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.
Milestone is probably one of the most experienced developers when it comes to racing games. Today Milestone have released details about the season pass and DLC updates about their off-road racing title Gravel.
For those ready to go beyond their limits, Gravel Season Pass will include 5 DLCs, which will give access to additional 12 new vehicles, 10 check point tracks, 4 new Wild Rush circuits and 2 new Off-Road Career Events with the aim of satisfying even the most demanding off-road racing fans.
Gravel Season Pass and Gravel Special Edition, including the Full Game and Season Pass, will be available to pre-order from 27February 2018 on PS4, Xbox One.
In addition to the DLCs included in the season pass, new content will be available completely free, letting players broaden their car portfolio with new exclusive vehicles. The first two freemium DLCs are Gravel Free car Bowler Bulldog and Gravel Free car Acciona.
For all four-wheel enthusiasts, this DLC gives access to the first exclusive free vehicle, available for download from 7 March.
Straight from Great Britain, here’s one of Bowler latest creations, the Bulldog, a concentration of power which makes the off-road experience even more thrilling and engaging.
Details on all other DLCs will be disclosed later on.
Gravel will launch on 27 February on PS4, Xbox One, and PC/STEAM.
Mordor less? That certainly is the question. Can the award-winning hit from Monolith, 2014’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, go the route of Empire, The Two Towers, and Flash Season 2? Better what came before, that is.
I’d like to get to the topic of Loot Crates in Shadow of War as swiftly as I can.
Yes, they are in Shadow of War. Yes, they can be purchased by spending your hard earned £/$/€ and the like. Yes, they do allow you to bolster the Army you have stationed at the half-dozen fortresses around Middle-earth. Yes, they do allow you to gain temporary boosts of experience and spoils, which in turn will allow you to progress Talion a little quicker. Oh, and yes, you can get various armour and weapons from them. However, you can get all these from in-game activities, too. Partake in the numerous challenges, get Gold. Those same challenges award Mirian, too. You can also get Mirian from killing enemies, finishing missions, breaking down unwanted items, and from several other methods. Heck, you can even choose NOT to partake in any of the online/store events by not press A or X on them in the menu. Or, just don’t accept the online terms and conditions.
However you cut it, Shadow of War is not unwinnable. You don’t have to purchase any Crates via any currency. You don’t have to spend your precious (eh…eh…) monies on the marketplace.
Now that has been addressed, I’d like to waffle on about Talion, Celebrimbor, the refined Nemesis system, and a human-spider. Plus some other things.
Shadow of War picks up right from where Shadow of Mordor left us back in 2014, we’re forging a new Ring of Power. This story beat is what allows the game to introduce new players to how things work in Mordor, and for players of Mordor to get reacquainted to the combat and any changes to the progression system; of which there are many. Most of these changes are for the better – gone are the vertical tiers that are locked behind an experience system that could have been ground over and over, essentially nullifying much of the challenge later on. Instead replaced by horizontal tiers that are only locked behind each preceding node.
All of the nodes have two or three perks that can be unlocked, giving a level of customisation that wasn’t there in Mordor. You are limited to only one of these per node, this allows you to tackle encounters in many different ways. What may seem like a little like copy and paste, most perks go along the lines of ‘adds posion to X attack’ / ‘adds fire to Y attack’, etc. However, these allowed me to approach my targets with the knowledge that I am going after their weakness and fear. This is after investing the time into getting to know that about them.
As in Mordor, you can discover the secrets of each Captain and Warchief by dominating Worms – lower caste Orcs – into submission. They will then spill the beans on the Captain or Warchief you have selected, letting you know that Shag the Wyrm (I kid you not) is immune to headshots and stealth but is deadly fearful of fire and ghuls. The way I’d approach Shag? I’d select the perks that made my arrows summon ghuls upon the explosion of campfires, then I’d add fire to my Elven-light might attack. In Mordor, I often didn’t bother with discovering the information about my targets, as once I had unlocked a few abilities or runes for my weapons, I felt I could just brute force myself through the content, which worked most of the time.
A Right Gem
Gone are runes in War, replaced by a gem system that allows you to augment your weapons, armour and ring. On the surface, there appears to be little to the system, as there are only three colours; green, red and white. However, each of these can be combined – three at a time – to upgrade it to the next level, of which there are five. From there, each gem gives different benefits based on the item it is installed in. Fancy gaining more experience per kill? There is a gem for that. Want your army to take less damage or deal more damage? There are gems for that too. The system is very well implemented, as it doesn’t allow you to stack certain gems to be unbalanced in a certain area – imagine your army dealing 50% more damage on each gem slot. You’d just recruit and recruit, and steamroll through most content. Which wouldn’t be any fun now would it?
