Another year, another COD, right? It is the one thing you can always count on to terrify publishers from releasing on the same date which makes the week’s purchasing decision a pretty easy one. You’re either getting Call of Duty or you’re not. There aren’t other games to even consider. But with this being the umpteenth release of the blockbuster franchise, how does it live up to previous years and even more importantly, how does it compare to the hype?
With their being three developers in the rotation now for the Call of Duty franchise, Sledgehammer enters the fray with a new IP with the Advanced Warfare story. A drastically different tone than either Black Ops 2 or Ghost, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare follows the world of the privatized military which are effectively government sanctioned mercenaries. As seen by all of the marketing materials, this corporation known as Atlas is headed up by the one and only Kevin Spacey and the role he takes as the player’s surrogate father after his own son is killed in combat.
Without giving too much information about the story, it follows pretty much every one of the expected beats. It’s not that it’s bad, but it is not going to surprise anyone either. It’s like going into a summer blockbuster that has no need for plot twists. It has a ton of polish and explosions that prevent you from having to think too hard.
At Comic-Con in San Diego we got the opportunity to take a closer look at the latest additions to Skylanders with Skylanders Trap Team. While we had already gotten a peek at the title, there were still some awesome announcements behind the game along with some great insight from the designers as well.
First came the announcement of the Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition Starter Pack. Like last year’s SWAP Force Dark Edition, the set will come with some special dark paint variants of characters. Unlike last year’s though, there will be only three new Trap Team members without any sprinkling of classic characters.
It will also come with a new Portal of Power which will have a new feature in addition to a new look, the ability to use Traps to capture villains in game and use them while playing. The Dark Edition will come with a limited edition over sized trap allowing players to capture Chaos.
The funny thing is that movie games have a pretty terrible reputation in the gaming world. Most are quickly put together knock-offs of what could be considered a full game that depend upon riding on the fame of the established franchise. But back in 2004, Spider-Man 2 based off the Sami Rami take on the franchise changed all that.
Without reliance upon the movie, Spider-Man 2 as a game was just good. It was a great movie game, a great super hero game and most importantly a great Spider-Man game (considered the best of the character up to this point). But ten years later, the game and movie franchises have both gotten a reboot and that’s not always a good thing.
First let’s talk about the story of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. While I applaud the writers trying to separate themselves from the movie slightly be adding in a whole new subplot connecting the scenes between the movie as previous games often do, the beats in this one just feel off. The early beat that introduces the game’s main antagonist also directly messes with the whole Uncle Ben story and what happens to Ben’s killer. It feels about as accurate to the character as Superman killing in Man of Steel.
Only a few weeks after Disney decided it was time to shoot a volley in the smart toy war by introducing the Avengers to Disney Infinity, Activision has fired back with a premiere for the latest Skylanders sequel. Again, focusing on innovation with gameplay implications, Skylanders Trap Team is coming to systems in October.
As you’ll see in the trailer below, Skylanders Trap Team introduces a new element to the series. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this means traps. But it isn’t just a matter of trapping defeated foes. This game encourages players to take those villains and use them for good. Boasting 60 new Skylanders and 40 trappable villains, this could be the largest release of Skylanders to date.
It’ll be interesting to see how the traps work but it the trailer hints that specific traps work on specific enemies which means to catch them all, you have to buy them all too. How they are packaged will be interesting though. Skylanders may come paired with a trap or maybe a trap pack will be created with four or five traps sold together. Regardless, Activision has just renewed their license to print money.
Part of what we loved most about the High Moon Studios entry into the Transformers world is that it was the original G1 canon most of us had fallen in love with during our childhood. Wanted to know what happened before Optimus and the crew made it to earth, you got the story finally from Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. But Activision has gone and done something that is not only unexpected but for some of the most hardcore of Transformers G1 fans… unwelcomed.
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark will be a part of the G1 Universe but it will also be a part of the Michael Bay movieverse as well, with events taking place before Transformers Age of Extinction. That means that they are doing what could be the absolute worst offense when it comes to G1 territory by combining it with whatever Michael Bay is throwing at the wall this time.
A lot of people say I am too harsh when it comes to the Michael Bay films but after the first one, it just kept getting farther and farther away from the franchise I grew up on into a poorly put together film with sophomoric level comedy forced into it. In Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, we got Grimlock and the rest of his dinobot compatriots but now that could all be washed away because of the new Michael Bayified Grimlock that we were introduced to during the Super Bowl trailer.