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GTA V gameplay trailer is why are you still reading this?

I’ll say this for Rockstar Games – they’re masters of stringing you along, this is known; but when they deliver, boy do they deliver.

It looks…well, it looks fantastic. The graphics are good, it looks like they’ve put some thought into improving the mechanics, and the world…you know, the worlds GTA’s given us over the years were always the biggest draw for me. Whether it was the keen sense of satire around the inhabitants, the abundance of tucked-away easter eggs and other secrets or the simply staggering attention to detail, there was nothing I enjoyed more than getting up to speed in Rockstar’s Bizarro metropolises. And I absolutely cannot wait to sink my teeth into this one.

It’s either a testament to the reputation Rockstar’s built for itself or to my unashamed status as a GTA fanboy (or both), but I was grinning before I even clicked ‘play’. That grin stayed on my face throughout, except for all the times my jaw dropped; and there were quite a few of those. I’ll probably take a more in-depth look at the snippets the trailer reveals, but right now, I’m just going to watch it a few more times and try to hold back my growing conviction that Rockstar’s done it again.

Somewhere between joyful and peachy? Sounds about right.

Assassin’s Creed IV will fly the flag for the Golden Age of Piracy

It’s not much of a leap to link pirates with the Assassins, and this trailer does so rather straightforwardly. Disenchantment with order, devotion to freedom (and debauchery), and a certain predilection for pointed objects – they’re all present and accounted for. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag will apparently show us the “true story” of the pirates, “rough and unvarnished”. (The story, that is, not the pirates. You can’t varnish a pi- well, I wouldn’t want to be the one to try it, anyway.)

If you’re detecting a certain lack of excitement in these quarters, you’d be right. As a longtime Assassin’s Creed fan, I just can’t bring myself to get too worked up about this installment. After the agony and the ecstasy (mostly agony, though) of Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft’s next game really needed to sing a redemption song to get the franchise back on track. Instead, what we’re getting is another one-year-later sequel; but what’s worse is that it’s got a ‘IV’ tacked on to the end. Is Black Flag really going to be the bold next step for the franchise? When you consider that Brotherhood, ground-breaking in so many ways, didn’t get that honour, you have to wonder. I loved the naval combat in Assassin’s Creed III, but I don’t think that doubling down on one of the shining lights in an otherwise broken game is the way forward for Assassin’s Creed. Hopefully, Ubisoft and Edward Kenway will prove me wrong when Black Flag launches on October 29th.

Saint’s Row IV gameplay proves that laws don’t apply to the President, especially those of physics

Just a couple of days after Saint’s Row IV announced itself with dignity and grace (HAHA, no) comes our first look at the gameplay. Enjoy almost 7 minutes of Presidential carnage above!

I’ve gotta say, it doesn’t look much different from III graphically. There are already many people questioning why this couldn’t just be a large expansion instead of a full-fledged sequel, and I don’t see this video doing anything to silence them. Still, it looks to have inherited its predecessor’s absurdly manic notion of fun – even if it’s looking like I’ll have to endure a fair amount of dubstep if I’m going to play this game. 2013’s shaping up to be a stellar year for fans of open-world games with this, GTA V, Assassin’s Creed IV and Arkham Origins all on the horizon.

With great dubstep comes great responsibility, Mr. President – meet Saint’s Row IV

Oh God.

So, you remember how Saint’s Row III was pretty crazy, right? So it appears Volition’s decided that the best way to take Saint’s Row forward was to make the leader of the Saints the leader of the free world, give him aliens to fight and superpowers to fight them with.

I’m supposed to write words about this. Intelligent and meaningful words that will make you feel something about this game, about this franchise, or maybe even about the state of gaming in the world today.

Instead, all I can muster is ‘what is this I don’t even’.

If you’d like some bat-shit insanity with your thoughtful political commentary, Saint’s Row IV assumes office on August 20th.

0:49 made me laugh out loud. Even he seems embarrassed by that getup!

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is out today, here’s a video to show you why you should play it

Far Cry 3 did set the the bar fairly high when it came to developer diaries, but Blood Dragon simply smashes it out of the park. It’s not often a developer walkthrough manages to drop my jaw, but this one managed it on multiple occasions. If you’re still on the fence about Blood Dragon, watch this – you might love it, you might hate it, but it’ll definitely leave an impression.

