Console Games Articles
Relic takes a break from RTS to bring us Space Marine, and shows us what it means to be one of the God-Emperor's Finest.
Looking for that perfect piece of hardware or software for a friend or family? Trying to find a game that delivers a great experience that they might not have already? We're bringing some great pieces that we've covered over the course of this year for your shopping list.
An exclusive in-depth look at DICE's much anticipated first-person parkour action game.
VeGiTAX2 takes on the Fanatec Speedster 3 in a head to head battle. Check it out and see how the current top wheel for the Xbox handles.
Console Games News
Gameplay for Trials Fusion's upcoming Awesome Level MAX DLC pack was not shown during Ubisoft's E3 2015 press conference. Instead Red Lynx trolled everyone with this huge cinematic trailer, getting folk to think there was some big AAA game about to be announced. Nope, just Trials Fusion DLC. To be fair, as a Trials Fusion fan the cinematic trailer got me ridiculously excited. Nothing better than Trials pushing even further into the absurdity that it already embraces. Today Ubisoft let loose the first look at Awesome Level Max DLC's gameplay and, well, it looks like more Trials Fusion.
When you say you're adding a cat wielding a pistol and riding a unicorn to the game, taking Trials to the next level, there are certain expectations set. Judging from the gameplay trailer the whole "taking it to the next level" thing doesn't seem to be wholly accurate. There are definitely cats on unicorns, though. It just seems to be more of an alternative skin for the motorcycle instead of a transformative gameplay feature. Many of the maps shown also seem to share level assets from the main game as well, though there definitely were a few unique levels to behold too.
Hopefully Red Lynx has taken a number of cues from their community, who has definitely had their fun with Trials Fusion's level creation system. That infinite stairs level shown in the trailer is literally taken directly from a number of custom levels I've played through myself. But hey, if all Red Lynx was doing was releasing their favorite custom maps made up by Red Lynx's engineers and playable with a unicorn being ridden by a cat? I'd still be in. Sounds like they've at least got a few surprised to discover in there, though.
The Awesome Level MAX DLC pack for Trials Fusion will be released on July 14 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, followed by a PC launch on July 15. The pack will include 30 all-net tracks, 30 challenges, the unicorn ride, and more. Folk will also be able pick up the standalone Awesome Max Edition of Trials Fusion starting with the DLC's release. That bundle will include the full game and all of its six Season Pass DLC packs, plus the new Awesome Level MAX DLC. Expect to hear more on that in the months to come.
The Uncharted 4: A Thief's End demo shown during Sony's press conference at E3 2015 was very impressive. There's no argument to be made with that statement. However, considering that the demo closed out Sony's entire conference, it was quite a bit anti-climactic. The demo ended with Nate in the middle of a chase sequence, abruptly ending without any meaningful conclusion or cliffhanger. The truth is that this was because they were showing the second half of the demo behind closed doors to press and industry folk on the E3 show floor. Today the full, extended demo has been published online for all to see.
It's not necessarily Naughty Dog's fault that their left a rather sour taste in many viewers' mouths during the press conference. They likely had nothing to do with choosing when their demo would be shown in the event and it definitely seems like they didn't expect to be the show's closer. But that's definitely what they were. Nevertheless the press went on to laud Uncharted 4 as one of E3 2015's best showings, citing the closed demo. But it's hard to persuade casual viewers that something gets better when they haven't seen it for themselves as of yet. Thank goodness Naughty Dog decided to put out this extended demo relatively recently after E3 2015 ended, eh?
The demo picks up right where the E3 demo started, with Nate and Sully looking for Nate's brother, leading into a huge chase through the mountain-side city. Where the Sony E3 demo ended, as Nate tethered onto a truck's overhanging crane hook as it rode across a bridge, Naughty Dog's full demo continues on. I won't spoil the action itself, as the video will showcase it much better than I can describe. I will mention that the conclusion of the demo is much more rewarding, as we're reintroduced to Nate's wife, Elena. It's clear she isn't happy to find her husband back in his adventuring ways, and seemingly having been lying about them as well.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is planned for release exclusively on PlayStation 4 in early 2016. This may be the last we see of the game for some time as Sony hypes up their holiday releases in the months to come, but I think most will be happy with this glimpse at the upcoming action adventure title.
More free PlayStation 4 games for the PlayStation 4 god
Sony had some comparably challenging competition from Microsoft's Games With Gold in July. Assassin's Creed sized competition. It doesn't look like Sony's stressing it, maintaining their monthly mix of indie titles and mid-tier surprises that may have passed people by in July's PlayStation Plus. Sony uses their service to promote titles that may otherwise never have found the spotlight on PC or on their own platforms. Well, beyond the PS Vita that is. Sony just seems to put every great PS Vita game directly onto PS+. No complaints there!
