Articles tagged with bethesda

Posted by Mark at 19:11
There's been an amount made about the state of the event at this year's EGX- and while I'll be trying to focus on the games played, there are a few things that can't be avoided.

First, and the one which created the most noise was Sony's handling of Horizon: Zero Dawn- only available to play in a closed-off area, the 30-minute demo meant that formal queuing was abandoned early on in favour of booking sessions, all of which were filled up by 11AM each day- completely shutting out anyone who didn't have an Early Access ticket to the event.

Sony are not the first people to underestimate the demand to see a title at such a show, but questions have to be asked as to why so few consoles were made available considering the length of the demo, more so when the games immediately next to it on Sony's booth were Overwatch and Uncharted 4- both well-marketed games that have been out for some time, the former of which had its own dedicated booth.

The other two platform holders were also conspicuous by their absences- Microsoft's presence being limited to showing Gears of War 4 in a corner of the 18+ area and Forza Horizon 3 making an appearance on the Twitch booth, and Nintendo not showing up at all.

Microsoft's decision not to showcase the XBox One S and let Sony hog the limelight with PS4 Pro seems like an own-goal, but at least one of their flagship series made an appearance, to an extent doing what Nintendo did at E3 with Breath Of The Wild.

The next Zelda game, like its developer, didn't make an appearance at EGX, beyond a glancing mention in the show magazine (this year just an advert for Amazon rather than telling you anything about the games being exhibited), not even in a closed-off Horizonbox or as a developer session.

Nintendo not being present is almost inexplicable, especially when you consider that in the much less-attended Hyper Japan earlier in the year, Nintendo had a not insignificant showing, including integrating BotW's UK premiere into its stage show and creating a Pokémon showcase, capitalising on the back of the then-new Pokémon Go.

Despite what that event's name would suggest, Nintendo's showing there wasn't entirely niche titles with little appeal outside the otaku market, so it probably wouldn't have been too difficult to simply pick up that show and drop it into EGX, maybe adding a bit of Super Mario Run if they really had to.

Mainly appealing to otakudom still probably wouldn't have hurt, if Square-Enix' booth was anything to go by, showcasing World Of Final Fantasy- one of three FF games exhibited (four if Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 counts), a dungeon crawler whose gimmick seems to be that the characters can transform into cute chibis at will, a mechanic which seems to exist solely to sell Nendoroid figures.

More interesting was the adjacent Dragon Quest Builders, the Minecraftalike that Ben has already posted the trailer of.

(And if you were waiting, this marks the first appearance of a game I actually played)

The notion of Minecraft with story and objectives appears interesting, and advanced platformer-y tasks could be seen played on Sony's stage, although the playable demo didn't seem to last long enough to reach that point. The move to third-person, despite certain control changes to accommodate, makes placing blocks slightly harder than it could be, which is likely to cause frustration.

The rest of Squeenix' booth was made up of Rise Of The Tomb Raider and Hitman, promoting their PS4 re-release and latest episodes respectively.

Possibly as a factor of the absence of Microsoft and Nintendo, aside from the usual iterative titles (This year's CoD, FIFA, WWE, Pro Evo and Battlefield) the only other meaningful showing- save for Sega settling nicely into its strategy niche, and Sniper Elite 4 helping Rebellion continue to punch above its weight- from a AAA developer was Bethesda, showcasing Dishonored 2.

The level shown in the demo featured a mansion whose rooms could shift into different configurations at the pull of a lever- meaning in order to complete the level's two objectives (saving a colleague from the first game and taking down this game's antagonist) the player has to creep around the crawlspaces under the floors- a little like a Victoriana latter half of Portal.

The enemies shown, rather than the humans which made up the previous game, were all robots, which added an extra element of strategy to combat. Decapitation causes them to attack anything that makes a noise, meaning they can be used by the player to take down other enemies.

Sniper Elite 4, incidentally, was pretty much Sniper Elite 3, but bigger. Which is absolutely fine by me.

