It was 2013 when EA triumphantly announced its 10-year exclusive deal with the Star Wars licence and now it seems all that may be coming to an end.
Last week's news brought us the Lucasfilm Games brand, a new Ubisoft Star Wars game from the creator of The Division series and, perhaps most excitingly, a teaser trailer for an Indiana Jones game from Bethesda.
As we ponder what it all means, leave your own musings in the comments.
Throw Indy's hat on him and we're pretty much there.
I’m slightly more optimistic than Sam when it comes to Ubisoft’s and Lucasfilm Games’ untitled Star Wars project. I’m happy to acknowledge that the former does tend to recycle a familiar set of features in their games, but I don’t find it so much of an issue if I’m enjoying the overall story and gameplay.
The fact that it’s being developed by The Division makers Massive also gives me hope. While I wasn’t a huge fan of bullet-sponge bosses and loot grinding, I did thoroughly enjoy exploring the in-game world and hunting down snippets of surprisingly decent story.
Even if it turns out good rather than great, I still think it’ll be fun to play just because I enjoy Star Wars. EA’s Battlefront reboot took, quite rightly, a bit of flak for lacking content, but that didn’t stop me from having fun using iconic blasters and running around as a Stormtrooper.
As for the Indiana Jones game, we’ll just have to wait and see. I expect we’ll be getting something similar to the Tomb Raider reboot and the Uncharted games, which is no bad thing. Its iconic hero and (hopefully) 1930s setting would certainly give it a unique selling point.
The Division also had a lot of snow. Hoth setting confirmed!
However much you like or loathe The Division, the Snowdrop engine that powers it is a marvel to behold, especially when it comes to snow. A third-person, more Splinter Cell-inspired espionage outing or perhaps one where you explore one of Star Wars' many sprawling locales seems very much in Ubisoft's wheelhouse.
The track record may not be...ahem...stellar...but a bit of lightsaber magic here and a "maclunkey" there could push the experience from a good game to a great game.
Indiana Jones is a different kettle of fish. Comparisons to both Uncharted and Tomb Raider will be difficult to avoid, but we know Machine Games can deliver an action-based narrative, so that's what's got me most excited.
The future of other notable franchises is even more exciting. Surely ideas for a game based on The Mandalorian must already be in development as we speak, and who could resist the chance to be the Galaxy's hottest gunslinger?
Don't know what 'maclunkey' means? This guy gets it.
What are your thoughts on the newly announced Lucasfilm games? Let us know below.
The gaming world is looking altogether more bright than the real one as we usher in 2021, with fresh consoles on the market and developers beavering away to bring a slew of new titles for us all to escape into.
But what will be the big surprises? Will we see a resurrection of Ouya? Will Google give up on Stadia? Will Sega suddenly reveal a secret new console? Anything could happen (probably), so we set about coming up with some outlandish (and relatively land-ish) predictions for the New Year. Let us know yours in the comments, then come back in 2022 and see how everyone fared.
Real reality is a bit rubbish, so more VR would be most welcome.
James | Game Pass gobbles up more publishers
While it would be obvious to say we’ll see more Bethesda games on Xbox Game Pass this year, the real get will be when other publishers start jumping on the bandwagon.
We’ve already seen EA join up EA Play with the service, and if they see a huge boost in player numbers for their back catalogue, it won’t be long before the likes of Ubisoft in particular are knocking at the door.
Imagine having the chance to revisit all those Assassin’s Creed games, some of them even enhanced for Series X|S for good measure. If they’re feeling particularly ambitious they could even make them available on the cloud, giving the fledgling xCloud service some more third-party titles to flex its muscles with.
Game Pass is already a powerhouse of content, and no doubt Microsoft’s first party studios will put out titles this year, but tying in with other sources could push it over the top, considering it’s already firmly in no-brainer territory for Xbox owners.
For PlayStation, I could see their PlayStation Plus Collection, a smattering of PS4 titles bundled together for PS5 owners, being a springboard for turning PlayStation Plus into primarily serving as Sony’s own take on Game Pass. That’s when competition really starts forcing both console-makers to develop the services to keep drawing in new players, which is only good news.
