Joystiq Weekly: GOG's Galaxy, Murdered: Soul Suspect review, Homefront's combat and more

Welcome to Joystiq Weekly, a "too long; didn't read" of each week's biggest stories, reviews and original content. Each category's top story is introduced with a reactionary gif, because moving pictures aren't just for The Daily Prophet.
E3 doesn't technically start until June 10, but with all of this week's announcements and E3 trailers, you wouldn't really know it. Forza Horizon 2 will let you drive recklessly later this year, Homefront is due for a return in Homefront: The Revolution, and the thinly-veiled Mortal Kombat X tease is finally over.

And that's just the early stuff - we're about to get trampled with news and hands-on demonstrations as the convention itself kicks off next week. Don't worry though, we'll survive by channeling Simba's light-footed evasive maneuvers. Just ... y'know, without the tragic loss immediately preceding our exercise.

You don't have to stick around and watch us warm up though - this week's highlights are waiting for you after the break. There are release dates for The Witcher 3 and Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, reviews for 1,001 Spikes and Tomodachi Life, and an exploration of combat in Homefront: The Revolution. It's all awaiting you neat and orderly-like after the jump!

  • Just because there's a current champion in the digital distribution client pool doesn't mean its competitors can't be worthwhile. Good Old Games announced plans this week to launch its own online gaming platform called GOG Galaxy. While Galaxy will serve as a home for game libraries, work as a host for multiplayer gaming and be capable of tracking achievements, use of the client will be completely optional and the games will remain DRM free. Support for online play between other third party clients will also be offered, described by GOG as cross-play.
  • The conclusion of Geralt of Rivia's story is due in February 2015, developer CD Projekt RED revealed in a new trailer for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt this week. As a reminder, you'll be able to guide the sword-wielding, beast-slaying badass through his story's finale on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
  • Got a tendency to lose pinballs to the side gutter? Clementine will remember that, as the first season's cast of Telltale's The Walking Dead will be surrounded by bumpers and buzzers in an upcoming Pinball FX 2 and Zen Pinball 2 table. No word yet on when Tellatle's group of survivors will add flippers and silver projectiles to their walker-crunching arsenal, but the table will feature locales from the first season, including Everett's pharmacy and Clementine's treehouse.
  • EA's poorly-hidden crackdown on crime, Battlefield Hardline, can now be properly anticipated to clean up the streets on October 21. The date concludes a new trailer for the cops-n-robbers shooter, which is the work of Dead Space series developer Visceral Games. A beta may also launch on PS4 before Hardline's October release, based on the claims of fans attending cinema screenings for Sony's press conferences.
  • Following teases and early retail listings, Mortal Kombat series creator Ed Boon has confirmed that Mortal Kombat X is totally a thing. MKX's debut trailer stokes the flames of Scorpion and Sub-Zero's rivalry once more, but it also reminds us that approaching masked warriors in an frosted forest would be an awful idea. Fans will be able to re-memorize fatalities on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC sometime next year.
  • If you didn't burn enough rubber during the series' previous festival, don't worry - Forza Horizon 2 will rev its engines sometimes this fall, letting drivers roar through hills that seem reminiscent of southern Europe. Xbox One owners will steer a build developed by long-time Forza developer Turn 10, while Horizon 2's Xbox 360 version will be tuned up by Sumo Digital, creators of Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed.
  • Harmonix's music modifier, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, will hand you the conductor's baton on October 21. The gesture-driven rhythm game isn't afraid to get weird, whether that involves twisting well-known tracks like Lorde's "Royals" into a fresh sound (at the hands of the player), or though teaching vegetables how to be buskers. Fantasia should help Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners make use of their Kinects, unless of course they bypass purchasing one.
  • If you've already made short work of the traps and challengers prowling in Dark Souls 2, developer From Software is working on a "DLC trilogy" to give you something new to swing at. The chapters will focus on a "journey to reclaim the crowns that Drangleic's King Vendrick once owned." Each will cost $10, with the opening chapter arriving on July 22, but you can do a one-and-done purchase of the $25 season pass right now on Steam.
  • Homefront: The Revolution was revealed this week, a continuation of 2011's "what if Korea invaded the US?" shooter that was developed by Kaos Studios. The Revolution takes up arms four years after Korea's occupancy, following the efforts of resistance fighters in the streets of Philadelphia. The Revolution will reach Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2015, but you can get a conceptual glimpse of its action in the announcement trailer.
  • Batman's gonna need a little more time in his cave before he's ready to return in Batman: Arkham Knight, but considering the upgrades he's putting into the Batmobile, maybe we can wait around patiently and let this one slide. ​Arkham Knight will reach the streets sometime in 2015 under the guide of Rocksteady, the studio responsible for Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
  • Need some apps to go with your Xbox One-shaped gaming and television device? If you can wait 'til the end of this holiday season, you'll have 35 fresh options to help you consume media or broadcast yourself on social platforms. Twitter, HBO Go, ShowTime Anytime, Facebook and others are all in the works for Microsoft's all-in-one box, and you can check the full list, down to its state-by-state availability, right here.

