By Joab Gilroy on October 6, 2015 at 8:47 am
Late in September, EA Games flew Joab “Joaby” Gilroy to Sweden for some hands-on time with Star Wars Battlefront. After many, many long hours charging and firing his laser, Joaby returns to us with some direct gameplay capture and some direct thoughts. Take it away, Joab…
By Tim Colwill on October 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm
Good news everyone! With Legacy of the Void fast approaching next month, Blizzard are hosting a little soiree at their offices in Sydney — and they want to invite ten of games.on.net’s finest readers! I tried to talk them out of it, explaining that you were all “too busy” and “weren’t toilet trained” but they were insistent, so there it is: we have five double passes to give away to the event.
By Tim Colwill on September 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm
It’s a common theory that the Assassin’s Creed games seem to swing through a Microsoft Windows-style cycle of peaks and troughs. AC2 was good, Brotherhood was okay. Revelations was good, but AC3 didn’t rate that well. Black Flag was good, but Unity was buggy… look, you get the picture. If we follow this theory to its natural conclusion, this year’s AC instalment — Syndicate — should be another high point, and I’m pleased to report after several hours of hands-on action that this appears to be the case.
But nothing in the world of Assassin’s Creed is ever wasted. As Black Flag built on the technology of AC3, Syndicate is built on the bones of Unity. Where Unity was beautiful but laggy, Syndicate is simply beautiful. Where Unity’s parkour was was clunky, Syndicate’s is elegant. Where Unity’s map looked like somebody had loaded icons into a shotgun and fired it, Syndicate is pared-back and focused.
By Tristan Damen on September 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm
One thing becomes clear when you boot up Destiny following the release of The Taken King: you’re supposed to feel dread. That overwhelming sense of awe and discovery that was inspired by Year One’s theme has taken an ominous turn. The composition that once played while I was in orbit — one of my favourite pieces of video game music — has now been replaced by an arrangement that sounds just that little bit more sinister. There’s a change in mood here that starts with the soundtrack and permeates through the level design.
That being said, the latest chapter of the story has been brought to life by a small, but memorable cast of characters, many of whom had appeared from the beginning but have only now found their voice. Cayde-6, voiced by Firefly and Castle star Nathan Fillion is the primary quest-giver for the fight against Oryx. Fillion doesn’t just provide mission briefings, he’s the star of several cutscenes and also provides colourful mid mission dialogue.
Nolan North of Uncharted fame replaces the unfairly-maligned Peter Dinklage in the role of your Ghost. Both actors turn in stellar performances, and while the script isn’t written to elicit much of an emotional response, the added dramatic flavour makes it that little bit easier to complete a strike, story or patrol mission for the three hundredth time.
By Tim Colwill on September 22, 2015 at 5:19 pm
Imagine if someone built a computer model of your brain — complete in all ways, so lifelike and complex that it was impossible to tell it apart from a real brain. Uploaded into a body and able to move around, learn and feel — what is the difference between the simulated you and the real you? How would you know if you were the original? And what would happen if more copies were made, different snapshots of you at different times?
SOMA asks questions like these. SOMA is everything I love.
By Jess Colwill on September 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm
The final story-based DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition is being touted as the answer to all of your questions. If you’ve played the game you’ll know which ones I mean. You know, how after [spoiler], [spoiler] goes on to [spoiler] and we all go, “say whaaaaaat?”
While some of those questions will be answered, those answers will mostly leave you with more questions. And those answers are hard-won by having to actually play through the DLC, so don’t come into Trespasser expecting to sit down with [spoiler] and have a chat over tea and biscuits while they explain all the ins and outs of their cunning scheme to you.
But you know what is interesting about Trespasser? I can’t believe I’m saying this but: the questions it leaves you asking. Mostly because they seem to pretty heavily suggest not only that there will be a fourth Dragon Age game, but that it is already in development, with a setting and a vague story already decided.
By Tristan Damen on September 18, 2015 at 10:27 am
It’s strange to acknowledge my attachment to guns. Fictional guns, no less. This Tuesday night at 7pm, however, the moment I’d been dreading for about a month came to pass. My two most reliable tools got locked away in my vault in first person inventory space manager and MMO-lite, Destiny.
My Gjallahorn, the exotic (for those not in the know, the highest grade of rarity) rocket launcher that was key to undoing any end game enemy, was now ostensibly useless. An uncommon machine gun of the filthiest green was presented early on as a more powerful replacement. My Vision of Confluence, the lynchpin of loadouts that felled Crota, Atheon and Skolas, was now holding me back from cracking Destiny’s new missions and its latest mystery, the Light system.
By Tim Colwill on September 17, 2015 at 5:41 pm
Satellite Reign is our home-grown Australian-made take on the classic Syndicate — in fact, the creator of Syndicate Wars is one of the key figures behind this new cyberpunk reboot, so it’s not surprising to see so much of the same DNA in both places.
In Satellite Reign, you explore the City, attempting to overthrow the corporation which has a stranglehold on cloning and consciousness-transference technology and free the people from their vicelike grip. And when I say “you explore the City”, I mean it — once the game has loaded, there’s just your agents, a massive City, and nothing stopping you from going anywhere you want…
…except guards, gates and cameras of course, but that’s half the fun (and half the frustration, but we’ll get to that).
