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gamezone TheOfficialGamer

EDITION #073 ▪ AUGUST 2012

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS! Zombie Survival Horror on Wii U PAGE04-05

& INTERVIEW -

NEED FOR SPEED PAGE06

& INTERVIEW -

ASSASSIN’S CREED III PAGE07

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS SPECIAL!! Special insider on Riot Games’ featured game.

PAGE02-03


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LEAGUE OF

LEGENDS REPORTER: John Gaudiosi

EMAIL: john.gaudiosi@forbes.com

BLOG: www.gamerhub.tv

RIOT GAMES’ LEAGUE OF LEGENDS OFFICIALLY BECOMES MOST PLAYED PC GAME IN THE WORLD! Rerciliquip ectet landrem iurem dolumsandre do do dunt lorting eum volenim doleniam, quipisl utat wis ad dionse do odolore tie tat del del dit

League of Legends is a multiplayer-focused game. You can practice offline, but even new players aren’t apt to be challenged by the pushover AI, which comes in only two difficulty levels: noob and easy. You’ll want to join online games as soon as you can, and the matchmaking option lets you find other players who are theoretically around your level of ability. Yet even during your initial games, you’re likely to face experienced players who are familiar with the formula’s subtleties and are not afraid of vocalizing displeasure with a teammate’s performance in--er--profane ways. Thankfully, if you’ve never tasted this particular game recipe, a tutorial level will introduce you to the basics, including one of League of Legends’ unique additions: brush. You can hide in brush to conceal yourself from enemies, and good teams will

use it to set up effective ambushes. Like Demigod, League of Legends does not feature any kind of single-player campaign, but online play is buttery smooth and finding a match is quick and easy. League of Legends’ core gameplay is an excellent take on a formula that’s growing in popularity. However, the retail product is not a good value--at least, not yet. The game is freely downloadable, and a player store (not to be confused with the in-match item store) is set to go live later this month. At the store, you will be able to purchase champions and champion skins, as well as runes, which can be slotted in a rune book to further enhance your battle potency. The retail box includes 20 champions unlocked from the start, four runes, and $10 in


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LEAGUE OF LEGENDS Some art work from the game by Riot Games. Featured concept art about LoL. store credit--$10 that you can’t yet spend. Right now, the lack of a store means that the rune book is unusable, and because all 40 champions are temporarily available for the initial launch period, the value of the retail box is based around future features, which is a questionable and confusing pricing strategy. Much of League of Legends’ value, in theory, will stem from the so-called “metagame.” Players, known as summoners, will level up and earn points to spend in the player store (again, features not to be confused with the leveling and purchasing performed during matches). The value this metagame will offer, however, is unknown. Due to the store’s absence, the only metagame benefits to leveling up are points that can be spent on masteries, which are universal branching perks similar to talent trees in online role-playing games. In other words, if you buy League of Legends now, you’re buying a game that is effectively still in beta testing. The slim selection of maps further makes League of Legends feel stripped down. While the map selection

screen makes it clear that more arenas are planned, there are currently only two maps on which to play, though one of them comes in two varieties--summer and winter. The other arena is still labeled as a beta map, and is not available in matchmaking play, only in offline and hosted matches. At least Defense of the Ancients refugees will feel at home on those few maps, which are obviously inspired by Warcraft III’s colorful art design. League of Legends is a good-looking game, not because it pushes the capabilities of modern graphics cards, but because its vivid color palette and stylized environments jump right off the screen. Exaggerated animations give champions a lot of personality, while spell effects are vibrant without being distracting. Most importantly, the game runs smoothly and maintains a consistently high frame rate. The cartoonish look is further enhanced by hammy--and only occasionally annoying--champion quips, along with fitting sound effects and music cues.

SEE PAGE4-5

“LEAGUE OF LEGENDS OFFICIALLY BECOMES MOST PLAYED PC GAME IN THE WORLD!” JOHN GAUDIOSI CONTRIBUTOR


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LEAGUE OF

LEGENDS REPORTER: John Gaudiosi

EMAIL: john.gaudiosi@forbes.com

BLOG: www.gamerhub.tv

RIOT GAMES’ LEAGUE OF LEGENDS OFFICIALLY BECOMES MOST PLAYED PC GAME IN THE WORLD! The hottest game of the year has now become a favorite for many moba players around the world. There are many sponsors and tournamants.

