Monthly Archives: April 2012

Greece Goes Multiplayer in God of War: Ascension

Squad of War? Find out why Kratos is bringing friends to the party in God of War: Ascension.

 

“Kratos was an asshole in God of War II and III,” said Todd Pappy, game director of God of War: Ascension, as our presentation began. This fourth console release, and earliest GoW prequel, gives Sony Santa Monica Studio a chance to colour God-slayer Kratos in a very different light. The team is emphatic that this is their most ambitious game yet, and it’s easy to see why. The scale and cinematic quality that are synonymous with the series has been mirrored, now appearing both in a new, single-player campaign, and being brought over to power the game’s first multiplayer outing. While developers on hand admitted that the move from a one-player game to an experience that players can share with each other means redistribution of time and resources, they also believe that the result will be what fans have long been crying out for.

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Our demo began with a black screen, as winds howled around us. A tight zoom of Kratos revealed the titular hero making his return in this adventure, although, as the game takes place prior to the events of the console trilogy, his body appeared bronzed, rather than ashen white, not yet carrying the shameful mark of his slain family. Draped over his body was a colourful tribal outfit. As the camera panned around to show us the scene, he pulled on a large helmet to protect his skull. He’s not yet a god, and the security it affords was an early indication of his frailty.

The action kicked off immediately as a small Cyclops burst through a corridor doorway. With no Blades of Chaos with which to lash out and grab our target, we rushed forward with a huge, ornate sword in hand. It was impressive to watch as the pair began to tangle; animations appeared smooth and natural. A second warrior joined the fray, running interference and baiting the beast as we performed a deft flanking movement to attack it from its unprotected side. We took it in turns with our brother in arms, eventually pinning the Cyclops down and carving deep gashes into its stomach, watching as its insides unravelled, spilling out on the ground below.

We didn’t hang around long to marvel at our gory handiwork. Our guide proved that this was a live demonstration by shaking the weapon in midair and activating a rousing battle cry. We broke through into a larger, multi-storey space. In the background, a huge Cyclops was being held captive in a collar and wrist chains. Our goal wasn’t immediately apparent, and there was no HUD to speak of, but the combat was distinctly God of War as we began to cull handfuls of enemies. A large spinning cog was connected to two circular platforms, keeping the monster in check. It was a good thing, too, with each of our characters about the size of one of its giant fingernails.


We swatted the smaller opponents away like flies, performing a flashy combo that in one fell swoop cut off one hand in its upward motion, and finished the job with a lethal downward blow. The result put daylight between the two halves of our victim, and reminded us of the T-1000 in Terminator 2, as the unconnected body parts flailed around with their new bifurcated status. The familiar coloured orbs of previous games were scattered around the zone, and were accompanied by series staples, such as loot chests and traps. Looking for a better vantage point, we climbed a nearby wall, moving diagonally rather than shimmying up a simple linear path as we would have previously. Interactive surfaces were subtle, and gave us a real sense of freedom as we scampered around.

While other players dashed around us on the battlefield, the camera remained focused exclusively on our character model. Some of our compatriots swung massive, weighty hammers, while others played support for the squad, dropping to their knees to throw out a group heal. Hades, Poseidon, Zeus, and Aeries will each have their own unique combat styles, but they also play into classic combat archetypes, such as melee, ranged, healer, and tank. This is light role playing, and, as a result, the design team hasn’t yet nailed down whether GoW: Ascension will go as far as to include a buff system. They did, however, suggest that teams that opt for a more rounded group of fighters would better those who favour multiples of the same unit type.

The mode we saw, tentatively named Team Execution, featured two groups of four players battling to secure a point. The first team to complete the objective activated their cog, dragging the Cyclops down to within striking range on a platform, so that the victorious side could harpoon it. Once done, they plunged a glowing spear directly into its eye. There won’t be any finishing move quick-time events to end the fight, but the player who performs best during the game is given the glory of being the one to land the killing blow.

