With Watch Dogs: Legion set to throw players into its dystopian version of London in just a few days, we’ve been thinking about other times England’s capital has been depicted in video games.
The city was first immortalised in the text-based adventure Streets of London on the Commodore 64, and has since been brought to life with increasing graphical detail, leading up to the next-gen visuals boasted by Legion.
Do you have a favourite version of London from games past? It might be just a level or an entire game, but remember, sims like Microsoft Flight Simulator or world-beating strategy titles like Civilization don’t really count.
Read on for the team’s favourites.
Feasting on patients goes against the Hippocratic oath, probably.
James | Assassin's Creed Syndicate
It's not often I look forward to stalking and murdering people, but the prospect of doing so amid Victorian London was enough to ignite the fiery passion of the killer within.
The game which succeeded at this feat was none other than Assassin's Creed Syndicate, the first and only entry of the series I've played as I mentioned in our review way back when. The joy of exploring its train stations in particular was a real pleasure, since plenty of historical details survive to this day.
While hardly a like-for-like representation of all of old London town, there's a consistent vibe and a fantastic attention to detail in the architecture that makes each district feel like a distinct part of the city.
The nature of the game, seeking out assassination targets and other open world objectives, lends itself to sightseeing. Plus if you keep to the rooftops you can leap about without being disrupted by baddies.
On top of all that, if you want to take it slow you can always take a ride in a coach or private train to take in the sights. What more could you want?
It's important to take a break from all the assassinating to drink in the view every now and then.
Liam | Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator might have been discounted by James, but he didn’t say anything about Combat Flight Simulator! I have fond memories of endlessly replaying this game, toying with the ultra-realistic settings (enabling finite ammunition made things especially tricky) and simply soaring through the skies in free flight to see how far I could push the various fighter planes.
While it’s not all set in London, a significant portion of the British campaign takes place in and around the skies of our capital, so I’m counting it. Of course, this being a flying game, the city itself was more of an afterthought than the main draw, and because it’s a very old flying game, London was pretty much a big blurry mess, but it was probably the first time I’d come across a game representing a location I was familiar with, which I thought was very cool.
If I’m remembering correctly, there might even have been a few iconic landmarks knocking about. I can’t be sure, but I seem to have a foggy recollection of trying to fly through Tower Bridge. Perhaps I’m getting mixed up, but either way, it was a great game set in a great city (sort of).
Did this really happen?
What's your favourite game set in London? Let us know below.
With grand promises of “affordable VR” as far back as the 80s (40 years ago, let’s not forget), virtual reality has always felt like a great idea which hasn’t ever reached its potential.
Now the latest wave of technology from Oculus, HTC and even PlayStation is reaching its newest iteration, and we’re starting to see that affordability dream become more of a reality.
The latest new release is the Oculus Quest 2, which brings the portability of its predecessor at a more affordable price - £300 in the UK - meaning for some gamers it might open up the platform for the first time.
So, is it finally time to take the plunge into VR? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Affordable, but could account registration issues spoil the experience for newcomers?
Having only tried one of Samsung’s early Gear VR iterations, my experience with VR is fairly limited. In that case, it had the benefit of using technology you already own (with my S7 Edge at the time, to give you an idea of how long ago it was), but the performance wasn’t the sort of quality you can find today.
Oculus has been at this game for a while now, and the lineup of titles available for the Quest platform is up to 200, so I feel like there must be something for most people. Whether it’s enough to get over the physical barrier of settling down to put on a headset, rather than just picking up a controller or switching apps on a phone.
If you’re looking to expand your gaming horizons, you might be tossing up whether to dive into the next generation right now (assuming you can actually get hold of a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X pre-order), but perhaps the Oculus Quest has more potential to deliver gaming experiences you haven’t had before, since VR itself brings more variety of gameplay than the lukewarm PS5/XSX release lineup.
If the Quest could handle something like Star Wars Squadrons, or could be paired with the new Xbox Series X and/or S then perhaps that would be the perfect (if more expensive) outcome. For now, the Quest is more suited for lighter experiences, but perhaps that’s just what you’re looking for.