Jedi: Fallen Order was one of the highlights of the EA Play/Xbox Game Pass merger.
Sam | Slim pickings
Although many hoped that 2021 would be a fresh new start, so far, it’s been more of the same. As a result, developers will most likely continue to work from home and production schedules will be impacted.
2020 saw high-profile games like Marvel’s Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077 pushed out to capitalise on a captive audience. What seemed like a sound business strategy on paper in fact saw them crash and burn, all while the likes of Fall Guys and Among Us dominated the scene.
More recently, titles like Rust and Escape from Tarkov are enjoying explosive growth. With gamers evidently content to transition away from conventional AAA releases, developers and publishers need to be very careful in 2021. More games following in the footsteps of Halo Infinite and issuing lengthy delays could help to win back the audience, when the time is right.
If life does eventually get back to normal this year, I also can’t see anyone rushing to launch their game soon thereafter. After being locked down with little to do but play video games for months on end, people are sure to seek out other pastimes for at least a little while.
We'll wake you when we need you, Chief (which will probably be sometime next winter).
It’s certainly been an usual year, and not only because of the unprecedented goings on across the world, but because of what gaming meant to us in 2020. It might have been harder to deal with the unique situation we’ve all been in this year were it not for our own little corner of escapism, where you can become an expert sharpshooter, traverse a few platforms to save a fantasy realm from darkness, or just be really good at crafting furniture out of one of three types of wood.
Hopefully you’ve all found games which have helped pull you through 2020, but which was your favourite? Which was the most surprising or unexpected? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, on to our top picks.
New Horizons' charming wholesomeness was a bastion of serenity for many people this year.
Sam | The Last of Us Part II
Like James, my “Game of the Mid-Year” wasn’t dethroned during the last six months. Since I summed up my feelings on TLoU2 back then, however, rather than repeat myself I’ll immediately derail the conversation by discussing something else entirely…
Although Demon’s Souls (my favourite console launch game) and Resident Evil 3 are the runners up this year, I’m surprised to say that Final Fantasy VII Remake is hot on their heels. As someone that has no prior experience with the series and little to no patience for JRPGs with anime trappings, that’s damn impressive.
After playing the demo out of a feeling of obligation, I walked away having really enjoyed the combat if nothing else. That was enough for me to give the full game a try, and, to my surprise, I warmed to its world and characters over the nearly 40 hours it took to finish all of the quests.
In time, what were unbearably tropey caricatures with cheesy dialogue became more endearing than annoying. As someone that typically cringes at this stuff and can’t bear to be around it for any significant length of time, what the game achieved was nothing short of miraculous.
I’m actually looking forward to the second part of Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is something I never thought I’d say. Credit where it’s due, the team at Square Enix did an excellent job with what could’ve been a disastrous project accounting for the game’s illustrious history.
You know it's been a messed up year when Sam's praising a JRPG.
Liam | Star Wars Squadrons
I've spoken before about my enthusiasm for the Rogue Squadron series, and flying games in general, so it’s no surprise that Star Wars Squadrons, the perfect amalgamation of the two, gets my pick for game of the year.
My winner could very easily have been Call of Duty: Warzone, which continues to provide me and my friends with hours of entertainment (for free!), or Animal Crossing: New Horizons – a title I’ve sunk dozens of hours into, and even tipped it to be my top pick earlier in the year – but I simply couldn’t ignore the brilliance of Squadrons.
While I’ll always have a soft spot for Rogue Squadron’s arcade gameplay, there’s just something very satisfying about Star Wars Squadrons’ more technical take on combat, whether it’s diverting power to weapon systems for an attack run on a Rebel flagship or shifting power to your X-wing’s forward shields to swat away the TIE interceptor that’s foolishly decided to joust you head-on.
The sim-focussed gameplay might feel a little daunting at first but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with a properly immersive experience (both in multiplayer and in the surprisingly decent campaign) that lets you live out your ultimate Star Wars fantasies as a Rebel or Imperial ace.
