Jotun is a game far more inspired by Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus than it is by the soaring wave of popularity surrounding Thor. The game’s lead is a Norse woman for one and the fact that her name is ‘Thora’ in a time when Marvel have decided to make Thor’s comics counterpart a woman (also named Thor) is a happy coincidence I’m told, but in all honesty, the similarities end there. Thora wields a mahoosize blade from the get-go and gameplay is a mix between death-defying feats of wit, bravery and willpower against giants (those would be the ‘Jotun‘ then) and puzzles that see you embrace runes, shrines and the gods of Norse mythology as Thora fights her way out of Purgatory and into Valhalla. So with that enough to whet my axe-wielding appetite I decided to talk to the game’s designer, Will Dubé, to find out more.
The year is 1975; you’ve got a handlebar moustache itchier than a trouser leg full of poison ivy, some stir crazy goldfish in the heel of your platform shoes and this song is probably playing in the background. I would imagine, anyway. I wasn’t even alive in the 70s so I don’t really have a clue but what I do know is that according to LA Cops it was full of jive talkin’ punks (!) that needed to be put down with a swift dose of justice in the form of the bullets that fly unabashedly from your guns. Hey, keeping criminals off the streets doesn’t always mean you stay on the right side of the law but police guidelines were really crummy back then and besides, bad guys are called that for a reason. More on LA Cops after the break.
Right, let’s get this out of the way; I didn’t play GTA V on PS3 or Xbox 360 and I don’t plan to either. But with good reason, though! I was waiting for Rockstar’s crime caper sandbox to land itself on PS4, updated visuals, DLC that I’m too lazy/cheap to pay extra for and all. That’s probably the only valid reason for not having played it, if I’m honest, unless running over pedestrians and doing drive-bys willy nilly aren’t really your thing, but alas I’m sure that there are a few of you who were holding out for a GTA V next-gen release too. Rockstar played it coy with that trailer from Sony’s E3 presser focusing on glamour shots only, a bit of sexy leg scenery here, a bare glimmer of lights at dusk there and they were especially withholding on that release date. We might have an answer now though as retailer GameSeek has outed the GTA V next-gen release date on its website.
It had oodles of potential and promise that it was going to be a gajillion and 2 percent better than whatever round joints in square sockets features Dragon Age 2 coughed up and left us with like a soggy hairball. Alas, for all of the nice things that it was going to offer us, the Dragon Age: Inquisition release date has been pushed back from its initial October timing. Anyway, reasoning, the new release date and sadfaces all round can be found after the break.
A quick skim of the ‘controversies’ section of The Vatican Bank (less conspicuously ‘The Institute for the Works of Religion’ in official terms)’s Wiki page and you’ll very soon understand that not only does The Vatican make a good, holy chunk of money each year, but that there’s also a reasonable amount of people questioning where that money comes from (mostly from Catholic follower donations and sales of stamps) and how it’s been spent over the years (anti-communist governments and also militias, maybe? Allegedly? I don’t want to go to jail). Common sense tells us that there are aspects of Papal business that are shadier than a 7 kilometre squared gazebo in the Sahara desert and The Da Vinci Code by Robert Langdon is a good, camp-y (if not slightly over the top) yet well-researched fiction book that covers it too, if that’s your bag of chips. Similarly, Shadows on the Vatican – Act 1: Greed is an excellently made point and click mystery and it’s the first episode in a series that points a few accusatory fingers in The Vatican’s direction. But it’s fictional! (Sorta.) And it’s backed up by a book of legitimate Vatican Bank facts, an unavoidable legal disclaimer and some shoddy voice acting. So onwards with the review to find out what else Shadows on the Vatican – Act 1: Greed is all about!
Uh-oh, well this is awkward, for EA and BioWare at least. Several weeks ago there was a leak in which one sneaky E3 attendee recorded the invite only viewing of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s E3 gameplay demo, complete with commentary from BioWare themselves. They managed to get out and upload it like the jammiest of dodgers before it was taken down a little while after but never fear! EA and BioWare have released an official version of that same Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay scenario meaning that none of those camera-in-hand jitters are present here and you can also view it in 1080p HD. Watch the video after the break.
A battle of wits, patience and strategic deck planning, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the free to play card battling game from World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment and it has proved to be an early success. There aren’t any hard stats on how many people are playing the game as Blizzard keeps a notoriously tight fist around its stats (the decade it took for them to release WoW stats, anyone?) but Hearthstone has been released on iPad, PC and even a release on PS4 and Xbox One is on the cards if official Blizzard surveys are to be believed. The game is also doing so well that it’s now set to become part of the professional eSports community but as the guidelines for a Hearthstone tournament in Finland explained that the festivities are strictly men-only, the only thing the organisers are competing for is to silence the controversy.
As one of the only games that portrays LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) characters in a good light and one of even fewer that lets you play as them, Dragon Age: Inquisition always had some high expectations on how it did these identities right by looking for some refreshingly queer gameplay in a see of unfortunate heteronormativity. Much of those queer identities are buoyed by the follower system as for three games now (Inquisition included) the game has let you form relationships with the followers in your party, as long their sexuality corresponded to your playable character’s gender. With BioWare today revealing new Dragon Age: Inquisition character ‘Dorian’, the series looks as hopeful as ever for diversity but in the process the developer have also landed themselves in a bit of hot water.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is one massive game. One section of BioWare’s upcoming RPG is bigger than the entirety of Dragon Age: Origins. There are 40 various endings to the game, more romances than you can shake Cupid’s cherubic face at and a brand new, revamped combat system after Dragon Age 2’s battle system was frustrating like trying to eat a bowl of soup with a knife and fork. Switching out that ill-advised cutlery for something far better and more tactical this time, Dragon Age: Inquisition is already guaranteed to be better but as this leaked gameplay from E3 2014 shows, we’ll have plenty more new feature additions to build on that improvement. Watch the footage after the break.
In the run up to Ubisoft’s E3 2014 press conference, French Revolution stab-em-up Assassin’s Creed Unity was set to be one of the biggest moments of their briefing, if not of the entire event.
We knew that it would be a hot topic and we knew that the next Templar-ousting game in the series would be led by a male protagonist. But what we didn’t know was that Assassin’s Creed Unity would exclude playable female characters entirely and as for Ubisoft’s downright offensive statement to justify the lack of playable ladies? None of us could have ever seen that coming.