Beyond the notoriety of being the one who gets to stab something big in the face, the most valuable player of the match is also rewarded with bonuses based on their performance. A persistent multiplayer mode will allow you to level-up your Troy or Spartan soldier, and give you access to a range of perks, weapons, and abilities. A range of spoils will be delivered from the Gods, with a mixture of found items and unlocks from your own talent trees. Perks will be character specific, and can either be activated in combat by achieving a particular goal, such as reaching a designated number of kills, or more passively by giving you increased stats from the outset of a match.


While the development team is remaining tight lipped on any other game modes for the moment, they did confirm that not all types will be based around four-versus-four battles. A range of objectives and smaller maps will also be available to accommodate a range of group sizes.

What is clear is that God of War: Ascension looks to be taking a page out of the book of fellow Sony franchise, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The latter set the goal of bringing the scale and urgency of its single-player, cinematic-driven moments to multiplayer, and the latter is following suit. But, the question remains: is multiplayer really the feature God of War fans have been calling for? Stay tuned for more details ahead of the game’s 2013 release date.

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Greece Goes Multiplayer in God of War: Ascension” was posted by Dan Chiappini on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:41:19 -0700

God of War: Ascension Screens

5 new shots posted.

     

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God of War: Ascension Screens” was posted on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:24:00 -0700

13 Greatest Video Game End Credits

Mark Walton presents the 13 finest credit rolls ever to grace the back end of a video game.

 

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13 Greatest Video Game End Credits” was posted by sarahl on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:12:23 -0700

Naughty Dog vet leaving to teach at USC

Richard Lemarchand leaving Uncharted developer after eight years to join School of Cinematic Arts at California college.

 

Uncharted series developer Naughty Dog has lost one of its veteran designers. Gamasutra reports today that Richard Lemarchand is leaving the Santa Monica, California-based studio to join the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC).


Lemarchand is charting out a new adventure

Lemarchand is charting out a new adventure

Lemarchand most recently served as lead designer on the much-praised Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. He will teach at the university’s Interactive Media Division–the department thatgamecompany’s Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen trained at–and will also develop a string of “experimental games” for a future research project.

“For about ten years now, I’ve wanted to make a different kind of game, alongside my professional practice,” Lemarchand said. “But… if I wanted to go out on a limb and take a chance to see some other opportunities, I always thought that the end of Uncharted 3 would be a good time to do that, and then I was very lucky that this opportunity came along.”

Prior to joining Naughty Dog and working on the the studio’s now-famous Uncharted franchise, Lemarchand held high-level positions at Crystal Dynamics, where he worked on the Gex, Pandemonium, and Legacy of Kain franchises. Lemarchand began his game career as a designer for MicroProse.

Lemarchand plans to take a three-month backpacking trip across the world, where he’ll get to work on ideas for his experimental titles. “Some are to do with procedural narrative; some are to do with space and exploration,” Lemarchand said. “I’ve always been very interested in the power of environmental narrative.”

USC was recently named the top game design school in the United States and Canada for graduate and undergraduate programs by The Princeton Review. The school topped the likes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and The University of Utah to secure the top spot.

For more on Lemarchand’s latest body of work, check out GameSpot’s review of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

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Naughty Dog vet leaving to teach at USC” was posted by Eddie Makuch on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 06:11:22 -0700

Shippin’ Out April 29-May 5: Mortal Kombat Vita, Fable Heroes

New release slate led by NetherRealm’s portable fighting game, Lionhead’s hack-and-slash downloadable title; MMORG Tera and Sniper Elite V2 also out.

 

Action games run supreme this week in new releases, as NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat for the PlayStation Vita and Lionhead Studios’ hack-and-slash Fable Heroes lead all new offerings.


Mortal Kombat performs a Vita-lity this week on Sony's new portable.

Mortal Kombat performs a Vita-lity this week on Sony’s new portable.

Out in front this week is Mortal Kombat for the PS Vita. Created specifically for Sony’s new portable, the game sports a new Challenge Tower mode with 150 missions. Additionally, the game makes use of the PS Vita’s touch screen by enabling players to swipe a finger across the screen to perform a fatality.

Also out this week is Lionhead Studios’ Fable Heroes on Xbox Live. The hack-and-slash action game supports four players through competitive and cooperative modes playable locally or across Xbox Live. Players will fight familiar foes of Albion together, while competing with friends to collect the most gold coins along the way.

