Welcome to the website of author and editor Nick Kyme. Herein, you’ll find all of Nick’s published works in the fantasy and science fiction worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Keep up with new developments and Nick’s authorial musing with the blog, and all signing dates with the calendar. Enjoy your visit!
Have to say, while I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed, I wasn’t totally bowled over by it. One of my biggest crits would its slightly repetitive nature. The new game looks like it has a lot of variety. The walkthrough shows off several new ‘kills’, the purchase system, unique kit like smoke bombs and fresh ways to interact with the populous of Florence.
I also like the idea of teaming up with Leonardo Da Vinci and utilising his genius in the form of flying machines, hidden guns and all manner of cool Renaissance technology. Florence itself looks amazing and it seems like unlike Altair, Ezio can actually swim without dying (a useful trait in an assassin). Side missions and secondary locations, non-essential to the core plot, offer some variety too – I watched a really cool and innovative chase sequence where Ezio was hunting down a fleeing guard through some ancient catacombs before he could warn a bunch of his buddies.
This is a game I’m looking forward to. As I said, always liked Assassin’s Creed but it didn’t quite reach the heights I was expecting of it. Assassin’s Creed II looks like it’ll do that and then some.
There’s good news for PSP gamers with Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines released on the system on the same day! This, too, looks great and a welcome addition to a portable console neglected for too long in my opinion.
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get an all new warm and fuzzy feeling about my PSP. If you can believe it, I only recently hooked it up to my wireless broadband connection and have since enjoyed demos for both Final Fantasy: Dissidia and Resistance: Retribution. How great is it that Sony are finally releasing games for the system that spin-off from their hottest properties. Whereas, maybe a few months ago, I might have had one or two games tops that looked good for my PSP, now I have a much beefier selection to coo about.
In fact, I just bought a copy of Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny – let’s just say playing Kratos is extremely cool indeed. Other faves of the new generation would have to be Dissidia (which I didn’t think I’d like, but is extremely addictive) and I’ve already said Bloodlines looks to be a winning. Little Big Planet is also going to be released, too. Add that to the likes of Patapon and God of War: Chains of Olympus and finally the PSP is getting games to shout about (it’s just a shame there’s no Kingdom Hearts game like there is on the DS…).
Okay, side rant over. Assassin’s Creed II is looking awesome and it’s next on my list.
Well, E3 is all over for another year and I have to say it’s looking like a very exciting 2009/2010 is in prospect for all of us gaming fans.
I don’t wish to labour over the details again; you can check out my earlier posts to see what has interested me from this year’s con. Below, though, are some of my edited highlights…
* God of War III – Looks like it’s going to be THE game for the PS3 next year. The trailers look totally awesome. This could be the greatest installment yet. There’s a walkthrough with developer commentary here at GameTrailers.com. It’s in five parts and the guy playing even gets iced by a centaur mini-boss at one point (as he’s telling us that the centaur isn’t that tough to beat – oh, the irony…). One particular scene that stood out was the section in the Icarus vent. This is totally new to God of War III and looks like a lot of fun to play. Hail Zeus!
* Assassin’s Creed 2 – Even better than the first game, if the stunning trailer video and gameplay demo are anything to go by. Renaissance Venice offers a new flavour to the previous incarnation of the game during the Crusades, and there looks to be a lot of innovation and new material in terms of the game mechanics too. I’ll be watching this with great interest.
* Batman: Arkham Asylum – It’s released in under two weeks and I can’t wait. Fingers crossed that it’s awesome. It looks it. This could be the Batman game us Dark Knight fans have been waiting for. Needless to say, I have the special edition for the Ps3 on preorder.
* Ghostbusters - At the head of the Ghostbusters revival is the new video game, which simply looks cool. It’s a total retrofest and really pushes all of my buttons as far as 80’s nostalgia goes. Much like Arkham, I am really looking forward to the imminent release of this game and have fingers crossed that it’ll live up to all the hype.