The Force is strong with this one.
What was your game of the year? Let us know below.
With an absence of big industry events this year, it fell to The Game Awards – increasingly a platform for announcements rather than celebrating the best games of the previous year – to pick up the slack, and as well as notable appearances from familiar faces outside the gaming world, there were also just a few upcoming games featured.
The early days of the new console generation for both PlayStation and Xbox means the platforms are brimming with potential, and both console-makers were eager to make a big splash, but which caught our attention? Read on for our top picks from the show.
Welcome back, Agent Dark.
Sam | The Callisto Protocol
Seeing Laura Bailey win best performance for her portrayal of Abby in The Last of Us Part II was my awards highlight. Mostly because it’s well-deserved, but also because of the unnecessary fan controversy that surrounded the character and role. Things finally came full circle and Bailey’s warm, emotional acceptance speech was perfect.
Unlike other awards shows, whether you love it or hate it, The Game Awards places its largest focus on new game reveals. Of the night’s several exciting announcements, Striking Distance Studios’ The Callisto Protocol was my favorite of the bunch.
Led by Glen Schofield, best known for co-founding Call of Duty developer Sledgehammer Games, the team’s debut project is a next-gen survival horror title aiming to be the scariest to date. That alone is exciting, though Schofield is also the original creator of Dead Space and The Callisto Protocol looks to be somewhat of a spiritual successor.
Fans of sci-fi horror already know that’s something special, but the added Alien vibes elevate it into dream game territory. Not much is known and it isn’t due out until sometime in 2022, but The Callisto Protocol has already shot right up my most anticipated games list.
For horror fans this is excellent, for the rest of us, just more nightmare fuel.
James | Dragon Age
Outside the news that Vin Diesel is now officially a game developer, serving as President of Creative Convergence for Ark 2 developers Studio Wildcard, what had me most excited was the return of Dragon Age.
BioWare hasn’t had the best time since Dragon Age: Inquisition came out, and the seasoned developer could use a win. While there is, of course, a twinkle or excitement in the form of the next Mass Effect, let’s see a little more of that before we get too carried away, lest it end up like last time...
So, what do we know? It’s probably just called Dragon Age, which seems fine, and if the voiceover is anything to go by then longtime companion Varrick the rogue is back once again. The beats of the trailer hints at a deeper level of personalisation to the experience this time, which can, hopefully, only make exploring this particular fantasy world more engaging.
There’s plenty of competition for our attention in that space however, so while it may have pedigree (one incredible game, one slightly disappointing game and one pretty good game), it will take more to win over a gaming community with high standards than ever before. Fortunately, the absence of detailed peeks at the game so far in this case is keeping expectations well-managed, so we don’t end up with another Anthem on our hands.
James might not be boarding the hype train just yet, but we've all been there.
What was your highlight of the show? Let us know below.
On the eve of the biggest gaming day of the year, Cyberpunk 2077 launch day, it’s got us thinking about how hype and anticipation plays into gaming, and entertainment as a whole. Whether that’s the tiniest pre-teaser trailer giving crumbs of info about the latest superhero film or the return of a bunch of aging rock legends for one last killer album, building up hype for a launch – and how well it executes on its promise – can be critical to success, or failure.
In gaming, sometimes games are in development hell for years before coming out, while others drop out of the blue and are a pleasant surprise. Enter Cyberpunk’s rocky road to release. Besides numerous delays, the game has seen various publicity snafus since it was first teased back at E3 2013, and yet it is, by far, still the most hyped game of the year.
We’ve picked on a trio of releases which had us swept up in the euphoria, and how it ultimately turned out.
Modern Warfare 2 even had a snow level, it was that good.
Sam | Gears of War 2
These days I’m not often one to get swept up in launch hype, and tend to maintain a pretty even keel in general. The impending launch of Cyberpunk 2077 makes me feel absolutely nothing, for example. Back in the day, however, just a screenshot in a magazine was enough for me to lose sleep!
