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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

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    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]