League of Legends is a multiplayer-focused game. You can practice offline, but even new players aren’t apt to be challenged by the pushover AI, which comes in only two difficulty levels: noob and easy. You’ll want to join online games as soon as you can, and the matchmaking option lets you find other players who are theoretically around your level of ability. Yet even during your initial games, you’re likely to face experienced players who are familiar with the formula’s subtleties and are not afraid of vocalizing displeasure with a teammate’s performance in--er--profane ways. Thankfully, if you’ve never tasted this particular game recipe, a tutorial level will introduce you to the basics, including one of League of Legends’ unique additions: brush. You can hide in brush to conceal yourself from enemies, and good teams will

use it to set up effective ambushes. Like Demigod, League of Legends does not feature any kind of single-player campaign, but online play is buttery smooth and finding a match is quick and easy. League of Legends’ core gameplay is an excellent take on a formula that’s growing in popularity. However, the retail product is not a good value--at least, not yet. The game is freely downloadable, and a player store (not to be confused with the in-match item store) is set to go live later this month. At the store, you will be able to purchase champions and champion skins, as well as runes, which can be slotted in a rune book to further enhance your battle potency. The retail box includes 20 champions unlocked from the start, four runes, and $10 in


FEATURELAYOUT1

005

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS Some art work from the game by Riot Games. Featured concept art about LoL. store credit--$10 that you can’t yet spend. Right now, the lack of a store means that the rune book is unusable, and because all 40 champions are temporarily available for the initial launch period, the value of the retail box is based around future features, which is a questionable and confusing pricing strategy. Much of League of Legends’ value, in theory, will stem from the so-called “metagame.” Players, known as summoners, will level up and earn points to spend in the player store (again, features not to be confused with the leveling and purchasing performed during matches). The value this metagame will offer, however, is unknown. Due to the store’s absence, the only metagame benefits to leveling up are points that can be spent on masteries, which are universal branching perks similar to talent trees in online role-playing games. In other words, if you buy League of Legends now, you’re buying a game that is effectively still in beta testing. The slim selection of maps further makes League of Legends feel stripped down. While the map selection

screen makes it clear that more arenas are planned, there are currently only two maps on which to play, though one of them comes in two varieties--summer and winter. The other arena is still labeled as a beta map, and is not available in matchmaking play, only in offline and hosted matches. At least Defense of the Ancients refugees will feel at home on those few maps, which are obviously inspired by Warcraft III’s colorful art design. League of Legends is a good-looking game, not because it pushes the capabilities of modern graphics cards, but because its vivid color palette and stylized environments jump right off the screen. Exaggerated animations give champions a lot of personality, while spell effects are vibrant without being distracting. Most importantly, the game runs smoothly and maintains a consistently high frame rate. The cartoonish look is further enhanced by hammy--and only occasionally annoying--champion quips, along with fitting sound effects and music cues.

SEE PAGE4-5

“LEAGUE OF LEGENDS OFFICIALLY BECOMES MOST PLAYED PC GAME IN THE WORLD!” JOHN GAUDIOSI CONTRIBUTOR


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ZOMBIE SURVIVAL

HORROR! WITH A DASH OF ‘DARK SOULS’

ZombiU is a challenging, refreshing game full of surprises and scares that makes you think and react and keeps you perpetually on your toes. It’s not often I die during the tutorial. In Ubisoft’s Wii U launch title, ZombiU, I died before the tutorial even began. Or, rather, the tutorial is one simple lesson: you will die, often and without mercy.

REFRESHINGLY SCARY! It’s not often I die during the tutorial. In Ubisoft’s Wii U launch title, ZombiU, I died before the tutorial even began. Or, rather, the tutorial is one simple lesson: you will die, often and without mercy. The second lesson ZombiU gives you is when you wake up as a new survivor in the mysterious safe house you were attempting to reach moments ago as someone else. Written on the floor is a message from the game’s developer, Ubisoft Montpellier. It reads: Heads up: this is a survival horror game. It’s a little reminder that this game is not a first-person shooter. If you came looking for Call of Duty, or even a good zombie shooter like Left 4 Dead, you’ve come to the wrong place. Apparently a lot of people did come for some other type of game, which explains why this excellent new IP is getting such poor reviews at certain video game publications (and such glowing reviews at others.) That second link is to a piece by Rich Stanton at Eurogamer. I’m not surprised that Rich enjoyed ZombiU so much. Like me, Rich is a huge fan of From Software’s Dark Souls, and ZombiU is like Dark Souls if you threw in permadeath and zombies— and took out the RPG elements and third-person perspective.


