Tag Archives: Crytek

The Three E’s

Humans of the World. Earthlings. Terrans. Pitiful specimens of homo sapien kind. Set aside your differences and come hither; revel and bask in the mighty, unifying glory of the mother of gaming events. The Electronics Entertainment Expo. E3.

This year was, as usual, a jolly good show, (their 20th anniversary dontcha know) and this here edition of my pointless and irrelevant ejaculation of words will give a brief précis on what caught my eye from afar, bearing in mind of course that I’m not a journalist, so wasn’t actually there, at the LA Convention Centre, in LA, Los Angeles California, USA. No, I was here. In London. Alone. Watching with a hundred million other similarly sad, wet, lonely, empty husks of what-could-have-been valuable members of society……*sigh*……

Anyway, games then. So these were the things that I was interested in. There’s no point highlighting all the games that were there otherwise we’d be here until the Sun finally puts us all out of our misery and blows the fuck up, so this is strictly the shit that in some way fish hooked my interest. So here goes, in no particular order.

Dead Island 2

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A funny one to mention given that the first Dead Island was an almighty waste of my fucking life and easily one of the most disappointing games in recent memory. So why include it? Well, just in case, that’s why. 4-player campaign co-op. Zombie shit. What’s not to like on paper. Plus Techland who developed the first one have all but handed over the reins to Indi German outfit Yager Development who were responsible for the widely acclaimed Spec Ops: The Line back in 2012. File this under the “convince me” header.

Dying Light

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OK, yes, despite me coating off Techland’s Dead Island not moments ago, Dying Light is their current triple-A which is – if I’m honest, and against my better judgement – possibly my most anticipated title of next year. The free-running, zombie killing, melee focused open world game not only looks utterly sublime visually speaking, it also just…well, it has a certain something that makes me want to stand up and beg for buttermilk. I admit, on paper it looks like all the elements of some of the most disappointing games I have ever known: Free Running (Brink), Zombie Melee (Dead Island), Techland (err, Dead Island again)….OK I’ll stop now before I change my mind. But it’s also 4-player co-op and has the whole dynamic day/night thing where instead of just zombies you get mental crazy other shit going on when the sun goes down. It was due for release in 2014 but that has now been pushed back to March 2015, which I should mention, in my opinion, doesn’t have the same connotations of ‘troubled development’ as it once did. What can I say, genuinely excited about this.

Evolve

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Gameinformer’s best in show, and it’s easy to see why. Turtle Rock Studios – the team who developed Left 4 Dead for Valve before they split away to form their own band – certainly have pedigree on the co-op thing, and this game looks quite simply mouth watering. Just like L4D, it’s all rather simple. 4 players, 4 classes, each with their own skills. All use a variety of BFG’s to hunt ‘The Monster’ on an alien world. Monster in question can – if you so wish – be played by another Hoomuun Bean, or else let the AI take control. Monster starts off teeny, and ‘hunted’ and needs to feed and avoid being slaughtered before it can ‘evolve’ through different stages into an eventual goliath (literally, one of them is actually called a goliath). Then hunted becomes hunter and can start kicking seven shades of shit out of those pesky Earthlings. Check out numerous vids all over t’interweb to see what kind of innovative toys and weaponry Turtle Rock have thought up to help you all enjoy the bloodthirsty joy of the slaughter. Pre-order…check.

Far Cry 4

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Well. I’ve barely got over the sad day that I finished Far Cry 3 – one of the best games I can remember in some time – and now this? As long as Ubisoft don’t fuck up and just go with the ‘if it ain’t broke’ attitude we should be on track for another epic, immersive and outstanding piece of gaming. This time we are set in the Himalayas – complete with elephants and the like – and if the opening 5 minutes is anything to go by we should be in for a treat come Christmas. This time they have included full 2-player campaign co-op which quite frankly is almost too much for me to take and I may just have to curl up into a whimpering foetus and cry myself to death. How they are going to top FC3’s Vaas Montenegro – one of the all time great gaming villains – I don’t know, but they are giving it their best shot with weirdo fuck chops Pagan Min who enjoys helicopters, pink suits, and stabbing employees to death with pens.

