9 Minutes of Awesome – Watch_Dogs Multiplayer Walkthrough

We’re just a shade over a month away from Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs finally hitting store shelves after a lengthy delay and a relatively long “dark period” after.

With an embargo expiring yesterday, a flood of previews, impressions, and new information spilled out all over the internet with some big revelations surrounding the game’s multiplayer side. While Ubisoft previously showed off a cat and mouse style mode where a player infiltrates another player’s world trying to hack them, yesterday’s news also revealed additional online modes which players will be able to tinker around with.

Just like the previously revealed and now officially named Contracts mode, each online element is blended seamlessly into the single player so there won’t be any menus or text to navigate through to get where you want. The modes are initiated through various NPCs in the world highlighted by blue and purple colors. People who download and use the ctOS mobile companion app can actually challenge other players in what’s essentially a time trial mode. The console player tries to outrun the mobile player who controls the police and any hack points between the start and finish line. The final mode, known as Competitive Decryption, pits two teams competing to capture and decrypt a file. Both teams can hack the environment to suit their needs which makes this mode a completely unique and dynamic event each time.

From what I’ve been hearing, there may be a few more modes yet to be revealed including a free roam open world open to 8 players. We’ll see.

If you want to see all this stuff in motion, Ubisoft released a very informative video showing off each mode. So lets join up with animation director, Colin Graham, as he walks us through the gameplay. Enjoy!

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UWG Top 10: #10 – Super Metroid

Derek "Gamer Crash":

Fun fact: I sometimes write for the fine folks over at United We Game and over there we’re big on putting together some fun features on a monthly basis. This month we’re bringing a brand new Community Series to you all detailing our top 10 favorite games of all time.

It was a long and hard struggle to whittle down a massive list punctuated with tables being flipped and many gladiatorial battles taking place. But we made it and throughout the following 10 days, one of the fine writers of United We Game will offer their insights on a new title. Today I get the party started with one of my personal favorites: Super Metroid.

So make sure you tune back in each day at United We Game for another unique look at a new title that we all feel is excellent in it’s own right. Enjoy!

Originally posted on United We Game:

To this day, I still don’t know how I managed to choose Super Metroid.

Lets face it, 1995 was a completely different era for gamers. It was the age of Super Nintendo vs Sega Genesis, Mortal Kombat was still considered to be extremely controversial, Nintendo Power was a huge selling magazine, game purchases were done only in big retail stores and more importantly, online blogs, game sites, and social media didn’t exist. I know to many of you, I just blew your mind, but yes, buying a game was a major process back then and usually involved trying to convince your parents to shell out the necessary money.

Walking around the local Toys ‘R’ Us (when they used a crazy yellow ticket system to purchase games), I can remember coming across a game called ‘Super Metroid’ featuring a character in a orange suit fighting a dragon like character. I had…

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PAX East 2014: Inside The Indie Megabooth

The indie scene has been rising every year at the Penny Arcade Expo thanks in large part to the Indie Megabooth, a section of the show floor highlighting smaller independent developers and their games. It gets larger and larger every year and PAX East this past weekend was no exception. While I didn’t get to try all 80+ games on display there, I did go hands on with a number of upcoming titles so here are some quick thoughts on each.

Hyper Light Drifter
By: Heart Machine
Combining elements from old school 2d action/RPG titles like The Legend of Zelda, Hyper Light Drifter is a game that just oozes style. After hearing about it during it’s successful Kickstarter run, I’ve been casually following this game since. Featuring a gorgeous visual style and a great soundtrack from Disasterpeace, Hyper Light was a very popular booth at PAX this year. As such, I didn’t actually get my hands on the title but I was completely drawn in so I spent a healthy amount of time watching other people play. Interestingly enough, a multiplayer mode was shown off for the first time featuring two players working together to survive waves of enemies. Seems like a nice diversion and something for leaderboard hunters but for many of us, the single player is where the meat of this game is. Currently there’s no release date as Heart Machine wants to take their time to ensure the final product is great.

Aztez
By: Team Colorblind
I had heard a few pre-show things about this one and when I walked by the booth, I stopped in. Aztez is a very stylized brawler set during the height of the Aztec Empire in Mexico. The demo I played had you going up against waves of increasingly challenging enemies. The combat was fast and satisfying and the black and white color scheme mixed with only red for blood was a very cool look. In addition to heavy and quick attacks, players could also block, jump, dodge, and absorb blood on the ground to restore a bit of health. Still, the demo was limited to seeing how long you could survive in combat so I didn’t have a good idea of what the main game really was.

