First Impressions


Rituro-Active
Jagged Alliance: Flashback
Alpha First Impressions

By Rituro - October 6th, 2014

The year is 1988. On the Caribbean island of San Hermanos, a ruthless dictator has finally arrested the leader of the rebels. All seems lost…until you and your rag-tag band of mercenaries arrive. That sounds like as familiar and standard an entry as any in the Jagged Alliance series. You could apply that same description almost word-for-word to the fight against Santino (JA1) or Deidranna (JA2) and nobody would bat an eye. That’s a good sign for developers Full Control, who are aiming to take Jagged Alliance back to its roots with a prequel to JA1 entitled Jagged Alliance: Flashback.

Full Control come to this project by way of Kickstarter, having successfully raised enough funds to purchase the rights to the game and attract former JA2 designer Chris Camfield. They’ll need Camfield’s help, too, as there will no doubt be some serious expectations from the JA fans who put more than $350,000 in the hands of the Danish developers. Thankfully, Full Control have some experience in the realm of pleasing strict turn-based strategy fans – they were the team behind Space Hulk, a game I was generally positive on. If nothing else, Full Control’s work on Space Hulk proved they can handle the pressure of taking a licensed product and recreating it faithfully. That’s a key skill to have wading into the eel-infested waters of Jagged Alliance. Back in September, the team made the trek to Gamescom and showed off an alpha build. I was lucky enough to get a chance to fool around with that alpha build through Steam’s Early Access. Here are my first impressions in convenient video form (click above).


Events
X14
Sunset Overdrive – Initial Impressions

By Evan Bergstra - September 24th, 2014

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You know how action movies and comedies tend to be pretty formulaic, but consumers keep going to see the same recycled content anyway? People like to stick with what they know, and studios like placing safe bets. Generally speaking, games are often designed with the same approach. The aesthetic and story will try to be sufficiently distinguishable to have a hook, but the overall experience will mirror many games that preceded it. It’s especially nice, then, when a studio takes more of a risk and builds something that taps into several genres rather than one, and here is where we get to my subject. At this year’s Xbox Media Showcase I was treated to the first 40 minutes of Sunset Overdrive and then chatted a bit with Marcus Smith from Insomniac Games. Both experiences were quite pleasant.

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Events
X14
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved

By Seán O'Sullivan - September 20th, 2014

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Events like X14 aren’t ideal for Kinect music games – the attendees are generally a bunch of awkward, uncoordinated games journalists, and it’s generally difficult to not feel goofy when flailing in front of a TV – let alone when the ambient racket makes it impossible to hear what exactly you’re supposed to be gyrating along to. Somehow, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved rose above these elements to impress upon me that this is a musical toy box that provides a more intense ‘hit’ of Disney Magic™ than any piece of media in recent memory.

I got a quick hands-off tour of the Xbox One version.

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Events
X14
Interview With Jon Knoles

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 19th, 2014

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I really loved Forza Horizon when it came out almost 2 years ago. At X14, the Xbox media preview event, along with the normal stand-up game stations, there was a nice living room-like setup with some gaming stations loaded up with Forza Horizon 2. I sat down and played it for a while, and had even more fun than I did when I tried it at Fan Expo last month. Later on, I got to hang out with Jon Knoles from Turn 10 Studios and chat a little bit about the game.

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Events
X14
Evan’s Recap

By Evan Bergstra - September 18th, 2014

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I’m always pretty happy to be invited somewhere and be fed snacks and beer while being treated to something I would have paid for. You can imagine, then, that the X14 Xbox Media Showcase wasn’t exactly a chore for me. On September 10th I showed up to what is usually a meat-market type of nightclub that had been delightfully transformed into a slick, dark, Xbox-branded playground for gamers. At least 50 consoles were set up around the space and there were dozens of games to play. I only had a couple of hours to soak it all up so there were plenty of great titles I missed, but this was my overall takeaway.

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Events
X14
Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 17th, 2014

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Jamie Tucker and Matt Hammill from Asteroid Base.

There were a lot of AAA games on the floor at X14 (Microsoft’s holiday preview event); however, there were also a lot of indie games on display as well. ID@Xbox allows developers of all sizes to self-publish their games digitally, opening up a world of awesome on the Xbox platforms. One of the developers at X14 was Asteroid Base, a cool little Toronto-based outfit that is working on a really great couch-coop game called Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime. Evan and I had a brief discussion about our experience this week. We figured that you might want to take a gander at what we said in our brief conversation.

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Events
X14
Fable Legends – First Impressions

By Jorge Figueiredo - September 16th, 2014

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The Fable series has always been a lot like Madonna – constantly reinventing itself. I was never the biggest fan of the original games, but I enjoyed playing them when I could get my hands on them and I really enjoyed the departure that was Fable: The Journey. Lionhead Studios is changing the game yet again with the upcoming Fable Legends. I got a chance to hang out with some of the Devs from Lionhead at X14 to learn more about this interesting new twist as well as take part in what was a very fun role.

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