Turn-based strategy game Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground will be releasing May 27th on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One, according to publisher Focus Home Interactive and developer Gasket Games.
I’ll be honest, they had my attention at ‘Warhammer’ and it being a turn-based strategy game doesn’t hurt either. Adding in CCG (collectible card game) mechanics ratchets things up another notch… Customizable troops? Ok just take my money!
It doesn’t hurt that the game looks pretty sweet to boot. Check out the trailer about the Maggotkin of Nurgle, one of the game’s three factions, and watch for more on this one after it hits retail.
The HITMAN 3 release date on Nintendo Switch has been confirmed, and owners of Nintendo’s ‘sometimes portable, sometimes not’ console hybrid will be able to enjoy the neck-snapping, body-hiding fun of HITMAN 3 on January 20th alongside the other versions.
This release is a bit different from most, however, with the game only available via cloud streaming. This will mostly impact those of you who want to play on the go, as you’ll have to tether your Switch to a mobile WiFi signal – your phone for example – if you want to get your game on. It’s not clear how much data streaming HITMAN 3 will take up, but expect it to burn though Canada’s mobile data caps fairly quickly.
This ‘cloud-only’ release scheme is still unusual, done for the first time to get Control to run on Nintendo’s lower-powered hardware. I would expect it to become more common in the future, however, especially any time games are being ported from next-gen hardware. It’s an interesting idea, and it did allow the Switch to have the honour of being the first console to have raytracing in Control…
Here’s the trailer for the game. I’m looking forward to jumping into the dangerous world of Agent 47 day one. HITMAN 3 releases on all platforms on January 20th.
I was a big fan of Evolve, one of the first games to take a crack at the ‘4-vs-1’ asymmetrical playstyle, but that gameplay just never really caught on with a wide audience. Since then, however, we’ve seen that audiences are ready for a non-traditional multiplayer experience and games like Among Us, Dead by Daylight, and Friday the 13th have proven asymmetrical play can catch on.
Enter Monstrum 2, which is set to enter Steam’s Early Access program at the end of the month. Following up on the 2015 original, which was a single player game with roguelike elements, the developers at Junkfish have veered off into asymmetrical multiplayer this time around.
Up to five players can take part in the game’s tense ‘prisoners vs monster’ scenario, where the prisoners seek to escape a research facility in the middle of the ocean while the monster tries to…well, do what monsters do.
Scaling difficulty and procedurally generated facility layouts should help keep gamers coming back, the tough part is getting them to try it in the first place. The battle for hearts and minds beings with an open beta that will run January 23-24th, with the game hitting Steam’s Early Access program on January 28th.
Here’s the press release:
Monstrum 2 arises from the watery depths to enter Steam Early Access on January 28th 2021
Brand-new trailer reveals the Malacosm. Open Beta weekend January 23-24
13th January 2021– BAFTA-nominated and Dundee-based developer Junkfish is excited to announce that Monstrum 2, the asymmetric survival-horror game, will enter Steam Early Access on January 28th 2021.
The multiplayer sequel to the cult-favourite original, Monstrum 2 features new monsters, new puzzles, and new procedurally-generated environments, as up to four prisoners attempt to escape Sparrow Lock, a sea-stranded research facility, from one of its monstrous experiments.
Will you escape Sparrow Lock?
As a prisoner, explore Sparrow Lock to clear obstacles, unlock new areas, and find useful items which can help you outwit the monster. But remember: stay hidden and out of sight. If spotted, you’ll enter an intense game of cat-and-mouse, vaulting and sliding your way to safety if you hope to survive the chase.
Combining first-person stealth gameplay with a puzzle-first focus on survival horror, players will need to strategise a means of escape together, rather than confronting the monster head-on. With scalable difficulty adjusting to the number of players and procedurally generated layouts, traps, rooms, and puzzles, no playthrough will be the same!
Or relish the thrill of the hunt?
Master three distinct monsters when Monstrum 2 launches on Steam Early Access, each with their own unique unique abilities and playstyle. Smash through walls, climb on ceilings, leap across distances, or teleport to your prey. Each monster leverages the environment in unique ways to ambush unsuspecting players.
Revealed in the brand-new trailer today, players will be able to terrify their competition with the Malacosm; a molluscan, Lovecraftian nightmare. Place locator traps to damage prisoners and teleport across the map, phase through walls, and take a glimpse through your prey’s eyes with the clairvoyance skill for a hint to where they’re hiding.
