GTAgameshavefollowedaclassic rags-to-richespathpreviouslyâ€“and theselooklikeend-gameriches.
The Big 10
Stories everyone’s talking about
6 GTA V: bikes,
Nowthat’swhatwecallaride. Prettyenoughforafootballertowrite offinaditchbesidetheA40,ain’tit?
New shots of Rockstar’s open world focus on leisure time
Ifthemainprotagonist doesturnouttobeVercetti ofViceCityfame,it’s possiblehewon’tbethe onlyplayablecharacter. Rememberthattrailer scenewherethreeguys jumpoutofapestcontrol vantocommitarobbery? There’sstrongspeculation thatyou’llgettoplayas eachofthetrio,withtheir storylinesintertwinedas theeventsofthegame unfold.Itwouldcertainly beanotherhugestep forwardforthegenre.
November 2011 was a long time ago now, and in the months following that trailer, Rockstar’s maintained a stoic silence, conﬁrming nothing more about Grand Theft Auto V than “it’s doing ﬁne”. All of a sudden, like a convoy of tardy buses arriving without fanfare, this happens. A blowout, by GTA’s standards, of fresh screens showing off the pastimes available to a wealthy crim in Los Santos. Liberty City had a few pursuits that didn’t attract riot cops – visiting the comedy club to watch a Ricky Gervais stand-up routine, bi-daily games of darts, pushing people in front of trafﬁc… wait, we’re back to riot cops. For the outdoorsy sociopath, though,
Los Santos looks far more attractive: think of the self-aggrandising Instagram pics you could take between sets on that tennis court, or the views from that parachute. Those dirt bikes look like a great way to explore some of the area’s superb wine country – and what better way to avoid gridlock than in a ﬁghter jet?
Clearly, GTA V is a return not just to San Andreas’ locales, but to its exuberant spirit. Niko Bellic’s exploits in a parodied New York weren’t exactly hyper-realistic, but they were closer to the realms of possibility than CJ’s adventures on Grove Street.
While we’re on the subject of protagonists, doesn’t the guy in the trailer look – and sound – an awful lot like Vice City’s pastel suit aﬁcionado Tommy Vercetti? His spiel about leaving the old [cough] organised crime [cough] life behind to raise a family certainly ﬁts. And if you squint, you can make out that same guy from the trailer piloting the ﬁghter jet. Is that you, Tommy? If it is, Rockstar’s not telling. But, with those months of silence in mind, these new screens are enough to convince us that the game might just sneak out before Christmas. It couldn’t… could it? For more information on GTA V and to see the rest of the new screenshots, visit rockstargames.com.
Preview Cyborgtechnologyhas gonemainstream,andguys likethisare everywhere.
PlayStationIcon Format PS3 ETA 21 Feb 2013 Pub Konami Dev Kojima Productions/Platinum Games
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Finely
hen Kojima Productions offered us a hands-on with Revengeance, the team brought the three-month-old E3 build with them – usually a no-no. But in Metal Gear Rising’s case it’s okay, because you discover something genuinely new with each fresh play. Rising is powered by the same expertise behind Bayonetta and the Devil May Cry series – a team utterly incapable of producing a shallow action game – and there’s so much depth in Revengeance’s combo system that you can play it differently every single time. Raiden has strong and weak attacks, a jump button, an action button and a precision slice button, but the real art is in setting up the perfect cut in the ﬁrst place. Combos build your slo-mo meter, so you’ll need to close the gap with Raiden’s Ninja Run – deﬂecting bullets
Stealth and safety Playstealthybeforestrikingto begincomboswiththeelement ofsurprise.
on the way – land a quick strike or two and launch into a combo, lofting foes high into the air, following them skywards and lining up a single slice or a hundred tiny cuts that’ll turn them into cyborg sushi. Many cuts make for massive combos, but one perfect cut enables you to tear out the cyborg’s core and harvest the energy for yourself.