By Daniel Hindes on September 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm
Open world games have become bloated. Fire up the latest Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry and you’ll be greeted by a world map cluttered with “activity” icons. There are so many things to do in those games, but in the grand scheme of things, not much actually happens. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the opposite kind of open world game. The things you do are quite limited in variety, but so much can happen while doing them.
This is a game which casts you as someone the world perceives to be the greatest soldier who ever lived. Everything you do in The Phantom Pain‘s open environments is about living up to that name. You drop into a point on the map via helicopter, infiltrate compounds and outposts, extract prisoners, sabotage equipment, and assassinate high-value targets. Various combinations of these objectives amount encompass almost all of the main story missions’ goals. Though it sounds threadbare and repetitive, it works – because after giving you that objective, The Phantom Pain just lets you play, and almost never throws a wall up in front of you.
By Tim Colwill on September 4, 2015 at 9:25 am
The hotly-anticipated Destiny expansion, The Taken King, launches very soon on September 15. In an exclusive livestream to me last night while I was asleep, Bungie revealed all the changes you can expect as part of this blockbuster expansion. I don’t know anything about Destiny, so I’ve transcribed everything as best I can. Please enjoy.
By Jess Colwill on August 31, 2015 at 3:26 pm
There are a few different kinds of story-based DLC. The upcoming Trespasser DLC, as we can see from this trailer, has been designed for the player who has finished the main game and is looking for closure. Other kinds, like previous Dragon Age DLC Jaws of Hakkon, can be enjoyed at any time, before or after the main campaign is finished. And there is the last category, that I feel The Descent falls into – the kind meant to be played while you’re still completing the main storyline.
By Jess Colwill on August 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm
Being a PS4-exclusive interactive movie, the temptation to compare Until Dawn to previous titles like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls is obvious. With its focus on choice and consequence, though, as you play through you’ll find yourself comparing it more and more to a Telltale game, specifically The Walking Dead, in my case.
But while the gameplay might remind you of a Telltale title, Until Dawn is placed firmly and deliberately in the “interactive movie” genre. It studiously and overtly uses tropes common in the “teen slasher” subgenre of horror – teens alone in a cabin in the wilderness, easily definable character stereotypes like “the bitchy cheerleader” or “the loveable nerd” – so that the player immediately understands what’s going on.
Once the setting is quickly and easily established, the player can then focus on what the game wants you to focus on – your choices and their consequences for the characters.
By Tim Colwill on August 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm
With Legacy of the Void fast approaching, don’t you wish that you could get in ahead of launch and practice to make sure that you’ll be able to thrash your stupid friends into the ground as soon as the servers go live? No? Well, I think you should, and thanks to Blizzard I’m here to hand out 165 beta keys to Legacy of the Void so that your relentless assault on your friends’ faces can begin.
By Tim Colwill on July 28, 2015 at 9:14 am
Doom 3 was a surprisingly slower-paced sequel to fast-paced predecessors. It emphasised horror and had just as many troughs as it did peaks. You should absolutely not expect that kind of treatment of the material with id Software’s 2016 take on Doom. It’s fast as hell and has distilled a lot of what was great about the first two games in the series, splicing it into an unholy union of old-school mechanics and contemporary design.
In terms of multiplayer, it’s more Strogg than hell spawn, borrowing heavily from id’s other big dormant shooter IP, Quake, while simultaneously cheekily appropriating from Quake’s biggest foe, Unreal. Doom’s single-player is mostly under wraps in terms of the story – although the team hinted at the story being on par with the first two games – but the multiplayer was fair game for us to get our hands on at QuakeCon 2015.
By Tim Colwill on July 27, 2015 at 10:06 am
Bethesda Game Studios last three games – Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim – have all received a lot of love from the Game of the Year category. That’s the no-pressure titbit that the vice president of marketing and PR at Bethesda, Pete Hines, led with in his brief introduction to one of the main events at QuakeCon 2015: an exclusive presentation of Fallout 4.
By James O'Connor on July 23, 2015 at 3:31 pm
There’s nothing like an indie area at a convention to remind a games journalist how comparatively easy their job is. On all three days of AVCon, Adelaide’s favourite anime and videogame expo, I walked in at midday and spent a few hours sauntering around the Indie Games Room, playing incredible feats of artistic achievement and chatting with the nervous, exhausted geniuses who made them, all the while making a mental list of the five games I’d end up briefly covering in this article afterwards.
It’s impossible to do full justice to the level of quality of our local game developers: I didn’t play a single game all weekend that wasn’t admirable in some wonderful way. But still, here are the awards we’d hand out if we could afford the precious metals and plaques.
By James Pinnell on July 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm
When Heroes of the Storm came along and stripped out much of what makes the MOBA genre so insanely difficult for new players to learn, hardcore players rejected it almost immediately.
It was a “MOBA for casuals”, it “wasn’t difficult”, it “wouldn’t have staying power”. By allowing new players to feel accepted and competent within a much quicker period of time, older players instantly felt upset that their experience wasn’t being valued. They figured that this accessibility was due to an innate lack of challenge or depth – in much of the same way many people derided Hearthstone in its infancy.
But confusing accessibility with a lack of difficulty is a common mistake.