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Black Ops 2 campaign debriefed: time paradox

Friday, 16 November 2012 08:51 GMT By Dave Cook

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2′s campaign ventures into the future, but do its ideas feel like relics from the past? VG247′s Dave Cook investigates.

When it first hit the scene the Call of Duty series retold history by putting a Hollywood slant on real tales of courage and sacrifice. Today, you’re essentially James Bond in a fantasy world performing death-defying feats, playing around with gadgets and saving the world from an assortment of maniacs almost single-handedly.

This is perfectly fine, of course, as the series has never been a war sim. Its silly, over-the-top fun for fans of action cinema everywhere, and while it doesn’t batter the senses like Modern Warfare 3′s ‘let’s just throw more shit on the screen’ ethos, this is a spectacle in its own right.

However, the original Modern Warfare campaign is widely regarded to be the zenith of Call of Duty campaigns despite its relative simplicity, and quite rightly, because it’s a focused effort that really stands up if you revisit it today. So much so that many gamers have desperately want the series to match or surpass Infinity Ward’s effort.

“It’s only when Menendez’s endgame is revealed that you actually become conflicted. He’s fighting for the 99% – the poorer classes – and the campaign strong-arms you into accepting his cause to some degree.”

Treyarch’s first Black Ops gave it a decent stab, its tale of redacted CIA dossiers, mind-bending sleeper agents and the madness of Vietnam had the potential to raise the bar, but it got a tad too wacky towards the end to be taken seriously as a epic showstopper.

By looking to the year 2025, the studio has wisely given itself a blank canvas to explore a whole new assortment of global conflicts and expensive new toys, yet continues to fall back on action movie parodies and familiar gameplay issues. But it is still the best contender to Call of Duty 4′s crown to date.

The plot kicks off with an elderly Frank Woods retelling the story of how Alex Mason and Hudson rescued him after the events of the first Black Ops. It’s during these flashbacks that you’re introduced to Raul Menendez, the villain of the piece.

He’s a great bad guy – his harrowing past as interesting as the future he’s trying so hard to dominate. Dark Knight scribe David S. Goyer has tried to fashion a sympathetic villain in Menendez, but some attempts at pity fall flat, and serve to amuse instead.

It’s only when Menendez’s endgame is revealed that you actually become conflicted. He’s fighting for the 99% – the poorer classes – and the campaign strong-arms you into accepting his cause to some degree.

Two future missions expertly contrast the distinct class divide. The first is a tense battle up a flooded street in Afghanistan as civilians pick through garbage for scraps. The next moment, you’re infiltrating a man-made island resort.

It’s a holiday paradise where a weekend trip ‘costs more than you make in a year’, according to protagonist David Mason. The opulence of its shopping districts and garish nightclubs with their pounding dubstep underline a world gone wrong.

All of this makes Menendez’s final play – which isn’t just to steal America’s drone fleet, you’ll see when you play it – more poignant, and depending on how much you care about Call of Duty plots, you may be drawn in a little by his goal too.

Before that however, players will travel the globe with Woods and Mason, as the ‘numbers’ indoctrination rears its ugly head again, and granted, although it’s based on low-tech gear, you will experience some of those highly entertaining set pieces that the Call of Duty series delivers so well.

“Once you’ve had a taste of the future you probably won’t want to go back to the past, that is, until you realise that the mess of unanswered plot threads are actually starting to come together, making sense of what, at first, appears to be a total mess.”

The future missions are without question the most engaging of the campaign however, offering some genuinely refreshing locales, encounters and equipment to use. It’s all set against the boiling threat of a cold war between America and China over natural resources, and Menendez’s attempts to manipulate both sides using his fanatical cult Cordis Die.

Although it’s a neat set-up that asks some very poignant questions about the very real threat of resource wars in our own future, but the potentially chilling angle falls away to that same old action madness in moments. Again, the latter half of the game sees the plot improve.

All of this is fine to a degree, as Treyarch has rammed as much content and distractions in the mix as possible. For example, an early siege on Menendez’s underground facility sees players using stealth cloaks, wing suits, hacked turrets and turret drones in the space of ten minutes. It’s chaos.

At points it often feels like Treyarch has attempted to curry favour with gamers who dislike the future setting, as a 1980s attack on a Nicaraguan villa echoes the original game’s Bay of Pigs opener.

