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.
Earlier today, Kotaku were told by their sources that Scalebound is definitely in trouble and could well be cancelled. Kotaku reached out to Microsoft for a statement and received back:
We’ll have more to share on ‘Scalebound’ soon.
However, Windows Central have now confirmed the rumours, and received the following statement from Microsoft:
After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for “Scalebound.” We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including “Halo Wars 2,” “Crackdown 3,” “State of Decay 2,” “Sea of Thieves” and other great experiences. For more information on our 2017 plans, please visit: https://news.xbox.com/2017/01/05/xbox-closes-milestone-year-in-2016/.
There’s certainly been fears of cancellation for a while, with the Dragon riding action title from Platinum Games being stuck in development hell for several years now, having been initially revealed at E3 in 2014 and then struck by delays. And with the title missing from Xbox Wire’s list of upcoming games, and with it being removed from the Xbox web site, thins weren’t looking good for the hotly anticipated co-op game. Unfortunately, now it’s been confirmed.
Death squared is a cooperative puzzle game from SMG Studio where defenseless robots must navigate a maze filled with deadly traps and ally-killing hazards, will feature Xbox One-exclusive levels when it launches early 2017.
The cooperative puzzled game looks great with team work being the most important element to set the little robots free from the hazards inside the laboratory. The founder of Australia based SMG Studio Patrick Cook said:
“Death Squared rewards strong communication and instantly gives a crash course on its importance to gamers lacking the skill, Failure is part of the solution process, and through trial and error as well as teamwork, everyone can survive Death Squared‘s gauntlet of puzzles…whether friendships are still intact is a different story.”
Sound quite interesting, if you need to find out more head HERE for more info
The hotly anticipated forth entry in the Dead Rising series is due to release in a mere few weeks, and fans are giddy with excitement. However, that giddiness might take a bit of hit with news that you won’t be able to play through the story of Dead Rising 4 with a friend after all.
This information comes fresh from a Twitch stream on the ExpertZone_Community channel, where members of the development team at Capcom Vancouver confirmed that the story of Dead Rising 4 will be single player only.
Instead, the co-op multiplayer will allow up to four players to experience an entirely separate mode with different characters. Here you’ll play short objectives, in the style of mini-games, rather than free roaming through the mall.
It certainly feels like we were all misled about the co-op content on offer here, and with other series staples like the time limit, survivor escorting, eating food to regenerate health, and Frank West’s voice actor changing, this latest entry in the series is sounding less a less like its predecessors.
And what might be the final nail in the coffin for some fans is the news that a time limit based single player mode is coming as DLC. Indeed, making people pay extra for features the series is known for that are otherwise missing, isn’t the smartest move.
Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide immerses you in the Warhammer fantasy universe, arms you with melee and ranged weaponry, and unleashes the human sized rat force known as the Skaven on you and your party of adventurers. And with dozens of the vermin swarming you whilst blades, magic, arrows, grenades and bullets fill the air alongside the screams of battle and the cries of death, you’ll be forgiven for thinking this is Left 4 Dead with a different skin. It is, in fact, a great deal more than that.
Well, not a huge amount more than that. Vermintide shares more than a passing resemblance to Valve’s zombies slaying action titles. The core gameplay-loop is the same: you and up to three others venture off into a relatively linear level towards an objective whilst a variety of different Skaven foes flood your screen and try to murder you. The Skaven even have special units that neatly compare to the likes of Left 4 Dead’s, such as the hulking Rat Ogre that can absorb and dish out huge damage, the Poison Wind Globadier who chucks poison grenades your way, and the Gutter Runner who pounces on you and slashes away at your torso, plus several more.
Players also respawn further within a level if they are felled, and items can be picked up to help heal or buff you and your party, as well as offensive options such as bombs and grenades. Furthermore, an omnipresent AI director oversees the summoning of the Skaven horde in order to make your playthrough more dynamic and scalable. Indeed, it’s very much plays like Left 4 Dead. However, this is certainly not a bad thing.
