near never-ending epic. And CD Projekt Reds gigantic effort will also feature quick-travel options for those who dont enjoy being forced to go pony trekking every time they want to revisit areas already traversed, or really wish that their boat hadnt been smashed against a rocky coastline when it was caught in a storm provided by shifting weather systems. Oh yes, boats will feature too and youll also get to take direct control of them. The game is going to be fatter, wider, deeper and, thanks to improved climbing abilities, a lot taller. What should always be taken into account, however, is that The Witcher was originally the anti-hero of a series of books written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and, being born of adult fairytale literature rather than

a love of Dungeons & Dragons, part three follows its predecessors suit and places a far heavier emphasis on storyline than youll nd in any of its major open-world rivals. It will certainly be providing a lot of far-reaching adventuring, but at the games core is a love story that, by its conclusion, will bring with it an end to the tales of central character Geralt of Rivia and with that any possibility of a part four. The grey-haired and cat-eyed lead character has nally regained his memory, and with it come recollections of once having a family, as well as a yearning for his lost lover the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. This highly skilled hunter of weird creatures, and swordsman in more than one regard, has become far too world weary to be interested in politics or power or ridding the world of evil or descending it into darkness,

ABOVE: Geralt is so hard he doesnt even need extra protection over his intestines. TOP LEFT: Therell be a paint-like quality to the graphics that helps with the storybook feel.

or casual sexual encounters. He just wants to settle down and enjoy cups of herbal tea and cuddles, and doesnt care that since the mass regicide of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings the land of the Northern Kingdoms has been shattered by anarchy, disorder and the bloodied blades of the Empire of Nilfgaard. Hey, we all get old and our priorities change. But while the main thrust of the tale will be about a desire to settle


Theres a touch of Red Dead Redemption about The Wild Hunt s use of horses thats unavoidable. Both games, after all, provide a third-person perspective and both feature horses and, well, hunting. What weve yet to see, however, is whether or not it will be possible to engage in combat while being sat in the saddle. Perhaps youre always going to have to dismount even if youre up against another rider? That would be a bit silly, but what wont be is the swordbased and magically backed ghting itself. Unlike previous occasions, Geralt wont be a slave to his own battle rhythm and so just because he has begun making a certain move it doesnt mean he will have to follow through with it, and can instead shift to another strike or defensive stance.


ABOVE: Geralt came for the twofor-one Jaeger Bombs but he stayed for the conversation.

down theres also the Wild Hunt to consider; a spectral cavalcade of nightmarish horsemen that charges across the sky and has plagued Geralt throughout the series. It has always been an omen of some very ill things and acts as a harbinger of war, but has since become a very real, physical threat that leaves villages burning in its chaotic wake and so has made its once legendary presence widely known and feared. Theres also a great deal of unnished business to be concluded, and that includes a lot of other narrative threads


The Witcher has always been aimed at an adult audience and what does an adult audience always desire? Main characters that have a more interesting sex life than their own, obviously. Here you can see that Geralts vessel has come across a lovely mermaid who certainly does seem to be displaying a certain level of modesty at least. Its probably wrong to imagine any physical jousting eventually going on, but thanks to all the raunchiness provided by Assassins of Kings its also somewhat impossible not to.

because the game will feature regions so vast that within them are selfcontained and wide-reaching problems in need of sorting by a man who could really do with the cash. Witchers, of course, are bounty hunters that specialise in collecting bounties placed on monsters, and in The Wild Hunt Geralt will act as more of a jobbing Witcher than ever before. These beasts can be approached however you like and, brilliantly, they wont level up as you do but remain as problematic a prospect as they will ever be whenever you encounter them. This means that while you can go where you want, when you want, it wont often be advisable any more than it is to go off for a long wander in a bout of Dark Souls. Youll die, possibly quite horribly and probably in the jaws of some terrible form thats decided to gobble up travellers at a crossroads. In the books Geralt has always been about preperation and investigation more than charging in, sword drawn, and so he will be in The Witcher 3. First the culprit needs to be identied before a remedy can be constructed, and so thanks to an ability to view the




Will Johnston

local enviroment using a new (and a bit Tomb Raidery) Witcher-vision, relevant scratches, footprints, tooth marks and other evidence can be identied before plans to kill their makers are put in place. Just dont regard these battles and their build-up as boss encounters, as the developer is claiming that the game wont be featuring anything like that sort of last-gen nonsense. Sure, there will be pivotal clashes against major villanous characters and plenty of monsters in need of exterminating for money and experience points they just wont be meeting their demise in boss ghts. Not in the traditional sense at least. To assist Geralt in his encounters a brand new camera system has been developed that nally stops him being

attacked off-screen and conseqently suffering pain from unseen and often unstoppable directions. Because that wasnt fun, at all. Indeed, combat in general has been totally rethought, featuring multiple ways of using spells and traps, and has been designed to make ghts ow a lot more like they really should. As far as the developers have it there are no aspects of this new Witcher that havent been scrutinised, re-evaluated and rebuilt to levels they believe will make the game a leader in its eld with even the system that powers it, REDengine 3, being specically created to make use of the Xbox Ones 64-bit architecture. Better than Skyrim? Well its certainly going to be quite a bit sexier and feature a storylines that youll actually remember.

ABOVE: The game will look exactly the same as its CGI sequences, they said. Well sure they will. TOP LEFT: Its the game in motion, so dont worry that horses arse wont be quite as bland.

BOTTOM LEFT: Looks like the roof, the roof, the roof is on re but you dont need no water let the mother lover burn.



The Xbox One is going to be a serious piece of kit. And now that we can all easily og our games on eBay it really is time to get happy. But then comes the news that Twisted Pixels sentient motorbike arcade romp, LocoCycle, will be a day one exclusive to the Xbox One, even though it still looks like it really does belong on the 360. Oh deary dear.


Behind closed doors at this years E3, data provided by NASA met Microsofts engineering and enabled an Xbox One to track the velocity of 40,000 asteroids orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. The next-gen console displayed the impressive HD results in real time on a giant TV for a select few. This was the new console demonstrating how its computational power is ten times that of the 360; it was cold, clinical, scientic even. Then the machine was connected to a massive network of distant servers and 40,000 space rocks became a dizzying 330,000, as 400,000 updates a second were received from remote cloud processors that, if contained within a single device, would have melted it to a clump of smoking slag, or so it was claimed. Holy wow. So why was such staggering technology thats unavailable to the competition not actually placed centre stage and shown to thousands of games journalists and industry insiders? Microsofts 2013 E3 presence was certainly a clustershag of misguidedness where new versions of seenbefore games were shown accompanied by selfsatised grins. Such smugness was perfectly countered by the straight faces of actual consumers unhappy to have Xbox Live take stock of the titles they own, twice a day, via a mandatory internet connection. Consumers who could not understand why it was even necessary beyond ghting piracy and who were already fed up of being sold an overly cocky television hub. In short, the new Xbox could only have done worse if introduced by sex offenders. The power of the cloud was alluded to, it was just never properly explained, and the Family Sharing plan failed to be described, leaving plenty of scope for internet rumours to later claim that those ten family members (who dont actually have to be in an actual family) would only be able to access 45-minute demos rather than a fully shared library of cloud-stored games. Microsofts chief of staff for its interactive entertainment business, Aaron Greenberg, had to take to Twitter to defend it, claiming that, There was no time limit, it was as we described. Team still investing in more digital features over time.

Theres no actual set release date for the Xbox One, but when it does appear later this year for 429 with a next-gen Kinect that will actually work in small living rooms, it wont come bundled with a headset. Why not? Because Kinect has a microphone in it, of course! And, hey, its not as if you get headsets when you buy standard issue 360s.

ABOVE: If the demo was used for nothing but an update of 1979s Asteroids it would still be most impressive.

RIGHT: Microsofts ex-Lone Starr Don Mattrick who narrowly swerved becoming the face of the Xbox One Eighty.


After the epic bollocks that was the Xbox One reveal, Don Mattrick has quit Microsoft though he wont be playing professional asshole Harry Ellis in a remake of Die Hard. Instead hes the new CEO of Zynga, which is presently circling the drain having made bazillions from ripping off other developers concepts. Put Hans back on the line!

Yes, he was tweeting in the past tense because his comment came after 19 June when our old pal Don Mattrick, Microsofts then president of the interactive entertainment business, posted on the Xbox blog to explain that the corporation valued the waves of mutilating feedback and how he understood that people valued physical copies of games rather than digital licences. Consequently there will no longer be mandatory sign-ins twice every 24 hours any more, just a one-off registration process for the console in the form of a day one update. Games can be bought, sold, resold and lent just as they were before and there will be no region locking. The Xbox One will now largely function just like the Xbox 360, which means that games need to be in the disc tray on order to play, they cant be shared digitally, and developers have to consider that not all Xbox One gamers have an internet connection (and thus, a connection to cloud computing) and develop games accordingly. Weve gained our old consumer freedoms, for sure what remains to be seen is quite what weve lost.


Dragon Age: Inquisition Killer is Dead


NBA 2K14


In Australia its not on to take illegal drugs, even if they have no effect and are, in fact, being ingested by your on-screen avatar during the zombie apocalypse. Just ask State of Decay developer Undead Labs, which has had its game banned in the country until it replaces Trucker Pills and the like with Vegemite sandwiches, or some other such nourishing buff. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a players in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily, states the boards report on one of the worst aspects of facing an unending army of zeds. Its also not too happy about how the player can create a medical lab to research and create their own supply of illegal substances. According to the State of Decay website its developer is working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, its going to take a bit. Undead isnt alone in feeling the frown of the Australian classication board, since alien anal probes are not popular down under either meaning that Saints Row IV has likewise received a ban in the country. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victims anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victims anus, said the miserable Aussie report. Thats sexual torture, apparently.
ABOVE: Here the zombies have taken ecstasy and are suffering from a terrible rise in body temperature.

ABOVE: This town needs an enema! The Joker was right, you know. He just cant do such things in Australia.


When the Xbox One is released it will not only enable fancier visuals, detailed worlds that degrade with wear, and the chance to ditch your controller in favour of mime its also bringing an overhaul of Achievements. There are going to be more ways to collect them and you wont even have to go to the bother of playing games to do so thats progress. First up there are Challenges, which are much like Achievements but will be time-based. There could be a weekend in which points are up for grabs for making a million headshot kills, for example. But wont that be unfair if youre on holiday when such tasks are set? Yeah, incredibly though not really but any Challenges you win wont actually add to your Gamerscore but will be logged separately instead. More alarmingly, Points will also be awarded for watching television or listening to music via apps and whatnot. But thats okay, since they dont affect your overall score either. More brilliantly, however, are the new core Achievements will actually mean something beyond what they used to and will also award such delights as new artwork, and impressively new maps, playable characters and a variety of temporary buffs. Theyll also exploit cloud technology and so new ones can be added to a game whenever the developer fancies, post-release. As long as youre online, obviously.
ABOVE: Challenge Awarded: Kill a Carthaginian on Christmas Day.

ABOVE: Challenge Awarded: Watch a static image of a car for at least six hours on 23 August.


Whats put a verruca in our Cheerios this month? Fearing the digital reaper
If it didnt kill the music industry then digital distribution was certainly supposed to have left it staggering around, pressing its intestines back into its torso as it cried for mummy. Instead its still alive, kicking and Justin Bieber is known to millions who never even knew about the joy of watching needles bob on vinyl. But theres certainly a problem with the way modern music is enjoyed and its nothing to do with the YouTube popularity and consequent fame of a Canadian gonk whose face seems perfectly designed to attract sts like bees to owers. Music has diminished in value for many people these days, something that is directly linked to its digital intangibility and especially its digital ubiquity. Theres no fawning over collections, taking individual albums out for a dusting or spending a weekend working on a new ling system for shelves stacked with records; you can sort your MP3s out with a few clicks of a button. Theres no beauty in cover art and little chance of anyone doing a Blue Monday and making the cost of the packaging outstrip any prots of a best-selling single that would be not only foolish, but also unnecessary. And then theres the easy availability: you can listen to whatever you want, whenever you want and using many different methods to do so cheaply or for free. So, when games go for fully digital distribution (and they will) what will that mean for the way that we value them? XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been released for iOS devices by 2K Games at a cost of 13.99 and is pretty much the exact same game with touch controls. However, it has been widely criticised as being too expensive in a way that a Wii U version wouldnt be if it cost 49.99 but came on a disc. The triple-A games industry is going to have to work hard to bring back the sense of value inherent in physical copies when titles exist as nothing but zeroes and ones and, with the Xbox Ones about-face, its already felt a shrug from consumers that has slowed progress to an inevitable future. Its tricky, but it will be trickiest of all for the retro stores that, years from now, wont stock any game that came out after 2020 because none will actually have ever existed.

ABOVE: Why should I pay $20 for this when I can get games for 99 cents? said a fool on XCOMs Facebook page.

BELOW: Want price cuts? Thanks to ination, when Watch Dogs goes on sale it will already be a tenner cheaper than a triple-A game from 2006.

Its like a graph of your interest in forthcoming games, but more meaningful and now with a bit of Xbox One

1) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


2) Assassins Creed IV Black Flag

3) Call of Duty: Ghosts

4) Batman: Arkham Origins

5) Killer Instinct


This was a deal among friends, begins the suit, because Gearbox president, Randy Pitchford, had long been friendly in the industry with Scott Miller and George Broussard, the principals of 3D Realms. Now theres a pity that could cost Gearbox Software a cool $2 million. Its all about Duke Nukem Forever, of course. You thought youd been ripped off when you bought it on day one at a high price after a dozen years of waiting? Thats nothing compared to how Apogee Software/3D Realms is feeling right about now since, according to the lawsuit led in Texas district court on 07 June, Gearbox has refused to pay any advances or royalties it received from publishers, or any portion of the money made following the games infamous release. The majority of Forevers development, after all, was conducted by 3D Realms Gearbox just polished the turd while adding quite a sweetcorn ecks of its own. Now 3D Realms wants the case to go before a jury and will no doubt show this email it received from Pitchford in 2010: Even in the worst case, I am prepared to make sure that debt is repaid in exchange for the opportunity to drive the brand forward and generate prot through the development of the big ticket Duke Nukem video games for many years to come. Too bad, then, that Scott Miller replied thusly: The reality is that Apogee/3D Realms (3DR) received the full benet of its bargain. Gearbox, in its fullment of its commitments, enriched 3DR, saved 3DR from its debts and rescued 3DR from its litigation surrounding its failed dozen-plus year attempt to ship Duke Nukem Forever. Finally Gearbox faces the music for its shit games.

RIGHT: The suit covers money owed for any future Duke games, too so look forward to those.

BELOW: So are these Gearbox sts or do they really belong to 3D Realms?



Christofer Sundberg visits game stores every week, checks the second-hand shelves for Just Cause 2 and is happy as a clam when he rarely nds a copy. Hes not mad or researching his role in a play about a man who is; hes the chief creative ofcer at the games developer, Avalanche Studios, and reckons that the reason he cant often nd it for sale second-hand is because unlike most other games it has a high replay value. I mean when you can play a game through in eight to ten hours, I would return it too, because theres no reason to play it again, he told when explaining why he thought second-hand titles wouldnt be a problem for publishers if they simply distributed games that couldnt be completed in eight hours.



American entertainment trade magazine Variety has reported some interesting rumblings from Ubisoft and its designs on tinsel town. Not only has the French publisher-developer packaged both Assassins Creed and Splinter Cell to be made into big-screen projects (produced by New Regency and starring Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy respectively), it has also announced that Tom Clancys Ghost Recon (youll note the importance of the Clancy bit) is being developed by Michael Edit Epilepsy Bay at Warner Bros. It is going to make its own lms from other titles and so maintain FULL ARTISTIC CONTROL.

Apologies for that totally over-the-top use of block capitals, but that was simply the only way we thought we could ready your mind for the devastating revelation that Ubisoft Motion Pictures will be now be putting together the screenwriters, directors and cast, and choosing its own production companies and studios to make a lm based on Rabbids. Now theres a project that you wouldnt want farmed out to full-time professionals. But we jest. Ubisoft will also be creating lms based on Far Cry as well as Watch Dogs, and none of this means Beyond Good & Evil 2 is any closer to coming out. These intellectual properties will also be packaged together and, once most of the groundwork has been done, taken from studio to studio to see who out there wants to take a chance on a dream and make such Hollywood magic happen.

ABOVE: The Assassins Creed movie will be out in 2015, so youve got plenty of time to organise a double date.




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 FIFA 13 Deadpool Tomb Raider Call of Duty: Black Ops II Injustice: Gods Among Us Dead Island Riptide GRID 2 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition Metro: Last Light BioShock Innite


Kaah-kerr-lunk-unk-unk! That right there is the sound of Microsoft nding yet another reverse gear, but this time its an echo since the original cumbersome shift actually occurred back in April. Its to do with the way that the corporation will no longer charge developers over ten grand to patch their games much to the delight of Phil Fish. Fish, as youll know, is the brain behind Live hit Fez and famously refused to provide a second patch for the game (the rst ones are free), instead deciding that since the save bug only affected 1% of players he wasnt going to bother. Thats fair enough, since its a lot of money for a tiny developer to stump-up. However, 1% of over 200,000 sales means that over 2,000 Fez players faced a world of corruption. Still, its now no-cost patches for all and thats almost a good thing, since it also means that theres no penalty for not fully testing games before release. In other good news, Microsoft has also signed a deal with the maker of the Unity engine. As well as providing a massive boost for 360 devs, Unity tools will enable Xbox One game creators to access a powerful suite of tools and make easy use of Kinect, multiplayer matchmaking, Cloud servers as well as SmartGlass. A lack of self-publishing is still a massive issue for many, who feel that Microsoft must still backtrack again to provide freedom for independent developers. Oh, and a console that doesnt come with the extra cost of Kinect. Never happy, are they.
ABOVE: Fish has just announced that Fez is nally getting its second patch. Its going to take a few months, though. But were doing it!

The more things change the more they okay, so things really havent changed all that much. While Deadpool has crept in at number two, which brings us some guilty gaming joy, the rest is just a shufing of games that were in the top ten last time. Telltales The Walking Dead is at number 12, though, which makes us very happy indeed.

The original Metal Gear Solid is still quite excellent, despite its controls and looks showing their age. So what about a remake of the 1999 gamechanger, using the same FOX engine used to power Metal Gear Solid V ? Hideo Kojima is looking for a developer up to the job, so just such a bloody excellent idea may well happen. Snaaaaaaaaake!

ABOVE: Skyrim had a host of patches out after release, but that was okay Bethesda is a rich kid.


Steven Spielberg and George Lucas didnt mean to piss off gamers when they joined then-Microsoft chief Don Mattrick on a panel at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The chat wasnt really about games but rather the future of movies more specically, movies that play to audiences in actual cinemas. Their fear was that the era of the lm as an innovative and quirky art form is coming to an end as studios continue to focus on the sort of blockbuster that, ironically enough, the pair pretty much invented in the Seventies with Jaws and Star Wars. Just like a trip to the opera, they prophesise that ticket prices will exceed $100. Therell be big movies on a big screen, and itll cost a lot of money. Everything else will be on a small screen, explained George as reported by Variety. Smaller productions will only be available on-demand, online. Then, when new technologies were mentioned, they both insulted games, gamers and game makers. The second you get the controller something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport, Spielberg claimed. He then declared that games cant match other mediums for creating empathy with characters while clearly referring to shooters which, after all, are about shooting. Lucas was almost more with it. The games industry can and will create empathic characters, he countered, but only when it stops aiming for hardcore gamers who enjoy violence. His answer: the
ABOVE: Spielberg thinks Kinect might be the future rather than THQs uDraw tablet, as shown here. RIGHT: No, Alan cutscenes dont count and you are really just a shooter with delusions of grandeur.

Remember that Delta Six FPS controller that looked pretty much like a real-life assault rie and was reputed to work brilliantly with any FPS on any system? Well its Kickstarter project was pulled due to obvious concerns but has since come back, been secured, and the peripheral will go on sale with an orange muzzle tip.

industry needs to start making games for women that follow Titanics lead and provide a love story. What gamers heard: videogames need to be more like Titanic. Much anger, there was.


When Were not Watching tV-tV-tV We actually play games-games-games
Games of all creeds are welcome in our hearts, which is why its not always an Xbox youll find us playing on, should you break into our homes late at night James has found it weird having a sound-a-like replace Earl Boen as the voice of LeChuck, but has still enjoyed playing Escape from Monkey Island on his PS3. Its got Telltales ropey LucasArts-lite character design, but hey its more Monkey Island and its pretty damned entertaining. Its just a shame that I cant play it on the 360. ian has been playing the PS3s The Last of Us, which lives up to the hype, apparently. Although the gameplay itself can be a little generic and repetitive at times, he was quick to mention, realising which magazine he worked for. Still, a quick stint did turn into a marathon session until the early hours, but fear not hes also been digging State of Decay too. will has been playing more Knights of the Old Republic on his iPad, some Hotline Miami on his PS3 and has killed 3,441 zed in State of Decay while avoiding any final missions. I really wanted to get a chum interested so I gave him the pad, told him to be careful and minutes later my fully levelled Maya was pulled apart like a bloody Christmas cracker. Bastard.

the inside scoop on life at one gamer

AbouT TuRn
Independent stores across the land celebrate as theyll be able to sell second-hand Xbox One games after all.

recently playeD

MEMoRy buff
MS engineers discover a trick to boost the Xbox Ones ESRAM bandwidth by up to 88%.

nATivE SuppoRT
Alaskas Upper One Games becomes the first development studio formed by an indigenous American tribe.