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In ZombiU you can play two modes. In the standard mode, each time you die you start back at the safe house with a new survivor. You keep your important gear—gun upgrades, your scanner, and some other stuff—but all your consumables like medical kits and ammunition are lost. With your cricket bat and your nearly empty pistol in hand your next job is to go find the last guy you played, now a zombie him or herself, and kill them so that you can loot their pack and get your stuff back. It’s sort of like Dark Souls in that you get one chance to get this loot back or you lose it (as opposed to having one chance to get your souls back.) This is often really, really difficult especially if you died near or within a zombie horde. ZombiU can be merciless at times. I’ve died more times than I can count, cycling through an increasingly long roster of survivors in my quest to…survive, I suppose. You have missions across the zombie-plagued city of London. You open up shortcuts, much like in Dark Souls, which can make traversing this hellish landscape somewhat less dangerous. The safe house functions as something of a Demon’s Souls style Nexus, and the city is built in a non-continuous style, also more akin to Demon’s rather than Dark Souls. Not only do you need to go hunt the last survivor from your game, you might also encounter zombie survivors from other players’ games. If you take them down, you can loot them for all the items that player had when they died. Players can also leave spray-painted messages around. When I saw this, I really wanted to write “Praise the sun!” but

quickly discovered that only a variety of symbols and icons were available. There’s nothing wrong with that, though I suspect if people could have written words we would have seen messages like “This is where the real ZombiU begins” pop up here and there. Unlike the Souls games, the zombies themselves are spawned randomly (at least to a degree) which can lead to a few extra surprises and sudden deaths. The game has been described as repetitive and the melee combat too dull. While I agree that there are moments of repetitiveness, I think it’s quite odd to describe the combat as dull. If anything, it’s constantly tense. The whole game is tense. One zombie isn’t such a huge deal, but there’s always two more lurking around the bend. Two zombies at once is tough, especially if one of them is an ex-cop with body armor or spews poison. Some zombies can be taken down with four or five bullets or thwacks with the cricket bat. Others take upwards of ten. If you get caught with two or three (or, lord forbid, five or six) zombies coming at you and each takes four or five or more hits to bring down, while you have maybe three or four hits before you die… okay, suffice to say you either need to have some tricks up your sleeve—like a Molotov cocktail—or you’d better run. That is, if you can run. It’s quite easy for even a small mob of zombies to take you down before you can get away. There’s never a moment when you feel safe. Half the time you need a flashlight just to see where you’re going, and when this runs out of batteries it can mean a quick and untimely death. It recharges quickly enough.

ZOMBIU Creepy imagery from Wii U’s hottest game, Zombi U! High detailed gore images.

SEE PAGE4-5 “ZOMBIU IS A CHALLENGING, MAKES YOU THINK AND REACT AND KEEPS YOU PERPETUALLY ON YOUR TOES.” ERIK KAIN CONTRIBUTOR


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We sent our top reporter to do the...

COVER STORY

INTERVIEW REPORTER: Sam White

EMAIL:sam.white@gamermag.com

BLOG: www.gamermag.com

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME MOST WANTED? Designed for a new, more connected generation of racing fans, Need for Speed Most Wanted offers players an expansive open world packed with exhilarating action where they can choose their own path to become the Most Wanted. Players will have the freedom to drive anywhere, discover hidden gameplay, takedown rivals, challenge friends or just hang out and toy with the cops.

DO YOU HAVE A NEED FOR SPEED? Like the cold metal girders and sun-glinted glass panels that make up Fairhaven’s skyscrapers, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is as mercilessly rock solid as it is stylish. There’s none of that “turning car lovers into gamers” stuff here. In fact, despite the class that Most Wanted’s stunning garage exudes, Criterion has made a clear distinction between the materialistic superfluousness of games like Forza Motorsport, where the focus is very much on your love for cars and the desire to curate a digital garage, and the thrill of the race itself. The result is one of the smartest, most enjoyable racing games of 2012 - one that slams emphasis directly on the race itself. Even better, it doesn’t require you to give a toss about Top Gear in order to love it. Fairhaven, the diverse metropolis that acts as your racing playground, is a construction of weaves and webs starting from its bustling industrial core and spiralling outwards into wide-open mountain tun-

