If you enjoyed playing the grotesque and brutal console action RPG Demon's Souls
, you're in for a massive treat. The game's spiritual successor, Dark Souls
, releases tomorrow in North America
on both PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, and it looks like it will be as involving and unforgiving as its predecessor. Dark Souls
blends typical dungeon-crawling hack-and-slash adventure with a gritty world intent on killing you in horrible ways. The game was playable on the floor at Eurogamer Expo, and I got some hands-on time with it. What initially jumped out at me was that the graphics were surprisingly good, with great use of depth-of-field blur to hide far-off level-of-detail artifacts.
The gameplay was challenging and completely unforgiving; players can expect to die repeatedly as a matter of course, and NPCs don't suddenly reset and forget about you when you perish. At one point I accidentally (read: intentionally) attacked a tough neutral NPC near a spawn point, and I was killed over and over again until I figured out a strategy for getting away from him. It's unusual to call a game malevolent, but I can find no other way to describe Dark Souls
. The artists, programmers and game designers at From Software
are clearly a cover-story for the reality that this game was forged in hell with a hammer made from the skulls of babies. I love it.
Like its predecessor, Dark Souls integrates an innovative multiplayer aspect
directly into its singleplayer game. Players online and near your location will be visible as ghosts in your game, visitors from a parallel world. You'll be able to attack other players, help them, cast spells on them, and even leave messages for them. The game's spawn points are bonfires around which other players become more visible. Seeing other players gathered around the same bonfire as you means they're probably playing in the same area as you and might be able to help you out. The multiplayer aspects of Dark Souls
blur the line between singleplayer games and MMOs more than I thought possible.Journey
is the latest in a series of ground-breaking, simply incredible games by PS3 developer ThatGameCompany
. Like Flower
(in which you literally play as the concept of wind), Journey
has a very minimalist and zen feel about it. It's hard to get a sense of what Journey
feels like from videos, but thankfully the game was playable on the floor at Eurogamer Expo last week.
I got some hands-on time with this gorgeous game and had to be literally pulled away from it by friends. Journey
takes the exploration factor that some of us come to love in MMOs and strips away everything else until that's all that's left. If you're an explorer, you'll get absolutely lost in the beautiful landscapes and quiet serenity of Journey,
and I guarantee you'll love every minute of it.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Journey
, and the reason it's in this week's Not So Massively
column, is its innovative multiplayer aspects
. The game will connect to the web over the PlayStation Network and actually merge your adventure with other players on the same journey. When you approach the location of another PSN player, he will suddenly appear in your game and you in his
. The solitary and quiet exploration gameplay briefly comes alive as you show another silent explorer tricks, lead him to interesting locations, and attempt to communicate through a medium devoid of communication. Players will even require a companion in order to solve some of the game's optional puzzles or reach certain areas.
Upcoming open-world action shooter Firefall
has been stuck in the middle of a legal dispute between developer Red 5 Studios
and publisher Webzen
for the past several months. Red 5 contends that Webzen has failed to market the upcoming title and that the studio has had to organise its own PR and advertising. Webzen retaliated with comments that it had given Red 5 millions of dollars and the game was still not complete.
The dispute that has raged on for the past few months finally came to a conclusion this week
when Red 5 and Webzen came to an arrangement that both parties are happy with. Some of Webzen's money has be
en returned, and the company will still receive a portion of the game's income. With all the business nastiness behind it, Firefall
approaches completion with nothing standing in its way.
Online action game Brawl Busters
officially entered beta some time ago, bringing Team Fortress 2-
style graphics and gameplay with an interesting array of characters. This week, Brawl Busters
has entered a new beta stage, and we've got more beta keys to give away than we know what to do with. Head over to our Brawl Busters beta key page
to grab yourself a code and sign up at the official website
Every now and then, Riot Games
releases a sneak-peek of an upcoming League of Legends
character that players are sure to find appealing, and this week we saw an absolute deluge of such teasers. Riot released art
, lore and mechanics previews
of Xerath, the Magus Ascendant, and an early look at in-development champion The Nine Tails Fox
. Both Xerath and The Nine Tails Fox will be ranged casters, with Xerath focusing on dealing massive damage and Fox specialising in mobility and agility.
Continuing the weekly series of articles on the making of League of Legends: Dominion
, Riot this week released an in-depth look at combat mechanics and how the game mode was balanced
. This week's Summoner Showcase
features the inspired website 10 Win Streak
aimed at raising money for charity. Players stream their games of LoL
to the website and compete to get a 10 win streak, while players watching donate money to gaming charity Child's Play
.Rise of Immortals
officially released on Steam
this week, with bonus unlocks for Steam purchasers. The big news for current fans of the title is that the first post-launch Immortal has been released. Trovoc the Last Dragon
is an interesting new character whose abilities don't use mana. Each of his abilities instead has a long cooldown, allowing for some impressive burst damage but poor sustainability. Items that reduce cooldowns work particularly well on Trovoc, letting him scale up to late game.
Trovoc has two area-effect breath weapons, one that pushes enemies forward and another that deals fire damage over time and reduces enemy armour. This makes him incredibly good for farming creeps and pushing lanes. Combined with his area-effect disable and targeted silence, these can be devastating against enemy heroes. Perhaps most important is that Trovoc has a not-so-serious alternate skin based on a certain purple and green dinosaur
; that alone has me sold. Check out the Immortal spotlight video below for more information on Trovoc and to see him in combat.
This week we found out that Blizzard
may be tinkering with a console version of upcoming action adventure Diablo III
. Though Diablo II
was a clear PC gaming success, Diablo
-inspired dungeon crawler Torchlight
proved that this style of game suits consoles incredibly well. Blizzard staff posted on the forum this week about successful early experiments in integrating console controls into the game
. To demonstrate how control of the game would work with a console controller rather than a mouse and keyboard, SC2Mapster's malu05
has compiled a mock video of such a control scheme in action.
One analogue stick could be used for facing and the other for movement. The left and right triggers could easily replace the left and mouse button of aimed attacks, and there are enough buttons on a controller to perform all of the abilities available through the standard UI. Even if Diablo III
doesn't eventually release on consoles, heavy console players will undoubtedly be interested in using a controller on the PC version of the game. Check out malu05's video below for a demonstration of what controller-based movement might look like.Join us every Monday for Not So Massively, our roundup of the top news from popular online games that aren't quite MMOs. If you think there's a game we should be covering in Not So Massively or you've found some interesting news you think deserves attention in the next roundup, please mail the details to email@example.com.