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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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    Goldeneye players should be familiar with the concept of screencheating, which is what this new indie is all about. Screencheat has been on our radars for a while but has now been confirmed for PS4, sparking a new wave of interest with a trailer and PS Blog post. However, it was one of a number […]

  • World of Warcraft Timewalking will make old dungeons fun again

    World of Warcraft will soon introduce a feature called Timewalking, designed to make you feel young again. When WoW players participate in a Timewalking event, they’ll be transported to a randomly selected classic dungeon. Upon entering, their level and gear will be scaled way, way down to the Dungeon’s Heroic level – so they won’t […]

  • Bloodborne and Dark Souls messaging – in real life

    Soapstone is a cool little app that mimics the messaging system found in Bloodborne, Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. Bloodborne and Dark Souls fans will surely agree that the asynchronous multiplayer side of things, with players leaving anonymous tips, encouragement and jokes for each other, is one of the cooler aspects of the From Software […]

  • Mass Effect fans, get a load of this My Talking Elcor plushie

    I have been waiting to write about this all day because oh my god. Mass Effect attracted a devoted fanbase and Bioware has found tons of clever ways to satisfy that fanbase’s desire for clothes, collectibles, books, comics and toys related to the future world of Commander Shepard and company. The company has been so […]

  • Homeworld Remastered Collection headed to retail

    Homeworld fans can purchase a neat little package of gloriously remastered nostalgia soon. The Homeworld Remastered Collection has been available online since the end of February, but is now on its way to retail thanks to a deal between new rights holder Gearbox and Ubisoft. The PC exclusive will launch in physical form from May […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt download size lower than predicted

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a hefty install footprint, but it’s not as bad as we expected. The Witcher 3 was expected to be a 50GB download after a note to this effect was added to the PlayStation Store. It looks like that might have been a placeholder figure, as DualShockers noted today that […]

  • Bloodborne, beaten with a Guitar Hero controller

    Come on now, you didn’t expect anything less from the Souls community, did you? Bloodborne has been vanquished with a Guitar Hero controller, just a few weeks after its release. Kotaku reports Bearzly took nine hours to finish the game, which is probably less than many players using a Dual Shock. You can watch a […]

  • Vendors? New social space? Your House of Wolves questions will be answered

    Destiny players learned more about House of Wolves in this week’s Bungie update than you might realise at first glance. Resident Destiny expert Arekkz cast his eagle eye over this week’s Bungie Weekly Update, which announced next week’s Reef tour livestream. I personally am most excited to learn about gear upgrade paths, but Arekkz points […]

  • GTA 5 playable with Virtuix Omni VR treadmill

    You’ve seen GTA 5 with Oculus Rift, Now see GTA 5 with the Virtuix Omni. GTA 5 PC has unlocked a number of exciting possibilities. Modders and hackers are still working on making the game’s files accessible to third-party creation tools, but several cool things have been produced even with this barrier still in place. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: play as Rain and other locked characters on PC

    Mortal Kombat X players comfortable with tinkering with the game’s files can unlock unplayable characters. Mortal Kombat X includes a number of familiar fighters available only as opponents, not playable characters. if you’re super keen to try out Rain, Baraka and co, you can – with a bit of fiddling. Redditor XVermillion figured out that […]

  • Madden 16 release date set for August, of course

    Madden NFL 16 has a deeply unsurprising release date. Madden’s release date always falls at the end of US summer, and Madden 16 is no exception. EA Sports has announced that the NFL sim will release on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 26. We have absolutely no further information at […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront won’t have Battlelog support

    Star Wars Battlefront is not just Battlefield in a Hallowe’en costume, so don’t expect the same suite of features. Star Wars Battlefront is the subject of intense anticipation and curiosity, so it’s not surprising a bunch of rumours have turned up. One of these rumours suggests that Battlefront will have its own version of Battlelog, […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beats Bloodborne to top March NPD chart

    PS4 had a good month but it was EA’s multi-platform Battlefield Hardline that was the best-selling game. March 2015 NPD at a glance Total spend down 6% YoY. Hardware and software both down. Console hardware blamed for significant hardware dip. Accessories up. Battlefield Hardline tops software chart. PS4 outsells other consoles. Wii U, 3DS and […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves gear upgrade paths will be revealed next week

    Destiny developer Bungie will reveal new equipment upgrade paths during a livestream next week. Destiny: House of Wolves will release on May 19, the developer announced last week, promising a full schedule of reveals over the next few weeks. It also gave a broad outline of some of the things it will be discussing in […]

  • Don’t forget: the Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow

    Just a quick heads up to remind you that The Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow, April 17 at 10am EDT. The free weekend is an incentive to bring back beta players which tried the game, but decided not to pursue a purchase. You can play the MMO until 10am EDT on […]

