Category Archives: Previews

Previews of videogame titles.

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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes BAFTAs Impressions

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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is the 10th canon instalment of the popular, genre-defining franchise. Clouded with controversy amid speculations of game length, retail pricing, and the direction of this particular game in general, Ground Zeroes rises above it all and delivers another fresh perspective on the stealth-action genre granting the player a completely new way to control Big Boss’ actions more precisely.  Continue reading

DmC Devil May Cry Logo

Preview: DmC – Devil May Cry

DmC Devil May Cry Logo

Developed by Ninja Theory as a reboot to the fantastic Devil May Cry third-person action series,  DmC Devil May Cry received a lot of criticism for its radical changes to the franchise. Whilst still a similar type of game, DmC was developed using the Unreal Engine and featured a completely different Dante — the protagonist — than the previous titles. It also seemed far darker and serious than before. As a fan of Devil May Cry myself, I was sceptical. Admittedly, I approached the demo of the game at Eurogamer as such.

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Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Logo

Preview: Metal Gear Rising Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance LogoThe first title I hunted down to get my hands on was Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, easily the videogame that I have been most excited for since it was announced that Platinum Games were to develop it. The queue was large, stated to last at least an hour, but I was determined to get my shot. Was it worth the wait?

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Preview: Transformers Fall of Cybertron

Transformers Fall of Cybertron Preview Demo Metroplex and Optimus Prime screenshot

At last I can finally get a taste of the sequel to 2010’s Transformers: War for Cybertron. After falling in love with the previous title, needless to say that expectations are high for High Moon Studio’s latest videogame. The demo is unavailable on Windows, and so I will be previewing the PlayStation 3 version specifically.

The demo opens up with three available options. The player can select either one of two campaigns; The Exodus, the tutorial stage where you play the Autobot Bumblebee; and Death From Above, a relatively non-linear stage as the player assumes the role of Vortex — a new character in High Moon’s Transformers series. There also exists the option of multiplayer. As expected, both campaigns are brief but share a lot of information.

In The Exodus, an injured Bumblebee is guided through his abilities, whether that involves shooting Decepticons attacking the bridge of the Autobot ship: the Ark; or whether it’s when simply dashing. There have been a few modifications to the controls since the last title. Instead of two unique abilities, each character is now limited to one instead. However, the trade-off is that every character may now dash, run, and carry out evasive manoeuvres instead of just the scouts.

Transforming is as smooth as it was in War for Cybertron, and also includes some new abilities to make use of — primarily turbo which results in three methods of travel in vehicle mode. Initially, the vehicle hovers over the ground in a futuristic fashion. When holding the left shoulder button the vehicle will then boost as the shape changes into something more modern than futuristic, simple driving on the ground. Lastly, we have turbo. Turbo allows the player to travel faster for a temporary period of time. As expected from High Moon’s Transformers franchise, the player can fire weapons in vehicle mode too. Thanks to the smooth transition between modes, players can use the vehicle tactically during combat.

The combat itself is fast and fluid. Players can transit between between shooting and melee smoothly with a click of the right analog button. The melee itself feels more polished than War for Cybertron. The player health is also handled differently this time. In Fall of Cybertron, the player has a shield and health gauge. When the shield is depleted the player then starts to receive damage to the health gauge instead. Whilst the shield replenishes over time, when the player stops getting damaged, the health gauge will not recover without the use of Energon which is scattered throughout each stage. How the player carries weapons has also been changed; the player may carry only one primary and one heavy weapon, instead of any two weapons.

As the first stage serves as a tutorial, it is very linear but cinematic. There weren’t many surprises in that stage, but I was surprised by the second campaign stage. We play as Vortex, a Decepticon who transforms into a helicopter (and a jet when boosting). Aerial Transformers modify the vehicle controls a little as turbo is replaced with an evade ability. The goal is to reach a specific bridge in order to sabotage it and divert an Autobot convoy towards an ambush. The first section of this stage is semi-linear as you’re directed forward at all times; however, there are different corridors to choose from.

