Nick Pinkerton

Nick Pinkerton

Multiplayer titles have become so complex and content-packed that gamers can no longer expect a perfect multiplayer without intensive user testing, alphas & betas, patches, and downloadable content. Perhaps that’s one reason why many multiplayer-only titles have gone free-to-play: they’re always a work in progress, no matter how enjoyable they are at a given point. British studio Edge Case Games is coming off its space combat game, Strike Suit Zero, and is now venturing into 5v5 multiplayer with Fractured Space. Players take control of one of several ship classes and work together to secure resources and ultimately destroy the opponents’ base.

It's been ages since I brought up Sierra Entertainment when talking about PC gaming. To my surprise, Sierra has recently reborn itself as an indie publisher & developer, bringing the acclaimed Velocity 2X to digital markets. 

Sierra completes its re-entry to PC with a return to a beloved adventure franchise, King’s Quest. King’s Quest introduces the series to newcomers with a modern presentation and some tweaks to its mechanics, but it ties in the story, the puzzle-solving, and the King’s Quest personality to make it as close of a true successor as fans have seen from 1998-onwards.

In this article, we focus on chapter 1 of the new King’s Quest title but also wrap-up with some comments about other Sierra games including Shiftlings and Velocity 2X – launching for Xbox One and Steam.

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.

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