Tv Tv Tv
Xbox 360 users get access to 300 Warner channels over in Yankee land.

Kinect One enables a player to sit just 1.4 metres from their TV.

liSTEning inpuT
Adaptor to be released to make your 360 headsets Xbox Onecompatible. Price unknown.

Although will did get a short holiday and managed to stay a single night in a gypsy caravan in Somerset, having spent a few days at home trying to get his drunken (and thankfully fully clothed) mother out of his bathtub, it wasnt a month of trips for the core members of the team. There were no press junkets for ian to busy himself with or Powerpoint presentations to limply applaud, and James remained where he normally remains: atop our silver tower batting away game publisher dragons while posing like a right skinny mincer. But then there really was no need for higher adventure, as a hero had arrived who gallantly set off to E3 to gather all the information necessary to cover this issues lead game Call of Duty: Ghosts. His name was Richard of Melville and, armed with his shiny laptop and haunted smile, he entered the City of Angels where all the UK PRs had gathered. Thus That London was bereft of PR-types and the wares they promote.
AbovE: this isnt actually rich getting ready for some trick-ortreating at halloween

io no
Hitman developer lays off half its staff and focuses all attention on more Hitman games.

powER of CloudS
Met office predicts the UK is in for ten years of grey, wet but gamer-friendly summers.

bElow: Will stayed here while considering the political correctness of stealing lead off church roofs.


06 55

I think it was during the 2004 American election that I first heard flip-flop used in a way that didnt refer to an electronic circuit that has two stable states, or cheap footwear designed to thicken the skin between the big and second toes while worn at the beach. Democrat John Kerry, it seemed, kept on flip-flopping and when he spoke in public it was often that Republican activists planted in the audience would hold up plastic not-shoes and wave them left and right. FLIP FLOP! theyd shout, while barely able to keep themselves from bursting into laughter. FLIP FLOP! Mr Kerrys stance on a few topics had changed, so I learned. And real men never change their minds: its a sign of weakness. Its a sign of being untrustworthy and not something a President should ever do. And so it was that George W Bush won another election you can see where this is going. Microsoft has flip-flopped on a number of aspects about the Xbox One and, no, Im not saying that the corporation is like a Vietnam vet-cumwar protester-cum-politician. Well, according to many an opinion that Ive heard or read of late, this means that the Xbox manufacturer and Windows developer cant ever be trusted and could just as well flop once it has flipped. The console will no longer require an internet connection to function, for example and while some see this backtrack as a good thing, others miss the chance for a full digital gaming experience and all the benefits it would have brought, and there are those who figure that while they would indeed prefer to be able to buy and sell games to whom they please, when they please, they just cant respect such a change of mind and so will be buying a PlayStation 4 instead. What?

The Xbox One isnt going to come bundled with a new headset. You want to speak to someone over Xbox Live? Hey, theres a Kinect for that so dont worry! Actually, if the reports that are coming in as I write are correct, the Xbox One may now come bundled with a new headset. I had expected to see comments about how Microsoft was obviously listening to potential customers and how its actually a good thing for such a commercial behemoth to alter its position. Nope, so far Ive mostly been reading how weak Microsoft is, and how it should be taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot. Okay, that last bit was an exaggeration; the general negativity Ive noticed, however, is not. So what was Microsoft to do stay the course and its an arrogant bastard; steer left or right and its a coward. Id acclimatised to the idea of installing games off the cloud, being limited in


ABOVE: Being able to instantly switch between games and other apps is a pretty damned cool feature come on! TOP RIGHT: The best controller ever designed has been massively improved not that anyones mentioning it.

my second-hand options but being able to share my games library, and Im looking forward to having a Kinect that actually functions properly. The Xbox One, though still a nice bit of kit, was to be a true next-gen console rather than a tech upgrade. And no matter how much more palatable its being made for general consumers Im still hearing people shout FLIP FLOP! as if adapting to different circumstances is a bad thing. Its nuts.

The Xbox One now 100% nuclear submarine compatible. Cheers Don.


Because shiny discs have had their day

Tank You and GoodniGhT

BELOW: The game modes are generally variations on capture the flag, and more often than not reward teamwork and some tactical cohesion. BOTTOM: Theres a big difference between having a half-decent tank and having a heavily upgraded, fully customised killing machine. Thats where the money comes in.

World of Tanks: XboX 360 EdiTion

It may seem like the days of armoured fighting vehicles duelling it out on a virtual battlefield are best left in the 20th Century, with the likes of Battlezone or Scorched Earth pretty much nailing the simplicity of pointing a turret at something and blowing stuff up. Even the move into 3D has seen tanks long overshadowed by more mobile (and arguably more exciting) mechs. But not so for the guys at Wargaming, who released World of Tanks as a free-to-play PC title in 2010 and pretty damned popular it turned out to be as well, which makes this 360 port only a surprise because it took them so long to do it. Theres nothing overly complex about World of Tanks it simply pits you against a bunch of other players in an MMO landscape (though wed be picky over the massive part of massively multiplayer online as itll be limited to 30 players per map) and tasks you with blowing half of them to bits. Sure, there are additional land targets to pick off and theres no little glee to be had in taking the roof off a building just for fun but its primarily a game about tactics and strategy. And, ideally, about spending money if you like it. As with the PC version, World of Tanks will be free on Xbox Live for all Gold members with Silver members getting unpaid access for seven days but for that youll get a largely barebones package featuring just US and German machines. You can still play all the game modes (there are three, which are largely variations on blowing up an enemy base) and all the core features, but if you want to download new, and frankly better, premium tanks theyll cost you a few quid. The PC title uses gold you can buy from the developer and occasionally earn in-game, and wed assume a similar Points-funded system will be used here. If you get into the action you can even splash out on a premium account, which gives you up to 50% bonuses on XP and cash earned during the game something which clearly becomes worthwhile if you get hooked and want to be a serious player in what has proven to be a highly competitive and brutally loyal environment on PCs.

ABOVE: Some tanks have a sniper mode, making it easier to nail hits from distance. You dirty camping bastard, you.

BELOW: We wouldnt go so far as to call it a command system, but you can at least throw some pointers around without needing your headset.

Certainly for free it should be a fun little blast with friends, but Wargaming really makes its money (and its made a lot so far) from the hardcore fraternity. So if you plan on taking World of Tanks online a few months after its intended Summer release, then youd better be well prepared for some very welltrained opposition. But with more than a hundred highly customisable tanks and ten maps to roll out on, there should be plenty to soak up before you have to consider splashing the cash. Obviously it will have a nice new 360-friendly interface and control system and, best of all, it wont have PC players with three years worth of experience ready to tear you to pieces and belittle your noobness.


18-21 JULY
If youre lucky enough to nd yourself in California as you pick up this mag, or with a bundle of cash, some spare time on your hands and easy access to an airport, then you probably should head to San Diego for this showcase of comics and popular art. There will be lms showcased and videogames, too, which makes this entry all the more relevant. Just stay classy out there.


If the other half is pestering you to put down the Xbox controller and actually get out of the house for a while, then why not join messrs Pegg, Frost and Wright and a smorgasbord of British comedic talent for a cinematic pub crawl albeit one that ends with a ght to save humanity. And to think, whenever we go out on the lash its usually a miracle if we can even save our own shoes.

19-21 JULY
If you dont fancy the States, then how about taking a trip to the southern tip of Australia for the Penny Arcade guys rst ever international expo? With Monkey Island legend Ron Gilbert set to open the event with a keynote presentation, a showcase of independent Aussie developers and a heck of a lot more besides, its worth dodging snakes and spiders for.

Yeah, we missed the rst one, too, but only because it was a Nintendo exclusive and were all over 12 years old. Still, if youve got kids (or you are one) and are psyched for the upcoming movie, then this happy action-platformer will enable you to jump into the Smurf Village as many of the leading characters and hop around until youre blue in the face.

24-26 JULY
You know, if you have the money and no desire for sleep you could cover three continents in a week following Comic-Con, with PAX Aus and this trip to Shanghai. Its a slightly more serious spin on the European GDC equivalent in August, acting as a place for industry types to share technical ideas and experiences which probably explains why Asian games are a bit deeper than basic Western COD clones.

Part of the nal phase of the Dare to be Digital videogame design competition, ProtoPlay is a FREE education and consumer event giving Joe Public access to both games and advice on making them, as well an insight into the UK indie scene. And, if you didnt know already, Dundee is a hotbed for UK talent, so its worth a trip if youre serious about gaming. Did we mention that iss FREE?

19-21 AUGUST
The Game Developers Conference, to give the show its full title, is the biggest gaming event on the European calendar and second only to the recent E3 showcase for publishers and consumers alike. So while E3 may have had all the big announcements, you can be sure that GDC will be the place where we can really get up-close and personal with all the top games for the coming year.

We may have a new name, but its still very much business as usual here at Gamer HQ. Although we do have to stop coming up with One-based puns and get the damned One Show theme song out of our heads and that can only be done by playing and writing about all the biggest and best games on the 360 and Xbox One for your reading pleasure. Its the least we can do.

No, we dont quite know why Disney announced it was releasing the muchhyped Innity on a Sunday either. And, yes, that probably means we will be getting it on the 23rd instead (that weekly European Friday window). But given that theres precious little else coming out this issue, well gladly take this opportunity to ll an empty space in our calendar. Theres only so much Smurf action we can handle.

It was called the Swinging Sixties because that was when snappily dressed men rst started hanging dead aliens from lampposts true story. The real good news, though, is that The Bureau should actually prove a very worthy third-person shooter extension of the XCOM family and not just another COD-botherer in a trilby. Were getting a 75% chance 2K will score a critical hit.


Xbox One: Day One Edition
Good news: the Xbox One wont cost 429 after all! Just think what you can do with that penny! Were just kidding, but theres plenty of time for deals to be struck, games to be bundled up and such like before launch but preorders for the console will bag you a commemorative controller plus special DLC and Achievements.

Payday 2

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Atlus Ubisoft Nordic Games

XBOX 360

TBC 2013
Air Conicts: Vietnam PQube A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda EX Aksys Games Armored Core: Verdict Day Namco Bandai Ascend: Hand of Kul Microsoft Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag Ubisoft Bandfuse: Rock Legends Mastiff Games Battleeld 4 EA Ben 10 Omniverse 2 Namco Bandai Bound by Flame Focus Home Interactive Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons 505 Games Castle of Illusion Sega Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Konami Charlie Murder Microsoft Combat Wings WWII CI Games Contrast Focus Home Interactive Crimson Dragon Microsoft Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Tecmo Koei DuckTales Remastered Capcom Earth Defence Force 2025 D3 Publisher Fable Anniversary Microsoft Far Cry Classic Ubisoft How To Survive 505 Games Killer is Dead Kadokawa Games Killer Instinct Microsoft Max: The Curse of Brotherhood TBC Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Konami Narco Terror Deep Silver NBA Live EA Need for Speed Rivals EA Obscure Focus Home Interactive Oddworld: Abes Oddysee New n Tasty Just Add Water Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Namco Bandai Pac-Man Museum Namco Bandai Peggle 2 Popcap Games PES 2014 Konami Quantum Break Microsoft Rambo: The Video Game Reef Entertainment Sacred 3 Deep Silver Secret Ponchos Switchblade Monkeys Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments Focus Home Interactive South Park: The Stick of Truth Ubisoft Spartacus Legends Ubisoft Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Activision Tekken X Street Fighter Namco Bandai The Croods Namco Bandai The Dark Eye: Demonicon Kalypso Media The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing TBC The Walking Dead: Season Two Telltale Games Thunder Wolves bitComposer Wolfenstein: The New Order Bethesda

R.I.P.D.: The Game The Smurfs 2 The Raven

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition Wargaming World Series of Poker: Full House Pro Microsoft Zeno Clash II Atlus Zumba Fitness World Party Majesco


TBC 2014
Below Microsoft Dark Souls II Namco Bandai Destiny Activision Dragon Age 3: Inquisition EA Dying Light WB Games EA Sports UFC EA Fantasia: Music Evolved Disney FIFA 14 EA Final Fantasy XV Square Enix Halo 5 Microsoft Homefront 2 Crytek Kingdom Hearts III Square Enix Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix Lords of the Fallen CI Games Mad Max WB Games Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Konami Mirrors Edge EA Murdered: Soul Suspect Square Enix Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare PopCap Prey 2 Bethesda Project Spark Microsoft Powerstar Golf Microsoft Rainbow 6 Patriots Ubisoft Skylanders Swap Force Activision Sniper Elite 3 505 Games Star Wars Battlefront EA Sunset Overdrive Microsoft The Dark Triad: Dragons Death Autoloot Games Titanfall EA The Crew Ubisoft The Elder Scrolls Online Bethesda The Evil Within Bethesda Thief Square Enix Tom Clancys The Division Ubisoft Trials Fusion Ubisoft The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt CD Projekt RED Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z Tecmo Koei Zoo Tycoon Microsoft

Saints Row IV
Because if you cant have fun as a superpowered President of the United States killing aliens with a Dubstep Gun then theres probably little hope for mankind. That said, wed still like to see an actual game in among the muddled silliness so lets hope that Volition has been polishing like crazy of late.

Disney Innity Disney Lost Planet 3 Capcom Madden NFL 25 EA Payday 2 505 Games Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff Majesco Rayman Legends Ubisoft Saints Row IV Deep Silver Splinter Cell Blacklist Ubisoft The Bureau: XCOM Declassied 2K Games

23 AUGUST 39.85

Alien Rage City Interactive Deadfall Adventures Nordic Games Diablo III Blizzard Farming Simulator 2013 Focus Home Interactive FIFA 14 EA Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar Magrunner: Dark Pulse Focus Home Interactive Mars: War Logs Focus Home Interactive NCAA Football EA NHL 14 EA

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Theres no Michael Ironside, but this is still Sam Fisher doing what he does best and thats taking down the bad guys with the minimum of attention. Of course, this time you are free to go weapons hot but there will be better shooters around, so why not just approach Blacklist as the sneaky bastard you really are?

Batman: Arkham Origins Hexodius Just Dance 2014 NBA 2K14 Rocksmith 2014 Edition

WB Games Namco Bandai Ubisoft 2K Sports Ubisoft

23 AUGUST 38.86

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag Battleeld 4 Call of Duty: Ghosts D4 Dead Rising 3 Edge of Eternity Forza Motorsport 5 Kinect Sports Rivals LEGO Marvel Super Heroes LocoCycle Madden NFL 25 Minecraft Xbox One Edition Need for Speed Rivals Ryse: Son of Rome Watch Dogs WWE 2K14

Farming Simulator 2013

Were not kidding when we say that we are genuinely looking forward to this, you know. Theres something oddly soothing about ploughing a green eld, planting some crops and reaping the rewards. Plus, it gives us (and the PR) the chance to use some Bruce Springsteen puns like Barn in the USA and baby weve a barn to run Thats how we roll.

Ubisoft EA Activision Microsoft Microsoft Midgar Studio Microsoft Microsoft WB Games Microsoft EA Microsoft EA Microsoft Ubisoft 2K Games

06 SEPTEMBER 24.85

The Evil Within



First Look
FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: 343 Industries RELEASED: TBC 2014

Ian Collen



Halo XboX one

so we know that the title is more of a o kay, statement than an actual game name, but we have to call it something right? And as tempting as it might be to just go right ahea d and start shouting about Halo 5 a work which is almost certainly in progress Microsoft isnt about to confirm or deny any such speculation. All the recent teaser was intended to do is tell the world that there will be a Halo game coming to the Xbox One. In the words of a constipated Dr Watson: no shit, Sherlock. Of course, if youre launching a new console and are wallowing in a swamp of negative press, its a good idea to unleash the big guns sooner rather than later and Halo remains a significant draw for Microsoft. As 343 Industries proved with Halo 4, there is life in the franchise after Bungie for Master Chief, and the new Reclaimer Saga (freshly upgraded from a trilogy) is as likely to coax a few extra pre-orders for the Xbox One as anything else. So, was the teaser trailer really offering pointers for Halo 5? Perhaps, although wed be amazed if the game itself looked anywhere near as good as the prerendered video that was on display. All we can say is that a new Halo game is coming next year and theres a pretty good bet youll find out a heck of a lot more about it at E3 2014.

Unsurprisingly, the smart money is on the teaser being for Halo 5 and for the new game to hit in 2014 during the series usual November window. Given the Chiefs rather poignant glance at Cortanas AI datachip nestled in his hand, the expected Search for Cortana storyline is also looking like a fair bet, with the ongoing battle against the Promethean threat coupled with Master Chief trying to track down and somehow resurrect his long-term ally from her Rampant demise. Its also possible that the huge craft that emerges from the ground could be Mendicant Bias a Forerunner AI construct that managed to survive Rampancy and reclaim its sanity; something that could give a few handy pointers to Cortanas situation, wed imagine. Although if youve read up on the Halo novels (particularly Halo Cryptum) then there are plenty of other possibilities to muse over with a spin-off that bridges Halo 4 and 5 and delves further into Forerunner history worth considering. But with Master Chief front and centre in the teaser and a new console to sell, wed imagine anything less than Halo 5 would be something of a let down.

Naturally the teaser throws up more questions than answers, some about the location, others about why the Chief is wearing a cloak when hes got his armour on underneath (and, in turn, how he got suited up again after Halo 4 ended with him taking his Mjolnir armour off). Wed say hes either trying to disguise his appearance or maybe just protecting his already battered suit against the sand-blown elements, but its all arbitrary and largely pointless at this stage. What we do know is that this all-new Halo will be making the jump from 30 to 60 frames per second, making the first-person gunplay and sci-fi spectacle an even smoother. The game will also make some use of Microsofts Azure cloud system, although quite how hasnt been revealed actually nothings really been disclosed other than the platform, a 2014 release window and that 343 Industries has kept its seat at the development table, so feel free to speculate as much as you like. We wouldnt expect any concrete answers for a little while, either, so were just going to sit back and spend the next few months imagining if Halo 5 really could look as good as the teaser. It wont, but we can dream.


First Look
Many genres can be preselected, but you can make your own too.

LiTTLe Big SparkCrafT
t looks a bit like LittleBigPlanet but in 3D and made by Rare. The various claims about what Project Spark can offer gamers in terms of a development toolkit would make even the most blas of observers do a double take. A blank canvas, a 3D game world where you can play any genre you like, use any character abilities you can think of and create any scene imaginable it seems far fetched. But that is exactly what Microsofts new Team Dakota studio is planning to bring us, on three different platforms, with four possible control methods and all for free. The basic tool in Project Spark is a paintbrush and, if you so choose, you can start with a completely empty canvas upon which to paint your world. The Biome brush can be expanded or reduced in size to allow multiple levels of landscape painting, with broad sweeps of generally appropriate object-placing based on different sets of environments. Or you can plant a single tiny flower exactly where you want it the amount of control is yours to choose. How you interact with the game is also entirely up to you; use a keyboard, Xbox controller, SmartGlass tablet interface or even Kinect voice control to manipulate the environment and its objects. Mountains and rivers

FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Microsoft DEVELOPER: Microsoft Team Dakota RELEASED: TBC

RIGHT: Environments can be terraformed using a paintbrush to adjust topography.


We used to spend countless hours in map-building modes on various first-person shooters, and trapping our sim in the toilets or burning kitchens of The Sims. Then came LittleBigPlanet on the pS3 and gaming changed forever. Stephen fry explained that we could now build just about anything we could think of and share it with the world and we did, millions of us. game creation tools have now become a bit more commonplace with ModNation Racers, Minecraft and the upcoming Disney Universe. None offer quite the breadth of scope or bold ambition that Project Spark does it seems too good to be true, so lets hope the controls live up to the hype. The free-to-play element should ensure that the community grows quickly; you can sign up for the beta at

BELOW: Your only limitation is your own imagination and ours is pretty messed up.



PLATFORMER: All Microsoft fans will have access to Project Spark as its being made for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows 8. kirsten kearney

can literally be drawn in with your finger and every item you place can be assigned an interaction type by selecting a preset brain or applying individual rules such as aggressive behaviour, following your character or even picking you up and flying off with you. And its not just animated objects that can be programmed; you could also set a follow rule to a randomly placed rock. The game uses the Havok physics engine and its this that underpins all the rules you can place on items in the game. You could, for example, build several rules within each set, so that an objects reaction to others it comes into contact with sets off a chain of complex events. Were imagining a toy version of Skyrims interacting objects and characters.

Of course you dont need to spend weeks crafting your dream game; just choose a behaviour, world theme and genre and the rest can all be randomly generated for you. Lets say you want to play a shooter, with a character who can platform jump in a snowy world you can do that, then as soon as you reach the end of the dynamically generated level you can choose new options for the next one. Its a mecca for the Attention Deficit Disorder generation. For those who want to show off their creations, they can be uploaded to one of two collections to be shared, downloaded and even further edited by the community. One is moderatorcurated and the other we shall call Penisworld. But although Penisworld may make you want to sear your own

ABOVE: You can choose preselected characters, design your own or edit one to your liking. RIGHT BOTTOM: Once created, levels can be shared online within moderated and unmoderated collections *shudder*.

BELOW LEFT: Characters and environments can be programmed easily to interact in ways that you set out.

eyes out with a hot poker after five minutes, its no doubt going to be an awesome antidote to the possibly too-lovely LittleBigPlanet and tooblocky Minecraft. All this for the price of free? Yes, were suspicious too. But despite there already being touted content you can pay for beyond the basic package that comes with the free download, for some it will be a matter of pride to create new character types, items, landscapes and game genres just with what they are given. Since these can be shared and others can download, copy and then reuse the created assets, it may be that the main game offers more variety than even Microsoft can imagine. We cant wait to begin building penises in the sky CASTLES! Castles in the sky.