Open Beta Weekend In anticipation of launch, Monstrum 2 will also receive an Open Beta weekend on January 23-24. Join on Steam to be among the first to scavenge the depths of Sparrow Lock and all the horror contained within…
With just nine days until the launch of HITMAN 3, IO Interactive has unveiled the rest of the game’s six locations. Agent 47’s globetrotting murder parade will span three continents in the new game, let’s see what they are.
First up is Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Agent 47 will explore the inner and outer workings of the newest Dubai attraction: the world’s tallest building.
I imagine someone’s going for a fall…
Next up is Dartmoor in the United Kingdom, where 47 will infiltrate the police force as they investigate a murder at Thornbridge Manor. Taking on the role of a detective, players can choose to solve the murder or eliminate their target or maybe even both?
Whatever you decide, next up is a trip to the land of beer and pretzels: Germany! Expect to see a lot of Berlin’s night life, though how much you leave alive is – as always – entirely up to you.
With the game half-over, it’s time to head to the Far East and Chongqing, China. This megacity is jammed with lights, colours, and people – all things that make it harder for someone looking to be stealthy…
Trading out the urban environment for a far more rural vista, Agent 47 heads to South America next to explore Mendoza, Argentina. Vineyards provide a lot of cover, and there’s no end to the wine…
Rounding things out is a trip to Romania, where Agent 47 will wrap up the game in the Carpathian Mountains. After HITMAN 2 ended on a huge revelation it’ll be interesting to see if this new iteration wraps up a bit more neatly…
HITMAN 3 will be available on 20 January 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia and PC. HITMAN 3 will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, playable via cloud streaming technology.
The Waylanders started out Early Access in really good shape, but the team at Gato Salvaje Studio continues to follow their pre-release road map with the second of three planned winter updates.
This update will bring with it a photo mode, easily my favourite non-gameplay addition to any game. The mode looks slick, and I’m eager to get my hands on it.
Here’s the press release:
The Waylanders Adds Photo Mode and Expands Character Origins in Early Access Update
New Early Access update adds expanded character origin videos, new photo mode, bug fixes, and more improvements requested by the community.
A Coruña, Spain — Jan 11, 2020 – In the second of their three winter updates, Gato Salvaje Studio has added new origin story videos for each character option to their myth-filled RPG, The Waylanders. Each of the eight new origin videos expands on a character’s background and explores different facets of the world of The Waylanders.
“The Waylanders has been heavily influenced by many of the best RPGs we’ve played over the last few decades. Part of creating a character shouldn’t just be what they look like, but also where they’re from and how they tie into the story you’re about to jump into.” said Gato Salvaje Studio Creative Director, Serio Prieto. “Assuming your character hasn’t just sprung into existence, they should feel as if they’re part of the world. These new origins give our community deeper insight into not only the world we’re building, but also how history weaves together with myth in The Waylanders.”
The Immersion Update is the second of the three planned updates for The Waylanders this winter. Team as shown on the game’s Winter Roadmap. Coming updates planned for January will continue to implement community feedback, and add localization for the game in Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, German, Simplified Chinese, Russian, and Galician.
I have to admit I didn’t foresee HITMAN supporting VR, but the new gameplay trailer from IO Interactive reveals exactly that.
The trailer – check it out here – makes it look great, which has me curious as to how it’ll play on PS VR. Situational awareness has always been key for Hitman, so restricting your view would up the challenge significantly.
HITMAN 3 arrives January 20th on PS4 and PS5, Xbox One and the Xbox Series consoles, Google Stadia, and PC. The game will also arrive on Nintendo Switch, playable using cloud streaming tech.
If you’re interested, HITMAN and HITMAN 2 are both on sale on assorted platforms and the games will import into HITMAN 3 so it’s a great time to jump into the whole franchise.
Here’s the press release:
HITMAN 3 VR Gameplay Trailer Revealed
New Trailer Reveals Key Details about IO Interactive introducing VR to the World of Assassination trilogy
HITMAN 3 takes immersion to the next level with PS VR. HITMAN has always been about immersing yourself in a living, breathing world. A world filled to the brim with interesting characters, secrets, and opportunities. But you’ve never experienced it like this.
HITMAN 3 will be available on 20 January 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Google Stadia and PC. HITMAN 3 will also be coming to Nintendo Switch, playable via cloud streaming technology. Pre-order today for access to the Trinity Pack, a celebration of the World of Assassination.
About IO Interactive IO Interactive is an independent videogame development and publishing studio with offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. As the creative force behind some of the most talked-about multiplatform videogames in the last decade, IOI is dedicated to creating unforgettable characters and experiences using their award-winning proprietary Glacier technology. IO Interactive are developing and publishing the very first James Bond origin story with the working title Project 007. For more information, visit: https://ioi.dk.
