All posts by Mark Smith

I've been an avid gamer since I stumbled upon ZORK running in my local Radio Shack in 1980. Ten years later I was working for Sierra Online. Since then I've owned nearly every game system and most of the games to go with them. Not sure if 40 years of gaming qualifies me to write reviews, but I do it anyway.

What is The Quarry? New Trailer Shows You How to Survive Summer Camp

Today, 2K and Supermassive Games released a new gameplay overview trailer for The Quarry, which launches on June 10 across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC via Steam.

Narrated by Will Byles, director of The Quarry at Supermassive Games, the gameplay overview trailer covers a wide range of topics including the premise behind the game, types of gameplay features, accessibility options, and game modes. Included as part of the overview trailer is a quick peek at the new online multiplayer mode, in which the host invites up to seven friends to watch and vote on key decisions to create a story shaped by the whole group.

The Quarry is currently available for pre-order and doing so grants the Horror History Visual Filter Pack*. This adds three cinematic visual filters to The Quarry, replicating different eras and styles of iconic horror filmmaking including 8mm-style film grain (indie horror), a retro VHS aesthetic (’80s horror), and classic black-and-white (classic horror).

Developed by Supermassive Games, The Quarry is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on The Quarry, visit the game’s official website, Instagram, and TikTok, and follow 2K on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

New action-adventure title Jurassic World Primal Ops Revealed by Behaviour Interactive and Universal Games

Behaviour Interactive, in collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, today revealed Jurassic World Primal Ops, a new free-to-play mobile action-adventure game where players rescue, collect and fight alongside their favorite dinosaurs. Expected to launch soon on the App Store and Google Play, the game puts players in the boots of battle-trained handlers who use their combat skills to save dinosaurs from enemies and create a peaceful coexistence with humans. With deep dinosaur collection systems and incredible action-packed missions, Jurassic World Primal Ops is a can’t-miss experience on mobile for fans of the Jurassic World franchise.

In Jurassic World Primal Ops, dinosaurs roam the earth as they once did millions of years ago. While many have embraced their return, others have seized the opportunity to use them to fulfill their own greedy agendas. In the game, only players can save the dinosaurs from another extinction. As elite battle-trained dinosaur handlers, their mission is to travel across North America, rescuing dinosaurs from malicious mercenaries, deadly poachers and sinister laboratories.

Luckily, they can call on their newly rescued companions to fight by their side. Using their unique abilities, these dinosaur companions can overcome any challenge standing in the way and turn the tide in any mission. From a trampling Triceratops to supply-dropping Pteranodons to the mighty T-Rex, every rescued dinosaur brings a new dynamic to the adventure.

“We’re extremely proud of Jurassic World Primal Ops, and we strongly believe players will love it. The game offers a new and unique mobile gameplay experience in the Jurassic World universe, and the twist on collecting dinosaurs provides a ton of varied gameplay,” said Jason Millena, Senior Creative Director, Behaviour Interactive. “Since the inception of the Jurassic World franchise, we’ve been on a journey that evolves this fantastic relationship between dinosaurs and humans. It’s exciting to showcase how not only do they coexist peacefully, but how they can work together to save other dinosaurs.”

Jurassic World Primal Ops lets players immerse themselves in the Jurassic World franchise, allowing them to deepen their connection with dinosaurs in thrilling, new ways,” said Jim Molinets, SVP of Production, Universal Games and Digital Platforms. “The game is reflective of the brand’s signature storytelling, intense action, compelling environments and diverse characters, and promises to be engaging for new and long-time fans alike.”

Jurassic World Primal Ops will be available on iOS App Store and on Android Google Play soon. The game is free to download and offers in-app purchases. The latest film in the Jurassic World franchise – Jurassic World Dominion – debuts in theaters on June 10, 2022.

LOCKED AND LOADED – SNIPER ELITE 5 OUT NOW

Sniper Elite 5, the latest game in the award-winning franchise, is available now on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam and the Windows Store. Developed by Rebellion, one of the world’s most successful video games developers and publishers, Sniper Elite 5 offers an unparalleled tactical sniping experience as you fight your way across the most immersive maps ever featured in the series, with many real-world locations captured in stunning detail.

Sniper Elite 5 takes place in the events around D-Day in France, 1944, as our hero Karl Fairburne joins a covert US Rangers operation to weaken the Atlantikwall fortifications along the coast of Brittany. There he makes contact with French Resistance, and they begin to uncover a secret Nazi plot that threatens to turn the tide of the war back in the Nazi’s favor: Operation Kraken. It is now down to Karl to reveal exactly what the Axis forces are planning and end Operation Kraken, and the mastermind behind it, Abelard Möller, before it can be launched.

