Aliens: Colonial Marines - Limited Edition PC Games
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Released on 12-Feb-2013
Aliens: Colonial Marines Limited Edition on PC takes you back to LV 426 to fight the Xenomorph infestation in this action-packed first-person sequel to James Cameron's 1986 classic Aliens.
It’s been 17 days and the crew of the USS Sulaco have not been heard from, it’s time to lock and load marines as we send you to LV 426 to search for the team and if necessary contain the situation.
Aliens: Colonial Marines Limited Edition on PC Contains:
- Four Movie Characters Sgt Apone, Cpl Hicks, Pvt Hudson and Pvt Drake.
- Ripley's Flamethrower
- Additional Marine Customisation items
Key Features of Aliens: Colonial Marines Limited Edition on PC:
- Continuing the story of LV-426 with a truly movie-accurate experience
- Drop-In/Drop-Out Co-op keeps the campaign working as a team
- New Alien breeds join the hive…
- Take the fight online for intense multiplayer action
The spiritual successor to James Cameron's 1986 film Aliens, Aliens: Colonial Marines puts you in the Rookie boots of Private Winters, part of the team sent to find out what happened to Ripley, Hicks and the others who never returned from planet LV-426
You’ll investigate the Sulaco before hitting the ground on LV-426 to explore Hadley’s Hope. You’ll be armed with the latest gear to aid you including Motion Trackers, Pulse Rifles, Incendiary Units, SMART Guns and, if things get desperate, Knives and sharp sticks!
Xenomorph involvement is suspected.
Experience an authentic Aliens encounter as Gearbox software enlist the help of the cast and crew of the Aliens movie to ensure that this is as close as you’ll get to re-living the movie! The smallest of details have been lovingly recreated, and the game even incorporates original audio files from the film, from the iconic Motion Tracker ping to the burst of the Pulse Rifle.
But you needn’t go in alone. The campaign in Aliens: Colonial Marines features Drop-in/Drop-out co-op gameplay, so if the battle is getting too tough you can call in the support of your friends to lay down some extra fire!
The Aliens themselves are terrifyingly fast and agile, with different breeds offering unique threats to you and your squad. The Alien species in Aliens: Colonial Marines include:
- Lurker: Lightweight with a smooth dome, this Alien prefers to hide in the shadows and leap great distances to surprise its prey!
- Soldier: Built for battle this Xeno is tougher than the lurker and will take a lot of punishment before it goes down. It will attack in packs using its clawed hands, tail and inner jaw to overwhelm its prey.
- Spitter: Slightly bigger than the Warrior, this Xeno has a small crest on the back of its head and has the ability to spit acid over great distances to weaken, or in some instances kill its target in a single strike!
Aliens: Colonial Marines also offers superb online choice with exciting multiplayer modes that will test the most battle hardened First Person Shooter fans around. You’ll move from tight-claustrophobic corridors to expansive loading bays where attacks can come from anywhere as the Xenos take to the shadows and prepare their deadly assault.
All the Alien breeds are playable in multiplayer, and you can also upgrade your Marines with new weapons and new looks! As you fight you’ll earn XP which will unlock guns, armour and even Marine skins, so you can go from fresh-faced Rookie to battle-hardened heroes!
- Escape: With a 15 minute time limit, a team of marines must escape from the Xeno menace in this point-to- point mode. But it’s not a straight run as the marines will need to work together to unlock sealed doors and defend themselves when systems fail!
- Extermination: The marines will take the fight to the Xenos as they try to destroy clusters of Facehugger eggs whilst the Xenos try to stop them in the only way a Xeno can…a quick, yet painful, death!
- Team Deathmatch: A team of Marines against A team of Xenomorphs… it’s that simple!
We recently got the opportunity to experience the terror of Gearbox's latest shooter, Aliens: Colonial Marines. At a fun location kitted out to look just like Hadley's Hope, complete with fully-dressed Marines and Face-huggers in jars, our time in the bug hunt of the campaign and the mayhem of multiplayer (which we'll be addressing in another preview very soon!) gave us a taste of "just another day in the Corps..."
Express elevator to hell... going DOWN!
The Campaign segment we played begins just after your arrival on the planet LV-426. With your skeleton crew of Marines and Bishop in tow, you must make your way to Hadley's Hope. As you wander through the alien terrain of LV-426, shadows will dance in your peripheral vision, giving you the feeling that you are being watched. With this in mind, having the motion tracker out puts you mind at ease.
It's here where we dabbled with the controls. Thankfully the controls are pretty standard for an First Person Shooter, meaning that the only buttons you'll need to learn from scratch are the torch (Down on the D-pad), and the Motion tracker (Left Bumper).
Gearbox has done wonders with the sound in Aliens: Colonial Marines, whether it's the Motion Tracker pinging that'll stop your heart as soon as you hear the blip, or the music, which has been pulled straight from the films. The most notable instance of this was the first sighting of Hadley's Hope, as the music includes the fanfare from Aliens as Ripley and Co saw it for the first time.