Alien Isolation

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Don’t start getting all “oh for fooks sake mun, not another tossy Alien game”. All I can say is; this ain’t like them. Check out some vids and you’ll soon see this is ALIEN Isolation, not ALIENS. If James Cameron’s undisputed classic was a tackle-out action fest, then Ridley Scott’s masterpiece was surely the birth of survival horror in space. That’s what this is; survival horror. 15 years after Ellen Ripley pushed the red button on the Nostromo, you are her daughter Amanda trying to piece together what happened. You find yourself all but alone on the scarily empty space station Sevastopol. Just you and a big fat fucking Xeno for company. No M41A Pulse Rifles, no sonic electronic ballbreakers, no sharp sticks. Just you, a motion tracker and your wits. I nearly shat my knick-knacks just watching a walkthrough vid so I am aching for its October release. Developed by Brit outfit The Creative Assembly with some silly-good high end graphics, this could be the Alien game we all need to convince us all Alien games aren’t shit.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

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If you need me to talk about this you haven’t read any of my previous blogs and probably shouldn’t be here. Borderlands = one of the best games ever made. Gearbox handed this one to 2K Australia so if it’s rubbish it doesn’t matter. But it won’t be. It’s fucking Borderlands.

Tales From The Borderlands

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Speaking of which, the other Borderlands game is Telltale Games episodic adventure type deal a la The Walking Dead. Having currently not played The Walking Dead (Series 1 or 2) I have no point of reference but I have heard nowt but splendid stories about it and it is currently sitting un-played in my Steam Library awaiting my attention. Anyway, hopes are high for this.

Elite: Dangerous

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If you are unfamiliar with Elite and need an explanation for this little beauty you really are reading the wrong blog. Suffice to say that current-gen graphics, a billion solar systems, 3 friends and a ‘flight system’ joystick/throttle that costs more than a Faberge Egg make for something potentially so good you may wish to sell everything you own, say your goodbye’s to loved ones, and see out your days trading platinum in space. Bring. It.

Hellraid

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Techland again, and they loooove their 4-player co-op stuff. Which, to be honest, I can only applaud. Hellraid substitutes zombies for medieval supernatural shit, with skellingtons, mages and the like twatting each other senseless. It’s melee and magic Vs the armies of Hell. I’m hopeful this will be what I hope……hence ‘hopeful’…….forget it.

Homefront: The Revolution

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This was an unexpected one and no mistake. For those not in the know, Homefront was a Call of Duty rip-off developed by Kaos Studios and published by THQ in 2011. It was well known for the following. A) Being a bit shit. B) Sending THQ bankrupt and C) ‘Maybe’ being written by Hollywood screenwriter John Milius. Maybe, because though he’s billed on the credits it is widely believed that actually he didn’t write a single word, and whilst he certainly did write Apocalypse Now, Conan The Barbarian and Dirty Harry, he’s also a self proclaimed right-wing extremist, so there’s that. Anyway, the premise was pretty cool; a unified Korea basically invade and occupy the US. Much savagery ensues. The delicious Crytek have picked up this IP now though and appear to be adding their own brand of special sauce to turn this into more of an open world type resistance shooter. Which, one cannot deny, is exciting.

The Division

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Again, this is one I’ve not been shy about talking about. Ubisoft’s open world, 4-player co-op shooter with a seriously next-generation-level of environmental detail thanks to the brand spanking new Snowdrop Engine. It looks quite simply epic. I’m trying to keep myself in check with this given Ubisoft’s track record with….erm….almost everything and not least Tom Clancy games (of which this is one). Having said that, when they get it right, they REALLY can get it right. Let’s just hope their PC version is more than just after birth, and that the vids and walkthroughs I’ve seen do the finished article justice. Guess we’ll find out next year.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft is at it again with Square Enix’s next instalment in the Tomb Raider franchise. For anyone not au fait with my previous blogs, Tomb Raider was one of my favourite games that I played last year and I am thoroughly looking forward to this next offering. Plus, y’know, Lara’s blatantly hot as fuck.

No Man’s Sky

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The contender to Elite’s crown perhaps? Hmm, I have to say I am definitely intrigued. From what I can gather we are talking full, galaxy exploration, which includes the planet surfaces themselves. What I mean is, picture this: You are swimming in clear blue waters, you climb out onto a golden beach among lush, bright vegetation and the varying wildlife of a given planet, you climb into your fighter, you take off, fly about for a bit, breach atmosphere and you’re in orbit, then hyperspace, then another solar system, then you pick another planet and do it all over again. The word ‘potential’ doesn’t even do it justice. Details appear to be thin on the ground when it comes to actual purpose of the game and the mechanics of it, but it’s definitely got the gaming community wanting lots more.

HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age.

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Crytek once again getting my saliva glands all moist. This particular morsel is full 4-player, 3rd person co-op, set in the early 20th Century. Priests, cowboys and similar people of the time are the characters – all with their own skill trees and the like, and all hunting various supernatural monsters and creatures from folklore around Europe and the America’s. Expect crazy nuts cultists and supernatural crazy shit to be fodder of the day which may give some juicy variety to standard enemies. Shotguns, pistols and rifles seem fairly welcome, if expected, but reports of them mixing it up with the odd special ‘weapon’ such as a Bible (which is a book, apparently) which a priest can read verses from causing some enemy types to die or whatever as their demons are exorcised. That kind of shit sounds rather spunky if you ask me. Characters also apparently have a large variety of customisable gear as well if you care about such things. Reports are that this will be free to play. Crytek seem to be big advocates of that model, so maybe I’m just having trouble moving with the times when I say I still have reservations about F2P titles. It never makes me think ‘yay’ – it always makes me think ‘oh’. What can I say, I need convincing that free games aren’t second rate games, so maybe this could be the one to turn me.