As a youngster the annual WWE games were always a personal highlight. At the launch of the Xbox 360, I fawned over screenshots from Oblivion, Saint’s Row and Dead Rising for what must’ve been months. Though those are good examples, the collective excitement that me and my friends shared for Gears of War 2 makes it stand out more.
Before the original Modern Warfare stole us away, me and my school pals would spend most evenings playing Gears of War. For hours at a time we owned objectives in Annex mode and spilled gallons of blood, usually on Gridlock (my favourite multiplayer map).
I always preferred Gears to Call of Duty - and to a lesser extent Halo 3, our other game of choice - so I was especially excited to rejoin Marcus and his band of burly bros. The sequel also introduced the cooperative Horde mode, which as a concept is played out now, but at the time was revolutionary.
Gears of War 2 also featured a new-look Gridlock (sans all the blood spilled by Sam and co).
James | Mass Effect 3
No game sucked me into its story more than Mass Effect 2. While the first game established a world and a franchise, I wasn’t on Xbox until the second game came around to pull me into its against-all-odds suicide mission.
By the time the sequel came around, I’d never been more invested in an RPG franchise, I’d never been behind characters as strongly and I lapped up every morsel of pre-release information about the game.
Then, there was a demo. What was that about?! Multiplayer, in context, had its place in Mass Effect 3, but the demo didn’t showcase that especially well. Nonetheless, I was still excited, and proudly took a picture of the title screen before finally jumping in.
The experience of the game gave me everything I was hoping for, despite some (understandably) raised eyebrows from the community at the ending, and the legacy of the series is strong enough to warrant an upcoming re-release with the remastered ‘Legendary’ edition next year. Will it be enough to tempt me back? A good question, for another time.
Which game had you boarding the hype train? Let us know below.
The release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S has us thinking back to the console launch line-ups of yesteryear.
Games at the start of a generation can be notoriously buggy and unstable, be just glorified tech demos built to show off the new hardware, or genuine, fleshed-out experiences which galvanise the console’s place in the gaming history books.
It’s the latter we’ve been looking for; those games which really stand out as iconic, generation-defining moments. What title would you choose? Do you ever buy new consoles at launch? Let us know in the comments.
Reliving the Battle of Endor was one of Rogue Leader's many standout moments.
James | The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild | Nintendo Switch
When this topic came up, I was first pouring over lists of games from some of the great turning points in my gaming career – original DualShock PlayStation (first console launch), Xbox One (first Xbox at launch) – when it occurred to me I was neglecting the most unique console experience of them all – the Nintendo Switch.
The console wasn’t blessed with the widest variety of games on day one, and 1,2 Switch really falls into that glorified tech demo camp, so the only real choice is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Since my track record with Zelda as a series is dire (in short: played Ocarina of Time a bit, played The Wind Waker less and haven’t completed any since A Link to the Past on the Game Boy), I was determined to really throw myself into it, and, as my glowing review hopefully would suggest, I rather enjoyed it.
Something about the freedom and scale of the game’s world, as well as the accessibility of its combat and puzzles, really clicked and I spent countless hours hitting as many shrines as possible. It really captured the potential of what this new console could do. Whether we’ll see the in-development sequel before the next Nintendo console remains to be seen.
"I'm going on an adventure!"
Sam | Demon’s Souls | PlayStation 5
While I had access to various games consoles throughout my childhood, it wasn't until the launch of the Xbox 360, just after starting high school, that I got my very own console at launch. King Kong and Perfect Dark didn’t make for the best hardware showcase, so, though they hold a special place in my heart, I need to look further into the future.
On paper, the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S launch line-ups were pretty underwhelming. Having now spent a decent chunk of time with them, however, there’s a lot to love. Gears Tactics has been my recent Xbox addiction, launching alongside the new Microsoft consoles and included with Game Pass from day one.
As much as I love Gears of War (and Xbox in general), PS5 games like Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales are on the next level. The former in particular, which is why it takes my pick.
Visually and technically it’s outstanding - just as you’d hope for from a next-gen launch title - though it doesn’t fall into the common “style over substance” trap. While it does utilise some non-standard (yet) elements of the new DualSense controller, rather than feeling like gimmicks, they genuinely aid immersion. Demon’s Souls is a fantastic experience in and of itself, which, within the context of a console launch game, is all too rare.
