Thursday, 19 April 2012

Game of Thrones - looking forward

Game of Thrones is an upcoming Action RPG for the Xbox 360. The game will be based around the bestselling book series 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (though many of you will know it better by the title of the first book in the series, Game of Thrones), written by George R.R Martin.

Not much is known about the plot so far, except that it is set before the events of the first book and that the player will get to experience events from the perspectives of two very different characters. However, with George R.R Martin working closely with the developers, one thing that we can be certain of is that the plot will be lovingly crafted, filled with all the treachery, betrayal and back-stabbery that make his stories so great.

I am a huge fan of the books and recently went to a talk given by Martin, as well as a book signing. Though there was no mention of this game, George did treat us to a short chapter from his next book. Suffice to say, minus the spoilers, it sounds as brilliant as the rest!

Game of Thrones for Xbox now has a release date set for 1st June 2012 and is available for pre-order from

Here's a short trailer to wet your appetites!

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Witcher 2 - launch controversy

As you all know The Witcher 2 is not due for UK release until tomorrow, however a lucky few (myself included) happened upon some rogue stock on sale in Tesco over the weekend. It seems that Tesco inadvertently began to sell the titles on Friday, a whopping 4 days before the official release. Developers quickly got in touch and demanded that the supermarket pull the remaining stock from the shelves until the actual release on 17th April. 

Whether this mistake was genuine error, or a more sinister ploy to make a few bucks at the expense of more established game retailers, we will likely never know. I for the most part was completely unaware, shambling into my local Tesco on a quest for Cat food, Butter and AA Batteries, I came across The Witcher 2 in the entertainment aisle. 

Without a second thought I dropped one of the many copies on sale into my basket and set off towards the quest marker at the checkout. I encountered no enemies on route and no traps, not so much as a puddle of spilled Ribena. Plain sailing.

After tweeting about my recent purchase, I received a few messages of confusion from friends and followers. For the most part these read something like "Howd u gt that?? N0t out till tues...!". After doing a bit of googling, I stumbled upon this article on EuroGamer, which explained the mix up.
Some of the environments are stunning

In all my gaming history, I've not really experienced this before but the sensation was probably akin to time-travel...or being sent a review copy of a game. Without hesitation, I decided to get stuck in, and here's what I found:

The Game

Following a short, obligatory tutorial designed to introduce you to the combat mechanics and some of the basic functions, you are thrown into a large battle between two ruling powers in the fictional land of Temeria. Your character (Geralt, the Witcher) is a super-human who specialises in slaying monsters. However, on this occasion, you have been summoned by the King to assist in a clash against his enemies. 

So far this looks like an excellent example of a modern RPG. The story is well crafted with characters that have a depth and complexity that makes them really come to life. The graphics are excellent considering that this is a game that has been ported from a PC and adapted to fit the aging hardware of the Xbox. 

In general, the game feels a lot more focused than some open-world RPGs like Skyrim for example (Not that freedom in Skyrim is a bad thing!) but you don't get the feeling of being herded in one direction. I spent the best part of the day exploring, getting pretty stuck into the initial quest, only to find that I was still in the prologue and hadn't even started the first chapter! So, needless to say, there is plenty to do in the world of Temeria.

Mean looking chappy, eh?
Above all though, The Witcher feels very much like an adult's RPG. The mature themes are in your face, but in no way overdone. The language is rife, the violence bloody and the nudity full-frontal, but where others try and fail, the Witcher manages to pull this all off without it feeling trite. 

The Xbox version also comes with some additional DLC and some lovely booklets, manuals and a map. Manuals. Remember those?! If you are a fan of RPGs, Game of Thrones or fantasy in general, I think you'll dig it.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Skyrim DLC?

A few hours ago Bethesda posted this image via their official Twitter account. The caption simply read "Tomorrow".

But what does it all mean? As you can imagine, Twitter and the rest of the gaming community have gone berserk since this release and all kinds of speculation is underway. Some say it could be news on upcoming titles like Dishonored and Fallout 4. Others believe it gives a clue on Skyrim's first installment of DLC.

I personally believe the latter, but like everyone else, I presume we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

Update: Despite the distinctly Nord-esque looking fellow in the teaser image, this was actually a shot of upcoming Bethesda title, Dishonored. View the debut trailer here:

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