All posts by Greg Giddens

Some say Greg isn’t one person but a group of many people posting under the pseudonym “Greg”. No one knows for sure but either way, as long as he continues to fight the good fight of reviewing games, then we will always consider him a hero.

Unravel Two officially revealed and available now!

The leak earlier today may have spoilt the surprise a little, with an ESRB listing for Unravel 2 suggesting we were in for a sequel, but fortunately the real meat of the reveal was saved until the EA’s E3 2018 conference. Indeed, Yarny is back in Unravel 2 but not alone, another yarn character joins the fun.

This time around Yarny’s thread is cut during a boating disaster, but after washing up ashore, another, this time blue yarn character, appears and connects the broken thread to their own. Now, you and a friend in co-op, or you alone switching between the two fabric friends, must perform platforming through what appears to be the same kind of gorgeously rendered natural locations at the previous title. The emphasise now is on cooperativeness, solving physics and platforming puzzles together to get to places you couldn’t get alone. Additionally, it was announced that their will be more instances of danger than the first game, with more chase sequences and exciting moments driving the experience, and with a new wall jump ability and the ability to use each other as anchor points to swing around, we can’t wait to try it.

And most excitingly of all we won’t have to wait, Unravel Two is available now, right now! In fact, yours truly and Senior Editor Richard Berry will be playing it on Mixer tonight from 2045 (Saturday 9th June) if you fancy taking a look.

FIFA 18 free trial available now

Want to experience the FIFA World Cup through more than just passively watching the tournament unfold? Well EA have stepped up to provide what you need: a free trial of FIFA 18.

Through the free World Cup update available on FIFA 18, you can play through the tournament, re-writing history as you see fit and generally experiencing the joy of football at the highest level on the world stage. The FIFA 18 trial is feature complete but with a limited run for the World Cup, so if you’ve got a football craving, jump on in. It’s available now on every platform.

UEFA Champions League coming to FIFA 19

EA’s E3 2018 press conference has started delivering reveals and, to no one’s surprise, FIFA 19 is coming out later this year on September 28th. However, what was a surprise was the reveal that the next instalment will include the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

FIFA 19 will embed the UEFA Champions League in Career mode, Story mode and Ultimate Team, allow you to experience the thrill of chasing that cup anyway you fancy.

Beyond this, FIFA 19 will feature the usual refinements we’d expect from the annual sports title, but this year EA have made a point of mentioning that they have taken feedback from the community and FIFA pros to create a better, more fluid, responsive and intuitive experience. We’ll find out how this translate to play in September. Check out the trailer below:

Strategy game Mars Horizon announced

Intrigued by rocket building, mission control, space agency management and space in general, then Auroch Digital have you covered with their upcoming strategy game Mars Horizon, due for release in Q4 this year on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Mars Horizon is a strategy game in which players control a government space agency. Picking between the space agencies of either Europe, Russia, or the United States, the players then control the agency to collaborate or compete in a decades-spanning campaign to expand humanity’s reach further into space. With each game an alternate history begins to be shaped and guided by the player’s actions, building iconic rockets, probes, and satellites that transmit crucial scientific data back to your customisable Earth HQ, all the while researching, investing in, and bolstering your space flight capabilities.

During the player’s version of the space race, perhaps Europe work with Russia, sending satellites into orbit? Could it be that the US get this first satellite into space but that Russia achieves the first moon landing? Who will be best poised to venture to Mars because of learnings from earlier missions? Players will research new tech, expand their agency base, build rockets, send satellites into orbit, and launch a variety of missions throughout the Solar System. The game culminates in the first crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species.

The UK Space Agency provided support in the form of a grant plus advice and information on space exploration and the running of an actual space agency for Mars Horizon. Auroch Digital are advocates for video games both as entertainment but also as a medium with the power to explore real world issues and ideas. Speaking about the game, Auroch Digital’s Design Director, Dr Tomas Rawlings said…

We wanted to distil the wonder, drama, and the galaxies of possibility that space offers us as a species, into game form. Mars Horizon is our love-letter to the race into space and the challenges and triumphs of humanity on the way to becoming a multiplanetary species.

If the teaser trailer and screenshots aren’t enough to satisfy your curiosity, then you can check out the Auroch Digital podcast detailing the games’ production. You can listen and subscribe to the Auroch Digital podcast HERE – get to know the team, the process, and learn about how space engineering has been translated for the video game medium in Mars Horizon.

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics game announced

You know what World War II strategy role playing games need? Other-worldly monsters. And it seems our nightmares may come true, the recently announced Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics releases later this year.

Developer Auroch Digital and publisher Ripstone have collaborated with the table top team at Modiphius to create Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics – The Forest of Fear, which is set for release on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch later this year.

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is a World War II themed strategic role-playing game in which the player controls an army of Allied heroes trapped behind enemy lines trying to uncover and foil a Nazi plot of terrifying evil. The game draws from the award-winning Achtung! Cthulhu roleplaying universe developed by Modiphius, which sees the Nazis turn to other-worldly mythical beings to bolster their war effort.

The game encompasses an array of unique gameplay features, including an innovative combat system constructed around the theme of light vs darkness. Representing the battle of ‘good vs evil’, Allied characters find solace in the light whilst the opposing Nazi army hide in the shadows awaiting their moment to strike. A skilled player can use this light and dark feature to provide an edge to their gameplay strategy.

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics also includes an intricate Momentum system, which encourages the player to think strategically about their long-term plan to overthrow the Nazi reign of terror. Each successful action builds Momentum for the player, which in turn opens up new lines of tactical attack. Each playable character has a tailored Momentum Action, ranging from a rake of machine gun fire to a fast snap-shot with a pistol. When layered with basic commands and attacks, this system allows the player to build ingenious combinations of tactical brilliance.

