E3 this year was a beast of a show. We have stacks of content to drop to you over the next little while, but this year we wanted to jump out of the gates with something a bit new -- a TOP 10.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... but it's sort of not that kind of top 10. This year's show was full of some of the most promising multi-directional games and, well, we wanted to create a definitive list of the rarest of the rare -- a list of games in "rare air". With each other.
So here's Part 1 of our three-part series, counting down from 10 to 1 with an absolute order of best to, well, 10th best.
Spoiler alert: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is beaten in this list by Call of Cthulhu. Wanna know why? Here's a snippet:
“Number 10!?!” you say, angrily? Well weighing everything up, the reason was simply that this is the same game we’ve been given over a number of years. It’s faster, has the largest roster of playable characters (slightly rebalanced as a result of the faster pace), and is portable given it’s on Nintendo Switch -- all massive positives. And you also need to realise that this list is the 10 VERY BEST, so being the opening game in our countdown is not even remotely a negative...
... Call of Cthulhu is in “Rare Air” because it’s doing something pretty rare. It pips Smash above because this is something new -- “Investigation RPG”, which can be likened back to Point & Click Adventure and Pen & Paper games, but the truth here is this is much, much deeper than ‘borrowed’ mechanics. And each time I see the game, the team reveals a little more that just adds to the overall separation of those disparate design principles. Principles that aren’t specifically ‘driving’ design, rather they’re inspiring it..."
With a pool of over 260 classic games still on sale at GOG.com, including our very own AusGamers Collection, here is your chance to snag a free slice of DRM-free PC goodness thanks to our friends at GOG. Competition runs through the weekend so be sure to get in quick.
With copies of the wonderful Obsidian Entertainment RPG Tyranny to give away - and plenty more.
Click the image above to enter! giveaway run through this weekend with GOG to send out keys next week.
In an interview with friend of the site Geoff Keighley, as part of YouTube E3 coverage, Bethesda Game Studios' Todd Howard confirmed that Fallout 76 will have VATS - or the Vault-Tech Assisted Targeting System. But in an always online world, how it works will be a little different.
"It's real-time," Todd Howard notes. "It doesn't slow time. But it lets you target and pick parts and all of that, but it's in real-time. It still works great. It's different, obviously, because it's real-time, but the basics of it, which are, 'I can't really—I'm not that good of a twitch shooter' … You can kind of picture how it works. Like, I'm not as good as lining up someone and getting a head shot, but I've made my character good at VATS, and now I can do that."
Fallout going online was always going to raise a number of questions, especially when Bethesda are positioning this as an experience where you can still explore a vast world and find new stories and complete quests. But with the added caveat that all NPC human interactions will be with real people - and that robots, temrinals, and other unknown sources will fill in the gap.
Playable on dedicated servers at launch Todd Howard also added that this arrival of Fallout 76 will not mark the end of mod support. He notes that sometime after launch the studio plans to introduce ways for players and the community to create their own content in a similar fashion to what you can find in Fallout 4. How this will work is a mystery but our guess is some sort of private server system.
Before the craziness of E3, there was the craziness of a Secret Squirrel catch up with Avalanche Studios in Sweden for a deep-dive on Rage 2. AusGamers' newest recruit, Louise Alexandrou, took up rebellious duties to fly halfway across the world and give us a first-hand look at just how the chaos-simulator-in-open-worlds-kings, Avalanche Studio, have handled an id property, in their own way.
Here's a snippet:
Touring Avalanche Studios was a true gamer’s delight. The walls adorned with chunky framed prints of games gone by, room after room filled with arrays of desks, monitors showing motion capture editing and concept artwork pasted on the walls. Vibrant drawings and colour palettes, the first forms of maps and sketchy outlines of bizarre hulking creatures, turrets and vehicles. Avalanche had an almost tangible hum of proud, behind-the-scenes energy. With all hands working towards fleshing out the sort of vast open worlds we all enjoy at home.
Tim talked us through some of the key points of the sequel, powered by Avalanche’s proprietary Apex Open-World Engine. Previously utilised in the Just Cause and Mad Max games, it has now been fine tuned, improved, and modified to support id-style indoor areas and fast combat. RAGE 2 has been designed from the ground up to embrace the non-linear exploration and progression that we’ve seen in Avalanche Studios titles in the past. Tim’s excitement rose several notches when he revealed that RAGE 2 boasts no loading screens, in their place a seamless open-world.