It’s possible – although tricky – to play the entire demo without being seen, but this is only a stealth game when you deliberately make it one. The ﬁrst few kills in every area tend to happen without the victim seeing it coming, but once you’re spotted Rising is all about being untouchable. Raiden has no Dante-style evade or Ryu Hayabusa block – instead, you parry incoming
attacks before launching into a combo of your own. You’ll get new moves and weapons on the way and, as in Bayonetta, there are upgrades so costly and so game-changing you’ll have to wait until your second or third playthrough before they become viable options. Even in the wake of Ground Zeroes’ announcement, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance loses none of the limelight it’s earned for itself. It’s Hideo Kojima’s craziest cut-scenes brought to life – the most spectacular Metal Gear moments made interactive for the ﬁrst time with razor-sharp controls and incredible depth, and all in a game that’ll never be the same from one play to the next. That sounds like a real Metal Gear to us.
Can’t Wait To Play… Industry insiders reveal their PS3 faves
Bryan Williams Game designer, THQ
Call Of Duty: Black Ops II
HowdidRaidengetsocyborgy afterbeingpiecedbacktogether inMGS4?Thegamewillrevealall…
Platinumhasteasedthat Raidenmightgetoneofthese cyborgrobo-dogsforhimself.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the new Call Of Duty. I don’t play multiplayer – I’m not a big online guy – but I can’t wait to try out the future setting in the singleplayer mode.” Resident Evil 6 “I’m a huge fan of the whole series. I even liked 5. I played it stop-start for about a year. I gave it one last chance and it took two hours of just trudging through it before I really fell in love. I’m not sure if that’s the mark of an excellent game, but it’s whet my appetite for 6!” Persona 4 Arena
“I love 2D fighters. This is already out in Japan – I played it last time I was over there and it’s amazing, just really cool in every way. I definitely want to pick it up.”
Glass-manPatois presumablygoingto shatterassoonashe crashestothefloor.
Tweaked in all the right places
ast summer saw the big-money signings as FIFA was overhauled. Precision Dribbling was brought in for a record fee, EA Canada smashed its wage structure to get hold of Tactical Defending, and the back-and-forth over the signing of Player Impact Engine was the back-page story of the summer. This was an investment for the future, the backbone that would bring
success for years to come. But let’s bring out some sport-specific, seemingly contradictory accepted wisdom: you don’t change a winning team, and standing still is going backwards. Somehow FIFA 13 has embraced both of these philosophies, making subtle but noticeable improvements in the areas where they were needed, and adding features which, while they don’t immediately grab the attention like last year’s additions, greatly enhance the overall package. FIFA – and, in fairness, PES – is at such a high quality bar these days it goes without saying that the basics of football are recreated unerringly, and a ‘start over from scratch’ approach
FormatPS3ETAOutnowPubEA DevEACanada Players1-22Web ea.com/fifa-soccer-13It’slikeBeing thedirectoroffootballcoverageat SkySports.
to the on-the-ball fundamentals is about as likely as an England recall for David Bentley. Instead the focus here is on all those myriad factors that contribute towards making the virtual recreation feel like watching an actual game of football play out in front out your eyes. For instance, off-the-ball running. The AI is now far more likely to make genuinely useful movements around the pitch, opening up passing avenues and angles of attack that wouldn’t have been available last year. Hold the ball on the edge of the D and intelligent players make those Barca-esque darts in behind the full back, checking and resetting if you choose not to use them. It also stands out as far as your own full backs go: far more late, incisive
reviewPS3 FIFA 13
Name Phil Iwaniuk Angle Back eight aficionado
overlaps from marauding players reflect that this position is more important than ever in an attacking sense.
Tusslesinpacked penaltyareasplayout morerealisticallythan everbefore.
Best for… Keeping clean shorts interrupt me simming so I can actually play the next match.” That said, Career Mode has taken a step forward overall, and is now more immersive than ever, with little touches that make you feel like you’re in the
“AI’s now far more likely to make genuinely useful movements.” the striker, not a inverse pentagon of tiki-taka death.
