Spiders Studio is a developer who has sort of outreached their ambition in their last couple of games. That said I have high hopes for The Technomancer. I've been craving a new scifi like this: compelling story, addictive art direction, let's just hope the gameplay matches the setup. I'm really pulling for this game because the studio has some great ideas and I hope they finally have the skill and polish to match that ambition. The Technomancer is out today, check out the launch trailer below.
Remember those sort of awkward, stilted gameplay trailers for The Division that had voice actors pretending to play the game? Well, Ubisoft is doing that again.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a game that I am both excited about and completely cautious of. I feel like for years, the Ghost Recon series has just skirted around the edge of something truly special, but it never quite reached its potential.
This upcoming entry focuses on the cooperative gameplay, one of the strong points of games past, and promises an open world, one that looks pretty impressive in this demo, which shows off Ghost Recon's characteristic blend of stealth action and straight up firefights. Something worth mentioning is that there is very little technology used in the demo; perhaps the near-future aspect of previous entries has been toned down a bit for this one.
Watch the demo for yourself below.
So this is how the Star Wars empire collapses.
Some genius involved in the Minecraft movie decided the best day to release it was the same day as the final entry of the current Star Wars trilogy. It seems like none of the shot callers in the business of making movies into video games is capable of making a good decision, which is such a shame when there are genuine artists like Duncan Jones trying their best.
Without getting into too much of a rant, this decision doesn't speak much to the studio's confidence in their film. It will be interesting to see what other information comes out between now and then.
If I'm being honest, I didn't expect to like Prison Architect this much. I'd reviewed its second cousin, The Escapists, enjoying that game's slick soundtrack and confident 8-bit graphics, but never falling in love with The Escapists escape-the-room shtick.
Despite near identical top-down floor plan visuals, The Escapists and Prison Architect are different species entirely. Prison Architect is a deep, deep sim builder with roots reaching into in-depth reporting, logistics, staffing, top-to-bottom construction, and emergency countermeasures. I'm only four-fifths through the tutorial, and, while ramping up slow and steady, I'm already staring at so much on my plate.
Most TV fiction doesn’t depict the prison-industrial complex in this depth. I'm almost 100 percent certain there's a better term for it than "prison-industrial complex," but it's all I got at the moment. There are bureaucratic levels extending in every direction. There are tech and research trees that cover everything from the obvious, such as security, maintenance, and death row, all the way to the not-so obvious, such as routing the prison’s income into an offshore tax haven, or getting a psychologist on payroll, or running educational reform programs.
The real hook for me, however, is the storytelling. I had no idea it'd be like this. I mentioned that there's a five-part "tutorial," but that's only part of the deal. Yes, the tutorial is a gradual introduction to all things Prison Architect, but it's a story mode, too. Looking at the visuals, I didn't expect a whole lot of narrative to be going on. I thought it'd be more like SimCity, with a pat on the butt and a "Good luck, kid" to send you on your way. But no, there's some drama. And drama on a level that has games like Grand Theft Auto and Hotline Miami to thank for some of its brazen nature. Prison Architect's story mode has a shank or two hidden up its sleeve. I mean, it seems obvious, considering the source material, but there's murder/death/kill, mob boss family ties, corruption running up and down the spine of the prison system, and who knows how deep this rabbit hole goes?
I'm working on the architect part of the simulation. A tweak here and a tweak there and I'll have it figured out. But, for instance, the game wants you to click-and-drag out the floor plans to large rooms, like common rooms and kitchens, but it requires more nuanced borders for each individual cell. There are plenty of quirks like that, all of them deliberate, but some of them taking a little getting used to. Like how you can't just place a chair and move it a few feet to the left to make room for a bed. You have to, essentially, put in a work order for that chair to be moved, then you have to wait for an available workman to make their way over to the chair to physically move it. Watching each individual workman lay a foundation or erect a wall is great; it's awesome watching them swarm a job site to put up a new structure. It feels a little silly, however, when nobody can lend a hand to the smaller jobs, like rotating that garbage bin, or moving the staff room's pool table a smidge to the right.
I'm dealing with a full-on riot right now. Most of the initial rioting--and the fire in the west cell block--has been handled, but smaller uprisings keep popping up. I'll need to hire more armed guards and station them around the complex. Nothing quiets a prisoner quite like a round of buckshot. As it stands, my on-site doctors are the busiest at the moment. It's difficult continually locating and repositioning my riot guards on such a huge campus, but I'm looking forward to the conclusion of the law-and-order story that's had far-reaching consequences for me and my prisons.
Prison Architect should not be this good. Not at first glance, anyway. The game doesn't screenshot well. The commonplace top-down view looks like clipart at worst, or a do-it-yourself D&D dungeon creator at best. Yet the depth of this simulation is staggering. My head is full. There’s still so much to learn. I haven’t even been turned loose in sandbox mode yet. But I've got a long ways to go. I've got 40 deaths on my hands today, and there's still a lot to do.