  • Murder mysteries are usually interesting on their own, but the whodunit intrigue ramps up considerably when the investigation involves your own killer. In Murdered: Soul Suspect, Susan Arendt played detective as a ghostly continuation of Detective Ronan O'Connor's livelihood, finding its tale to be a "well told, satisfying mystery that doesn't hoard its secrets or throw too many ridiculous red herrings at you." Unfortunately, flubs on technical and responsive input levels amplified the chore-like qualities of demon encounters, making abundant late-game fights with demons feel "utterly at odds with the rest of the game." Still, Susan found the issues to pair with a gripping story to make Murdered "neither heaven nor hell, but something in between."
  • Plenty of us already know: life is often about getting through the monotony so you can properly savor the highlights. As Senior Reporter Jess Conditt persevered through the daily grind of day jobs in Always Sometimes Monsters, she found much of that truth reflected in the gameplay. Monsters' pull lies in the possibility of reuniting with a loved one, which players choose early in the game, and that glimmer of hope pairs with Monsters' writing to make everything worthwhile, "even the act of making tofu burgers."
  • Some games really want you to prove that you're worthy of seeing a scroll of the credits, and the twisting pathways leading to treasure in Aban Hawkins and the 1,001 Spikes are no exception from that category. Weekend Editor Sam Prell dodged spikes, fireballs and hostile wildlife in his search for treasure, but he found the 1,001 lives supplied to players puzzling, explaining that "should you run out of lives, you ... get three more." Sam also felt the option to skip levels feels like "the game cutting its legs out from under itself," and that the tradeoff for brutal difficulty "should be the sense of reward players feel at completing it," a theory that's lessened by the option to bail if things get tough. Sam likens the "nugget of enjoyable play" hidden away in 1,001 Spikes to the adventure's intensely-protected treasure, adding that the hunt of finding it "might just kill you. Or at least your patience."
  • Miis can be great tools for creating bizarre situations just by interacting with each other, and Tomodachi Life excels as a stage for that player-led brand of absurdity. Contributing Editor Danny Cowan began a new life with his Mii in the world of Tomodachi, earning happiness points by clothing, feeding and helping his Mii form friendships and romantic relationships. Tomodachi embraces absurdity, and in Danny's world, Dr. Robotnik is a friendly chef, John Madden "dreams of eating hamburgers, and Garfield the comic strip cat is an unholy approximation of a human being." While Danny thinks that Tomodachi "often ends up feeling empty after a few minutes of play," he admits that "years from now, I'll look back fondly on the day that Garfield and Morrissey became best friends, and it'll be a great honor to attend Isabelle and Hank Hill's wedding."

Featured Content
  • Some games boast enormously-competitive communities that are highlighted in eSports events, but the visibility of the Smash Bros. community isn't quite comparable. An improvement is detailed in Contributing Editor Basim Usmani's examination of the Smash Bros. community, which covers the scene's humble beginnings right to the buildup for next week's invitational tournament at E3.
  • Plenty of things can muddy up a game's development, including the closure of the game's initial publisher and the sale of the IP. Thankfully for Crytek UK, Homefront: The Revolution's purchaser was Crytek itself, allowing for a deeper dive into the mechanics and style of gameplay that the team wanted to explore. Feature Content Director Xav De Matos details what's changed from the project's initial conception, exploring The Revolution's shift from a linear shooter to a guerrilla warfare-focused sandbox of possibilities.
  • Unconvinced that computers are totally gonna outsmart and kill us all off at some point? Consider the ever-adapting AI in Uber Entertainment's Planetary Annihilation, a force of war that is steadily improving its Human Squashing skill set. Xav spoke with members of team Uber to learn more about how the AI adjusts to conquer players, a feat evidenced by the lead designer's shift from regularly conquering three AI opponents to struggling against one on the highest difficulty setting.
  • Anticipating the slow, readable descent of our well-being during E3? Editor-In-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann, Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell, Community Manager Anthony John Agnello and Susan cover basic strategies to keep our crazy relatively retained in this week's Super Joystiq Podcast. If you're cool with us going nuts and just wanna hear about the games, the group cover Batman: Arkham Knight and Murder: Soul Suspect. There's also talk of broader topics, like whether AAA games need to revolve around physical conflict, and a more general chat on storytelling.
[Image: ESA]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.