Rebellion CEO, Jason Kingsley, said, “We are extremely proud to be releasing Sniper Elite 5 today and cannot wait for players to get their hands on the game. The franchise continues to go from strength to strength and the entire team at Rebellion has done a fantastic job to create the best game in the series to date. We are particularly proud of the new Invasion Mode which we think will be a real fan favorite. The tension and challenge that the invasion creates really intensifies and heightens the gameplay experience.”

SNIPER ELITE 5 GAME FEATURES:

  • Expansive Campaign – Real-world locations have been captured using photogrammetry to recreate a living, immersive environment with multiple infiltration and extraction points. Side missions, hidden collectables and kill list targets provide a whole new perspective on each mission. Take on the Nazi plot solo or work with a partner, with improved co-op mechanics allowing you to share ammo and items, give orders and heal each other.
  • Invasion Mode and Co-op – Invade another player’s Campaign as an Axis sniper and engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse, providing a new dimension to the challenge as you stalk your prey. Invasion Mode can be toggled on/off in the game menu. The entire campaign is also playable in two-player online co-op with players able to share items and ammo and revive each other.
  • Weapon Customization – Find Workbenches hidden in the missions (each mission has three to find) to customize and upgrade virtually every aspect of your weapon – change scopes, stocks, barrels, magazines and more. Rifles, secondaries and pistols all have a huge variety of options. On top of that, you can select the ammo to suit your target, from armor-piercing right down to non-lethal.
  • Adversarial Multiplayer – Customize your character and loadout and earn XP, medals and ribbons as you take on intensely competitive 16-player battles that will really test your sharpshooting skills. If co-op’s more your style, you can team up with up to 3 other players against waves of enemies in Survival mode.
  • Full Crossplay – Crossplay enables you to seamlessly play co-op, Invasion Mode and adversarial multiplayer with other players on all other formats.
  • Enhanced Kill Cam – More realistic and grislier than ever, the trademark X-ray kill cam returns, showing you the true destructive power of each shot. Bones deflect bullets unpredictably, ripping a new path through enemy bodies. SMGs and pistols can also trigger kill cams, including multiple shots in dramatic slow motion. The frequency with which a player sees Kill Cam can be changed in the game menu, including the ability to switch it off entirely.
  • Advanced Gunplay – Factor in rifle stock and barrel options along with gravity, wind and heart rate while you line up your sights on the target. For the first time in the series, iron sights have been included for SMGs and pistols.
  • New Traversal Mechanics – Karl can now use zip lines, slide down slopes and shimmy along ledges to reach the perfect vantage point, or to sneak past sharp-eyed enemies. Enhanced climbing abilities now allow you to explore hidden areas in the game map and unlock alternative routes.

Sniper Elite 5 is available now on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam and the Windows Store. To keep up to date with all the latest Sniper Elite 5 news please visit sniper.com and follow the game on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker 1.0 is now live!

Hardspace: Shipbreaker, the acclaimed zero-g spaceship-salvaging sandbox from Blackbird Interactive and Focus Entertainment is available now! Fresh out of Steam Early Access, with nearly two years of community involvement, the 1.0 version on PC is finally here and ready to employ all players in a thrilling and one-of-a-kind space career!

Welcome to LYNX, the solar system’s leader in spaceship salvaging

Experience the daily life of a working-class spaceship salvager in Hardspace: Shipbreaker, a sandbox game with next-gen physics and demolition effects set in a realistic industrial sci-fi future three hundred years from now.

You’ll need to master scanning, cutting and dismantling a variety of increasingly hazardous spaceships for valuable components and resources to pay off your astronomical credit debt to the massive LYNX corporation. Death lurks around every bulkhead, but danger is how you earn your paycheck.

On top of the compelling campaign and casual free-play that make up your solo journey as a space worker, test your skills in the R.A.C.E mode and win timed competitions against other Shipbreakers to climb the leaderboard.

The accomplishment of an amazing space journey

Hardspace: Shipbreaker has grown immensely since its Early Access release, with three new ship classes as well as Ghost Ships variants; improved visuals and performance, updated equipment, salvage and hazards such as the Demo Charge and radiation; a full story mode in a three-Act campaign; new characters; and the R.A.C.E, a competitive mode with time-limited challenges.

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is available now on the Focus Store, as well as on Steam and the Windows Store with a 25% Launch Discount. A GAME + OST Bundle is available on Steam. The game is also available with PC Game Pass.