Star Wars: Squadrons on Quest 2 (without needing a link cable and compatible PC) would've been a big selling point.
I own and adore the original Oculus Quest; the convenience is supreme, and has seen my PS VR headset fall by the wayside. Despite that, I don’t plan on upgrading to an Oculus Quest 2.
The price and boosted spec are booth great, but I’m not up for ditching my Oculus account in favour of forced Facebook integration. I mostly avoid using any social media, other than what’s required for my work, so having the issue pushed just doesn’t sit right - especially when Oculus originally promised it wouldn’t happen.
Having eyeballed the new Oculus user agreement, Facebook will be selling data associated with linked accounts. Stuff like how users move and the size of their hands is fair game, with the next logical step being analysis of the environment(s) that Quest 2 is being used in.
£300 for a quality standalone headset and two motion controllers almost seems too good to be true, and that’s probably because it is, with the value of your data serving to subsidise the cost. It honestly feels seedy, leaving me opposed to the very principle.
Slamming the breaks and switching gears, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners and REZ: Infinite are a pair of great launch games. Thankfully, they’re compatible with the original Quest - which, as a bonus, isn’t garishly white - so I can still play while dodging Facebook’s meddling.
The original Quest lives on with critically acclaimed titles like REZ: Infinite still being released on it.
What are your thoughts on the Quest 2? Let us know below.
While remakes and remasters are far from new in gaming, changing the look of a beloved character is still risky. When Sony debuted Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered – which comes bundled exclusively with Spider-Man: Miles Morales - Ultimate Edition on PS5 – featuring a new look for main character Peter Parker, people noticed.
Reaction to the news was less than positive. So much lament was on show from so-called fans in fact, that members of the development team received death threats and other abuse online for the decision.
According to Insomniac Games' Creative Director Bryan Intihar, the face capture for Peter Parker was changed from actor John Bubniak to model Ben Jordan, to provide a “better facial match” to voice actor Yuri Lowenthal.
Since we also saw strong reactions to the look of characters in Marvel’s Avengers, this week we ponder whether that was the right decision.
Eight years of battling bad guys and web-swinging around New York City is good for you, apparently.
While sending death threats is totally inexcusable, especially over something so trivial, I have to say that I’m not a fan of the new-look Peter Parker. I don’t really care what the guy looks like (although it is a little uncanny that he resembles Tom Holland now), but making the character appear so much younger hurts the game’s narrative.
Insomniac made a point of emphasising that their take on Peter Parker was older and more experienced than usual, albeit still in his mid-twenties. Parker’s age is a cornerstone of the story, influencing his work and personal relationships along with his stance on issues as Spider-Man.
As I understand it, the script hasn’t been reworked to match the more youthful character model, which has definite potential to cause a disconnect. Perhaps most concerningly, Peter Parker is supposed to be a mentor to Miles Morales, but now Parker just looks like one of Morales’ school friends.
Whether the decision to change the character model was purely technical as Insomniac suggests or not - and I do suspect not, as the Tom Holland resemblance is very convenient - I think it was the wrong call. Not because I prefer the old actor or I won’t adjust to a new collection of pixels, but because it doesn’t make narrative sense in Spider-Man: Remastered or moving the series forward.
Juggling superhero duties and personal relationships is probably what gave OG Parker those worry lines.
First, I’ll echo sentiments Sam and James have already put forward: threats over this sort of thing are simply out of order, even if people are upset about the changes.
I’ve still not played the original Spider-Man (it’s very much on my to-do list once I finally get my hands on the right hardware) so I don’t really have much of a stake in this debate, but having watched some comparison videos I can totally see why some fans might find the update a little jarring.
As Sam mentioned above, the new Peter Parker is very much a younger looking iteration, and doesn’t seem at all in keeping with the game’s narrative of a more mature 20-something Spider-Man.
While a visual overhaul of the character isn’t exactly game-breaking, I do have to say I prefer the original look, so I’ll probably pick up the PS4 version whenever I get around to playing the game.
