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.
Rise of the Tomb Raider finally launches on PS4 next week, and it packs in quite a lot of new content on top of the original release. The so-called 20 Year Celebration contains a new story chapter Blood Ties, new outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards, all of the previously released DLC, and an ultra-challenging Extreme Survivor difficulty setting.
Gamescom appointments are, by and large, a hurried affair. Get in, ask questions, get out, write up. Everyone, from developers to journalists to exhibitors, has a harried look in their eye and half a mind on where their next caffeinated beverage is coming from. So, sometimes it's nice to get a chance to sit down in an air-conditioned room and have a slightly longer, more relaxed chat about a game you're genuinely looking forward to playing. In this case, it's Dishonored 2, and I spoke to co-creative director Harvey Smith about, well, pretty much everything to do with the game, to be honest. The thought processes that led to the sequel, the reasoning behind having Emily and Corvo as dual (but not intersecting) protagonists, the nightmare that is designing levels that can be played not only with different sets of powers but also no powers at all, and certain incidents that may or may not involve drowning chambermaids.
I remember when Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children came out 11 years ago. My friends and I had been following its development online for what seemed like forever, stalking fan forums and scouring for any grainy stills uploaded from Famitsu. Since we absolutely couldn't wait any longer, we downloaded an awful quality Japanese rip of the film along with a fan sub that was only barely coherent. These were characters we'd wanted to see in action again since we were children, and coming from it at that angle, even with our horrible bootleg copy, it didn't disappoint. Advent Children is not a good film, I know this, but for all the meaningful stuff it worked to undo from the game and for all the awful characters it introduced, I was just excited to see Tifa be a complete babe while being thrown by the leg around a ruined church. That fight with Bahamut Sin was all I'd really wanted from the film's entire 101 minute running time.
Dark Souls 3's first piece of DLC, Ashes of Ariandel, launches on 25th October, Bandai Namco has announced. According to the email blurb, players will travel to an unnamed frozen land, battling new monsters and uncovering a terrible secret pertaining to the deeper lore of the Dark Souls series. If you've been paying attention to it all this time, that is.
Tarsier Studios, originally named Team Tarsier, was founded fifteen years ago by a group of seven students in Sweden. In the time since, it gained lucrative first party support from Sony and its ranks have swelled to around 45 people, but much of the work the studio has done over the years has been attributed to other developers entirely. Tarsier was a contributor on the original LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 for PlayStation 3, and was responsible for LittleBigPlanet's port on the PS Vita. It also worked with Media Molecule on Tearaway Unfolded, the expanded PS4 remake of PS Vita exclusive Tearaway.
So, how about that Metal Gear: Survive, huh? Well look, no matter what happens, we still have the brilliant Metal Gear games of yore. Perhaps my favourite one is MGS3, because you got to fart around in the jungle and put lots of animals in your pockets to keep on hold as a handy snack. Despite having played and loved the earlier games in the series, Johnny had never played Snake Eater, and, at the risk of sounding like clickbait, the reason behind that may shock you. Exclamation mark.
A new Metal Gear game, the first since series auteur Hideo Kojima dramatically parted ways with publisher Konami last year, was announced today. It happened while I was in the midst of another, unrelated Gamescom presentation, so once free I had to crouch down in some deserted corridor of the Koelnmesse, to watch the trailer prior to my appointment with Konami later that afternoon.
During a hands-on with Tekken 7 at Gamescom today, I spoke with Tekken's chief producer and director, Katsuhiro Harada, about a series of tweets he made recently with regards to Tekken 7's swimsuit content being released in the West.