ROCKFISH Games struck gold with EVERSPACE, a single-player space shooter that used roguelike elements to keep gamers coming back, but they’re not content to just mine the same vein with the sequel.
Instead, the indie developer will be moving to an open-world space shooter design for EVERSPACE 2, and will be using fan feedback to influence the ongoing development via Early Access on Steam and the GOG Games in Development program.
The Early Access launch will include HOTAS support, for those with flight sticks, allowing even better control over your chosen craft. EVERSPACE 2 might be a year or more out from full release, but the game looks gorgeous and – based on hands-on time with early preview code – plays very smoothly as well.
Here’s the press release:
EVERSPACE 2 Early Access Set for January 18, 2021
Alongside the upcoming Steam Early Access launch, EVERSPACE™ 2 will also arrive on the GOG Games in Development program.
Hamburg, Germany – January 5, 2021 – ROCKFISH Games has announced their highly anticipated upcoming single-player space looter shooter EVERSPACE™ 2 will arrive in Steam Early Access and the GOG Games in Development program on January 18, 2021. Priced at €37.99 / $39.99 / £31.99, the game will launch in English with professional voice acting for the first 12+ hours of the story campaign and several side missions that take place in the first two star systems of the final game. The initial version will be good for at least 25 hours of gameplay, while introducing pilots to EVERSPACE 2’s core gameplay mechanics of space combat, exploration, mining, puzzle-solving, traveling, trading, itemization, crafting, ship customization, player and companion perks as well as five different player ship subclasses.
The full version for PC, including Mac and native Linux support, will be released at a reasonably increased price in the first half of 2022 and come with UI and text language support for German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Russian, simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
“After multiple rounds of community testing by some 2,000 players, and great feedback from various gaming outlets and content creators on the closed Beta, EVERSPACE 2 is ready for Early Access. We can’t wait to receive feedback on the initial release version from space game enthusiasts on Steam and GOG,” says Michael Schade, CEO & co-founder of ROCKFISH Games. “Of course, the game is far from being finished. On top of the two star systems EVERSPACE 2 pilots will be able to explore in Early Access at launch, we plan to have four to six more as well as several additional player ship subclasses beyond the Interceptor, Sentinel, Striker, Gunship, and Scout at launch, to be gradually added on a quarterly basis. In the final game, players will also be able to enjoy twice as much story content plus lots of worthwhile endgame activities. We look forward to working closely with our community over the course of the next 12 to 18 months to make an outstanding narrative-driven open-world space looter shooter.”
Also, due to high demand from hardcore space simulation fans, the Early Access version of EVERSPACE™ 2 will offer fully configurable HOTAS support and presets for popular Logitech and Thrustmaster joysticks hardware setups.
EVERSPACE™ 2 can be wishlisted on Steam where the initial prototype version of the game is also available as a free demo. On GOG, the game can be wishlisted here.
About ROCKFISH Games GmbH ROCKFISH Games is a 100% independent game studio specializing in high-quality Unreal Engine 4 action video games for PC and consoles. Industry veterans Michael Schade and Christian Lohr founded ROCKFISH Games to create a new breed of adrenalin-filled adventures for space shooter fans through their acclaimed EVERSPACE™ IP. After spending over 20 years as joint entrepreneurs in the 3D graphics and mobile gaming space, Schade and Lohr built ROCKFISH Games from the ground up alongside a small team of veteran developers to the current studio of 25 cherry-picked developers and community experts from across the industry.
Using Kickstarter as a platform to build a new community in 2015, ROCKFISH Games reached a runaway success with EVERSPACE™, which has sold over two million copies on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. Building on this success and propelled by yet another wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019, ROCKFISH Games is dedicated to crafting a true next-gen open-world space shooter experience driven by quality storytelling as an open-development project together with space action aficionado from around the globe in their upcoming title, EVERSPACE™ 2.
I wanted to do a ‘Games of the Year’ list because I love the idea of talking about games I loved in what was – in most ways – a brutal year out to wear us down at every turn, but I realized early into the planning that it had to be different.
For the most part, this is a one-man operation and, while I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate more of my free time to gaming than a lot of people, I still need to pay the bills, play ball and hockey (not so much this year), and spend time with the family – so there are only so many games I can play in a year.
Let’s be super clear about it and hopefully fend off all the ‘what about [GAME X]’ questions: this is MY favourite games of 2020, not YOUR favourite games of 2020. You can have a different opinion and that’s ok. Maybe you played games I didn’t – maybe you were luckier than I was and got your hands on a PS5, for example – or maybe I played games that you didn’t.