Apparently from what I read on their site, there’s quite a bit more to the game.

Dyscourse
By: Owlchemy Labs
Successfully reaching their Kickstarter goal late last year, the guys behind Jack Lumber and Snuggle Truck are setting out to deliver an interesting take on adventure survival narrative. As a survivor of a plane crash on a desert island, you meet up with fellow survivors and hope to survive long enough to get rescued. The story and how things play out such as who lives or dies is placed directly in your hands by what you choose to do or not do through text based interaction. The demo let me play through three days (essentially three events in game) and right off the bat, the game quickly shifted based on things like who i spoke to or decisions that I had to make for the group. I honestly never felt good about my decisions, assuming that Owlchemy had something devious always planned around the corner. I can say for sure that whatever decision I picked, I was constantly surprised at the result. If the game stays this dynamic through the whole length of the campaign, the amount of story branching and vastly different outcomes is a pretty intriguing concept. It’s a very unique title, but I had a lot of fun trying to keep my group of survivors together.

As a side note, I did manage to run into a bug which halted all progress for my character. Pretty funny when you think that the bug occurred only through selecting a specific course of choices which I had done. Thankfully, the Owlchemy guys helped me out by getting me back to a usable state. Glad to have helped product test guys!

Secret Ponchos
By: Switchblade Monkeys
I was meaning to check out this multiplayer arena shooter last year at PAX but for various reasons it never happened. This year? I firmly rooted myself to this booth. This shooter set firmly in the a fictional western universe has all the right flavors of fun, fast gameplay mixed with unique experiences. In the mode I played (multiple times), 8 players (from rigged up PlayStation 4 consoles) squared off in a Free-For-All mode where a player got 1 point for a kill and minus 1 point for a death. The characters so far are varied in terms of appearance and abilities making for some interesting strategic combat. I’ll tell you right now, I can see this being one great party game in a similar vein to Smash Bros. No release date on this one, but it’s planned for PS4 and PC with Early Access kicking off this summer.

I’ll have more for you on this one later in the week. Stay tuned!

Shovel Knight
By: Yacht Club Games
I’ve been following this game since it hit Kickstarter as it has that sweet spot of classic Mega Man mixed with Castlevania look to it. Not only that, it features some of the catchiest chip tunes (By Jake Kaufman of course) that’ll get stuck in your head long after you stop playing.

I didn’t actually get any hands on time with this one as there was a HUGE crowd and limited controllers to go around, but I did stay and watch for a while. While that game may look straight off of a NES, it can obviously do some more things that the old systems couldn’t. The level on display was from Specter Knight’s level, a sort of creepy graveyard and haunted castle which honestly could have been ripped straight out of Castlevania. The animations were beautiful and there was one room which was completely dark save for lightning flashes which illuminated the area. Believe me, it was a cool effect. Shovel Knight is due out fairly soon as the team has finished work on the game, just bug squashing. I for one, can’t wait.

Delver’s Drop
By: Pixelscopic
Another Kickstarter project that I’ve been following for a while, I had a chance to speak with Coby Utter, co-founder, game director, and chief engineer on Delver’s Drop, about the game. For those who don’t know, Delver’s Drop is a 2D action RPG that has that classic top down look of the old Legend of Zelda games. The dungeons you’ll be exploring are randomly generated every time you play making each playthrough extremely unique. Coupled with different classes and unique physics system, Delver’s Drop is looking to refresh the classic “roguelike” formula. What surprised me the most is that the Pixelscopic team is planning on having a weapon generator that’ll be able to randomize drops that far exceeds what Borderlands 2 was promoting prior to their launch. I didn’t see that coming. What happens if you die but want to continue using the weapon you had? In an interesting twist, an undead version of your character will be waiting for you. Defeat this character to get your stuff back. With that many items in the game though, something better is always around the bend.

For a look at Capybara’s Below and Super T.I.M.E. Force, have a look at my post here.

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PAX East 2014: Crashing Cars In Ubisoft’s The Crew

I’ll fully admit that I’m a sucker for arcade style racers. Give me blazing speeds, unrealistic jumps, and slamming cars over realistic simulation racing any day. While Burnout’s overly long absense has left a pretty big whole in my heart, I’ve been searching for the next great arcade racer. The Crew from Ubisoft caught my attention last year at E3 showing off some interesting gameplay bordering more on the arcade than sim. I’ve been curious ever since and thankfully got some hands on time with the online connected racer at the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston this year. Will it be the next big racer?