Prison Architect is out today, Tuesday, June 28, on PlayStation 4. My full review will be written up within the next two weeks. But you can check out our PC review (GN score 8.8/10) or our Xbox One preview from four months ago if you want to get the gist of it now.
Some of the best levels from The Division were the missions that took place underneath New York. The levels were dark, claustrophobic, and are some of the most intense and exciting levels of the game.
Ubi is hoping that's what players like that content as the first expansion pack is called The Underground. In the pack you will be fighting a new branch of the Cleaners in their home turf in the sewers and subway tracks below the city. The pack includes a host of new missions, new loot, and new gear for you to check out.
The pack will be out for Xbox One players on June 28th with PS4 players gaining access to the pack on August 2nd. If you want more details on the pack be sure to check out this launch video so you can see and hear what Ubi has in store for you.
Furi is a new game from The Game Bakers along with Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki that is coming to both the PC and PS4 later this year. This is an action oriented game that pits you in a variety of boss fights as you attempt to escape a futuristic prison. One of The Game Bakers’ co-founders, Audrey Leprice, walked us through the concept behind the game as well as what sort of gameplay experience they have in store for us when the game launches later this year.
E3 2016 is long over and we sort of wrapped things up today with our picks of the games that caught our eyes during the show. We still have a few more interviews to push out throughout today before we completely call the coverage a wrap.
The first out the door is a chat with Viktor Juhasz of Neocore Games. He was kind enough to give us a deep explanation of what fans can expect from the new Warhammer 40K title. This new action-RPG has an open world / sandbox setting which allows players to fully explore the world of Warhammer 40K like never before. As Viktor discusses, the development team’s biggest challenge was merging the accessibility of modern action-RPG games with the strict rules that drive the Warhammer world. The game is releasing for the PC in 2017 and will be coming at a later date to both the Xbox One and PS4.
CEO 2016 has come and gone and the next stop EVO 2016 in a few weeks, but before that, CAPCOM gave us an update into the next big content drop for Street Fighter V. At the end of the event, CAPCOM dropped a new trailer and revealed the long awaited Balrog. What's great about the reveal was the fact that Balrog will also be arriving in the Story Mode update which will also include Ibuki.
Then we got one hell of a tease as both Juri and Urien were revealed, and they look great. However.... there is some... unrest in the community.
The most important thing here was we finally got answers to those burning questions that everyone has been asking for months. I have been on numerous Street Fighter boards for months and this was always a topic of major conversation. Discussion threads would reach 50+ pages. Reddit threads would reach thousands of replies because we had to know these two very important questions.
1. Will Juri be wearing shoes?
2. Will Urien be wearing that glorious Speedo?
Well it seems there was a trade off. We got barefoot Juri again, but we lost the Speedo. Shame. Hopefully it returns as either his alternate or premium attire. I'm sure there is a change.org petition to give Urien back his Speedo right now. I'll be signing it as soon as I can.
That's not it though as CAPCOM wanted to provide even more content for this update. Balrog's premium and story costume will also come with the update as well as a revival of the classic Las Vegas stage from Street Fighter 2. Finally, The Kanzuki Family Private Beach will be arriving as a brand new battle stage and can be bought for 70,000 fight money. Karin will also get a "premium summer costume" for $3.99
Ibuki, Balrog, and the story mode update will launch on July 1st.
Sparkypants Studios is a new development company that is made up of numerous former members of Big Huge Games. They’re now taking everything they learned crafting RTS classics such as Rise of Nations and Rise of Legend. They’re currently working on a RTS-styled game called Dropzone that is meant to break the traditional boundaries of the genre. We got a chance to speak with Stuart Jeff, the Design Director for Sparkypants, about both the new game and the methodology that has gone into the new company.
We’re closing out June with a bang! While the overall list may not be as long as we have seen over the past few months, there are quite a few big names hitting stores. Leading the charge is the latest LEGO game which just happens to take on one of the biggest films we’ve seen in the past year: Star Wars- The Force Awakens. This is going to be a re-telling of the film from a hilarious, LEGO-fied perspective. It looks like this one will have quite a few gameplay additions to the formula as well which should go a long way to overcoming the monotony that has been haunting this franchise.
If Star Wars and / or LEGO isn’t your thing, perhaps the return of the sci-fi RPG franchise Star Ocean on the PS4 will catch your interest. This is the fifth chapter in the franchise and it was created by the same development team that has done the other four. Fans will surely love what is in store for them with this game.
The rogue contender this week, at least for me, is 7 Days to Die. I will fully admit that the zombie / survival genre has more than run its course but this one intrigues me. I love the concept of scavenging and building during the day in order to prepare for the long, deadly night. The pre-release version that is already available on Steam has definitely offered me a bit of entertainment when it comes to watching gameplay streams, so I think I am going to have to check this one out.
What are you picking up this week?