Format PS3 Status Confirmed ETA 23 Aug Pub 2K Games Dev 2K Marin
18 months ago it would’ve taken Nostradamus or a Mystic Meg with real psychic powers to predict that Xcom would again be hot stuff. But in gaming, as with paying for a penny sweet with a £20 note, change is inevitable. And in the wake of last year’s excellent Enemy Unknown, it’s most welcome. From its genesis as an FPS, The Bureau: Xcom Declassified has taken on board many of EU’s traits and is now a third-person cover shooter/real-time strategy game hybrid. And an extended hands-on confirms that it really works. As William Carter you lead a three-man team clearing up alien activity across the North American mainland, using a combination of shoulder-button shooting and squad commands (issued via a time-slowing radial menu called Battle Focus). It’s as tactical as you’d expect from the series, and your colleagues can cark it for good if you’re not careful. It does a mean line in pinstripe suits and fedoras, too, so all things are well in Xcom land. Other than the crippling ET invasion, obviously.
Format PS4 Status Confirmed ETA 2014 Pub Capcom Dev Capcom
Never has a gammon-faced monk sitting by the fireside looked so sexy – whatever arcane tech’s driving this Capcom RPG, it’s some of the most impressive exhibited on PS4 so far. Assuming what we saw at the reveal show wasn’t just a collection of cutscenes with a HUD slapped over the top. You’d never do that to us, would you Capcom?
What little play we’ve glimpsed in Deep Down’s dark and dangerous dragon-dodging does look rather Dragon’s Dogma (thank you). There’s the third-person, cod-medieval man-vs-monster combat itself, which calls to mind Capcom’s well-received new IP, and the fact that the similarly alliterative Deep Down is only a working title. The two are unrelated, but those similarities still give us a warm burny sensation.
But with so little to go on, how can we be sure Deep Down is worthy of its standing here? Maybe it speaks to something primal in every gamer about facing fears, conquering nature and exploring our environment’s darkest recesses. Or maybe we’re just that shallow – she’s a looker.
Format PS Vita Status Confirmed ETA 4 Sep Pub Sony Dev Guerrilla Games
Your K/D is rising and you know each map like your own face. But your skin’s translucent and you’ve not spoken to anyone for so long that trying to do so results in a puff of dust. The solution to the shooter obsessive’s quandary? Killzone: Mercenary. The weapons are still meaty, the grenade kills beautiful – but Mercenary’s solo and multiplayer levels are built for instant gratification. Maps have more choke points, killstreaks grant ridiculous drones and melee robots to raise hell with – it’s enough to make you forget you’re driving a bus (we can feel those lawsuits hurtling towards us already). As an aperitif to Killzone: Shadow Fall’s Remote Play Vita experience, and as a multiplayer experience in itself, this Merc’s on a mission to revitalise PS Vita.
Format PS4 Status Confirmed ETA 2014 Pub Ubisoft Dev Ubisoft Reflections/Ivory Tower
Imagine what would happen if the studios responsible for Driver: San Francisco and Test Drive Unlimited 2 got together to make a PS4 racer. To be clear, these are games that let you hop between people’s minds and drive the full extent of Ibiza and Oahu. Between them, Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower (formed of ex-Eden Games devs) have come up with some of the genre’s most exciting concepts this gen, and guess what? They are making a game. The Crew is a gigantic open world spanning the USA, featuring cities, highways, back alleys and wide open off-road. It doesn’t have that madman element in its DNA like its devs’ previous outputs, but the variety of events is a big turn-on, even packing in takedown missions. Your crew’s made from other friends online, who join you without the need for lobbies. And to an extent, how you spend your time is up to you – although there’s a gang called the 510s who need taking down a peg or two. Only Driveclub can top this for graphics-osity and buddying up online, which means The Crew is still hotter than an Astra’s bonnet after four hours on the M25.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Format PS3 Status Confirmed ETA 25 Oct Pub Warner Bros Dev WB Games Montreal
This prequel to Rocksteady’s Asylum and City entries of the Arkham series has put noses out of joint because untested studio Warner Bros Montreal is steering the Batwing this time. Still, the Batman: Arkham Origins is making the right noises, with a map carved from a slice of real estate twice as big as Arkham City’s superhero playground. With the Canadian dev delivering a less seasoned hero, it makes sense that Kevin Conroy has been relieved of larynx duties. In comes Roger Craig Smith, best known for voicing the charming, cocky Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2. Notorious assassin Deathstroke will also be getting his own DLC, including challenge maps and alternative skins. If WB Montreal can match Rocksteady’s combat, this origins story will be worth unravelling.
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