After breaking through into the next area, destroying any sentries that attempt to annihilate Vortex and his partner Blast Off, the player is rewarded with a large open area. There’s a powerful gun in the middle of the area that takes your shields offline instantly, so the vehicle mode is great to avoid fire while swapping between platforms and picking off Autobots. There are also three levels to this area. An upper platform area, a middle platform area, and the ground itself. It’s quite expansive, but transforming into a jet makes short work of the map.

Newly available to the player is the Teletraan 1 Shop. In this store, the player can trade ‘shards’ for weapons, tech and perks. Weapons can be upgraded a number of ways and also rated by the community. Each perk has its own function, such as the health matrix which restores your health every time you interact with the store. Tech is split into two categories: Assault Tech and Utility Tech. Much like perks, this is a new feature that Fall of Cybertron introduces to the series. Choices of Assault Tech is limited between an attack drone that follows you around or a bomb that destroys the fabric of space and time. Meanwhile, Utility Tech is limited to a defensive shield that only the player can shoot through, and an intercooler to enable your unique ability quicker.

Also scattered through-out the vicinity is the Armory Recreator. These dispense another weapon, Tech, ammo or Energon for the player to use — for a fee. This was the only way to obtain the sniper rifle in the demo. Armory Recreators aren’t the only way to obtain weapons, ammo or Energon though, as they can be found through-out the stage without a fee.

Both stages are brief, but informative and fun. In particular, there’s a lot to do in the second stage. Death From Above contained audio logs, hidden weapons and cool tech worth trying out. I had particular fun with the Dimensional Decimator though it cost a lot of the in-game currency.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is looking good so far, and I’m very excited. As for the multiplayer, I will be previewing that separately. Fall of Cybertron is launching August 21st and it’s certainly getting a day one purchase from me at this rate.

Preview: Orcs Must Die! 2

Orcs Must Die 2 demo preview

Literally only just released at this very minute, Orcs Must Die! 2 is a game I’ve been highly anticipating since I learned of its upcoming launch. Developed by Robot Entertainment, Orcs Must Die! 2 is the sequel to the incredibly fun and brilliant tower defence game released just last year.

Instantly, just from playing the demo, I notice that the game seems far more polished. The upgrade mechanic is more intuitive, the UI is far more aesthetically pleasing, particularly in the settings, and the game introduces a new character.

The tone is very similar to the previous title. Orcs Must Die! has a great atmosphere, enhanced by the incredible medieval-inspired soundtrack infused with rock ballads and the like. The title is very tongue-in-cheek, and I love its sense of humour. Of course, this is just in the first two stages, but I already love what they’ve done with it.

After our hero’s success in his previous venture, he finds himself a simple Miner now – the world without magic. But he hasn’t forgotten his talents. In fact, he’s got far more than before. The demo introduces some new abilities, as well as some of the favourites from before. The premise of the game is simple: the player must prevent the Orcs from reaching their destination to escape into another realm. To do so, the player may install traps, cast spells, or use weapons to slay them all. The traps themselves variate greatly – enough so that there can be drastic changes in tactic that still work efficiently, and seem quite inspired. They’re also quite brutal. Of course, you can’t spawn traps infinitely. Everything has a cost, be it depleting your regenerating supply of mana or using coins that you obtain from defeating enemies.

Generally, the player only has ten seconds or so to recoup before the next wave launches its attack; however, there are occasionally break points that serve much like the start of the stage. This is when the player may take however long they want to tactically place traps. The game also rewards creativity in using the traps, as players obtain bonus coins for hitting an enemy with multiple different traps in the form of a combo.

Also included in this title are more enemy variants, and the ability to play online co-op with a friend. I was going to attempt to sample this in the demo, but unfortunately my scheduled partner was unable to make it in time for this preview.