* Darksiders – I love Devil May Cry and this looks like a game cut from a similar mould with a bit more juice in terms of action and spectacle. The trailers are stunning, the milieu and narrative appealing. Looks like the third person action/adventure genre is really getting a boost.
* Dante’s Inferno – Since I first saw the trailer, this looked like something special. Admittedly, it’s early days and no gameplay demos have been released yet to my knowledge, but the flavour and atmosphere in this game is enticing. I’m hoping for something that has echoes of God of War, but which also treads it’s own path. It looks like another third person action/adventure too. It’s my favourite gaming genre, so I’m happy.
* Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny – Mainly because it’s on the PSP and that it has Kratos, from God of War, as a playable character. I’ll totally be buying this game. I hope the Kingdom Hearts game for the PSP comes out soon, too. The only reason this console struggles is because the software isn’t up to scratch. It seems Sony are starting to realise that and are doing something about it. Fingers crossed.
* Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Ever since I saw it on the Nintendo NES, I’ve always been a fan of the Castlevania games. Here it is all next-genned and looking rather spiffy. There’s a swathe of voice talent for the trailer (have a look at that right here, folks) and more Devil May Cry-esque action looks in the offing. With so many third person action/adventure games coming to the fore, some are bound to be less than perfect. We’ll just have to wait and see which ones.
These are really just the few things that caught my eye in the excellent coverage provided by E3 Insider. As console king, I’m very happy with what I’m seeing. Now, I just need to make sure with all this gaming that’ll be going on that I leave enough time to write some books and short stories…
Just time for a quick blog post about the E3 gaming expo in L.A currently running until June 4th. Having checked out both E3 Insider and IGN.com’s coverage of the event so far, a couple of forthcoming games have caught my attention from the show so far…
First up is Assassin’s Creed 2. I bought the original Assassin’s Creed for the 360 and totally loved it. The really open world, the fluid escapes and attacks, the gameplay that matched stealth and cunning to silent brutality was simply an awesome experience. My only slight critique was that constantly revisiting the cities, all of which looked very similar in tone and mood, became a little repetitive after a while. He’s hoping the developers have figured that out and made the necessary tweaks for the sequel.
So far, and from what I can tell from the excellent trailers, it looks like they have.
In Assassin’s Creed 2, you are treated to a new vista to explore as new character Ezio in the form of Venice during the Italian Renaissance. From the trailer video a new flavour permeates this city. It’s dark, gaudy and decadent. A masque ball is in progress and the nobles are enjoying the open air of one of Venice’s more affluent districts. In steps our assassin and one of the nobles has his throat slit and the blood starts to flow… This cues a frantic street chase with Ezio leaping up buildings, over the canals with the city guards and a second noble leading the pursuit. It’s a beautifully rendered and dynamic scene which easily lives up to the opening for the first Assassin’s Creed, set during the time of the Crusades. The drama culminates in Ezio being baited into a trap by the noble, who tries to goad him with threats to his family. Ezio, tipped off that the noble has some guards waiting to pounce on him should he commit to the attack, sensibly holds back and employs a sort of wrist-mounted ‘gun’ to despatch him. The noble falls, his mask comes loose and shatters on the pavement. We fade to black as does Ezio… Great appetite-wetting stuff and a really nice change from oppressive sun and baking sand.
As exciting and engaging as the trailer was, it’s not until you get to the gameplay demo that you start to learn some of what makes Assassin’s Creed 2 tick. The commentary is well expressed and informative over the top of an assassin mission that’s played through to showcase some of the new skills and equipment available in the new game. For a start, Ezio has an array of new gadgetry to choose from, the later time period allowing for a little more ingeunutiy and scientific advancement in the form of both weapons and non-offensive paraphernalia. Part of the backstory in Assassin’s Creed 2 sees Ezio paired up with the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci who constructs all manner of machineries and natty devices for our assassin to exploit. As already mentioned, Ezio has access to a wrist-mounted ‘pistol’ and also employs smoke bombs to bypass guards or slip between hordes of pursuers. Coolest of all, though, has to be the classic Da Vinci glider. This flying machine is ready and waiting for Ezio in a high rooftop, and he uses it to access an area he can only reach via the air. It looks stunning and offers a totally new dynamic to the game. It also allows the designers to really show off the city in great sweeping strokes, the canals, the narrow streets, the imposing and beautiful architecture. Really, a nice touch.
