That's the problem with Grand Theft Auto IV: you can't hack, you can't ride on the roof of trains and you can't use nuclear weaponry. The latter isn't likely to change any time soon, but two clever GTA IV modders have managed to add a lot of the functionality of Watch Dogs into the six-year old game.
The mod, which is available right now, covers Nico Belic in Aiden Pearce's trademark trenchcoat and even shares the same hands-in-pockets idle animation. You'll be able to hack payphones, ATMs, ticket machines, wall lights, trains, traffic lights, road blocks, cameras, drink machines and parked cars. It also introduces the ability to shoot witnesses to your crimes.
Of course, you could choose to stick with the originals instead: Watch Dogs is reportedly getting a whole new city via DLC, while Grand Theft Auto V releases later this year for PC.
Atari has gone horror crazy. The publisher is rebooting two of its classic horror properties, with both scheduled to release before the end of the year. Teaser trailers for both Alone in the Dark: Illumination and Haunted House were shown at PAX Prime at the weekend, along with a wealth of new information.
Built with Unreal Engine 4, Alone in the Dark: Illumination will feature a cooperative multiplayer mode, as well as four different character classes in the form of the Hunter, Witch, Engineer and Priest. Presumably the coop mode will support up to four players, tasked with purging a town of a supernatural force known as The Darkness.
Sounds a bit like a shooter, but the teaser trailer below is definitely sticking firmly to the series' horror roots. It's in development at Pure, a new studio boasting talent responsible for Dead Island 2, Bioshock Infinite, and Battlefield 2. Given that pedigree, and the class details on the game's official website, it looks like we may be in for a slightly Left 4 Dead-oriented affair.
Haunted House: Cryptic Graves on the other hand, looks like a true survival horror game. Developed by Anna studio Dreampainters, it will focus on first-person puzzle solving and 'psychic powers'. Check out both teaser trailers below. Both are due some time this season.
Are you ready for an even more photorealistic Mortal Kombat game? I m not sure I am. The below gameplay video is ten minutes of Mortal Kombat X gameplay footage captured from a PAX Prime stream. It shows Scorpion and Sub Zero having a very serious argument. Skulls are snapped from spines and, well, other stuff happens, but I couldn t bring myself to watch. Raiden and Kano also have it out in the second half of the video, and the comparatively cheery forest environment doesn't offset the brutality whatsoever. I think I'm just getting too old for this, but the fighting itself looks pretty tight.
Darkest Dungeon continues to be one of the games I'm looking forward to most. Red Hook Studios has cherry-picked its favorite aspects of XCOM, roguelikes, and turn-based strategy, and wrapped Darkest Dungeon in a gloomy fantasy art style that's evocative of Dark Souls while still feeling inexplicably cute. It also has one of the most fitting mechanics I've seen featured in a roguelike partly inspired by Lovecraft: a "stress" meter for representing the mental health of your party members.
The demo that Red Hook walked me through at PAX Prime this weekend was the first glimpse of Darkest Dungeon's town metagame, as well as four new classes, of the planned 16.
Absorb all of our stories from PAX Prime. Next week we'll be giving away a ASUS ROG GL551 laptop signed by everyone we interviewed at the show.
In the span of my 30-minute PAX demo with Lords of the Fallen, a single player action RPG in the same vein as Dark Souls, I was killed perhaps a dozen times. I fought a total of six different enemies, successfully killing three. Suffice it to say this game did not want to be friends.
Maybe it was the class I chose upon the demo s introduction. My warrior, one of the game s three classes, was a lumbering, heavy-hitting monstrosity, whose slow attacks required near perfect timing and a strong understanding of the opponents I was facing. I had the caffeine shakes and at best a loose grasp of the controls. I guess I could have picked the quicker, lighter rogue character. Or the cleric, a jack-of-all-trades with the merciful ability to heal himself.
Perhaps I didn t choose the right weapon or armor. There was a large assortment of dark fantasy weaponry at my disposal, from swords to maces to scythes, and a seemingly endless array of potential armor sets, shields, even a magical gauntlet, which can be infused with various runes to create over a dozen different spell combinations. The animations for everything looked fantastic, with every attack and movement having been motion captured, I m told. This is a visually impressive game, period.