To say Hadley's Hope is a mess is an understatement. The atmospheric processor is in pieces with smoke still billowing from within, and the facility has massive chunks missing. Impressive as this looks, it's inside the facility that gets you. Much like the film, bits of debris litter the floors and ceilings in the aftermath of not only the explosion but, the fight the colonists and marines had with the Xenomorph.
As you progress into the facility, you have the same sense of nervous excitement during the film, waiting for something to strike, whether it sneaks up unseen, runs full pelt from the front or sets off the ever present Motion Tracker. It's very rare that a game can replicate the same sense of excitement a film has achieved as the film dictates the pace - you're just there for the ride - but ACM manages just that.
Like the Marines before, you head for operations, and although this has been mapped to match the original set, it couldn't look more different! Xenomorph bodies litter the ground, some melted into the floor as the Acid in their blood has neutralised after their death. Part of the wall is missing with the now-destroyed atmospheric processor in view.
It's in operations that you start seeing some of the nods to the film, after entering you hear an exchange between two of the Marines, about the floor, on closer inspection you'll notice that part of the floor is missing where the legendary Hudson fell in battle.
As you make your way out of operations on your first mission in Hadley's Hope, you'll spot other nods, too. The Sentry Turrets are still standing, waiting for a new target. Newt's bed in Medical is upturned and undisturbed. And if you didn't know that it had been 17 days, then you could be forgiven to think that Hicks, Hudson and Co may appear in the next room, but you know that isn't going to happen. However, in true Alien style, as you think your simple-seeming mission is coming to an end, the horde descends...
We're not gonna last 17 minutes against those things
The Alien attacks are fast and furious with Xenomorphs coming out of vents, the ceiling and floor and from behind. It's a disorientating experience that, on the harder settings, will test even the most battle-hardened FPS fans out there.
Its here you'll get a handle on the capabilities of the Pulse Rifle and Shotgun. Controlled bursts from the Pulse Rifle will slow a Xeno, with a well placed shot taking them out completely. It also has good range, making this your most valuable weapon.
As the attack intensifies, you're ordered back to operations, where you'll make your first stand in the last place that Hicks and Co. did. Aliens drop from the ceiling and pour through the hole in the building; without help, you're not going to last. So it's time to literally pull out the big guns and grab a sentry gun from the corridor.
With the gun set, you now have a fighting chance against the horde that is relentless in its attack. You'll need to be careful, though, as Xeno blood flies from Shotgun blasts and Pulse Rifle fire, eating at your armour and then your health. But, like the film, as soon as an attack begins, it ends. As you catch your breath from the onslaught, you're given new orders to find a Marine who vanished while exploring.
But it's a dry heat
Before leaving operations, you acquire the Xeno-killing Smart Gun. It's a powerful piece of kit but does have its restrictions - as the gun is strapped to you and requires both hands to use, you cannot use the Motion Tracker.
With your finger poised over the trigger you head deeper into the facility to find the missing marine, keeping your eyes peeled for signs of movement. But it's not long before your next close encounter happens in a narrow corridor that once you've entered, you can't get out of.
But panic turns to euphoria as unleash the Smart Gun on the Xeno Masses, cutting them down with ease. With the Smart Gun equipped you have a screen over your eye that targets the Aliens so all you need to do is point and shoot, but, as fun as this sounds, the Smart Gun doesn't have an infinite supply of ammo, and you'll soon find you've chewed through its supply.
Heading deeper you soon find that the metallic and concrete structures have started to twist and become unnatural in their appearance; you are now entering the Xenomorph Hive. So far you've encountered the brute force attacks of the Warrior Xeno; now you'll be subjected to the hide-and-seek methods of the Lurker. Skulking in shadows, this Xeno prefers to wait until your attention is engaged elsewhere and then spring at you from the shadows. This is terrifying!
It was here that our time with the campaign came to an end, but not before seeing one final surprise. As we opened a door to try and escape and find the Marine, we came face to face with a hulking Xeno, smaller than a Queen but bigger than most. This thing wasn't normal. It was decayed and, despite its size, was a shell of the Aliens we've come to know. And as it sprang, the screen went dark.
It was later confirmed that this Xenomorph answers the question of what happened to the stranded when the Queen left, that survived the explosion that tore through Hadley's Hope.
I love the Corps
Aliens: Colonial Marines has managed to capture the heart of the James Cameron's Aliens film. Much of this comes from the fact that FOX and some cast and crew opened up to Gearbox about Aliens, giving great insight into recreating the terrifying atmosphere. But praise must go to Gearbox, too. Their love of the Aliens film shines through in the nods and Easter Eggs that litter the game. Games based on films usually fall under a curse of not living up the film, but as Colonial Marines is something of a spiritual sequel to the movie, it may dodge that bullet!
With Aliens: Colonial Marines set to chest burst it's way onto Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC early next year, we sat down with Brian Burleson Senior Producer at Gearbox to discuss expanding the Xeno Family and the story of LV 426.
GAME: Colonial Marines picks up after the second film Aliens, were there many story drafts that you went through and how open were Fox to let you have free reign with one of their biggest franchises?
