Gaming news: Zombies in Black Ops, FFXIV released, MSoft wants Second Life, Recettear and Minecraft huge hits, Skaven in WAR

So, yesterday was Eurogamer which bore a surprising resemblance to a bunch of gaming zombies wandering around a huge exhibition hall, half of which was full of demos of Assassin’s Creed II.  Arb and I will talk more about our Eurogamer thoughts next week.

  • Things I saw which caught my eye were:
    PS3 Move. I saw a few demos with the Move and … they looked fun. I don’t think my living room is large enough or tidy enough to justify a purchase but it did look cool.
  • Dragon Age 2. Now with less blood spatters but still with some so you know which game you are playing. We cheered when there was a closeup on the blood spatter.
  • Indie Arcade. Didn’t have time to look at all the games, so focussed on a bizarre passive aggressive game which kept telling you to stand away from the computer and not press buttons. Also a fun explory/ platformy game where I amused the guy standing next to me by falling off a cliff and exclaiming, “Oh! I guess that’s not how you use the stairs.”
  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Absolutely adorable, and looked pretty fun too.
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Reminded me of Uncharted 2, mostly down to the graphics, gameplay and camera angle.

In a press release about SWTOR, Bioware revealed more information about the smuggler. It’s sounding increasingly as though the smuggler IS Han Solo rather than just being inspired by him, and one of the latest reveals is that there is a wookie companion.

Also in gaming news this week was another spat between Bobby Kotick and whoever. I’m getting bored of following these arguments but they seem to get a lot of gaming press. I imagine it will be EA’s turn next week.

Gaming post of the week is Unsubject’s admiration of DCUO’s courageous and brave brave marketing decisions. The game is due to be released in November and we still know virtually nothing about the gameplay – it doesn’t bolster confidence.

Zombies in Black Ops

Activision revealed that Call of Duty: Black Ops will feature a multiplayer zombie mode. Apparently it will involve “brand new zombie experiences”. Your guess is as good as mine.

I don’t pretend to understand where it makes sense for a franchise that has always been fairly solidly based on well researched real world settings to go all zombie on us but zombies are cool, right? (Maybe the new zombie experience is that you actually get to play a zombie!) The game is due to launch on 9th Nov.

Another shooter which is drifting away from being too realistic is Medal of Honor, from which it was confirmed that references to the Taliban were dropped this week. Instead they have been renamed as “Opposing force.” Personally I think they should have just reskinned them as zombies.

Final Fantasy 14 launches on PC

September 30th marked the launch day for FF14.

Feedback I have heard so far has been positive, but keen to point out that the game harkens back to an older style of MMO than recent WoW fans (for example) may be comfortable with.

Microsoft interested in Second Life

The Escapist reported this week on a rumour that Microsoft has a bid in for Linden Labs, noting that LL laid off a lot of staff recently and is known to be in some trouble.

They think that Second Life would fit in great as a virtual world for xbox players. I’m not sure about that one myself, but it’ll be interesting to see what comes of it if the rumour is true.

Minecraft and Recettear show good sales

You may notice on the right hand margin of this page that I’ve included both Recettear and Minecraft under the current list of games we’re playing. (Arb is playing Minecraft, I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I will!).

We think they’re both ace, and so do lots of other people.

RPS reports that Recettear has sold over 26k copies, which is pretty darned good for a little indie PC game relying mostly on word of mouth, a near zero marketing budget, and digital downloads.

However, Minecraft makes that look paltry by apparently taking in $350k profit per day.

These trends all bode well for the indie market. With every awesome game that gets successful, players will be more and more willing to try another one if the word of mouth is good. Both of these games are excellent value for money –- obviously there’s no guarantee either will be up your street but both have demos and it won’t be hard to google a review online.

Skaven in Warhammer Online

Werit writes about (Bioware) Mythic’s announcements of their plans for WAR. Plans which include playable Skaven … sort of. Players will be able to control Skaven, but not in a way that replaces their main character.

I’m a little unclear on the details but it sounds as though players will be able to assume a Skaven role in PvP but there won’t be any supporting PvE for the rat people. Werit compares this to monster play in LOTRO which, to be fair, is enjoyed by a lot of people.

Free Middle Earth (US only)! Other single player games I wish I was playing.

I apologise for a bits and pieces post. My husband’s band are launching an album today so it’s all a bit hectic here. (Go check out tinyfish though, they’re a prog band but despite that they are also awesome :))

Turbine has launched an amusing trailer for the Free to Play version of LOTRO. Apparently this will be repeated in TV spots in the US. Sadly for those of us in Europe, our version is delayed.

LOTRO Reporter asks for patience with Codemasters while they sort it out. But I think we can assume that the majority of EU players who are interested in F2P will not be patient and will just go and make accounts on the US servers instead as soon as they realise. That will be a great shame for any existing EU players who were looking forwards to the influx.

Other single player games

I wanted to take the opportunity to signpost a few indie games that have hit the radar recently. If I had time enough, and love …

Minecraft – it’s a sort of building game, and dungeoneering game. There are different modes of play – creative mode for building cool stuff and survival mode which is more of a puzzle game. People have built scale replicas of famous buildings (the reichstag).  If that’s intriguing to you, go check it out.

Recettear – It’s all about being a shop owner in a typical JRPG; so you do some buying and selling, and also sponsor adventurers to go get you more stock. The debt collectors are at your door, so get cracking! Tipa has written eloquently about her experience of the game’s demo. Terrifically silly fun with solid gameplay behind it, and released today via the usual downloading outlets such as steam and impulse. Capitalism ho!

Amnesia: Dark Descent – Billed as a first person survival horror game, you will be spending a lot of your time running away from monsters. Reports I have read agree that it is very scary indeed and extremely immersive. Larisa even wonders whether MMOs can learn anything from this type of play. I may be too wimpy for this type of horror myself, but if it is your thing, the game’s had great reviews.

If you are a fan of multiple choice text adventures, check out the new stories at Multiple Choice Games — choice of the vampire, and choice of romance (seems vaguely appropriate after having mentioned romances in comments on Wednesday). They also have some user submitted stories, including a rather smart one about paranoia. The web versions are all free.

Anyone tried any of these, or any other indie games you’d like to recommend?