This Week In Gaming – March 18th to 24th 2013
A week of gaming in one place? You lucky, lucky people…
Instead of starting with an announcement, how about the announcement of an announcement? DICE, the developers of the Battlefield series last week released two teaser trailers to whet our appetites for a proper reveal of Battlefield 4 next Wednesday (27th March). Obviously, further details will be forthcoming then – and in the meantime you can play the latest DLC for Battlefield 3, End Game, released for non-Battlefield Premium member on the PS3 on the 19th and due on Xbox and PC on the 26th (and already released for Premium, of course).
Deep Silver have revealed another title saved from the flames as THQ went down – the incredibly grim Metro: Last Light. As the sequel to 2010′s Metro: 2033 – which is in turn based on a novel of the same name – it will once again lead you into the subterranean cultures surviving in a post-nuclear Moscow, filled with factions warring over ideologies. Presumably including other elements from the books – bandits, mutants and swarms of rats being some of the nicer problems – it is likely that buskers would not last too long on these stations.
Duke Nukem, after more than a decade of remaining out of sight – followed by a come-back game that made us wish he had longer – seems to be on a retro-roll. After the announcement that Duke Nukem 2 was getting a conversion to iOS devices, last week Devolver Development released Duke Nukem 3D to Steam. Including all of the original release’s expansion packs and with more promised soon, the game summarises both the best of Duke – pure shooting action, side comments, and a feeling that no weapon can be too big – and the worst – Duke 3D being the first of the games to add elements of sex and misogyny which clouded later titles.
Supergiant Games, the developers of huge indie hit Bastion, revealed the trailer for their next game, Transistor. Showing gameplay of a similar action-RPG as the earlier title, Transistor is set in a futuristic city – think Ghost in the Shell meets Cyber City Oedo. And you get to explore it with a large weapon in hand, which is always a bonus.
Capcom have put a smile on the face of any RPG fan who wants to escape number-crunching for a while, announcing that the two Dungeons & Dragons arcade games, Tower of Doom and Shadows Over Mystara, will be released for the Xbox, PS3, PC, and Wii-U. Originally released in 1993 and 1996 respectively, when sprite-based beat-em-ups ruled the arcades, Capcom came up with a game that let players regear and level up while also thrashing hordes of enemies. The various ports are due to be released in a single release, Chronicles of Mystara, in June.
Updates and DLCs
As a game featuring lots of things blowing up, Planetside 2 was updated last week to officially support Nvidia’s GPU physics, PhysX. While only providing a cosmetic improvement to the battlefield, those cosmetics were considered impressive enough to warrant their own trailer. Other updates to the game in the last week include new rocket launchers for all three empires, and items bought at in the games’ cash shop now unlocking account-wide (with obviously bars on empire-specific items only available to those empires. And let’s be honest, most items are empire-specific).
The second part of Assassin’s Creed 3′s downloadable series, the Tyranny of King Washington – the Betrayal, was released last week for PC, Xbox and PS3. Taking Ratonhnhaké:ton to Boston and giving him a new skill to learn – the power of the eagle, allowing short amounts of flight – the story follows as he encounters Benjamin Franklin. The third and final part of the series is due for release in April 23rd on PC, and April 24th on Xbox and PS3.
Still in beta, Mechwarrior Online has had another update – this time adding a new heavy mech, the Jagermech. A new map was also added, the Tourmaline Desert, as well as consumable items for quick weapons cooling, and to top it off new control tweaks were added, potentially making the mech easier for new players to handle. And with the previously announced training grounds added, new players have the chance to learn to handle things without finding themselves on the wrong side of a team of Atlases…
Yes, there are enough that they need their own heading this week, starting with the Cerebral Bundle from Bundle In A Box. With the now-standard funding formula (paying what you want, bonus content for paying more than the average), the bundle includes a couple of very quirky titles on its roster – “graphical text adventure” (think Magnetic Scrolls 25 years ago) Necrotic Drift Deluxe, and Dinner Date, where you control the subconscious of a man being stood up on date. The Cerebral Bundle also gives 5% to The Hellenic Centre for Mental Health and Treatment of Child and Family, and $15 for every 100 bundles sold to the Indie Dev Grant.
IndieGala have a new bundle too – called, slightly less obviously, Dwarves. Similarly having more titles unlock after donating above a certain point (the bundle is likely named after A Game Of Dwarves, one of the extra titles given for donating more than $1), and a percentage – chosen by the buyer – will go to the Able Gamers Foundation. Notable in the bundle, as well as several indie games, Dwarves also has some formerly commercial titles, with one-on-one fighter Guilty Gear Isuka, and Yeti Studios mech shooter Gun Metal.
And Bundle Stars released the Indie Mashup, offering two DRM free titles and eight Steam code ones – most of which are shown in the bundle’s trailer. Similar to the Cerebral Bundle, 5% of the money raised will go to charity – in this case, SpecialEffect. The previous bundle, Fire & Ice, is also still available for a short while.
The life of a chicken is not one we often consider, less it puts us off of our next meal. As such, Sumom Games’ Kickstarter for Humans Must Answer could be quite an eye-opener, putting you into the role of a chicken spaceship pilot in a side-scrolling shooter that would make R-Type proud. While seemingly slow at raising £5,000 for additional funding (a release is promised regardless), the game is apparently near-finished already, complete with a demo that was released last week on the Sumom website.
Another Kickstarter with a demo available is Planet Explorers by Panthea Games (tech specs for the demo at the bottom of the page). Putting you in the boots of… well, an explorer on a planet, you have to engage in some 4X game practices, viewed from the perspective of a third person action-RPG. And if those genres mixed weren’t enough, there are also resources to be used and abused in crafting and building a la Minecraft.
From Bedrooms to Billions is a documentary on the growth of the UK games industry over the last 30 years, filmed over the last 18 months. Seeking funding for editing, the project’s Kickstarter hit its goal in just 5 days, and is now partnering with UK games industry body UKIE to have copies sent to every school in the country when complete. Quite what the current generation might make of how far games have come – let alone the legendary names who worked on those games – is anyone’s guess, but the hope is to encourage some to follow in their footsteps and get writing as well as playing.