nels and stretches of highway. More than just a network of roads for you to plaster with burning hot rubber, Fairhaven holds Most Wanted together with a tight embrace. This is absolutely essential for a game of this type: Criterion’s desire for thrilling freedom would be nothing if its host was a bore. Exploring every area of this dense, spectacular world warms you with a satisfying way to spend time, from the discovery of luxurious cars dotted across every corner of the map to the constant stream of information about nearby races and your online rivals. As well as the return of Criterion’s social platform Autolog, Most Wanted’s jazzed up GPS - dubbed Easydrive - knits the game together with its player. Like Burnout Paradise, Easydrive is mapped to your D-pad to allow quick, easy navigation of standard menus. Discovered events can be accessed immediately, whereas the game will plot a course if you’re yet to take part in it - the right balance between immediacy and discovery, if you ask me. You can also switch and jump straight to cars, swap upgrades and head into multiplayer. The unobtrusive menus of Easydrive helps keep the action prescient, unless you decide to fumble with settings midway around a particularly merciless corner. But Most Wanted is not always that simple, and its core structure may confuse thanks to Criterion’s scrapping of standard car classes and the genre’s usual event-based career progression. Without a typical garage, the emphasis is entirely on you to discover new vehicles. Every car in the game - apart from the ten you’ll net from tackling the boss-like Most Wanted challenges - is available from the start, but only after you’ve found the vehicle in the world. From classic open-top Ford Shelbys to sleek Aston Martins, the roster is just large enough that you’re getting a decent chunk of desirable automotive excellence. This isn’t Forza or Gran Turismo by any means, but there’s enough to keep even the most studious petrolhead happy. You can also switch and jump straight to cars, swap upgrades and head into multiplayer.


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ASSASSIN’S

CREED III REPORTER: Corey May

EMAIL: corey.may@gamersmag.com

BLOG: www.gamersmag.com

WRITER ADDS REVOLUTIONARY DETAILS The “Assassin’s Creed” video game franchise has built its reputation on wedding action and adventure to history with fastidious attention to detail. “Assassin’s Creed III,” released Tuesday for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, is no different. Nearly all of the major characters are real historical figures from the American Revolution, the locations are designed from blueprints from the Colonial era and the events that form the game’s backdrop will be familiar to anyone who studied U.S. history in high school. Though the game’s creators at Ubisoft had far more access to historical records and documents than in previous games — the first set during the Third Crusade, the second in Renaissance Italy — it was the ambiguities in those records that allowed the game’s writers their greatest creative freedom, namely, to invent an action-filled narrative that might plausibly tie together historical facts. “We’re all about playing with gaps and spaces and unknowns,” said Corey May, the game’s lead writer. “We have this great record of what happened and when it happened and where it happened, but the questions of how and why are actually not so easily explained. We can’t say for sure who fired the first shot in the American Revolution to this day.” That question and numerous others are explored in “Assassin’s Creed III,” which has been building buzz since its Revolutionary War

ASSASSIN’S CREEDS LEAD GAME WRITER “We have this great record of what happened and when it happened and where it happened, but the questions of how and why are actually not so easily explained. We can’t say for sure who fired the first shot in the American Revolution to this day.”

-Corey May

setting was unveiled in March. Early reviews been overwhelmingly positive, and the game is outpacing its predecessors in sales. “Assassin’s Creed III” more than doubled pre-orders for 2011′s “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations,” the previous record-holder, Ubisoft announced last week. The game is the final installment in an overarching story about present-day Desmond Miles, who comes from a long line of Assassins — members of an order devoted to preserving free will. Throughout history, the Assassins have battled the Order of the Knights Templar, who seek to create a perfect world at the cost of free will. Desmond Miles uses a device called the Animus to inhabit the memories of his ancestors, beginning with Altaïr, a disgraced assassin who lived during the Third Crusade. Later games focused on Ezio, an Assassin who lived in Italy during the Renaissance. When the Ubisoft team decided “Assassin’s Creed III” would be set during the American Revolution, they wanted to create a new ancestor and protagonist whose perspective would mirror that of the average gamer. “There is a long history of, if not cultural insensitivity, at least cultural apathy,” May said. “I wanted us to be as responsible and respectful as possible.”


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