Having said that, I won’t be avoiding any sequels or spin-offs if this is how Peter Parker is going to look from now on, as I’ve no doubt the best bits of the game all take place while Spidey’s wearing his mask.
It doesn't matter what Spidey looks like when his suit is this cool.
What do you think of the new-look Peter Parker? Let us know below.
Bethesda Softworks, and parent company ZeniMax, are in the process of being bought by Microsoft for an eye-watering $7.5billion. The news came within hours of the pre-orders for Xbox’s next generation going on sale, and though it will be a while before we see the fruits of the deal, it got our collective mind racing on the sheer number of possibilities.
So we’ve put our heads together to give our takes on what might happen next, or what we think should. Got an idea of your own? Leave it in the comments. (If it’s good, we’ll be sure to pass it along – claiming it as our own, of course).
Will Bethesda's Starfield be a multi-platform release?
Firstly, $7.5 billion is an insane amount of money. If you combine Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) and Marvel (Spider-Man, The Avengers, etc.) you get a little over $8 billion. As popular as properties like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout are, I’m not sure that they’re even in the same stratosphere.
Who am I to judge the business sense of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, though, right? Nobody, that’s who!
Setting the price aside, Zenimax is definitely a huge get for Xbox. While not all of the output has been stellar lately, studios under the Zenimax umbrella are responsible for some of the most acclaimed and beloved franchises out there. While the aforementioned Elder Scrolls and Fallout series are probably the biggest, there’s immense value in the likes of Dishonored, Doom, Wolfenstein and Prey too.
Whether or not Xbox will now hoard all of these games as exclusives remains to be seen. There’s a compelling argument either way: Microsoft can share them, looking like the good guy while PS5 players pay £70 per game and Xbox Series X/S, PC and Android users play everything at no additional cost via their Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions. Alternatively, they could cut PlayStation out completely to drive more console and subscription sales; it’d also put to bed the (formerly somewhat valid) assertion that Xbox has no exclusive games.
Corporate news like this isn't unusual in the technology world, one which Microsoft has a very large non-gaming presence in, let's not forget, but to hear these two major players in the industry had come together was a surprise.
Bethesda is a significant presence in the industry as far as individuals go as well. Todd Howard, while hardly the fan favourite since Fallout 76 missed expectations, has been at the top of every Xbox hardware announcement sizzle reel for years, so perhaps the deal is not as surprising as first thought.
The IPs folded into Xbox are interesting, but I'm more interested in the sort of cross-pollination we could see. Doom Slayer in a re-worked, hell-themed Firefight map in the next Halo anyone?
Anything which puts different ideas together in a fun, self-aware way is something I'm on board with. Whether the size and complexity of this new business juggernaut allows for that sort of fun and games we will have to see.
For those banking on Game Pass, we're already expecting a boost in potential games, and any push to finish Dishonored 2 is equally welcome.
Halo Reach's Kat and Emile turned up in Gears 5's multiplayer, so Microsoft aren't adverse to mixing things up.
What do you think of the Xbox-Bethesda deal? Let us know below.
It’s finally happened. The PlayStation 5’s standard and digital editions now have not only a release date, but a price point. The disc-friendly version will set you back £450 (the same as an Xbox Series X), while the digital-leaning iteration is £360. You can get your hands on one from 19 November, should you be able to snag a pre-order.
Now that we have all the prices and release dates for the next generation of consoles, are you tempted by the shiny new boxes? Are you going to hold off until the prices drop and more games come out? We asked the team where they stand on the PS5 after Sony’s latest showcase event.
The PS4 still has some impressive looking games coming its way.
The price gap between the two cheaper consoles – £110 between the Xbox Series S and the PS5 Digital Edition – could make all the difference for a lot of people. The added benefit of Game Pass for Xbox, plus the flexible pricing options mean it’s a sensible choice for most people this Christmas.
Like Liam, I’m yet to play many of the PS4’s best exclusives, and with new games still getting PS4 releases you could be better off picking up a cheaper PS4 Pro. You'd get plenty of graphical performance from cross-gen games like Forbidden West and Miles Morales, while also saving money at a time that’s tight for many.