These are perfectly fine missions, but once you’ve had a taste of the future you probably won’t want to go back to the past, that is, until you realise that the mess of unanswered plot threads are actually starting to come together, making sense of what, at first, appears to be a total mess.

New to this year’s offering are four Strike Force Missions that break up the core plot at points. These quick, tactical skirmishes can be failed and will change the backdrop of the game’s ending accordingly, such as getting China on your side and other factors.

The hook here is that these missions give you greater control over the battlefield. The first scenario sees your squad defending a drone factory in India from Menendez’s forces, and players are given an assortment of troops, turrets and a CLAW mech to get the job done.

You can hop in and out of any single troop or AI tech device at will as you defend multiple objectives from enemy fire. For a better view of the battle you can jump into an overhead perspective and command troops from above.

Battles quickly become a mess as you scramble around with nowhere near enough troops to defend all three objectives at once, and a confusing control system to contend with.

“Strike Force Missions are a proof of concept that real tactical play could work in a Call of Duty paradigm, but a lot more work is needed to nail the formula down.”

It makes sense over time, but every time you restart you will lose a strike Force Team, meaning you can’t complete all four missions. You’re not given enough time in the heat of battle to properly adjust and understand to Treyarch’s new ideas.

You will eventually – near the end of the mission timer – have so few enemies to worry about that these solo attempts become possible, but at the outset the action quickly becomes bewildering as you try to remember which button does what. More room for practice runs is needed.

Insanely harsh timers are also punishing for newcomers, offering little margin for error. For all of their rough edges however, Strike Force Missions are a proof of concept that real tactical play could work in a Call of Duty paradigm, but a lot more work is needed to nail the formula down.

It’s a shame, but these shortcomings mirror many prevalent issues across the Call of Duty saga that refuse to go away. You still can’t open most doors on your own, instead being forced to wait for your AI buddies to stack up and do it for you, and at points it feels like you’re forever chasing HUD markers.

Granted some areas have been widened considerably and do lend opportunities to approach objectives as you see fit, and hidden weapon and tech caches offer incentive to explore rooms off the beaten path, even if they are just an arm’s length away.

The corridor nature of the series can only be masked so far by widening it a little, so it would be genuinely refreshing to see those battlegrounds expanded significantly to match the locales from Halo, or to a lesser extent Crysis 2.

An early mission on horseback sees Woods and Mason riding around a massive desert expanse, but there is only one proper path. Straying too far will cause the mission to end, or for you to be torn down by enemies. It’s an illusion, even if it is a very attractive one.

There is still no real incentive or scope for experimentation, exploration or initiative. There is still a deeply ingrained carrot and stick mentality at work here, and although such restrictive design gives rise to the set-pieces fans know and expect from it, Call of Duty has the potential to go much bigger.

Perhaps the next generation will yield such a shift in scope? It’s difficult to tell, but it’s clear that Treyarch has attempted to address many of the series’ campaign issues over the years, and for the best part it has merely papered over the bumps, rather than stamping them out completely.

Play areas are slightly bigger, the corridors have more junctions and the visuals are a relative step up, and as such, the Black Ops 2 campaign is indeed a super effort despite its flaws. But these are flaws that become less tolerable with each passing year.

Something’s got to give, and it feels like this is confidently the biggest step in the right direction for some time. Love or hate the end product, Treyarch deserves kudos for having the balls to try and trigger the sea change we now need. Your move Infinity Ward.

Disclosure:

  • This review was written using a retail copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 bought by Dave himself at £44.99 and reviewed at home. VG247 did not attend the game’s official review event.

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25 Comments

  1. Patrick Garratt

    Still haven’t got it. I’ll buy it this weekend, I think.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 You’ll love it Pat. You’re a fan of dubstep right?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    I remember some youtube stream of Black Ops 2 campaign.

    It was just so lacking in quality. I remember one level when you are on the horse with the stinger (STINGER FOR FUCK SAKE on the HORSE) shooting soviet (!) vehicles (!) and helicopters with infinite ammo in Arcade mode (Oh well, that is a controller issue obviously.)

    I watched one level and it was full of shit every 5 seconds or so.

    Or.. Funny story sequence where you are trying to interrogate “Soviet soldier aka some kind of Boris” and if you choose to kill him these guys (muslims, whatever) are going to kill americans while saying: YOU (Americans) will be always our TRUE enemies.

    Why? WHY? Why? This game does not even explain That. I mean, daaamn, how can humanity create something like this?