Gamers seeking a new massively multiplayer online role-playing title can look to Bluehole Studios’ Tera for the PC. The title is a fantasy-themed MMORPG that emphasizes real-time, dynamic combat. In it, players will be able to choose from six different races, who must “work together for the common good.”

Another new console game releasing this week is Rebellion Games’ World War II shooter Sniper Elite V2 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. A sequel to 2005’s Sniper Elite, the new game casts players as US soldier Karl Fairburn, a military man with a proclivity for sniper rifles. Described by developers as a “thinking man’s shooter,” the game punishes players for running and gunning, and instead focuses on stealth maneuvers.

Rounding out the week is Romino Games’ downloadable title Awesomenauts for the Xbox 360 and PS3. A multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, the title is billed as the first to bring the genre to 2-dimensional plane for consoles. In the game, players duke it out in 3 vs. 3 matches with six characters, including the pimp Froggy G and monkey astronaut Yuri.

For further details, visit GameSpot’s New Releases page. The full list of downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Wii Shop Channel will be revealed later this week. Release dates are based on retailer listings and are subject to change.

TUESDAY, MAY 1:
Awesomenauts–PS3–DTP Entertainment
Mortal Kombat–PS Vita–Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Sniper Elite V2–X360, PS3, PC–505 Games
Tera–PC–En Masse Entertainment

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2:
Awesomenauts–X360–DTP Entertainment
Fable Heroes–X360–Microsoft Game Studios

THURSDAY, MAY 3:
Nexuiz–PC–THQ

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Shippin’ Out April 29-May 5: Mortal Kombat Vita, Fable Heroes” was posted by Eddie Makuch on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 05:18:55 -0700

Why Hate The Everyman?

Super powers, magic, peak physical ability, uncanny intelligence. Video games are full of extraordinary characters, but why are they so against letting us play as the Average Joe?

 

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Why Hate The Everyman?” was posted by edmondt on Sun, 29 Apr 2012 19:33:52 -0700

Mass Effect 3 challenges hit PlayStation 3

This weekend’s “Operation Exorcist” event the first to be open to PS3 users; all future challenges to also be available on Sony platform.

 

PlayStation 3 Mass Effect 3 users will finally get to try out the role-playing game’s weekend Multiplayer Challenges beginning tonight, BioWare announced today on its official website.


PS3 Mass Effect 3 gamers have finally been invited to the party.

PS3 Mass Effect 3 gamers have finally been invited to the party.

This weekend’s “Operation Exorcist” event will be the first open to PS3 users, but it won’t be the last. All future N7 Weekend Challenges will come to Sony’s home console, BioWare said.

Earlier this month, BioWare indicated that Sony had not yet approved the promotion to run on the PS3. Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Challenges are promotional weekend events that have been running since launch for the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game.

“Operation Exorcist” challenges players to survive until extraction on any map on Gold difficulty, and separately to kill 1,000,000 Cerberus Phantoms between this evening at 6 p.m. PDT and April 30 at 5 p.m. PDT. If successful in each endeavor, all players will score a Victory Pack and Commendation Pack, respectively.

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Mass Effect 3 challenges hit PlayStation 3” was posted by Eddie Makuch on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 15:06:11 -0700

Kratos vs. Parappa in a Battle Royale

We get a demo for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

 

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Kratos vs. Parappa in a Battle Royale” was posted by Wern on Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:45:35 -0700

CDjr Mortal Kombat MLG Spring Arena Champion Interview

Slasher gets hype with CDjr after his thrilling victory over DetroitBalln in a best of 7 in Mortal Kombat at the MLG Spring Arena.

 

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CDjr Mortal Kombat MLG Spring Arena Champion Interview” was posted by erickt on Sat, 28 Apr 2012 19:58:17 -0700

Hawkeye Soul Calibur V Spring Arena Champion Interview

Hawkeye talks about his big win over Keev at the Soul Calibur V Spring Arena.

 

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Hawkeye Soul Calibur V Spring Arena Champion Interview” was posted by erickt on Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:03:42 -0700