Rainbow Six: Siege

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With Rainbow 6 Patriots still currently AWOL, this is going to be filling the Six void for now. But rest assured this definitely doesn’t just look like filler. This looks good. Back to basics Rainbow Six tactical shooter stuff. Made for co-op. The gameplay vid had me going back half a dozen times as Team Six raided a large domestic property with a dozen goons inside and 1 poor wickle hostage. Destructible environments, customisable load outs, everything you would expect from a classic R6 game but with all the mod-cons too including aerial pre-siege overlook to help you plan your entry-points (which are entirely your own choice) and cheeky little drones and spy cams to give you the heads up on those pesky terrorists. Obviously Ubisoft comes with a warning, but this definitely looks the part.

The Evil Within

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Now that Resident Evil games are basically a bit shit, and at best a shadow of their former selves, it’s easy to forget what they used to be. Unrelenting masterpieces of survival horror, that’s what. And that is largely down to one single man. Shinji Mikami. Well, he left Capcom long ago and Japanese developers Tango Gameworks snapped him up and set him and his brain loose on the world once more. The result is The Evil Within. Think old school resident evil in a modern era, complete with current-gen graphics, oodles of post-Hostel gore and all manner of horrendous and disturbed nasties conjured up in the nightmares of this clearly damaged brain. Watch the first 5 mins on Youtube to see just how fucked up this shit is going to be. Have fun kids!

So, Aside from those main players there were other games that got my attention for various reasons, but don’t quite warrant a full piece of pie to themselves. Batman: Arkham Knight and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor both made me want to go back and catch up on those respective, critically acclaimed series. Mirrors Edge 2 made me want to pick up its predecessor and see what all the fuss was about (which I did). Mortal Kombat X can’t help but awaken the nostalgic teenager in me and I can easily see myself picking this up on a whim just to satisfy his blood lust. And Sniper Elite 3 has been written about by me enough and will surely be another splendid Nazi killing game by Rebellion.

Assassins Creed: Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Halo 5, Destiny and Battlefield: Hardline were all hugely covered at E3 as you can imagine. Those titles alone probably account for a large percentage of the entire cash flow of the gaming industry. But they excite me not, I’m afraid, and it would be disingenuous of me to start mouthing off about how the world finally gets to see Destiny or what colour underpants Master Chief will be wearing in Halo 5. I don’t even know if the dude’s alive, didn’t he die? Anyway, who gives a shit. Not me.

So, just like England in a World Cup, it seems over before it had started. E3 gone for another year.

By the way, as I write this there is a Steam Summer Sale on so go and buy a load of good games at silly process.

That is all. You may leave.

Oh, one more thing before I go. Doom. That is all.

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I-besoft, We-besoft, Ubisoft

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Rejoice, oh fans of Crytek’s 2004 classic Far Cry. Ubisoft have announce that a….how do I put it, redux? Re-release?…..of said First Person delightfulness will be available as of February 11th in the form of Far Cry: Classic. Updated visuals, brand new cut scenes and other jiggery pokery means that for just $9.99 (US Bucks y’all) you can go back to the Island where it all began and retread those most hallowed of grounds in all their glory….

…….Not if you have a PC though. Sorry, did I forget to mention that bit? That’s right, Far Cry: Classic – originally released solely for the PC back in ’04 if you recall – will not be given a PC release.

Aaaaaand that little event perfectly sums up Ubisoft, who are the subject (or should that be target) of this particular episode of my game ramblings.

Here’s the thing about ole Ubi; they have made – and continue to make – some of the best games put to code. But where once the name Ubisoft was synonymous with edgy, hardcore titans like the Tom Clancy Series (at least, I think it was, right?), now they fall into the same category as other bloated, faceless, corporate monoliths like EA and are known for their lazy and third rate approach to anything even resembling a PC game. And that’s the bit that stings.

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Waaaaay back in the mid 80’s Ubisoft – started by 5 brothers in Brittany – made deals with Electronic Arts, Sierra On-Line and MicroProse to distribute their games in France. Success quickly led to other deals in other territories and before you could say Rainbow Six, Ubisoft started their own development arm.  Today, they boast around 30 individual studios (some founded by Ubi, others acquired over the years) in 19 countries. They employ the world’s second largest amount of in-house developers and can claim to be the third largest independent games developer on the whole ruddy planet. So well done them. But success, as usual, comes at a price. Ubisoft’s price was their connection to the very fans that made them what they are.