Demon's Souls does look very impressive (unless you suffer from arachnophobia).
What was your favourite launch game? Let us know below or in the forums.
After taking a look at the future line-up for Xbox last week, it’s time to delve into the wonderful world of PlayStation exclusives (you know, for the players).
There’s a stronger showing out the gate for the PlayStation 5 with Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Astro’s Playroom both going down well with gamers, but, similar to Xbox, there’s plenty of studios working away on the next PlayStation blockbuster – at least 14, in fact. Here are our top picks, but what’s top of the excitement-o-meter for you? Let us know in the comments.
Kratos outlines his plans for the sequel.
James | Horizon: Forbidden West
As I’ve not played much on the PS4 (only Spider-Man really), the majority of PlayStation experiences I’m looking forward to are still to come, when I finally break open the juicy fruit that is this generation’s exclusives and feast on the presumably square, circle, triangle and x-shaped goo inside. One series which seems to be right in my wheelhouse though, is Horizon: Zero Dawn and its 2021 sequel, Forbidden West.
Exploring expansive worlds has always been my bag, from Mass Effect and Middle Earth: Shadow of War to lesser-known personal favourites like Red Faction: Guerilla and even Microsoft’s ill-fated exclusive ReCore (there’s a video about it and everything).
The future dystopia which Horizon offers isn’t dark and bitter like that of something like Watch Dogs Legion, instead, nature has had a chance to take back much of the world, while the threat of robotic beasts still looms large, and in the sequel, the sense of scale looks to be being pushed further still.
All the games here will have impressive visuals of course, but the rich colours and vast biodiversity of Aloy’s world beg for all the pixels and particle effects the PS5 can muster. Will we be able to find out the source of the plague which threatens to destroy the uneasy balance the tribes of humanity’s future have found in this world?! I can’t wait to give it a try.
Nothing says bigger and better than new water levels/sections.
Liam | Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is exactly the sort of game you want to see on a next-gen console, one that takes advantage of the shiny new tech inside to push gameplay and spectacle even further.
I’ll admit, I’ve never played a Ratchet & Clank title before, despite owning a PS2, the platform on which the franchise debuted and first found fame, but I might have to remedy that this generation.
The dimension hopping shown off in the gameplay trailers looks brilliant, not to mention totally seamless, which is even more impressive. Even without that killer feature, the game’s combat, setting and general fun factor are all more than enticing enough to warrant the hype.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for deep, meaningful narratives and gritty gameplay, but sometimes you just want a game to be good, harmless, silly fun, and Rift Apart seems to fit that description perfectly.
I’m certainly eager to see more, and while I’ve yet to make a decision on which of the new consoles I’ll be getting first (ideally I’d like to buy both at some point), impressive, proper next-gen titles like this are certainly swinging things in the PS5’s favour.
The PlayStation 5's SSD working its magic.
What's your most anticipated PS5 exclusive? Let us know below.
It’s finally here, the next generation of gaming beckons us all – whether you’ve decided to jump in already or not – with a world of new possibilities. Some of us haven’t been lucky enough to grab a new console (or two) just yet, so we’re looking ahead to the exclusive gaming experiences we can expect from this new hardware, starting with Xbox Series X|S.
While the launch day lineup might not be blockbuster, Microsoft has made no secret of the fact it’s bought up studios left and right; 14 world-class developers, including Bethesda, now comprise Xbox Game Studios.
There’s a few games in the works we already know about, so which are the ones to get most excited about? We’ve picked our favourites, but leave yours in the comments.
A shield is basically a giant space blanket.
Sam | Fable
The lack of a new Fable game during the Xbox One generation is a travesty. Well, in actuality, that isn’t strictly true. Fable Fortune was a respectable CCG from Mediatonic (Fall Guys) that saw the light of day, but it isn’t really what fans wanted.