Brian Burleson: The story writing process is very interesting to make a new Aliens game because the stories in Aliens games, and films, have always been such a huge part of it. And making sure that stuff is right, we really wanted to spend some time doing that. We worked on a number of different scripts as the game has evolved.
Early in production we went through various iterations on how we wanted to do Colonial Marines, we worked with Thompson and Weddle the guys who did the Battlestar Galactica stuff, and as gameplay evolved it actually started clicking with pieces really fun here and really fun there and the story changed and evolved with it, and so the story that we're shipping with is really an evolution from that.
And FOX have been awesome to work with, because they're very trusting to make sure it sticks to the canon and the tone and it's actually a legit sequel and not going off some place really bizarre... unlike some other things.
G: Did the making and release of Prometheus have any impact on where you were going because that is in the past, so prequel, to Aliens. When you spoke to Ridley Scott, did you ever say we're going this way and then he'd offer some insight?
BB: Not exactly, because when we first started talking about this, Brian Martel (Executive Vice President at Gearbox) and Ridley Scott talked about stuff, but this was before the game had even started. They were talking about some Blade Runner stuff back then, but Aliens was the thing that kind of clicked and that was really cool to get Ridleys take on it. Brian Martel is a really secretive guy and keeps promises and all that, so he didn't tell us all the stuff... Still hasn't.
But Ridley Scott has a plan right, he started with the Alien and created this really awesome universe that has all these weird and awesome designs and the technology is really different, for then it was ground breaking, back in the late 70's it was huge. And I think Ridley's always had a vision of where this is going and James Cameron added to that vision by establishing the lifecycle of the Xenos, and it's actions and all that, so you take the horror and add guns to it and it's like Holy Crap, this is crazy!
And it's really fun to take those two elements and make them work together and it's really easy because the creatures and the universe just lend itself to that. So Prometheus is definitely going in an interesting direction, and that's a different thread, it's in the past mind you as it's exploring the engineers and exploring the cool universe things that people like, he didn't answer so many questions as he asked a lot of more questions that were based off of what we've seen before. And that just made the universe more rich and curious and I really want to see where he goes with that as he evolves how that stuff works. And that kind of the theme for Prometheus, Where did this stuff come from?
G: So you've added some more Xenos to the family, did you need to run those through FOX, or were you given full reign to do what you want with them?
BB: Oh yeah we could do whatever we want! It's kind of interesting, because we wanted to create new gameplay experiences for players. And when you think about the depth of opportunities, one of the things that came up is, people, when they are playing through the games and you give them clues of things they can do to, expect and anticipate what kind of combat and what stuff can happen, they need clues, they need keys.
And if you give them just one Xeno type you only have so much to work with, now there is a lot to work with and you can take a Xeno and make them crawl everywhere, as they can duck under the floor or on the ceiling and jump out at you there is so many things you can do with them, there is more to that, and also the universe does have more than one Xeno in it.
Like the Xeno you saw in Alien has a clear Cranium and is a Lurker type of guy who can menace the player, the Soldier that you saw from Cameron now they're tactical but there's a lot more of them and they're going to be running at you trying to tear your face off...
You know what's funny, you never see a Xeno kill someone in the films, the first two, you think you do...
G: That's a very good point; you don't actually see the killing blow until Alien 3. (Although later, we did wonder about the pilot who crashed the dropship...)
BB: Because one of the key things with the Xenos is they want to take them back to the hive, cause they want to make more Xenos, so they may not actually kill them, they'll just pull them off and that's curious because that's a whole part of their life cycle that we started working off of.
And we're going in talking about the Hive life, so all the different Xenos we have in the game will flesh out the hive, they're like ants or Bees, there are different kinds of roles that everything serves... When you start to play the game, you'll see the different Xenos and what roles they play in the Hive and it'll start to make sense as to how they are evolving and what they came from and when you make that correlation it'll make a lot of sense.
And when we went to FOX, they were very much on board with that. We weren't just like "We're going to make Xenos to make new gameplay". Yeah we do, but it also had to make sense because of the Hive, so they dig tunnels, how do they dig tunnels? Well, they probably have a Xeno to do that!
G: Did you go through any of the previous Alien games to find what did and didn't work and go through fan responses to see what they wanted?
BB: We definitely did! There is a great example of that and it's in the Multiplayer. So AVP, that Rebellion did, in their Multiplayer, and even in the Single player you could play as a Xeno. They played it in a very interesting way which was First Person and when you crawled on surfaces, you're camera would roll and turn over. And when you think about it, you're a critter running around it totally makes sense, but when you start meleeing people and tearing them apart there is a kind of disconnect, because you're slashing at someone and you're not really seeing it connecting, so it doesn't feel quite as visceral.
Plus things are shooting at you from all angles and you can't really see because you don't really have a good perception of what's around you. So as a melee class if you can't see around you that's really frustrating.
So that's one of the reasons why, in Aliens: Colonial Marines it's third person as the Xenos and the camera does not re-orientate itself and when you start hitting someone it pulls back a little bit more and establishes a connection between the players, so it makes it feel more connected.
