Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut review A love letter to Silent Hill 2

When it comes to mourning the loss of genre games, survival horror often tops the list. It’s trendy to rant about the state of modern AAA gaming, of the demise of Resident Evil, and to treat indie developers as the saviour of gaming. The same names are trotted out each time. Amnesia, Outlast, DayZ. All three are excellent indie horror games that duly deserve the praise, but end up overshadowing the more inscrutable titles that sneak under the radar.

Lone Survivor deserves its place on the list. It’s a game that hasn’t made much of a dent in the gaming consciousness, but that’s not for lack of quality. As programmer, designer, writer and composer, Jasper Byrne is a true renaissance man, sculpting his vision out of pure, gut-wrenching horror.

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At least Nintendo had a reason why all their co-op characters were white men

Ubisoft, you have no excuse. Assassins Creed: Unity has nine studios working on the game, one of your animation directors has called bullshit, and people are not happy.

It was on our feature list until not too long ago, but it’s a question of focus and production. So we wanted to make sure we had the best experience for the character. A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation, a lot of costumes. It would have doubled the work on those things.

Developers. Do you think we’re stupid? Women are not a feature. Last I checked, they made up half the goddamn world’s population.

Is this what you want to do? Do you want to throw money away? How much effort was wasted in making console exclusives and 14 special editions of AC:U rather than making your franchise inclusive?

Get your fucking priorities sorted out. Then maybe I’ll tear myself away from Bioware’s back catalogue (who by the way, didn’t give a shit how manly FemShep moved) and play your games.

Final Fantasy VII G-Bike is the most painful FFVII HD tease yet.

Cloud Strife in high definition? Who wouldn’t, right?

No, a Final Fantasy VII HD remake STILL hasn’t been announced, but here’s a shiny mobile mini game to keep you going until the next crushing disappointment.

Final Fantasy VII G-Bike will be released later in the year. It’s based on the motorcycle game that you could play in the Gold Saucer, but with updated graphics and dazzling manoeuvres straight from the Advent Children movie. You’ll be battling SOLDIER, Behemoths and the Guard Scorpion, and spending less time on the bike than pouting at the camera and screaming incoherently.

It’s completely ridiculous and overblown, so par for the course for Squeenix. Let’s hope it’s executed a little better than their other mobile games

Square Enix is just toying with us now. Not content with dragging our dreams through the mud and ignoring the potential money printer on their hands, the developer has obviously decided to release FFVII piece by agonising piece. It’s like keeping that megalixer all the way through the game until the final boss, and then still not using it.

The only solution is to rise up and march on their head office, banging feebly on the glass with their fists like 90s zombies who just can’t let go.

New Star Fox game is in development, start saving up for a Wii U we guess

Time accidentally broke an embargo this morning, announcing the news early that Shigeru Miyamoto is working on a new Star Fox game for the Wii U.

In the interview, Miyamoto teases Arwing battles and some unique gamepad controls that stretch the Wii U’s capabilities to nothing previously seen before:

I think Star Fox will be a game you spend a little bit of time getting used to the controls, but that once you do, then you’ll understand what’s fun about that experience… One of the things they enjoy is learning to master the game. And once they do, that sort of opens it up for them, they’re thinking about, “Oh, what’s this play style?” And then as they get deeper and deeper into the game and get better at it, they feel that sense of accomplishment having mastered it.

Using the control sticks to manoeuvre, players will aim by holding up and turning the gamepad itself. You’ll still be able to pull off the usual barrel rolls and loops, but from a completely different perspective.

Other vehicles available in the game include the ground-based Landmaster tank and a helicopter that houses a tiny reconnaissance robot. Two people are able to co-op, with one controlling the helicopter and the other collecting loot and destroying enemies.

The Star Fox team have been working for around six months on the game, with release expected next year. They have however been playing around with ideas for years, so expect a few more surprises on the way.

It’s about time, Nintendo. There hasn’t been a new console Star Fox game in 9 years.

Mario Maker Wii U lets you make your own Mario levels

It seems that whenever anyone gets their hands on a level editor, they make a Mario game. So what happens when you give people Mario Maker?

Nintendo gave us more information about the game during its Digital Event at E3 today, showing off the ability to design full 2D stages with game assets. The trailer shows full customisation of Mario levels, using the stylus to create your own dream game. Gamers will be able to take full control over the little plumber’s destiny by placing and changing the height of pipes, dropping Koopas and coin blocks, and even stacking up piranha plants.

Players who have enjoyed Nintendo’s latest 2D Mario games will have the ability to switch between Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario seamlessly. It’s a fantastic concept that really seems to use the Wii U gamepad to its full potential.

Mario Maker will be released early 2015. For those who can’t wait, here’s a sneak peek of the kind of things we might be seeing…for better or worse.

The Differences between Enemy Front Teaser Trailer and Launch Trailer are everything that is wrong with the Games Industry

Watch that teaser video up there. Here, I’ll help you out:

So…set in World War 2. One of Hitler’s speeches is echoing in the background of a battleground in Poland.

Wandering civilians. The child picks up a teddy.

German soldiers close in on the group, a door closes and heavy gunfire is heard.

Some unsettling imagery here.

Wow. Wow OK, this looks interesting. Heartbreaking, but it seems a game is willing to take this sensitive subject head on and deliver something a bit different and thoughtful to the saturated WWII landscape. All respect to you, Namco Ban-

What

Wait no-

Oh, oh REALLY?