Note that July's PlayStation Plus line-up won't begin until July 7, since July 1 falls on a Wednesday and Sony only updates their storefront on Tuesdays.
- Rocket League
- Styx: Master of Shadows
- Entwined (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
- Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved
- Mousecraft (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
It's good to see another mix of multiplatform offerings on PlayStation Plus this July. Both Entwined and Mousecraft will be available on all three Sony platforms, giving the PS4 four games, the PS3 three games, and the PS Vita three games. Oh yes, whatever PlayStation platform you're on, there will certainly be a grand selection of games to play. There aren't any big blockbuster titles this month, which is sure to frustrate some subscribers. Hopefully they'll all be too busy with Rocket League to make too much of a fuss over it.
Make sure to log in and download your copies of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Skulls of the Shogun for PlayStation 4. They'll be departing from PlayStation Plus as soon as July's games kick in.
Battleborn is Gearbox's upcoming free-to-play shooter. The name can be a bit tough to remember in the mix of all these upcoming F2P shooters like BattleCry, Gigantic and Overwatch. Think of it as Battle-Borderlands, which kind of sounds like Battleborn. Battleborn-derlands. Whatever. Anyway, Gearbox went E3 with Battleborn and showed off their game to attendees. That doesn't do much good for us kids at home, however. Luckily Gearbox has our back too, as they've released about 20 minutes of gameplay footage from their E3 2015 demo.
As expected the game is quite Borderlandsy. Battle-Borderlandsy. The mission shown is one of the game's cooperative modes where the players push through enemy AI, ultimately growing into the escort of a large doomsday robot of sorts. The footage ends just as this robot seems to be converted to the enemy's side. Apparently watching our players take on waves of mindless, near powerless drones makes for a good demo, but the big awesome boss fight at the end was too much to handle. Eh, the gameplay seems less focused on the action, oddly, and more on introducing the characters and their abilities.
Battleborn is one of the upcoming waves of FPS MOBA-likes where players pick one of a large roster of characters to play as. Each character has a subset of unique abilities as well as general attacks, but the focus is on ensuring each one feels fun, special, and packed with personality. Gearbox has really exemplified these ideas with Borderlands, pouring style and humor onto a surprisingly simple sort of gameplay and finding a lot of success with it. Battleborn is an extension of that idea, but capitalizing on the current popularity (and profits) of the microtransaction-rich F2P MOBA-likes.
The issue I can already see arising is that perhaps Borderlands' gameplay, and so then Battleborn's as well, just isn't enough to carry this kind of experience. Borderlands was all about progression, including leveling up, finding tons of loot, and moving the story along bit by bit. The shooting was just a part of following these progression paths. Free-to-play games and MOBA-like experiences, however, are all about quick, fast and adrenaline-pumping gameplay. The style and personality help differentiate the games from competitors, sure, but the gameplay is what's key.
I'm not sure that from what I've seen of Battleborn is enough to keep people tied into the experience in such a way. Compare what we see here to Overwatch with its quick skill cooldowns and frantic, action-packed combat, or even Gigantic's speedy action with tons of verticality and really large, screen-filling abilities. Then look at Battleborn with its rather tepid gun-play, slow movements, scant skills that are very understated and on long cooldowns. Maybe the game's overarching progression systems will be a more worthwhile investment, like in Borderlands, but the gameplay definitely isn't selling the experience very well right now.
Battleborn ha no currently announced plans for a beta, though one should be expected before the end of the year. Hopefully we'll hear more in the months to come.
Everyone knows what Disgaea delivers -- there's nothing else to say!
Nippon Ichi Software continues to pump out these Disgaea games like they're a niche strategy JRPG of Call of Duty! What number are we on again? Oh yeah, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance! This time, it's a boyish protagonist with a lady side-kick for some reason wearing a bikini, wait... that's the same, isn't it? Okay, well this time they're fighting to overthrow the dark powers ruling hell, wait... that's the same too, huh? Okay, well this time it's on PlayStation 4. Hah! Even Disgaea can do new things once and a while. Announced today, Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance arrive on October 9 exclusively for PlayStation 4.
And of course I'm mostly kidding, guys. Disgaea 5 has plenty of new features that should placate the dedicated fans that the franchise has amassed so far. The latest game will feature alliance attacks, special moves only activatable when protagonist Killia's "relationship" is aligned with an ally. There's also an all new Revenge Mode which strengthens characters as their allies get defeated in combat. And Disgaea 5 is making a point to show off more of the Netherworlds than ever see before. Okay, so the new features aren't really changing the game in any significant way. But it's on PlayStation 4!
