Articles tagged with gears of war

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 Pokťmon showcase, capitalising on the back of the then-new Pokťmon 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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Posted by Ben at 13:41
Iíve just had a horrible moment of realisation while reading my own posts. Click on my name at the top (open it in a new tab so that we can still talk), scroll past the news stories and opinion pieces and youíll see various reviews Iíve posted. If you go back 10 pages or so youíll see one number appear more than any other, 8.

Bulletstorm got an 8, L.A. Noire got an 8, Fallout New Vegas Old World Blues got an 8, Deus Ex Human Revolution The Missing Link got an 8, Sonic Generations got an 8, Dear Esther got an 8, Catherine got an 8, Binary Domain got an 8, even Journey got an 8. The last game I reviewed that got higher than an 8 was the Minervaís Den dlc for Bioshock 2 (it finally came out last year). Thereís a few lower scores in there, the Sleeping Dogs dlc got a 7, as did the Prince of Persia 3DS port, the Naruto 3DS game got a 4 because itís rubbish.

Thereís only a handful of scores I feel like I might have got wrong, one is that Prince of Persia game, I donít like the classic Prince of Persia games, which I factored in and graded up rather than down, itís not a bad game though. The other is the first dlc for Castlavania Lords of Shadow, I think I gave that an 8. It wasnít terrible, but given its cost and the paucity of content it was marked too high, or perhaps the 2nd dlc coloured my view of the first.

It got me thinking about why I score games as an 8 so often, and why Iíve never given a game Iíve reviewed for the site a 10. When I look at the games from paragraph 2, theyíre all good games, but theyíre all good games with something quite obviously wrong with them. Bulletstormís tone put me off, and I didnít think the game did enough to encourage me to do more than whip and kick. L.A. Noire was superb at points, the Homicide chapter was great, but the facial tells didnít really work, and the pacing fell apart toward the end. Binary Domain is one of my favourite games of the year, until recently it was comfortably in my top 3 games of the year, but it lacks punch and thereís some poor sections that drag it down (the swimming section at the start of the game for example).

The exceptions I suppose are Dear Esther and Journey, neither of which really do anything wrong, but then given what they set out to do thatís not a great surprise. I didnít fall for Journey the way everyone else seemed to, Iíd have liked it to be more involved, a few more puzzles, but the way it conveyed its message was very well done. Dear Esther is incredible, I think I said in the review (or possibly on an mfgamers podcast) I donít think Iíve ever played a game so affecting before. The rush of realisation in the final 2 chapters is incredible, itís a game you want to force people to play. But then you remember that most people will hate it, hate its meandering pace, will hate that you literally do nothing but walk and look at the sights, thatís not a 10/10 game.

I think the reason there arenít more nines or tens is because of the types of games I review. In amongst my Ďrecentí reviews was a Dragon Ball Z game, itís either that or Prince of Persia that was the last game I got sent to review, neither are terrible games, but neither are great either. We also had a spell on the site where we didnít score games, the text was enough, thereís a few games amongst those that would have got a 9 at least. There was also a period this year where I wasnít writing for the site, in that time Duane reviewed Sleeping Dogs and gave it an 8, I read Duaneís review and itís spot on, but Iíd have given the game a 9 (personal taste and all that). Dishonored, superb game, that would have got a 9. The Witcher 2, that might have got a 10, itís an incredible game.

We also donít seem to review a lot of Ďbigí games, I talked about this in the last blog post I wrote, we tend not to because by the time we get and play the games theyíve been reviewed to death elsewhere. It means we donít tend to review things like Mario Galaxy (definite 10), Halo 4, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, or even Super Mario 3D Land.

Itís been lost in amongst my ramblings but the reason I started this post was actually due to something I read on the internet. It was in a thread condemning MCVís recent article that gave a false impression that the reviews for Hitman Absolution had been uniformly great. When MCV corrected it they mentioned some 7/10 scores, which prompted someone to write (Iím paraphrasing) ďsince when was 7/10 a positive score?Ē

I consider a 7 to be a positive score, if I give something a 7 I consider it to be a good game. Itís not as good as an 8 obviously, but it doesnít mean you shouldnít buy the game, only that you probably arenít going to love it. Iím sure though we all have soft spots for some games we know shouldnít really score above a 6 or a 7. Iím sure developers are disappointed when their games donít get better than a 7, but Iím starting to wonder where the blame lies with that.

For what itís worth, if you see me give a game an 8 again, or even a 7, it means I think you should play it. In fact thereís every chance that it might still be one of the games of the year.
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I actually approached Microsoft on getting Master Chief into the game, but those guys are kind of squeamish.

Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski tells Complex why Master Chief won't be appearing in Gears of War 3.
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Posted by Duane at 13:28

Phoo, Bulletstorm. I honestly do not know where to start, purely because my first experience of the game is one of ambivalence. Let's put it this way, I wasn't really a fan of Gears of War, I found it far too macho and the design of it dank, depressing and ridiculously BIG, and thats not really getting into the gameplay which I found far too linear. However, I used to love Unreal Tournament, which I found to be a little toned down compared to Quake III Arena (although I've not played a UT game since the original), so my experience with Epic Games' work is mixed to say the least.

