PS Plus isn't the globally-beloved darling of the PlayStation platform it once was. The PS3 triple-A heyday has passed, and the last 12 months have seen Sony scouring the development world, trying to unearth the next Rocket League with little success. Last month's Disc Jam showed promise but suffered from stilted movement and clunky controls. The long-forgotten Hardware Rivals didn't have the muscle or the heart to stand anywhere near Psyonix's all-conquering eSport. And now we're presented with the unique vibes of Drawn To Death, a garish, defiant shooter that is going to divide opinion quicker than its creator David Jaffe's tweets.
What was yours?
A show of hands, please. Have you heard of Bleed, a 2D indie shooter that appeared on Steam and Xbox Live Indie Games about four years ago? No? I didn't think so.
Respawn is still a relatively new studio, but its legacy can be found in the modern first person shooter in all its forms - from Medal of Honor to Modern Warfare and then, finally, to Titanfall. There's a through line there that's clear to see when you embark on Titanfall 2's brief but sumptuous campaign. The heritage of a studio that effectively created the cinematic shooter, that married that with spectacle and storytelling in Modern Warfare, and now has been afforded the opportunity to build an FPS campaign around the rarest of things in this genre - ideas.
One of the oddest themes that recurred during discussions of 2014's ebullient robots-and-rangers shooter Titanfall, was that it would have been better had it rid itself of the titular Titans. Those who honed their skills on the battlefield of COD and, well, Battlefield, yearned for a mode where Pilots (Tianfall's player characters) could wage war without the building high metallic monstrosities getting in the way; a shooter that benefitted from the free-running, double jumping fluidity Titanfall had in abundance, but did away with half of its charm.
On Sunday, I went to Nomansland. I didn't know I was going to Nomansland, in fact I didn't know it even existed as anything other than a concept. And yet that's where I went, as the family and I hunted out a local village fete. Upon arrival, it was fairly clear that there were actually plenty of men in Nomansland, and women too. And cheese rolling. We even saw someone catch an egg that had been thrown over twenty metres. It was a strange Sunday.
It's been a while, New York. About three months in fact. Three months since Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment surprised an audience turned cynical by Watch Dogs, The Crew, Assassin's Creed Syndicate and anything else with a watchtower to climb. The Swedish studio delivered a coherent and compelling 'shared world shooter; a game that matched Ubi's obsession with map-littering busy work with an infectious loot grind and deceptively complex character building. Not to mention the genuinely innovative combination of PVE and PVP, The Dark Zone.
Much like Doom's stellar campaign demonstrates the single-player first-person shooter coming full circle while dragging the best of the past 20 years along for its blood-soaked ride, so too does its multiplayer. Here we have a return to online combat as an afterthought; a frozen dessert after a delicious main course as opposed to the kind of life-engulfing commitment online shooters have morphed into in recent times.
Battleborn's in for a rough ride, and it has nothing to do with Gearbox's rapid decline in public approval. No, unfortunately for this curious and ambitious hybrid of bombastic FPS and tactically astute MOBA, it has a little game called Overwatch gatecrashing every party it tries to throw. Battleborn beta time? Here's Overwatch. Battleborn release day? Try the Overwatch open beta. Capitalism isn't pretty, even when it's masquerading as interactive Saturday morning cartoons.
Does everyone talk to themselves when they're playing games, or is it just me? I'm not just chatting rubbish about the weather or the state of the economy you understand - I just like to consistently reaffirm my own opinions about whatever it is I'm currently thumbing through. It's probably a dangerous character fault that has developed over a decade of reviewing games, but I'm ok with it. My inner monologue sounds a little like Mark Kermode passionately explaining something to a slightly bored Simon Mayo.
Editor's note: This is an early impressions piece, based on limited play on live servers. We'll have our full review up early next week.
The death of Titanfall has been greatly exaggerated.
Eurogamer has dropped review scores and replaced them with a new recommendation system. Read the editor's blog to find out more.
The pre-release period has not been kind to Evolve, Turtle Rock's post Left 4 Dead 'second album'. The recent alpha preview did it few favours, crippled by broken matchmaking and offering a confusing and unbalanced game of cats ganging up against a rather large mouse. I spent almost every match during the alpha just walking through forests not doing anything of any interest whatsoever. Combine that with one of the most misguided, muddled and overly verbose pre-release content campaigns in history, and Evolve isn't off to the best of starts.
Advanced Warfare may be the boldest-looking COD in years, with its Kevin Spacey-fuelled sci-fi gadgetry and game-changing player movement, but it seems like Sledgehammer and Activision aren't prepared to completely abandon the successes of the past.
Given the time of year it perhaps shouldn't be a huge surprise, but I had completely forgotten that Battlefield 4 was due its fifth and final piece of DLC. After the 'big patch' finally shored up a game that has became the poster child for 'release now, fix later' (since replaced by Driveclub, Assassin's Creed Unity and Halo: The Master Chief Collection), it was all too easy to cast Battlefield 4 into the annals of history.
Battlefield 4 might be the strangest high profile video game release I've ever come across. An odd state of affairs, considering it's about nothing more leftfield than shooting people, blowing stuff up and working out what attachment to slap onto your newest, shiniest gun, but Battlefield 4 is strange for reasons that go beyond its premise. A year after its release, it has finally exited its own Early Access period.
As the big shooter season rolls in once again, Respawn has chosen the perfect time to unleash its next batch of maps. And Frontier's Edge, the second set of Titanfall DLC, arrives alongside the most significant title update the game has received yet.
Battlefield 4. It hasn't been pretty. Given the nearly weekly meltdowns DICE's game has endured since its launch, it's easy to forget those who forked out for a Premium subscription. Money paid up front for a promise of regular content drops seemed insignificant when the game just did not work.
Horde mode: the enduring last gasp of the ailing shooter. It gives the multiplayer team the chance to leverage the AI of a campaign into its own mode. No need to worry about weapon balance or spawn camping or any of that other nightmarish stuff that separates the CODs from the dead fish in the water.
It all starts with a fistbump.
The most amazing thing about the Battlefield Hardline beta on PC? It works. No black screens. No hard crashes. No rubber-banding. What relief after months of tussling with DICE's rarely functioning Battlefield 4. Those struggles had started to feel like features. Yet Visceral's debut in the Battlefield universe (as it will likely be called from now on) runs like clockwork, even at this stage.
For any shooter looking to hook a long-term crowd, the two-month point is crucial. The casual crew has already disappeared, along with those who didn't gel with the game's systems and options from the offset. Instead, it's about maintaining those who are waning: the players who have 'regenned' (Titanfall's prestige equivalent) a few times, who have toyed with every loadout, who have hunted for achievements and destroyed a thousand Titans. These are the people that will drive your game into cash-cow territory - and it's exactly the right time to give them another reason to keep logging in.
Magpies and my family have a history. My mum, for some reason known only to her, my Catholic grandmother and, presumably, God, spits whenever she sees one. Apparently something terrible happens if she doesn't. This confusing childhood wound is opened every time my wife sees one, as she has to ritualistically greet them one by one - again, in order for something terrible not to happen. Also, a magpie once laughed at my new jumper when I was 4, but I'm told that was actually a seagull.
The assumption that PC players now all keep a scruffy 360 controller wrapped up next to their hulking towers is letting developers really push their Steam wares further into console territory. 10 Second Ninja, a meticulously well-designed flash of breakneck speed and pixel-perfect precision, is purpose-built for a controller and nearly impossible to enjoy without.