Nemesis a Trick
I tell you what, these puns just write themselves.
I enjoyed the Nemesis system in Mordor, even though I didn’t use it to my advantage as much I should have. Mainly due to being able to steamroll a lot of the content, which was a byproduct of being able to grind the experience needed to overpower myself at an easy level. With this, I didn’t expect that much change in War and on the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much change.
As I mentioned earlier, you can lead the intel on Captains / Warchiefs, exploit that and move on. However, what the game has hidden under that simple layer is astounding. The biggest trio of holy shahk (I believe it is spelt like that?) moments… Sending an Uruk to kill a Captain for me. A simple request, an easy result. Or it should have been. What I failed to pay attention to, because I’d been so engrossed in the game and hadn’t taken the time to see if the game had any unwritten rules, was that the Uruk I’d sent to follow up my command was, in fact, the blood-brother of the Captain.
Needless to say, it didn’t go well for me. I was promptly betrayed by the Uruk, as he sided with his brother. An audible profanity was said, but it wasn’t over yet. As I slipped into the shadows, I was then ambushed by an Orc I had failed to kill earlier. He had been stalking me for some time, it seems. In that time he had become immune to fire and stealth, which was unfortunate for me…. I had set up myself to be proficient in those areas. I was about to be defeated, as the two Captains and this Orc were on my back. My bodyguards weren’t responding due to me summoning them on a ridge and I hadn’t unlocked any mounts yet.
Time for the third holy shahk. I had no recovery attempts left. A sword was about to slice my neck when an archer saved me, he took out the wannabe-assassin, which allowed me to recover. The blood-brothers were both afraid of seeing Captains die, so they retreated. I was alive and War had just bettered the whole of Mordor in a brief experience. My saviour asked to be named Overlord. I am not sure if it would have mattered either way, but I obliged him.
Bugs. They are in all games, it is part and parcel of what we get delivered onto our hard drives nowadays. War has a few more than others, one of them a huge spider turned Human. Another is when you summon a bodyguard on a ridge/building roof/cliff, and they don’t do anything other than chillout – even when they are archers. I am unsure why this happens, but it took me a few deaths to realise it was happening. There were a few other bugs that made me chuckle more than rage. Such as dragons getting stuck inside structures.
One huge bug that I didn’t mind being included, however, was Shelob. Her role in War wasn’t what I was expecting, nor was it as lore breaking as I had read in previews. At least to me. If anything, her initial role is there to bridge the gap between Mordor players returning, and new players jumping into the franchise for the first time. I’ll say no more, for fear of spiders spoilers.
Loredor and Back Again
When I started this review, my aim was to give an overview of my experiences in Shadow of War. There is nothing like reading a review, getting just enough information to make an informed decision, then going out and buying the game (or not). Just like there isn’t anything worse than reading a review full of spoilers, mid-to-late plot points and the like. On that note, there are a few little lore parts than I’d like to trace around.
As someone who has seen the films and played the games, the story of Mordor and War fit in nicely. There are a few creative areas that overlap, but nothing that stops me enjoying the journey that I have taken with Talion and Celebrimbor. That being said, what I always enjoyed about the films, and to a slightly less extent in Mordor, and to an even lesser extent in War, is the art and graphics.
Peter Jackson’s Ring trilogy holds up well. Hell, saying holds up is an injustice. In a few years time, though, I don’t think I’ll be saying that War holds up well. Mordor, which I replayed before War, still looks solid. Whereas War has areas that just feel like they have been reduced in quality, so they could be ramped up for the Pro and X versions. Smudgy textures, pop in when you are looking at trees in an otherwise beautiful scene. When standing atop one of my fortresses, I look out to see dragons flickering in and out of view. It is a shame. Not to mention the absolute night and day difference in Talion between cutscenes and gameplay.
Those issues of mine – and they may only be mine – were more and more apparent after I had started to notice them. At one point, after noticing that Talion reverted to prerendered clothing during scenes, I rubbed my ring finger and murmured “my precious” – as I had grown really fond of my War experience. I’d wager it’ll be in my top five games of the year, without a shadow of a doubt.