That feels like a nice cut-off point, tomorrow I'll recap the better indie and smaller games of the show.
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DOOM Open Beta

Posted by Duane at 10:19

An Open beta for the latest instalment in the DOOM franchise was released today and runs until (I think) Monday, its the latest in a line of weekend long beta's that we've had recently (I know I've given the Trackmania Turbo and Battleborn ones a go), and like the others I decided to stream my first play of it to our Twitch profile.

As with those other video's though, I've not provided any voice recording, its literally the game being played, so my thoughts an opinions after a few rounds are as such.

DOOM feels very old fashioned, okay theres some CoD style Loadout menu's, but as far as being a modern shooter goes, thats about it; it runs at about a billion miles an hour, you pick up health, armour and ammo packs as you run around, enviornments are pretty much brown with a trim of brown and the odd dash of red whilst players can be any number of overly bright and garrish colours.

I've seen alot of criticsm aimed at EA/DICE's Star Wars Battlefront, accusing it of being rather lightweight and other such things but honestly, theres alot more going on in even that games version of Team Deathmatch than I experienced with DOOM's version of that mode. There are a couple of other modes that I am yet to play, so I'll hold fire on criticising that.

Gunplay is fairly basic too, just hold the trigger and see who dies first, I did try playing around with switching to the Super Shotgun but its reload speed when up against the Heavy Assault leaves you incredbly open on the rather large and fairly open maps that are available on this beta. Anyway, you can check out me playing DOOM in the video below.

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Posted by Ben at 11:34
Ok, it’s that time of the year again. Well, it’s about a month after that time of the year given than most sites put their Game of the Year articles up just before Christmas. We here at Bitparade like to give ourselves a bit more time with games. We don’t get to do nothing other than play games all year, more's the pity, so that extra few weeks, after some sales and a week off work, gives us some time to finish up some games, and pick up some others. we also work with a rule that no game can be mentioned twice, so if James, to pick an entirely random and non-resentful example, picks Box-Boy, I (Ben) can’t

So that’s why we’re posting in January. Personally the extra month didn’t really alter my list, but it very nearly did. Undertale didn’t quite deliver the way I hoped, but Until Dawn very nearly snuck on to my list. Truth be told, outside the first couple I could have switched around my other games, bringing in Until Dawn, The Music Machine, Blazblue Chronophantasma Extend, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. All of which are very good games, all of which are worth your time, and were I editing this piece tomorrow rather than today, emminantly likely to be included.

There’s also a lot of games that we didn’t play to even be considered. Again, speaking just for myself, I’ve got Metal Gear Solid 5 sat with a whopping 2 hours played, Mario Maker sat on a shelf, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines sat on a digital shelf, Batman Arkham Knight was a shambles, and Mad Max a disappointment. There’s a whole host of games, and genres I guess, that just wouldn’t even show on the site’s radar. Not that we actively try to avoid things, but there’s only so much time in a year, we only get sent so much stuff to review, and everything else is what we’ve chosen to play. Bear all that in mind as you disagree with our picks!

I know this is a stupid thing to say, but Witcher 3 seems like a Game of the Year Game of the Year. I think I may have picked Witcher 2 as my game of the year a few years back, but that was that was some janky ‘little’ rpg that was better than it had any right to be. Witcher 3 on the other hand is a huge, stunning, big budget, hyped rpg, you don't really feel obscure for picking it.

I know people have issues with Witcher 3, the one I'd concede is the levelling up system, I'd like to feel a bit more difference in my character than you do currently. The combat though I love, playing on the right difficulty even low level enemies can mess you up if you get swarmed. Witcher 3 is a dangerous world, grim but often funny, and packed with so much content, that I still want to play, I probably won't be done with it by this time next year.

I played the first Disgaea way back when, then replayed it on the DS, not finishing it either time. So when I was tasked with reviewing Disgaea 5 I was more than a little apprehensive. The games are daunting, too long, overflowing with systems, borderline impenetrable grind-fests. Or not as turned out to be the case.

