Articles tagged with quantic dream

EGX 2017 Impressions:
Sony, Sega and (Ubi)Soft
Posted by Mark at 19:54

The Sony booth this year is the home of the Annual Update Games- specifically, FIFA and Call of Duty, with the more interesting games hidden behind them.

Notable also is the amount of space dedicated to Sony's desperate attempts to make Playstation VR a thing, including a massive VR helmet which makes the booth look like a Daft Punk tribute to Planet Of The Apes.

Like Nintendo's booth, it's full of titles that are already out, like expandalone Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Star Wars licence Battlefront II, inexplicable sequel Knack 2 and microtransaction shitfest Everybody's Golf. Some smaller new titles which were also there included Hob, which is a top-down-ish adventure game where you play as a guy with a massive hand, which he uses to solve puzzles in order to gradually unlock a tower by rotating bits of it.

I've not explained that very well. It does, however, look like what Knack was probably meant to, so there's that.

We saw Monster Hunter Stories on 3DS yesterday and today we say Monster Hunter World on PS4. A more 'curated' demo than its handheld counterpart, this does a much better job of explaining its mechanics and objectives- although this could also be related to the presence of Scoutflies, which effectively point out everything of vague interest to progressing through the mission.

The initial mission offered sees you trying to hunt a monster by first having some footprints drawn to your attention, then a scrape on the ground that the game nicely describes as "skidmarks", then another footprint and another until eventually the Scoutflies form a trail to follow to the monster. This is one of the new features added to make the game more accessible to people less familiar with the series, but it feels that it could turn the game into a box-checking exercise.

There was also Ni No Kuni II, which looks as pretty as you'd expect. The battle system can be a bit chaotic during boss fights, but it seems to work quite nicely in battles against smaller enemies in the world.

Also present was David Cage's new title Detroit: Become Human, which I didn't get the chance to watch today- although I did overhear one of the reps on the booth send one of the professional cosplayers they had manning the booth on their break by calling them over with 'Android, come here" and telling them to go into maintenance mode for thirty minutes.

Sony's recent push into phone-controlled games in the form of Playlink was represented by Frantics, by Affordable Space Adventures dev Knapnok. This is a series of motion-controlled party games, hosted by a slightly posh-talking fox, and controlled using the accelerometers in the phones- four top-of-the-line Sony devices, in the booth's case.

There were three games in my session, one where you have to avoid slipping off an ice platform by tilting the way you want to go, another where you fire yourself out of cannons so some (but not all) of you are on a platform, and another race game where before each race you secretly choose a player to have some modification to their vehicle which may or may not be helpful to them.

There was an interesting twist where, before the third game, the host 'called' one player's phone to give them a secret misison.

It's hard to fault the party games themselves, but the phone apps crashing exposed that each Playlink title needs its own individual app- Frantics ostensibly cannot be played using the app associated with That's You!, which has been out in the wild for some time- and that connecting your phone to your PS4 needs you to enter an IP address, which loses the immediacy of the browser-and-four-digit-code setup of the Jackbox games, and is a far cry from the apps-within-an-app world promised by xBox Smartglass.

Speaking of Far Cry, the Ubisoft booth next door housed the fifth game in the series. The short part of the game available focused around the obligatory Ubisoft Game tower, and charged the player with killing all the cultists around the base of it. A number of ways of achieving this was offered, from flinging in grenades to fighting them in the streets to sniping them from the top of the tower.

This, alongside stablemate Assassin's Creed: Origins which seems to have ditched parkour in favour of putting things really far away from one another and making you travel to them, were the first games to really show any seriously large queues- although Ubi made use of the extra space available to them, running lots of demo units and moving people through quickly.

Most of the booth, though, was some Mario + Rabbids demos sparsely dotted about in an almost empty space dominated by a massive fibreglass Rabbid Kong. (There was also South Park: The Fractured But Whole tucked away in a corner)

Sega, meanwhile, chose to showcase Sonic Forces, which looks like it's as good an extension on the Modern Sonic/Generations format as we're going to see. Three levels were on offer, including one of the mental genre-flip-flopping arrangements Colours perfected, a boss level, and a new 'Avatar' level where you put together disparate elements to create your own Original Character Do Not Steal and play as that. It also doesn't quite work, which I'm assuming is satire.

