Let’s just get this out of the way up front - FIFA 14 on the current-generation of consoles feels very different. I know there’s always a great deal of cynicism surrounding annualised games and how different things really are, but this year’s FIFA really has made some noticeable changes. If you’re set in your ways – you know, one of those people who sprint whenever they receive the ball – you’ll undoubtedly find FIFA 14 a shock to the system.
Despite not offering a single new release last year, Creative Assembly's Total War series nevertheless sold over two million games and another five million DLC packages. Those numbers will no doubt grow considerably this year when Sega publishes Total War: Rome 2, the sequel to the most popular, best received game in the series' history.
Traveller's Tales used the Lego franchise to do a couple of different DC games, several kinds of Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, and even Harry Potter. So it's only natural that the next big geek franchise it tackled would be Marvel Super Heroes, especially now that the Marvel movie properties are so hot. But far from being a quick cut-and-paste cash in, the new Lego game is every bit as funny, inventive, and captivating as anything the team has worked on.
The Last of Us is a near-perfect analog for The Road, a literary masterpiece written by Cormac McCarthy. Both present a hopeless, post-apocalyptic situation navigated by two characters – an adult and a child – with nothing but absolute despair surrounding them. Like The Road, The Last of Us is perpetually dangerous and unpredictable, and like The Road, what happened to get society to a point of rapid decay isn’t the focus. It’s the story of the characters at hand, and those characters alone, at the center of both plots. The beauty of The Last of Us when compared to The Road, however, is that it’s fully interactive, complete with all of the vulnerability, uncertainty and perpetual insecurity such a situation inherently provides.
Sometimes the simplest RPGs are the ones I gravitate to the most. Instead of a game that demands I invest dozens of hours in order to master an overly-complicated battle system and decipher walls of text and never-ending cutscenes as a means of conveying what inevitably ends up being a clichéd story, it’s occasionally nice to have something that’s just simple, entertaining, and smart. That’s what Obsidian and Ubisoft seem to have on their hands with South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Some games are short but sweet, concluded after a single, glorious play session. Others require a few sleepless weeks of dedicated play to unlock all of their mysteries. Then there are the very few games that take on a whole digital life of their own – that become a part of the player’s daily ritual for years to come, with more to gain and accomplish than you could ever truly quantify. Animal Crossing: New leaf is one of the latter. It’s also one of the most charming, addictive games I’ve ever played.
With all the attention surrounding the Xbox One, it almost seems as if Microsoft has forgotten its other gaming platform, Windows 8. Thankfully, gamers who are wondering what to play on their Windows tablets and phones will soon have the chance to experience the latest game in Microsoft's flagship franchise, Halo. Halo: Spartan Assault is a new top-down, twin-stick shooter due out this July for Windows 8 devices.
That Harmonix’s next game is being built exclusively for the Xbox’s Kinect (both of them) is not a surprise. Its Dance Central series was among the motion controller’s best and most successful franchises, after all.
It’s also not unexpected that it’s a music game. Harmonix, after all, is a unique development studio built on the principles of connecting people with music in new and interactive ways – and the legacy (Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central) clearly reflects that.
What’s more shocking is that the studio's hooked up with Disney and are makingFantasia: Music Evolved, a modern-day take on Walt Disney’s obscure theatrical experiment from 1940.
I’ll give you a moment to process that. If you can’t picture it, don’t worry: I’m here to help.
PopCap has announced that Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time will hit iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch worldwide on July 18th. The game will be free-to-play with upgrades and in-game items available for purchase, though PopCap notes that “players can face every zombie and access every level in every world at no cost.”
According to PopCap, Plants vs. Zombies 2 “continues the epic struggle of plants defending your brainz against zombies from your backyard through the vast reaches of time, both past and future.” The game offers “dozens” of new levels and multiple themed worlds, plus new plants and new zombies along with “all-new touch-screen power-ups that enable players to ‘break the fourth wall’ and interact with zombies directly, as well as via plant defenses.”
Occasionally, the internet takes a break from being its friendly, nurturing and open-minded self and dons its grumpy hat instead, becoming quick to anger and predisposed to oppose anything that does not neatly align with its expectations. Unfortunately for 2K, the day it announced it was developing an XCOM shooter was one such day. The internet, perturbed by its suspicion that 2K might be trying to shoehorn a beloved franchise into an ill-fitting FPS mould, was immediately wary.
Since that day in 2010, we’ve seen the XCOM shooter shift from a first to third-person perspective as BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin assumed full development responsibilities. But for a while it looked like the XCOM shooter had disappeared entirely, prompting concerns the project had been cancelled and causing the internet to furrow its brow deeper still. Happily, the shooter recently resurfaced under the moniker of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and brought with it an evocative live-action teaser, depicting the origins of the XCOM organisation some 50 years past.