Disgaea 5 still has a lot of systems on the go, but they’re presented more piecemeal, the story mode drip feeds them to you. And more so than in the first game, you don’t really need to engage with them if you don’t want to. You might need to pick up and throw every now and again, tower attacks aren’t the worst idea, and chaining attacks should become 2nd nature, but there’s a lot else that I never needed to master. Granted, Disgaea 5 is another Disgaea game I haven’t finished, but it’s one that feels eminently doable once everyone stops releasing videogames for me to play

I quite liked Wolfenstein The New Order, as a reboot for the series it played as a fantastic, over the top, single player fps, that, for me, out stayed its welcome. Wolfenstein The Old Blood is a more condensed experience. It's still not short, and it does feel a little 'built' at times in the way it reuses scenarios, but it's also paced much better. There's some great bad guys, the scene on the train is a particular standout, some ludicrous weapons, and some memorable set pieces to use them in. It also manages to mix some fairly dark themes and violence with moments of humour and absurdity. Honestly, I'm amazed Wolfenstein The Old Blood didn't feature in more Game of the Year lists.

This might be a slightly strange pick because I had some issues with Lost Dimension in my review. My problem was the game exists outside its story, it doesn't justify itself, at least not without seeing the true ending (and even then…). As a strategy rpg though it's great, breezy and light in a way that makes it accessible, with plenty of depth there if you want it. If anything Lost Dimension could do with pushing that more, but not knowing who's still going to be alive hampers that somewhat I guess.

Gunman Clive 2 split the site a little bit. I, correctly, rate it as one of the best games of the year, a refined, fun, action platformer. The WiiU HD port wasn’t quite as good, I think because Gunman Clive 2 on 3DS does benefit from some depth, despite largely being played on a 2D plane. It’s basically more of the same as the first game, but it’s tighter, fewer frustrating deaths, just generally a better, more varied version. It’s fun, simple as that really

This is a bit of a cheat, Prison Architect was in Early Access for what seemed like forever but was finally released in 2015 with some excellent additions and an extra mode that tasks you with escaping from prison rather than trying to keep inmates contained. Introversion have injected a great sense of humour into Prison Architect and it reminds me of the early Bullfrog "Theme" games. I've sunk more hours into Prison Architect than any other 2015 release, and for good reason!

Dungeon Crawlers are everywhere on handhelds now, but Etrian Mystery Dungeon is, in my humble opinion, the best example of the genre (although Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God is certainly up there for the top down variant of the genre). The reason for this is that whilst Etrian Mystery Dungeon is constantly challenging, its never unfair and the idea of shaking your approach when it comes to the games boss fights means the gameplay never gets stagnant. I said this in my review, but I want to reiterate it here, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is Dark Souls but for the 3DS and that's a great thing.

Some say its light on content, with far too much potentially locked away for the Season Pass, and some say its far too approachable. I disagree with both of those parties, the game modes in Star Wars Battlefront are different enough to keep things interesting and the fact you can pick it up and put it down at will means you never really feel out of your depth. Unlockables are fed to you at a decent rate and it scratches that nostalgic itch of acting out such battles in the play ground. Although I'm bloody awful when it comes to using the Heroes and Villains.

Its more of the same, and yet different. Its as bloodily and brutal as ever but brings an intriguing puzzle element to its levels. There's an organised chaos to Hotline Miami 2 which makes it utterly compelling, which tied into the visuals and (once again) excellent soundtrack, creates an oddly addictive yet disturbing environment that'll test even the most patient of players.

Okay, okay it was actually released in 2014 but let's face it Driveclub was pretty horribly broken until 2015, and for that reason I include it in my GOTY entry for said year. We'll dust over the fact that I didn't actually play it until later in the year. Driveclub is an example of how many developers, or at least their publishers a treating "Triple A" games this generation, adopting a "release it now, patch it later" method of creating games. Its rare that such titles become excellent examples of their genre though, but Driveclub achieves that by making its racing both fun and challenging whilst obtaining a sense of realism and, importantly, community. Evolution have manage to out Forza Forza in this regard, and whilst its missing some of Microsoft's top line racer it more than makes up for it by tying its challenge aspects together seamlessly. Plus let's not forget those weather effects!

BoxBoy! is a great example of when good game design triumphs above all else. Made within the constraints of Nintendo Web Framework, developer HAL Laboratory managed to squeeze as much as possible out of what initially appears to be a very simple 2D puzzle platformer.