    Oh and, I remember the sequence with helicopters. They have fogs from Call Of Duty 2. That is just wow… I want to hear how much was spent money for the developing.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 Yeah, it’s called ‘fun’. Try it some time.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    I wub it, yeah.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    @4, That’s not fun. That is stupidity. Gameplay in this game is outdated thing from 99s.

    Shooting (!) vehicles (!) from a stinger on a horse in arcade mode =/= Not fun.

    Also, horse controls are horrible for a horse. I liked the fact that If shooting starts around you horse is going apeshit, but when you shoot from a Machine gun that robotic horse stands still. That is just moronic at best.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Dave Cook

    @6 Yes, the whole series has become a parody of stupid action movies and makes no attempt to hide the fact. Some people like that angle though. it’s why Commando is one of my all-time favourite movies, it’s such an unfettered guilty pleasure. It’s crap, but enjoyable.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Johnny Cullen

    I actually love the campaign for BLOPS 2. And if you had heard me say that for this or BLOPS 1 a few years ago due to both being made by Treyarch, I would have slapped myself. I didn’t enjoy Modern Warfare 3 last year, but I’m a big sucker for Cold War-like action games (this and MGS3 basically, not to mention I’m gasping for Agent right now).

    So yeah, I’m definitely in for one more Black Ops game when it comes back to Treyarch.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Dave Cook

    @8 Well said, this feels like a cold war take on the future. It’s the conspiracies and cover-ups that I like. The Noriega scenes are brilliant. Very tense.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. griffpaul

    have to agree with Erthazus here. guilty pleasure or not, if you’re critiquing a game then you have to know the difference between something being bad game design or an acquired taste.

    If explosions in games are all you can appreciate then yeah this probably is the best game ever, but this is easily one of the worst call of duties – single-player wise anyway.

    its just stupid, more than anything. like a teenagers wet dream, but without the quality of previous CODs

    The biggest disappointment was the ‘tactical’ missions. Strike force missions? They start off cool, but you soon realise that there’s no depth to it whatsoever. Shame, I would’ve loved a bit more of those if there was any depth to it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Dave Cook

    @10 it isn’t badly designed though. From a design standpoint the levels are mechanically sound, the visuals are a slight step up, the gunplay handles superbly and more.

    Or do you mean design as in the plot and direction? I’m not having a go, just want to nail down what you mean :)

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Custard Ganet

    @6 Yeah? so how many hours have you sunk into this game you despise so far? probably around the 40 mark by now right? Prestiged once maybe…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. G1GAHURTZ

    Yooooooooo!

    Haven’t touched the campaign yet.

    Been on the MP, and had two games of zombies.

    In fact. I think I’m off for another session, right now…

    #13 2 years ago
  14. griffpaul

    @11 I guess I mean mechanically in a similar sense to Erthazus in that the horses don’t even react when rockets and guns and helicopters are flying everywhere. That bit could’ve been cool if they kept the ‘action’ to a minimum until off horseback, like a charge into battle and little else. A crescendo or something.

    But elsewhere, I think mechanical it’s lacking when compared to the rest. Okay, so it doesn’t have Modern Warfare’s respawning enemies, but you can see them literally pop into few.

    As for game design, that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with mechanics. Deciding to have a bit on a horse is game design and that – in itself – isn’t a bad thing. its more the way its done and that is bad game design.

    Course I don’t play COD for the single player so it’s kind of a useless argument, I just think saying its the best yet it perhaps a little much. especially when you seemed more negative towards the multiplayer, which actually IS the best yet. Ha

    #14 2 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Inm29K9L9q4&list=ULInm29K9L9q4#t=2538s

    No spoilers present but my God what on Earth were they thinking.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dave Cook

    @14 Yeah I still think Black Ops 2 multiplayer is the best by far, I just think there is still room for improvement. Been playing it lots since I got it :)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. griffpaul

    @15 I actually enjoyed that bit!

    @16 to be honest I don’t see how you can say that about the multiplayer (which is true, I won’t deny it) when the same is true of the single player. different story, yeah, but its still the same bits.

    the nano gloves bit, for example, is the same as the ice-climbing bit of MW2. Then a tree mystically falls on them to create a sense of danger? yawn.

    I guess I just want more from my games, to be honest.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Erthazus

    “it isn’t badly designed though. From a design standpoint the levels are mechanically sound, the visuals are a slight step up, the gunplay handles superbly and more.”