So you can do all kinds of cool fatalities in the multiplayer and be able to see that in full. Because in AVP, you just grabbed someone and inner mouthed them, but in Colonial Marines you can pick someone up and stab them in the back with your tale and there are some gruesome and brutal, brutal fatalities in this...
G: I was subjected to some of them in Extermination... Decapitation and dismemberment aplenty!
BB: There are so many, the animators went crazy, they were always like "Hey, check out this new fatality" and I'd be like "You can't do that in a video game! Tales aren't supposed to go there!" But there are so many cool things you can do with it, because there is the horror element in there and we had fun with that. But you know seeing that being that visceral was really cool!
G: There are a lot of shooters out there, all fighting to be top dog, but if you were to remove the fan base of Aliens, where do you see Colonial Marines sitting against your Call of Duties and your Battlefields?
BB: Well, the franchise just lends itself and has also contributed towards all those games, so you have these awesome enemies that can crawl on every surface, that's really cool and pretty unique. Because they literally can go everywhere and that's a challenge for developers but for gameplay it's really fun.
You have these tools that James Cameron introduced, the motion tracker, the SMART Gun and the Pulse Rifle all these really cool weapons that sound really unique, feel really unique and that really stands out.
But also the Aliens films contributed to the all the space marine shooters afterwards and our idea of who sergeants are, like Apone, he kind of set that standard right? And that was really cool to incorporate into this, and that's what makes this stand out because we have memorable characters and memorable lines, but as a core shooter GearBox is really known for that and coop and those elements so, that makes it very solid for that space.
But when you put on the franchise and the possibilities you can do with that it makes it even more meaty. But we're not just, catering to the people who have seen the film, because we really have to give it a solid base line so we have to introduce people to it.
We don't spend a lot of time lingering and answering questions that have already been answered in the films, we make sure it's relevant for the story and relevant to the gameplay to go into some of those things, so it's kind of clipped notes in certain areas, but that's fine because to new players those parts of the fiction maybe they'll play the game and want to see the film, and that's cool not just to go over everything, we've left stuff out purposefully so that they are curious about the franchise and want more.
G: Did you find you had to reign yourself in from the fan service? I found as I was playing the floor tiles missing where Hudson was taken down and the upturned bed in Medical where Newt and Ripley were with the heater.
BB: So you saw those?! Chris Neely, did all the environment stuff there and everyday he was like "Dude, dude, dude I figured out exactly where this happened in the film because we had the set photos and he'd be like "I just made this in the game, check it out" and I'd be like "Oh my god, you did didn't you!"
G: So, did you find it difficult to pull yourself in because there are so many things you could put in?
BB: We don't really hold back, but the thing is that's not where you'll spend most of your time. And that's also history and you'll move through those environments and spaces because it's part of the gameplay. But it's historical so this stuff happened and it's going to be there and we just wanted to make sure it's accurate.
But we do spend a lot of time making sure that we go through some of those spaces, because it does hark back to those elements but that's only in a small percentage of the game, because there is so much more we're adding on top to continue the story line, to continue the universe, we're not just going "Oh man, we just made ops!" we're then going "Okay Cool, now fight some stuff in there" and it gets destroyed so we're like so what changed there, what happened? And you'll see those elements come up from the films; we didn't go some place further.
G: When you think about Colonial Marines, what is your favourite element of this game, what are you most proud of?
BB: Wow. Um, one of the things I'm proud we've achieved with it is the fans, because there are a lot of people who care about this and know a lot about this and when we first started working on it, we met some guys who Cosplay, so the Cosplayer guys who show up at the shows and they tell us a lot of stuff, I mean we're pretty obsessive about knowing all the facts and little details, but they know so much more because they live and breathe this and it's kind of inspiring to see a group who really care about a franchise and the universe that you're working on hope that you'll do a good job for them.
So we spent a lot of time trying to make that the case, we wanted it to be authentic and we wanted it to be true to the universe and the story and the themes and all these bits. And that's something to be really proud of when you walk away and think "That this is really good"... so that's pretty cool.
G: Our final question is a bit of a teaser going by something that Randy Pitchford said a little while ago. Recently he said that Borderlands could come to PS Vita, providing Sony and someone else could work on it as you guys are so busy. Will we see a similar announcement for the Aliens: Colonial Marines?
BB: You know, I don't know. I guess it technically could, huh, that's an interesting question... because they are really cool things you can do with a handheld device. I mean I love playing on my iPad and Android devices, I mean I have too many. But it's cool to imagine the possibilities and the experiences you could have when you're on the go as they'll be different. So definitely Borderlands has a very interesting edge to it as you're killing things and getting loot and it's really rewarding as you can get something new.
And having it on you, you can be like "I'm waiting around on the Subway (Tube for the Brits), sweet I'm gonna play and see what loot I can get!" So that lends itself very well. And Aliens could lend itself well as there are lots of action bits and context bits that could work... It's interesting to think about putting it on the PS Vita... that is Interesting!