Vermintide is fast paced and intense, with dozens of enemies filling the screen forcing you and your party to wildly swing, bash and shoot to try and clear a path forwards. Meanwhile, teamwork is crucial in dealing with the number of foes and the aforementioned special units that mean to separate you from your friends and pick you off whilst you’re vulnerable. Vermintide is the best parts of Left 4 Dead, all packed up in a faithful, intriguing and beautiful Warhammer package.
Stunning visuals brings the city streets, sewers, forests and harbours to life, with character models for your adventurers and the Skaven looking tremendously detailed. Moreover, this visual fidelity doesn’t compromises the fast pace, regardless of the action unfolding around you. You’re party of four, swinging melee weapons or firing off projectiles against dozens of humanoid rats remarkable remains smooth and fast throughout.
The rest of the presentation is also superb, with a fantastically thematic score accompanying your dance of slaughter, not at all listenable outside of the game but wonderfully fitting for the action and world whilst you’re immersed within it. Furthermore, the clash of steal, the swish of arrows, the roar of fire, and the boom of firearms all sound excellent amongst the equally terrific Skaven and party member voices. Vocal cues from the Skaven and your party aid you in preparing for upcoming battles, or point you in the right direction if you get lost, but are used sparingly enough not to grate or become superfluous. Additionally, the little elements of lore you glean from short snippets of dialogue between your party point to the larger world of the Warhammer universe subtlety but rewardingly for fans.
You can embark on a large selection of missions across multiple different locations either alone and supported by AI teammates, or via online coop with up to three other players. You choose a hero from a selection of five: a Dwarf Ranger with axe and crossbow; an Elven Waywatcher with dual daggers and bow; a Witch Hunter with rapier and pistols; a Bright Wizard with flaming mace and fire magic; and an Empire Soldier with great sword and pistol. You then gather within an inn, consult a map to choose your mission and are then briefed by the barman. It’s terrifically atmospheric. Moreover, the starting weapons can be swapped out for several more to modify your characters significantly.
Securing new weapons requires an element of skill and equally luck. Once you complete a level, depending on how well you do, you’ll be given dice to throw. The more dice that land showing a face, the rarer your weapon loot will be. However, the weapons available during this dice game are random, sometimes not providing new weapons for the characters you prefer and potentially lumbering you with junk. Fortunately, you can combine unwanted weapons to form new ones or upgrade favourites at the forge, helping to alleviate the frustration of tackling a level and not receiving anything useful.
This random loot system certainly can compromise your fun. The levels are hugely challenging and conquering one only to receive junk can be disheartening. Furthermore, if you fail a level you receive nothing. The friendly AI is often responsible for such failures, unfortunately. Occasionally they’ll get stuck on scenery or fail to figure out the terrain to progress forward. Meanwhile, at times they’ll completely ignore that fact you’ve been downed and require medical assistance and you’ll die surrounded by the dumbfounded AI. Bringing friends along for the fight certainly helps, but the challenge remains stiff whether you’re backed up with AI or human comrades.
Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is great fun to play, with its hugely satisfying combat and its excellent feedback as enemies are knocked around and sliced apart, to the visually stunning environments, as well as the character and enemy models, which truly bring the Warhammer world to life. It’s difficult, and the loot system’s random element can get a little frustrating, but the gameplay-loop is easily compelling enough to keep you coming back for more Skaven blood.
Livelock is one of the best examples of its genre. It’s an impressive package that expertly balances its setting, mechanics, difficulty, pacing and visual prowess to provide an isometric twin-stick shooter that’s superb fun to play alone or with friends.
You play as one of three Capital Intellects; human minds uploaded into towering robots armed to the teeth with weapons. You are a failsafe, designed to fix any problems that occur over the eons between Earth being irradiated with gamma rays, destroying all organic life, and the time humans can return to the planet, their minds having been stored digitally in several massive storage servers. Of course, something went wrong, with the planet now embroiled in a war between robotic factions. You and your two fellow Capital Intellects must bring an end to the corrupted robotic forces and secure the stored human minds.
