Vector Unit’s water-faring racer reaches Xbox One and Windows 10 tomorrow, Friday 24 February. While getting both for the price of one as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative provides unquestionable value for money, is it worth its salt in the first place? Join us for a quickie and we’ll find out.
Renegade tickled an adrenaline-fuelled fancy that’s gone somewhat unsatisfied since the likes of Hydro Thunder Hurricane and Pure released an entire console generation ago.
A story, you say?
Following your expulsion from official competitions you find yourself at the bottom of the pile, and the only way to climb back up the ranks is by beating a number of notable racers. Text-based interactions with these larger-than-life characters serve as a basic repeating groundwork - impress them, best them, recruit them - that structures the game.
Does that not get a bit repetitive?
No more than ploughing through 100+ career events across four distinctions (race, slalom, elimination and freestyle) and nine tracks. A bit of repetition is nothing out of the ordinary for the genre.
Can you customise your jet ski to suit each type of event?
The only customisation is aesthetic, though fixed performance upgrades can be bought with the cash you make. Different skis do have different stats, but you won’t realistically make the money to keep several competitive at any one time.
Any multiplayer modes?
Challenge pits you against player ghosts in an attempt to beat their times and climb the leaderboards, but if that's a little too indirect for you, multiplayer races are available both online and in local split screen play.
So would you say it was a goer?
Definitely if you’re into arcade racing, or even curious when the asking price is just £8.39. Riptide GP: Renegade tickled an adrenaline-fuelled fancy that’s gone somewhat unsatisfied since the likes of Hydro Thunder Hurricane and Pure released an entire console generation ago.
With an incredibly release-rich March approaching, now’s the time to jump in before it potentially gets lost in the pack.
Out now for all platforms following a period of timed exclusivity on PS4, Banned Footage Volume 1 is the first of three DLC packs available standalone (£7.99) or as part of the Resident Evil 7 season pass (£24.99). We’ve taken the package for a quickie to see if it’s something you might want to commit to.
Nightmare's a wave-based survival mode that tasks you with holding out until dawn by besting five rounds of Moulded in the Baker’s dank basement. Compactors continuously generate scrap that can be used to purchase supplies, upgrades and automated defences to aid you, but as your toolset grows, so too do the enemies’ numbers.
There’s a decent degree of strategy to the mode, especially on the unlockable Night Terror difficulty, while a self-contained progression system makes it highly replayable.
So what’s with the new game mode, other than a Devil May Cry reference?
Ethan Must Die has a jovial presentation, but don’t let that fool you. "Ultra-difficult" by design, you're tasked with running a gauntlet of traps and enemies to find the greenhouse key, which is then used reach the final battle with Marguerite. You begin each run with just a knife, busting open randomly-spawned crates in the hope their contents will afford you something with a little more stopping power. Mercifully, enemy and trap locations always remain fixed.
While the mode is just as dependant on luck and memorisation as skill, each permadeath feels like part of a learning process, ensuring it remains more engaging than annoying.
Do the three make for a worthwhile collection?
Yeah, they definitely do. There’s a good mix of mechanics here that accommodate thoughtful, tense, and action-based gameplay to ensure everybody has something to sink their teeth into. While you could argue it should’ve been included from the start, what with equivalent modes like Raid and Mercenaries having been in previous instalments, don't be tempted to cut your nose off to spite your face - it's easily worth the investment.
It’s fair to say Star Wars Battlefront has divided opinion since EA and DICE rebooted the franchise back in November 2015. Praised for its gorgeous visuals and authentic sound, but lambasted for a lack of significant launch content and an expensive season pass, the game received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike.
This is all good news for those who saw potential in a rebooted Battlefront, but there are still a few more changes I’d like to see made.
The prequel trilogy
Arguably the weakest of the Star Wars films, it’s easy to hate on the prequel trilogy, but despite their many flaws these movies still gave us a decent array of Star Wars fodder.
The original Battlefront games weren’t shy in making use of the Clone Wars era, and it would be great to see Clone Troopers, Droidekas, Naboo starfighters, Mace Windu and the like make the transition.
With DICE having help from two additional studios this time around, hopefully there are enough pairs of hands to make it happen.
As someone who almost exclusively played Battlefront in first-person the generic, semi-transparent targeting reticule given to any weapon with scoping functionality just wasn’t good enough, and quite frankly, was somewhat immersion breaking.
Give me proper iron sights and tailored scope animations in the next game and I’ll be a happy man. Also, it’d be nice if choosing to fly a starfighter in first-person wasn’t a guaranteed death sentence.
This should really be a no brainer; DICE’s premier multiplayer mode needs to be in Battlefront. Walker Assault, Supremacy and Turning Point were good, but they were far too linear and didn’t have quite the same grandeur of the 64-player battles found in the Battlefield series.
