The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a standalone narrative experience set in the Life is Strange universe that will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC on the 26th June, and it's completely free to download - you don't even have to own any of the previous Life is Strange games to unlock access. It was developed by Dontnod at the same time as Life is Strange 2, and will serve as the first introduction of the Life is Strange 2 universe. I was shown a short demo of the game earlier this week by the game's co-directors, Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet. It wasn't at all what I was expecting, but I already can't wait to play.
Hands-on and in-depth with the PS4 exclusive.
Great Gothic horror is all about colour, or lack thereof. The black of night, the white of bone, the monochrome of a gloomy cobblestoned street illuminated dimly by a single paraffin lamp. When colour is used, it's to highlight scenes of the macabre and the morbid so beloved by penny dreadfuls - the yellowing of a lonely mouldering corpse, the fetid green bile of a plague victim, or a single bright glob of crimson gore. Where it should never exist is within the realms of beige.
Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in development for what feels like an eternity, and though there have been various teases, trailers and hints dropped over the years, we've somehow yet to see anything substantial about the game. Until now, as yesterday in Santa Monica Square Enix invited us to go hands on with the latest mainline instalment of its bafflingly complex Final Fantasy/Disney mash-up series. There were two playable sections on offer; one short section in the Olympus Coliseum world battling a huge Titan boss, and a much longer, expanded section in Toy Box, the Toy Story themed world. The demo in Olympus Coliseum heavily featured the new wall-scaling autorun mechanic, with Sora, Goofy and Donald scaling sheer cliff faces as the Titan pelted rocks at them from above, and culminated in a boss battle with the Titan on the summit, with Sora summoning the Big Magic Mountain attraction to finish it off, which looked pretty incredible. There were some camera issues as the framing struggled to keep up with Sora in confined stretches of the cliff face and when it was vying for space with the Titan at the top of the mountain, but it was a fun showcase of the new features in KH3's combat, including key blade transformations and the bombastic attractions.
The truth can be hard to look at, is it really something you're ready for? Maybe the lies we tell each other are less horrible than the truths we keep hidden? In addition to these being the main questions Life is Strange: Before the Storm asks of its players, they were also, in a way, the questions those players asked of publisher Square Enix when Before the Storm was first announced. Why spoil the mysteries of the original Life is Strange by laying them bare for all to see? Why not let fans leave the words unsaid and the people never met to their imaginations? Why entrust these beloved secrets to a new development studio? But, despite those legitimate concerns from the Life is Strange community, since the first episode launched in August this year it's been apparent that Before the Storm is not only a worthy follow-up to the original Life is Strange, in some ways it surpasses the groundwork that has already been laid.
The frog was more or less out of the bag earlier today when a bunch of gameplay videos were leaked onto YouTube, but we played three new Super Mario Odyssey worlds last week at a Nintendo preview event.
I think Arcadia Bay is one of the very few fictional places that I've actually missed. I missed its gauzy, autumnal sunsets, the diner, the lighthouse, even the junkyard, and most of all, the particular nostalgia it all evokes for teenage bedrooms. Those strange, musky sanctums where every dirty dish, stained beer mat and smudged scribble is a badge of honour for a late night of tattered, misspent youth. Junk will never be so important to you again.
Metal Gear Solid has always been a self-referential series, but this is something else entirely; a Metal Gear game that feels like an unofficial rip-off of itself. Even the premise of Metal Gear Survive reads like fanfic. Set in an alternate universe, the player-created character has been sent through a wormhole, along with other Militaires Sans Frontičres soldiers and the remnants of Mother Base, to a world populated by weird crystallised zombies. It all feels strangely heartless; without Hideo Kojima at the tiller, those odd moments you'd previously write off as the eccentricities or flights of fancy of one man can now feel empty, soulless and written by committee by comparison.
As you might have read, I interviewed Deck Nine lead writer Zak Garriss at E3 a couple of weeks back, about their upcoming prequel to the beloved Life is Strange, about Ashley Burch not returning to voice Chloe, and about which possible directions the studio can take a story that fans kind of already know the ending to.
We all know how bank holidays are best spent: on the sofa, in your pyjamas, shoving fistfuls of chocolate and/or cheese into your mouth and watching cartoons that don't require a whole lot of brain power. But you know what would take that scenario to a whole new level?
Poor Team Eurogamer. We'd all just packed off down the pub to celebrate a well-fought Breath of the Wild embargo day, ready to smash some lovely beers, when Jeff Kaplan had the absolute gall to choose that precise moment to launch the new tank hero on the Overwatch PTR. We were not best pleased, let me tell you.
Up until last week, I didn't have a very clear handle on what sort of game Horizon: Zero Dawn was. It was the one with the robot dinosaurs, that much I knew, but details of how it actually played still seemed somewhat murky. It also seemed massively ambitious, given that its Amsterdam-based developer Guerrilla Games is best known for linear first person shooter franchise Killzone. It wasn't the first studio I'd have in mind to tackle a project like Horizon, given that the two properties were like night and day, with Horizon an open-world action RPG set in a vivacious post-apocalyptic world where nature - and those aforementioned robots - have reclaimed earth.
And so it was that another Saturday rolled around. I may do a little long-overdue DIY on my bathroom, or (as is more likely) play several rounds of Overwatch in my PJs in a bid to nab that delightful new D.Va skin. How will you spend yours? I imagine at least some of you will be getting properly stuck into Resident Evil 7 now that it has finally launched. If you've finished it, did you enjoy it? I thought, overall, it was a fantastic return to form, a game that managed to be current and classically Resident Evil at the same time. And, crucially, creepy to boot. If you have indeed finished it, by the by, you might be interested in checking out the video below, in which I take you on a blood-soaked jaunt through the Baker household and the queasiest moments that I experienced within.
