Nick Pinkerton

Nick Pinkerton

The platformer genre is one that initially stood out as challenging, with titles like Metroid, Contra, and Pitfall. Eventually, it expanded to larger 3d worlds that developers enriched to offer more than just jumping from platform-to-platform. After that grew repetitive, the number of platformers in the AAA market began to dwindle. Fortunately, many 2D platformers have emerged from independent developers and are putting their unique twists on the genre.

I went into my review of Turtle Rock’s Evolve questioning how replayable a seemingly barebones multiplayer offering would be. I knew I wouldn’t be able to swap between several loadouts in-game or customize my character’s armor after each round. I also knew I would spend more time on tactical actions than head-on combat. Whether or not Evolve’s core experience would be rewarding and replayable after several hours as the various Hunter classes and Monsters was the main question I searched for to justify the game’s price-point of $60. (Quick aside: We benchmarked Evolve here, for those curious about which video cards are best for the game).

I’ve come out appreciating how the game strengthens its core experience and offers players the ability to do more with fewer tools than, for example, a Battlefield or Call of Duty game. Evolve offers rewards for trying out new ways of using its characters’ weapons and abilities, rather than tie players to class-specific roles in every detail. I’m still struggling to feel as rewarded with the Monsters as I am with the Hunters, but the game keeps encouraging me to take on that challenge. It’s a challenge few games provided in a multiplayer space, and it’s something that can appeal to noncompetitive audiences.

As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.

The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.

Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.

2015 promises to be one of the most-celebrated years for video games in recent memory. The Witcher 3, No Man’s Sky, Uncharted 4, and Halo 5: Guardians are among the heavily discussed titles to release this year. Q1 should keep gamers fairly busy with remastered classics, new IP from acclaimed studios, a strong showing of 3DS games, and a PC-optimized title we’ve been demanding for quite some time. Among these, we’ll be reviewing and benchmarking major PC titles, as we’ve already done with Evolve’s beta.

Here’s GamersNexus’ most anticipated games releasing in Q1 2015, listed by order of confirmed release date.

Left 4 Dead developers Turtle Rock Studios are two months away from releasing their shooter-action hybrid, “Evolve.” Leading into this, the developers hosted an event at their local San Francisco offices, rolling out a series of announcements in the process. We were able to attend the media event and get hands-on with the title.

The news includes a new game mode, a third playable monster, and an open beta announcement. Evolve will feature a single-player experience called “Evacuation” that will allow for local cooperative and online cooperative & PVP play. Turtle Rock also announced the third available Monster upon launch: the Wraith.

Evolve will enter open beta on Xbox Live January 15-19, with limited testing for PC and Playstation 4 users, too.

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