The game doesn't need to change in any huge ways, after all. Fans love Disgaea because of the huge customizable roster of allies, including over 40 races and jobs, each with their own specific traits. They love the grid-based tactical combat and grindy yet challenging combat. They love the oh-so-anime storytelling from the perspective of an anti-hero battling for control of what's basically hell. There's not really anything like Disgaea, which is why Nippon Ichi doesn't really ever need to change the formula. Fans want more of this sort of experience and so Nippon Ichi delivers.
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance will be available on PlayStation 4 starting October 6 in North America and October 9 in Europe. The latest game in the Disgaea franchise will not be coming to PlayStation 3 -- it's a PS4 exclusive! So if you're a Disgaea fan, I'd recommend jumping to the new generation. I don't think the franchise will be going back now that they've made the jump.
NIS America also announced that Disgaea 5 will feature a special Launch Day Edition which includes the game, a reversible cover, a wider collectible box, a 32-page art book and the game's original soundtrack -- all for the same price as the game would be otherwise. It's basically the best way to do launch day incentives ever, because there's none of that pre-order DLC crap involved.
Here ends the reign of Pool Nation FX of the Xbox One's line-up
Well hey, hey, hey! Look at this! Microsoft's got a pretty solid line-up of title for Games With Gold in July. Both Xbox platforms will be picking up a pair of games. I guess Pool Nation started to ask for too much money. Best yet, we're getting both a pretty outstanding AAA game as well as a smaller indie game. That's the best of both worlds. The Xbox 360's are both just outstanding. Two of the best games of that generation, and one of them well-timed considering a pair of announcements at E3. Good on Microsoft to even be willing to share this one. Alright, enough teasing.
Let's take a look at Microsoft's Games With Gold line-up for July:
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (July 1 - July 31)
- So Many Me (July 16 - August 15)
- Plants vs. Zombies (July 1 - July 15)
- Gears of War 3 (July 16 - July 31)
We're witnessing an interesting divergence here. It looks like Microsoft has figured out the direction they want for the program going forward. Xbox One games on the service seem to be on a monthly release schedule, but with tapered releases. That is to say that a new game will be added every 15 days, but an old game will then be removed. This will maintain a 2-game schedule, but also provide two new games every month. The Xbox 360, though, where it must be easier to get contracts for new games in a short amount of time, will also maintain two games each month. However, they'll only last 15 days and only one will be up at a given time.
Gears of War 3 is an awesome game, my favorite in the franchise, and Microsoft must be releasing it to build up hype for the pending release of the Gears of War Ultimate Edition on Xbox One. Hopefully they don't end up showing how much better the series is on Xbox 360. Plants vs. Zombies is an understandable pick. It's a great title that comes from one of Microsoft's closest third-party partners. I believe Garden Warfare has also been a part of Games With Gold. And Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is just a solid get no matter what. Sure it's one of the older titles on Xbox One, but it's possibly also the best launch title for the platform.
There's your Games With Gold for July, everyone. Make sure to hop online and download Massive Chalice and Pool Nation FX on Xbox One before the end of July, as well as Thief on Xbox 360.
Unclear if the Ruins of Sescheron is story-based content or not
Season 3 continues unabated in Diablo III, looking as strong as it ever has. The game has been reinvented with post-launch patches and the major changes introduced with the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion. The flock of returning player has only reinvigorated the Blizzard Entertainment devs currently working on Diablo III, as they've only just announced their plans for Patch 2.3.0. The patch will feature an entirely new zone to explore and adventure through, rewarding players with the mysterious Kanai's Cube artifact upon completion. And that's just scratching the surface.
The patch will be hitting the Public Test Realm "soon" for those willing to be test rats. It's not clear whether Blizzard intends to release 2.3.0, though with Season 3's end still a ways away it seems like might have it ready before the Season's end. Here are the major feature updates, though it should be noted that Blizzard has made major changes to patch features before. Don't be surprised if things change between now and release:
- Ruins of Sescheron Zone: Patch 2.3.0 will unlock the Ruins of Sescheron zone, an explorable are with new enemies and "environmental hazards." At the end of the zone will lie the Tomb of King Kania and his mysterious Kanai's Cube artifact."
- Kanai's Cube: Like the Horadric Cube on steroids, Kanai's Cube allows for breaking down Legendary items in order to equip their effects as passive skills, converting crafting materials, and other tricks.
- Crafting Updates: "Crunched down" number of crafting recipes, as well as dynamically adjusting recipes for low level items.