The backpedaling, highlighted by Eurogamer, shouldn’t be missed either. Sony was clear that these new game experiences would be a generational leap, making them out of reach of the previous generation, but now they suddenly seem more achievable on the PS4. Add to that the sketchy presentation of some “exclusives” which will actually be coming to other platforms later and it represents a serious cause for concern.
If you’re dying to play the new God of War though, you can be sure that the PS5 is the fastest and highest-fidelity way to do so, which may just be enough to make it a no-brainer for you. For everyone else, a bit of patience might go a long way.
Was the PC announcement really "human error," or will the Demon's Souls remake eventually make its way to other platforms?
While paling in comparison to Xbox Game Pass, I’d argue that the PlayStation Plus Collection makes a compelling argument for upgrading to PS5 if you still need to catch up on all things PS4. Both James and Liam recommend a PS4 Pro for the time being, but you could put that money towards the PlayStation 5 instead and gain access to a library of the biggest and best PlayStation 4 games almost by default.
Exclusive games have always been what draws me towards one console or another. Opinions on games are subjective, of course, but if you’re in it for the big launch titles then PS5 is worth a pre-order for Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales alone. Learning that both of those would be available from day one convinced me to pre-order, anyway.
I still plan to buy an Xbox Series X, but I’m not looking forward to playing anything in particular on Microsoft’s next-gen console come launch day. Xbox is a far greater value proposition with Game Pass Ultimate and backwards compatibility for both software and hardware peripherals, but it just doesn’t have those big-budget titles to really draw me in from the get go.
From where I stand, whether you should purchase a PS5 depends on what appeals to you more. Is it the sizzle of exclusive games you can’t play anywhere except PlayStation? Or is it the consumer friendliness that Xbox brings to the table, albeit without much excitement.
A PlayStation Plus subscription could be an alternative way to experience classic PS4 exclusives on the latest tech.
Will you be pre-ordering a PlayStation 5? If so, which one? Let us know below or in the forums.
After much anticipation, Microsoft finally lifted the lid on its Christmas console release plans, announcing a new Xbox, the less powerful Xbox Series S, as well as the prices for both next generation consoles.
Big brother the Xbox Series X will be £449, while the Series S, which lacks a disc drive and some of the more impressive frills, costs £249.
On top of that, the Xbox All Access programme makes the barrier to owning one of these beauties lower than usual, with monthly finance options to spread the cost over two years.
So, the big question this week is: Which is the right console for you? We put our heads together to try to make sense of it all.
Is there a tiny Master Chief lurking somewhere inside the Series X amongst all that impressive tech?
James has already covered the technical specs and objectively weighed the pros and cons of each new Xbox, so I’ll mostly leave that alone.
Personally, I’ll be opting for the Xbox Series X at launch. As one of the diehards that the more powerful console is aimed at, it’s really a no-brainer. I’m someone that wants to get the most out of their game collection, and also a 4K TV owner, which makes Xbox Series X’s targeted 4K resolution a winning feature.
That being said, the Xbox Series S presents outrageously good value for money. A next generation console that costs less than the Nintendo Switch and the same as a PlayStation 4 will be too good a deal to pass up for many. Throw in the optional Xbox All Access financing plan, which includes Game Pass Ultimate and more than enough games to keep you busy, and Microsoft has somehow managed to make next-gen gaming affordable in the midst of a financial crisis.
With Apple stubbornly blocking xCloud streaming on iOS devices, I’ve been looking to buy an Android device that allows me to take Xbox gaming on the go. Since something capable usually costs more than a Series S and is subject to streaming stability, I’m considering also grabbing one of the budget-friendly consoles as a travel companion for extended time spent away from home.
Its suitcase-friendly size and low price point could make the Series S the perfect travel companion.
Considering both of my previous two Xbox consoles - a limited edition Halo 5-themed base model and a Project Scorpio edition Xbox One X - cost me 500 euros (I was living in Europe at the time of purchase), the fact that I can upgrade to a next-gen Xbox for just £249 is utterly bonkers.