Tomas Rawlings, Design Director at Auroch Digital, enthuses:

It’s a real honour to work alongside Modiphius and Ripstone on what will be a premium Cthulhu-mashup. Having worked with the Ripstone team before back in the PlayStation 3 days, together we made amazing strategy games, and I’m confident history will repeat itself!

Ripstone have fully funded the core game, for release later this year; however new and existing fans of Achtung! Cthulhu can sign up to fight the good fight by donating additional funds on Kickstarter for extra characters and content to be included within the game.The Kickstarter broke through its initial goal in under 3 days, and is now battling stretch goals until 4th March 2018.

So if you’re tantalised by this announcement. be sure to head on over to Kickstarter and show your support: https://bitly.com/achtungcthulhuks

Greg’s GOTY 2017

No one sets out to make a bad game, yet it happens anyway. Things go wrong during development, the scope out weights the team’s efforts, the fun is lost somewhere down the line, or a myriad of other issues that leads to the result of a bad game.

The honest truth of the matter is: it’s all too easy for a bad game to be made. There’s too much stacked against them, the hype from elements perceived as intriguing by consumers and journalists, the financial commitment to develop something that meets modern standards of visuals and features. I don’t think we truly appreciate just how hard it is to make a good game.

What about great games, then? What measure of developer does it take to build these? I think the groups of people that manage to deliver an experience that you cherish are remarkable developers indeed, and their success should be vigorously celebrated. With that, then, I’d like to tell you about my personal top three games of 2017.

3rd –  Yooka-Laylee

The N64 and original PlayStation consoles saw the birth of 3D platformers, and it didn’t take long for some true classics to hit those system. 2017 saw a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie release in the form of Yooka-Laylee, a love letter to the early 3D platformers with a focus on cute and quirky characters, collectathon gameplay, comical boss fights and themed worlds.

It’s a marvellous, nostalgic trip with enough collectables to keep you busy for dozens of hours, and indeed it’s that quest, that obsession to collect everything on offer, that drives the experience, further enhanced with achievements and trophies. And despite a combative camera and the occasional section of poor or obscure level design, it kept me entertained for weeks while I conquered every stage and searched every nook and cranny for shiny trinkets.

2nd –  Resident Evil 7

Over two decades after the original Resident Evil title, Resident Evil 7 comes along and drastically changes the series’ style. The third person perspective gives way to first person, zombies and genetically modified monstrosities give way to a crazed family and organic clumps of mould, and the comically campy storytelling gives way to a tense atmosphere and serious character motivation.

The puzzles hark back to the original, and the primary location strikes a nostalgic tone with its intricate design, but now the horror is more real and frightening than ever before. The visuals are so splendidly detailed and grotesque you can almost sense the damp, the blood, the sweat and the adrenaline. Stick a VR headset on and the immersion becomes that much more engrossing.

This was a completely new take on the Resident Evil formula, making bold new strides in horror and storytelling while keeping enough familiar elements to appease long-term fans. This was a special title for me, drawing me in enough to command multiple playthroughs and scaring me enough to wear me out at the end of every play session. And with smartly designed DLC side stories to draw me back in, it became a title that stuck with me throughout the year, one that I enjoyed and indeed still enjoy immensely.

GOTY 2017 – : Dungeons 3

As the release of Dungeons 3 approached I suddenly became intrigued. I’ve been after a title that approaches the greatness of Dungeon Keeper for many years, and had been left wanting. Dungeons 3 looked like it might get the formula right, that perhaps it had learned from its previous titles, as well as from similar dungeon management titles, and made the jump to something as enjoyable as the original Dungeon Keeper from the early 90s and yet featured precisely the modern refinements we all expect. Indeed, Dungeons 3 meets that hope.

Fourth wall breaking humour galore, dungeon building that’s smart and expansive thanks to a well implemented upgrade tree, and that special something to place it apart from Bullfrog’s original dungeon management marvel: RTS style gameplay in the overworld.

Indeed, Dungeons 3 nails the dungeon building and the humorous atmosphere, and while its performance is a little patchy on console it’s still hugely entertaining, with enough content to keep you engaged for countless hours, and a challenge in not only building an efficient dungeon for your creatures and to decimate any invading heroes, but also to then lead your army of creatures in combat in the world above. It’s excellent and I couldn’t stop playing it until every single achievement was mine.

I think of the aforementioned titles as great examples of the year’s best games and then I recognise that there were so many more that I haven’t had the chance to play yet, such as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead and Super Mario Odyssey, and I’m reminded: don’t think that a small group of dedicated and thoughtful people can’t make an impact in this industry, because it’s the only thing that ever has.

TiX podcast special: State of the Industry 2017

Welcome to a new episode of the TiX Podcast, a special episode celebrating 2017.

Join Greg Giddens and Neale Jarrat as they discuss their highlights from the year in terms of games, explore the new hardware paradigm of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, gush over PSVR, and even take a quick stab at the loot box controversy. Welcome to State of the Industry 2017.

Podcast music by Bangmaid
Produced by James Gill
www.mixcloud.com/bangmaid

WWE 2K18’s Universe Mode detailed

2K have released details about WWE 2K18’s Universe Mode.

In a blog post on the official WWE 2K18 site, Universe Mode’s designer, Cristo Kyriazis, talks about what’s new for this year, including new rivalry types, Intensity, Power Rankings, updated calendars and several other additions and improvements.

Check out the blog post to read all about it in detail: https://wwe.2k.com/news/entries/wwe-2k18-universe-mode