TEAM DAkOTA: One of Microsofts new studios, Team Dakota is based in Seattle and consists of veterans of the industry including designer Claude Jerome and creative director Henry Sterchi.



This time round your parkour exploits will be in an open world landscape, so no more linear restraints.


he announcement of a new Mirrors Edge game couldnt have come at a more appropriate time amid the furore over the NSAs PRISM program in the US. The story of Faiths induction to a free-running courier service in a future where all electronic communications are monitored by the government isnt as far-fetched as it should be. Its not the pertinent politics that has us excited, though, its jumping around on rooftops sporting cool tattoos. The original Mirrors Edge was amazing, except for the rst-person parkouring shenanigans that made us dizzy, a tonne of trial and error moments that tested our patience, and what seemed at rst to be a breathtaking open landscape, but ended up with us following tight,


RIGHT: Lets hope the first-person viewpoint is a little less nauseainducing this time.

RIGHT MIDDLE: The trailer sees Faith getting the tattoo she sports in the original game. So does this mean its a prequel?

Faith doesnt just use those legs for running up walls. Combat can get up-close and personal with a focus on melee fighting.

Youd expect guns to feature in a first-person game, but the original actually had an Achievement for completing it without firing a shot.



GETTING FROSTBITE: The original game began production before DICEs Frostbite engine was ready, so Unreal Engine 3 was used. Kirsten Kearney

ABOVE: Even just smashing someones face in is incredibly stylish-looking.

linear paths that made us feel as hemmed in and controlled as a totalitarian government listening to all our phone calls. Hopefully the new game will be addressing these issues on the Xbox One. EA Labels honcho, Frank Gibeau, assures us that its an open-world action-adventure, which is good news

if you were looking to explore those rooftops at your leisure. The games senior producer, Sara Jansson, insists the focus will be on Faiths character this time and the video showing her getting her iconic tattoo suggests an origins story. If they can hone the cool-but-sometimes-nauseating rstperson free-running, were in!


It seems like its early days for the next Mirrors Edge instalment; according to its senior producer, DICE is still working out how it will bring the games rst-person parkour-inspired gameplay to the Xbox One. The Frostbite 3 engine is being used to develop Mirrors Edge along with other next-gen titles from the EA-owned developer including Battleeld 4 and Star Wars: Battlefront.

DICE: Although the games senior producer, Sara Jansson, did use the words new and game, it doesnt have a numbered title. So far DICE is just calling it Mirrors Edge weird!


First Look
Oh John, bless him. He tries so hard. Those boos cant feel good, but were sure hes crying all the way to the bank.

WWE 2K14
his will make zero sense to nonwrestling fans, but THQ was a lot like WCW. It had some amazing talent, a stack of great licensing deals, and for a while it was an absolutely unstoppable juggernaut. But a lot like WCW, THQ had some serious drunk drivers at the wheel (insert Scott Hall/ Hummer joke here). When it was clear that the company was about to drive straight into a brick wall (insert Jerry Tuite joke here), a lot of people wondered where its precious WWE licence would end up even moreso when the brand wasnt included in the post-bankruptcy asset sale but sold privately to a mystery buyer. Obviously, and to the surprise of many, that mystery buyer turned out to be Take-Two. Heres a scoop on just how badly WWE wanted to work with TakeTwo. The company was owed over $3 million by THQ in unpaid royalties for WWE 13. But rather than allow the licence to go to the highest (and unknown) bidder in the bankruptcy auction, WWE actually wrote off that $3 million in order for THQ to release it from the deal and negotiate a new one with the publisher of its choice and its choice, clearly, was the house that NBA 2K built. So there you go, 2K Sports was handpicked by WWE to handle its

PomP aNd CirCumStaNCe returNS

videogames going forward and the companys old tag partner Yukes is back for the ride as well. But thats not the only blast from the past youll be seeing when WWE 2K14 hits the shelves in November; hes soared with the eagles, slithered with the snakes, snapped into Slim Jims and bonesawed Spider-Man and now hes back on your console. Yes, Macho Man Randy Savage will be dropping double axehandles all over the digital shop. Will Miss Elizabeth be by his side? Thats a trickier question, but not one to ponder today. Savage is among the seven Superstars recently revealed by 2K, the others being The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler and THE RYBACK. While nothing has been said about the return of the acclaimed (insert Acclaim sorry, well stop) Attitude Era Mode, which were saying our prayers and eating our vitamins for, one of the images on this page shows Stone Cold stomping around the ring with WWE ATTITUDE emblazoned in the rafters above him Were going to be bringing you a bunch of seriously cool WWE 2K14 exclusives over the coming months, so grab yourself a few Steveweisers, unfold a steel chair to sit on and keep your eyes on these pages!

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: 2K Sports DEVELOPER: Yukes / Visual Concepts RELEASED: 01 November 2013

RIGHT: Nothing leaves you feeling more Shell Shocked than smashing TWO jabronies into the canvas.


VISUAL CONCEPTS: The 2K Sports dev is best known for basketball games. And fittingly the cover star of NBA 2K6 and 7 was Shaquille ONeal, who came close to wrestling Big Show at WrestleMania 28.



BLUE SUEDE GOO: This is the first fighting game that Visual Concepts has handled since ClayFighter on the SNES. James Artaius

TOP RIGHT: Macho Madness has returned! But will Miss Elizabeth or Sensational Sherri return with it? RIGHT: Yeah, crush him with the big elbow, Mach you teach Shawn and Punk not to steal your finish!


As revealed on an episode of Raw, the cover star of WWE 2K14 is none other than The Rock. Obviously the erstwhile Dwayne Johnson is best known for movies these days, being the star of blockbuster film franchises like Fast & Furious and GI Joe, but its pretty astonishing when you realise that its been 12 years since he was the cover star of a wrestling game. Indeed, 2001s SmackDown! Just Bring It was the last time he took centre stage on the front of a grappling game. But with The Rock being such a gigantic part of WWEs recent business, it was only fitting that 2K snapped him up to headline its new game. However, laying the smack down in 2K14 may be the closest you get to seeing him set foot in the ring again. After the 41-year-old ripped his abdominal muscles right off the bone during his WrestleMania 29 match with John Cena (delaying production on the new Hercules movie), The Rock stated that it was possibly the last time he would ever wrestle. In other words, youd better make the most of dropping some Peoples Elbows with him in the game.

BELOW: Hmm is anyone else detecting another Attitude adjustment in WWE 2K14?


First Look

If youre serious about your fighting games, Mad Catz will be releasing a Killer Instinct-branded fighting stick upon launch.


Ultraaaaaa commmbooooo
FORMAT: Xbox one PUBLISHER: microsoft DEVELOPER: Double Helix RELEASED: November 2013

BOTTOM RIGHT: Youll be able to use the games Instinct Mode to greater effect, including cancels and for extending combos.

f your gaming childhood dates back as far as ours, theres a fair chance that youll have fond memories of hanging around a local arcade and sporadically hearing the words ultra combo booming out as if someone had given a megaphone to a WWE announcer. We actually think it was subliminally demanding kids to chuck all their money at it, because with Killer Instinct that certainly seemed to be the case. Of course, some of you may be more familiar with the SNES and N64 ports than the original arcade version, but theres no doubting that Killer Instinct drew something of a cult following. Perhaps it was down to the fast and brutal combat that seemed to merge the best of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat into one uber-violent brawler,

or maybe it was how it didnt care about being serious with its roster of fighters pitching cyborg against velociraptor against an animated skeleton. Regardless, its popularity towards the end of the last century is reason enough for many to be excited about this next-gen revival. This Xbox One launch title is being handled by Double Helix a newbie to the genre, but original developer Rare (and particularly designer Ken Lobb) is offering guidance and support along the way. The studio is keen to maintain all that shaped the series nearly 20 years ago, while adding plenty to the mix thats new and worthy of a 21st Century console. And that means the classic combo-driven combat will remain, but with plenty of improvements and fresh features,

most notably removing the shackles of the old system to enable more freeform attacks. No doubt the full roster of characters will be returning, too, although so far only Jago, Sabrewulf and Glacius have been shown, with Black Orchid, Cinder, Fulgrove and Spinal all but confirmed as well. Expect more to be announced in the coming months, while the developer still seems keen to hear from the community about the characters and finishing moves that gamers want to see, and whatever else that those with fond memories of the original would expect of this very welcome resurrection. Interestingly, Killer Instinct is also being released as a free-to-play title although not ONLY as an F2P game as some originally thought. You will


DOUBLE HELIX: This relative newcomer first brought Silent Hill Homecoming to the 360 in 2008, followed by Front Mission Evolved and 2011s not-as-shit-as-wed-feared Green Lantern tie-in.



BOOBY TRAP: In the original, Black Orchid could give her opponents a heart attack by flashing her chest. Ian Collen

ABOVE: This new version also adds balanced and grappler-based fighting styles to the originals favoured rush down style. RIGHT: The combat stills uses the same openers, linkers, doubles and enders, but now gives you the freedom to put them together however you like.

BELOW: Jago retains his trademark mask, sash and sword, but he does have some new features such as that fresh ink.

still be able to pay full whack for the complete game (and more for various Special Editions, DLC passes and so on), though Microsoft will also release a free version that features only one playable character (Jago) but still comes complete with all the singleplayer modes and online access. So if you download this freebie and then decide that you want to add some of those other characters then youll have to pay for them. Clearly Microsoft is keen to establish a new Killer Instinct community and possibly the biggest demo ever released isnt a bad way to do so, we guess. In terms of the gameplay itself, were still yet to see enough to really lift it above the current hierarchy of fighters. What we want from Killer Instinct are new levels of destruction and environmental interaction, fresh and fluent animations that bring the brutality to life (in the nicest possible way, obviously) and something to make the likes of Injustice seem positively ancient. Right now all were really getting is how Jagos costume is simulated to react to his movement in a natural manner or how Sabrewulf has intricate fur. Its all very welcome and the combat looks pretty cool, but were still hoping that Killer Instinct has some truly killer features to go with it.


Although the game itself drew plenty of attention at E3, Microsoft also used the opportunity to showcase two new community based features of the Xbox One. The first was the new Upload Studio, which enables you to use the consoles built-in DVR to record your gameplay footage. During the demo a particularly sweet combo was automatically stored, giving the player the chance to jump into the studio, tweak the timings, add commentary via Kinect and wrap it up in a themed skin to share with friends and fellow gamers online. The second feature is a collaboration with video streaming website, which enables you to broadcast your gameplay live to anyone who cares to watch. You can use Kinect to commentate on your actions, while the message board enables instant text-based feedback from your friends. We cant imagine wed use either of these a great deal, but certainly having them in place offers up some nice new ways to share your gaming experience. 69

First Look
Say it again I am not Keanu Reeves I am not Keanu Reeves I AM NOT KEANU REEVES.


HOw AbOut A SiNNerS SANdwicH At 30,000 feet?

avid has a problem, and its not that he seems to exist in a world inspired by Richard Linklaters rotoscoped take on Phillip K Dicks 1977 novel, A Scanner Darkly. He doesnt, not really the look is more of an animated graphic novel than a painted-upon digital film. No, its that his wife has been slain, hes on a plane and by finding mementos connected to her demise he can travel back in time to save her life despite him understanding the impossibility of it all. You cant alter the past to change the future that would be crazy. D4 stands for Dark Dreams Dont Die (as well as the fact that David can travel through the fourth dimension) and its a Kinect-based adventure game that, like TellTales The Walking Dead, will be downloadable episodically. Youll be
FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft Studios DEVELOPER: Access Games RELEASED: November 2013

BELOW: David impressed passengers with his rendition of A-has Take On Me.

Here David notices a man who he thinks has something to say about Peggys death and where action sequences come into play.

Follow the on-screen suggestions with Kinect gestures and you can beat the crap out of him, because air rage is acceptable.


CAMEO: One of Swerys less weird trademarks is to feature a man called Forrest Kaysen his games. Will Johnston

able to talk to people with your voice and interact with your surroundings using gestures, all while being sat comfortably on your couch as the story uses the jet liner hub to transport you to other locations. Traditional game pad support will be there for those that desire it, but most importantly of all its written and directed by Hidetaka Swery Suehiro and if you havent played his Deadly Premonition then we highly advise that you do so, even if you cant see its brilliance for all the delightfully clunky awfulness within.

RIGHT: Okay, from certain angles the game looks quite a bit like A Scanner Darkly.

BELOW: Expect Swery to deliver even more awkward moments with some oddball characters.

David refers to his wife as little Peggy, which is as Lynchian a name as you could ask for really. While wed have expected her to look like Sherilyn Fenn it turns out that she bears more than a mild resemblance to the stewardess he meets on the plane there really must be easier ways of dealing with the death of a loved one.


ACCESS GAMES: Founded in Osaka, Japan in 2002, this developers only Xbox game was 2010s barely legal take on Twin Peaks, the remarkably eccentric Deadly Premonition.


New ScreeNS

DeADfAll ADvenTuReS
uch like many other titles in Nordic Games typically lowbudget portfolio, theres a pleasant simplicity to Deadfall Adventures amid all the overhyped triple-A nonsense. We saw it last month with Painkiller: Hell & Damnation and were seeing it again in Deadfall Adventures, albeit with a little less shooting and a lot more Indiana Jones. The game is based on the famous Allan Quatermain stories of H Rider Haggard, which in turn inspired the likes of Indiana Jones and many other archaeologist-explorer tales. This time, though, you play as Allans greatgrandson, James, accompanying US agent Jennifer Goodwin on a mission to locate a powerful artefact. Initially youre pursued only by Nazi and Russian forces (the year is 1943, so WWII will be in full swing), but while exploring an Egyptian temple you stumble upon an additional supernatural threat. Although our first impressions of the game were that we might be getting something a little more in the Lara Croft mould, seeing it in action confirmed that Deadfall Adventures is very much about shooting bad guys in the face. Its not looking as exaggerated or excessive as Painkiller, however, and there should be plenty of traps and puzzles to mix up the pacing,

IndIana Jones gets on the PaInkIllers

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: nordic games DEVELOPER: the Farm 51 RELEASED: 27 september 2013

one interesting element that should stretch Deadfall Adventures beyond the generic gunplay action is the inclusion of traps throughout the landscape. obviously there will be some typical pitfalls to avoid and generally, if you inadvertently trigger such an ambush, bad things will happen to you and your health bar. however, there are also interactive triggers that offer optional events that you can use in your favour. For example, you might find a wall of skulls with a switch nearby; shoot the switch and a volley of flaming arrows will fly out always handy if any enemies happen to be walking past. likewise there are jars of flesh-eating scarab beetles that can be blasted, scattering out the insects which will then start feasting on the first leg they can find although if you free them and youre the only person in the room, youd better be quick with your weapon or youll find yourself the only dish on the menu. Were hoping for plenty more examples of this throughout the game, as yet another reason to keep a steady eye on your environment at all times.

RIGHT: James Quatermain carries the notebook of his great-grandfather, containing extra clues to the games many puzzles.



EX-PLORER: The first Quatermain novel, King Solomons Mines, was published in 1885 also the year the character dies. Ian Collen

along with a little treasure hunting to add to the exploration. Dont expect anything too complex, though: puzzles will generally have fairly obvious hints nearby and even if you miss it, a little trial and error should be enough to open doors or unlock hidden treasures. But still, Deadfall Adventures presents an interesting combination of trigger-blasting dumbness and cerebral navigation to create the kind of game that isnt likely to garner top scores when it comes to reviews, but well probably enjoy the heck out of nonetheless. Youll be able to pick up a range of largely authentic weaponry, dualwielding pistols, popping headshots with a sniper rifle or causing carnage

with dynamite. However, you might need a little more nous when fighting supernatural foes, with your torch burning through mummies defences (but pissing them off no end) and tough boss battles against Guardians protecting those secrets that lie within Egyptian temples, Arctic caverns or Guatemalan jungles. Although shooting them in the face still seems to work as well as anything. There is still a largely generic shooter at play here, but with the added puzzles to solve, treasure maps to follow and a Haggard-inspired storyline were hoping that theres still quite an adventure to be had while the dead invariably fall in everincreasing numbers.

ABOVE: You can find treasure maps and dual-wield them with your pistol while you track down the loot.

RIGHT: Theres a pleasing amount of variation, but Deadfall Adventures is still largely about shooting people. BELOW LEFT: Rather than pointing north, your compass handily divines nearby treasures.


THE FARM 51: Founded in 2005, this Polish studio made its name with the NecroVision series before picking up the Painkiller licence for the recent Hell & Damnation.


First Look
FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: WB Games DEVELOPER: Avalanche Studios RELEASED: TBC 2014

Ian Collen

ONE 360



Mad Max
Car Wars
Although the combination of on-foot action and vehicular combat in the postapocalyptic setting draws obvious comparisons to Rage, Mad Max looks set to place far more emphasis on the latter than ids impressive 2011 offering. Youll get to upgrade and fully customise your rides with the support of Chumbucket, an oddball but gifted mechanic who can help boost your vehicles in various ways. There will be certain considerations to balance out, however, with a beefed-up front grill sounding like an obvious way to give your car an edge, but this extra weight comes at the cost of performance. You can add mounted weapons, too, but car combat will be largely about slamming your vehicle into others, with factors such as weight, horsepower, armour and grip tied into a dynamic physics system. This means that the point of impact will influence the outcome of collisions and no two smashes need have the same result. And with a few extra touches (blasting baddies grappling onto your bonnet in slow-motion with a shotgun, or using a harpoon to rip tyres or the driver from a rival car) the vehicular action could be a tasty alternative to the usual melee and weapon-based combat, and will make scavenging scrap for fresh parts all the more worthwhile.


any of our younger readers may not be quite as familiar with the Mad Max movies as some understandable given that the last film in the core trilogy (were ignoring the 2011 Renegade rehash) came out way back in 1985. But these were iconic Australian films that put the country and its lead actor, Mel Gibson on the map and effectively created a sub-genre of its own, with the postapocalyptic setting and a stripped-down world where cars are king and petrol is a viable currency. The good news for film fans is that the series is returning next year, with Tom Hardy taking on the role of Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road. And gamers will also be getting a chance to step into the tight-fitting leathers of the titular hero although those who fear film tie-ins for the shambling shit they usually are can breathe a sigh of relief, as were assured that these are two completely separate projects. If you want an idea of what to expect, wed pretty much just say Rage at this point; Rage, but with less bullets and more emphasis on smashing cars around. After having your iconic Interceptor stolen (though technically, Maxs car was a Pursuit Special) Mad Max is a battle for survival in the harsh wastelands, fighting off bandits and savage gangs, scavenging for all-important supplies and ultimately seeking some peace and quiet. Its an open-world environment, too, and hopefully with the next-gen versions governing the design decisions of Just Cause developer Avalanche, Mad Max could be a brutal, bleak and highly intriguing title.

fair DinkuM
There was massive outcry when a generic all-American voice actor was cast in the lead role, despite the fact that the films were famously based in the Australian outback, featured Aussie vehicles such as the Ford Falcon and starred Sydney-raised actor Mel Gibson. Thankfully, after fans mobilised with thousands of signatures on a petition, Avalanche has done an about turn. Attn. fans who want Max to have an Aussie accent in #MadMaxGame: It shall be so, tweeted studio boss Christofer Sundberg. We admire your loyalty. You have been heard. Wow first the Xbox Ones online policies, now Mad Max. Power to the people! Hopefully Avalanche stays equally true to the character in general, with Max something of a reluctant warrior in a world gone to shit. Obviously having a man who shies away from violence where possible (despite being very good at it) doesnt make for a very exciting game, but we wouldnt want to see Max become some gung-ho action junkie. Avalanche has a chance to do something a little different from the norm, so fingers crossed that its got the balls to do so. Although the fact that it initially took the easy, commercially friendly option with the lead role may not bode too well.


First Look

Its advisable to venture no further until youve found and equipped yourself with some balls of steel.


o not adjust your eyes, you really are looking at a page that contains imagery taken directly from an Xbox One game, because the next gen isnt just going to be about high-tech visual showboating its also going to cover minimalist subtlety and some sublimely subdued graphical aesthetics. Below is to be one of those games in which you explore caves, battle beasties and collect things, but what separates it from the likes of Torchlight is that the stuff you gather isnt as important as the enemies you battle and that there really isnt very much to collect anyway. Your diminutive, impish little hero can only carry two weapons at a time, be they sword and shield, bow and arrow or a dual set of blades. Theres no real treasure to find or armour to don and so inventory management will be kept to a level thats even lower than the games overall narrative which is practically non-existent. Its also one title that delighted pretty much every journalist who came across it at this years E3, having become tired and weary of the fast cars and big guns, ready to be seduced by the deep emotional pull of a game about a vulnerable adventurer exploring a beautifully hostile environment.

DOwn DOwn, Deeper anD DOwn

FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft Games DEVELOPER: Capybara Games RELEASED: TBC

RIGHT: Not that you can tell from here, but the games combat was inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

BELOW: Some kind of unknowable mechanism has been activated, so readying a shield would be highly advisable.

This is probably exactly the right place to explain that while the stills certainly make Below look as though it could run on your five-year-old phone, thats actually not going to be the case. Sure, its development started well before the Xbox One was available to actually develop directly for, but Capybara has stated that it will be using the consoles full suite of features including the Cloud for some level of world persistence. The developer is still remaining coy about further details, but has at least confirmed single-player and multiplayer modes, and you can expect 1080p and 60FpS at the very least. But what other technical treats could possibly be in store for a game that looks like it was made of crpe paper?