Pure Football 4
PES 2013 8
FIFA 13 9
The corollary of this is that you often find your team is too gung-ho, neglecting shape and solidity in favour of making the most of their newfound freedom. It’s a problem against both the AI on higher difficulties and decent human opposition, and is the kind of thing that would have Roy Hodgson banging his head on the dugout with even more intensity than usual. And the difficulties in combating it relate back to what is still FIFA’s biggest problem: menu systems. That these have been so bad for so long makes us think they must be fundamentally unchangeable: built into the engine too deeply to be removed, like the bottom Jenga block upon which the fate of your drinking game rests. Why else would a developer generally so alert to its game’s failings turn a blind eye for so long? If you do find your full backs getting forward too often, or your holding midfielders advancing ahead of the ball more than you’d like, this should be
fixable with a couple of button-presses. But it really isn’t. You have to toy with the players’ base position, their role, their attacking work rate, their defensive work rate… and even then it’s a crapshoot. It took a couple of games’ worth of stopstart experimentation for me to get my Newcastle midfield functioning the way I wanted – and all I wanted was two players sitting and a playmaker behind
“The ﬁrst thing I do in any FIFA game since forever is channel my inner Trapattoni and hit the D-pad all the way to ‘ultra-defensive’, setting up to frustrate my way to a joyless 1-0 victory. Last year’s high-risk standing tackle and overall defensive ﬁddliness was a particular problem for me, then. Not so here – defensive controls hit the sweet spot, punishing rash decisions and rewarding Maldini-like timing.”
FIFA pips PES to retain its spot at the top of the pile, and the less said about Pure Football the better.
There’s also still no quick subs screen, no way to pick two different teams for an exhibition match without exiting back to the main menu (a crime deserving of a steel-toed boot to the giggleberries), and navigating the various screens in Career Mode is like surfing the internet using a dial-up modem with a mouse made out of beef dripping: “No, Mr Chairman, that email was not important enough to
middle of a Super Sunday broadcast. Before, score updates would pop up at the top of the screen – now you actually have Alan McInally announcing not only which team has scored but also who, and in what way. “Robin Van Persie with a near-post header,” for instance, or “Michael Owen with a long-range screamer,” if you’re playing in Fantasy Land. He even narrates penalties ‘live’ as they happen in other matches. The option is there to select which matches to receive updates from, if his dulcet Scottish tones get too much, so you
reviewPS3 FIFA 13
ThenewSkillGames areabrilliantaddition totheseries,and appealtobothFIFA newcomersand veteransalike.
AIteam-matesare nowfarmorelikely tomakeuseful off-the-ballruns, includinglate overlaps.
Keeperforcefieldsare athingofthepast,and theoverallphysicality ofthegameismuch improvedonlast year’souting.
can only hear about goals that go in for or against your rivals for the title, say. You’ve also got Geoff Shreeves down on the touchline, bringing you updates on player injuries and their initial prognoses, interacting with Martin Tyler and Alan Smith just as he does on Sky. Of course, none of this alters how the 094 game feels to play, but then that was pretty good to begin with. What it does, however, is create the feeling that you’re playing real football with real teams, and experiencing all the drama that brings with it. Matches are made more tense when you know the team just below you in 18th place has taken a two-goal lead, or with you having to worry just how bad that knee injury to your star midfielder actually is. Just like you do when you’re sat in the stands or in front of the television. Improvements to the transfer system – it’s now far less arduous to buy and sell players, even if the search function is just as tedious –
mean assembling your squad is easier, although not being able to alter your starting line-up for any game you want to sim without changing it for future matches, too, is irritating beyond belief. Another nice touch is that now you can be offered international positions – either as a player or a manager – if you succeed at club level. Again, it’s all part of making this an even more believable footballing ecosystem.
Also welcome are the new Skill Games, which cover all aspects of play – shooting, crossing, dribbling, free kicks, etc. These aren’t just a great introduction for newcomers:
Disappointingly progressingthrough CareerModeisstilla grind,thankstothe clunkyinterfaceand menusystem.