Overall, I had an incredible time returning to Mordor and the surrounding areas. Monolith really did go and pull an Empire! An improvement in almost every single area, from gameplay, to the unrivalled Nemesis system, and the world they doubled in size. The latter half of the game is a bold move, one that I hope they can make payoff. And if they don’t, then I look forward to my yearly replays of War, and maybe Mordor. Maybe.
We’re only a week away from the new Resident Evil title launching, but still there’s some pleasant surprises coming to light.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, sent out a Tweet this evening confirming that Resident Evil 7 will support Play Anywhere, allowing you to purchase it once, digitally on Xbox One or Windows 10, and then play it on either PC or Xbox One with your saves and achievements following you.
Today at Gamescom Ubisoft have announced the next expansion to their successful driving MMO The Crew, titled Calling All Units. As the title suggests Calling All Units puts players in the role of police officers tasked with shutting down the street racers and bringing them to justice.
The Calling All Units expansion will bring with it a new 12 mission storyline where players will be able to develop tactics, collect new vehicles as well as the normal new cars parts and XP. With Supercars, SUV’s and motorbikes all decked out in police livery high speed pursuits can happen anytime, anywhere, and with players able to access both the police and the racers it’s going to be frantic. However it won’t be as easy as you think as the racers will be equipped with flashbangs, unlimited nitro, and other abilities to help them evade capture but the police will also have a few surprises up their sleeves.
The Crew Calling All Units is set for release on November 29 on Xbox One and PC. However if you’re new to the game and looking to dive into the full experience The Crew Ultimate Edition will be released on the same day and this pack will include, The Crew Wild Run expansion, the Calling All Units expansion, and the Season Pass vehicles with their customization options.
If you are still not convinced then why don’t you try the free trial currently available to download for the PC and Xbox One which includes the core game and also The Wild Run expansion? This trial can be downloaded at the Xbox Store of from The Crew Official Website.
In celebration of Gamescom, 2K and Hangar 13 have released another trailer for their up and coming game Mafia 3. Titled The Heist, the trailer takes a look at the main character Lincoln Clay and follows him when he takes a job working for the Italian mob to rob the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan for Clay.
Mafia III will be available October 7, 2016 for Xbox One and Windows PC. For further information about the latest trailer and the game, check out the Official Website.
Capcom Vancouver’s Twitter feed has been a buzz with Dead Rising promotional material for a couple of months now, showing off classic moments from the franchise as well as directing us towards the upcoming second live action instalment. However, it seems this buzz wasn’t just about nostalgia but also about getting us in the mood for a new game in the zombie slaying, open-world series.
Yesterday, ThisGenGaming reported receiving images showing some art from Dead Rising 4 as well as the title screen and an in-game image. This is after the site initially reported on the rumours of Dead Rising 4 the previous week based off information coming from NeoGaf user Ekim. This leaked information was then confirmed by Kotaku News Editor, Jason Schreier in a Tweet as well as a post on Kotaku.
Ekim went on to say in a Tweet that Dead Rising 4 will be a remake of the original title, this time set at Christmas time and will allow you to explore the surrounding area of the mall as well as the mall itself. Furthermore, Dead Rising 4 will feature four player coop.
There’s also been speculation that Dead Rising 4 will once again be an exclusive for Microsoft, launching on Xbox One and possibly PC. This rumour has been further strengthen by PlayStationLifeStyle whose source has said that the title will not be coming to PS4.
The evidence is certainly building for Dead Rising 4’s reveal next week during E3. Our money is on it featuring within Xbox’s conference on Monday, and we can’t wait.
Join Greg Giddens, Neale Jarrett, Richard Berry and Derek McRoberts in another special show focusing on E3 2015. This is the second part of the round-up show, where the foursome discuss the remaining conferences from Ubisoft, Square Enix and EA, as well as touching on the news from the Nintendo, Sony and PC conferences.
Mortal Kombat X, developed by NetherRealm Studios, is due to be released on 14th April 2015 for PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. As to be expected, with just over a month until this happens, the hype train is in full swing. Today Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a new trailer for their upcoming title, introducing the Cage family.
Sonya Blade, her ex-husband Johnny Cage and their daughter Cassie Cage are all featured in the brand new video that encapsulates their turbulent yet entertaining relationship and diverse fighting styles.
Check out the trailer below and let us know if you’ll be picking this up on release date.