While we’re here, why not throw in Battlefield 1’s Operations or even Galactic Conquest from Battlefront’s previous iteration as well?
As someone who missed out on the original two Battlefront games and never experienced the latter mode, it wouldn’t be fair of me to fault the reboot for lacking it, but the idea of taking part in a Risk-style campaign across the Star Wars galaxy sounds awesome, and would be a welcome addition to any sequel.
Better integration of season pass content
The idea behind keeping each of the season pass’ four expansion packs in their own separate playlists was to stop an already niche community of players from becoming further fragmented. Despite the good intentions, all it actually did was serve to annoy those who took the plunge on the pricey season pass, as loading times that’d make even GTA: Online regulars fidget impatiently meant switching back and forth between the different expansion packs and the base game content was a gruelling experience.
A season pass for Battlefront 2017 is almost a certainty, but it needs to have better integration. If DICE do decide to go down the same route again they’d have to at least give players the choice of which game mode they want to play, instead of throwing random ones at us after the initial choice.
Don’t lock every new blaster or Star Card behind Hutt Contracts
Introduced alongside the game’s Outer Rim expansion, Hutt Contracts tasked players with completing three different weapon, mode or Hero-based challenges per contract in order to unlock new blasters and Star Cards.
While these contracts added another sense of progression to multiplayer matches and got players experimenting with play styles they may have previously passed up on, locking every single piece of new equipment behind them was a bit much.
Nearly all the Hutt Contracts were only available to season pass holders, so that meant if you tried and failed to complete some of the challenges tied to them, a significant portion of season pass content was actually inaccessible.
I expect Hutt Contracts will make a return in Battlefront 2017, which is a good thing, but for the sake of those that don’t have the time or capability to complete each challenge associated with them, DICE need to make sure at least some of the new content is available to use right away - especially for those who purchase a season pass.
So, those were five things I’d like to see implemented in this year’s Star Wars Battlefront sequel. Do you agree? What other features would you like to see in Battlefront 2017? Let us know in the comments or over in the forums.
The beta for CI Games’ Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 - the series’ first entry to boast “AAA production values” - goes live exclusively on Steam today. Having had an early look at the build, we’re left impressed by what could be the sleeper hit of the year.
Note: The game is now scheduled to launch on 4 April.
The beta’s first mission, Blackout, reminded us of Call of Duty 4’s iconic All Ghillied Up as we crept and clambered our way through a decaying apartment block. The tight corridors and small rooms weren’t by any means ideal stomping grounds, so utilising Scout Mode for careful traversal was a necessity. While it’s a similar mechanic to Batman’s Detective Vision, it isn’t quite the same solve-all, offering only hints as to unmarked enemy locations by visualising sound cues. After reaching our perch upon the roof, we located and assassinated our high-priority target before zip-lining the hell outta dodge; a cleaner exfiltration than Price and MacMillan suffered, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Through a budget injection and some strong influences, CI Games look set to make Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 a realisation of the series’ strong potential.
Next up was Cut Off, in which you’re assigned the task of manually realigning three satellites so that allied forces can intercept Separatist communications. It’s much larger in scale and draws another favourable companion, this time to one of Metal Gear Solid V’s base infiltrations. You’ll interrogate enemies for valuable mission intel, namely patrol and item locations, before repositioning their bodies to cover your tracks. Certain environmental elements can be tampered with to distract your opposition, but due to the scale of the base and the timed nature of an impromptu objective it’s likely you’ll be spotted. In this case we elected to go loud and eliminate any immediate threats, before utilising hiding spots to wait for things to blow over.
Breaking out a secondary weapon isn’t all bad, as switching up tactics now and then helps in the levelling process. Specific acts fittingly fall under the Sniper, Ghost and Warrior skill trees, earning experience and eventually skill points that improve and unlock abilities to aid in each area, ensuring you can always play to your strengths.
A tangible level of challenge made both missions compelling, but outside of their structure the open-world draws another, less-favourable comparison. The available secondary tasks - points of interest, outpost and item caches - each mimic Far Cry’s busywork and in much the same vein could become tiresome in time. That said, it’s all optional content and the sandbox setting is both easy to traverse and more than justified in affording the player great choice of approach.
While we’ll reiterate the game is in beta - and properly, it’s still two months out - the current technical performance left a little to be desired. Our resting frame rate sat ~80, yet there were sporadic and baffling drops to ~20 during even mundane scenes. Some items couldn’t be interacted with; locked and loaded weapons would frequently appear to be out of ammo until switching them out and back in; on one occasion the perspective even got stuck in third-person, forcing us to reload with nought but movement now functional.
None of its issues significantly impact the overall experience, however, and they can only be ironed out between now and launch come 4 April. Through a budget injection and some strong influences, it appears the developers at CI Games have been afforded the opportunity to make Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 a realisation of the series’ potential. The beta certainly earned it a place on our radar, and we’d recommend you find space for it on yours.