CLASSIC CAPY: You iPad, iPhone and Android users really should get Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP its delightful. Will Johnston

It looks like our hero has awoken some dire creature from its eternal slumber and it wants a hug.

Featuring randomly generated levels, the games reason for wowing you reaches beyond its haunting overall charm, affecting Jim Guthrie soundtrack and perfectly designed audio effects; Belows main appeal is its remarkably simple two-button combat, which lends a lot of depth to the flow of a fight. Your choice of weaponry will be paramount to your survival, which will be in constant jeopardy. See, although the game has been deep in development for many years and so it hasnt stolen any of its ideas, its toughness will be akin to that of Dark Souls. You die and you are dead permanently, because the difficulty will be purposefully punishing and with it, oh-so painfully fair. We might be falling in love already.

Not only wont there be much of a story beyond one chap (or chapette)s adventure into the belly of the Earth, there wont really be anything in the way of hand-holding either. There wont be any text informing you what a particular item is, or what areas are called, or the name of that tentacled pit monster that just splattered you against a stalagmite, or what a device might do. Importantly, you wont be told how to fight, youre just going to learn how and it will be through experimentation that you discover the most elegant way to venture through areas that you once thought impossible to traverse. The list of independent developers who are lining up to call out Microsoft for not enabling self-publishing on the Xbox One grows practically daily.

RIGHT TOP: Heres a clue in case its not obvious thats the player having tethered a boat on a beach.

BELOW LEFT: Whatever those red things are were betting that theyre not going to be good for your health.

But while even those who have been published on the 360 still found time to gripe about a variety of aspects, the same cant be said for Capybara; the Canadian studio only houses 24 employees and boasts a small boutique of delightful titles, and it couldnt be happier with its relationship with the corporation. Indeed, Microsoft practically begged the developer to work on a release for the next-gen machine and when you see Below in action while sitting in a darkened room were sure youll understand why. The game is set to be a finely crafted and lovingly detailed experience, and so rewarding to play that it seems likely that one of our most hotly anticipated titles for the Xbox One also happens to look as though it uses the least technology.


CAPYBARA GAMES: Founded in Toronto in 2003, we heavily advise those who havent already downloaded its epic RPG-puzzler Clash of Heroes to do so now and bathe in its greatness


New ScreeNS

In GTAs America, no one minds getting wet while riding a Speedophile.


GRand THefT auTo V

ockstar has been hanging out with unusual Los Angeles-types since 2008. Sometimes a team would visit for a week, others two, and always theyd be in the company of someone who knew something about the city that you couldnt find out by asking Thomas Cook. There were retired law enforcement officers, those who knew all about the citys underworld, and anyone who could provide unusual and obscure details as to the weirder and more interesting goings-on in the City of Angels. Such research will fill the cracks in GTA Vs Los Santos and be used to add details, both subtle and (being a GTA game) noisily blatant. And there you were thinking that all Dan Houser did was sit down with a pile of crime drama DVDs and his

Sticking up punkS and fun loving criminalS

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: rockstar games DEVELOPER: rockstar north RELEASED: 17 September 2013

RIGHT: Character models demonstrate some subtle details check out the bruises on Trevors right hand.



blonDie bonUs: If you want to fly the Atomic Blimp over Los Santos then youre going to have to pre-order. Will Johnston

Because holding a gun sideways is so Nineties.

leFt: Sharp suits, neon signs, paunches and even an original Red Dead-style soundtrack, ideally by Jan Hammer.

laptop open, ready to write references to Michael Mann. One place in LA that Rockstar definitely hasnt been hanging out, however, is this years E3. Because those guys are just too cool for that particular school, instead favouring individual studio visits and casually handing out a few new screenshots for us bottom feeders to feast upon. How Rockstar is that? Very Rockstar indeed. Grand Theft Auto V is going to do gangbusters even without the press, and dont they just know it. The talented bastards.

Youve heard plenty about how big GTA V is. Its bigger than Red Dead, San Andreas and GTA IV combined. Its so big, in fact, that it will come on two discs, one containing the data for a mandatory 8Gb install (which sucks if youve got a 4Gb machine) and the other to actually play the game from. Biggest 360 game ever? Sure looks that way.

Mass PsYgnosis

RoCKstaR noRtH: Known as DMA Design from 1988 to 2002 when Rockstar took it over, were still waiting for the dev to stop pissing about and remake Hired Guns for the iPad.


Game Update

YEs, BuT DOEs IT hAvE DOgs?
n perhaps the least surprising news of summer, Battlefield 4 is looking all kinds of awesome. The single-player seems pretty tight while the multiplayer looks impressively epic, even by Battlefields lofty standards, and theres much to look forward to. That said, theres no word of dogs or fish that will swim away from you, so we guess theres still some progress to be made. The single-player campaign of the previous instalment was something of a let-down, so were hoping for a lot more from Battlefield 4 in that respect. The mission demoed at E3 certainly mixed up the slick gunplay that the series is famed for with a typically cinematic backdrop: a sinking ship is ripped in two and planes are used as weapons, sliding across the angled deck to wipe out pockets of encamped enemies. We also saw some of the brand new water-based vehicles in action, with an attack boat escape seeing some rather clichd on-rails turret blasting (its just soooo Modern Warfare 2), but really five minutes isnt enough to judge if its a step up from the disappointing style-over-substance of the last game. Multiplayer will be where Battlefield 4 really counts for a majority of gamers, though, and DICE is continuing to do impressive things.

Perhaps the centrepiece of its E3 showcase was the huge 64-player showdown in the heart of Shanghai that can have you bringing entire skyscrapers crashing to the ground. This huge event is part of the new Levolution system that introduces fresh tactical elements of varying sizes to multiplayer matches. Taking down an entire building and changing a vertical landscape into a groundlevel mess of rubble and debris is one thing, but simpler tricks like cutting the power to a building and plunging it into darkness (before you steam in wearing night vision goggles) might be more commonplace. With versions coming to both the Xbox 360 and the One, it will be interesting to see if all the features find a home on both consoles (64 players at 60 frames per second on the 360?), but you can be sure that each will look pretty damned amazing courtesy of the Frostbite 3 engine. The level of destruction and environmental interaction is on the up once again and even subtle touches such as dualscoped weapons and alternate firing modes could make a big difference, as well as all the new vehicles and potentially epic maps. As long as DICE remembers that some of us like playing offline as well as on, well be happy enough.

FORMAT: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: EA DEVELOPER: EA DICE RELEASED: 01 November 2013 (Xbox One TBC)

TOP: Headshots are fine, but we quite liked seeing missiles fired from their restraints and sliding with deadly intent into a group of enemies. RIGHT: Were going to go right ahead and state that these screens dont come from the Xbox 360 version of the game.


EA DICE: Founded in 1992, Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment began with pinball games for the Amiga and SNES before establishing the Battlefield series and getting picked up by EA in 2006.


SHOTS: Battlefield 4
UNLUCKY FOR SOME?: Battlefield 4 will be the 13th game in the series. ian Collen

The single-player campaign moves forward to the year 2020 and puts you in the boots of the Tombstone op, Recker.

LEFT: The demo was very impressive, with gunmen nailing shots from up high before parachuting to safety as the building crumbled behind them. BELOW: If you want to see genuine gamechanging moments, levelling an entire skyscraper has to one of the biggest.


Making a welcome return to the Battlefield fold is Commander Mode. Last seen in Battlefield 2142, this offers a top-down perspective of the battlefield and a means to control the action away from the barrel of a gun. In Battlefield 4 two players will be able to go head-to-head with the pleasure/pressure of following the action from afar, delivering intel and support to help sway the conflict below in their teams favour. Primarily this means gathering information about enemy positions (and preventing your rival from doing the same to you) and using that to your advantage, as well as dropping in vehicles and supplies for your troops to make use of. Theres also the added firepower of Tomahawk rockets, or calling in missile strikes for precision destruction although the interesting twist is that the type of resources at your disposal will be dictated by the performance of your troops below. And if you cant face being away from Battlefield 4 when youre on the move, youll be pleased to hear that youll be able to hook up to matches on the 360 (and eventually Xbox One) via Commander Mode on your iPad or Android tablet.


First Look



he hardest part about Quantum Break s announcement was trying to figure out exactly what it was. We were told at the Xbox One reveal event that the game would merge the worlds of television and gaming, though the teaser video did little to explain what this actually meant. But the reality is that Quantum Break will not only attempt to bridge that multimedia divide, it will also put you in control of how the two converging storylines pan out. The story behind Quantum Break involves a time travel experiment that went wrong, sending time itself haywire and on the brink of just stopping. Three people were present at the accident, good guys Jack Joyce and Beth Wilder, and evil corporation boss Paul Serene. As a result they gain the ability to manipulate past and future events and, in some cases, catch glimpses of imminent timelines and make decisions based on what theyd like to happen. In gaming terms these are called junction points and will dictate where your choices impact the overall narrative. There will be an accompanying TV show and the entire first season will come bundled with the game. However, where Quantum Break differs from the likes of Defiance is that youll actually be able to alter

A vidEOgAME-Tv hyBRid ThATS AhEAd Of iTS TiME?

the outcome of the series as you go. Certain episodes will be teed up depending upon your actions and each and every gamer will be able to view their own Directors Cut of events so you wont have to wait until season two for your choices to take effect, or for the majority to rule, as everyone can effectively watch the edited version of the show that their individual in-game actions have created. Its a bold move, but then Remedy has long seemed up for such a job, teasing TV elements in Alan Wake. The idea of episodic pacing, cliffhanger endings and that same kind of previously on presentation from its last game (only this time featuring genuine footage of you in action) could be a very intriguing fit. Of course, the concept of merging a videogame with a TV show also triggers the uh-oh receptor in many of our brains, but even as just a game Quantum Break should stand out as a hugely ambitious title. If youve seen the E3 trailer and glanced at the screens around these pages, you could be forgiven for assuming this is all CGI but Remedy is boasting that all footage is taken from the in-game engine. The studio has also implemented advanced facial animation techniques that far outdo the likes of L.A. Noire to ensure that

FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Microsoft Studios DEVELOPER: Remedy Entertainment RELEASED: TBC 2014

TOP: Its probably worth echoing the fact that Remedy claims this trailer was made using actual in-game footage. RIGHT: Dont forget that its still an actionbased videogame and that means shooting bad folk.


REMEDY: Formed in 1995, this Finnish studio became famous for the first two Max Payne titles, before hitting the 360 with Alan Wake in 2010 expect similar themes to echo through Quantum Break.



BY GUM: To ensure perfect facial recreation, the devs even digitised moulds of the actors teeth! Ian Collen

every little lip twitch and nuance of the actors face is translated onto the screen, and with spectacular setpieces putting the power of the Xbox One to the test Quantum Break could well look amazing. It also promises some intriguing gameplay. Although the core of Quantum Break seems likely to be focused around fairly standard thirdperson action (presumably playing as the lead character, Jack), you will also get to play as Beth and the villain Paul, making choices as all three. While being the bad guy may seem strange, there are pros and cons on each side for every timeline you decide to progress through, so those decisions are more about the kind of scenario and enemies youll be facing rather than actually rigging the storyline in your favour. The real shifts in direction might be caused by someone living or dying, or whether or not you choose to trust someone. Quantum Break is a ballsy, ambitious and no doubt slightly risky project, then. But if Remedy can pull it off and give us an all-encompassing and immersive experience that seamlessly bridges the TV-gaming divide, then we might just have a whole new world of interactive entertainment on our hands. So, are you ready for the power and the responsibility?

ABOVE: Its unlikely that you will see this scene in the television series, but you will no doubt get to watch the repercussions of your actions. RIGHT: In gameplay terms, your ability to manipulate time will include scenes where split-seconds can stretch into epic stages of timepowered action.

BELOW: Guess what? Theres a corporation in the game called Monarch and its evil. Really, an evil corporation in a videogame! Whatever next?

Although the TV show will run alongside the game and contain overlapping characters and plot points, it will introduce different lead roles to give a fresh perspective on the events taking place. This not only gives the two sides a chance to tell their own unique storylines (but within the same universe, obviously), it also conveniently frees them up from the restraints of a shared narrative. The choices you make in the game neednt have an immediate impact on the show, at least not in the foreground, and gamers wont keep getting distracted by the discrepancies between the actors and their digitised selves (or vice versa). Imagine watching a BioShock Infinite TV show with the Luteces in the lead.


First Look
Ribery looks like a miserable angry man wed say theyve got the likenesses spot on.

PES 2014
ItS got a FoX In thE boX
ew announcements for sports titles can frequently be hard to digest in any real meaningful form. Improved physics, better animations, advanced AI, enhanced realism and the like are always going to be expected and duly promised with every sequel. But while there are usually one or two new features to stir up our interest, with PES 2014 its actually the entire game engine. You see, this annual clash with EAs mighty FIFA has been boosted by Konamis ongoing development of its Fox Engine something thats been in production since 2008 with the sole goal of becoming the best engine in the world. PES 2014 could well be the first game to be released with Fox at its heart (Metal Gear Solid V also uses the tech and you can see how good that looks). Suddenly promises of the most comprehensive advance for the PES range since its inception become a little more tangible.

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Konami DEVELOPER: PES Productions RELEASED: September 2013

So, while it will take a proper handson for such things as the new TrueBall physics system to showcase its onetouch skills, or to see the customisable tactics and fine-tuned AI in the Team Play system at work, there should be a vastly improved platform for PES to build itself from. Last year Pro Evo was as close to FIFA as it has been in years, so could PES 2014 finally be the title to topple it? Wed say the game is very much on.

BELOW: Defenders will gang up on immediate threats, which could open up opportunities if the attacker can pick a quick pass.



BALLS UP: The 1996 original was called Goal Storm, then ISS Pro in 97 before Pro Evolution Soccer stuck in 2001. Ian Collen

We need a twelfth man out here. Where are you? Come on, lets be having you!

PES 2014 will be an Xbox 360-only release (along with other current-gen platforms, obviously), with Konami dismissing the option for an Xbox One version. Being pleasingly honest, PES European community manager, Adam Bhatti, said the group didnt want to simply put out an HD port and didnt have the funds to develop 2014 for both console generations. Fair enough.

RIGHT: With the new Team Play system you can even tweak your own tactics and shape player movement in key areas of the pitch.


PES PRODUCTIONS: The clue is in the name for the studio formerly known as Winning Eleven Productions with the series still known by that original title in its native Japan, as it has been since 1996.

Although the new features are crucial to staying on terms with FIFA, PES will remain a showpiece for showboaters.

With a wealth of new tricks and skills, if you want to play with style then PES 2014 has a locker-full of opportunities to exploit.


Game Update
This doughnut actually asks to be let go and Batman happily obliges. Twice.

BaTman: arkham Origins

One night tO kill the Bat
wo years into his crimefighting career and the man who dresses as a flying rodent because mommy and daddys deaths were so unfair has managed to upset Gotham Citys criminal underworld so much that theres a $50 million bounty on his pointy-eared head. Not bad for a vigilante that most consider a myth. Not bad at all and the perfect excuse to gather eight of the worlds most deadly assassins in one place, on one Christmas Eve night, for one big kill. Its these hunters who will act as Arkham Origins boss encounters. And to understand how such battles will play out, consider how the fight with Dr Victor Fries in Arkham City tested many of the skills players had picked up before that point. The guys at Warner Bros. Montral are massive fans of the classic, stealthy fight with Mr Freeze, but that doesnt mean theyre merely performing one long homage to Rocksteadys 2011 hit theyre adding quite a few new ideas of their own. Take the way Batman used his detective skills to follow trails as an example. While such a feature will remain in place, it will also be enhanced with a new crime scene recreation system that employs the powerful computers of the Batcave to create a Virtual Reality account of

how certain deaths or collisions were caused, beaming the results right into the optics of the Caped Crusaders cowl as augmented reality. Events can then be played backward and forward over the real world, and extra clues can be found that will help unearth what actually occurred. This nifty system was demonstrated recently after a police chopper smashed into the city streets; the main site was examined and it was revealed that the tail rotor had been severed and was located on a rooftop. Then it was a matter of deducing that it had been blown off by a high-powered rifle round and, by tracing the trajectory of the shot, the body of a police sniper was discovered. Though he once had Batman in his sights he couldnt possibly have taken down the chopper from his vantage point, and so signs of a ricochet are discovered. A single bullet killed the cop, bounced, and took out the helicopter. Only one person on the planet could make such a strike and that would be Deadshot. Come October you will be able to choose whether or not to hunt down the red-eyed marksman or carry on with your mission to bring down Black Mask, or wander around a double-sized Gotham and look for other, lower level crooks. Damn, thats sexy.

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: WB games DEVELOPER: Warner Bros. Montral RELEASED: 25 October 2013

BELOW: Its not that easy to suck on a cancer stick when your mouth is hidden behind a fixed mask.


SHOTS: BaTMan: arkhaM Origins

RIGHT TONES: New voice actor Roger Craig Smith actually sounds just like a younger Kevin Conroy. Will Johnston

RIGHT: Tasdf

TOP RIGHT: Youre looking cool, Bruce, but not as cool as you look when youre riding a horse. RIGHT: Remember, if youve got to go, go with a smile.

Hes Bane yes, thats his name. And when you hear the name Bane youre guaranteed pain hes coming for you, Bruce Wayne. Hes an expert in freestyle, ysee, but if you check out this image its obvious that he doesnt have some weird and easy-to-disable respirator over his mouth, and so when he talks youll hear that he doesnt sound like Gandalf talking into an empty yoghurt pot. Indeed, actor JB Blanc seems to have given the breaker of the bat the Caribbean accent the character is actually meant to have. Thats the good news. Now heres some thats a bit on the bad side: in the Knightfall story arc that ran from 1993 to 1994, not only does Bane bust Batmans back but readers were introduced to Jean-Paul Valley, who turned up in his Azrael armour and had a costume change to take over some bat duties for a while and right now, only PlayStation 3 owners will be able to play as Azrael and take part in missions based in these events. Hopefully theyll later become available as DLC for the 360 that would make as much sense as it would extra money.


WARNER BROS. MONTRAL: This Canadian outfit was formed in 2010 to create Arkham Origins and is also responsible for the kids MMO, Cartoon Universe.


New ScreeNS

ONE 360
You run, shoot, take cover and move as you always have, but theres a lot more to Destiny than whats gone before.



ts not like we didnt expect great things from the developer that brought us five largely kick-ass (though not flawless) Halo games and has spent several years sculpting its next great gaming opus. But Destiny really is shaping up to be every bit as special as wed all hoped it would. Yes, the initial sci-fi setting and the firstperson action does look a lot like the exploits of Master Chief and friends, but when that series shifted some 40 million units it probably pays to stick to what youre good at. Destiny is far more than just Halo in a new suit, though. Its vast in terms of both scope and ambition, opening up a huge explorable landscape and a persistent online world that can change in a heartbeat at times even beyond the control of the developers. Its teeing up another epic saga that stretches across the Solar System and invites you to share the ride with friends if youd rather not tough it out on your own and, of course, theres the option for an Xbox One version and all the extra bells and whistles that come with it (as well as just super-lush visuals). The game is set in a future where mankind prospered and expanded throughout the planets after a mysterious celestial sphere known as The Traveler descended into Earths atmosphere, giving us new

HAlO meeTs BOrderlAnds wiTH neXT-gen finesse. were in

FORMATS: Xbox One, Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Activision DEVELOPER: Bungie RELEASED: TBC 2014

Youll be able to choose your guardian from three races, three classes and use a wealth of customisation options to sculpt them into your own fantastical image. The races are Human (athletic, military types), exo (robotic, master Chief-like) and Awoken (exotic and mysterious), while the class options are Hunter (bounty hunter), Titan (space marine) and warlock (space mage who wields some arcane powers). from these initial choices youll be able to unlock and adapt a wealth of accessories to your visual appearance, notably body armour and other kit items (such as a mask) to boost your stats. Youll also be able to upgrade your weaponry for better firepower as well as equipping guns with potentially game-changing perks. All in all, you should be able to stand out from the crowd.
BELOW: The game already looks great in action, so its a shame weve only got these concept artworks to show you. Officially, at least.


MASTER PLAN: Halo was originally planned as a third-person shooter for PCs before Microsoft stepped in. Ian Collen

As well as the competitive multiplayer, Destiny also boasts a third-person community space which means mobile and social extensions.

Turn To page 116 for a Bungie inTerview!

powers. Typically, however, things went FUBAR and a Collapse saw the Earth crumble and come under attack from an alien race known as the Fallen, eventually leaving mankind to its final refuge in a city directly beneath the hovering Traveler. You play as a Guardian of the city and its about time you started kicking some butt and reclaiming the Earth and ultimately the Solar System from these marauding forces. Its the setting that makes the first fundamental difference. Its not all sci-fi sheen and shimmering mechs; the world beyond the city walls is a ragged and diverse array of crumbling wastelands, vast deserts and decaying civilisation. Plus its massive, and there are likely to be few barriers (other than time, perhaps) preventing you from turning left instead of the prescribed right and losing hours exploring the world. And from what weve seen of the game in action, it all looks pretty damned stunning as well. You can play as part of a threeplayer team in co-op mode, and the persistent world will enable other fireteams to drop in and out of your game as they go about their business, with small scale shootouts against a handful of grunts escalating into epic multiplayer battles against huge AI constructs, before you all go your separate ways. Quite how persistent the world will be in your absence remains to be seen, but you can be sure that your actions will echo throughout the experience and possibly those of the other players to boot.
RIGHT TOP: Youre not limited to Earth, as the likes of Mars and Venus are also set to figure as backdrops to the interplanetary action. RIGHT BOTTOM: The game features MMOlike elements, but the devs have described Destiny as being more of a shared world shooter.