Sittingthrougha smugopponent celebratingatap-in likeit’sa40-yard screamernevergets anyeasier. Never.
can be guided to a specific pore on your striker’s head, and you have full control of precisely where to place your shots. Manual control is something PES is hammering hard this year, and it’s been done very well – but that same level of control is present here for those with the desire to seek it. It’s an undertaking for only the most dedicated (we mentioned that it’s hard, right?), but there’s a definite advantage to be gained for those willing to put in the hours.
“Crosses can be guided to a specific pore on a striker’s head.” they also have a huge amount to teach experienced players about how the game works and what’s possible within the realms of the control system. This is because a large number of the challenges force you to use the manual controls for shooting and passing, something that a huge amount of even the long-term, hardcore FIFA fanbase would never have otherwise experimented with. And it’s a very worthwhile revelation. Because while playing the game with full manual controls is hard – really, really hard – it also enables you to pull off things that simply aren’t possible with the assists on. Passes can be pinged into hitherto unusable space, crosses
And what else? There’s a new dribbling mechanic – activated by holding down i and p – that allows for ultra precision. It makes players move at such a slow pace that its usefulness is minimal, although it can at times help you wriggle out of tight spots between defenders or keep the ball under control when near a touchline. (Yes, even with Stewart Downing.) Free kicks can also be worked between three different players now, allowing for some genuinely inventive combinations of dummies, off-the-ball runs and layoffs (all well taught in the Skill Games challenges), and defending teams now have the option to add/subtract players in the wall or try to surreptitiously creep it forward when the ref’s not looking.
reviewPS3 FIFA 13
Then there’s the headline feature discussed in the wake of FIFA 13’s reveal: its new first touch system, which means players are now more fallible when it comes to trapping the ball. In early versions of the game this was massively overexaggerated – with even top-level pros at some of the biggest clubs in Europe consistently acting like they were desperately trying to control a sphere of flubber with a shoe constructed entirely out of elastic bands.
Thankfully the feature’s since been toned down, and miscontrols by the elite are kept at a somewhat realistic level. In the lower leagues it’s still too prominent, mind: in real life, even a decent Sunday League player can trap a short pass the vast majority of time, let alone someone making a living playing in League One. But it’s not a major gripe, and overall this
Holdpandyou canforceplayersto tryfordivingheaders orbicyclekicks.
new element introduces more positives than it does negatives. Other improvements include more physicality as players come together – strength genuinely matters now, and finally enables you to properly hold off defenders – the removal (for the most part) of the goalkeeper ‘forcefield’ when challenging for crosses, and a slight toning down of the tactical defending: going in for a standing tackle is no longer quite the death-or-glory gamble it was last year. There are also extensive changes to the series’ online offerings, but with the servers not yet up and
running we’ll bring you the full scoop on this next issue. As for the final score, FIFA is still the best football game your money can buy. It’s not streets ahead of PES but there’s daylight, and this is the most convincing representation of the sport – incorporating both the on- and off-field aspects – that we’ve seen. It’s still held back by some familiar flaws and there’s no doubt a nextgen overhaul will be required, but thanks to the combinations of its skill on the pitch and fully licensed immersion off it, it’s still in the realm of the invincibles. JoelGregory
reviewPS3 F1 2012
Crashesaremorespectacularthan ever–butthey’re always yourfault.
Codies builds itself a pole-sitter
ormula 1 is an arms race. Seasons are won and lost in wind tunnels and on design sheets as much as they are on Curva Parabolica and Becketts. For everyone who doesn’t get to sit in the car, it’s a desperate, unending double-shift of iteration and reiteration, testing and retesting. A process that Codemasters Birmingham will feel very familiar with now, having emerged from another off-season to produce an annual offering bristling with shiny new aero parts and barely legal rear diffusers. Those particular new bits are much more impressive in F1 2012 than in last year’s game. If you owned the Bafta-winning F1 2010, its successor offered little more. This year, a handful of thoughtful and well-executed new modes, together with a Gran Turismoesque presentation overhaul that makes a surprisingly profound difference, allay any such anxiety. Season Challenge condenses the established career mode into one season-long romp that lets you effectively race for pink slips with other drivers. Within four races I’d said
FormatPS3ETA OutnowPub Codemasters DevCodemasters BirminghamPlayers 1-16Webformula1game.com/uk It’slikeThereal sport,giveortake afewflashbacks.