- Adventure Mode Updates: Changes to improve the pacing of Adventure Mode, while encouraging players to do more bounties across multiple acts. Includes Act-specific crafting materials and bonus Horadric Caches for completing Bonus Acts.
- Season Journey: Starting in Season 4, a new interface will allow players to track their progress across Chapters and Tiers. These will note "major milestones" and unlock portrait rewards for certain challenges.
- Increasing Torment: Torment, previously capped at VI, will not scale all the way up to Torment X.
- Legendary & Set Items: It wouldn't be a patch without new legendary and set items and effects, as well as revamping some existing items. Not retroactive.
- Combat Changes: Crowd control to be less effective against certain "tougher" monsters. More or less experience granted based on monster difficulty (time taken to kill a monster). Difficulty diverted away from Rift Guardian and into challenges along the way.
This is just a list of major feature changes made in Diablo III's patch 2.3.0. The specific notes have not been published, and the developers have even noted that there are some smaller but equally awesome changes that just didn't make the list.
As mentioned earlier, the patch is not yet live on the Public Test Realm and it's not clear whether or not the patch is intended to be released before or after the end of Season 3. The general trend for Blizzard is to release these big patches as a season is ending, however, so players can get accustomed to the content before the next season begins. All without shifting the meta mid-season. Expect more details on this soon.
Diablo III and its expansion Reaper of Souls are both currently available on PC, and also on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the form of the Ultimate Evil Edition. News on console patches tends to come quite a bit later than for PC, so please wait for more information in the months to come, console players.
Update: Driveclub PS+ Edition is now available for download in both America and Europe!
Driveclub's initial announcement was exciting -- the game would be debuting as both a full game as well as a PlayStation Plus exclusive demo versions. Yet when it came time to launch, the glee turned to scorn as the PS+ version's servers were quickly overhwhelmed. The launch was disastrous for all Driveclub players and the PS+ version was postponed indefinitely. Ever since developer Evolution and publisher Sony have promised that the game would return, it was a huge part of the PlayStation 4's launch campaign after all, but until today no one knew when. Today we learned it would arrive tomorrow.
Yes, on June 25 the Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition will be released in all its glory. Err, hold that thought. It won't be released in all of its glory. It'll be released in all of its offline glory. Sony's apparent solution to their servers being overloaded was not adequately preparing their serves for the load, but rather to disable everyone's online access to start and then slowly roll it out to the masses. I'm not sure why it took so long for this solution to be found.
"We have to take this precaution because Driveclub connectivity is demanding for a multiplayer game, with countless ever-growing social connections across clubs, challenges, multiplayer, and hundreds of thousands of dynamic leaderboards and activity feeds."
Still, better late than never and also better offline than not at all... maybe? Actually I'm not so sure about that last bit. Sony will apparently keep a record of how quickily online services for Driveclub are rolling out over at the official Driveclub website.
The thing is, I'm not so sure how excited people are to download Driveclub anymore. Dilligent PlayStation Plus members will be certain to check it out, but will they go out of their way especially with online disabled to start? The full game has already been released for some time, and while the game's visuals were a high point of the game it was overall panned as a relatively lackluster game. I get the feeling this is just Sony trying to deliver on an old promise with as little fanfare as possible. They just don't want it to be another car crash. After the thing is out, everyone can start forgetting about it all.
Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition will be available starting tomorrow, June 25, exclusively on PlayStation 4.
"Thank you to everyone who has stood by Driveclub during the past year and for everyone who has accepted the extra wait for the PS Plus Edition and the companion app which will come after. The team at Evolution Studios is working incredibly hard to make Driveclub great for you, to get everyone to have fun racing in clubs and continue the evolution of the game with spectacular updates every month. I can’t wait to see all of you enjoying the game online together."
Bungie wasn't kidding when they said The Taken King will change Destiny forever
Bungie just published their "Weekly Update," in which they addressed many of the frustrations regarding Destiny: The Taken King's announcement and the ongoing discourse regarding the pricing of the expansion. Sadly I'm not entirely sure if Destiny fans are going to be happy with Bungie's response or angrier than ever. The Weekly Update focused on three things: Bungie creative lead Luke Smith's apology for comments made during a Eurogamer interview, a new plan to release the bonus content from The Taken King's Digital Collector's Edition standalone for $20, and free VIP rewards for year one players who have "picked up and played" Destiny and its two current expansions.
