07 February, 2016

This Week In Videogames – 07/02/2016

Now more than ever I think we truly are in a great time for videogames, so much variety , so much quality that there’s always something new worth playing, no matter how much outright unfinished garbage Steam throws, or rather permits to be thrown our way. I feel it’s important to state such feelings in writing, because so often we spend our words tearing down that which doesn’t appeal, rather than uplifting that which does. Anyway, with that little tangent out of the way, here’s my news picks!

This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 banner

Identity Crisis

I wouldn’t say I was angry at this first piece – I’m rarely truly angry at anything these days – it was more sardonic derision than anything. To kick off this year, the first year seemingly without a mainline Assassin’s Creed game, Ubisoft announced a ‘new’ action-RPG title, Assassin’s Creed Identity coming to iOS devices on February 25th. It actually soft launched as a free-to-play game in Australia and New Zealand back in 2014, this release will not be free-to-play.

It’s called Assassin’s Creed Identity and it takes place in the Italian Renaissance, the period that saw Ezio take to the streets. This too will allow one to visit famous landmarks of renown Italian cities, including the Colosseum in Rome, as the player unravels ‘The Mystery of the Crows’. The game will feature a parkour movement system presented several ways; tap-to-move, dual virtual stick controls, or with a gamepad.

This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 assassin's creed identity art

Now what’s actually interesting to me, is that for the first time ever someone at Ubisoft apparently agreed with me that all their white male protagonists are cut from the same drab, angry cloth and have embraced what sounds like more fully realised RPG mechanics and a less overt character identity – ironic I know. Your Assassin apparently evolves and is class-based, with the selection of;  Berserker, Shadow Blade, Trickster, or Thief. Furthermore, eluded too in the trailer below and confirmed in subsequent developer Q&A videos, there is an emphasis on gear and character customisation.

That’s what I take, perhaps wrongly, ‘Identity’ to mean, that it will be your Assassin you play as. It’s hellishly ironic then that in the first Assassin’s Creed were you have  what appears to be some input on your character that the art, seen above, features for white male protagonists. I wonder if they are all wisecracking dudes with Templar-related lady troubles?

More amusingly, the trailer below is preposterous but pretty fun, at least until you really think about it… The player walks through a dimly lit tunnel, and so immersed in Assassin’s Creed he imagines himself brutalising two other passing souls, one at least clearly recognises the depraved glint of the player's eyes. 

At least he doesn’t pull a knife at any point.

Pack Your Thermos

The other side of the Ubisoft spectrum is equally ridiculous, last Tuesday Rainbow Six Siege was updated with the first of four free content drops of the year; Operation Black Ice, which added a new map and two Canadian operators. Thus far only season pass holders have been able to get their hands on the new operators, come Tuesday 9th, they’ll be purchasable, or earnable for all.

The trailer below showcases the operators bloody moves; the man, Buck, has an under barrel shotgun and a propensity to use it. While Frost, the female operative, can lay down leg traps – tactical I know. The map itself looks visually distinct at least, being set on an ice-locked super yacht, and I’m hoping its limited size introduces meaningful changes to the flow of combat encounters, in a manner similar to the base game’s plane stage. 

As to why this clearly long abandoned, distinctly tropically-suited yacht has apparently risen like a U-Boat in the middle of the icy Hudson Bay, Canada, we’re are not made privy. I’m sure terrorists replaced all the doors with green planks for a reason too…

The Aliens Keep On Coming

This week’s big hit is XCOM 2, for myself and my strategy game ilk at the very least, doubtless it will not be to all fans tastes – I for one am not yet wholly enjoying myself – and so the confirmation of an impending Xenonauts 2 may lift some spirits.

Xenonauts released in 2014, on Steam Early Access and was effectively a reimagining of XCOM, in the horrifyingly difficult vein of the original 1990’s XCOMs, not the new ones. Developer Goldhawk Interactive outlined their plans for the sequel, which can be read on game’s official site, linked below.

In short, Xenonauts 2 will cover the same events from the perspective of an alternate timeline allowing the developers the “freedom to subtly alter the story, setting and enemies in order to make a more interesting sequel.” Most significant to a lay-person like me, it’ll make the leap to 3D graphics, to improve gameplay as much as visual fidelity.

Goldhawk explained their position on the sequel:
“Some of the issues in the original game were caused by our lack of experience / lack of early funding, whereas others were caused by the constraints remaining faithful to the design of a game dating back to 1994. The experience and income we have accumulated from the development of Xenonauts mean that we can make a sequel that significantly improves and expands on the first game – and this time we can be more innovative than before.”
Xenonauts 2 entered full production at the start of this year and is on the cards for a 2017 release.

Hmm More Yellow You Say?

Bethesda announced DOOM’s release date after years of apparent development hell; it’ll release May 13th, on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This news was joined by a suitably grotesque campaign trailer sporting more vibrant colours than were previously shown, take a look.

There’s an air of negativity surrounding the new DOOM that I don’t understand – once again,  as a lay-person I think what’s been shown exhibits a smooth flow, not too incomprehensively fast, but it’s got pace and  flair. Never has this negativity been more concentrated (on my Twitter feed, a social barometer of excellent repute) than when the cover art was revealed, shown below.

This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 doom cover art pc

Being a connoisseur of all things yellow and a man of good taste, I heartily disagree; it’s bold, minimal, and contemporary. If I were feeling particularly snarky I’d add a sentence calling anyone who disagrees old and narrow minded – that’s what game writers and critics are meant to do right? But you’re probably not, and for now anyway, I’m not interested in hamming up something so trivial, give this week’s introduction another read if my frankness seems out of place.

Rogue Warrior 2 Confirmed

Its May release date means DOOM won’t be gracing the stages of E3 this year, not unless sales truly are abyssal. Nonetheless publisher Bethesda will be returning for a second year, taking to the stage 19:00 Pacific / 22:00 Eastern time, Sunday, June 12th.

This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 bethesda e3 2006 press conference date

Dishonored 2 should be there, presumably a Fallout expansion, I’d bet more Elder Scrolls Online, and that action-MOBA thing with the word ‘Battle’ in its title? Beyond that I would be guessing without a whiff of educated reasoning, here’s hoping for another Wolfenstein, or some other reveal from Machine Games.

Just to be clear Rogue Warrior 2 has not been confirmed, by anyone, at any time, in this realm or the next.

You See That Mountain Over There…

One of my favourite games from last year Toukiden: Kiwami, a pseudo-sequel to Toukiden: Age of Demons is getting a true sequel for the Sony consoles, all three of them. Siliconera posted the first released screens of the new game, care of Famitsu.

(Click to enlarge).

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This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 toukiden 2  open world 2
This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 toukiden 2 open world 2This Week In Videogames 07/02/2016 toukiden 2 oni

Unlike its predecessor’s, Toukiden 2 expands its horizons from the genre-traditional narrow maps into a full open world, which is to include, “forests, caves, volcanoes, and all kinds of different fields.” It’s apparently 60% complete, which is a nice statistic, vague without any real context, but pleasant enough!

Drugs Get Even The Best Of Us

Pikachu makes his grumpy and downtrodden returns to close out yet another week of news, Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth of a New Duo released on the Japanese 3DS eShop and as such, we were able to catch a glimpse of the single best intro sequence ever.

I don’t want to spoil the video, but I do want to give you enough to salivate over, reason enough to commit a couple of minutes to watching. What if I told you there was a dream sequence, that Pikachu tries and fails to pick up a passing lady, and that there’s first-person face hugging. It starts about a minute in. 

(Via GameXplain). 

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