The main gist of BoxBoy! involves producing chains of boxes from your character, Quby, to traverse environments and solve puzzles. This initially appears in a simple form that has very little going for it, but what’s impressive is the way HAL takes this mechanic and runs with it, forcing you to think out of the box (ha…ha) in each new world you encounter.

While many wanted a straight up sequel to Xenoblade, what makes Xenoblade X all the more interesting is its wildly different take on the RPG, despite it having a few skin-deep similarities to its Wii cousin. With Xenoblade X, Monolith Soft nails open world RPG design, implementing a structure that not only gives you an immense amount of freedom, but the curiosity to explore its vast world in the first place.

There are of course a few trade-offs associated with the move to a truly open world game – some of the missions feel like filler material designed to lead you around the environment – but taken as a whole, you can’t help but admire how well the game’s vast world, NPCs, narrative and systems link together.

Splatoon is just a delight on so many levels. There’s the most obvious one: Nintendo knocked it out the park in designing a genuinely different and validated take on the shooter genre. Painting the map with ink complements the ability to swim in the stuff extremely well, and there’s nothing quite like it, despite it feeling so instinctively right to play. But it’s also worth remembering some of the other things it did, all of which helped make it feel fresh and compelling. It focused on emphasising playing for fun over the need to accumulate levels or perks. Its lobbies allowed players to express themselves through Miiverse drawings, often to comedic effect. And the inclusion of a single player campaign complemented the multiplayer proceedings well.

And the consistent rollout of new content, either purposefully locked away on disc or downloaded, turned out to be a masterstroke that kept the game fresh for months, while also giving us all a good excuse to sink a few more dozen hours in.

If Splatoon is a proof of concept for Nintendo’s garage developer programme – it initially came about from developer experimentation in an internal “Game Jam” event – Grow Home is Ubisoft’s equivalent. Developed by the unlikeliest of teams, Ubisoft Reflections, Grow Home serves up a refreshing slice of 3D platforming action that most brings to mind Super Mario 64, which of course is a Very Good Thing. It’s easy for 3D, open world platformers to become sprawling, incoherent collectathons, but Grow Home avoids this by focusing on traversal over collecting objects – just like Super Mario 64. So where does the “refreshing” part come from?

Well, there haven’t been many games like Super Mario 64 given how hard it is to follow up on a piece of game design and programming that nailed every aspect right down to the nuances in the controls, so it’s great to have a 3D platformer that resurrects a forgotten genre. There’s that, then, but Grow Home feels so refreshing because it has its own identity. You could say the game is characterised by its use of procedural animation for its lead character, BUD. You’re given control of his arms and legs, all independently, which lets you traverse the sides of the environment, manipulate objects or a manner of both simultaneously. Or you could look at how the game handles traversal itself – you spend most of its six hour running time growing a giant beanstalk, and gawping at the distance you’ve made along the way. It’s a real treat, and I suspect it will feel just as fresh when fellow 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee is eventually released.

Simogo are always constantly trying new things, from stealth rhythm action platformers to horror adventure games. You can never quite guess what’s coming next, and SPL-T turned out to be no exception. Released out the blue, SPL-T is a puzzle game that recalls simpler times. No online leaderboards. No social media links. No data analytics. Just a well-crafted puzzle game that reveals layer upon layer of depth the more you play it.

To explain the game itself would be to spoil it – it’s best experienced when you know nothing about it, when you naively prod the screen at first and try to figure out what exactly is going on. And then it all clicks moments later…
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Posted by Duane at 16:39

In a market environment thats currently obsessed with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it'd be easy to label Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as an "open world RPG" and lead people to the confusion it bares similarity to Bethesda's monster. However, to do so would be missing the point entirely, the only similarities would be that they are both set in a Fantasy world, but in reality, initial play of EA's new IP evokes memories of Bioware's Dragon Age, Lionheads Fable and RuneWalker Entertainment's Runes of Magic.