goodbye to Marussia, humiliated Bruno Senna at Monza and Spa, and they were already painting my name on Schumi’s Mercedes by the time our deafening travelling circus reached Silverstone. In previous games I’d had to devise a three-year plan – that, like many, I never saw through – in order to get a drive at Ferrari, but in Season Challenge you
and gives you the chance to achieve something in 15 minutes if you don’t have time for the traditional long-form F1 race weekend. On the track, it’s more familiar. Handling still requires the thumbs of a surgeon, but feels less twitchy with a controller this year. It’s a definite shift towards accessibility that the tutorial-
“Season Challenge condenses a career into a one-season romp.” don’t need to commit to the game like it’s a mortgage to reach the top.
For an even quicker fix, Champions Mode offers scenarios that pit you against the six world champions on this year’s grid. Over five laps, you have to beat each champ in an area where they excel – Kimi at Spa, or Lewis at a wet Interlagos where he [cough] stole Massa’s championship by virtue of Glock’s spin [cough] won the 2008 title. Each challenge appeals to superfans, is bolstered by a welcome touch of commentary that alleviates the vaguely lonely sensation you got from previous games,
cum-GT5 challenge mode Young Driver Test furthers. Old vices like poor split-screen framerates, imprecise penalty-dealing and a misunderstanding of how safety car situations and off-track excursions should be dealt with (ie, without hand-holding) do remain. After so many iterations you feel like perhaps the former at least are tied inexorably to the EGO Engine and will linger as long as this gen continues. But they’re more forgivable in this package – F1 2012 feels like the perfect counterpart to the real sport. It’s immaculately presented, varied and engaging in ways the previous games struggled to hit on. PhilIwaniuk
reviewPS3 Rock Band: Blitz/Music
“Tonigh-hhht,weaaaa-are… pressingbuttonsintimewith music.”Funbynameandnature.
Essential tunes to download this month
Hailed by everyone from Damon Albarn to Thom Yorke, Doom is one of the most inventive rappersoutthere.Ifthat’snotrecommendation enough, he delivers his rhymes from behind a metal mask. This album is him at his mind-bending best. metalfacedoom.com
Rock Band Blitz Info Y Yet another great block party ou and your band have clearly been having some serious creative differences, because you’re on your own now. You’re also not armed with the usual range of plastic peripherals. Wait, what? A Rock Band game with no instruments and no party-tastic multiplayer – this has to suck, right? Amazingly, far from it. Each song is split into the usual five components – vocals, guitar, drums, bass and keyboard – and rather than picking one, you’re balancing them all like a veritable one-man band. The parts run in a set of parallel ‘lanes’, and feature two notes apiece (left-hand ones are played with the D-pad or left stick; the right-hand ones with q or the right stick). Play a certain amount of notes in one lane correctly and it levels up with a multiplier – your goal is to maximise each lane’s level, while keeping them all roughlyequal.
At first it’s a daunting task – you feel like a small child trying to pat your head while rubbing your tummy as you flick between lanes using p and i – but after just a few goes you pick up the knack. What’s more, it’s also incredibly bloody satisfying to juggle lanes like a circus performer keeping a multitude of spinning plates in the air. Picking your trio of power-ups also becomes a tactical matter, as different
FormatPSNdownload ETAOutnowPubHarmonix DevHarmonixPlayers1Web tinyurl.com/opmblitzIt’slike Findingyourinnerbeat,without needingtopickupaninstrument.