It’s an intriguing story that spins a pleasant tale with a handful of twists and revelations over the course of the 6-8 hour campaign. Furthermore, your robot foes have their own leadership and elite forces for you to exchange dialogue with in a Saturday morning cartoon fashion that’s hard not to enjoy. Of course, the Transformers comparison is inevitable, this is especially so with the voice-work, which is largely excellent and some notable one-liners serving up a chuckle or smile, however, it’s treads a darker line than that of everybody’s favourite robots in disguise, therefore it soon differentiates itself enough to become its own original thing.
Whilst an intricate tale is being spun, this translates mechanically to shooting and bashing copious amounts of robots, and it’s terrific fun. The isometric view makes everything looks so small yet at the same time, thanks to detailed environments with derelict buildings and vehicles as well as natural features such as trees and rivers, also provides a wonderful sense of scale. Whichever of the three robots you choose – Hex the ranged weapon specialist, Vanguard the melee specialist, or Catalyst the support specialist – you’re inhabiting a hulking great metal beast of a machine. During the explosive fire fights you’ll knock cars incidentally and send them skidding across the battlefield. Meanwhile, you can walk through most walls, suffering the slightest of slowdown to your gait. You absolutely feel like a huge, unstoppable robot, which is excellent.
The sound design further sales your metal might, with thunderous steps as you walk and shriek of steel on steel as your shred your enemies component from component. Additionally, absolutely stunning visuals and enemy design provides unique robotic monstrosities to combat, a strikingly saturated colour palette, and some of the most impressive particle and weapon effects seen in the genre. But it’s the shadows that really pull you in. Everything onscreen casts one, with framerates largely staying smooth and fast. As the battlefield is changed by the destruction of walls and scattering of debris, new shadows are formed dynamically. It’s marvellous.
However, as previously hinted, there are occasions when the on-screen action compromises the framerate, but it’s thankfully rare and short-lived when it does occur. Additionally, Livelock supports up to three player cooperative play but online only, which is a bit of a shame for couch co-op fans.
If you do venture online for cooperative play you’ll find excellent difficulty scaling to match the player count. Whether playing alone or with others, the challenge is ideally crafted to offer you an intense fight that is often barely winnable, keeping the satisfaction of victory always high and rewarding.
Shooting and smashing robots in intense battles across a variety of locations ends up feeling more akin to Diablo than any traditional twin-stick shooter. The inclusion of melee combat options as well as a host of different special attacks on cool-downs, of which you can only have three equipped at one time, further this similarity. A secondary mode to the story-driven campaign, Open Protocol, builds on the comparison, allowing you to take on levels without the narrative threads and concentrate on high scores and gaining more experience. With experience comes more weapon options to unlock and upgrade, allowing you to customise your characters to a significant degree, even to the point of changing their class specific specialisation, such as equipping Vanguard with ranged weapons instead of his default melee ones. It’s superbly customisable and allows you to shape your characters however you feel or to what best suits your team if playing online.
With weapons and abilities unlocked with experience, loot is kept to a minimum and comes in the form of Firmware for your characters, allowing you to customise their colour, their head and their cape. Collecting capes may sound daft but seeing it flap in the breeze as you tear through hordes of mechanical foes is both heroic and awesome.
Indeed, Livelock is excellent, from the hugely satisfying destruction from the environment and enemies, the complex and unique enemy design – to the point where they’ll limp under the weight of their arsenal – to the thematically excellent soundtrack with unexpected layers of instruments that gives Livelock a one of a kind musical score. It’s a tremendous title and a champion of its genre, hurt quite a bit by a lack of local coop and ever so slightly by the odd hit to the framerate.
Earlier today at Gamescom, Konami announced a surprise new addition to the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Survive, revealed exclusively by IGN.
Metal Gear Survive will be a four-player stealth co-op game set within the Metal Gear universe, and is due for release on Xbox One in 2017.
Metal Gear Survive is set directly after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Mother Base has been destroyed and strange portals open up in the sky dragging the survivors to an alternate universe where they’re forced to battle a force of crystalline zombies.