Basically just don’t be this kid:
My Favourite Action Role Playing Game:
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Valhalla somehow manages to be both enormous and gorgeous, with a sprawling world full of unique experiences that never stopped amazing me through over 80 hours of gameplay. Changing the series over to a much more open-world RPG was a gamble for Ubisoft, but I’ve loved the new focus that started with Origins and I’m on board for whatever the future brings.
Eivor is a great character, and that holds true no matter which version you choose to tackle the story with. There’s not as much stealth here as fans of the ‘classic’ Assassin’s Creed might want, but the sprawling skill tree does allow you to spec your character into a one-shot murder machine if you’d like.
It’s also worth noting that there are a slew of options here for customization and accessibility, including things like independent difficulty levels for stealth and combat.
Runner Up:Mortal Shell
Mortal Shell – reviewed here – is the debut effort by Cold Symmetry and what a debut it is. They’ve supported the game well post-release and I can’t wait to see what’s next from this dev team.
My Favourite Role Playing Game:
I love an RPG where the decisions you make have consequences, and Wasteland 3 hammers that home early and often. Couple that with enough character build options to make Elon Musk second-guess himself and I’m in heaven. I’m positive I set a new ‘restart to try something new’ record on this game, finally eclipsing the previous mark set by Divinity: Original Sin 2, and there are still some weird character builds and party comps that I’d love to try one day…
Like Divinity, this isn’t a game that takes itself seriously 24/7 and I’m here for it.
Runner Up: Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
I backed Pillars of Eternity way back in the day and I’m delighted the sequel – which I finally got a chance to play when it hit console this year – kept to that more traditional ‘Baldur’s Gate’ style. An amazing setting, strong dialog, and a plot with a credible threat made the choice between this or Wasteland 3 far more difficult than I thought it’d be.
My Favourite Adventure Game:
Kentucky Route Zero
I’ve been hearing about Kentucky Route Zero for over a decade, starting with the crowd-funding efforts and ratcheting up every time a new act was released, and to be honest, I really wasn’t all that into it. Even when it released in full and a friend who loved it tried to sell me on the game, I just didn’t get it.
But I tried it anyway, and yeah – it’s fantastic.
This isn’t a very traditional game. It seems to start out that way, but holy cow does it go places and I’m not sure I can explain why it’s so special. As you’ve probably figured out from previous ‘Favourite Game’ selections, I love it when my choices matter, and that trend continues here, but Kentucky Route Zero’s choices are almost entirely conversational in nature.
There’s no way to optimize your playthrough because there is no ‘right’ answer. Any choice you make, because you made it, becomes the ‘right’ answer and this is explored in so many weird and inventive ways.
Runner Up: Star Wars: Squadrons
Electronic Arts landed the Star Wars license in 2013 but struggled with the weight of that fan favourite property until Fallen Order released in late 2019. Squadrons shows that wasn’t a one-off fluke, with a campaign that’s a lot of fun and multiplayer battles that bring back memories of X-Wing vs TIE Fighter.
It’s a 1997 game, kids. Look it up.
My Favourite Action Game
I came around on roguelikes in the 12-18 months, and I’m not sure if that’s because I changed as a person or if the games have changed.
Every playthrough of Hades is different and some runs are harder than others, but they’re all a ton of fun. The dialog is great, something that’s been improving in roguelikes – see I told you they were the ones changing – and I love the relationship building that every failed run brings with it.
That’s huge because it took me about 25 runs to finally succeed. After you finally escape? It’s the staggering number of boons and weapons that bring you back for another run and another run, etc…
There aren’t many games out there that are this close to perfect.
Runner Up: Ghost of Tsushima
I wasn’t sold on Ghost of Tsushima early on, read my review here, but Sucker Punch has put out patches at a frantic clip – adding multiplayer, New Game+ mode, and a wealth of quality of life improvements – and it’s now the kind of game I expected at launch.
My Favourite Platformer
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Though it originally launched in March, Ori and the Will of the Wisps got a rebirth of sorts as one of the ‘showpiece’ games for the Xbox Series X launch and holy cow does that game look amazing in 4K HDR at 60 fps. The graphics, the sound, the environments, the weapons, the traversal…Moon Studios is perfect across the board.
The greatest thing about Ori and the Will of the Wisps is that you can put aside the way they absolutely nailed everything else and still love this game for the story alone. A platformer with a story as nuanced as the much-heralded Spec Ops: The Line?
Runner Up: Spelunky 2
Pixel-perfect controls, fun gameplay, and every bit as difficult as the original. I don’t think I have to say anything else do I?