Looney Tunes Expansion Announced For Hot Wheels Unleashed

What’s up, doc? Milestone today announced the HOT WHEELS™ – Looney Tunes Expansion for Hot Wheels Unleashed™, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be launching on July 14, 2022.

The Looney Tunes Expansion animates the competition with five new vehicles, a themed Track Builder Module, themed customization items for the Basement and the Player’s Profile, and the Looney Tunes Adventure Park environment, where players can relive the hilarious adventures of the classic animated franchise. The Looney Tunes Adventure Park is divided into four themed areas, including the iconic desert set of Wile E. Coyote’s epic fails.

The Looney Tunes Expansion is included in the HOT WHEELS™ Pass Vol. 3 or can be purchased separately. Together with the Looney Tunes Expansion, the HOT WHEELS™ Pass Vol. 3 also includes nine vehicles, three Themed Customization Packs and three Track Builder Modules. The HOT WHEELS™ Pass Vol. 3 will be available for purchase starting on June 9.

That’s all folks! For more information, visit hotwheelsunleashed.com.  Drivers can also join the #HotWheelsUnleashed conversation online at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

EXPLORE ‘THE ART OF STEALTH’ IN SNIPER ELITE 5

Rebellion, one of the world’s most successful video games developers and publishers, has today released a new Sniper Elite 5 video that reveals further details about the stealth options that will be available to players when the game is released on May 26. Offering insight from the development team as well as from the game’s military advisor and motion capture artist Paul Biddiss, the new Spotlight trailer features interviews and gameplay footage showcasing the new traversal, sneaking and takedowns in Sniper Elite 5, including new non-lethal options. The new Spotlight video is available to watch here: 

Paul Biddiss, the military advisor and action coordinator for a number of high-profile movies and TV shows, provided his expertise to the Sniper Elite 5 development team as well as being the motion capture artist for Karl Fairburne, helping to ensure the highest possible level of authenticity to his movements and takedowns. Speaking about his involvement in the game Paul said: “All the takedowns are realistic to the training that was given to SOE operatives… everything is realistic. There is no embellishment.”

The new video also gives details of the other stealthy options open to Karl including new traversal mechanics which open up hidden areas of the maps as well as giving the player alternative routes to approach their objectives. The player will also have to consider the audible distance of both their weapon and ammo when taking a shot if they want to remain undetected.

For Sniper Elite 5 the player will have a host of non-lethal options at their disposal including the ability to incapacitate the enemy with non-lethal takedowns and ammunition. These options provide the player with even greater scope to approach each mission and game scenario in a way that best suits their playstyle and their objective.

The latest game in the award-winning franchise, Sniper Elite 5 will release simultaneously on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam and the Windows Store on May 26, 2022. Players that pre-order Sniper Elite 5 will receive an additional Target Führer campaign mission entitled “Wolf Mountain.” A Deluxe Edition is also available, which will include Season Pass One, as well as the P.1938 Suppressed Pistol for pre-orders.

To keep up to date with all the latest Sniper Elite 5 news please visit sniper.com and follow the game on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Sonic 2- Buy It on Digital May 24 and 4K/Blu-ray August 9

Paramount+ and Paramount Home Entertainment today announced that the global hit movie SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2, from Paramount Pictures, will be available to stream on the service beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24, in the U.S. and Canada. The film will also be available to rent and purchase across digital platforms from Paramount Home Entertainment. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 will arrive on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD August 9. In addition, fans can also purchase both the new movie and original hit film SONIC THE HEDGEHOG in a 2-Movie Collection on Digital or Blu-ray.

Fans purchasing the Digital*, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray releases of SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 will find they are packed with nearly an hour of bonus features, headlined by an all-new, exclusive animated short entitled “Sonic Drone Home” featuring Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.

For fans looking to play the games that started it all, Sonic Origins, an all-new multi-game collection, will be coming out on June 23, 2022, starting at $39.99 USD on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch™ family of systems and PC.

Produced by Paramount Pictures in association with SEGA Sammy Group; an Original Film/ Marza Animation Planet/ Blur Studio production, the world’s favorite blue hedgehog is back for next-level adventure featuring the all-star cast of James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Lee Majdoub with Idris Elba and Jim Carrey.