Get to know Michael, Franklin and Trevor in these new GTA V trailers

Open-world action games are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s just something about GTA. Whether its the impeccable song choices, the scathing social commentary or just some brilliant writing, there’s a flavour to a Grand Theft Auto game that’s all its own. And these trailers have it in spades.

Franklin’s arc looks set to be a return to the war between Grove Street and the Ballas that featured prominently in San Andreas, while Trevor…is almost certainly insane. In a good way. There’s a man who’s clearly read How To Win Friends And Influence People. Despite Franklin and Trevor each being callbacks to earlier GTAs in their own way, I have to say that the one I’m most interested in right now is Michael. The Ulysses character is nothing new, but in the hands of Rockstar? It could be something great.

5…months…more.

The Dark Knight returns in 2013 with Batman: Arkham Origins

Game Informer’s May cover story has been revealed to be Batman: Arkham Origins. The official announcement says:

As the title suggests, the game takes place years before both of the previous Arkham titles when a young, unrefined Batman encounters many supervillains for the first time. On our full cover image below, fans will recognize the assassin Deathstroke, who appears for the very first time in a core Arkham game.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Rocksteady Studios isn’t making Arkham Origins (!) – Warner Bros. Games Montreal will be taking the reins on this one.
  2. Eight of the world’s foremost assassins have come to Gotham City on Christmas Eve for caroling to kill the Bat (and then maybe caroling).
  3. Arkham Origins will be the first Arkham game to actually take place on the streets of Gotham (as mentioned in the developer video I’ve embedded after the break).
  4. Batman: Arkham Origins will release on October 25th for the Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

There’s a lot to talk about here. No Rocksteady, and no Paul Dini? That’s worrying enough, but when you consider that the man tasked with “heading up the vision for Arkham Origins” is Eric Holmes, best known for “being the lead designer of open world action hits The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and Prototype” – that, right there, is when I started to worry. Still, as long as they don’t deviate too much from the foundation that Rocksteady’s laid down, we’ll get a good game.

Another sour note rings out, however – Mark Hamill’s stated that he’s done voicing the Joker, which leaves two possibilities. We’ll either be getting a prequel Arkham game with a ‘young, unrefined’ Batman that will not feature the Clown Prince; or, somebody new will step into Hamill’s cavernous shoes. Neither of those prospects is terribly appealing. Still, Deathstroke could be an extremely capable Big Bad if given the right treatment, and he’s been sorely under-used so far.

Personally, I’m finding the lack of any mention of next-gen platforms to be rather interesting. Of course, they could be saving that for a later announcement – maybe sometime next month? – but it does leave the door open for a Rocksteady-made Arkham City sequel for next-gen consoles, which would be…eggcellent.

Of course, we then run the risk of Bat-saturation (baturation?) but that’s chance I’m willing to take.

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It’s okay to stare at the official cover art for Grand Theft Auto V

Cha-ching.

If that isn’t one of the most iconic cover styles in gaming, I don’t know what is. Oh September, you just can’t get here fast enough.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is now official, here’s the debut trailer

Bringing to an end one of the lengthier sagas in video game announcements, a bandage-swaddled Hideo Kojima took to the stage at GDC to officially announce Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The above trailer features footage from both the earlier Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes trailers, confirming that both ‘games’ were merely smokescreens. Kojima also played through a section of the tutorial on stage, which I’ve linked to here:

Click on past the break for a rundown on everything we know about Metal Gear Solid V.

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17 minutes of explosive Battlefield 4 gameplay is (totally) eclipsed by Bonnie Tyler

Look, EA, DICE, whoever – I’m willing to buy that Battlefield 4’s spec ops dudes have been throwing themselves off buildings for years, until they’ve built up an immunity towards fall damage and can treat a collapsing factory roof as nothing more than a mild annoyance. I can also believe that – in a touching homage to those fallen G.I. Joes at the back of the cupboard – these fine soldiers now come with detachable limbs that can be severed with merely a flick of a (friendly) knife, thus making battlefield – hah – surgeries but a moment’s work.

But do you really expect me to believe that these men, these highly trained professionals, can’t turn a goddamn radio off?

That’s the sort of rookie mistake that Call of Duty wouldn’t make, you mark my words.

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