THECREW_NY_TimeSquare

While standing in line waiting my turn, I was able to watch people play the game and the first thing that really struck me was how big and detailed the map of the United States was. Developer, Ivory Tower has not been shy about the map and it shows. The major roads are detailed along with the city hubs in each of the five zones that make up the continental US. Being able to quickly zoom in and out of the map looked pretty impressive as well with more and more detail being added the further back you panned. Reports also indicate that if you wanted to race from either end, you’d be looking at a few hours. The size of the map is just one aspect which has me pretty excited.

The four demo stations were set up for two people each since Ubisoft is aiming The Crew to be a socially driven MMO style experience. With that said, the first race took place on the streets of Detroit and was a solo race. The nice thing about The Crew is that while it does have a lot of social features, you can still play it as a single player experience if you want. The Detroit race was fun and the game looked great during this city at night race, but this alone didn’t do anything different enough. If this was all Ubisoft was showing, it would have been a disappointment because frankly, it was fairly basic. Not sure if the AI was turned down for the show, but I had little trouble besting my AI opponents. In traditional arcade racer style, a turbo boost was available in what seemed to be a constantly regenerating bar. I’m not sure if this was by design or due to the aggressive driving I was doing.

The real treat came next as my partner and I were about to take part in a “co-petitive” type of mission. While we were both on the same team, we’d be competing against each other to take down a runaway truck. This is what I signed up for. Rocketing through a small ocean side town, the two of us soared over beach dunes, drifted around grassy stretches, and basically tried to slam into this truck who desperately wants to get away from us. The match ended spectacularly as I managed to take an angle which shot me over a hill completely ramming the truck from the side and taking him out. One element that did surprise me however was the lack of visible car damage. I’m not sure if that was intended or if it was just not turned on for the show. Granted, it didn’t really take any of the fun away from what I was doing, but it would have been a nice added touch. While both of us technically won, I was awarded with a new part for my car.

Speaking of spare car parts, The Crew plans to be “dropping” loot in a similar vein to games like Diablo where completing challenges and races earns you new parts you can use to change/upgrade your car. I did earn a few parts during my demo but wasn’t able to explore that side of the game at all so I can’t speak to it directly.

Overall, I had a fun time with The Crew especially considering it seems to be stocked with gameplay that could be ripped right from a game like Burnout Paradise. I’m curious to see what else is hiding under the hood of a game with a map this size. If you have a crew of your own, the game appears to be even that much better, taking cues from more traditional MMOs such as customization, leveling up, and getting better parts (gear). With this much going on, would anyone be surprised about dungeon raids being included at this point as well? If you’re going to make an MMO style game, might as well go all the way, right? The Crew hits the finish line later this year on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. I personally can’t wait to hit the open roads.

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Saturday Video Round Up: April 13 – 19

What, did you think with all this PAX East news and impressions that the Video Round Up would be taking a break from the public eye this week? No way, I couldn’t do that to you guys. Here’s a look at a handful of videos waiting for you down below the break this week.

Craving more brains content to devour in Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare? PopCap has heard your cries for more and they’re delivering with additional free DLC and tons of content. Free! get the lowdown in the trailer below on everything you’ll be getting. Having troubles mastering the jumps of Trials Fusion? Why not let the developer team at RedLynx give you some invaluable tips for staying on your bike. Sony’s bringing a number of cool editing tools to the PS4, the first being a full fledged video editor and the second being a “photo mode” for getting those great shots inside of inFAMOUS Second Son. For more detail, have a look at both trailers below the break.

I’ve also got new videos for Ghost Recon Phantoms, Daylight, Child of Light, and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos await you after the jump…

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PAX East 2014: Unleashing My Inner Monster with Evolve

When I heard that Turtle Rock Studios (the talented guys and gals behind the excellent Left 4 Dead) were bringing their upcoming title, Evolve, to PAX East in Boston this year, I knew that would be my first stop on the show floor. Arriving earlier than normal to get a better position in line, the Evolve booth was larger than life complete with a 20 foot statue of the monster in the demo, the Goliath. Even though the wait to play was a bit longer than I anticipated, getting to go hands on with Evolve was well worth it.

evolve

For those of you wondering what Evolve is, the best way to describe it would be a human controlled boss fight. Four hunters, each representing a certain class (Assault, Trapper, Medic, Support) are sent out to hunt down and eliminate a monster who’s out to grow stronger and destroy the human characters. While the full game promises to feature more game modes, we only got to try out “Hunt” where the four human characters tried to hunt and kill the 1 monster character before it can level and destroy a generator.