  • Tale of Tales announces May release for Kickstarter success Sunset

    Those attending Kill Screen’s Two5six Festival next month will be able to play Tale of Tales upcoming title Sunset before it’s released. Along with the news provided to us by BeefJack, Tale of Tales have also released new set of lovely screenshots which we have posted below. Sunset will be released on Linux, Mac and […]

  • Take 50% off select racing titles through the Codemasters online store

    Codemasters has launched an online store and is celebrating by giving you 50% off the titles listed. Here’s what’s on sale: F1 2013 Classic Edition F1 2014 – F1 RACE STARS BUNDLE F1 2013 GRID 2 GRID 2 Reloaded GRID Autosport DIRT 3 Complete Edition DIRT Showdown Toybox Turbos F1 RACE STARS Hit up the […]

  • Spy_Watch coming to Apple Watch from Surgeon Simulator devs

    Surgeon Simulator developers Bossa Studios have announced its working on an Apple Watch game called Spy_Watch. Spy_Watch, according to the developer, has players heading up a spy agency which isn’t faring too well. Players will need to train a spy and then send him out on various missions to “reclaim the agency’s former glory.” Real-time […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access next week

    Frozenbyte has announced Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power will launch on Steam Early Access next week. The early access title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99 and you can purchase it come April 21. If the short video above isn’t enough to tempt you, a video showing nine minutes of gameplay was released last week.

  • Journey, Flower, flOw trilogy to be released this summer on PS4 in 1080p at 60fps

    A remastered version of the Journey Collector’s Edition is coming to PlayStation 4 from ThatGameCompany. According to Gamespot, the trilogy will contain PS3 titles flOw, Flower and Journey on one disc, and it will run in 1080p at 60fps. A standalone version of Journey will arrive close to the trilogy’s release on PS4 through the […]

  • Here’s a few screenshots of PS4-exclusive Alienation from Housemarque

    Screenshots for Alienation, Housemarque’s four-player co-op PlayStation 4 exclusive, have been released and you can have a look at them in the gallery we’ve posted. Announced at gamescom 2014, the game features three main character classes, weapon customization, and various team set-ups. The game has players shooting at things with twin-stick gameplay with a top […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront website notes November 17 release, teaser video and first image hit

    The first Star Wars: Battlefront image has been posted, and apparently it appeared on the official website at some point this morning. The game will also be released on November 17, according to the official website’s source code. The release date is noted in the code located in the image below. Props to Gematsu for […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is the fastest selling entry in the series to date

    Mortal Kombat X has sold faster than any other game in the series to date, making it the “biggest launch” in Mortal Kombat history, according to creator Ed Boon. Speaking in a series of tweets, Boon said both the mobile and console versions have “literally millions of players getting online” resulting in the servers being […]

  • Shadow of the Beast reboot resurfaces with some new screenshots

    The Shadow of the Beast reboot, which was announced in 2013, has show its face once more with early screenshots. Screenshots of the Amiga classic remake show off the Karamoon’s desert and the main character, Aarbron. According Matt Birch, CEO and founder of Heavy Spectrum, the team is currently hard at work on the “core […]

  • Halo: Spartan Strike arrives on Windows 8, iOS and Steam today

    Halo: Spartan Strike is now available on Windows 8, Steam, iOS devices and Windows 8 phones. The mobile top-down shooter will run you $5.99. Halo: Spartan Strike tells a new story in the Halo universe set during the events of Halo 2 on New Mombasa in 2552. Those playing on Windows 8 devices can compete […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video shows highlights from the Episdoe Duscae demo

    Square Enix has released a Final Fantasy 15 video which shows highlights from the Episode Duscae demo included with launch editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. FFT0 has shipped over one million copies worldwide, and a player feedback survey is available for the Duscae demo until May 19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available on PlayStation […]

  • Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since release – SuperData

    PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since it was released on March 24, according to SuperData’s latest report. The figure produced by SuperData is worldwide and comes on the heels of the one million units sold announcement earlier this week. “After the release of the beautiful but terribly short game The […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Mega May returns, Super Smash Bros. update, Mii Fighter costumes

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a Super Smash Bros. update and the StreetPass Mii Plaza games Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler. The update is rather detailed, and a bit larger than normal, and you may wish to pay special attention to the activities listed. Here’s the full update: StreetPass […]

  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]

  • Suikoden 3 PEGI rating suggests PS2 Classic re-release

    Suikoden. Suikoden 2. And now: Suikoden 3. Suikoden 3 has been rated by PEGI for PlayStation 3, presumably ahead of an upcoming re-release. Gematsu turned up the rating, and although we have no further information at this time, it’s not much a leap to assume the RPG will turn up as a PS2 Classic on […]