Still tired. Still skipping the fancy intro. Here's the skinny.
Super Monday Night Combat
The GameCritics crew were all big fans of the original Monday Night Combat on XBLA, and this sequel only looks better. The graphics have been tweaked, the gameplay has been tweaked, there are three brand-new classes (Gunslinger, Veteran, and Combat Girl, pictured above) and it's now following a more iterative lifecycle. For the initial PC release (XBLA to follow later) the game will be free-to-play and feature microtransactions for those who choose to partake. Otherwise, the developers promise a full experience that won't nickel-and-dime those who've been supporting the game up until now. After launch, there will be regular updates including additional classes, new abilities, and new game modes. I'm not much of an online multi kind of guy, but Monday Night Combat was one that really clicked with me. I'm looking forward to Super Monday Night Combat for sure.
Finally, finally, finally got an up-close-and-personal look at this one, and I wasn't disappointed. Players have the choice between playing solo or having up to three partners via system link. (Sorry, no same-system split-screen.) It's a very heavy on melee and features an open world design for players to explore with a central hub serving as a place to get missions. There'll be plenty of survivors to find and rescue, and each of the four main characters have robust skill trees for customization as the player levels.
Two Worlds II: Pirates of the Flying Fortress
I'm a huge fan of Two Worlds II (seriously, read the review) and I can't wait for this sizable add-on content that takes a player's saved character and sends them on an all-new adventure. Interestingly, big things are going on behind the scenes at Topware… for players who already own a copy of the game, this expansion will be available through the usual download channels. However, the publishers will soon be removing all standard copies of the game from store shelves and replacing them with super-deluxe versions (main game, add-on, plus other swag bonuses) for no additional charge. That's a pretty incredible goodwill gesture, and I sincerely hope that it gets more people to give the game a shot. The developers were also showing two more promising games, Scivelation (Sci-Fi dystopia) and Raven's Cry (pitch-black pirate adventure) but both are very early in the development process so there wasn't a lot of hard info.
INFO BONUS: I couldn't resist asking the developers what the "Two Worlds" title was all about. After all, nowhere in the game does the main character ever travel to an alternate reality, visit another planet, or anything of the sort. After hitting them with the question, they chuckled a bit and explained that the original intent was that the two worlds were the Human and Orc worlds. Essentially, the game was to feature the clash of cultures and species in the story, so it was more about these two races than it was about an actual second world. Mystery solved!
After dropping the "Deadly Descent" subtitle, the game now goes by its former moniker and looks much the same as it ever did. When asked about more info on the original dark, militaristic theme in the advertising that suggested a conceptual shift, the developer responded that there never was any combat or weaponizing of the game. Instead, each course was to have a "deadly" run down the mountain that served as a boss battle of sorts. However, rather than fighting, the player simply needed to survive nature down the harsh run. Kind of makes you wonder why they went with the skewed advertising in the first place. Also, there is no create-a-character option, which kind of bummed me out more than I expected it to.
I had a hands-on with Id's new shooter and had creative director Tim Willits there to walk me through it. Tim was great and the game is very impressive visually, but it was a little hard to get excited. Although I spent about thirty minutes playing it, it seemed as though the game would require a much longer period of time in order to really show what it's got to offer. What I saw was another post-apocalyptic-themed shooter and a lot of brown. I'm going to need to see more.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
One of the highlights of my day was the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim hands-on session. Why? Because Elder Scrolls demigod Todd Howard himself was there to answer questions and give advice in person. (He leans towards playing a fighter, and prefers the Redguard class.) What about the game? It definitely looks a lot sharper than Oblivion and the land seemed more populated with various sorts of content and less wide-open space to simply traverse. The third-person mode was much more respectable than it was in Oblivion, as well. Otherwise, I think anyone who's played and Elder Scrolls game knows what to expect… I didn't get to see a dragon or the magic system in action, though. Shame.
The hands-off demo given really got me hyped for the game. The visuals were sharp, the game is building on the mythology established in the original (apparently former main character Tommy will play a significant role) and the sci-fi bounty hunter spin really hits a positive note for me. I'm quite eager to see more, but everything I saw looked right-on.
Telltale had this one running on several kiosks, but there was basically no line at all. After playing myself, I could see why. I didn't have any idea of what to expect, but the game is essentially one long cut scene broken up by a ton of QTE button-hitting. Dinosaurs are loose! Hit RB to climb the ladder! Push left to dodge the raptor! Watch the talking. Mash Y to run away from the Tyrannosaurus! It was entertaining enough when things were flowing, but repeating missed QTEs got old really fast and I hardly felt that I was playing a game at all.
Joe Danger: The Movie
The super-nice guys at Hello Games have cooked up what looks like another winner. After the first Joe Danger, the character reclaims his status as Hollywood's top stuntman and this sequel features him filming scenes with all sorts of new vehicles. On display were a motorcycle, a mine cart, a snowmobile, skis, and a jet pack. The developers are mindful that the game was quite popular with kids and families, but are also including challenges and difficulties that will push more score-minded gamers to up their performance.
That's it for today. Check back tomorrow for my coverage of Day Three!