BELOW LEFT: Very little has been said or showcased about the inclusion of vehicles, but there will be at least a few varying rides you can control.

The co-op gameplay, coupled with some slightly exaggerated weaponry (compared to the routine Halo armoury at least) and seeing critical hits knock chunks from an enemys health bar not to mention the restricted open-world setting and the complementary classes also give us something of a Borderlands vibe, and we know how much fun you guys and gals have had playing those games together. Likewise, Destiny is about exploring because you can and not because you should, and its about growing your character as part of a team, and all on a far grander and more ambitious scale than Halo ever did. So yeah, we didnt take much convincing but its hard to see Bungies next great adventure not being a part of our destiny.


BUNGIE: You may have heard of this little Xbox franchise called Halo. It launched in 2002 and has sold a few copies over the course of its sequels (and prequels), making it something of a big deal.


First Look
FORMAT: Xbox One PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks DEVELOPER: Zenimax Online Studios RELEASED: Spring 2014

Ian Collen

the elder ScrollS online

citY SlicKerS
Although The Elder Scrolls Online boasts of an epic adventure across all of Tamriel, the game, initially at least, will be focused more on the central regions of Cyrodill and the Imperial City. The world is split into nine zones, each around three kilometres wide, so dont worry about running out of things to explore any time soon as this is going to be epic. There will be nine playable classes to choose from, although theyre tied into the alliances, so if youve a preference for Redguards, Dark Elves or Khajiit then your allegiance is set (to Daggerfall, Ebonheart and Aldmeri, respectively). In terms of gameplay the action will be much as it is in Skyrim and all those before it, with the standard sword-shield-magic combos at your disposal and a host of ugly beasties to use them on. The key difference, obviously, will be the addition of PvP battles to the standard NPC encounters, with Alliance Points being added on top of your usual XP to encourage you to take part in the ongoing conflict. Players can set up guilds to recruit friends and strangers (or join in-game ones), but crucially it is still possible to plough a lone path although we suspect some battles will be a damned sight easier if youve brought backup.


ts probably no real surprise to see that the dawn of a new console generation brings with it a renewed hope for the MMO genre. Hugely popular in various guises on PCs, few MMOs have really made an impact on the 360, with Defiance being the latest effort to tick along without really drawing a mass audience. Part of the problem has been size, with console releases generally needing a watered down version of their PC counterparts, resulting in a game that feels shallow and empty when compared to the majesty of your top-level RPGs. So step forward the power of Xbox One and possibly the biggest RPG franchise of them all, combining to bring us The Elder Scrolls Online early in 2014. Announced for PC and Mac last year, the One confirmation was largely expected but still pretty damned exciting, offering the opportunity to traverse a densely populated continent of Tamriel on your own, with friends or as part of an entire legion of warriors fighting for supreme rule. Theres an over-arcing narrative about the daedric prince Molag Bal threatening to destroy Tamriel, but mostly Elder Scrolls Online will be about power, with you pledging allegiance to one of three core alliances (Daggerfall Covenant, Ebonheart Pact or Aldmeri Dominion) and battling to secure enough key areas to have your leader installed as Emperor. Though naturally, if you just want to kick back and spend a day crafting or toying with the alchemy tables, then thats just fine too.


Given the ongoing response to the playable PC version, theres much to be excited about if youre a Skyrim fan and really fancy sharing that experience with a few friends. ZeniMax Online Studios a purpose-built team set up in 2007 has even created what its calling MegaServer technology to handle the data, although it will be interesting to see if Microsofts Cloud system will impact on the Xbox One. Theres even a special in-game social network to keep everyone in touch with whats happening in the world, which were going to go right ahead and label Macebook. Theres still a lot to see and a heck of a lot of information to digest over at if you want the back-story, but this is essentially Skyrim for sharing. Its a new world to explore if youre a single player, but youve got to be willing to embrace co-op play and fight unpredictable and ruthless human opponents if youre to really get the most from The Elder Scrolls Online. All thats left is for Bethesda to confirm the payment specifics: wed say free-to-play is unlikely on consoles but were fearful of a PC-like subscription service 50 and a shitload of cashgrabbing DLC will be just fine, thank you.



As game reviewers theres a tendency to take things a little too seriously, to treat gaming as some kind of escalated art form. However, here at Gamer HQ were equally rm advocates of the reason why we play videogames in the rst place: to have fun. Games dont have to be great to be good fun and so were reluctant to jump on the bandwagon that involves giving low-tech or low budget games a kicking because they lack the depth and detail of BioShock Innite. Its why were happy to cuddle right up with games such as Deadpool, Lollipop Chainsaw or Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (reviewed last issue) because, after all, having fun is the most important reason for playing.


93 Deadpool 96 Dark 98 Dynasty Warriors 8

7 5 6

DEADPOOL DARK DW 8 20% 10% 70%

Some might say the studio is rening a winning formula, others will see Dynasty Warriors 8 as a dated relic


DeaDpool 93

Hes mucH Happier beating off tHan beating Devil may cry

The sledgehammer-subtle humour makes Police Academy look like Noel Coward, but its still funny.

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Activision DEVELOPER: High Moon Studios RELEASED: Out now AGE: 18 PEGI PLAYERS: 1 XBOX LIVE: No PRICE: 49.99
PLUS + Brilliantly written and creative + Awesome voice acting + Fabulously faithful to the comic MINUS - By-the-numbers action - Uninspired level design - The final battle is SO cheap

heres not a lot of in-between when it comes to the Deadpool comic book; you either really, really love it or you really, really dont. So we thoroughly expected that the Deadpool videogame which is 100% built around the protagonists pottymouthed, puerile personality would be pure Marmite. We figured people would either adore it like a Monty Python film or want to gouge their eyes out with an oyster fork to escape its misery. Well, slap us with Wolverines willy. Not only do players (even those who actively dislike him in the comics) seem to have universally taken to Deadpools grating, LSD-tinged, fourth wall-shattering antics, but they all agree that his unique brand of daftness is actually the best thing about a title that, in pure gameplay terms, tastes a lot more like vanilla than Marmite. For those unaware, Deadpool is a Marvel Comics mutant who was left mentally unhinged by the Weapon X programme (where he was injected with Wolverines healing power to cure his cancer, which ended up frazzling his brain). The central conceit is that, in addition to being a lunatic with multiple voices in his head, he knows that hes a character in a comic and, in turn, in a videogame.

It speaks to the fantastic voice work of Nolan North, the bang-on writing of Daniel Way (longtime scribe on the Deadpool comic) and the creativity of the entire High Moon Studios team that the relentless onslaught of injokes, references, smut, swearing and downright stupidity doesnt come off as annoying, but as genuinely hilarious. Its still a sense of humour best enjoyed by 16-year-old boys and Kevin Smith fanboys, but at times the comedy is simply inspired. The set-up is that Deadpool has blackmailed High Moon into making a game about him. Creative differences rear their head, as he throws away the script and makes up the story as he goes along like a Bugs Bunny cartoon and in doing so, Deadpool pokes endless fun at gamings many tropes and clichs. Early on, hes is running around a cut-and-paste sewer level (replete with slide down the tunnel section). After a cut-scene with more explosions than ten Michael Bay films, suddenly the sewer turns into a top-down dungeon crawler with flat 8-bit graphics and pixelated baddies. He takes out his phone and calls High Moon: Hey, I was just running around my game and I just noticed that some shit was f**ked up. The studio head explains to him that, since he blew the games entire budget

BELOW: We know were spoiling it, but the Legend of Zelda/J-RPG gag is brilliant. BOTTOM: With Mr Sinister your captive, you administer the greatest form of torture: quicktime events. Oh High Moon, you cad!


James Artaius

on the explosions, theyve had to scale back the graphics. It doesnt play as well on paper, but trust us in execution, its REALLY funny. As are the pisstakes of quicktime events and Call of Duty set-pieces, nods to the Sixties Batman TV show, a tutorial that puts Blood Dragon to shame, and Deadpool spitting lines like I am rubber, you are glue and Now I have a machine gun Its borderline brilliant in its creativity and its realisation of the character, but there are two problems. Firstly, while the game succeeds at lampooning the tropes and clichs, it never manages to subvert them in fact, it never even bothers to try. Instead of being like Scream, turning all the conventions on their head to create something blindingly original, Deadpool is more like Scary Movie, content with poking fun

ABOVE: The combat is perfectly adequate, but Bayonetta aint exactly crapping in her boots.

ABOVE: Bitch slapping Wolverine is its own reward, but its also a gift that keeps on giving.


LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW + SCHIZOPHRENIA: Suda51s styleover-substance gameplay and base sense of humour meets the multiple personalities of Wade Wilson.

and having cheap laughs at gamings bad habits while being just as guilty of them itself. Hey, dontcha hate it when games have those crappy generic levels set in an office building? Well HA HA HA, were going to make you play through a crappy generic level set in an office building! The joke is funny until you realise that its actually on you, because youre going to spend the next 20-odd minutes slogging through it. Maybe its amazingly meta or maybe its like Alanis Morissette writing a song called Ironic when she hasnt got a clue what irony is. The same criticism could be made of the aforementioned Far Cry 3 spinoff, of course. But where Blood Dragon was built on the rock-solid foundations of first-class FPS action, Deadpools second problem is that its gameplay is pretty run of the mill. It aspires to DmC Devil May Cry but only achieves Lollipop Chainsaw which is, in fact, a pretty good analogue for High Moons game as a whole; its all about the style, not the substance. Theres nothing actively wrong with the combat, its just completely unremarkable. Bash, slash, shoot; lather, rinse, repeat. Youll buy bigger guns, unlock new buffs and hit loose combinations of X and Y, but it exists as nothing more than a way to segue

between each parody-based chuckle and the often gut-busting cut-scenes, where the heart and soul of the game truly lie. And much like Lollipop Chainsaw, that heart and soul is enough to overcome an otherwise lacklustre brawler. So what if the gameplay isnt as good as DmC or Bayonetta its the funniest game this side of Portal 2 and without question the most faithful comic book game ever made.

Considered strictly in gameplay terms, this is never going to light the world on fire. But if youre willing to give the mechanics some leeway and appreciate Deadpool for what it does best, youll find that its an even more authentic comic book game than any of the Arkham outings. Like the Watchmen comic, many felt that it was impossible to translate from the page and, like the Watchmen movie, not everyone is going to like it. But its the best damned Deadpool-em-up youll ever play and its one of the funniest games ever released. And it even takes shots at Ryan Reynolds, so its groovy in our book.

Youll need to drink the blood of victims to earn Vitae points for your powers, but its slower than a quick kill and can attract nearby guards.

No sparkle, but it sure doesNt shiNe either

e wanted to like Dark, we really, really did. From its gritty determination to stick to a hardened stealth-based experience rather than a routine guns and magic free-for-all, to the instruction manual pledging itself against those sparkling metrosexual vampires, theres much about the cut of Darks jib to appreciate. Which makes it all the more of a shame that the gameplay itself reeks of lowbudget production values and ballcrushing repetition that sucks both the fun and the challenge from its exposed neck. You play as Eric Bane, a man who takes surprisingly well to being turned into a vampire but has to drink the blood of the neck-nibbler who bit him before he becomes a mindless ghoul. He does find some help from a few residents of the vampire-run nightclub he wakes up in, but hes pretty much on his own here and thats where our main problem lies: Eric simply doesnt feel like a vampire. Sure he can chew on a few necks but, because Dark is essentially a hardcore stealth experience, you just wind up crawling around like the old (or rather young) Sam Fisher except without any cool gadgets to play with. There are some powers you can use, such as Shadow Leap that transports you short distances in a puff of smoke

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: kalypso Media DEVELOPER: realmForge RELEASED: out now AGE: 16 peGi PLAYERS: 1 XBOX LIVE: No PRICE: 29.99
plus + Tries to be different + Makes you work for success MiNus - No sense of power - No real freedom - Robotic AI - Low-budget production

for handy navigation, but nothing that gives you the sense of being a badass vampire with some supreme superiority over the human fodder that lies in your path. Eric also seems stripped of many of his human powers, too, incapable of vaulting over even simple objects (Shadow Leap should help here, but its awkward to direct and only works on a handful of scripted surfaces) or climbing up a crate. Nope, all you can do is enter a room packed full of AI guards, learn their paths and then either pick them off one by one or sneak through to the exit. There is certainly something that will appeal to some gamers, and the shamelessly demanding nature of Dark makes the sense of satisfaction at successfully navigating a room something to be enjoyed. But equally its a painfully tedious routine of trial and error, of watching guards amble slowly around until you spot the tiny windows of opportunity to exploit and then moving to the next room and doing it all again. Theres just no real sense of freedom or flexibility to your options, or of being in control of your actions simply that you have to solve the puzzle in the way the developer has decided you should (such as killing guard B first so he wont see you take out guard A).

ABOVE: Vampire Vision enables you to track the movement of human enemies through walls, and youll need to use it constantly.

It doesnt help that the AI feels far too manufactured and robotic, working to slow-turning scripted routines and usually lacking the curiosity or plain professionalism to actively investigate noises or partial sightings. Some just stand perfectly motionless, never moving and simply staring at a doorway or corridor you need to cross death must be a sweet release for those guys. Others will huddle in a group until you get close


Ian Collen

The visual style isnt bad, but there are basically two clones for every type of enemy.

enough to trigger a conversation; none can see you through glass cover but they can see you with 90-degree peripheral vision. While we so wanted to enjoy Dark, and we certainly wouldnt begrudge anyone giving it a try, the low-budget production values continue to drag it down beyond just the AI. Theres a decent cel-shaded visual style to the game but the level of detail is poor, there are identikit clones throughout and the cut-scenes shudder in and out of gameplay with no attempt at lip-synching (everyone talks like a ventriloquists dummy). Frustratingly, checkpoints always seem to come before those scenes, which are poorly written, poorly acted and really dull, meaning that youll be mashing B a lot to skip them if you die.

And you will die a lot, because once youre spotted all nearby guards will flock to your position with automatic weaponry. And aside from powers that are variations of hide or distract, all youve got is a solitary melee attack that requires you to be within touching distance to use. However, in fairness to the game, you can still escape these moments, and by the time wed tired of waiting around we were setting up kill zones and using corpses to lure guards to our position, one after the other until the room was cleared. But we guess thats not really how Dark is supposed to be played. Theres plenty of game time in Dark if you fancy some rigid and repetitive stealth action (as well as a secondary Challenge mode that drops you back into the bigger rooms but with new

AI paths and against the clock), but it can become boring and tedious very quickly. With time against us we even resorted to simply running through some sections with many failures, it must be said until we hit a door and the AI just stopped following us. Games like this might have been acceptable at the start of the 360s lifespan, but wed certainly want a heck of a lot more at its end.

As well as upgradeable Inherent powers such as the Shadow Leap or Instant Kill, and Passive abilities such as toughness, Dark also offers a choice of eight Vampiric powers to use and upgrade. However, none of them actually give a sense of true power, acting more like mild variations on solving the same puzzle for example, Shadow Kill is a nice way to leap at distant enemies to take them out, but Distract or Domination (where you put enemies into a dazed state) serve much the same purpose and dont really change the game in ways that wed hoped. Others may discover a power or two that suit their style, but we found them more as backup options for when our stealth skills hit a brick wall.

BELOW: Picking off the guards can be quite fun, but you need to be wary as others are usually watching or may hear you make the kill.

While we can applaud Dark for trying something a little bit different and offering up a genuine and challenging stealth-based experience, theres not a lot of enjoyment to be gleaned from the game beyond just beating it. Theres no real sense of actually being a vampire or the power that comes with it, and all youre left with is a slow crawl through open, yet painfully linear environments that offer little in terms of freedom, creativity or imagination. But if you dont mind wasting 20 or so minutes of your life because you failed to learn the routine of one guard in a room of fifteen, then this might be for you we just wanted to have a little fun.

DynasTy Warriors 8


he intro to Dynasty Warriors 8 looks like an amazing game. Spear-wielding generals fly through the skies as they weave between burning arrows, someone mounts a horse in mid-air before landing on an exploding galley, and a menacing-looking man with an eyepatch readies his sabre before propelling himself into battle with all the ferocity of an atomic tidal wave. Its false advertising to say the least. Maybe not to the same degree as the Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco, but its clear that Omega Force is still going for the tried and tested lawnmower approach that weve been seeing for well over a decade. Some might say that the studio is refining a winning formula that keeps getting better and better, while others will see Dynasty Warriors 8 as a dated

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Tecmo Koei DEVELOPER: Omega Force RELEASED: 19 July 2013 AGE: 16 PEGI PLAYERS: 1-2 XBOX LIVE: Yes PRICE: 49.99

relic that just refuses to stay dead and buried. Whatever your take on the matter, its clear that the series has a passionate audience that looks forward to each new instalment. The meat of the game comes courtesy of the new Story Mode, which functions similarly to the last game in the series by having you pick one of the main warring factions including the Wei, Wu and Shu before unravelling the tempestuous tale of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. All the familiar faces like Xiahou Dun, Liu Bei and Zhou Yu make their welcome returns, much as you would expect, and the final tally comes to well over 70 characters. There have been some minor improvements in the overall presentation, including more detailed character models, but the
PLUS + Lots of game for the money + The freedom of Ambition Mode + Two-player splitscreen co-op MINUS - Combat can be very humdrum - The frame-rate drops constantly - Feels dated Your base may start off small but it isnt long before Ambition Mode turns up a lot of resources.

attack animations are still very basic. The engine also struggles to keep the frame-rate up, especially when you dive into a dense battalion of cannon fodder. As for the combat itself, Omega Force has expanded the weapon-switching system from Dynasty Warriors 7 with a number of pretty interesting tweaks and additions. The most notable change is the new Affinity mechanic. Each weapon now has one of three affinities Heaven, Earth or Man. When you trade blows with a general thats equipped with a weapon of the same affinity, and yours has the affinity advantage, you can pull off a Storm Rush. This is an attack that automatically activates after a sustained assault and deals additional damage. Its more of a gimmick than an intrinsic game-changer, but the Affinity system is a welcome addition nonetheless. And when you combine it with the EX attacks, Musou crowd controllers and reinstated Rage mode, you have just enough freedom to build satisfying combos. Once you find an effective combo that works, youll be dialling it out more times than an ambulance at a bull fight. Thats the nature of the game and, even when you tackle the harder of the five difficulty settings, the act of moving between command posts and beating seven bells out of the nearest


REVIEW: Dynasty Warriors 8

Matthew Edwards

ABOVE: If battles were won on length of beard alone then this guy would be in the front running.

officer is more of a clunky marathon than a frantic and flashy sprint. one way in which the game mixes things up a bit, however, is the new ambition Mode, which is less about bashing the hell out of an ancient manuscript and more about you creating something out of nothing. the objective is to get Emperor Xian to join your cause but, considering your base starts out with just a handful of peasants and an ill-equipped blacksmith, you really need to give his highness more incentive to visit. to do this you have to take part in three kinds of battles; raids increase your fame, skirmishes net you materials that can upgrade your base and Great Battles see you to recruit more allies. the last one is particularly engaging, as the more time you invest in catching other officers (suikoden-style) the more men and

ABOVE: A Switch Counter enables you to turn the tables when your current weapon is losing the affinity battle. RIGHT: You can combine two lesser weapons in the hopes of creating something a little more potent.

women youll have at your command. you can even station your recruits at the shops and structures to increase their effectiveness. to its credit, Dynasty Warriors 8 offers a lot of game for the money. Between the scripted story Mode, the unshackled Free Mode and the openended ambition Mode, theres a lot of potential mileage for those that want to do the wrecking ball dance over and over again. But while that may be enough for some, there are just too many ambitious games out there for us to recommend this as anything more than an overly familiar time sink. Were on the cusp of a new console generation and we crave new and exciting experiences. Unfortunately, Dynasty Warriors wants to keep its feet firmly planted in the past rather than making a bold step forwards.

I knOW ITs my DynAsTy!

DynAsTy WARRIORs 7 + POkmOn: Just like the elusive pocket monsters in nintendos eternal cash cow, youll want to track down all the Dynasty generals before recruiting em all.
ABOVE: Once your Rage gauge is full you can activate an enhanced state that temporarily increases your stats.

Many people view the Dynasty Warriors series as a kind of running joke, the kind where a stubborn studio has kept a predominantly Japanese audience happy by releasing the same game over 20 times. Thats an unfair analysis when you consider how much the game has evolved since its earliest iterations, but theres no escaping the fact that Dynasty Warriors 8 is a baby step at best. Anyone who thinks the series is going to dramatically change at this point is kidding themselves, but theres still something to be said for bludgeoning your way through a sea of crash dummies. At least in this respect, Dynasty Warriors is still the king of clubbing.


Will Johnston

BELOW: It wont be long before any AI opponent will simply block such simple booty attacks.

BOTTOM: As the slowmo kicks in for added drama, its pretty damn distressing when blows totally miss.

Impressive but not as grisly cool as the vertical face-slice finisher.