Neither was Fable: Legends, which I had the opportunity to play before it was axed. It wasn’t great, though series custodians Lionhead didn’t deserve to go down with the ship. With the developers disbanded, for years it looked like we may never get the proper continuation that the franchise deserved.
Step in British developer Playground Games, best known for their work on the Forza Horizon series. Although crafting an RPG is a massive departure from building racing titles, the team’s consistent track record for delivering on quality helps to mitigate any concerns.
As I get older RPGs become less and less appealing. They tend to require a huge time and energy commitment, plus are more often than not overly long and po-faced. It’s one of the reasons I still haven’t played The Witcher 3 and that Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t get me hot under the collar. A new Fable on Xbox Series X|S could (and should) be the antidote to that.
Is that a river, or a racetrack? Who knows!
Liam | Microsoft Flight Simulator
I do enjoy a good flying game, so I’m pretty excited for the console release of what could be considered the flying game: Microsoft Flight Simulator.
As much as love taking down capital ships in Star Wars Squadrons or battling drones in Ace Combat 7, it’s easy to forget that simply cruising around the skies can be just as rewarding as any thrilling dogfight. Flight Simulator looks like it could be the ultimate chill out game, letting you cruise around the world at your leisure in a variety of aircraft.
Even though there’s a plethora of exotic destinations on offer, in a weird way I’m most looking forward to simulating shorter, more familiar commutes, such as London Gatwick to Amsterdam, a journey I undertook many times over the years. It’ll certainly be interesting to see the journey from the pilot’s perspective, for once.
Although there’s no release date, or even a release window, for that matter, Microsoft Flight Simulator is supposedly coming to an Xbox near you at some point in the near future, and I for one am greatly looking forward to it.
Short-haul flights are a lot more fun when you're in the pilot's seat (we hope).
What's your most anticipated Xbox Series X|S exclusive? Let us know below.
While the crowds might not have descended on Cologne in Germany for the biggest gaming event of the year, Gamescom still brought together the biggest trailers and game reveals it could muster, virtually, starting with the 2-hour Opening Night Live stream.
We’ve pondered the selection and picked out a few of our favourite moments. Be sure to let us know what you’re looking forward to in our comments section.
The Skywalker Saga is looking Crait.
Gamescom 2020 didn’t do much for me. I’m excited about several of the featured games, but most didn’t present anything new or of substance during the digital event.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart left me impressed following its initial reveal, though the footage that capped off Opening Night Live largely retread the same ground. It was a similar situation with Mafia: Definitive Edition, which received a short trailer when just a couple of days prior lengthy previews were all over YouTube.
Dragon Age 4 is another I’m looking forward to that didn’t show particularly well. We’ve known it’s on the way for years, but still we only get looks at concept art and character models; well, that and what could be empty promises from BioWare.
Indies fared better, as they did during last month’s State of Play, with Little Nightmares 2 and 12 Minutes putting in strong showings. Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead also proved surprisingly compelling, mostly for its sheer outlandishness.
Finally, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond left a sour taste due to questionable marketing. The classic series’ return looks impressive, which is why I got all excited to see Oculus Quest as a supported platform. Take a moment to check the smallprint, however, and it becomes clear that there isn’t actually a dedicated Quest version. Instead, you’ll need a compatible PC and an Oculus Link cable… which kinda defeats the purpose of owning an all-in-one VR headset, no?
You'll still need a beefy PC to enjoy Respawn's Above and Beyond.
DIRT 5 is a game that continues to pique my interest, even though I’m not that much of a racing fan (though I did enjoy Codemasters’ GRID reboot). I’m not exactly big on map editors, either, but DIRT 5’s playground mode shown off during the stream looks surprisingly robust, and the teaser for a vampire mode, which I assume is a vehicular take on infection, has me intrigued.
Elsewhere, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War continues to sound promising, although as a fan of the original Black Ops, it’s still a bit weird hearing Mason, Hudson and Woods without their original voice actors. I especially like the idea of the campaign’s optional objectives and nonlinear elements, and I look forward to experiencing them as my hastily made protagonist - character creators be damned!