After settling in Green Hills, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 is directed by Jeff Fowler, screenplay by Pat Casey & Josh Miller and John Whittington with story by Pat Casey & Josh Miller. The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz, p.g.a., Toby Ascher, p.g.a., Toru Nakahara, Hitoshi Okuno, and executive produced by Haruki Satomi, Yukio Sugino, Shuji Utsumi, Nan Morales, Tim Miller.  The film is licensed internationally by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit Review – PC

Having worked many years in the video game industry including stints at Sierra Online and LucasArts, I can safely say that Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit is a refreshing return to the glory days of point-and-click adventure games.  Telltale did an admirable job at keeping the genre afloat for nearly a decade, but developer, Tag of Joy really nails the essence of 3D adventure gaming in looks, story, puzzles, and overall atmosphere, and they totally commit to the point-and-click by only supporting mouse and keyboard.

The story is pretty basic, almost cliché at this point, where we meet up with Milda who lives in Chicago, but after inheriting an old house in Lithuania, sets off to Europe to claim her new home and triggers a surprising epic adventure.  Her grandfather’s house is loaded with clues all leading to some 15th century relic that will have you exploring all sorts of real-world European locales, solving puzzles, and avoiding a dangerous foe.

As with any game of this type, the basic loop is to enter a scene, interact with everything you can, take everything you can, and exhaust any conversation trees with any characters that happen to be around.  While most of the puzzles are fairly straightforward several are quite specific in their solution, often to the point of defying logic.  One of the early puzzles had me trying to silence a guy playing the trumpet in the park.  The obvious solution was to put some chewing gum in the instrument after distracting him (there is even a hint about him “blowing bubbles”), and while that is certainly a valid tactic, the game wants you to jump through about ten more steps to solve this puzzle with a much more complicated solution buried in layers of conversation.  The pacing of the gameplay often stumbles in certain points where you are either presented with puzzles with no hints at solving them or these more elaborate situations with very linear solutions you must stumble upon to solve.

Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit is visually pleasing with some fantastic art and a storybook presentation.  For most of the game you are exploring static screens or areas you can walk around and move the cursor until it indicates something you can interact with, or you can tap the spacebar and all hotspots will be revealed.  I’ve personally outgrown these pixel-hunt games, so the hotspot reveal is a great feature for me to simply experience the game at a comfortable pace.  Most spots allow multiple interactions such as examine, use, or take, and you will find yourself with a nice inventory of items that mostly serve a purpose either alone or after being combined with something else.   The art and animation is simplistic and fun with some great detail in the scenery and great use of color blending, lighting, shadows, and some fun animation tricks with scrolling backgrounds.  The audio is also outstanding with some great voice acting, fun sound and environmental effects, and an amazing soundtrack written by Daniel Pharos.

The adventure genre has a lot of competition on Steam, but Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit manages to standout, even against some of the bigger titles like the new Syberia game.  Expect about 6-8 hours to complete this adventure, which is clearly setting up the obligatory sequel.  I did find the pacing a bit off in the final act where, after a nice leisurely adventure, things started to seem rushed.  The Lithuanian setting was an interesting and unique choice, and I may have unintentionally learned a few things about the country and the lore; meanwhile the characters all provided their own unique elements that added to the immersion.  Even simple character stuff like Milda choosing the right outfit from my closet to get a job was fun.

There is definitely a lot of adventurous fun waiting for you with Crowns and Pawns: Kingdom of Deceit.  With its engaging story told through gorgeous hand-painted art, interesting characters, and some top-quality voice acting, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss out on.

If you’d like to see the game in action we have the first two hours of gameplay available on our YouTube channel complete with commentary and spoilers.  Enjoy!

MORE SCREENS

World of Mechs Arrives May 26 On Quest 2

Studio 369 has announced that squad-based online VR mech game World of Mechs will launch for Meta Quest 2 on May 26. Backed by the Meta Grant Program, World of Mechs is the only heart-pumping VR experience where players can select from 32 different war machines and wreak havoc with unique mech abilities in online battles. Jam radar sensors, deploy landmines, or ram through enemy lines with old-fashioned brute force. It’s a mechanized slugfest to become the big dog of the arena!

World of Mechs delivers the feeling of thrashing across city blocks in a 10-ton robotic steel gladiator while launching a salvo of barrage missiles on the opposition. Feel the adrenaline rush of leading a flanking charge with weapons ablaze and jump-jets engaged. Blast off into the single-player campaign to take down menacing bosses, walk away with their mechs, and become the world’s most-feared ace pilot.

World of Mechs will be available for Meta Quest 2 on May 26 and will retail for $19.99. For the latest news and updates on World of Mechs, follow the game on Facebook, join the discussion on Twitter, and join the official World of Mechs Discord Server.