Format PS3 Status Confirmed ETA Out now Pub 505 Games Dev Overkill Software
Read our Payday 2 review.
We’re excited about this sequel as much because of what the original game didn’t deliver as what it did. The concept – a four-player co-op bank heist FPS – was excellent, but it ended up glitchy and ugly, with AI that was cretinous. Yet it played fairly well with friends, and that concept is still excellent two years on. This time Overkill seems to be doing a better job on Payday 2, with a great range of missions, character customisation and, crucially, a proper career mode whereby you can scan for jobs via the Crimenet interface. You can then pick and choose from the optional objectives available: some are higher-risk; others might be useful for just pulling in extra cash. Heists can also now have multiple stages – for instance, robbing a painting, installing a camera in it, then selling it to someone before using the video feed to rob their house. Dastardly.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Format PS4 Status Confirmed ETA 2014 Pub Bethesda Dev Zenimax Online
Some things never change. It’s a millennium before Skyrim, yet everyone’s carrying swords and eating sweetrolls. Still, at least it’s a familiar setting for The Elder Scrolls Online. Here, Tamriel is in turmoil. The Daedric Prince Molag Bal is threatening to take over this massive continent, and it’s your job to stop him. A large part of the landmass is locked at the start, no doubt added by paid-for DLC, but dev Zenimax promises 150 hours of gameplay at launch. According to our excellent maths skills, that means each of the three factions’ questlines last 50 hours. Reach the end of The Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, and Ebonheart Pact stories and you can retry everything with the difficulty upped. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not your typical ‘kill ten rats’ MMO – this plays like a proper RPG. Just as in Skyrim, you can break into houses, thieve items, and first-person isn’t an afterthought. The main difference, however? There will be lots of other sword-wielding, sweetroll-eating players to join you.
It’s not your typical ‘kill ten rats’ MMO – this
plays like a proper RPG. Just as in Skyrim,
you can break into houses, thieve items,
and first-person isn’t an afterthought
Dark Souls 2
Format PS3 Status Confirmed ETA March 2014 Pub Namco Bandai Dev From Software
Depending on your exposure or reaction to the first game, you’ll either have as much interest in From Software‘s Dark Souls 2 as drinking industrial cleaner, or you’ll be sitting in a full suit of Havel’s Armor screaming that it should be at number one. Well, having collectively ploughed enough man hours to build a small pyramid into the original, we’re very much sympathetic to the latter camp (although health and safety regulations mean we’ve left our Drake Sword at home). It’s the unknowns of the Souls games that makes them so compelling, and the sequel is shrouded in a pleasant level of mystery. We’ve seen a few fresh, sprawling locations and a handful of new enemies – including some that backsplash if you try the ever-popular ‘stab in the back’ routine – but what’s driving the quest this time around and where it will take us hasn’t yet been revealed. And nor should it be – because these are games all about the joy (and terror) of tentative discovery. And dying time and time again, obviously.
Format PS4 Status Confirmed ETA Spring 2014 Pub Square Enix Dev Eidos Montreal
‘More of the same’ is the scourge of the industry… except when you’re talking about Thief. In this case, its the best-case scenario. In 1998, Thief: The Dark Project mixed an enthralling stealth toolset with ominous background music and overheard conversations about maids sleeping with lords. The series carries huge goodwill: fearing another franchise pillaged by rebooting, we, like any Thief fans, were jittery. Until we saw the game in its moody, true-to-its-roots glory. Garrett the master thief is intact, as is the atmosphere of The City where previous games took place. What’s changed is the graphics technology – and it uses volumetric fog and post-processing effects to great effect in Eidos Montreal’s nefarious reboot. When it comes to ‘more of the same’, Thief thrills more than almost any game in the Hot 50.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Format PS4 Status Confirmed ETA 2014 Pub Square Enix Dev Square Enix
Just when we were ready to accuse the RPG gods of taking the Mickey, Square Enix has finally managed to count past two. The first Kingdom Hearts game was released over a decade ago on PlayStation 2, and after experimenting with iffy subtitles on the likes of Dream Drop Distance and Birth By Sleep across all Sony platforms since, the Japanese mega-publisher has finally slapped a new number on the end of its Disney-bothering role-player. Protagonist Sora returns in Kingdom Hearts 3 alongside Donald and Goofy, who must search for the seven guardians of light. Meanwhile Riku and King Mickey have a search of their own, hunting the Keyblade Wielders to stop the evil Master Xehanort. All this in worlds based on Disney properties both familiar and fresh. That news is welcome; discovering that we’ll be lucky if the game lands next year is less so. “Many fans were feeling impatient due to our continuous release of spin-off titles, so we decided to announce it at the same time as Final Fantasy 15,” series creator Tetsuya Nomura told PSU. “However, looking at the current development status, I think we may have announced it a little too early.” Still, a new KH with a new number means innovation’s practically guaranteed, so it’s best that we all start wishing on a star in the hope of speeding things up.
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