That is the LAUNCH trailer for Enemy Front, filled with all of the bloody takedowns and massive explosions that you would expect from a cookie-cutter, brown, shooty-shooty-bullshit clone game. It’s like Dead Island all over again, except using real victims of a horrific tragedy to market virtual war. Yay.

Now OK, the game isn’t released for another two days, and it may prove to be another Spec Ops: The Line. You never kn-

Ah. Right then.

It’s this cynical marketing technique I’m sick of. Grab the critics with the emotional bullshit, sell it to the masses with glorified warfare. This is everything that is wrong with the perception of gaming at the moment, and it’s unacceptable.

Via @burgeroise

A New Teaser Trailer has been Released for Volume, Promises Evil AI, Creepy Stock Footage

Mike Bithell, creator of the gorgeously simple and compelling puzzle platformer Thomas was Alone (hey, here’s a review! Great timing!) has released a mischievously vague trailer for Volume, a stealth game due to be released hopefully later this year. It’s brave to release a trailer the day before E3:

Well, it’s getting mentioned on a tiny Tumblr games review site, so mission accomplished, sir!

The game will hopefully make an appearance at E3 and will be released on PS4, Vita, Mac and PC later in the year. Bithell has spoken in the past of his good relationship with Sony, and has praised the reimagined indie-friendly company for its open and fair approach to developers.

This trailer is a continuation of the drip-fed approach to marketing Bithell is rather fond of, and has managed to add another level of intrigue to a game we have frustratingly little information about. The live action video, mainly made up of Getty stock footage and a cheesy voice over, is another exploration of artificial intelligence and its role in our society, albeit of a more menacing perspective than the cheery Thomas was Alone.

image

The video is presented as a short PR video for the fictional Gisborne Corporation, a sinister tech company responsible for the creation of a dystopian, surveillance-heavy world. The gameplay seems to be heavily synonymous of Metal Gear Solid, although with an emphasis on pacifism and taking the system down through sound and vodcasts rather than garrotte wire. Danny Wallace, the excellent narrator of Thomas was Alone, will be returning as the voice of the AI, with the awfully Britishy tones of Charlie McConnell as the protagonist Locksley.

It looks like Bithell has finally progressed to polygons and the third dimension, which is nice. If it toys with my emotions like the last game, he may have a big hit on his hands.

Thomas was Alone: Pixel Perfection

I’ve just fallen in love with a rectangle. His name is Thomas.

Thomas is a featureless red shape who can move in two dimensions and jump over things. He also thinks the best of everyone, makes friends easily, and wants to make the world a better place for all AI everywhere. Think of Thomas as the everyshape.

So is the conceit behind Thomas was Alone, a puzzle platformer from Mike Bithell. Yesterday I reviewed Nilhilumbra, another game in the genre that was concerned with nihilism. Bithell, however, is a self-confessed lover of Bauhaus and mid-century modernism. It’s clear that when indies think simple, they think big. But most of all, they think accessible.

This game isn’t a treatise on minimalism, but on simplicity. It’s about friendship and rivalry, sentience and acceptance.

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Nihilumbra review: Limbo via Nietzsche

Throw half a dozen indie developers who have never met each other before into a room and see what happens. Odds are they will build a puzzle platformer. It’s one of those inevitabilities, like gravity, or Sherlock slash porn on your Tumblr feed.

The genre has proven extremely successful in the past with Braid, a game that has risen above the mediocre sludge of the rest of the market to deliver a fully-formed concept, held together by tight gameplay, a solid difficulty curve and a surprisingly meaningful plot.  As such, the indie market, especially the indie mobile market, is saturated with copycats, and it’s extremely easy to write them all off.

Not so Nihilumbra.

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Dark Souls 2: The Lost Crowns three part DLC announced

A trilogy of DLC was announced for Dark Souls 2 today, with the first due to release next month.

The Lost Crowns will be drip-fed over three months. Episode 1: Crown of the Sunken King will be released on 22nd July for PC and XBox and the 23rd for PS3. Episode 2: Crown of the Old Iron King will arrive on 26th August and Episode 3: Crown of the Ivory King is set for 24th September. You can also buy the season pass on Steam or PSN right now for £19.99 / $24.99.

Crown of the Sunken King, the first chapter in the trilogy, sends players on a journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. It is said that one of the ancient crowns lay buried deep within these dark caverns; but surely such a valued item cannot sit unguarded. Players that seek adversity and glory will be rewarded with a crown that holds the strength of lords from times long past.

Thus ends the torturous U-turn that From Software has been negotiating for the past few months. At the end of last year, Dark Souls II’s producer, Takeshi Miyazoe, told Edge that he wasn’t expecting “any additional downloadable content because we want to deliver a full game, the full experience, to fans who purchase the package from day one.”

Then in January, it seemed he was gradually reconsidering his position:

There is definitely potential [for DLC]. Again, it’s all about fan feedback. Right now we are concentrating on completing what we’ve got, but I think there are next steps on how we can expand on Dark Souls II.

Money is a wonderful thing.

Still, better this than the other model Namco Bandai has been adopting for Tekken and Soul Calibur: Free-to-Play. In the same breath as turning down the potential for DLC, Miyazoe said:

I think it would be hard to monetise in that way. Pay per death? That would be terrible. From Software especially don’t want to allow players to pay for an advantage. Spending a couple dollars on certain items does not help the experience. So no free-to-play yet!

Don’t say yet, you’ll only give them ideas.