"There were two itches that needed to be scratched," Gearbox top man Randy Pitchford told crowds at the New York Comic Con, as reported by Polygon. "Anyone who has seen the Aliens movies shares these itches. The first one is, there was some story you felt was supposed to happen after that first movie, and Alien 3 was not it. Once we knew that universe is larger and there were colonial marines, we wished for a bigger, wider experience. We never got that.
"The other itch is, the opportunity to become a character in the movies in a video game medium, to be a hero in this place... We want to be colonial marines. In a video game we can live the fantasy of being one of these guys and living in this situation, filling the gap in the story that should have been filled after Aliens."
The result is a game that will stay true to the movie chronology, while expanded the canvas to take in some seriously epic encounters. "We thought, what if this was really big, what if we made it really huge?" lead writer Mikey Neumann explained. "We really go to war in this game. We really push back. We're the guys carrying the Aliens torch now."
Could this be the Aliens game fans have been waiting for? We'll find out next February, when it launches for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U. You can preorder it now, and earn yourself bonus multiplayer skins of the movie characters. Or grab the Collector's Edition for a cool Power Loader figurine and other juicy goodies.
Last week, the GAME online team took a trip to the Eurogamer Expo in London's Earls Court to get our many hands-on some of the top games that we'll all be playing over the coming months.
The atmosphere at the event was a buzzing and bustling as ever, with gamers coming from far and wide to get their first goes at everything from the Wii U to Assassin's Creed III to Dishonored - which alone had people queuing for over an hour to play!
With plenty of the team there, we were able to get a chance to play quite a few games. Here's what we thought...
Colonial Marines has been a long time coming. It was announced 4 years ago, and from the time we had during the Eurogamer Expo, for us the wait has been entirely worth it.
We got to go hands on with the multiplayer side of the game. Taking up arms as the Marines, we strode into the dilapidated area of the complex on LV 426. It is clear, especially with this level, that attention to balancing the levels is key to how the multiplayer will work.
There were plenty of places to fight back-to-back and funnel the Xenos through giving the marines a sporting chance, but also plenty of narrow corridors for Xenos to get up close, making guns useless, and dark areas for Xenos to avoid detection and hide patiently.
The weapons for the Colonial Marines are taken from, and inspired by, the film Aliens. Set just 17 days after the events of the film Gearbox haven't taken liberty with the groundwork laid down by the 1986 film, Pulse Rifles sound and look like their movie counterparts, the shotguns have a similar look to the pulse Rifles, not everyone packs a sawn off in space for close encounters!
And then there is the Motion Tracker, taken straight from the film, this will be your most used tool if separated from team mates. The Motion Tracker will detect movement around you and give the classic beep when an enemy is close by. Only problem here is that you cannot wield a weapon when tracking your foes, and if they stop moving they don't get picked up.
You'd think that the marines, with guns and motion trackers, would be superior to the Aliens. This really isn't the case! The Aliens are quick, agile and can crawl through ducts and up walls to avoid gunfire or sneak up on unsuspecting prey. On more than one occasion during our playtime in ACM, we'd have aliens attacking from the front whilst a few craftier players crept up behind us and attacked with tails and inner jaws.
Gearbox has done a great job with Aliens Colonial Marines by using sounds and files from the film to create an authentic "sequel" to Aliens.
The only Alien game I have enjoyed before was Aliens vs. Predator on the Atari Jaguar - the others have always disappointed. I approached with some caution, and, I'm very happy to say this didn't let me down!
I also played the multiplayer map very much based on LV 426. We had to play as the Marines against the Gearbox team as the Aliens, and first of all we had to pick the arsenal that we wanted to use. There was a choice of five classes, one of which had the infamous radar on the assault rifle with a shotgun. I didn't find this straight away but when I did I was rocking and rolling.
The sound effects were fantastic and sounded just like the film, and the screams of the Aliens were cool too. If I had been at home I would even have partaken in a bit of Hudson shouting" you want some too..." at the point when my screen was awash with my Alien bloodbath.
But for me, the best thing was that we were told that whoever managed to the score highest would win a t- shirt. As a team, we had lost against the Aliens... but I won that infamous t-shirt! After walking away I listened to customers and their thoughts, and it seemed pretty unanimous that it would definitely be on our radar.
Fans of the original 90s X-COM games needn't worry that this reboot would be moving too far from the RTS traditions. This is still very much a turn-based strategy game, but one that now shines with enhanced visuals and animation to realise the alien-infested world and the XCOM team tasked with protecting it.
The mission I got to try out was short and sweet, ideal for the pace of turn-based combat, which in turn makes it ideal for RTS fans. The isometric view works great for moving and controlling your team, intercut with closer angles during firefights and to reveal key evidence.
The pace may be a little slow for those alien (pardon the pun) to turn-based strategy games, but if you are a fan of the genre, this game will surely be a delight.
I Played this in co-op mode with Kirsten. I had control of the GamePad, which mostly showed a replica of the main screen with prompts to guide me what to press/drag/swish etc. I played the supporting role as Murfy while Kirsten took the lead character using the Classic Controller.