    CoD:BO2 Design is flawed as F.
    From a design standpoint the levels are small corridors where you don’t even require to shoot enemy at all. Basically it’s running “from A To the next checkpoint”. Levels that are biger are basically small arcade 3 minutes of gameplay.
    Visuals are the same as before. There are even fogs from Call Of Duty 2 not to mention about horrible textures, animation, lightning. There is absolutely nothing that is up to date.
    Gunplay is from 1999s thanks to John Carmack and his engineering skills. It’s SEMI-automatic without dispersion and other stuff that “Real weapons” must have.

    They even have railguns there… Really.

    Today I saw some “strategy” mini game in BO2. I don’t know what it is but gosh… What a piece of shit that mode is.
    Basically you can die as much as you want and shoot shit at the same time not to mention that bots that are fighting for you are stupid as hell, basically 95% of the kills are from You.

    I just don’t know what to say. Who created this piece of “Something clever and incredible”.

    But riding on a horse shooting soviet vehicles from a stinger in 80s will be my favourite part because it’s truly speaks about game quality.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @19 your existence on these pages is to troll. That’s what you enjoy doing. I won’t argue with you any more or give you any more fuel :)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Erthazus

    @20, Sorry, but you don’t know what is “troll”. Everything that i said is my personal opinion.

    So you really believe that small corridors are not true in this game or that Visuals are better? Is this some kind of trolling, Dave?

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Hcw87

    So in previous cod games (not sure about BO1), you have infinitely respawning enemies, so you have to move forward all the time in order to stop their respawning (can’t stay at a distance picking off the enemies before moving forward etc).

    Does BO2 still have this flawed design in campaign?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Deacon

    lol… let it go Erth, it’s Friday man!

    I’ve only really got one thing to say about BO2. I’ve watched quite a few gameplay videos online, and I really don’t know if it’s just me, but sheesh man that engine is looking tired. Don’t get me wrong, it looks like they’ve achieved great stuff with it – especially in campaign, but primarily when watching MP footage, the levels, lighting and scenery look like something from 2005! :p

    I’m no graphics whore, nor am I am FPS whore. Nor is CoD my specialist subject. I may just have seen some bad examples, I’m not watching 240 x 360 videos here though.

    And yeah, sorry, I know the graphics/engine thing must be getting a bit old now.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Dave Cook

    @22 no infinite respawns in the campaign apart from some of the Strike Force Missions, but then again your team has infinite respawns too so it’s fair.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. G1GAHURTZ

    @20:

    +1

    ——

    Don’t really have time to read all this, ‘cos I’m playing the game instead.

    League play has taken this game to a whole other level for me, though. (Platinum baby, yeah!)

    I probably won’t touch the SP for a few months, if I ever do. I’m not sure I’ll ever really understand why people prefer SP to MP in general…

    #24 2 years ago
  25. JimFear-666

    this game is my goty only for the easter egg after the credit haha :P

    #25 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]

  • EA’s annual E3 press conference takes place on June 15

    Electronic Arts has announced its annual E3 2015 press conference will take place the day before the show kicks off on June 15. EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft always hold press events the day before E3 officially starts, so this isn’t any surprise, really. The presser, dubbed “Live to Play”, will last one hour and […]

  • Steam exchange rate mix-up closes down community market

    The Steam community market was buggered up big time today after a mix-up with currency conversion had items selling from practically nothing, to millions of dollars. PC Gamer picked up on the news after a thread on Reddit appeared with screenshots depicting just how silly things were getting over there. The currency exchange rate data […]

  • Britney Spears signs five-year deal with Glu for new mobile game

    Pop star Britney Spears has signed a five-year deal with Glu mobile for a new, untitled game. The mobile game will feature her “voice, likeness, and creative influence,” and is due for release sometime next year. Glu also signed a deal with Katy Perry in February, so expect a game revolving around her to hit […]

  • Large Activision publisher sale on Steam discounts Call of Duty, Prototype, more

    Activision has put the majority of its library on sale through Steam this weekend, and if other titles weren’t included, it could be referred to as a Call of Duty sale. Below are a few standouts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Gold Edition 25% off Call of Duty: Ghosts 67% off Call of Duty: […]

  • The Dota 2 International Compendium is out, second Stretch Goal almost complete