Are you not quite entertAined?

t seems that in its undying wisdom, Ubisoft has released a fighting game for free on Xbox Live that doesnt as yet feature any offline multiplayer modes, and didnt expect many people to actually download and attempt to play it online. Thats the excuse, at least. We would like to imagine that the reason the developer is taking so long to make it into a player-versus-player match is because the netcode is following the TV shows lead and has opted to really go crazy for some extra, though hidden, Zack Snyder slow-mo. Its all very much a pity, because Spartacus Legends has the potential to be really rather good but in a slightly cheap and sleazy way. Its controls are initially simple but reward those looking for deeper combos, as gladiators armed with different weapons feature varying move sets. The overall management of your oily, muscly stable of killers could actually have provided a lot of pleasure if it also didnt require a great deal of grinding, since stats are greatly affected by equipment that you need to earn coin to obtain. Indeed, progress against the CPU fighters is all but impossible after the first few bouts, at which point youll meet adversaries that will absolutely ruin you with lightning-fast flurries

FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: ubisoft DEVELOPER: King Fu Factory RELEASED: out now AGE: 18 PeGi PLAYERS: 1-2 XBOX LIVE: yes PRICE: Free
PLuS + Bloody, sweary fighting + Who doesnt want to run a ludus? MinuS - A lot of grinding - Terrible server connections - Graphics need a deeper bake - Theres no offline multiplayer as yet

and perfectly chained combos and so force you to farm the lower orders, again and again, for hours of repetition just so that you can buy a new pair of sandals for extra speed. There is a solution to such spikes in difficulty, of course, one thats inherent in any freeto-play game: spend actual money on virtual currency. But thats fair enough, right? Well youd have thought so, until you realise that the very least amount of money you can spend on extra cash is 400 Microsoft Points. Still, at least those players who dont want to dig deep in their pockets have plenty of time to practise laying successful blow after successful blow, dodging, taunting, mixing it up a bit and thereby gaining the adoration of the baying arena crowd. Showboat enough and youll be able to end the fight with an execution move and when you do that, not only do you get to witness some supremely imaginative violence, youll earn greater funds and so be able to gain swifter access to decent weapons, armour and perks. And more importantly, your victim wont be returning after a brief stay in A&E theyll be dead. Filling up your glory bar isnt easy and, frustratingly, it can quickly be reduced should your flow fail. But it

does add a hectic amount of tension, especially should you actually be battling a real human being for much bigger prizes. Or at least thats the idea first a match needs to be found, and then theres all the joy of way too much lag well add an extra point should Ubisoft pull its finger out.

Weve spent more time re-beating an AI fighter called Nervus the Spastic than we have fighting actual people. And no you dont get to name your gladiators. Spartacus Legends certainly has the nasty tone of the show, then, but not quite the visual panache. Occasionally sketchy, slightly buggy, totally unable to find matches quickly its almost there. When it is, its still going to be Soul Caliburs weaker cousin.


Essential Series

Your essential guide to the iPad mini and iPad

The worlds favourite tablet computer, the iPad, has never been so compact, and never been so affordable! And if you want to get the most out of the iPad mini, then weve crammed this guide full of detailed advice, step-by-step tutorials, tricks, and plenty of app recommendations. Plus, its all jargon-free too!
Every vital iPad mini topic covered: Setting up Customising Communication Video And Music Photography Education Gaming iOS 6 Navigation And much more!

itip taKinG sCREEnsHots

How To Use Wallpaper

Step 1: Know Your Wallpaper Positions
Its an obvious point, but if you dont know, wallpaper is a term used to refer to pictures in the background of electronic device displays - the decoration, if you like. There are two wallpaper slots on the iPad mini that you can fill, giving your tablet a bit more character: the background of the home page behind the app icons and also the lock screen.

Some apps can save images to the camera roll, but you can take screenshots from the iPad screen by holding the home button and tapping the power button.

Step 3: Applying Custom Wallpaper

Its also possible to apply any image you choose as wallpaper, provided that its already been saved in your Camera Roll folder. This obviously applies to photographs that you take yourself, but also images that you save from the Internet as well. This custom option also lets you resize your images by zooming in or out, as well as moving it to help decide which part of the picture you want to focus on.

Step 4: Downloading Custom Images

To get images from the Internet, load up Safari and use the Google Search box in the topright corner to search for iPad mini wallpaper by typing it in. There are plenty of perfectly sized user-created options that look great for you to choose from. When you find one you want, open it in the browser window and hold your finger down on it, choosing Save Image when the option appears

Step 2: Applying Stock Wallpaper

The iPad actually comes pre-loaded with a fairly large (if rather boring) selection of stock wallpapers that you can apply to either the home or lock screen (or both), which you can find by going to the Settings menu, tapping the Wallpaper option and then Wallpaper. Theyre all the right size for the iPad display, so they cant be resized when you apply them.

Step 5: Applying Images As Wallpaper

To apply an image, all you need to do is go to the Wallpaper option in the Settings menu and choose where the image is coming from. When applying custom images, you can move and scale the image first drag it around with your finger, pinching to zoom in or out. Press Set and then choose which screen you would like the image to be the background wallpaper for: lock, home or both.

Step 6: Creating A Home Page Image

While you can put any image behind the Home page, dont forget that itll be obscured by all the app icons so you might want to choose something that fits. Creating your own image is a good way of ensuring it works. The size youll need depends on which version of the iPad youre using. For the iPad Mini, for example, a good wallpaper is 728 pixels wide by 1024 pixels high.

iPad mini

If you really want to jazz up your iPads display, then using custom wallpaper is crucial. It can set your iPad apart from everyone elses, show off some of your own character and even be a bit arty at the same time

iPad mini


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Easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorials





Here's all of our recent reviews, a selection of genre must-haves and some bargain bucket classics

Borderlands 2
2K Games / Gearbox Software 21 September 2012 Borderlands 2 is exactly what fans will want and expect, and provides a heck of a lot of content for four players to share as they terrorise a planet for reasons that dont really matter as much as the fun thats being had.

PUBLISHER: 2K Games DEVELOPER: Irrational Games RELEASED: 26 March 2013

You can tell the level of condence in the crafting of this true sequel (BioShock 2 is really BioShock 1.5) by the amount of time you get to enjoy its fantastical metropolis as a tourist rather than a special agent and taking your time is what we heavily suggest you do. You wont get a better opportunity to see this magnicent yet insane setting in motion than during the dreamlike opening act. Combat is much like it was, but widened to a greater degree to provide each engagement with myriad more possibilities. As a shooter BioShock Innite is up there with the best of

them, but that simplicity was never its aim and thats its true strength, since completion brings as many answers as it does a weighty conclusion. There were strands at the end of the original BioShock that we never even knew existed and Innite expertly weaves them into something thats as exceptionally brave as it can be mystifying. In parts its like a piece of interactive adult literature, but in suggesting that we feel slightly pretentious. The description ts, however, but never forget that its still a game where blowing a mans head off can be mightily satisfying.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Activision / Innity Ward/Sledgehammer Games/Raven Software / 08 November 2011 The culmination of years of hard work, while its a little lacking in ambition its no less than the best COD yet. Even though war never changes, in terms of Modern Warfare, the art of war keeps getting better and better.


Bullets for your valentine
Polish dev People Can Fly has been acquired by Epic, but still keeps its excellent name thanks surely to its work on the amazing Bulletstorm. Despite having an awful name and dire boxart, its one of the nest shooters of this generation, mixing searing comedy with a Skillshot-driven combat system to astounding effect. Its also rammed with clever structural gags for action game fans and is one of the most knowing and clever

Far Cry 3
Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montreal 30 November 2012 Its like all the good stuff Ubi learned over the years rolled into one epic game. Sure its about shooting, but its also about exploration and has quite a few Indy/Lara moments. Get it if you ever liked a John McTiernan movie.

shooters ever made. If youve never experienced the game, its dirt cheap both on Xbox Live and at retail. Its a crushing shame that poor sales mean therell likely be no sequel.

Gears of War: Judgment
Microsoft Studios / People Can Fly/Epic Games / 22 March 2013 Judgment clearly hasnt had the same budget as a numbered Gears. But the developers have repositioned the combat and created something that solidies the series standing as the best third-person shooting experience around.


Dead Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Battleeld: Bad Company 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Halo 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Max Payne 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Vanquish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


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People always complain that games are too expensive, and theyre not wrong. While you can usually get new releases for less than the 49.99 RRP, if you delve a little deeper into the bucket, you can get yourself two or even three times as many games for the same chunk of change

PUBLISHER: 2K Games DEVELOPER: Firaxis Games RELEASED: 12 October 2012


When we play turn-based games we dont expect to feel our intestines tighten and throats thicken. XCOM offers plenty of time to ponder actions, but nearly every single one has an overall signicance that can affect the entire planet, so a shot is never red without eyes staring wide-open and uninchingly at the screen especially when it is framed in hauntingly slow-motion.

Binary Domain

At XCOMs core is not only the greatest tactics game on the console, its one of the nest ever made. Its damned polished, terrifyingly consuming, tactically rewarding and utterly engrossing throughout. Every Xboxer should give this title their time and attention, even if strategy games arent typically their cup of tea. Seriously, this deserves it. Its right up there in Game of the Year contention.

Price: 6.85 Weve said it before and well say it again: Binary Domain deserved soooo much better than the reception it got. A fantastic cyberpunk plot, great Gears of War-like gameplay, and one of the best examples of digital storytelling to appear on the 360. Its much more than a Gears knockoff, so if you even remotely love robots, shooting things or Sega-avoured games, GET THIS NOW.

Forza Motorsport 4


Anomaly: Warzone Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 . . . . . . . . . 8 Guardians of Middle-earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 R.U.S.E.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Tropico 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Price: 14.86 Psyched for Forza 5 on the Xbox One? Course you are. But thats still a few months off and you probably want to hurl ultra-realistic cars around ultra-realistic tracks before then. And for the price of a Top Gear box set you can get your driving-gloved mitts on Forza 4, preview the new Kinect functionality and Hoover up the Achievements in time for November.


Sega Superstars Tennis (Classics)

PUBLISHER: Square Enix DEVELOPER: Crystal Dynamics RELEASED: 05 March 2013

Crystal Dynamics has created a thirdperson shooter that blends openworld, survival and action-adventure elements for dramatic effect. Its not the most original game youll play this year, but it stands a good chance of being one of the most polished. Youll get to grips with one of the most satisfying bows in gaming, youll


escape certain death on countless occasions, youll watch as Lara matures into a one-woman army and youll explore a world that, while lacking the scale of its fantasy themedpeers, is still teeming with mystery and intrigue. Whatever your stance on grave robbing, we implore you to go raiding once again.

Price: 4.85 If youre anything like us, youre already missing the Wimbledon action. Sega Superstars Tennis wont give Virtua Tennis or Top Spin any sleepless nights, but like Laura Robson it doesnt matter that its not the best, because its lovely to look at and a whole lot of fun to play with. Like Sumos All-Stars Racing series, its a mascot game that punches way above its weight.

Splinter Cell Conviction


Portal 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 DmC Devil May Cry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Brtal Legend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Viva Piata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Asuras Wrath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Price: 9.85 Oh, if only Ubisoft ignored the outcry and had more conviction(!) in its initial concept of a rugged, bearded, longhaired Sam slugging it out from the shadows, it might have been a different story. As it was, we gave Conviction a 7 because it played it too safe with linear action more akin to Arkham than Splinter Cell. But its worth it for a tenner, especially for the co-op.





PUBLISHER: Microsoft Game Studios DEVELOPER: Turn 10 Studios RELEASED: 14 October 2011

F1 2012

Brilliant, without quite being the step up in quality wed hoped it would be, Forza 4 manages to take the fantastic groundwork laid down by its predecessor and beefs it up with stunning graphics, near-perfect handling, a wonderful selection of peripheral modes and some slick presentation. There are a few disappointing bits too, not least the fact most of the cars and circuits have been carried over from Forza 3. But we guess thats what DLCs there for. However, as far as racing games go, the slick, supremely polished and downright beautiful Forza 4 is in a class of its own. Even Kinect works surprisingly well. The head tracking which moves the camera around slightly depending on which way you tilt your head can take a while to get used to, but responds well enough once youve found the sweet spot. So while we somehow cant quite bring ourselves to award Turn 10s latest the full ten marks, theres no disputing that it has once again raised the bar for driving games on the 360. Put simply: if you want the deepest, most comprehensive, most rewarding and most satisfying 360 driving game money can currently buy, then this is very much the game for you.

Codemasters Racing / Codemasters / 21 September 2012 Once again Codemasters has shown itself to be at the very top of the realistic racing tree, recreating both the mechanics and the atmosphere of the worlds favourite driving challenge superbly.

Need for Speed Most Wanted
EA / Criterion Games 02 November 2012 Criterion has crafted what can only be described as the arcade racer of the year. Its unlikely that well bear witness to anything as good as Most Wanted until developers hit their stride on the next wave of consoles.


Return of the Road Avenger
When John Die Hard McTiernan was hired to direct the original Predator, it was because the movie execs at Fox wanted someone who loved cars and guns. Of course, he also came from a theatre background so he pumped the movie full of that acting stuff as well. But still, the important thing to remember is cars and guns two things that Full Auto has in glorious abundance. Years before Split/Second and Blur came along with their respective delusions of grandeur and Mario Kartbeating, Sega took all that was great about Ataris Road Blasters (namely cars with guns and missiles bolted onto them), combined it with the vehicular pyrotechnics of Burnout Takedown and blended it with something called destructible environments. The result is something that would make John McTiernan proud.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Sega / Sumo Digital / 16 October 2012 Theres the temptation to brand it a kids game but, if you invest the time into learning the technical nuances of each lovingly detailed track, it offers one of the most fundamentally fun experiences of the year.

Split/Second: Velocity
Disney / Black Rock Studios 21 May 2010 Burnout meets Michael Bay? Sure it might be a bit simplistic, but thanks to its super slick visuals, retina-ripping speed and massively destructive set-pieces, its still plain and simple fun. Lots and lots of fun.


Forza Horizon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Blur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 DiRT 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Driver San Francisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 SBK Generations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


Sponsored by




PUBLISHER: EA Sports DEVELOPER: EA Tiburon RELEASED: 28 March 2013

Its to EAs credit that every year it releases basically the same game, but with enough bells and whistles to make each one seem worthwhile. After all, just how much can you do with a round of golf? But once again weve got a sporting showcase that part-time putters could possibly pass on, while seasoned swingers will nd plenty to justify another annual payout. The biggest new hook is Legends of the Majors mode, which pitches you into a timeline recreating moments from 140 years of golng history. Tiger 14 also gains extra credit with some nice gameplay tweaks, like new Golfer Swing Styles, Precision Chipping and the revised Strike Meter. Theres also a decent stack of 32 licensed golfers, including a handful of women who also have their own LPGA Tour events for you to play through. EA has put in a lot of effort to make the broadcast-quality presentation even more rich and varied, and through sheer style and depth of content, Tiger Woods 14 delivers another Championship performance.


EA Sports / EA Canada 28 September 2012 For us, FIFA 13 is the best football game out there. PES veterans may prefer the return to form of PES 2013, but in terms of overall gameplay, presentation and the sheer wealth of options, FIFA takes the title on goal difference.

2K Sports / Visual Concepts 05 March 2013 Thanks to the 11th hour renewal of the licence, MLB 2K13 is identical to 2K12 (which scored an 8) with updated rosters and online leagues removed. But while 2K13 is better because its more current, the score reects the reverse innovation.

Major League Baseball 2K13 (USA)


PUBLISHER: LucasArts DEVELOPER: LucasArts RELEASED: 09 September 2011


If youve no idea who Guybrush Threepwood or Ron Gilbert are, this glorious HD remaster will either be a broom-up-the-ass shock or a laughup-your-lungs revelation. A doublepack of the Monkey Island 1 and 2 Special Editions, its questionable whether the optional hi-res graphics and in-joke packed audio commentary are going to win over gamers who never played the classic point-andclickers in the Nineties. Still, when classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Alien and Blade Runner get re-released for special runs, the idea isnt to convert new fans; its to deliver the best fan service possible to the diehard, cult-like acolytes who have been enjoying them for decades. Newcomers should absolutely try Monkey Island, of course, but this set is squarely aimed at crusty thirtysomethings. The disc is also packed with Avatar goodies, full-length re-recorded soundtracks and a glimpse into ILMs aborted Monkey Island movie, making it a must for LucasArts lovers.

NBA 2K13
2K Sports / Visual Concepts 05 October 2012 What this years outing lacks in a signature mode, it makes up for in a revamped interface that adds a layer of depth, control and tactility wed never thought possible. Its very hard to get used to, but once you do wow.

NHL 13
EA Sports / EA Canada 14 September 2012 NHL 13 is one of the nest sports games ever made. Even if youre not an NHL acionado, this is still a superbly compelling, frantic and thrilling multiplayer game that deserves recognition the whole world over.


L.A. Noire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Mass Effect Trilogy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Red Dead Redemption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series . . . . . . 9 105




PUBLISHER: Tecmo Koei DEVELOPER: Team Ninja RELEASED: 28 September 2012

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Dead or Alive has never been the go-to franchise for pure beat-emup brilliance. However, while it has traditionally been more concerned with breast physics than tech bonuses, there has always been a solid scrapper at the heart of DOA and this fth outing nally puts the brawling before the boobs. Which isnt to say that the boobs are gone, of course, because theyre not. The game is as jiggly as ever, but theres nally enough genuine depth to the gameplay to make it a worthy rival to the many other ghters on the market especially with the all-star

trio from Segas Virtua Fighter making their presence felt. Its still going to appeal more to the casual than the connoisseur, though theres enough meat on the bones that this is sure to become a niche competition favourite, with the fastpaced action and counter-heavy combat that Dead or Alive is known for. The multi-tiered environments are even more outrageously interactive and destructible than ever, spilling over into anime-style OTT-ness at times. Its very much still a case of style over substance, then, but DOA 5 reaches a near-perfect balance between the two.

Namco Bandai / Namco Bandai 14 September 2012 The two-on-two battles are speedy and savage, the enormous roster should have something for everyone, and if all else fails you can ght as a dinosaur with a scaly sh in his claws. A winner is you.

UFC Undisputed 3
THQ / Yukes Osaka 17 February 2012 UFC 3 succeeds almost as well as an arcade ghter for non-fans as it does a sports sim for MMA hardcores. Undisputed 3 blows away any game ever set in a ring, cage, squared circle, Octagon, hexagon or a Large Hadron Collider.

MANUFACTURER: Razer PRICE: 179.99 RELEASED: 01 July 2011


Its not a term used that often these days, but older players will recall titles being referred to as arcade perfect if they were faithful recreations of arcade games. But an arcade perfect game isnt complete without an arcade perfect joystick and the Atrox is as close to arcade perfection as you can get without the smell of BO and sticky marks all over the screen. Its built using top Sanwa Denshi components, with tournament-grade buttons and ball-top joystick (with a changeable bat-top). A panel hosts the Xbox Guide button, rapid-res for each face button, a switch to toggle the joystick between the D-pad and left analogue, and a lock so that you dont accidentally hit the Guide or the Start button. At 3.46kg its super sturdy, with a rubber underside to ensure non-slip stick jockeying. But the best thing

about the Atrox is that you can open it like a treasure chest to ddle with the innards. Want to rewire the buttons to your own spec (and given the nonstandard B/X/ Y/LB top row layout, you will)? The screwdriver-free sockets enable you to do it in a ash. Theres also storage space for the detachable 3m USB cable, the spare joystick top (and even for a screwdriver to change it) as well as two additional buttons. This is simply a sturdy, superb, tournament-quality stick thats as essential for Street Fighter IV as it is for Midway Arcade Origins.

Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
Capcom / Capcom 18 November 2011 Ultimate is more than just a run of the mill MOT of Fate of two Worlds; its a full-blown tune-up with engine upgrades, fancy hydraulics and a swanky new body kit. This is no less than ultimate by name and ultimate by nature

WWE 13
THQ / Yukes / 02 November 2012 WWE 13 is a bloody good grappler that any wrestling fan will appreciate and anyone who lived through the Attitude Era will adore. But, like a four-star Shawn Michaels match, it comes with a little heartbreak, kid.


Sponsored by


PUBLISHER: Microsoft Studios DEVELOPER: Lionhead Studios RELEASED: 12 October 2012


For the most part, Fable: The Journey is a roaring success. A testament to the technology that Microsoft has put so much faith in and a worthy side dish to one of its most popular franchises. There are good times aplenty to be found once youve popped the disc in the tray. It contains the same picturesque world of Albion, has the same degree of very British humour, has a storyline that tells an immersive tale of one young mans rise from a frightened rookie to a badass world-saver and its an experience that we enjoyed as

Dance Central 3

much as we have any other Kinect game out there. Its simple but empowering and blasting hordes of Hobbes with the power of your hands is a surprising pleasure. Its no Fable IV, thats for sure, but it still offers a rich and rewarding experience and if only the persistent aws in Kinects technology could be ironed out, it would be an almost perfect padless title. But still, if youre even slightly intrigued, its denitely worth a weekend rental as its one of the nest examples yet of what Kinect could be capable of.

Microsoft Studios / Harmonix/Backbone Ent. 19 October 2012 Right here, right now, Dance Central 3 really is the best Kinect title out there. Its a brilliant party game for the casual crowd and a more than worthy evolution of the franchise for the hardcore followers.

Kinect Sports: Ultimate Collection
Microsoft Studios / Rare/BigPark 21 September 2012 Individually, theyre not quite to Kinect what Wii Sports was to the Wii. But together in one package with all the crowd-pleasers like golf, baseball, basketball and bowling, theyre an absolute must-have for the device.


PUBLISHER: Marvelous Entertainment DEVELOPER: Feelplus RELEASED: 02 March 2010


We wont hold it against you if you know nothing about No More Heroes (it was a poor-selling Wii game, after all). But next to House of The Dead: Overkill and MadWorld, it was the only reason for a hardcore gamer ever to turn on Nintendos standard-def slab of casual conquest. A hardcore otaku homage to all things Japanese manga 8-bit videogames, toilet humour, pro wrestling, Akira bikes, insane bosses ttingly you played an otaku who bought a Lightsaber off the internet and decided to become the number one ranked assassin in the world by killing the top ten. So steeped in J-madness that it felt like a grey import of a Super Famicom game, its only tting that the 360 version is only available as an NTSC-J import. It hurts for the lack of a Wiimote, control pad combat is painfully simple and the loading times are soul crushing, but when somethings this cool you cant sweat the little things.