For Honor: Standard Edition, Ubisoft's melee fighter that features samurai and knights and more is currently free on PC via Uplay. Available from June 11th to June 18th be sure to grab what is no doubt a fun, interesting, a visually impressive brawler. Naturally, the freebie news marks the announcement of a new expansion which is due on October 16.
Called Marching Fire it's being referred to as the biggest and most ambitious update to the game so far.
For Honor: Marching Fire, is a major update encompassing new heroes, new a PVP mode, unlimited PVE content and a comprehensive graphical update.
NEW HEROES FROM THE FAR EAST – Four warriors from the Wu Lin faction are traveling west after civil war, betrayal and personal tragedies strike close to home. The Jiang Jun, once a feared general, now uses his guandao to wreak havoc on the West. The Nuxia, a bodyguard betrayed by allies, uses her hook swords to slay anyone who stands in her way. The Shaolin, a warrior monk forced to watch his monastery burn, now spreads the gospel with his staff. The Tiandi once sat fourth in line for the throne but was consumed by madness and killed his brothers, ultimately leading to the defeat of his empire. Now, he atones by seeking out the wicked with his broadsword.
BREACH THE CASTLE – Attack and defend a castle in Breach, For Honor’s new strategic 4v4 PvP mode. Attackers must work together to storm the castle gates and kill the Lord of the castle, while defenders must either take down the battering ram or kill all attackers to protect the Lord.
UNLIMITED SINGLE PLAYER CONTENT – A new mode, yet to be revealed, offering unlimited single player and 2-person co-op PVE content.
GRAPHICALLY ENHANCED – Significant graphical enhancements bring you closer to the action than ever before.
For more on the core game, which again is currently free to own on PC, check out our full review.
For access to the free version of For Honor - head here.
Which is a round-about way of saying that The Division's endgame was seriously lacking at launch. Something that took Ubisoft and developer Massive months to get right. With The Division 2 set to launch in March next year, this time the entire game has been built with an "endgame focus".
The following deep dive talks about what we can expect.
From a pure big news or new feature perspective The Division 2 brings Raids to the series for the first-time which are described as challenging and huge 8-player scenarios. This time around all campaign content will be playable either solo or in co-op with no weird sections that can only be tackled alone. Also, with the renewed focus on endgame this means the narrative is tied directly to the activities that can be completed post-story conclusion. Although details are scarce this means that there will be a reason for say completing this daily, weekly, or randomised mission.
Upon hitting max level players earn a specialty weapon - either a crossbow, sniper rifle, or grenade launcher, that will play into roles and defining a style of play in the endgame portion of The Division 2. Also we get confirmation that in addition to the return of Safe Houses, there will be friendly communities and settlements throughout the Washington DC map where players can complete tasks and quests and generally be the nice Agent.
All of the above speaks to the level of commitment that Ubisoft is putting in ensuring that it addresses some of the major and more prevalent issues people had with the original. Stay tuned to AusGamers, because we have a lot more on The Division 2 coming this week.
There was a theme emerging at Ubisoft's pre-E3 press event that centres around the developer and publisher building on collaborative efforts. From their relationship with Nintendo for Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure and the announcement of Star Fox in the upcoming Starlink, to working with Elijah Wood's Spectrevision for the VR psychological thriller, Transference. But it was the revelation that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's own company HitRecord would be working with the Beyond Good and Evil team to have you submitting content to feature in the game that stole the show.
Specifically, the studios are looking to crowdsource various slices of material to feature in the game-world, from artwork to music, and all collaboratively. There are a number of challenges you can undergo to have your efforts featured in the game, and none of this is 'free' content simply being taken for Ubisoft's benefit. If you're successful, you will be paid.
Watch a video outlining the initiative embedded below, and below that we've got a handful of new screens fresh from Ubi's presser.
Ahead of E3 proper, Ubisoft gave us a chance to get hands-on with Assassin's Creed Odyssey -- a prequel to the brilliant Assassin's Creed Origins, that gives us control of a Spartan warrior-turned-mercenary some 400 years before the events of Origins, in Ancient Greece.
