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!
This is a quickie. How stoked was I (and pyro, judging by the comment) to discover a special promotional code in my inbox for the God of War III E3 demo!
I am massively anticipating this game – just see the post on ‘When gods walked among us…’ for some of my gushing, fanboy praise.
Must be strong, though. I have a bunch of stuff I need to do, not least of which is to put the finishing touches to my Ghostbusters costume for a Halloween bash tonight. Bustin’, does indeed, make me feel good.
So, it’s not a great surprise to learn I am eagerly anticipating the release of God of War III for the PS3. Also rather cool is the fact that there’ll be a God of War Collection, which comprises the first two instalments of the franchise (but not the PSP’s Chains of Olympus) in HD format together with a juicy voucher to use on PSN for an exclusive GoW III demo.
I’ll take one of those too Mr Computer Game salesmen, thank you very much.
I remember way back when, during an afternoon in Grimsby town centre no less, where I first got my mitts of the first God of War. What I loved so much about the game was the sheer level of bloody, visceral action but with a puzzle solving, adventuring-cum-platformer element to it. Levelling up skills and magic also lent the game a flavour of the RPG about it with all the tedious character building and endless pointless questing.
I liked (though ‘liked’ isn’t really the right word) Kratos, the central character, so much that he became part of the inspiration for Tsu’gan in the Salamander stories. All that rage and feelings of entitlement of being done wrong by the powers that be – it was the perfect vessel for one of Third Company’s angriest members.
God of War, unsurprisingly, became a franchise and what a franchise. The launch of the sequel provoked quite a bit of controversy with a promotional campaign that included sacrificial goats and half-naked warrior gods. The game’s arrival on PSP was of the best selling titles ever released on the troubled system, really stretching its boundaries and limits, and even opening the door for other ‘big’ game franchises to find their way onto the portable handheld (Little Big Planet, Soul Calibur and Assassin’s Creed to name three).
Aside from the brutal gameplay and it’s central figure, one of the things that has remained consistent through each iteration is the monsters. God of War has some of the best and most brutal beasts ever conceived. Greek myth is a wonderful stomping ground for its creatives and I have fond memories of slaying gigantic hydras, basilisks and gorgons, amongst other horrors.
It’s not all about the hack n’ slash, either – a souped up Golden Axe for ground-ups this is not (not that there’s anything wrong with Golden Axe, you understand – that’s my misspent youth at the Empire Arcade in Cleethorpses that is). God of War is a step above not just because of the graphics, the story, the creatures, the character or the combat – it’s the gameplay. It’s riding a pegasus whilst fighting off hordes of harpies, it’s cracking ludicrous difficult puzzles, it’s freeing titans to reach the next part of the level, it’s climbing up columns of flesh embedded with razor blades in the realm of Hades – it’s all of this mad stuff and more.
So, why babble on, why take up our time with all of this God of War back slapping? Well, God of War III is soon to hit the shelves and the good people at IGN.com have put together everything they know about the game so far in one handy little article. Have a butchers and, if you don’t mind the sight of blood and violence, you should definitely check this game out. There are loads of screenshots and videos too.
It’s one of the game I’m looking forward to in 2010, along with a few others (Dante’s Inferno is also looking extremely good and I’d suggest borrows quite a bit from God of War’s uncompromising ethos).
And while we’re at it, here’s the games I’ll be shelling my pennies out for in the New Year… (keep going after the pics – there’s more…)
Cripes! I’ll be having nightmares after this lot!
Seriously though, everything I’ve seen so far makes me believe that these will be the games for me next year, so speaks the Console King!
Coincidental, they all have a sort of gods & monsters theme to them, too. Dante’s Inferno is obviously about one knight’s descent in the depths of Hell, God War III speaks for itself and Darksiders features War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, hunted by demons and angels at the world’s ending.
Epic stuff indeed. Here’s hoping they’ll live up to the hype.
So, brave readers, what’s floating your boat for the New Year? Answers on a blog comment-shaped postcard please…
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.