Today’s Supernatural FormatTrackETAOutnowPrice£0.99
2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion showed that Animal Collective could do ravey, big-eyed pop songs. With this first taster from new album Centipede Hz, though, the American indie sweethearts prove they can still get wild, with a rowdy sing-song over blazing electronics and crashing carnival drums. myspace.com/animalcollective
combinations suit different songs. There are 25 tracks included in this bundle, covering everything from Elton John (yes, really) to Fun, via Pink and Avenged Sevenfold. You can use them in Rock Band 3, should the need for a faux-guitar session overtake you, and as well as being able to download over 2,500 extra tracks from PSN, Blitz is compatible with your existing Rock Band library. Is it as good as Rock Band proper? No – arguably nothing short of a gift basket full of kittens with diamond collars reaches such giddy heights. But at £8.79 this Amplitudealike rhythm-matcher is also roughly a tenth of the price of the full package, and you’d have to be as contrary as Axl Rose to argue with that. EmmaDavies
As his name suggests, you can rely on Canadian producer Deadmau5 to bring something unpleasant to the party. Here, the mouse-headed one employs the guy from My Chemical Romance for a clawsout dancefloor stomp packed with lyrics about ‘morning sickness’ and ‘teenage girls with ESP’. deadmau5.com
Download of the month FirstAidKit Wolf
Fresh off tour with Jack White, Scandinavian siblings Klara and Johanna Söderberg share a taste for old-timey sounds with the former White Stripes man. On Wolf, they twine their gorgeous voices together into something that, for all its gloomy and lonesome spirit, feels strangely uplifting. thisisfirstaidkit.com
directoryPSN PSN buyer’s guide
Essential collection Bored of boxed games? Save shelf space and still have fun with this must-buy selection of downloadable hits
03 04 05 06 07 08
An object lesson in how less is more, this two-hour voyage crafts an incredible, immersive narrative and genuine emotional connection using little more than near-silent figures and floating pieces of cloth. A remarkable and unique experience, as well as a new high for PSN gaming.
Tim Schafer puzzler-cum-adventure-cumheadtrip in which you solve mysteries by stacking Russian dolls with unique abilities. Intelligent, insane and totally immature.
Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light
Ignore the look and know that this is the best Raider in years. Great two-player action plus loads of treasure hunting. A co-op essential.
If you want to make the argument that games are art, this is the place to start. An achingly beautiful hand-drawn style combines with brilliant but brutal time-bending puzzles.
More ‘experience’ than game, this collect-’emup sees you steering a petal on the breeze by tilting your Sixaxis. It’s a soothing mix of colour and music; a lovely deviation from frantic action.
No game can better recreate the excitement of clutching a fistful of coins in a sticky-floored arcade. Violent, fast, funny, this four-man co-op brawler is a modern-day Streets Of Rage.
The cheery appearance of the loveable cartoon stuntman belies a game full of depth, nuance and blisteringly high scores. It’s partplatformer, part-racer, part-puzzler, but all fun.
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX 9
How do you update an all-time classic? Why, up the pace, throw in loads of neon and add some of the most satisfying sound effects ever. Sold!
09 10 11 12 13 14 15
This understated, monochromatic tale of a lone boy’s escape from a danger-filled forest is as gorgeous as it is frustrating. A glorious combination of art and gore.
Resident Evil 4 HD
One of the best games on PS2 gets a hi-def makeover. Still the pinnacle of survival horror, you’ll get scared, shooty and decapitated by a chainsaw. Triple win.
The Walking Dead: Episode 1 8
TV-calibre acting and logical puzzles that don’t involve combining the comb with the earwax to steal the fish to slap the undead with.
Papo & Yo
Eccentric fantasy platforming with heart and soul. Puzzle your way through magical favelas accompanied by Monster, your best friend and worst enemy in one.
Expanded on by the sequel, but the inventiveness and satisfyingly simple twinstick gameplay mechanics of the original mean that this is still the best PJ title around.
NHL 3-On-3 Arcade
A twist on EA’s hockey series, with massiveheaded players and preposterous power-ups, like the ability to turn an opponent’s keeper tiny. The funniest sports game of any generation.
Proof that Halloween isn’t just for toddlers, this manages to mix a bouncy cartoon adventure with massive robots and thumping turn-based scrapping. A charming, creepy confection.