Microsoft Studios / Twisted Pixel 16 September 2011 The Gunstringer is the closest thing yet to seeing Kinects potential realised. Its responsive. Its immersive. Its brilliant to play. And it even comes with Fruit Ninja Kinect absolutely free.

The Gunstringer

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012
Ubisoft / Ubisoft Montreal 11 November 2011 Fittingly, its an evolution on the original game, rather than an all-new singing and dancing sequel. Still a great workout tool for all tness levels and still one of the best showcases of the Kinect technology.


Cave Shooting Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Japan Disney Pixar Toy Story Mania! . . . . . . . . USA Instant Brain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Japan Wheel of Fortune. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . USA Wipe Out 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . USA 107



PUBLISHER: Microsoft Studios DEVELOPER: Humble Hearts RELEASED: 15 August 2012


Originally aimed at the Indie Games channel, Dust won the 2009 Dream. Build.Play Challenge and a contract for an Arcade release. Its easy to understand why, since its one of the most endearing, compelling and plain enjoyable Xbox Live titles that weve ever played. The core blueprint is Castlevania and games of its ilk. Visually its a knockout that reminds, as its meant to, of the agility of Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden, and its giddy excess manages to disguise another remarkable trick: you can use combat solely as a mode of transport.

Double Dragon: Neon

The environments are consistently beautiful, the locations t together to create a believable Saturday morning cartoon of a world, and the simple act of getting around provides a tangible level of continuous joy that makes play constantly pleasurable. It even has moral choices where you have the opportunity to, for example, return some laundry after youve rubbed it in poison ivy. For a team of coders to create such a cohesive game would be worthy of note; for one man to do it, and maintain an insane level of quality throughout, is nothing short of remarkable.

Majesco Entertainment / Wayforward / 26 September 2012 The same two-player combat mechanic remains at its core, but what Neon does and does so with a genius level of style, panache and pure love is amplify its Eighties setting to often hilarious and deeply knowing proportions.

Dungeon Defenders
Reverb Communications / Trendy Entertainment / 19 October 2011 A sensational new take on the tower defence principle, the introduction of some RPG-like elements is a breath of fresh air and reminds you why we all used to love this defence-led style of play in the rst place.


PUBLISHER: Activision DEVELOPER: Freestyle Games RELEASED: 29 October 2009

So, 2010 was the year the music died. Poor sales saw Activision close its onceunstoppable Guitar Hero division, and Rock Band 3 tanked so badly that MTV Games sold Harmonix for just $50. But perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the DJ Hero series one of the few highlights of the oversaturated genre was a victim of the Great Plastic Instrument Collapse. Though the second game fell into Activisions trap of being too mainstream-y, the original DJ Hero was one of the best, most original

7 9
and downright fun games weve ever played. Using a turntable-shaped slab of plastic you cut, scratch and crossfade your way through some of the best music mash-ups this side of a Funkmaster Flex tape. Indeed, the soundtrack is so good that you could actually play it at a party without anyone suspecting that its from a videogame. While the landlls may soon be lled with plastic guitars, dont expect to see too many turntables no sane person wants to part with DJ Hero.

Shank 2
EA / Klei Entertainment 07 February 2012 Looking like a cross between Samurai Jack and Robert Rodriguezs Machete, what we have is one excessive arterial spray of sideways-scrolling excellence that kicks ass in many directions. Usually in little bloody pieces of ouch.

Trials Evolution
Ubisoft / RedLynx / 18 April 2012 Bigger, better and more twisted than before, this is another benchmark moment for motorcycle masochists. Through the anguish, the swearing and the occasionally skyward controller, its hard not to keep coming back.


Guitar Hero World Tour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Rock Band 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Def Jam Rapstar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Rock Band Blitz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Rocksmith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Remember Me
The latest reviews from the pages of 360 Gamer
TITLE Aliens: Colonial Marines Army of Two: The Devils Cartel BioShock Innite Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Crysis 3 Dead Island: Riptide Dead Space 3 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Fist of the North Star: Kens Rage 2 Gears of War: Judgment GRID 2 History: Legends of War Hitman: HD Trilogy Injustice: Gods Among Us Metro: Last Light Naruto Shippuden: UNS 3 Ninja Gaiden 3: Razors Edge Omerta City of Gangsters Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Monaco: Whats Yours is Mine Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Persona 4 Arena Remember Me Resident Evil: Revelations Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 Special Forces: Team X State of Decay Terraria The Cave The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Tomb Raider PUBLISHER Sega EA 2K Games 505 Games EA Deep Silver EA Ubisoft Tecmo Koei Microsoft Games Codemasters PQube Square Enix WB Games Deep Silver Namco Bandai Tecmo Koei Kalypso Konami Majesco Nordic Games Zen United Capcom Capcom Namco Bandai Atari/Microprose Microsoft Studios 505 Games Sega Activision EA Square Enix SUMMARY It manages to get so much right, but its greatest aw is revealed when the action kicks in.

Sponsored by

State of Decay







Fighter Platformer Kinect Puzzle

ISSUE REVIEWED SCORE 124 127 126 128 125 128 124 128 124 126 129 126 124 128 128 126 127 124 125 127 129 128 129 128 126 125 129 127 124 127 126 125 7 5 9 8 7 8 8 9 7 8 8 6 7 8 6 8 6 7 7 8 7 9 7 8 7 5 8 8 7 2 8 9

The Devils Cartel is not a terrible game, nor is it a very good one its just an exercise in mediocrity from start to nish. In parts its like a piece of interactive adult literature, but its still a game where blowing heads off can be mightily satisfying. You may not be there for long, but we doubt youll regret one minute spent with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Is an absolute blast, right up until it falls apart during the nale. Dead Island is back mostly doing what its beloved for. Youre in for another slightly shonky yet considerably pleasurable time. Its less horrifying than the prior games, but the fact that its co-op is arguably better than the solo alternative is dead impressive. Blood Dragon is to Eighties action movies what Machete is to grindhouse cinema, resulting in nothing but shit-eating grins. As a Fist of the North Star game its as imperfect as the rst one, but as a Warriors-style brawler its denitely more enjoyable. Wed have liked a meatier campaign and a smattering of spectacle, but especially online this is still the beast we know and love. A cracking arcade racer that bristles with depth and diversity. The real horror of war is that Legends very nearly succeeds but is ultimately let down by a succession of clumsy errors. Welcome though they are, the HD improvements are not perfect. That said, were glad that this restoration exists. Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of the most well-rounded ghting games that weve ever played. Despite rising from the ashes after nding a new publisher, Metro: Last Light may well be extinguished for good. CyberConnect2 once again proves that, when it comes to adapting anime into videogames, its got some serious ninja skills. This is a welcome attempt to address issues, yet its woefully obvious that one key element remains elusive: actual pleasure. Its been made on a budget while being sold at a premium price, but Omerta is a cracking little crime management game. To play Revengeance through really is to experience the result of a fractured development process. Charming, challenging and hugely enjoyable - and an absolute blast with your mates. Accept its aws and love it for what it is: an old-school shooter that sees you blast seven shades of shit out of monsters. Weve had to wait for the privilege longer than most, but this is one prize ghter thats only going to get better with age. A rudimentary beat-em-up. Theres just so much about the game that screams style over substance. This isnt the game thats going to save the series from its current identity crisis. Its just a damned good Resident Evil game. Most if not all the sins of the father have been addressed and Ghost Warrior 2 provides many a memorable moment. When it works, Special Forces: Team X is fairly decent, but all too often it just doesnt. Utterly engrossing and a fantastic, free-roaming time sink. The best zombie game since Telltales opus. At times freeing and exciting, at others claustrophobic and spooky, but nearly always worthwhile and cathartic. Really could have done with being a lot more like The Lost Vikings than it actually is. The words piss poor arent sufcient to describe this games inadequacy; it is absolute shit. Part-time putters could possibly pass, while seasoned swingers will nd plenty to justify yet another annual payout. Whatever your stance on grave robbing, we implore you to go raiding once again.


Recent hits wed recommend

Microsoft Studios / Undead Labs An open-world zombie game, by turns State of Decay feels like Red Dead Redemption (sandbox landscape), Skyrim (emergent adventuring), I Am Legend (post-apocalyptic survival) and XCOM (squad management and permadeath). Its utterly engrossing and a fantastic, free-roaming time sink.

Remember Me
Capcom / Dontnod Entertainment The idea of manipulating memories is an interesting one, but Dontnod has only succeeded in turning this concept into a fairly rudimentary beat-em-up. But the opening moments will almost certainly suck you in and youll probably be compelled to see the eight-hour expedition to its conclusion.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
Nordic Games / The Farm 51 Painkiller certainly isnt a technically accomplished FPS in the modern COD mould. But were happy to accept its aws and acknowledge it for what it is: an old-school shooter that sees you blast seven shades of shit out of a legion of monsters before grabbing a bigger gun and doing it all again.

Codemasters / Racing Studios Southam It might not be a major progression from the original, and games like Forza Motorsport 4 may have a touch more style and sophistication, but GRID 2 is a cracking arcade racer that bristles with depth and diversity. All-in-all its another rock-solid and hugely impressive package from Codemasters.

State of Decay 109

Page game

Up close and personal with tomorrows top titles

111 Saints Row IV 116 Destiny

116 111
We dont want to put artificial barriers in front of people or ask them to commit to five days a week playing the game
DeStiny 116 KNee-JeRK ReaCTIONS
MOSt eXCiteD By:




Saints Row IV
POtentiALLy ePiC:

year Destiny began ex-Halo devs

women thrown kicks in the nuts


CLeARLy nOt GtA:

Saints Row IV

paid for Saints Row devs & licence



FORMAT: Xbox 360 PUBLISHER: Deep Silver DEVELOPER: Volition, Inc RELEASED: 23 August 2013 XBOX LIVE: Yes

t all begins in presidential splendour, as a West Wingstyle walk-and-talk through the White Cribs corridors of power provides some much-needed time for hard decisions to be made. Will you back legalisation that ends world hunger or instead channel funds to f**k cancer? On facing a senator who announces that hes going to rally against your new progressive policies, will you counter his argument with a swift punch to his face or a low blow to the nuts? Ah, choices some of which we imagine may come back to haunt us. Its this opener that will provide as much as youll ever see of Volitions

serious face when Saints Row IV lands, and so provides some tough calls to be made by a former gangster who rose to become a pop culture icon and later (quite inexplicably) a leader of the free world. Then aliens arrived like Martian Manhunters and any pretence of attempting to make sense exploded in laser fire, as we got to play as the Prez after hes been gifted with a new set of fully boosted superpowers. Its really best if you dont worry too much about trying to comprehend any of this. Saints Row may have flirted heavily (and occasionally embarrassingly) with Grand Theft Auto, but now its left such

infatuations well behind and instead has decided to dress up like Activisions Prototype. We were given time to play with a few new systems in a demo that was purposely designed to show off whats new with this freshly borrowed angle. The developer has included powers that it wanted explained by the PR, apparently, but if we were to simply inform you that theres an ability that enables players to run at super speed youll no doubt be able to imagine how this will work out. Its basically like running on fastforward and, when its combined with a charged leap, it can flow into an elegant aerial glide since this


IDIOCRACY + PROTOTYPE 2: Take the sheer absurdity of Mike Judges 2006 film, add superpowers and then take away all that nasty tentacle-based violence.

Finally were getting a game in which we can throw women around with the power of our mind.


Will Johnston


Youll have to get over halfway through the game to be able to smash through spaceships.

President has invisible wings. You can still steal vehicles and take them for a joyride around the city, of course, but while youre not travelling quite as fast as a speeding bullet youll have to wonder if you would ever really need to. To further underline the benefits of being able to shift across the city like a lethargic version of The Flash there are optional side-mission point-to-point races to engage in, and if they add anything its a reminder that turning at high speed wont be that easy. Indeed, as velocity increases so some agility is sacrificed, which is exactly the reason we failed initially to reach the finishing

post within the time limit, having taken a few wrong corners. These great powers certainly are easy to activate, but with them (quite fittingly) comes some level of responsibility. Take Telekinesis; any targeted object, be it person, truck or alien imposter, can be raised off the ground before being hurled with great force. Thats easy enough as long as you get your aiming down, but now try engaging in another mini-game in which certain objects must be hurled through specific sets of hovering goal posts via the power of your mind while youre also being shot at, repeatedly, from all angles. Its chaotic.

ABOVE: Theres nothing up his sleeve, but then again this time there really doesnt need to be.

RIGHT: Crazy moves couldnt be easier to perform and help break up the constant barrage of gunfire. BOTTOM: Watch out some of these aliens might be cops in disguise.


If the new President of the United States has a problem with gun ownership then youd never realise it when checking out a few of the additions that he or she has brought to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Oval office has a full selection of em, all installed in special cases hidden behind wooden panels, and even the front lawn houses guns connected to guns that have guns on top of them and have been perfectly placed to deal with the alien threat.


ABOVE: Running at super speed means you can also charge in to deliver one hell of a punch.

BELOW: Last time we floated like this gore was dribbling out of our limbs. BOTTOM: If you didnt enjoy Saints Row III then youll probably want to keep well away from Saints IVs unbridled daftness.

Well at least it almost is, since in reality such actions werent too hard to pull off at all. Controlling with all the ease of Saints Row The Third, number IV also features a previously unknown level of stupidity and wanton carnage. It handles much like youd imagine some DLC called Enter the Dominatrix would before being redesigned, rebuilt and expanded into a full instalment and with all the trimmings that such a rethink brings. Thing is, weve already played the Prototype games. So while theres a lot of fun to be had its not fun that we dont easily recognise and, thanks to the demo world being locked away from the main story, we didnt get to

see how any of the mischief actually fitted into it all. These aliens, it seems, can disguise themselves as humans and reveal their presence at pretty much any time. One second youre walking the streets, greeting your citizens and occasionally smacking one in the baby maker, the next craziness descends as disguises are dropped. There are cops to be concerned about, too, despite law enforcement officers usually showing allegiance to their president. Dont feel too bad killing such traitors theyre also aliens. So what of rival gangs will they also be aliens? Will EVERYONE be aliens? And how about those times when you

just want to go for a wander across Steelport and not have to engage in some form of battle at every turn is this even still Steelport? Were told that its actually a virtual recreation, but the twists and turns in the narrative mean that the reasons for using such Star Trek Holodeck technology remain unknown. What you can count on, however, is that by placing the majority of the action within a kind of computer simulation anything will be possible and thats in a game that begins with a former gang-banger lauding it up in what was formerly known as the White House. Freezing and then shattering foes, hovering overhead before plummeting

While your first encounter with the Zin Empire proves that these extra-terrestrials are just as allergic to bullets as anyone else, your meeting with their leader certainly wont end well. Its a quick-time event of an engagement that does a whole lot more to showcase the aliens powers than your own, and its these powers that youll eventually be able to adopt and abuse as you see fit.


Will Johnston


Earthward to administer an almighty ground attack, leaping buildings in mighty bounds and hunting for Crackdown-esque orbs its all familiar stuff and it doesnt take long before the Dubstep Gun and its daft dances of death are in danger of playing a very worn-out tune. You can inflate people until they pop or do a bit of The Darkness and unleash small black holes. Its all very welcome, but our time with the game made no suggestion of an overall structure or how any of it actually fits together. Still, Saints Row IV really couldnt go backwards and so was always going to follow its trajectory of ridiculousness.

LEFT: Inflating someone to death may well be enjoyable the first few times but by the hundredth? RIGHT: This right here is the sight of modern democracy in painful action.

+ The West Wing references + Punching a senator in the balls + F**king cancer

- Not having missions to play - Is everyone an alien? - Not playing our The Third character

We rocked the free world

By their very nature sandbox games are all about providing a lot of toys to experiment with, but still a bit of structure would have helped our experience not be quite such a freefor-all rampage. Our President was equipped with every power possible and we had access to all the big guns, but how he arrived at that position or was meant to go about ridding Earth of an alien threat remained unclear. Homies, hideouts, turf war against extraterrestrials as it stands, a game that follows few rules could easily carry on as unstructured silliness and wed really just miss the point of it all. We eagerly await review code and some much sought after answers.


360 Gamer: Destiny seems more original than Halo in terms of style and gameplay, and has no obvious hero for the game box Eric Osborne: I think the style is a result of coming off the end of working on Halo and doing sci-fi for so long; I believe it pushed the team to explore a new place. We originally looked at fantasy, actually; knights of Camelot and white cities on the mountains. But, in 2009, the guys couldnt really shake the fact that they were space fanatics. We spoke with people such as Craig Hardgrove from the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab and were mutual admirers of each others work. While our team starting digging into fantasy we were still thinking about space and really wanted to have both genres, so we decided to smash the two of them together. Many characters faces are covered, with the style coming from those fantasy robes. Is this kind of detail something new and commonplace for the next-gen consoles? When we targeted multi-platform consoles in 2009 they didnt exist, but the thinking did allow us to add more detail; the costumes link to where characters have been and what theyve done, for example. There are people who are playing and making games like Quake still, but were doing new things with Destiny and the mythic science-fiction stuff is just one part of that.

We chat With ERIC OSBORNE, senior Writer at Bungie, as the developer leaves halo Behind and looks to recreate the space epic With added adventure in Destiny. and its looking like the most interesting Fps in years
Do you plan sequels? How big is the game environment? Knowing that we have plans for the future has been really beneficial and we do make big, open landscapes and vistas that feel hyper-real and stylised places that beg to be explored. We want players to hunt for treasure, look for secrets and find out what makes the game tick. Do you think Destiny will attract a new breed of FPS fan? We really hope so. One of the reasons we wanted to go multi-platform and partner with Activision is because as storytellers its our goal to build a really big audience. Part of that is making the world fun, interesting and hopeful, casting the player as a hero so they can feel good about the time they spend there. Another part is providing different activities for different types of gamers who might want to play something a bit more RPG-style or to take on a new role, like someone who wants to be the strong, silent type, for example. Or perhaps they want to be the rogue hunter these are archetypes that we havent been able to satisfy before. Someone could say they want to be the robot space wizard, and thats cool stuff to play around with. We try to make our games accessible; theyre FPSes and so are skill based, minute-by-minute, pixelby-pixel action. But bringing Destiny to a large audience and telling big stories is what we do. We like having conversations with the community and want players to tell their own tales. Youve got a giant world and lots of characters, so how do you explain it all to newcomers? In terms of the artwork were putting out there, the team is making sure that we cover a lot of bases and that people get a good look at the possibilities in the world. So if you saw our reveal in February, our GDC reveal
ABOVE: Perhaps the most noticeable visual leap is the amount of action on screen, with detailed birds flying between huge landscapes with no pop-up.


BELOW: Its simply impossible not to see echoes of Halo, but Destiny feels like a much bigger space opera with a huge story to tell.

We want low level players to play with high level players and have a blast

Richard Melville


and what we put out at E3, we havent stuck with one character archetype. Even in the television ad we had three distinct characters, mixing the classes and giving them different looks with the gear. Weve shown male and female, weve shown human and we have an XO in the build we want players to feel as though theyre the heroes, the guardians of the last city on Earth. The area is not just an empty vessel, but the home of the players character which actually means something to them. Destiny looks utterly huge. Are you conscious that players will spend more hours with the game than a traditional shooter? Theres more opportunity for people who want to spend extra time in the world; its a deep experience with a richer variety of things to do. That means everything from the action game, to the core character customisation, to the social sections. We have third-person spaces that show off the towers in the cities, places where you can identify where to refuel and re-arm.

ABOVE: The enemies vary from space age faeries to Jurassic era mutations, and theyre wrapped up in a landscape that seems part Narnia and part Mad Max. TOP: Team-based combat is much faster than it was in Halo; it will satisfy experts and please newcomers with RPG-style character improvements.

The cinematic storytelling will appeal to the omnivorous gamer but we want the game to be lifecompatible; our players have jobs and kids. We dont want to put artificial barriers in front of people or ask them to commit to five days a week playing the game. We want low level players to interact with high level players and have a blast were committed to that, thats the kind of gamers we are. We want to build captivating worlds but we cant ask everyone to commit to a huge amount of hours. Finally, what challenges have you encountered with the development? When you started in 2009 you didnt know the Xbox One specifications or features, so it must have been a bit of a moving target. When you start afresh with a new

intellectual property you have a lot of time where the team is not really developing the game, but laying the foundations for the technology. While theyre building the engine you have to let them feel it out and decide whats next for them its a cool process but also one that is a little challenging because, as with any development cycle, the clock is ticking. That said, the team did a lot of amazing work at the beginning and laid down these great pillars; when we went independent, everyone put so much effort in during that time. After the completion of Halo Reach in 2010 we were integrated into the Destiny team and looked at the art and vision for the game we had 117 employees when that happened and to this day weve kept 115 of them at Bungie, so its pretty incredible.

RIGHT: Distinct clans make up the character roster, though weapons and outfits can be changed and tracked, and show where they were found based on their appearance.