First, regarding Luke Smith's apology, the sad truth is it's unlikely that Destiny's community will forgive him until pricing issues revolving around The Taken King and its supplementary digital content is solved. Judging from the response in Destiny's community already, those issues are ongoing despite today's announcements. With that said, Luke's apology does not ring entirely sincere. He begins by explaining that those who know him would understand he was just being sarcastic and only apologized to the community which apparently doesn't understand his humor. Then he closes out with the Destiny community marketing line of, "We are listening," and let me tell you that when you're apologizing to a community tired of hearing, "We are Listening," when it very much seems like Bungie isn't, saying, "We are listening," again isn't the best option.
Second, Bungie's apologetic solution to frustrated Destiny Veterans having to spend $40 for an expansion, plus another $40 for exclusive DLC bundled with the original game and its expansions, is to discount the DLC to $20 and remove the bundled game. All Bungie's done is redirect the frustration towards still having to pay $40 for an expansion plus $20 for content they still believe aught not to be something sold. Bungie and Activision has essentially used fan frustration over the initial bundle to cross a line they haven't before -- by selling microtransactions. $20 for emotes, shaders and class items. Emotes! You have to pay money in Destiny to get emotes. This is after Destiny devs said out loud that the game has to do more to create a social atmosphere in the game. I doubt emote microtransactions were what they had in mind when they said that.
Third, a VIP reward for year one players. This, this is actually a good idea, but right now it just seems like candy to placate an angry child. Unless Destiny solves their pricing issues, I don't think this angry child is going to accept candy as an olive branch.
Or maybe they will, because at the end of the day Bungie's community is incredible. It's one of the best gaming communities online. And the thing is, Bungie and Activision know that if they do nothing to change prices from now until The Taken King's launch, their community will still buy the expansion because they love Destiny and the community. Will Activision and Bungie make meaningful pricing changes? Or will they knowingly keep things the way they are, because they know they can?
And here I am, wondering if today's announcement of a Destiny and Red Bull partnership, where exclusive The Taken King content keycodes are put in packages of the energy drink, was meant to distract from this ongoing controversy or just otherwise horrible, horrible timing.
Tony Hawk is so hyped for this game that he's intimidating
Judging from the response to our nominating Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 for Sports in our Best of E3 2015 awards, most people didn't even realize the game was at the show. Luckily Tony Hawk and crew have put at little post-E3 something something together to help fans catch up to speed. The new rundown trailer focuses on many of the major goals for the project, straight from the mouths of Robomodo developers and professional skaters featured in the game. Perhaps they might be trying to lay on the Tony Hawk nostalgia a little too thick, though.
Oddly enough though, the trailer doesn't really go into multiplayer. According to a post on PlayStation's Blog from Robomodo's president, Josh Tsui, multiplayer is the key addition to the game on top of the classic Tony Hawk experience fans would otherwise expect:
"Online multiplayer is where Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 truly takes off, letting players drop in and out of ongoing online skate sessions with friends and challengers from around the world; it’s like a skatepark that never closes. Complete missions, unlock new content, and level up online or offline, or go head-to-head on the fly against all takers in competitive matches."
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 will feature a surprising 20-player multiplayer mode. I'm not entirely sure how that will work, beyond how a lot of skaters are going to be pushing and shoving their way up ramps, but at the same time that sounds kind of awesome.
Instead of focusing on the multiplayer, the introductory trailer shows off various gameplay including some new features. Those include mid-air "stomping" which lets players move downwards after making a jump in order to more quickly land on the ground or rail. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 will also feature a park creation tool, letting players create their own maps full of ramps, jumps and rails specifically positioned for whatever nonsense they please. They tease a bit of how the map creation will work in the video, but whether or not the feature is substantial in the final product will need to be proven.
Mostly, yeah, it just looks like Tony Hawk. The visuals aren't particularly impressive, and they do have that weird elemental feature where you can light your board on fire or charge it with electricity that was shown but not discussed, which could be weird. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 could be interesting? Hopefully we'll see more of the game soon.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 is planned for release on September 29 later this year for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360.
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- 20 minutes of Gearbox's Battleborn shared from their E3 demo, unsurprisingly very Borderlands-ish 
- PlayStation Plus in July adds Rocket League on PS4, Geometry Wars 3 on PS Vita 
- E3 2015: Super Mario Maker is the Wii U's definitive exclusive, classic 2D Mario Bros. with ambition 
- First look at Ratchet & Clank's PS4 're-imagining,' 8 minutes of gameplay 
- Extended Uncharted 4: A Thief's End E3 2015 demo reintroduces Elena 
- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 rundown trailer, features Park Creator and multiplayer with up to 20 skaters 
- Launch trailer for The Great Ace Attorney's July 9 Japanese release, no localization yet announced 
- Pokémon Shuffle Mobile coming to iOS and Android devices, mobile match-3 goodness later this year