For the sake of transparency, I played as the Goliath (Monster) during my demo time so what follows is perspective based around that. I can’t speak to how the four human characters play as I didn’t actually get any time with them. The full Evolve experience can be read after the jump…

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PAX East 2014: Hands On With Below and Super T.I.M.E. Force

Capybara Games (Critter Crunch, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP) has seemingly been plugging away at two of my most anticipated titles for what feels like an eternity. Can’t deny their past successes so while waiting is (really) hard, it’s definitely a benefit to the final product. I was pretty excited to see Capy once again going big at PAX East this year and quickly hustled my way over to both booths to go hands on with Below and Super T.I.M.E. Force. You’ll find my detailed thoughts waiting for you below on both titles.

Below
I’ve always been curious about this title since it was teased at last year’s Microsoft E3 conference. As the details have been slowly coming out since then, I found out that Capy was bringing it with them to PAX East this year. I knew I needed to try it. Located in the hybrid Capy/Double Fine booth, I sat down at a little station, put on the headphones and instantly became absorbed into this world.

Described as a creative take on roguelike games, Below presents a top-down and pulled back view of a tiny warrior navigating through a mysterious cave. Each room is randomly generated ensuring that it’s a unique experience each time through and will feature the traditional roguelike “tough but fair” difficulty. The animations on the little warrior really impressed me even with his tiny size on screen. Each sword swipe, jogging animation, and shield bash was so detailed, I couldn’t help but be in awe. it has this almost cute but menacing look to it. As I continued to play, I found myself more curious than anything as Below won’t hold your hand in an effort to tap into your explorer side urging you to discover things on your own in this atmospheric world. And discover I did as my curiosity lead me into some pretty devious traps and enemies.

Below-Cave

As my character died for the first time due to my own curiosity and stumbling into a spike trap, that’s when the game’s soundtrack kicked on for the first time softly playing and gradually getting louder. My God people, the music! Jim Guthrie has once again nailed it as the song began to play, it fit so well with what was going on screen, it was beautiful magic. For a taste, have a listen here. I could have played more and I wanted to, but I could feel the evil eyes of the growing crowd behind me, so reluctantly, I gave up my seat and controller to the next person in line to hopefully experience the same joy I had just felt.

Below isn’t for the faint of heart and proves to be a difficult game. That’s part of the fun in my opinion as even though you *will* die, Below encourages discovering and exploring. Combine that addictive gameplay with amazing visuals and what will be a stunning soundtrack, Below is definitely one to watch out for when it releases in a few months for Xbox One and Steam.

Super T.I.M.E. Force
This pixelated, side scrolling shooter has been in development for a while now, but this was my first real opportunity to get some hands on time with it. Located in the large Microsoft booth on a single machine, I finally got my chance to bend time and space to my will.

Essentially a trippy action shooter with gorgeous pixel art, STF is Capy’s take on old school side scrolling Contra style games. Super T.I.M.E. Force challenges players to quickly make their way from beginning to end of a level in 60 seconds, but also gives the player the ability to not only add additional seconds but to mess with it in some very interesting ways as well.

STF_future1

The aspect that really impressed me was the “Time Out” mechanic which is at the core of this title. Time Out records previous playthroughs and when activated, will play them out with your current character giving you the appearance of having more than one character playing at once. Think of it as single player co-op.  Initially, I thought it was only to be used when your character died (one hit kills naturally), but after watching and understanding how to use it effectively, the possibilities that it adds to the game cannot be understated. You can essentially use Time Out anytime you want (even though you do have a finite amount) giving you as many copies of your previous runs as you want to help out your current “live” character.

At one point in the game, I had to save a character trapped behind a steel barrier. I could shoot at the beam and eventually it would break, but alone, the chracter would be killed by an enemy in the room with him. by using Time Out three times, I created three copies of my previous characters all shooting at the beam. With this much firepower helping me, the beam was destroyed very quickly and the enemy beaten before it could kill that character. The copies then disappear when during their run, the Time Out feature was called for them so it’s not like you can have a huge army following you through the whole level.

I actually surprised the Xbox employee when I beat the demo level so quickly and he asked me if I wanted to sample the next level. Of course, the only correct answer was a resounding yes! Being third in line and watching the mistakes of the people in front of me certainly helped. Capy’s sense of humor is on full display, the playable characters are all diverse and interesting, and the game is just downright fun. While we don’t have a solid release date quite yet, it does sound like the game will be gracing us sooner rather than later, first on Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program.

Side Note! I got a chance to quickly meet Nathan Vella (co-founder/President of Capybara Games) quickly when he stopped by the Super T.I.M.E. Force booth. Awesome guy, and someone who’s very easy to root for and support.

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