The area I had the most trouble with in the short demo, though, was located around the campaign s midpoint, where you would be expected to have a firm grasp of the control scheme and an understanding of what to expect from your opponents. The first enemy I met I managed to dispatch, after a brutally close battle, with a resounding club to his skull. Then he stood back up, and I was informed that he would be invincible until I removed his heart from a nearby urn. Maybe I would have known that had I been playing up until that point.
There are a lot of potential explanations for my unsuccessful playthrough, but none of them stop me from walking away from Lords Of The Fallen feeling unsure. There is an overwhelmingly difficult tightrope a game such as this has to walk, between difficult and frustrating, and my experience fell firmly on the latter. Every strategy I used, every spell and weapon I tried, felt less successful than the one before it. The combat did not feel challenging, it felt unfair.
I am not saying that Lords of the Fallen looks like a bad game. When Demons Souls first came out it too had a learning curve. This game looks dark and beautiful, with a world that feels full of optional paths and hidden secrets. When the combat hits its stride you feel like you re in a real fight to the death, more like a fighting game than an Action RPG. The story sounds to be a grimdark fantasy with some potential, revolving around a released prisoner named Harkyn, who carries tattooed symbols of his sins across his face, fighting against the re-emerging spawn of a god thought to be long ago murdered by man. All of these things together have the potential for a great game.
A great game that does look and feel a whole lot like Dark Souls. The game s producer Blazej Zywiczynski did tell me that they are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitor. Lords Of The Fallen will not contain any multiplayer aspects, for example, and unlike Dark Souls will be a little more conventional in its presentation, with voiced cutscenes, and a traditional narrative structure.
A lot of what was discussed however were pages taken straight from The Book of Souls, which is how I imagine From Software names their design documents. Ideas like checkpoints where you spend experience to upgrade your attributes, a huge amount of character customizability, and a New Game + mode. If you want a game like Dark Souls on your shiny relatively-new consoles, than it is possible that Lords Of The Fallen will rekindle the feeling you crave.
But there was no moment of triumph for me at the top this demo s hill. Just a lot of tripping and falling on my face, or onto someone else s sword, or into a bolt of undodgeable magic. Lords Of The Fallen has a lot of possibility, and should be of interest to those who want another iteration of Dark Souls. But when I walked away from the demo I was just happy not to have to die one more time.
In case you missed it: Team's Meat's teased A Voyeur for September turned out to be Super Meat Boy Forever, an auto-scrolling platformer starring everybody's favourite sentient cube of meat. Now, more details have come to light at PAX: details like it's "not an endless runner", and lots of other interesting stuff. Also the sad news that Mew-Genics Team Meat's cat-based cat game about cats is now on hold.
As an FAQ at the above link explains, Super Meat Boy Forever is "not a simple endless runner" and "not a one button game", but rather a meaty platformer featuring six chapters, a dark world, twice the bosses of Super Meat Boy, and "a vast randomly generated level structure" that will change the level layout after each death. There will be an endless mode, and Meat Boy will scamper along levels without you having to hold down an analog stick/d-pad, but the platforming does seem a bit more embellished than that in most endless running type games.
Team Meat's "goal with SMB:F is to design a new full length platformer for touch devices from the ground up to avoid tacking bad controls on an existing design. we want to make something that embodies the original Super Meat Boy but is designed around a simple yet intuitive control scheme allowing for pin point accuracy and surprisingly deep controls without the use of multiple buttons/analog sticks." Don't let that "touch devices" bit worry you: it's also coming to PC.
As for Team Meat's other in-development game, "Mewgenics is not canceled, we just put it on hold to work full time on this one. Once SMB:F is released we will hop back on it".
We've had a few opportunities to play Evolve this year, but not since the game's delay from its original October release date. I caught up with Chris Ashton and Phil Robb from Turtle Rock to ask them what the delay's allowing them to do, what modes or monsters we might see added to the game next, and whether moddability on PC is out of the question.
Absorb all of our stories from PAX Prime. Next week we'll be giving away a ASUS ROG GL551 laptop signed by everyone we interviewed at the show.
I should probably have seen this coming, what with Beamdog's 'Enhanced' editions of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, but the news that a new version of Icewind Dale is on the way still came as a pleasant surprise. Beamdog's rejigged Baldur's Gate isn't the one we'd recommend, but it's always nice to see old BioWare/Black Isle favourites back in the limelight, even if buying the originals and modding the heck out of them is probably the best approach. Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition will add new spells, weapons, items and classes to the first game and its expansions, in addition to changing the interface, restoring/finishing cut content, and allowing cross-platform multiplayer between PC and Mac.