My Favourite Fighting Game
Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate
Slick combos, great graphics, and a roster of characters that’s close to perfect. NetherRealm Studios has done a great job of working to keep everyone happy, whether they want to fight the CPU or other players. I’m a ‘grind out wins against the CPU’ guy, personally, and I couldn’t be happier about having a nearly endless supply of single-player content available.
Runner Up: Them’s Fightin’ Herds
I gave this weird little fighter a chance based off hearing impressions on a podcast, and I’m glad I did. It’s got next to nothing in terms of roster, but the four-button fighting is fun and that’s what matters.
My Favourite Simulation Game
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Though MS Flight Sim gives you literally the whole world to explore, like most people my first flight was to see where I grew up. After that I broadened my horizons, checking out nearby landmarks before expanding to different provinces, countries, and continents.
On the advice of a friend who’s a commercial pilot, I checked out Trinidad’s airport and the surrounding areas. My kids watched Madagascar, then asked me if we could fly there.
The only thing more incredible than the game is the timing of its release. In a year where we can’t go anywhere, MS Flight Sim gave us the world.
Runner Up: Two Point Hospital
Fun game with solid hospital building and hilarious diseases to cure. Reminds me a lot of Theme Hospital.
My Favourite Ongoing Game
My schedule doesn’t typically allow me to stick with games for more than a month or two unless they’re special, and I’ve been playing Fortnite every single week – albeit in varying amounts – for three years now.
I’m still a terrible builder but I find the game a lot of fun on a casual ‘really only care about getting one win in a season for the umbrella’ level, and the crossovers they’ve done are just incredible. Look back even a year ago and who would have ever expected to see Star Wars, Marvel, Halo, God of War, and Ghostbusters characters in the same game?
Adding to that are the season-ending events, the ‘live’ concerts, and other attempts to push Fortnite from being a game to being a platform. I’m curious to see where this goes next. How close can Epic get this to being Ready Player One’s Oasis?
Runner Up: Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone doesn’t have the hold on me that PUBG once did, or that Fortnite still does, but I’m still taking up precious SSD space on the Series X to keep it available for those ‘I have to play this’ urges. I love the feel of the guns, but the mode just hasn’t grabbed me the way Fortnite has.
My Favourite Mobile Game
This is a gorgeous game that has a lot to offer if you can avoid falling into the gacha loot frenzy. It’s one of the few mobile games I play for more than 15-20 minutes in a stretch, thanks to the beautiful open world and the fun combat.
Runner Up: AFK Arena
A friend got me hooked on this one and I’m still playing. It’s harder to love as a free-to-play gamer, but it’s perfect for me ‘five minutes of play during downtime’ mobile play style. If you play, check Reddit for redemption codes good for free gems and characters.
My Favourite Racing Game
Codemasters pushes away from the hardcore simulation side a bit more with Dirt 5, which opens the game to a bit wider audience. Great graphics and a silky-smooth 120 fps mode help make this feel more next-gen than I’d expected.
Runner Up: Forza Horizon 4
Playing the enhanced version of this on Series X, it’s hard to believe this game came out two years ago on a last-gen system. Playground Games has set the bar incredibly high, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the new hardware.
A free content update for The Falconeer drops this morning. The update, called ‘The Kraken’ adds new diving and exploration missions, as well as new locations. New tutorials will help onboard new players, and quality of life changes will help keep them playing.
I really liked The Falconeer when it launched – read my review here – and I’m looking forward to jumping back in to see the new content later today.
The Waylanders, a party-based roleplaying game (RPG) from Spanish indie developers Gato Studio, has just released a new update with sweeping changes to combat systems and a rebalancing of equipment stats.
The game had my attention as soon as it was announced it would have five base classes and 30 advanced classes, and the continued improvements to the game – currently available as part of the Steam Early Access and GOG Games in Development programs – are keeping that interest.
The latest update, dubbed the ‘Community Update’ because it pulls heavily from feedback and bug reports made by players, sees the dev team review every encounter in Act 1 of the game based on that feedback. But while balance changes will make battles more challenging, they’ve also revamped the full equipment list in an across-the-board change that drops max level from 25 to 10.
If that sounds like a nerf, it’s anything but as equipment keeps the same range spread, so every level is now a much more sizable boost. They’ve also changed the stat names from Intuition and Logic to the more easily understood Offensive, for those affecting damage of attacks and abilities, or Utility, for those that affect healing and damage over time.
Having trouble understanding how some abilities work? There’s been additional information added on that front as well, to help players make the best use of each action.
All that, plus over 150 bugs fixed? If you haven’t checked out The Waylanders yet, maybe it’s time. It’s on sale for 15% off on Steam until January 5th.