It reminded me a bit of Super Mario Galaxy where player two takes a supporting role of collecting stars while player one gets all the key action, but much more interactive and a greater sense of involvement and contribution. We had a great laugh. It was my first time using Wii U but I think I got the hang of it ok! It was hard to sync up our actions and we gave up completing the level in the time we had, but I could imagine my 10yr old LOVING it - this is definitely one for the kids.
Fast, furious and utterly bonkers, PS AS BR was another addictive treat. Four of us played together and just had huge amounts of fun trying out the different characters and levels where skill very much took a back seat!
The four-player scramble battles were very much the best way to showcase this game, and the choice of characters and fighting styles made it so much more entertaining than a standard beat 'em up. Dante, Kratos and Cole McGrath proved to be the most powerful, but the real fun was to be had with the likes of Nathan Drake and Sweet Tooth, who take the infinitely fun choice of shooting their opponents.
With the interactive environment as likely to take you out as the other players, and a kill vs death ratio determining the winner, this takes the best of beat 'em up battles, multiplayer mayhem and SONY's excellent cast of characters to form a game that will keep you grinning every time you play.
I'd never played an Assassin's Creed title before, despite my friends' insistence.
I was lucky enough to have a go at both the demos - first up, Naval Combat. Starting slowly (and that's being very generous!), I had a darn good go at taking control of the ship and unloading several rounds of cannon balls onto my target. Well, most went in the sea, but I got the gist in the end... just as my ship rubbed up against the rocks for the last time. Next time...
It was such a unique experience with fantastic movement that was so fluid on the water. I didn't think about it at the time but when I think back, I got a sense of being on the ship and movement up and down with the waves, a sense of slowness and heaviness. Very exciting and different, I'd really love to have another go, but perhaps without a queue of not so novice gamers stood behind me whilst I batter the heck out of the ship!
After this, I had a chance to play the 'On Foot' mission demo where I had to make my character climb a cliff face to carry out his stealth mission and assassinate three enemies. I managed to get to two of them but unfortunately my time ran out before I could get number three. Again, next time...
I was knocked out by the gameplay and the the quality of the graphics and scenery was breathtaking. As someone far more at home with 2D platforms or racing games, I can't wait to have another go.
Most Wanted by name, Burnout Paradise by nature, and 20 Years of Convention out of the Window!
Most Wanted sees you getting behind the wheels of some of the sexiest cars in the world to then throw them around the City of Fairhaven and the best part, most of the cars are unlocked as soon as you put the disc in, you just need to find them. Driving in Most Wanted is similar to Burnout Paradise, but the cars have a more defined sense of handling, acceleration and speed since they are based on real cars, and they look stunning.
As you blitz through Fairhaven with up to 7 friends, Autolog will document everything you do so that you can send challenges to your friends for almost anything you do.
Bright. Warm. Totally immersive. This first-person sequel has crisp graphics and gameplay that really make you feel like you're on the island, with everything from the effects of the breeze blowing to making your way through leaves and branches moving and reacting realistically. This is a game that truly gives you a sense of being in the first person - and one that really should be played on a high-end PC!
As one of the more popular games I was only able to get about 10 minutes playing, but during that time I was able to take several different turns and explore several different parts of the island. From lookout posts, to knife-throwing challenges, to hang-gliding and some very vicious guard dogs, the choices of location and action all within mere moments of the respawn point were massive. If the world was this open in just 10 minutes of playing, I can't wait to see what hours of gameplay can offer.
Plus it was fun to do a first-person game with a bow and arrow for a change!
First person + dark moody screens + jumpy horror = too creepy for me!
I declined to play this as I could easily predict I'd upset Nintendo when I launched the GamePad in panic! (I know this as I did exactly that when I first held a real mouse. Ok I was 5, but..)
So I was happy to watch Kirsten, and I did actually squeal when she was suddenly rushed by Zombies coming swiftly out of the water. She'd been distracted looking at her inventory (as instructed by the game moments earlier), and I can deduce from this that you need to become familiar with the GamePad and get used to referring back and forth swiftly or you'll not survive long.
I'd like to have a go at playing this in the safety of my own home... if I'm lucky enough for the big fellow in red to drop a black Wii U down my chimney this Christmas. Or at least invite someone with a stomach so I can sit behind the sofa with my cushion and watch them through my fingers!
Looked fantastic, and played fantastically well, too. It was easy to get to grips with, even for a player who has never played one before. Fast, frenetic and with satisfying button bashing - just what you want in a hack and slash game! The executions were as satisfying as ever and the bosses were amazing - a must for all PS3 owners.
It's very difficult to talk about this game without comparing it to Mario Kart. many karting games have tried to fill the gap for non-Nintendo gamers, but this may be the surprise title to pull it off.
F1 Race Stars offers classic karting gameplay, with simple controls and all the fun, charm and addictiveness you'd want - they even manage to throw in the bonus boosts, invincibility and throwing-stuff-at-other-drivers that makes it more than just a racing game. The F1 roots are still on show - get hit too many times or push your car too hard, and you'll need to quickly drive through a pit lane to get back to full working order.