Up until 2004, every Tom Clancy game (all owned by Ubisoft since they acquired Tom Clancy’s own Red Storm Entertainment after the very first Rainbow Six game back in 1998) was released on PC. We are talking around a dozen Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon Titles, with all of their DLC’s and sequels and extra bits and pieces, many of which were solely available on Windows. Not to mention titles like Far Cry, the Rayman Series, and a whole grab-bag of random titles that helped build Ubisoft into a giant on the development and publishing stage. That changed – slowly at first – but then as the inevitable wave of cash poured in from the console market, Ubisoft left the PC world behind. Forgotten. Betrayed.

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It feels as if they almost resent the PC market now. Their games, not all, but most, many of which with sooo much potential, are invariably chucked through their in-house ‘porting machine’ that seems to require little more than “Press 1 to port to PC”. And lo – a PC version of Rainbow Six: Vegas is shat out like an unwanted colonic tumour and left to fester in its own bile. Leaving half finished games riddled with more bugs than a Ukrainian prostitutes toilet seat. Connection issues, crash to desktop, GPU incompatibility, key-bindings (I mean, key bindings, what the actual fuck?) Jesus, Far Cry: Blood Dragon doesn’t even run on my machine to this day and Ubi’s tech support was like talking to office IT punks who can barely manage to change printer toner. Trying to have a 4-player co-op session on Vegas 2 really was like being in Vegas in that it was a roll of the fucking dice whether or not we’d get a game at all.

And it’s as if they don’t even give a shit. I mean, they barely even hide their contempt. There’s precisely dick in the way or after sales support. Almost no patching. Ghost Recon: Future soldier even had their PC version canned after not much time in development without even a fucking press release out of courtesy to their fans. And then what happens? A year later the Ubisoft Porting Machine dumps out the PC version with barely a whimper, like it didn’t even touch the sides. Was it worth the wait? Was it fuck. What a load of tripe. The potential in that game had me salivating; pre-planning tactical scenarios and custom load outs with my clan for weeks before hand. What an unmitigated disaster, a total waste of my life and a scar of disappointment that will never fully heal.

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That’s what is so painful; when Ubisoft nail it, they really nail it. When they don’t, it feels like they simply don’t care about the PC market any more. If it wasn’t for the fact that Vegas 2 was such an unbelievably good game – once you managed to get in there – we would have simply thrown it to the side and cracked on with something else. But God it was good. Naturally we expected the same from Future Soldier. We were wrong.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the latest title I’ve played of theirs, and guess what? It’s very good. A clean PC port, excellent gameplay, and challenging to boot. So why the inconsistency? How was Ghost Recon so badly done and yet Blacklist seems to have made the transition effortlessly? It’s for reasons like this the phrase “don’t hold your breath” is so common within the circles I dwell when talking about Ubisoft, because you just never know. All faith has gone. When you talk about Valve, Gearbox, Irrational, Crytek, these guys have had hits, and misses, but you can’t shake the feeling in your heart that these guys want to make good games; artists constrained by the shackles of commerce. Ubisoft, EA, Activision, these are the billion dollar goliath’s, raking in cash, buying up indie-developers and swallowing their souls. Money machines, worrying ever so slightly about the whole creative side of things – and yes occasionally turning out fucking good games.

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That is where they dwell now; the mighty halls of big industry gaming, where the PC crowd are very far from The Master Race. It’s all Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs and other AAA titles.

It’s a rollercoaster ride with Ubisoft. You never know which way it’s going to go. The problem is though, they have stung me too many times for me to give them the benefit if the doubt. In fact it’s now the opposite. As much as I may get excited at their upcoming releases, ultimately I assume it will be yet another ruined opportunity. It will take more than Splinter Cell: Blacklist to change that.

And so what of Ubisoft’s future? Rainbow 6: Patriots is still apparently in the works despite a horrendously bad production thus far which ended up seeing the entire creative team ‘deleted’ and Ubisoft essentially starting again from the ground up. The Division is the next title incoming (due sometime in 2014), and once again it looks like it has vast stacks of potential, with a current-gen breakthrough in destructible and dynamic environments and an excellent 4-player co-op system. But guess what, it was only confirmed that it would have PC release after they asked fans via Twitter to sign a petition and declare interest. I mean Jeeeeesus.  They’ve also hinted at a Far Cry 4 which, after the instant classic that was the series third instalment, I am already excited about.

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Each one of those three titles alone has the potential to be truly epic and to be a contender for game of the year. But they also have the potential to be crushingly disappointing.

I’m hoping for the former, but guess what, It’s Ubisoft, so I won’t hold my breath.