Although leaks and rumours had all but confirmed the existence of the Series S before its official reveal earlier this week, I hadn’t given it much thought, and it was pretty much a given that I’d be picking up a Series X at some point.
Now, however, Microsoft have given me a real dilemma. On paper, the Series S seems like a perfect fit; it’s cheap, it’s streamlined, it’ll presumably run next-gen games just as well as the Series X (at least performance-wise) and I don’t own a 4K TV or plan on getting one any time soon. Did I mention it’s cheap?
The only caveat is the missing disc drive. Granted, I’ve not bought an Xbox game for a while thanks to Game Pass, and those I have bought were usually digital purchases picked up during a sale, but it’s a big omission for someone who likes collecting physical copies of games.
The cause of, and solution to, a lot of next-gen dilemmas.
Will you be opting for the Series S or Series X this November? Let us know your thoughts 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?
The latest State of Play was a rather toned-down affair. Sony had previously confirmed that it was, once again, all about the games, with no news on the upcoming console, but were those games enough?
Ol' Big Face returns for a walloping.
Sony’s latest State of Play was the first time I’d seen Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time in action, and I have to say it impressed me. I’m not the biggest platformer fan out there, but the lovely art-style and slick gameplay certainly has me tempted (I especially liked the gameplay changing new game+ modes). Even though it might not be a day-one purchase, the footage has got me thinking about going back and exploring a series I’ve yet to fully appreciate.
Other highlights included The Pathless. As a big fan of Abzu, I’m definitely interested in Giant Squid’s next project. The fluid traversal system, in which you hit targets with a bow to keep up momentum, looks like it’ll be incredibly satisfying, and, like Abzu, I like the whole wordless mystique surrounding the game’s setting (not to mention the adorable eagle companion and big boss battles).
I wasn’t so sure about HITMAN 3 and it’s virtual murder (a bit too grim for me), but the inclusion of VR news (and Vader Immortal) in the stream was welcome, although my last lingering hopes for a potential PS VR 2 reveal ahead of the PS5’s winter launch seem a bit fruitless at this point.
Oh, how we've missed the dulcet tones of Aku Aku.
Sony managed expectations going into its latest State of Play, though it was still somewhat underwhelming. By no means bad, but just okay.
HITMAN VR is intriguing, though since getting the supremely convenient Oculus Quest I struggle to muster much enthusiasm for PlayStation VR. Same issue with Vader Immortal, which has been available on Quest for quite some time.
When it comes to games you play on the telly, indies won the day. Braid: Anniversary Edition is the perfect reason to experience or revisit one of the inaugural indie darlings; Spelunky 2 looks like it’ll be a faithful continuation of the punishingly moreish original; meanwhile, The Pedestrian is one of those ingenious-yet-simple concepts that make you wonder “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Most of the show was dedicated to PS4, though Sony did throw us a bone with some PS5 gameplay. The Pathless looks lovely, and I appreciate the lack of a map to encourage spontaneous exploration. We finally have an idea of what Bugsnax will be outside of an internet meme as well, which might be something akin to Slime Rancher? Maybe? It wasn’t immediately clear what Hood: Outlaws & Legends is either, though it at least looks more entertaining than fellow next-gen brawler Godfall.
We're hoping for Slime Rancher meets Red Dead Redemption 2.
While the return of Crash Bandicoot seemed inevitable after he returned last year in remastered form, a title I don’t know, but have heard a fair amount about, is Braid, and that commentary track seems interesting.
Really it was the in-game, PS5 footage from The Pathless which really demanded attention by showing off a more deliberate art style, though admittedly one that is very possible on current gen, with the gameplay shown giving off a real Breath of the Wild vibe. The climactic boss battle with one of the cursed spirits in particular had a great sense of scale to it as well.
The Star Wars VR title Vader Immortal gives an impression similar to the one Star Wars Kinect did a fair while ago, which leaves me extremely sceptical. HITMAN 3 on the other hand offers a neat spin on the tried-and-tested franchise with its first-person VR perspective.