    The International Compendium has been released for Dota 2 with the prize pool sitting at a lovely $1,917,155 as of press time. Valve said over the weekend to expect the International Compendium to drop sometime this week. As with previous years, those who purchase the Compendium can earn rewards by completing challenges, making predictions and by […]

  • If permadeath RTS games are up your alley, check out indie project XO

    The Square Enix Collective showcases projects for a limited time to help drum up community support and potential backers, and RTS title XO from Jumpdrive Studios is worth taking a look at. The teaser trailer is fairly brief, but if you visit the page for XO over at the Square Enix Collective, it’s understandable – […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch disables mods. Here’s how to get them working again

    A new patch for the PC version of GTA 5 was released yesterday and, as it turns out, has wiped the ability to use mods with the game. The wasn’t great news for some players, but YouTuber taltigolt has already figured out how to play the PC version with mods after installing the patch. Matt […]

  • Xbox One ad stealth launches a mysterious Halo 5 competition

    A new Xbox One advert released today isn’t as straightforward as it appears. The trailer has a couple of pretty conspicuous ‘glitches’ throughout, and members of NeoGAF wasted no time in breaking it down. The first item of interest is the screen from the hunt the signal site, which displays an error message when accessed […]

  • Battlefield 4 Jungle map improved with latest update

    DICE LA has updated the Battlefield 4 Jungle map, adding more foliage and a new route. As demonstrated by Westie in the video above, the map now has the kind of foliage you’d expect in the jungle, helping to conceal infantry players. The update also tweaks positions of objective points and has added a concealed […]

  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate free DLC pack for May includes Metroid and Mega Man armour

    The May DLC pack for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate boasts some big ticket items, including Metroid, Street Fighter, and Mega Man gear. This big fat chunk of free DLC, detailed on the capcom unity blog, includes Hunter equipment: Metroid’s Varia Suit Metroid’s Zero Suit Metroid’s Arm Cannon Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn USJ’s Star Rook […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for May 1, 2 – Hard Light edition

    Here he comes with his weird face, dealing goods and gear for Guardians. It’s Friday. Xur: Agent of the Nine is back in the Tower. Of Course he is. Got your Strange Coins? Here’s what’s in his bag this week: Ruin Wings [Exotic Titan gauntlets] – 13SC Don’t Touch Me [Exotic Hunter gauntlets] – 13SC […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC drops for PS4 on May 26

    Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC has now been announced for May 26 for PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360. The announcement was made on Twitter via the official Dragon Age account. Mark your calendars! #DAIJawsOfHakkon pic.twitter.com/mU1WfkSrQV — Dragon Age (@dragonage) May 1, 2015 The DLC was released for PC and Xbox One back in March thanks to […]

  • New Witcher 3 screenshots highlight Geralt’s questionable fashion choices

    Even though The Witcher 3 release date is drawing closer, it still feels like a million year away. So here are some more screenshots to tide you over until then. We got to look at in-game shots yesterday, but these new screens show Geralt riding through some gorgeously vibrant mountains, in the midst of combat […]

  • Sims Gurus patch out pregnant men

    Say goodbye to The Sims 4 unique take on fatherhood, as The Sims Gurus confirm that male pregnancies are no more. The Sims 4 players have been reporting high numbers of alien abductions, leaving their male characters with sore bottoms and a bellyful of alien baby. Kotaku reports that not everyone was getting their knickers […]

  • Black Mesa countdown probably points to Half-life remake release date

    Half-life remake Black Mesa may have a release date at last. Black Mesa is a Source Engine remake of the original Half-life, which like everything related to Half-life feels like it’s taking forever to come out. The first part launched in September 2012, and it looks like we might have a release date for the […]

  • Spector puts down rumours of troubled Epic Mickey development

    Epic Mickey seemed like a surprising follow-up project from the man who made Deus Ex, but Warren Spector has put down rumours of a difficult relationship with Disney. Epic Mickey displays several qualities found in Spector’s other games and which he has always espoused in interviews – heck, this is the man whose dream it […]

  • Ubisoft makes good on Child of Light promise with free eBook

    Child of Light fans can check out a gorgeous new illustrated book set in the world of Lumeria. Earlier this month, creator Patrick Plourde confirmed that there were more Child of Light projects on the way. As we expected from the cagey wording, at least the first of these projects isn’t a game: it’s an […]

  • Half-life episode from Junction Point would have featured a magnet gun

    Half-life seems to be on near permanent hold, but at least we can glean some insight into what might once have been. Junction Point’s cancelled Half-life game came up in Warren Spector’s Reddit AMA overnight. Commenting that he isn’t sure whether he’ll get into legal trouble for discussing the project, Spector gave a few comments […]

  • Destiny: exclusive shader, emblem on offer with Nepal benefit shirt

    Destiny developer Bungie has asked Guardians to offer their aid, and they’ve already responded in troves. A new Destiny shirt added to the Bungie Store is the object of a fundraising drive to provide aid in Nepal following a devastating earthquake this week. Bungie popped the pretty stylish shirt on sale earlier today, offering an […]

  • What does the creator of Deus Ex think of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided?

