Trine 2 has a warm glow

March 22, 2011

Trine 2 is coming, and it has a very sexy new gameplay trailer showing off the wizard, rogue and knight taking care of business against a backdrop of lush foliage:

I particularly fancy the water flowing over a conjured platform, green humanoid creatures that I assume are goblins being crushed to death by huge stone blocks, and mutant plants growing to full size in seconds, acting as a lure for a mega-snail.  All extremely cunning.

Still, a shame about the lack of an online coop mode.

Merci RPS.

UPDATE: According to this thread on Frozenbyte’s official forums, there is online coop.  I am vomiting with excitement right now.


Have you paid your fridge tax?

March 20, 2011

Well have you?

For more banter from Simon and Lewis, check out the Yogscast.

Deus Ex Human Revolution warehouse approaches

March 19, 2011

Frank Pritchard is an asshole.  That’s what I see as the main takeaway from this developer walkthrough (developer walkthroughs seem to be rather commonplace these days don’t they?) of a short sequence from Deus Ex Human Revolution:

Oh and also I like retractable arm daggers a great deal.

Cheers RPS.

Old Republic flashpoint developer walkthrough

March 17, 2011

Bioware have posted a meaty developer walkthrough of one of their instances, which they call flashpoints, and it’s got me thinking about interface and combat style in MMOs.

On balance the walkthrough has made me more nervous than I was half an hour ago.  I’m looking forward to The Old Republic and I don’t want Bioware to spoil the game’s promise by trying to emulate the core aspects of World of WarcraftWoW is all very well and good and a solid time and money sink for a few months every year, but there’s a lot about it that pisses me off royally, including the interface and combat style.

Interface-wise I’m specifically referring to the daunting cluttered mess of spell and ability buttons that inevitably dominates the screen as you approach the endgame.  Even with handy action bar mods like Bartender installed, I can’t escape the feeling that the 40-60 buttons I’ve accumulated through 80 levels of grinding, looting and occasional mild fun are ganging up on me like some sinister digital analogue of the einzatsgruppen, closing in to strangle the life out of my hairy tauren paladin in the centre.

There’s just way too much going on for me to wrap my head around.  And don’t even get me started about dual speccing – I’ve tried being a tank one hour and a healer the next and all the shuffling of spells and gear drove me crazy.  And I don’t mean Mardi Gras ‘woah guys, keep the noise down!’ crazy; I mean Hannibal Lecter ‘I think I want to eat your face and kidneys for my amusement’ crazy.

As the combat style of WoW goes I can at least appreciate the robust tank/healer/DPS ‘trinity’ class balance, which has been well honed over the years and has always ‘just worked’.  Aside from that aspect though I find it all too easy to descend into a state of boredom.  Essentially it degenerates into an overcomplicated admin task: keeping up your basic ability rotations, making sure your spec matches the latest theory online, constantly having to reevaluate your gear and not really understanding what stats need to be prioritised because the game never teaches you, remembering to cast the right buffs for the situation, etc.  The list of variables in need of attention goes on.

What’s weird is that all this pretending to be CEO of your own private little on-screen empire does hold a sort of twisted appeal, but it’s never been fun for me in the purest sense of the word.

Which is why DC Universe Online has been such a breath of fresh air.  The combat is immediate and accessible with the simple left-click/right-click combo control system for basic attacks.  You can’t have more than 7 abilities (7 buttons) available for use at a time, which if you think about it has, give or take, been the healthy norm in shooters (whether first or third person) going all the way back to Doom.  And, above all, it is fun.  There’s something about that added physical interaction (left-click = fire laser beam out of hand into Lex Luthor’s babymaker) that taps into some primal human instinct.  The gameplay is, as a result, radically different.

And so returning to The Old Republic footage, it scares me a little that it seems to look and play distinctly more like WoW than it does like DC Universe Online.  Ok the screen doesn’t look quite as cluttered as WoW at level 80, and there’s a lot of apparently jolly explosions and lightsaber frolicking going on which is pleasing, but how can there be 25+ distinct ways for a Jedi to twirl his saber, and why does he seem to robotically pause for contemplation after every special move like he’s having trouble remembering what he’s supposed to do next?

This is Star Wars. It’s not meant to be anything other than exhilarating, flashy, fast and epic, preferably all at once.  I don’t know if I really want to see a channeling meter every time I use the Force to tear a chunk out of the floor and fling it at a rancor (or whatever the hell those swampbeasty things are in the video) – that ought to be a cinematic moment that makes me feel powerful, not a timer counting down.

Anyway we’ve got months to go before TOR comes out so there’s plenty of time for previews, interviews and other videos to assuage my concerns.  I still have high hopes for the story, characters and dialogue.

Sadly I’m an HTML illiterate retard which means I don’t know how to embed the walkthrough properly, so you’ll have to waddle over to PCGamer to see it.

I know you don’t want to leave my blog, but you must.

Farewell, and to quote the infamous G-Man (because that’s always fun even if it is completely irrelevant in this circumstance), “I will see you up ahead.”

Modern Warfare and Gabriel Angelos

March 16, 2011

Today some truly spiffing video came down the RSS pipe into my eyeballs.  It’s so spiffing I felt I had to propagate it.

First a series of fan films dedicated to the legacy of the Modern Warfare games, which are generally badly acted in terms of actual dialogue, but well worth watching purely for the Jack Bauer style terrorist take-downs:

Thanks to PCGamer for noticing that one.

And upon further investigation I have determined that every video posted on the same YouTube channel, freddiew, is brilliant, so feel free to waste wisely spend your entire evening watching their videos, including this one:

And for dessert, if you’re any kind of fan of Dawn of War or Warhammer in general, you must watch this riveting behind the scenes look at their magnificent cast of voice actors, courtesy of RPS:

Ensure that you watch until the end to be treated to a clip of Paul Dobson, a.k.a. Gabriel Angelos.

You’re welcome!

Dead Island screenshots are nice

March 9, 2011

PC Gamer have some interesting screenshots of zombie slaying coop game Dead Island, and with the possible exception of the man swinging an electric machete (something that irks me now but could perhaps grow on me) I find the screens rather encouraging.

As has been reported, the developers are clearly going for a realistic vibe in the setting and graphical style, and we can see the quality of the graphics is decent.  What particularly impresses me though are the details on the zombies: specifically the variety of shapes, sizes, facial detail and undead fashion sense.

The hungry looking chap in the foreground above for instance seems to be sporting a gangster/hippy look.  In the background we have an angry skinhead, and on the right a bikini-clad sunbather wearing a vacant stare with a hint of sad resignation.

Now let’s see some gameplay footage, please.

Deus Ex delayed again?

March 8, 2011

Although none of the writers of reports seem to be saying it, I am fairly sure this announcement about the release date of Deus Ex: Human Revolution should be called a delay.  I mean it is a delay right?  It was I think previously due around June or July.  It’s now August.  August comes after July.

I can tolerate this sort of thing to an extent when we’re talking about a game by Valve or Bioware.  We know those guys will deliver a grade A experience every time.  I do not count Eidos Montreal in the same bracket of consistent excellence.

They had better deliver a fucking mind-blowing return to form for the Deus Ex franchise or I will go on a rampage.

Thanks to Rock Paper Shotgun for the news and the groovy screenshot of what I can only assume are a bunch of cyberterrorists eating augmented nano noodles.