Star Wars Squadrons was the highlight of the show, however, and I am thoroughly looking forward to its release next month. Everything I’ve seen of the game so far has me convinced it could very well be the modern-day Rogue Squadron I’ve been waiting for, and even though I’m going to be picking it up on Xbox One, if I end up getting a PS5 I’ll be seriously tempted to double dip just for VR support.
Probably the closest we'll get to a new Rogue Squadron.
What were your highlights from Gamescom? Let us know below or in the forums.
The final Marvel’s Avengers beta has only just finished and we recently got our first glimpse of Gotham Knights in action, so we thought it's about time to resurrect that decades old argument: Marvel or DC?
James | Gotham Knights
While Marvel have had a fairly firm stranglehold on the film universe for over a decade, their gaming past has been less successful.
Enter Marvel's Avengers, trotting out by now very familiar characters, Kamala aside, and asking the gaming public to love them.
While designs have been tweaked slightly since the initial reveal (see Thor's new hair do), the gameplay feels like an abstract mix of gameplay ideas which don't quite hang together convincingly.
Contrast that with DC in general. Not only is there the stunning Injustice games beating out Marvel efforts in the fighting genre and more charismatic portrayals in their LEGO games, there's the Arkham series, which took superhero games to a whole new level back in 2009.
Where Marvel has an ace in the hole though, as in the MCU, is Spider-Man. The Miles Morales-led expansion of the 2018 PS4 outing for Spidey looks shiny and will make the most of the PS5. Arguably though the combat that made the first so compelling is strongly influenced by the aforementioned Arkham series, giving DC the last laugh.
Batman taught Spidey everything he knows.
Sam | Gotham Knights
Having played the Marvel’s Avengers beta over the weekend, I was left pretty underwhelmed. In fact, I couldn’t even be bothered to finish all of the missions and quit out before the end. Throw in the controversy surrounding Spider-Man’s PlayStation exclusivity and, somehow, Square Enix has managed to turn this Marvel fan away.
Gotham Knights, on the other hand, came as a nice surprise. The game’s DC FanDome reveal was expected in advance, though with Warner Bros. Montréal at the helm and not Batman: Arkham custodians Rocksteady I half feared the worst. WB Montréal’s Batman: Arkham Origins is hardly the acclaimed series’ highpoint, after all.
Granted we need to learn more about Gotham Knights to draw reliable comparisons, but the co-op gameplay shown in the reveal showcase puts what we’ve seen (and played) of Marvel’s Avengers to shame. There’s a veritable mix of combat and stealth, along with thoughtful use of gadgetry and teamwork; Avengers just tasks players with barrelling in and mashing buttons instead.
You can argue that there’s a place for that and you’d be right, but it got boring over the course of a single evening with the beta. When Marvel’s Avengers plans to stick around for years to come, that’s serious cause for concern.
It's not real co-op without fancy tag team abilities.
Liam | Gotham Knights
I missed out on the Marvel’s Avengers beta, so I’m still judging where I’ll get my next superhero fix with information gleaned from trailers and gameplay footage. Having just caught up on the deluge of justice coming our way, I can say that Gotham Knights has edged it.
The fact that it’s made by Warner Bros. Montreal and not Rocksteady doesn’t bother me the slightest. I know Arkham Origins is not held in as high regard as Rocksteady’s efforts (even though it still has its fans), but what I’ve seen of gameplay looks solid and reassuringly familiar.
I also think ditching Batman is a good idea, as not only do we get an opportunity to play as some of the lesser known heroes, but it eliminates the inevitable arguments that would have come about (at least in co-op) from everyone wanting to play as the Dark Knight.
But the inclusion of the Court of Owls and their Talon assassins as potential big baddies was by far the most exciting part of the Gotham Knights reveal trailer. Having read the comics in which they debuted as antagonists, they make an excellent ‘hidden hand’ type organisation, and Chris will be glad to know they’re also quite fond of psychedelic torture.
Whoever the Court of Owls are, you can be sure they're up to no good.
Are you more hyped for Marvel's Avengers or Gotham Knights?