Based on this evidence, I may have to add Assassin’s Creed 2 to my already burgeoning collection.
Next up is a franchise that I have loved since game one on the PS2. Yes, of course, it’s God of War III. Regular readers of the blog will have already seen the trailer I posted up (yes, I know it’s old hat and that serious devotees will have already seen it but I just love it, so there ), well now there’s a whole bunch of extra material courtesy of E3 and available on either E3 Insider or IGN.com (take your pick).
As always with a God of War game, the graphics are simply stunning and really show off the abilities of the next gen console this game was destined to be released on. Expect all the brutality of the original God of War games and a familiar array of low-level beasts for Kratos to pound on. One of the things that attracted me to God of War originally was the fact that as well as tense and punishing action, it also features intelligent level design and some intriguing puzzles to keep things interesting and that allow you to take a much-needed breather after a bout of slaying. It’s like a really visceral Tomb Raider with lots more enemies to destroy. I’m glad to say that the demos (in three, roughly 1.30 – 2 minute chunks each) suggest that this aspect of the game is alive and well in the third incarnation of the franchise (or fourth, if you count ‘Chains of Olympus’ on the PSP).
As well as his trademark Blades of Chaos (wicked chained blades that blaze with wrathful fire), a new arsenal is available to Kratos for GoWIII, and he can be seen using a bow and a pair of brutal-looking chain-gauntlets. There are some new moves he can employ with his exisiting tools, such as latching onto harpies with his Blades of Chaos and using them to cross expansive chasms, all the while hacking the crap out of them – how very Kratos. I would say it’s a pity there was no commentary over these demos (as good as they looked), as with Assassin’s Creed 2, I found this very informative and interesting. Still, you can’t have everything I suppose.
As mentioned, the God of War III playable demo from the Sony conference was split into three parts (the YouTube video above combines them, but the quality is not as good – get over to IGN.com to see a clearer version). In the second installment, we get to see a huge molten giant in the background, which I’m assuming Kratos with have to deal with at the finale of the sequence. A horde of skeletons opposes Kratos on a shattered walkway, the city going to crap below him, as is the GoW milieu. These are despatched easily enough when a huge, armoured centaur stalks out of a massive gateway and we are treated to out first minor boss fight. A few new moves are revealed in this scene with Kratos deploying harpy-like wings, Icarus-style, to arrest a long jump and a ‘He-man’-esque repel move when surrounded by clamouring skeleton bodies. I cooed with delight when I saw Kratos shrug off his assailants, the skeletons exploding outwards as he flexed his deific muscles.
After slaying the centaur, we move on to the final part of the demo, and Kratos still closing on the beast. A bigger foe stands in our anti-hero’s way here, an awesome-looking chimera. It’s bloodthirsty as ever with Kratos gradually dismembering the beast in gory fashion. Certainly, from this latest game in the franchise, it seems there is no shortage of fabulous new creatures to batter.
I have to say, I was excited before about God of War III but now I’m positively salivating. It looks totally stunning and could be the best installment yet. By way of a cheeky bonus, Kratos will also be appearing in the latest offering from the Soul Calibur franchise on the PSP! Yes, the PSP! In Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny there are some familiar faces duking it out for soul and sword, but right at the end of the trailer in steps Kratos to kick some serious ass. Very happy. Thanks very much good people of Sony.
Well that’s about everything that took my fancy so far, I’m sure there are further gems in the mix too, though.