Fans of Sam Fisher rejoice! Last month saw Splinter Cell Conviction free on Xbox One via the magic of Games With Gold and Backwards Compatibility. This has now been followed by the news that the franchise companions of Blacklist and Double Agent are also now available to play on the Xbox One. We might still be a few years from a new Sam Fisher game, so for now we can revisit these classics.
Splinter Cell Blacklist was originally released in 2013 and received favourable reviews. Unleash the power or the most lethal agent to ever exist. You are Sam Fisher, and you’ve been given the ultimate freedom to protect innocents against a series of global terror attacks known as Blacklist – the freedom to use limitless force, to break every law, and to become the globe’s deadliest operative. If you succeed, the President of the United States will deny you exist. If you fail, millions will die. You can read the TiX review of Blacklist here!
Splinter Cell Double Agent hails back to 2006 and again was rated very highly upon release. Veteran agent Sam Fisher is back. But he’s never faced an enemy like this before. To stop a devastating terrorist attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. As you infiltrate a terrorist organization in its American headquarters, you must carefully weigh the consequences of your actions. Kill too many criminals and you’ll blow your cover. Hesitate too long and millions will die. Do whatever it takes to complete your mission, but get out alive. Dual objectives to fulfill: NSA government agents and terrorists will each want you to accomplish opposing tasks at the same time. Discover the tension of being a double agent: Use actual tactics employed by today’s real-life double agents to sabotage the terrorists’ plans. Explore a branching storyline with multiple endings: Your choices have an impact on how the story and game play unfolds. Missions from all over the world, from Asia to Africa to the heart of the US. Experience extreme situations: underwater or in a sandstorm, hiding behind the dust or smoke – and even skydiving. Master the latest weapons and gadgets used by NSA government agents in addition to black-market terrorist weapons
I really enjoyed playing through The Crew; its ambition was hard not to fall in love with and the miniaturised digital playground of the United States was a lot of fun to race around in. The Crew 2 promises more – with a bigger representation of the US and more toys to play with but is it in danger of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none?
Let’s get this out of the way… it’s hard not to draw similarities with Forza Horizon and the two can exist in much the same way that Pro Evo and Fifa do. Rather than lean heavily on racing physics, braking and racing lines, The Crew 2 goes for a more arcade experience – think the Need for Speed Underground series.
Boats and planes are new to the game and add a neat dynamic to the action. Racing on the waves needs consideration of how your boat sits in the water and how to use the wake of your boat to slow your opponents. Meanwhile flying is split into racing and acrobatic events. While failing to produce adrenaline pumping set pieces, the acrobats have you flailing about in the air to complete sets of requested stunts before having some freestyle time. Racing through the air can’t quite recreate the excitement of the Red Bull air races and while laboured, they are still fun to play through.
Other pastimes that provided me with much amusement were stomping around an arena playground doing stunts and collecting points in a Monster Truck. Drag racing, which while hardly an exciting game mode, is well implemented by challenging you to perform burnouts and accurately change through the gears to get the best time. My favourite though was the drift racing. Sliding around the track without clipping the sides while chaining moves together was a lot of fun and provided a challenge I relished, although it’s a shame that drift races versus another car wasn’t recreated.
By playing through just these few events it’s easy to see that The Crew 2 is distinctively different from Forza Horizon. Rather than produce a ‘me too’ game, Ivory Tower have tried to create something special and if it wasn’t for the lackluster online environment, odd bugs and game mechanics, The Crew 2 could quite easily have overtaken Horizon as my go too vehicular playground.
Jumps, bumps and grinds are all very solid on the ride of the car, striking that arcade racer genre firmly on the piston head. Bumping off the sides of the road is done so with comedy effect, meaning you can ignore braking and just pinball around the track, but it also makes the racing less fluid because the cars don’t respond with the same camber mechanics that Forza is renown for.
Some races are also plagued by rubber banding, which is really frustrating when you shoot wide of the track and the AI go sailing past appearing to make little to no mistakes. Another frustration I had with the game was the long load times – I appreciate the world is huge – but loading a small track surely shouldn’t take as long?