The drivers and cars may lack the individuality you'd normally get in a game like this, but the tracks - cartoony courses that are like crazy golf interpretations of the real F1 tracks - more than make up for it.
All in all, this is a fun, addictive karting game that has raced to the top of my must-have list this year. The surprise treat of the day!
The most impressive game at the show for me was Dishonored. Great graphics and gameplay. The multiple ways to complete a level is a great idea, but it was the diversity in how you can go about those multiple ways that I loved the most. it's not just open-world levels, it's open-choice gameplay.
Everybody walking away from playing it were talking about how good it was, too.
I really liked the look of this - great visuals giving a real sense of place and intrigue. Watching the others play it, I wanted to get my hands on it too! The swimming was really realistic, and , the effects of the sun in the water as age tried to swim up wowed me, felt errr swimmy! But I wasn't expecting to see Corvo get eaten by a fish in the river!
As well as getting the chance to play games, the developer talks gave us a chance to learn a bit more about the games. For Dishonored, Arkane Studios' Christophe Carrier (Lead Level Designer & Audio Director) and Dinga Bakaba (Assistant Producer & Game Designer) took to the stage to provide a bit of background about the game, and to show that there really are two ways to play it.
In their introduction, Christophe and Dinga told us that Dishonored came out of a love of the first-person game and its combination of stealth and action, and a desire to push the genre further. Gone is the rail-like direction of each level, replaced with a series of open-world levels, designed in a steampunky-style and inspired by plague-era London.
But the biggest point of the game is the choice is gives the player. You can play it stealthily, hiding in the shadows, using your supernatural abilities for minimal combat and fatalities. Or you can go all-out action, with brutal kills and make use of a brand new arsenal of weapons.
They proceeded to demonstrate this with the same level we'd played on the floor, with heor Corvo out to kidnap the Royal Physician (described as part da Vinci, part Rasputin) . First it was done with stealth, using back passages and rooftops, and possessing people rather than elimintating them. Or at least that was the theory - one mistake and the whole place was alerted to Corvo's presence and bit more force was needed than originally planned.
The level was then played in full-on brutal fashion, where no guard was left undamaged (heck, even the maid got it!) and all skills were on display. Decapitation, hacking people limb-from-limb, setting razor mines and stopping time to avoid being shot and take your enemy out were all shown to bloody effect - and rapturous applause in places.
A few extra tidbits came out of the Q and A session at the end of the demo - it is possible to complete the game without a single kill (except bosses). And, most tantalisingly of all - in the later levels, you'll find out that you're not the only one in Dunwall with supernatural abilities...
Everything we see makes Dishonored more and more tantalising. Cannot wait to play it!
Weight of historyMany have tried to make a decent game based on the Alien franchise but few have succeeded. Nevertheless the source material is rich and remains ripe for the picking, so there's plenty of pressure on Borderlands developer Gearbox to deliver where others have failed with its upcoming first person shooter.
Billed as a true sequel to 1986 movie Aliens, Colonial Marines' story is told through the eyes of Corporal Christopher Winter, a Colonial Marine who is part of a search and rescue team sent to investigate the disappearance of Ellen Ripley and the soldiers depicted in James Cameron's film.
Movie influenceEverything we've seen of the game does a great job of capturing the spirit of the Aliens universe, from familiar film environments such as the Sulaco spaceship and the planet LV-426, to the kit that the marines use and the banter they shout. It also requires you to play like you're in the film: stick together, hug the walls, stay frosty.
The iconic xenomorphs are most dangerous when stalking their human prey in packs. They come at you from all angles - jumping around corners, emerging from vents and ledges, running along the walls and ceilings - and dealing with them has the potential to offer a much more kinetic experience than the simple-room-sweeping A-to-B of many shooters. When you begin unleashing pulse rifle bursts and unloading your shotgun, spraying alien brains and acid blood all over the place, it feels like a Call of Duty-style thrill-ride set in the deepest depths of space.
Sense of dreadThe lighting system does a great job of bathing areas in authentic shades of blue and black, and at one point, as we're plunged into near-pitch darkness when aliens attack the electrical system, a strobing red beacon that's our only source of light. Vents collapse in showers of sparks, hissing steam distracts you, and classic misdirection encourages you to look one way only for something else to happen out of the corner of your eye.
And there are hints of a strategic element to the gameplay too, from door welding and sentry gun deployment to monitoring the iconic bleeps from the motion scanners you use to detect incoming hostiles. Gearbox seems to be just as intent on nailing the tense, moment before the storm sections as it does the all-out action sequences.
Team killingPerhaps most exciting is the prospect of playing the game with friends. The whole campaign can be enjoyed with a squad of up to four players, dropping in and out as necessary through self-contained missions within an overarching narrative.
Additional multiplayer modes will complete the experience. So far, Gearbox has shown off eight versus eight team death matches with one group playing as the marines and one as the xenomorphs from a third person view , with the goal being the first team to reach 50 kills.