    Deus Ex creator Warren Spector seems pretty positive about the direction the sci-fi series has followed under Square Enix’s hand. Deus Ex was created by Spector and his team at Ion Storm, and remained with Eidos after the developer shuttered. When Square Enix purchased the British publisher, it put new studio Eidos Montreal to work […]

  • Protest Goat secures future for Elite Dangerous destruction derbies

    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]

  • Star Wars Disney Infinity re-release on the cards – rumour

    Star Wars is a no-brainer for Disney Infinity, and at long last it looks like it’s happening. A Star Wars re-release called Disney Infinity 3.0 has reportedly leaked from German retailers. We have to lable this one a rumour as we haven’t seen the original source, but the story was originally reported by DisKingdom, which […]

  • Award-winning mobile indie Monument Valley out now on Windows Phone

    Windows Phone’s game selection can be a bit restrictive, but has expanded delightfully today: Monument Valley is now available. Monument Valley is one of those gorgeous, mind-bending puzzlers the indie scene produces on the regular, winning awards and consuming everyone’s lives for weeks on end. Developed by Ustwo Games, with beautiful, understated art from Ken […]

  • Old-school EverQuest servers safe from legal troubles thanks to Daybreak agreement

    EverQuest rights holder Daybreak Game Company given its blessing to the wonderful Project 1999. EverQuest: Project 1999 is one of those lovely ideas that it are all too often crushed by the realities of the games industry. An entirely fan-managed affair, it provides an emulated version of the classic EverQuest experience, which is no longer […]

  • Free Dragon Age short stories fill us in on Corypheus’s followers

    Dragon Age: Inquisition developer BioWare invites you to learn more about the lore and characters that make up its beautiful role-playing setting. Dragon Age is set in Thedas, a world still only partially revealed by the three core games to date. BioWare puts a heck of a lot of work into its worldbuilding, employing a […]

  • Remember that gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo? It now utilizes DirectX 12

    Remember the gorgeous Luminous Engine tech demo Square Enix showed off three years ago? The firm showed it again at Microsoft’s Build Conference, this time utilizing DirectX 12. The Witch Chapter 0 [cry] real-time tech demo was created from research Square conducted using real-time CG technology and DX12 in collaboration with Microsoft and Nvidia. The […]

  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones sneaks onto GOG and Steam services

    Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones can now be purchased through GOG and Steam. On both services it will run you £12.99/€14.99/$14.99. Links here and here. The game features: Fully explorable ‘Metroidvania’ style overworld, laying siege to a diabolical cloning facility with varied and detailed environments. A variety of special equipment to unlock new […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC Ascendance has arrived on PC, PlayStation consoles

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players on PC and PlayStation consoles can now download the Ascendance DLC. The second content pack contains the OHM weapon, the OHM Werewolf custom variant, and the second entry in the Exo Zombies saga, Infection. Four new maps are also included: Perplex, Site 244, Climate, and Chop Shop. Ascendance was […]

  • Latest Xbox 360 system update is live, now supports 2TB hard drives

    Xbox 360 now supports 2TB hard drives via the latest system update for the console. Support for the drives was announced earlier this month and has been available for preview members. “In addition we will also no longer reserve space in advance on your hard drive,” said the firm. “If you are using 16GB of […]

  • Kickstarter for Banjo-Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee launches tomorrow

    Playtonic Games has announced the Kickstarter campaign for its spiritual successor to the Banjo Kazooie series, Yooka-Laylee, will launch tomorrow. The title of the game was announced today along with the Kickstarter date. Formerly known as Project Ukulele, the 3D platformer is said to be “between the size of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie,” and stars Yooka […]

  • Console version of Mistwalker’s Terra Battle is in development

    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. Videogamer.com spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]