I can’t wait to see what else is in store, with the game most likely installing as we speak.

Preview: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Preview

The last time I truly played Need for Speed was back on the original PlayStation system. I slowly lost interest in the franchise at the time, as none of the new releases could outdo Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. The title had speed, action, and was just a lot of fun. Over a decade later, we have still yet to see a Need for Speed title to receive as much critical acclaim as Need for Speed III. At least, this was until Hot Pursuit returned, developed by Criterion Games – famous for their Burnout franchise. Intended to return to the roots of the Need for Speed franchise, Hot Pursuit is fast and filled with action as the police become heavily involved.

The change in developer has breathed a lot more life into the series. For a while, the Need for Speed series has been going downhill. After finishing Burnout Paradise – a very arcade-esque open world racing game, Criterion Games have really done a great job. Whilst the title is not as arcady as their Burnout franchise, Hot Pursuit is not quite a racing simulator like Forza or Gran Turismo either. It lies between. You can feel the weight of the vehicles, and it’s not quite as fast Burnout, but that doesn’t stop the title being quite over-the-top.

The Career mode consists of two separate campaigns, intermingled together on one large open country-side world. However, unlike Burnout Paradise, you’re not completely free to roam this open world. Instead, you select an event on the world map screen and jump straight into the action. You can play both a police officer and a law-breaking racer, but obviously once at a time. Unlike Criterion’s previous work, as a racer you cannot take out your fellow racers; however, as a police officer not only are you allowed to take down other vehicles, you may also use weapons to your advantage.

Hot Pursuit also introduces autolog, an innovative means to track your friends’ times and compete with them on each event. I got confused by what it referred to as ‘posting on my wall’ whenever I beat somebody’s time. I assumed it was posting to my Facebook account when in reality it was actually autolog’s own wall. It would have been neat to have had more social integration, but the entire system is fairly neat all the same.

Graphically, the game is stunning. The cars look beautiful, and the environment is gorgeous. It really is a stunning game. The title is also very loud, with the sounds adding to the immersion as you feel even more like you’re going at neck breaking speeds. There isn’t really much else to add about the sound except that the soundtrack is hit-or-miss.

I’ve been playing the game for a while now but I’ve seemingly not even put a dent into what it holds far, so the game appears to be rich in content.

Overall, this is a pretty solid racing game and a great debut into the franchise from Criterion. Whilst I still somewhat prefer Burnout Paradise because I’m more of a fan of the arcady style, this game is still great fun.

Preview: Catherine

Nightmare Screenshot of Catherine for Gaming Advance Preview.

As a title that has interested me for a while, Catherine hasn’t failed in keeping me entertained so far. The game seems rich in substance, with seemingly strong underlying themes behind the gameplay. In Catherine, developed by Atlus, you play as Vincent as he finds himself entangled in a mess when his long-time partner, Katherine, becomes pregnant. Meanwhile he finds himself cheating on her with the beautiful blonde Catherine.

The title itself is a puzzle platformer. The player must re-arrange various blocks to climb the tower. Whilst simple in theory, it’s designed well enough to be quite challenging and can require various different creative approaches to the task. Each stage also has a boss phase at the end, where the player must outrun the enemy who will be on the attack.
Outside of the platforming sections, the player gets to interact with NPC’s to explore their own tale to help push them to survive the nightmares in which the platforming takes place. The player may also interact with Katherine and Catherine via texts while being able to modify each sentence to affect Vincent’s attitude towards them. 
The story itself seems to feature a good sense of humour in how it handles the awkward and difficult scenarios that Vincent is put through, while developing the characters enough to like him despite his affair. There are scenes where Vincent changes how he acts based upon how you’ve approached his situation so far, but I’ve yet to experience the differences myself. 
The game is so far quite fun, and makes time fly by (a bit too fast, I might add). There’s a multiplayer component I’ve yet to try out too, but so far the game has been pretty fantastic and I’m looking forward to seeing how the tale ends.