From the very moment the demo begun I found myself cringing. I like a bit of OTT "manliness" and humour in a similar vane to the Crank movies, but the voice over introducing you to the game was a little too much for my liking, it was a little too in your face and "AREN'T I RAD!?!?!?" in a early 90's California kind of way, in short it felt like the game was throwing too much attitude at me just because it was trying to distance itself from the rest of the FPS market available and it felt forced and outdated, kind of like Duke Nukem really. Of course, some will get a kick out of that and enjoy it for that, and fair play to them, but that sort of thing isn't for me.

Things improve once you're actually allowed to play, and really I was reminded of Bizarre Creations' "The Club", if only because of the idea of racking up points in a shooter (albeit this is first-person, The Club is third-person). It's hard not to smile when you shoot some grunt in the arse and are awarded extra points for doing so (provided it results in his death), or likewise catching him in the throat. The problem is, and this First Impression is written based on a single playthrough of the demo, it feels like luck when you do manage to do something highly entertaining that results in a large number of points, although I'd wager such events become more frequent as the game seems designed around multiple play throughs in order to gain a higher score like an old Arcade game.

In short, if I was heading out to buy a game, based purely on this first playthrough, Bulletstorm wouldn't be top of my list, but I'd consider picking it up at a later date if I saw it cheap and wanted something to help pass the time. Thats not to say I think its a bad game, just that it doesn't really pander to my personal tastes in videogames, I can see where others would get a kick out of it and overall its pretty well put together (again, based on the demo).
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Everyone loved Halo and a lot [of] players were like: 'Halo 2 sucked!' Everyone loves Counterstrike and then Source comes out, 'that sucks!' Quake 2, Gears 2, every single shooter... And then the third one is somehow the one where everyone's like: 'Oh, it's going to be a lot more like 1, remember you like 1, right?'

Cliff Bleszinski desperately tries to shift the blame for Gears of War 2 ahead of the third game in the series coming out. [CVG]
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Posted by Ben at 07:54
There are, believe it or not, a couple of ways to approach a Gears of War film. Do you do it as a big over the top action murder-fest, or maybe a gritty 'war is hell' light-satire, with giant monsters rather than insurgents?

Wyck Godfrey, producer of the Gears of War movie, suggests you approach it a bit like Cloverfield
"I think we really want to focus on the idea of a world that's running well and then it's Emergence Day."

It certainly ties in with the likes of 2012, the idea of the end of the world being just around the corner, and the panic that ensues.


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Posted by Ben at 06:42
Gears of War-a-like Quantum Theory is making the jump to 360.

The one time PS3 exclusive will also be heading to Microsoft's console, probably to less furore than Final Fantasy XIII

In my opinion it's smart move by Tecmo. The game isn't highly anticipated in the way that would benefit a single platform game, so making the game available to as many people as possible makes a lot of sense.

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Posted by Mark at 07:15
Aha! I get a go this time!

After a brief absence, I returned to the world of Fallout 3, in between bouts of Gears Of War co-op.

Also, I downloaded the Master System version of Sonic The Hedgehog, which nicely filled an evening.

Considering the difference in power between the two systems, it's surprising how faithful to the MegaDrive original it is, especially in the more elaborate Labyrinth Zone.

Also, the lower power meant that the designers had to come up with more interesting level design, rather than just shiny stuff that you went through quickly.

Modern Sonic designers really should take heed. What've you been playing?

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Posted by Ben at 16:22
Another week another set of charts, and another new entry at the top.

Just a quick word before i start, last week I made mention of Little Big Planet being in 4th, well to put that in context, 2nd and 3rd place went to multiformat games, on the single format chart LBP came 2nd.

And with that out of the way here's the top 10 (11-40 in the comments section)

1. Call of Duty: World at War (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS)
2. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC)
3. Football Manager 2009 (PC, PSP)
4. Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
5. FIFA 09 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS)
6. Guitar Hero: World Tour (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii)
7. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
8. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
9. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
10. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, PS2)

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Posted by Ben at 07:10
Seems I made a bit of a spelling mistake last week. I contemplated keeping it in as a bit of a theme but quickly thought better of it.

No surprises that Gears of War 2 tops the charts, Little Big Planets 4th place is a bit of a shame, but I suspect the stalled release played a large part of that. Had the game released when it was originally supposed to I fancy it would have landed top spot or at least 2nd place. It arguably looks much worse than it is because Microsofts big gun is towering above it.

Elsewhere it's licensed games and familiar faces ahoy, bar one notably exception. Professor Layton lands at a very repectable 6th place, I'd feared that this charming puzzle-fest would bomb so I'm delighted to see it do so well.

1. Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360)
2. FIFA 09 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS)
3. Fallout 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
4. LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
5. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, PS2)
6. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS)
7. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
8. Quantum of Solace (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS)
9. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
10. Wii Fit (Wii)

As usual the rest of the top 40 are in the comments section
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