The Pokémon Snap-inspired Bugsnax is looking just as quirky as it did on first impression, though not as Pokémon derivative as TemTem. The Pedestrian fares better with its slightly overdressed puzzling and a final highlight for me was the snippet of Control’s latest expansion, which is almost enough to claw me back in...almost.
There's something familiar about The Pathless...
What did you think of last week's State of Play?
During the latest Marvel's Avengers War Table livestream, Hawkeye was announced as the first post-launch DLC character. Spider-Man has since been confirmed as a PlayStation exclusive. With a long list of other superhumans to choose from, these are the heroes (and villains) we'd like to see added next.
There's no need for myriad customisation options when you already look like this.
Liam | Damage Control
Damage Control has been around for a long time, but I only discovered the stories a couple of years ago when someone handed me a collection of comics for Christmas.
Although I was initially sceptical, it turned out stories about a company formed just to clean up the chaos caused by rampaging heroes and villains could be surprisingly entertaining, and I think the concept could work just as well (albeit as a bit of a curveball) in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers.
I don’t think it would be fair to pit a bunch of technicians and middle management up against the likes of AIM and its armies (though it could be sadistically fun!) so Damage Control missions would instead be used to break up the action, with players given the opportunity to unwind and de-clutter the ravaged streets.
Perhaps as an extra incentive to play clean up, players could uncover hidden items left behind by heroes and villains in the rubble of destroyed structures, or come across some of the more fantastical characters that crop up in Damage Control lore - such as sentient buildings that want to go travelling - and have to negotiate solutions to these types of bizarre problems.
The behind-the-scenes workers of the Marvel universe deserve more credit.
Sam | Professor X
Professor X is the eponymous leader of the X-Men and a beacon of all things good in mutantkind. Charles Xavier insists that Homo sapiens and Homo superior can coexist, despite his species’ greater power and humanity’s many flaws. If that isn't a noble enough cause to earn the Oxford graduate a place on the heroic Marvel’s Avengers roster, I don’t know what is.
Xavier would fit narratively, serving as a leader to help reunite the team during the A-Day Aftermath that’s explored within the upcoming action game. He’s also the perfect counter to leading villain M.O.D.O.K., possessing his own great intellect and suite of mental powers that are used to opposite ends.
Professor X is most commonly depicted with a disability, and keeping him confined to a wheelchair would add diversity to both the in-game representations and mechanics. Having spent the last week wreaking havoc in Destroy All Humans! (2020), it can be a lot of fun to fling enemies around telekinetically and telepathically extract brains. There’d be far fewer cranial extractions, granted, but with a little expansion on the core concept a mentally-powered combatant with limited mobility could work.
He’d especially shine in co-op, serving in a befitting support role. A more direct comparison here would be to Bleeding Edge healer Zero Cool, who also occupies a chair, if this time entirely by choice.
Few heroes are better suited to taking on the mind-bending M.O.D.O.K.
James | Gambit
Unloved in the cinematic world and a fairly consistent background player in video games over the years, the X-men’s other gruff-voiced loner, Gambit, could be a fun - if unlikely - powerset to throw into the Avengers’ mix.
Given the characters already on the team, Gambit could be a quieter presence, almost a Solid Snake-like presence to tackle a more covert type of mission, on the Black Widow end of the spectrum, compared to the bombastic action of The Hulk or Iron Man.
You might think it’s all about throwing a few playing cards around, but in fact, Gambit’s ability to turn potential energy into kinetic energy could be applied to almost anything. It could be difficult to balance without breaking the game, presenting a challenge for developer Crystal Dynamics, but could make for some really interesting gameplay.
How well he’d play when teaming up with the rest of the group could be interesting too, combining with other powers, and we know from the trailers alone there’s plenty of story time when the group aren’t diving into battle, which could bring an interesting twist to the story side of the game as well.
A fan-favourite hero for many from back in the 90s cartoon days, this could be Gambit’s chance to get some time in the spotlight.
It's been too long since Gambit had a chance to shine.
Who would you like to see added to Marvel's Avengers?