I've completed Resident Evil 7 and, I have to say, I really enjoyed it. However, I stayed as far away as I could from the game's widely touted VR mode because honestly, nope to every part of that. For some bizarre reason though, I said yes to undertaking the Resident Evil 7 Experience, a real-life escape-the-room in London that sets you against the twisted Baker family as you attempt to rescue the camera crew featured in one of the game's playable VHS found footage segments. It was all rather stressful, but thankfully I had Luke from our lovely sister channel Outside Xtra to keep me company. I imagine if we'd sent Ian or Bratt they'd have gotten as far as the kitchen before curling themselves into a ball in the cupboard.
I realise I've spent plenty of time on this site already writing about my thoughts on spending five hours with Resident Evil 7. But I was still seeing the same doubts creep up again and again from readers and commenters, that Resident Evil 7 didn't look Resident Evil enough, that it looked like it shared little with previous series entries aside from name alone. Though the game is out within the month, I thought I'd have one last go at explaining why exactly I think that 7 is worth your time, and why the Beginning/Twilight/Midnight Hour demo is - and isn't - representative of the final game.
We all have that game, don't we? The one that, while yes, the years have shown you that other games may have done it differently and better, and that while - eesh did those textures always look like that? - some elements may not have been as polished or as groundbreaking as you remember them, your fondness is tied to more than just the mechanics or even the characters. I know we have a tendency to overhype or overexaggerate just how brilliant/influential a game FF7 was, but I'll always regard it as a favourite because of summer evenings spent huddled up against the TV screen, conferring with friends over rumours of secret characters and items, getting midi themes stuck in a loop in my head for weeks on end.
We're still enjoying Overwatch quite a bit, so these days it doesn't take much to convince us to jump back on for a livestream. That said, the latest patch brings with it an impressive festive offering, including frosty new skins, adorable emotes, sprays, victory poses, and a new 6v6 Arcade Brawl mode, Mei's Snowball Offensive. Located at Ecopoint: Antarctica, the mode sees every player using Mei, equipped with a snowball blaster that only contains one shot, though it can be reloaded at snow piles. Which is music to my ears, as I was never very good with Mei. Any items you unlock will be yours to keep, but the Winter Wonderland content is only available until 2nd January, so best hop to it.
Quote is an odd game. One minute you're traipsing through the forest, seizing books and merrily burning corrupted heretic authors, and then the next, you're taking a tour of an ice-cream factory (presided over by a skipping, anthropomorphic ice cream cone) that hides a rather dark secret on its innermost factory floor. The game is primarily the work of just two people - coder Robin Lacey and artists Evan Lovejoy - who were originally inspired by the ending to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, though they say the idea has evolved over a number of years to encompass a number of literary and artistic themes and motifs, referencing authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Aldous Huxley. Its art style is similarly lofty in its inspirations, paying homage to surrealists like Hieronymous Bosch, Max Ernst, and The Red Guy from Cow and Chicken.
It wasn't my intention to make Resident Evil 7's director Kōshi Nakanishi apologise for the hours I wasted trying to find a use for the dummy finger in the game's Beginning Hour demo, but that's exactly what he did when I told him of my frustrations (which I think a good portion of the internet shared) during an interview last week at Capcom's headquarters.
Perhaps it was the shark-jumping boulder punching that did it. "Resident Evil 5 was, for me, a big step towards being able to develop something like Resident Evil 7," says Jun Takeuchi, executive producer of the latest Resident Evil game.
Final Fantasy has always been at its best in its more personal moments. Apocalyptic meteors, time-travelling sorceresses and fishy floating physical manifestations of your sins are all well and good, but they mean little if the story doesn't give you something a bit closer to home to relate to. Finding out it's who you are rather than where you came from that matters, learning to trust other people no matter their background, navigating tricky love triangles and attempting to get the girl even when she's busy conjuring monsters out of living statues - those are the story beats to remember. Stopping the bad guy and saving the world are rarely the most memorable moments from a Final Fantasy game. Characters like Vivi, Nanaki, Cyan and Galuf are the beating heart of these fables, characters in whom we see a nugget of truth or a moment of kinship, whether they're a talking, tattooed wolf-lion thing or not.
Final Fantasy 15 will have online co-op multiplayer, implemented as part of the game's DLC offerings.
Dark Souls 3's first DLC expansion Ashes of Ariandel launches today, and I can't wait to get stuck into it. Ashes of Ariandel transports players to a snowy landscape hidden behind a cursed painting - a set-up which will no doubt sound familiar to players who journeyed through the original Dark Souls' optional area, the Painted World of Ariamis. It's unlikely the connection is purely coincidental; there'll be plenty more lore to try and decipher (or completely ignore) by the time this DLC has done the rounds, I'd wager.
Duke Nukem 3D sort of passed me by growing up, but I was always hearing stories about how fantastic its level design was, how satisfying its guns were to shoot, and how many secrets were cleverly tucked away for those determined enough to find them. Oh yes, and there were loads of boobs in it.
I love Halloween. Seriously, ask anyone from my wonderful former hometown of Derry and they'll tell you: we take All Hallow's Eve very, very seriously. Over there, you'll feel left out if you aren't in costume. I'm fully expecting to see one or two Overwatch costumes in the crowds this year, which is funny - given some Overwatch characters won't exactly look themselves for the next 19 days.
Just over a week ago, Chris Bratt and I were able to go hands-on with a new and improved build of Final Fantasy 15 - coincidentally, on the day that would have been its original worldwide launch date. The release had been pushed back two months to allow for extra polish, amid reports that earlier builds suffered from technical issues. From everything we experienced during our playthrough, though, the delay has so far been time very well spent. Here's almost an hour of gameplay if you'd like to see it for yourself.