What we've seen of the game to date appears solid, and with Gearbox essentially using the films as its bibles we're not expecting it to take too much artistic liberty with the franchise. No game has quite managed to capture the brutal, foreboding essence of Aliens to date, but we're hoping that could change when Colonial Marines launches in February.
There are lots and lots of great games heading your way in the next few months, and here at GAME HQ we're as excited as you lot are to give them a go.
So, we went round the digital team with a prodding stick to find out just what games the team here are really itching to play...
Ali - Queen of the Internet
I am looking forward to LEGO Batman 2. My brother and I worked our way through the original LEGO Batman with a considered method of "shoot everything in the room first, think about the situation later" and it was amazing. It's also the only game where if you die you can still enjoy seeing Robin explode which I did on many occasions as Player 2. I can't wait to see what LEGO Batman 2 has in store!
Louis - Merchandising Meddler
Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, Max Payne 3.
After playing through 1 and 2 - which gripped me to the very end - I cannot honestly wait for 3.
Max Payne's method of storytelling is awesome. The comic book cut scenes are stylish and effective, and are not afraid to poke fun at other, outrageous works of fiction (as well as itself). The noir style and twists and turns throughout provide a flourish of love which even the most dedicated of storytellers fail to keep up with. The ingredients are simple, but it's a recipe which works.
The gameplay might not necessarily be innovative, but it will be intuitive. It might not change the way we think about games, but I know it's going to be a game through and through; fun, accessible and welcoming to noobs and veterans alike. Max Payne 3 is going to rock. Add online multiplayer to the mix, and I can safely say that I'm looking forward to blasting my way into June!
(My second choice would be Aliens: Colonial Marines, but that's almost too far away to get excited about yet!)
Kate - Affiliate Assassin
Bioshock Infinite - Because of the amazing animation and design of the game. Oh, and Limbo 2 - if/when it comes!
Jamie - Builder of Digital Dreamscapes
I am looking forward to...
Grand Theft Auto V: Obviously no one really knows exactly when this game is coming out but I cant wait! Seriously excited about a new GTA! Although I hope it is all of San Andreas and not just Los Santos.
Madden 13: I always get Madden, and it was pretty much the game that made me buy my first proper games console (the SEGA Mega Drive). I'm particularly looking forward to this year's one as I'm hoping they have taken more of the good stuff out of NCAA12.
Retro City Rampage: This is an indie game that just looks AMAZING! Kind of like a funny GTA but all totally 80s styled. It's gonna be on Xbox LIVE and PSN and I like the fact it looks like you might be able to get this digitally to play on your PS Vita too; it seems like the kind of game you could just lose hours in messing about!
Carl - Design Doodler
Halo 4. Why? Because it's the best freaking game there is! I'm a massive Halo fan and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment. And really looking forward to seeing Master Chief again. And now we know the release date I know what week to book off work!
Aaron - Social Butterfly
I almost squealed for joy when Luigi's Mansion 2 was announced (Okay, I actually did squeal...). The original Luigi's Mansion was the first game I got on launch day with my Gamecube. It was ALL about Luigi, sucking up ghosts with his Poltergust 3000. The sequel has me itching to play, it will have multiple mansions, a new Poltergust, new ghosts, new story AND it will all be in beautiful 3D. The Nintendo savvy amongst us will know that Nintendo originally planned to release Luigi's Mansion in 3D on the Gamecube but decided the 3D panel was ahead of its time!
Who ya gonna call? Ghostb-- No, no wait, let's just get the Green hat-wearing Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom instead. No danger of crossing the streams.
Damien - Good Word Writing Man
I'm actually really looking forward to Lollipop Chainsaw. I'm a big Buffy fan, so the concept of a blonde cheerleader fighting supernatural beasties is one that very much appeals to me. It just looks like it's gonna be oodles of OTT fun. Plus, y'know, the boyfriend's head just kicking around. What's not to like?
As a stark contrast, I'm also a bit excited by Spec Ops: The Line. I don't usually get on with shooters, but having seen the trailer with the bodies-on-poles imagery, plus the obvious Heart of Darkness influence and the sense of "killing people may actually affect you", I really want to try this one out. I mean, who isn't at least intrigued by what appears to be an anti-war third-person shooter?
James - Captain Category
Because I've been waiting twelve years for it!
So there we have it. These are the games we want to play - what about you? What forthcoming titles have got you so pant-wettingly excited to pre-order and play?
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Gearbox, the developer behind the awesome Borderlands 2, has let slip a few more details on what we can expect from its upcoming - and long-gestating - Aliens: Colonial Marines game.…
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Last week, the GAME online team took a trip to the Eurogamer Expo in London's Earls Court to get our many hands-on some of the top games that we'll all be playing over the coming months.…
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Billed as a true sequel to 1986 movie Aliens, Colonial Marines' story is told through the eyes of Corporal Christopher Winter, a Colonial Marine who is part of a search and rescue team sent to investi…
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There are lots and lots of great games heading your way in the next few months, and here at GAME HQ we're as excited as you lot are to give them a go. So, we went round the digital team with a proddin…
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