Here's the full list of changed or added content in Icewind Dale: EE, taken from an FAQ on the new site:
Six expanded quests, featuring content cut from the original game 60 new items Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster expansions 31 new class and kit combinations from Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, well as the half-orc playable race 122 new spells carried over from Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Cross-platform multiplayer A new "Story Mode" difficulty setting to allow players to experience all of the story with none of the Game Over screens
That last one is interesting, given that Icewind Dale isn't a particularly story-heavy game. It's a nice option to have though, given the original's infamous difficulty level story aside, there's a lot of great art and music to enjoy in this frosty series.
You'll notice that Icewind Dale 2 isn't included in the package, so we can expect a similarly rejiggered sequel further down the line. Now that Beamdog have expanded beyond BioWare's Infinity Engine games, I'd imagine that Black Isle's Planescape: Torment is on their list too. Here's a video showing the new version of Icewind Dale in action:
It s hard to imagine what developer meetings must be like now for Saints Row. They have to just be constantly asking themselves Well, where do we go from here? From a series that started off as a paint-by-numbers copy of Grand Theft Auto, it has since made us President, given us super powers, even blown up the Earth. How far we ve gone from the streets of Stilwater.
And now, we re in Hell. Because where else could we go? The Saints' boss has been kidnapped by Satan, to be wed to the daughter of the Big Man in Red. So it s up to everyone s favorite antihero Johnny Gat to kill every denizen of hell and get him out.
From the minute the controller was in my hands (mouse and keyboard wasn't available, sadly), Gat Out Of Hell felt familiar. Within moments I was barreling through Hell like I was back in Steelport. Your superpowers are intact from Saints Row 4, so you can still leap into the sky and run along the ground at incredible speeds, with the only major change being Johnny s newfound angelic wings.
Did I mention Johnny Gat now has angel wings? Because of course he does. And with them he has a limited ability to flap into the air to gain some altitude, creating an increased focus on diving and using your momentum to pull you back up to travel further distances. Think Mario s cape in Super Mario World.
The flying feels fast and smooth, like you have complete control over Gat the entire time. More importantly the all new, more vertical world of Hell felt fun to weave in and out of, like it had been designed from the ground up to better incorporate flying. This was something Volition Creative Director Steve Jaros said was a focus for the design team, telling me that before in Saints Row Four we experimented with flight, but the city itself wasn t designed for flying. It didn t really feel so good, and leaping made more sense. Now, we were able to design the city to cater to flight.
Speaking of the world, the map itself is broken out into four distinct districts, with a specific boss said to be in control of each. I was told that Vlad the Impaler was one, with Shakespeare, the bard himself, being another. Each area will have a variety of activities, all of which look to be either recreations or tweaks on previous Saints Row favorites. I got to play through a checkpoint flight race, and a combat mission which was to end with me facing off against a towering sword-wielding demon, but my time ran out before I got a chance to take him on.
While I didn t get to witness anything to do with the story, I was told that the method for unlocking story missions and eventually completing the game was through gaining experience and leveling up Gat. Either through activities, finding collectibles, or even just randomly shooting the various damned of Hell, if you feel so inclined.
The shooting felt predictably like previous Saints Row titles. You still hold down B to pull up a weapon wheel, and select from an assortment of weapons ranging from interesting to crazy. They all looked to have an underworld-inspired theme, and in my brief time I got a chance to use the demonic impaler, a sort of semi-automatic crossbow, and the Armchair Mageddon, a slow moving recliner containing both machine guns and long range missiles. They both felt how you would want them to feel, though the Armchair Mageddon was a bit too slow for my liking.
The enemies also fit the locale, as I got the chance to take down an army of gun-toting demons, as well as a couple flying, spell-wielding monks and dozens of tiny imps. With the largest issue I ve had in previous Saints games being the lack of depth of opponents, Gat Out Of Hell s infernal opposition may address this problem.
My thought walking away from Saints Row: Gat Out Of Hell is that it does feel very much like an expansion, but from my (albeit limited) time with it, it s one I ll be excited to play. It seems to be sticking true to the previous formula of Saints Row 4, while adding in some interesting tweaks and quirks that you can only get from the new infernal locale. I'm told there will be a musical number, for example.