This is also a far more RPG entry in the series, even over the action-RPG experience that was Origins, with player-choice heavily at the helm. Here's a snippet from our in-depth hands-on:
And the word “options” here is poignant. Because while traditional AC pillars remain in traversal, stealth, combat and more, there’s a greater emphasis on decisive -- and divisive -- action. For example, a new option is Conquest Mode -- here, the player tackles a new Nation Power system (given there are multiple nations you encounter throughout Ancient Greece and the Aegean Sea) where you work to sabotage and weaken a nation’s power (naturally), and when ready, based on decisions you’ve made through the earlier-mentioned conversation and choice combinations, you can enter Conquest Mode -- a true 150 Vs 150 soldier battle where you also join the fight on the battlefield.
In pre-release form, it was a little clunky, but that’s to be expected this early out of the game’s October release. And if this gets the polish it so rightfully deserves, it’s going to add an entirely new, fun and engaging layer to an already systems jam-packed game. Moreover, the High Seas return in spectacular fashion this time around, with our main protagonists Alexios and Kassandra (the player can choose to play through entirely as either a fully voiced male or female), able to board their own ship and sail anywhere. It’s allegedly an ungated game-world, though if Origins is anything to go by players will be looking at recommended level areas, but there’s depth here too, even beyond that we experienced in the seminal Black Flag.
Looks like Bethesda is breaking from that thing it does where it announces and releases titles within a six-month period. Which means, yes The Elder Scrolls VI is currently in development but, it's a long way off. According to Bethesda Game Studios' Todd Howard it will release after Starfield.
Currently in pre-production at Bethesda Game Studios, the acclaimed developers of Skyrim and Fallout 4. The highly-anticipated next chapter in the iconic The Elder Scrolls series.
Like Starfield, also teased today, this will probably be a next-gen release.
We mentioned almost this time last year that IO Interactive had managed to retain the rights to the Hitman franchise, after severing ties with publisher Square Enix. Today, the studio has revealed Hitman 2 which will be being published by Warner Bros. Interactive, just ahead of this year's E3, taking place next week.
And, if you pre-order today, the popular Sniper Challenge DLC is available for download and play immediately (so in hours and hours for Australian Internet users).
Here's the official line:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and independent game developer, IO Interactive, today announced HITMAN™ 2, the follow-up to the acclaimed international video game, HITMAN™. Featuring entirely new hyper-detailed sandboxes full of living, breathing environments to explore, HITMAN 2 offers players the freedom to plan the ultimate assassination utilizing an assortment of tools, weapons, disguises and a variety of stealth techniques to creatively trigger their own unique chain of events. HITMAN 2 will be available for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®4 Pro computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X and PC beginning November 13, 2018.
“We are thrilled to partner with IO Interactive on HITMAN 2 and bring the latest game in this iconic franchise to the passionate HITMAN fanbase and new players,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment via press release. “IO Interactive has done a fantastic job with the Hitman franchise, and this new game will provide a distinct gameplay experience for players to be creative in larger sandbox locations.”
“We are very proud to announce HITMAN 2 as the next exciting chapter in our ever-expanding world of assassination. Building on the success of our previous game, HITMAN 2 introduces exciting new features, new modes and franchise firsts to make for a larger and richer game,” said Hakan Abrak, CEO, IO Interactive. “We couldn’t have wished for a better partner than Warner Bros. to bring this game to our passionate community and introduce new players to our universe. Welcome back 47!”
Which we've treated as a new review of the game, since this is such a significant update and because the game has changed a lot. Especially here in Australia thanks to dedicated servers. So we called upon our favourite driver, gunner, loader and commander -- all in one -- Mr James Cottee who handled our original review for his expert insights into World of Tanks 1.0.
Here's a snippet from his review:
More ominous is a tank that recently returned to the Premium Shop: the Chrysler K, the vehicle that sparked the 'Fochgate' scandal last year. A World of Tanks streamer by the name of Sir Foch got rather irritated by the fact that this premium tank had no frontal weak spots; most vehicles will have targets like viewports or hatches that more skilful players will aim for. The standard ammo for the The Chrysler K also had relatively low penetration, nudging players towards using premium ammo, in turn nudging players towards paying gold for said ammo, or towards paying for premium time. Many players were concerned that such changes would negatively affect the game they loved by turning it into a more dumbed-down, pay-to-win experience. If you 're curious as to whether the Chrysler K is overpowered you can find out for yourself for as little as AUD$49.68 for the standard bundle. Also available: The Ultimate Bundle for AUD$73.58, and the Supreme Bundle for AUD$91.94.
World of Tanks can be a delightful hobby. For a person with poor impulse control, it can be a very expensive one.