Initially developed as two seperate titles, from two different studio's, one a story led RPG the other an MMO, Kingdoms of Legends has an odd hybrid feel to it. It gives you the impression of a huge open world, when in reality its a large number of large hub lands connected by corrider-esque pathways. I can see how that could be a negative thing, but it gives the game a sense of progression and makes it easier to see when you're heading out of one area and into another, especially as the variety of locations on offer is staggering for a game of this type. As you progress across the Faelands huge expanse, the differing is impressive and encourages the player to play on to see the next area. As you'd expect theres a variety of races to encounter along the way, some friendly, some not so and really all of them are fairly typical Fantasy RPG stereotypes, adding an air of familiarity to the game although with so many games no within this sort of setting it'd be nice for somebody to think of something new. Thats not a criticsm aimed squarly at Reckoning however.

Combat is probably the games strongest point, you genuinely feel the difference when particular stats are raised by whichever route along the class tree you take and the game allows you to mix up your abilities so you can always have a tool for a particular situation without leaving you too overpowered. It's to the games credit that I personally found myself looking for stuff to fight as often as I could whenever heading out on fetch quests when in other similar titles I'll generally just do the task at hand before moving onto the next one. This however is where the game begins to feel flat, quests are generally the same thing over and again and NPC's aren't really interesting enough, likewise the plot, for you to want to push on, its only really the scenery that draws you into the game as the rest of the lore and world feels tired and recycled, not really surprising considering R.A. Salvatore's involvement (who's biggest claim to fame is probably his Icewind Dale trilogy and his work on the Star Wars Expanded Universe which mostly uses the same characters and basic plot elements).

However, what we have here is a fairly decent RPG, an alternative to the overly serious Skyrim and some solid foundations to what appears to be a new franchise. It's not hard to see Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as 2012's answer to Darksiders.
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Posted by Ben at 18:55

Where to start with this First Play of id software’s RAGE. I could go in to detail about how the game plays, or I could talk about how I’m ‘playing’ on the PC, ending up looking bitter and resentful?

If you bought Rage on the pc, downloaded it or bought the disc, installed it, booted it up, then just played it, then I envy you, truly. You are one of the few, you get to wander in to tech threads and say “I’ve played 20 hours so far and have had no problems at all, maybe you all just need to upgrade?”. I’m happy for you, we all are, sincerely, although I do also hope your computer explodes causing the molten plastic from your monitor to scald your face off.

As you might have guessed my experience of Rage has been somewhat problematic. Initially I was plagued by the ‘stuttering’ bug. Apparently this only affect those with a Radeon HD card and a dual core processor, but it results in maybe 3 frames of play before approx 1-2 seconds stillness. It’s so bad it took me a full 3 minutes to hit the quit option.

The stuttering problem was one that wasn’t addressed in the recent patch, meaning it was left to those far more able than me to come up with a solution. Sure enough within 72 hours of getting the game I had it running as intended, super smooth and looking great. Until I entered the first combat zone that is, then the game resembled Another Worlds solid blocks of colour. This evolved into squares of black and brown replacing all my textures, and also stole my newly acquired lovely frame-rate.

A night spent on google, reams of code, and a couple of false dawns later the game had textures again and a smooth frame-rate. Again this lasted until I hit a load screen, then reverted back to its familiar shambling mess. I’m not sure what changed, equally I’m not sure why repeating the steps again seemed to fix it (I hope), but it’s looking promising. Still, given that by the time I submit this to the site Rage will have been out a week (since the US release), and we still haven’t had a proper fix, that is simply appalling. Hopefully id and Bethesda will find some way to placate pc gamers, but truth be told I bought Rage to get me through the weekend, it’s now slipped down my gaming pecking order.

A shame really because when the game is running at 60fps the combat is incredibly smooth. Enemies are wonderfully animated, there’s some great speech in there (the cockney gang early on are brilliant), and the weapons have a satisfying punch to them. I’ve even jumped a couple of times, an id speciality, but this time because the enemies are so nimble and free to attack from anywhere, rather than hiding in a closet until you get close.

The layout of the game is slightly odd, although admittedly I’m still very early in the game (just got my own buggy, still need weapons for it). You’ll talk to someone at one of the hub areas, they’ll send you off to do something, this usually means heading in to a ‘dungeon’ and killing your way back out. These enclosed areas are pretty linear, and while enemies will appear at pretty much the same spots time and again, they way they bounce around and peek out of cover makes for interesting combat.