We spoke with people such as Craig Hardgrove from NASAs Jet Propulsion Lab and were mutual admirers of each others work 117

Spotlight on the XboX live gaming community

the undead labs folks are currently in negotiations with microsoft so that the developers can go ahead and create the massively multiplayer Class4, the follow-up to State of Decay, and we imagine that such negotiations will be short. hey microsoft, we made the fastest-selling arcade game in the history of live arcade, notching half a million sales in crazy time and wed like to make a bigger, deeper and incredibly online version for the Xbox one fancy it? microsoft would consider that it owns the games intellectual property anyway, smack its lips, then start licking the devs faces like an eager puppy.

the lateSt neWS FRom aRounD the online XboX WoRlD

Pocket changes
ActuAL reAL money to Be uSed for vIrtuAL thIngS
icrosoft has announced that those days of spending money on microsoft points, before said microsoft points are spent on Xbox live games, Dlc, avatar items and various other Xbox sundries, are to come to an end this very autumn when a dashboard update is released across all major territories. Fair play, being corralled into buying 1,500mSp because you wanted to download a 1,200-point arcade title has never been that fun, but at least its given us an excuse to use the residual leftovers to purchase the occasional natty hat or pinball table. So what will happen to any points left in your account when this whole alteration takes place? they will be automatically translated into actual pounds sterling monetary funds of equal or (and this is sweet) greater value so you might just make a penny or two. there will be no great rush to spend what points you have collected via gift cards and download codes, either they will be valid right the way through to 2014. Weirdly, microsoft already has Xbox 360 classics on sale for real (well, credit

When electronic arts backtracked on its online pass strategy just before microsoft revealed that the Xbox one would not allow games to be played without an internet connection we werent alone in wondering if the two were linked. Was there a conspiracy to stitch up the second-hand market that had been spun to make ea look good? if so then youd probably expect the FiFa reiterator to bring back the passes and yet again charge second-hand gamers a bit extra to play some multiplayer, now that the one is resell friendly. Well, the publisher wont be doing that since online passes are not being revived and you can make of that what you will.

While Fez II has been announced to much excitement, theres absolutely no chance of the game coming to either Xbox unless microsoft alters its position on selfpublishing. currently the corporation wont allow it, so polytrons phil Fish wont be bringing his next title to the 360 or the one since his company doesnt work with publishers. hes independent, ysee, as is lorne lanning and his outfit oddworld inhabitants, so Oddworld: New n Tasty! wont be heading our way any time soon either. but hey, its been a season of microsoft backtracks, so fingers crossed that indies will soon get the benefit of one more.

or debit card) currency and so theres currently a bit of a mishmash that can only be explained by microsoft points not being acceptable for the purchase of third-party items. in news with a deeper Xbox one flavour, its also been confirmed that the next-gen machine will be making the Kinect do all the hard work when it comes to augmenting those 25-digit alphanumeric sequences you used to enter via joypad to redeem your Dlc or activate points cards. its camera will scan a QR code and your funds or extras will automatically be added to your console now thats pretty damned cute.

ABOVE: Soon youll easily be able to see exactly how much you spend on Barbara Streisand movies its ALL good.

LEFT: Its like buying a product from a shop that only gives vouchers as change.

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The laTesT DlC fraggeD, TaggeD anD baggeD


The WaLking DeaD: 400 Days

price: 400 Msp

in one twisting episode, five separate stories play out in any order you like, from the perspectives of five brand new characters all interlinked around one Georgia truck stop as the dead begin to walk the earth. telltale Games is really pushing some narrative boundaries here, or at least bringing a bit of Pulp Fictions structure to this precursor to Season Two. as is fitting its all very harsh, grim and unafraid to match the blood and doom with a barrage of fruity language. dont play with grandma in the room, then play with the lights down low and a big bowl of popcorn.




Ride to Hell: RetRibution Cooks Mad ReCipe

price: 320 Msp

snipeR: GHost WaRRioR 2 WoRld HunteR paCk

price: 400 Msp

inJustiCe: Gods aMonG us GeneRal Zod

price: 400 Msp

Well, at least if you divide the 771.98Mb of content by the price then you get a number that suggests some form of value. so thats something. its just not great value since Retribution has smuggled itself onto the game shelves, successfully dodged our review section and has been widely acclaimed as being a bit of a clanking mess. still, if youve engaged with its broken take on bikes and fists then by all means tuck into Mad Recipe, as it may be the first, as well as the last dlC to even attempt to grab your attention.

Fancy playing a game of happy campers with other similarly minded long-range killers? then this third batch of dlC is something to consider since its all about bouts of team and squad deathmatch battles set across four new maps. Forest pursuit and CQC Hotel are there for team players, Jungle Camping and industrial district offer plenty for quads and theres a pleasant mix of environments throughout. the core game is still not quite up to triple-a quality, of course, but if you can counter its quirks youre sure to derive some extra pleasure.

unfortunately this pack doesnt add terence stamps perfect rendition of the kryptonian war criminal as seen in Superman II, nor Michael shannons incarnation from the recent movie that failed to paint kal-el in a heroic light, since superman is an icon of high ideals who doesnt break necks. instead, netherRealm has added its own General Zod to the roster and one powerful son of a bitch he is, too. oddly, he arrives at the same time as a skin from Man of Steel so the two can face each other with no danger of grim headlocks and dying eyes.


e discov This issue wks departure made a lot

tric Don Mat happy of readers

N O S S E L E V LI ered that


Fair play, its actually a very easy Achievement to get and only gives 15 GamerPoints, explains reader SuzieQueue, but since I didnt even know I could unlock skills for my survivors I couldnt stop smiling after unlocking Trust Me, Im an Expert. Aside from some initial hand-holding State of Decay really does keep its secrets to itself, so dont worry Suzie it took us a while to notice that option, too, and when we did it reminded us of those days long ago when we swapped 3.5 inch Amiga discs in the playground, didnt have manuals and had to gure out games for ourselves. Ah, those were the days. Got a favourite Achievement? Post it up at the forums!

on Shiring is an engineer working on Titanfall whos noticed a lot of confusion regarding Cloud technology and hes taken to Respawn Entertainments website to explain exactly why the tech means great things for Xbox One multiplayers. Amazon has a cloud that powers websites. Sony has a cloud that streams game video so you can play a game that you dont have on your machine. Now Xbox Live has a cloud that somehow powers games. Cloud doesnt seem to actually mean anything anymore, or it has so many meanings that its useless as a marketing word, he admits, while expanding on how cloud really just means servers. And how any developer can have access to dedicated servers and, with that, not have their games suffer from host advantage, not have cheating as an issue and be treated by lightning-fast matchmaking among many other benets. But the Xbox Ones solution is even smarter than that. Microsoft thought about our problem in a bigger way. Developers arent going to just want dedicated servers theyll have all kinds of features that need a server to do some kind of work to make games better. Look at Forza 5, which studies your driving style in order to create custom AI that behaves like you do [see page 22]. Thats totally different from what Titanfall uses it for, and its really cool! So its not accurate to say that the Xbox Live Cloud is simply a system for running dedicated servers it can do a lot more than that. The Cloud means that Respawn doesnt have to worry about estimating the number of servers that it will need on launch day and have to nd internet service providers across the planet, then rent from all of them, maintain the servers or


Fingering a future Arcade hit

ABOVE: Shiring touched on cloud processing, and you can expect to hear more about such tech in the future.

BELOW: Titanfall has received more E3 awards than any game, ever which is mighty impressive.


Now that Ubisoft has pushed Rainbow 6 Patriots to 2014 and onto the Xbox One, it really is up to one of its ex-designers to bring some proper tactical gunplay to the 360. Christian Allen has worked on Ghost Recon Advanced Fighter as well as the far more shooty Halo: Reach and, having secured Kickstarter funding and had a very successful time at E3, we really cant wait to play his game where one bullet really matters and only fools rush in. Takedown is currently looking very tense indeed and hopefully will meet all its goals when it nally launches on Live Arcade later this year.

copy new builds of code to each one. That lets us focus on things that make our game more fun. And best yet, Microsoft has datacenters all over the world, so everyone playing should have a consistent, low latency connection to their local datacenter. Best of all is Microsofts price. The goal here is to get more awesome games, not nickel-anddime developers. So because of this, dedicated servers are much more of a realistic option for developers who dont want to make compromises on their player experience, and it opens up a lot more things that we can do in an online game. Feel better about Xbox One now?

Live score challenge


Theres a terrifying beauty lurking in the cool and dreamy deep of the Indie Games store that features creatures crafted to killer sleekness through millions of years of evolution and we would like you to kill 12 of them. Thats 12 sharks speared in standard Survival mode, if you please, and if that number seems a bit low then you should consider that its quite a lot higher than the number we managed to maim. Shark Attack costs just 80 Microsoft Points and we guarantee that youd have spent far more than that had you discovered it at the arcade of a motorway service station.

Were not shy about our opinions on games, so why not join us and maybe you too can feel the joy of seeing your name in print. Write a 250-word review for us and have the chance to get your work published in the greatest and most modest Xbox 360 magazine in the world. Send your review to our digital mailbag at, or alternatively post it at the forums for some feedback from your fellow readers! 121


your mag, online!

Adjustments to your online pleAsure
Unless you read magazines via the random access method and have leapt right here straight away youll have noticed that, while weve changed our name to One Gamer, we still go balls out to bring you all the Xbox 360 news, previews, reviews and screens that are fit to print. Like dipping into a swimming pool while wearing dry trunks its better to go all-in, or at least thats the theory behind the new name and use of the slightly wonky simile or how about a metaphor? Well be the Colossus of Rhodes straddling a harbour of Xbox information, for the perceivable future at least until the Xbox 360 side gets its release schedule filled up with Ubisoft games about looking after ponies (or the modern equivalent, now that the kids market is dead) and then well straddle no more. But this right here is the section of the magazine thats concerned with our online doings and so its about time we get down to the business of mentioning what this all means for our online existence. Changes, thats what gentle yet important changes of subtle and unsubtle natures that are already happening and will continue to do so. Such changes include how we would be honoured if those who have pressed the Like button on our 360 Gamer Facebook page would Like our Xbox One Gamer, er one. Hey, were getting used to the name too. Visit and do the right thing. Both pages will continue to be updated, but all the real action and focus will soon be placed over on pastures new where the grass be even more lusciously Xbox green. And what of Worry not, it too will continue to be updated with daily news and the magazines reviews but our new home is at Well be moving over there soon and, who knows by the time youre reading this we could already have unpacked and at least be sat atop some boxes drinking a cup of tea while chatting about who gets what bedrooms (again, metaphorically speaking). As with our Facebook pages, both sites will continue to receive content until that just becomes a particularly silly thing to continue to do. Thats not all our Twitter home from whence we tweet has also received a fix, so some of you may have already noticed that our old handle has been transformed to become @ONEGamerMag. If youve already registered youll automatically be following the new name, because internet technology is pretty darned cool like that. So there you have it a myriad of digital newness is on the way, alterations have been made and our online presence will continue

abOve: With the press of a button your usual daily Facebook posts of other peoples dinners will get a mighty boost.

to evolve. To end on a particularity pretentious note well quote Heraclitus, who famously stated: Everything flows and nothing stays. The only constant is change. Hey, these two pages are about our internet presence, so its totally fitting and right that we end by using a search engine in order to sound all clever were not really turning into Boris Johnson, honest.


Dont get us wrong, Facebook is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with friends and spying on those you only meet at social events but quite fancy knowing more about. You get to learn about their cats, their pugs, their favourite foods, that movie they didnt quite like as much as they had hoped the levels of detail are limitless. That much you know, but what might have eluded you is that its also great if youd like daily updates on all things Xbox posted to you from the diligent news hounds of this very magazine. Every day we post all thats happening in the world of your favourite console to help keep you up to speed. More than that, since Facebook is very much an interactive medium, it also means you get the opportunity to exchange views with other like-minded readers in a safe and secure way. Then there are the occasional polls we run to find out the general attitudes concerning a variety of topics, like which aspects of the Xbox One you would have preferred to have been added or removed at launch a headset in the box or an adaptor for your old one? How about Microsoft enabling independent devs to publish their own games without having to go through a separate thirdparty publisher? Interestingly, in a Facebook poll we ran concerning those very questions, it turned out that many of you would like the option to buy the console without it coming bundled with the next-generation Kinect. Hey, were looking forward to using the device especially now it actually works in non-palatial front rooms.

What youre looking at isnt some kind of psychologists test to gauge your reaction to visual stimuli, so if you can see an owl or a burning house or a happy face then thats just a bonus. No, its a QR code that you can point your phones camera at, take a picture of and, if youve got the right app installed, youll be taken directly to the website where you can view our take on the days Xbox news and read reviews of games youre interested in. Download some QR scanner software and give it a try.

Its a little known fact that the micro text broadcasting service commonly known as Twitter was actually developed just so people could easily keep in touch with Stephen Fry and make sure the national treasure is doing okay, but there are other benefits to using the service where messages can be sent at rapid speed as long as theyre under 140 characters in length. You could gain multiple daily bulletins from us here at ONE Gamer, for example and we heartily recommend that you do so by following our Twitter tweets @ ONEGamerMag. All it takes is a click and computer technology will do the rest if what we tweet interests you, youll also find a short link to our website where you can gain extra information, screenshots and movies.


Heres where we remind you that ONE Gamer has expanded across the internet and has its own YouTube channel that goes by the catchy name of ONEGamerMag and features every Xbox trailer worth watching (that we can get our hands on). Those of you fantastic enough to have subscribed to the 360 Gamer channel will have received a little message to switch your subs by now, but in case you missed that notification you should do yourselves a favour and switch your subscription over. The old channel will remain for a while, but all new uploads will go to the new zone.

HavE IT YOur waY

Theres a tactile quality to holding a paper magazine in your hands that you dont get from viewing a screen, but even so we understand that a lot of you enjoy using electronic wizardry to view text and images which is why you can enjoy ONE Gamer on your computer, smartphone or tablet device. Its fast, its efficient and its the easiest way to not have to venture to your local magazine stockist, only to find that theyve sold out and that you got soaked for absolutely no reason whatsoever. There are a few ways to get hold of the mag in digital form; log onto our website at (or even and follow the links, or you can download an app such as PocketMags or just use Newsstand and do it that way. However you choose to grab yours, youll be able to enjoy it with all the benefits of the added tech, like extra screenshots, actual moving trailers and a host of other interactive bonuses that paper just cant offer. Were always looking for new ways to improve and so you can also expect our digital self to evolve over time so why not use that new internet thing everyones talking about and give ONE Gamers electronic incarnation a try. Youll save money, youll remain informed and youll genuinely become a better person.

Over the past few months more and more reviews from the magazine have found their home online at our increasingly plump website, so why not catch up with coverage you might have missed by logging onto (or the classic Wondering if that game youve seen selling for just a few quid on eBay really is worth it? Then connect your internet device to the internet and check out our verdict. Youll also find that we add multiple news stories every day and that youll be more than welcome should you join our forum. 123





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The old online turn off

I am a regular ONE Gamer reader and I am writing to you to express my concern over Xbox Ones used game policy and only being able to play games with an internet connection. I have five good friends who own an Xbox 360 and all of them are now going to buy PS4 (yuk). Please can you pass this email on to Microsoft so they can see the seriousness of the situation, and how damaging their policies will be to the Xbox name, and the future success of Xbox One. I do not want to be forced into buying a Sony product after ten years of loyalty to Microsoft. Please help to save the Xbox I know from many sources (i.e. YouTube and Xbox forums) that many Xbox users are going to buy PS4. JAY KELLEHER, VIA EMAIL Folks, we forwarded this email to Microsoft and, next thing you know, it reverses its online policy. Purely coincidence, or do we all owe Jay a pint?

wed have loved to. It was actually a miracle it made deadline at all.

Damned developers
Is it me or has everyone forgotten about the developers role in the next-gen DRM debate? Before going further I just want to make clear Im not a fanboy of any system, Ive owned most consoles that have ever been conceived going back to the commodore Vic-20. Unfortunately console game developers all want money for doing little, barring a few exceptions of course. Dont get me wrong, there are talented developers out there. But come on, am I the only gamer that embraced this generation because of the promise of bigger worlds, more people online, persistent games and so on, only to see it all on those bloomin Pcs? We managed what, three, possibly four, persistent MMOs this generation? Its been the standard yearly updates and carbon copied deathmatch formulas. No, wait I tell a lie! four-player co-op. Great innovation there. So

Fleeced by release
Guys, I love the mag. But seriously, a whopping great SIX pages devoted to a preview of fIfA yet youre only able to spare just ONE solitary page for your review of the much-awaited State of Decay? The small development team from Undead Labs has done a superb job on it (you gave it an 8) so its very disappointing that your magazine has given it such poor coverage. Im glad that word got out about it and its now the highest selling original Live Arcade game. Its small companies like them who really need the promo so throw them a bone next time, eh? JEZ HILL, VIA EMAIL Undead Labs did indeed do a great job. Microsoft, however, did a pretty poor one of actually telling anyone when State of Decay would be released. This left the magazine no time to give it more pages and, believe us,

ABOVE: Well make any excuse to mention how great State of Decay is. Everyone get it now!

lets conclude; barring a few exceptions, we get quick yearly updates on tweaked engines for easy cash. What are the excuses? Secondhand sales are crippling developers because they dont see any revenue from them. Okay, fair argument. So heres my main point: at E3 why did no developer make a statement of intent and give gamers a reason to embrace a way of increasing day one sales and therefore their revenue by standing shoulder to shoulder with Microsoft and their DRM tools, by announcing, for example, something like this for Watch Dogs, Destiny or whatever the multi-format games are: Yes, well be launching on Xbox One retailing at 29.99? At this point Id like to say Im just as happy that things will stay as they are, because if they had given us a statement of intent saying, Yes its better for us and you because we are able to lower prices for the gamers, everyone would be happy, Sony would have to follow suit and adopt similar DRM policies because gamers would be getting the games cheaper on release day than what second-hand games currently retail for. The only difference being developers would see all revenue. But no, nothing like that was mentioned. Games could have retailed at the exact same price, and theres the answer to Microsofts woes and why gamers rebelled against the DRM ideas; game developers gave us no incentive whatsoever to embrace them, thinking it would be better to still try to screw the consumer with inflated prices and try to look cool showing wares at Sonys conference because of the bad press prior to E3.Well done developers, shot yourselves in the foot there. LONG LIVE USED GAMES. NOIBOOTH, VIA EMAIL Or Microsoft could just drop plans for discfree gameplay completely and so no longer need to perform online checks. Anything else on your mind?

LEFT: Isnt the Xbox One meant to be of the generation about massive multiplayer and persistent worlds?





He looks like a bit like Spider-Man, if SpiderMan carried Samurai swords. And guns. And ate chimichangas. And used curse words. And could teleport. And spent more time ogling Rogues boobs than fighting bad guys. Deadpool is pretty much SpiderMan for the internet generation after all, who needs a Spider Sense when youve got voices in your head? Ryan Reynolds was just a horrible fever dream and the Ultimate Alliances were just a tease; for real Deadpool fans (and even Deadpool fans who dont know theyre Deadpool fans yet), the real Deadpool experience comes in the form of the Deadpool game. If it werent for the fact that it comes on a DVD instead of a bunch of stapled sheets of paper, youd swear that you were reading the comics its the really real deal. We dig Deadpool so much that we want to spread the love about his game, so weve got five copies to give away to you lucky sumbitches! Just think, you too could be carrying Samurai swords, eating chimichangas, cursing, teleporting and ogling Rogues boobs. World peace? Pfft dream a little bigger. To be in with a chance of winning, heres what you have to do. Head on over to the site and click the Competitions tab at the top of the page. Then just click on the Deadpool compo, answer the question and BY CABLES MOOBS youve entered! The closing date for entries is midnight on 13 August 2013, so teleport your spandexcovered buttocks to and get clicking that Competitions tab!






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Issue 131

Are you Spider-Man? No sweetheart. Spider-Mans a sissy. 129





PUBLISHER: Microsoft Studios DEVELOPER: Undead Labs RELEASED: 05 June 2013 REVIEWED: Issue 129

Over half a million people purchased Undead Labs open-world apocalyptic adventure during its rst dozen days of availability, making it the fastest selling original game in Live Arcade history. Unlike Minecraft it didnt ride a wave of excitement set in motion by a popular PC version and, at 1,600 Microsoft Points it certainly stood out as one of the most expensive games available through the service. State of Decays instant success doesnt just say great things about its developer; in many ways it suggest some pretty cool things about Xbox gamers tastes. Aside from Telltales take on The Walking Dead, if youre playing a game with zombies in it youre pretty much going to be spending a lot of your time killing them. Not so with State of Decay, where your main key to long-term survival concerns managing relationships between survivors, scavenging for medical supplies, food, ammunition and fuel, creeping around back yards while keeping a low prole and only going toe-to-toe with zeds if its really necessary. You cant even run them down while driving a truck without there being some form of penalty, since every collision adds to accumulated damage, and the last thing you want is to be jumping out of a vehicle thats just about to explode while miles from home or the

safety of an outpost. When a character dies, they die permanently and death can come even when you imagined yourself relatively safe. Take our version of Marcus as an example. We had kept him alive from the very start of the game and, many days later, all his skills were fully levelled up to the point where he was an absolute Tallahassee of a zombie slayer. It was early twilight and he was returning to the Church of the Ascension on foot for much needed rest and recuperation. With just a few hundred metres of empty lane between him and security, it seemed a good idea to start to run then, with his stamina only a quarter full, a feral zombie leapt from a bush and pinned him down. He fought back, but soon became exhausted as he struggled to reach safety. Had he managed to make four more steps a snipers bullet would have taken the feral out, but instead Marcus was torn apart as he crawled desperately on his knees. That one hurt. State of Decay perfectly enables many such tales to play out, but despite (if not because of) its perfect bleakness its not a game we wanted to end. It would be simple to follow mission after mission to reach full completion, but instead we decided to develop agriculture and become self-sufcient. Its that good.