Metal Gear Survive will offer a fresh take on the series’ famed stealth elements,
said Konami European president, Tomotada Tashiro in a press release,
but within a unique co-op setting that is designed for a truly engrossing multiplayer experience.
Metal Gear Survive will be the first full Metal Gear game made after the departure of series creator Hideo Kojima, so it’ll be interesting to see how the series develops from here. The focus on a four-player co-op experience is certainly a new avenue for the series, but whether fans are willing to except these big changes is yet to be seen. We’ll find out next year.
It turns out too many chefs doesn’t ruin the broth; Overcooked proves that the more chefs you have the more fun you can have. But can this delightfully deranged arcade cook-a-thon satisfy your hunger or is it a mere snack?
In Overcooked you are tasked with preparing a multitude of dishes for hungry customers. You must dash around a variety of kitchens, collecting ingredients, chopping, cooking, plating, serving and cleaning dishes to the whim of customers with particular cravings, scoring more stars depending on how quickly and accurately you serve up your dishes.
It sounds so simple, and indeed the concept is, but in execution it turns out to be anything but. Organising your cooking method to efficiently create your meals is a unique challenge to overcome, one made more difficult by the absurd kitchens you have to cook in. What starts as ordinary kitchens, where learning their layout is your biggest challenge, soon turns into crazy scenarios, such as two trucks with half the kitchen in each, speeding down a road and only crossable during small windows of alignment. It offers a special brand of insanity that’s wonderfully humourous to play within and equally difficult to overcome.
It’s a pleasant surprise to see what concoction of kitchen chaos is presented in each level, and achieving the full three stars is a satisfying goal. Moreover, just as you think you’ve seen all kinds of layouts, new challenges are introduced, such as rats that steal ingredients. But even on the most ordinary of kitchens there’s still plenty to keep you occupied. Performing all the aforementioned tasks swiftly and efficiently is made all the more interesting by having to watch for food burning on the stove and fires blazing as a result, requiring a blast from a fire extinguisher to quell it.
On your own you control two chefs, able to switch between them at the press of a button and share out the tasks. But Overcooked is by far the most enjoyable when you have a friend or three join in for some local multiplayer. Organising your group of chefs requires constant communication and quickly leads to a room full of people shouting for vegetables, meat and plates, or screaming about fire amongst panicked hollering as things get hectic. It’s delightfully entertaining. Additionally you can play competitively, which offers a fun but fleeting experience, cooperative play is certainly the better bet.
On your own however, Overcooked is still a lot of fun. It feels like a very different game, one that’s far less hectic and silly and more of an odd puzzle experience as you try to manage the two chefs so that one isn’t idle for too long.
Unfortunately the multiplayer mayhem is restricted to local play, although it’s certainly well suited to this style, making it hard to fault. It even supports the shared controller method of yore where two players can use each side of a controller. Indeed, as one mistake can send the whole kitchen into disarray and get everybody shouting, local play certainly offers the better experience, although having the option for online would still of been appreciated, and may come in the future.
Driving your group of chefs in their quest to chaotically create meals is a wonderfully ridiculous story. The Onion King and his dog, Kevin, have summoned you to satiate the appetite of The Ever Peckish, a giant spaghetti monster. The collection of crazy levels acts as your training grounds. It’s a simple, odd and amusing way to set the scene that does a tremendous job of setting the silly tone right from the get-go, along with its cute, comical art style.
Indeed, Overcooked offers a terrifically fast paced, multiplayer focused experience, with an incredible variety of levels with additional challenges beyond the primary mechanics, such as icy surfaces you can slip on or ghosts moving things. Meanwhile, a well thought-out single player component keeps things entertaining when you don’t have a room full of friends to cook with.
Thanks to Xbox and Ghost Town Games and Team17 for supporting TiX
Kevin Neibert, lead game designer at Tuque Games, dives into the details about the cooperative apocalypse experience shown during PAX East 2016 in this latest video.
The walkthrough highlights some combat functions of each character as well as the unpredictability of enemies that will require players to strategically approach combat when playing the upcoming top-down shooter.