I really want to like Rage, including crafting and a simple inventory management system is enough to make it stand out a little, while the gun play is certainly promising enough so far to make me pine for a proper fix-all patch.
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I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3. Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins.

Markus 'Notch' Persson suggests a much more sensible approach to hish Scrolls legal tusses with Bethesda. [The Word of Notch]
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Posted by Ben at 19:32

As the final DLC for Fallout New Vegas approaches, and so it's high time we revisited the wasteland to be whisked away to the top of the Big Mt, knowing that what awaits us is some Old World Blues

Old World Blues sees the courier whisked off to a kitsch sci-fi world on top of Big MT, think Futurama without the colour. You wake up and are greeted by 5 floating brains in jars, each with their own deranged personalities. They’ve removed your spine, heart and brain, all have been replaced with perk-adding implants that ensure you can’t leave. Things get worse from there as it turns out they’ve managed to lose your brain, most probably in the Forbidden Zone with the ‘nefarious’ Dr. Mobius.

As you can tell the tone of Old World Blues is slightly tongue in cheek, really made the most of if you selected the Wild Wasteland perk way back at the start of the game. It’s brilliantly funny at points too, there’s some great conversations and some brilliant characters. You’ve got formally silent items such as light switches suddenly becoming catty ‘it-girls’, a mini-robot that’s resentfully obsessed with coffee cups, a vicious malevolent toaster, and even the DLCs unique armour likes to mess with you.

Don’t take the levity as a sign that you’re going to have things easy, Old World Blues is as hard a time as I’ve had in the Fallout world since I cleared out the Deathclaws from the quarry. There’s nothing easy, you’ve got Nightstalkers, Cazadores, even some battle robots. The new enemies are just as strong, the standard lobotomites are much tougher than your average raider, and you’ll quickly learn to fear the robo-scorpions. However the increased difficulty comes at a cost as the frustrations levels increase.

Part of the problem is that the explorable area of Big MT isn’t all that big. There’s plenty of locations, but the walk between them doesn’t take long. To compensate there is now a much higher enemy count while exploring the wastes, unfortunately this creates a bit of a ‘monster closet’ scenario, with enemies seemingly appearing out of no where. This unfortunately is true indoors too, there’s a handful of quests that feature enemies appearing behind you once you’ve triggered an event.

There’s also an issue of some quests making you repeat yourself. It’s odd because there’s a lot of game here for your money, and had they forced one of the side quests on you then any issue of the mandatory stuff being short would have disappeared. Instead one of the main story missions makes you redo a ‘test’ multiple times, it’s handled so badly I assumed I’d made a mistake and selected to do the mission when I could have moved on. It’s a shame because carrying on after the main story finished has shown me how much more there is to Big MT, and as such how much there could have been to Old World Blues.

Old World Blues is worth your time for the new toys it offers you, the teases to the couriers tale, but chiefly for the humour. Moving on to Dead Money really highlighted just how clever and funny Old World Blues is, and while the frustrations with the way combat is handled here, it still offered a handful of moments that will always standout as Fallout memories. Oh, and some of the hidden boss fights, worth the cost of the DLC for alone!
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Posted by Ben at 18:22
I guess it's Fallout day on Bitparade today as we've got some Fallout news, a Fallout review, and I've just finished another part of the DLC.

The news first, and it's not great news. The final DLC for Fallout New Vegas; Lonesome Road has been delayed.

Obsidian moved to reassure fans that the DLC would be out this months despite the delay to Old World Blues only last week, but today it's been announced the Lonesome Road has indeed slipped.

No firm date yet, but I'd wager it will be sometime in September, and given that it ties up the couriers tales, I for one cannot wait

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We want to remove confusion, that's what I'd say. As opposed to making it more accessible, we'd like to remove confusion for anyone who's playing. What we're trying to do now is lead you into it more

Bethesda's Todd Howard, on the forthcoming Imagine: The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. [Gamasutra]
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Posted by Duane at 06:35
Lot's of trailers today, I'm playinig catch-up.

This time its RAGE, from id and Bethesda. Personally speaking, this looks pretty good, id usually deliver pretty solid FPS gameplay and the setting looks pretty good too, I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

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