The worst bug I suffered was confounded by my initial lack of understanding of the upgrade loot system. Win a race and grab some loot, which is randomly generated, before slotting it onto your vehicle to upgrade its abilities sounds simple enough, but when I hit a roadblock in progression and returned to an earlier race to grind out some parts, the time limit I was given was impossible to achieve. Was I doing something wrong? I couldn’t find a way to buy additional parts so was I expected to grind for cash to buy a better vehicle? I eventually found the solution – quitting the game entirely and rebooting.
My final frustration with The Crew 2 concerns the opening sequence, which takes place during the game’s main event – LIVE XTREM – racing across all disciplines. As you finish one type of race the world zooms and twists like something out of Inception or Doctor Strange before your vehicle transforms into a new one, it’s absolutely awesome but is unfortunately only prevalent during this opening sequence and is a missed opportunity to inject some additional personality into the game.
Despite this, there are some cool moments and The Crew 2 makes great use of its environments, offering chances to make giant leaps from building-to-building or plunging from the Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, with a fast travel system that allows you to hop from event to event, you won’t see much from the excellent landscape that has been crafted, unlike Forza Horizon, there’s little incentive in driving from race-to-race. While I applaud the option of jumping from event-to-event, taking away the need to exist within an open world makes the whole experience much more like any other racer where you just select one track after another.
Despite the size of the world, it is very devoid of life and activity. During races animals skimp past your vehicle often narrowly missing death, while pedestrians jump in horror if you career wildly off the road, but traffic is otherwise absent. I caught glimpses of brake lights as cars in front disappeared like ghostly apparitions. After a reboot traffic issues seemed to be remedied slightly but the world was still too sterile and planned, it was like I was in the Truman Show.
Sadly, my initial question wraps up The Crew 2 neatly. Despite great vision with some truly wonderful moments and some fantastic arcade racing, the game has set its sights too high. With such a vast canvas and an array of events aiming to please every petrol head, the game struggles to show its soul.
Ubisoft have announced that Far Cry 5: Lost on Mars, the second post-launch adventure, will release on July 17th 2018 on available platforms. Lost on Mars continues the uncanny adventures in the Far Cry 5 Season Pass as players travel to Mars to eradicate an alien threat. Lost on Mars can be purchased as a stand-alone DLC, as part of the season pass or the Gold Edition. Check out our review of Far Cry 5 here!
Lost on Mars transports the franchise’s insanity from Hope County to the red planet as Nick Rye is teleported to a hostile planet to help his buddy Hurk thwart an alien invasion of Earth. This adventure gives players a new arsenal of alien weaponry, including the Blaster of Disaster, Hellfire and Morphinator, while also introducing a new transversal tool with Space Jets. Humankind’s future is in the hands of the game’s most notorious guns-for-hire. Time to squash some bugs!
In addition, all Far Cry 5 players will have access to new Mars-themed assets in Far Cry Arcade, which is available now. Map builders will be able to integrate these assets into their existing maps or create new sci-fi-themed maps. Future content will also include thematic assets that will be added to Far Cry Arcade for free. Those who download the Lost on Mars DLC will also gain access to new weapons – Obliteratorrrr, Taser Phazer Annihilazer, Nerve Reaper, Grape Popper and Hellfire – to use as they liberate Hope County from the Project at Eden’s Gate.
Far Cry 5 post-launch will continue with a final DLC adventure – Dead Living Zombies – which will be released in August. An additional asset drop will give map builders more tools to create unique Far Cry Arcade experiences. The adventures are available in the season pass or as stand-alone DLC purchases, while new asset releases for Far Cry Arcade will be available for free to all players in future title updates.
Ubisoft have announced the publishing line-up for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, including a novel, an art book and an official guide – all of which will be published worldwide starting this autumn. Through these books, fans will be able to step even further into the world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as they deepen their knowledge of the game and its lore.
The broadening Ubisoft publishing collection aspires to provide fans with a wide variety of exclusive insights into their many worlds. The vast universe of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be expanded beyond the game to explore the main story from Kassandra’s point of view, the artwork behind the beautiful and unique regions of the Golden Age of ancient Greece, and an official strategy guide.