Last but not least, there was a few PCs running Total War: Warhammer II. Which was Total War: Warhammer II.

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Posted by Ben at 11:43

Depending who you ask, Heavy Rain is either the most important game of its generation, or the most pretentious one. Iíll leave others to battle out the 'games as art' topic, but I will say that it certainly ranks as one of this generations most interesting titles.

The first thing that strikes you about Heavy Rain is how good it looks. There may be a few niggles here and there, but on the whole it's very impressive both in quality and design. Changes between cutscene and game are virtually seamless, there's bags of incidental detail to the environments, fleshing them out, making the game world feel lived in, even if the locations you visit are actually quite closed.

While some characters look better than others, Jayden and Blake look a little like Max Payne villains, that's without doubt the stand out aspect of the graphics. It's not simply that middle-aged private eye Scott Shelby has a high texture mac on, or 35 points of articulation or whatever, it's that the character looks like he's lived. He looks dour, beaten, his face permanently droopy and his shoulders heavy as lead.

As mentioned there are a few issues with the graphics. The level of detail present comes at a cost, with tearing being a frequent occurrence. Of course due to the games sedate pace it never hampers gameplay, but because of that pace you'll notice it every single time. To cut down on processing demands the game tends to not completely fill characters who are out of focus. If the character's towards the back of the screen that's not too noticeable, but there are plenty of times a character is in the foreground, only a few feet from the character in focus, yet is a blurry, vague mess.

Gameplay wise there isn't a huge amount to talk about, but what's there is split between simple motions and button presses. Generally the difference between the investigation sections and the action sections is merely pace, you'll still have to do sweeps of the analogue stick, combinations of button presses, and thrusts of the 6-axis. It's hard to tell if it's deliberate or not, but it does stop the game from feeling broken up. It also handles QTEs much better than Fahrenheit did, you never dread them, and certainly I rarely failed them.

This is where the divisiveness will come in, for my money this works great, I wouldn't suggest that it's the only way to make this type of game, but again it helps both the narrative and the game flow. As redundant as it sounds, if the story hooks you then that's all the gameplay you'll need, and while limbo-ing through electric cables might not be a high point, fleeing the police is hugely exhilarating. The one thing that is rightly universally criticised is the walking controls. You clumsily point your character in a direction, then press R1 to set them walking. Given that you've essentially got an unused analogue stick, it's hard to see why Quantic Dreams didn't just hand over all movement to it.

The majority of the voice acting is commendable, in fact very little of it is what you'd call bad, really the issues are elsewhere. Having one of the main characters speak with a noticeable French accent could possibly be explained away, but when you get a childhood flashback where both children speak with thick French accents you can't help but raise an eyebrow. Surely it can't be that hard to find a couple of American child actors?

The only other criticism is that the game is quite short, maybe 10 hours long, but given that you really 'do' very little, it does exaggerate the brevity. Commendably though, despite the early shaving scenes and the like, there's very little filler to pad things out. There's also the likely hood that you wont return to Heavy Rain once it's done, not that you'll have seen everything or that there's nothing you'd like to go back and change, just that once the mystery's been solved there's little motivation to.

Heavy Rain is a game that's been thought about, starting with a contrast between the ultra bright 'before', and the unrelentingly gloomy present, and leading to a superb wide-eyed moment where you piece it all together. There's a few questionable moments here and there, but ultimately it's the narrative that makes Heavy Rain so compelling and so essential.

It's easy to see why some wont take to it, but frankly it's their loss. Heavy Rain ranks as one of my favourite games of this generation, it's not without its flaws, but few have gripped me quite so completely.
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Posted by Ben at 09:54
CVG managed to grab a word with Quantic Dream co-CEO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere regarding the reasons for the games delay

"The first and most important reason [for the delay] was the fact that I don't think that such an innovative game like Heavy Rain and a new franchise should be released at the end of the year in the crowded period when everyone's releasing there games,"

"A game like Heavy Rain needs space, needs to be explained and shown. At the end of the year, people can't afford to buy all those games so we wanted to give Heavy Rain the chance to have its own release window, and for us to really talk about it so people really understand it."

Fair enough really, although the first quarter of next year is looking very buy now too
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