Published by Ubisoft and Penguin Random House, the novelisation of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will tell the main story of the game from Kassandra’s point of view. Kassandra, a descendant of Leonidas, is caught in the turmoil of the Peloponnesian War. Following the prophecy of an oracle, she is left for dead by her family and escapes from Sparta. 17 years later, now a mercenary in Kephallonia, an unexpected turn of events causes her to set sail across war-torn Greece on an Odyssey to reunite her family and confront the ones who tore it apart. The author, Gordon Doherty, is a Scottish historical fiction writer who previously wrote the Legionary series, set in the Eastern Roman Empire in the late 4th century AD, and the Strategos Trilogy, set in 11th century Anatolia.
The Art of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, an art book published by Titan Books, will take readers on an epic voyage into the Golden Age of ancient Greece, a pivotal period that shaped the world and still influences today’s societies. Readers will explore the world of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as they discover its regions and secrets, and learn more about Kassandra and Alexios, their armor, their styles and the weapons they use to ply their deadly trade. Concept sketches, texture studies, character art and fully rendered paintings are accompanied by insightful comments and notes from the artists and developers.
The Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Official Collector’s Edition Guide, a guidebook published by Prima Games, is an indispensable tool for dedicated players. The guide contains a poster of the map, a special message to the fans, a general weapons and equipment guide, and a 100% completion walkthrough including the different branching stories, along with detailed maps flagged with all locations, collectibles and targets.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an ambitious role-playing game that places choice at the center of the experience. The action takes place in Ancient Greece, a world rich with myths and legend, in fifth century BC during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Embodying Alexios or Kassandra, a mercenary of Spartan blood sentenced to death by their family, players will embark on an epic journey from a young outcast to a legendary hero and uncover the truth about their mysterious first civilization lineage.
Hot off the heels of last night’s reveal, the Ubi Store has put up the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey editions available to pre-order and boy is there a lot to choose from – it will be tough to choose from all the awesome statue editions. Starting from £49.99 and ending at the mighty Pantheon Edition, priced at £214.99, it will certainly be worth using your Ubisoft Club rewards to get 20% off! The editions are as follows:
Our first look at the new Assassins Creed and it looks full of colour with a vast world to explore. With a distinct feel of ‘300’, I’m fully anticipating Archimedes’ various inventions to make an appearance – after all, the previous games have dabbled with each time period’s greatest inventors.
Set in Ancient Greece the newest title, which begins 400 years before the events of Assassin’s Creed Origins, allows you to choose your character – male or female, Alexios or Kassandra – a series first. No switching mid-game either, you play as that character for the entirety of the game.
Not content with just showing off a badass trailer, Ubisoft showed a glimpse of what looks like the opening cutscene of the game before revealing some combat sequences, which reveal some of the key weapons before revealing that instead of merely listening to NPCs tell their stories, you can choose your responses to dialogue – another series first – before ending with a full gameplay sequence.
The combat looks like it has grown from Origins and I’d wager that it has also been learning a few tricks from For Honor.
Releasing October 5, 2018. This. Is. Assassin’s Creed.
In honour of the success of For Honour, Ubisoft are giving the PC version of the game away for free on PC through Uplay from June 11th to 17th.
Ubisoft have also announced the next update for the game called Marching Fire which will be released on 16th October. This new update contains a new faction and four new fighters. Also included is a new 4v4 multiplayer mode called Breach, which sees you trying to storm a castle with your squad.
Transference offers a unique world with a dark narrative. Played in first person, you must explore the minds of your family members and solve puzzles in attempt to piece together the game’s secrets.
Launching on VR and ‘traditional’ platforms, the game has been created using live action camera work and heavy lighting effects. There’s an air of creepy unsettling narrative to this intriguing title, which launches in the Fall of 2018.
Piracy is Dead. Well, Ubisoft better hope it isn’t as their new Pirate game, Skull and Bones, has been given a brand new trailer for E3. Created by Ubisoft Singapore, it will release in 2019.
Skull and Bones is set in the Indian Ocean, where your aim is to steal every last coin and become the pirate no one can take down. You can choose your type of mission, much like Sea of Thieves, and it also takes place in a shared world, also very reminiscent of Rare’s pirate game. There is a huge amount of inspiration taken from Assassins Creed Black Flag.