Friday 7 August 2015

Activision @ Gamescom 2015

Though Microsoft wowed us with a few new reveals a few days ago, everything since then has just been footage of previously revealed games. I guess E3 kind of spoiled me this year in terms of reveals. So putting aside the hope to see something as big as the Shenmue 3 or Final Fantasy VII announcements we witnessed at E3 this year, I quickly enjoyed the deeper look into games we already knew were in development. This time it was Activision's chance to step up and show off what they had. Though they were clearly lacking in content compared to both Microsoft and EA, they still had a decent show.

Skylanders: SuperChargers

The Skylanders series is a juggernaut in terms of sales. First starting out as a kind of Spyro the Dragon spin-off in 2011 with Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, the series combines games and figurines, an idea that was borrowed by Nintendo for their Amiibo cash grab. It's an interesting series, pretty fun to play and is a massive hit with the kids. So, it didn't come as a surprise that a new game was in the making when it was announced earlier this year. This new look at SuperChargers focused on multiplayaer racing action, and I gotta say, it looks pretty awesome.

Like the rest of the series, SuperChargers is extremely colourful, stunningly designed and is an overall treat for the senses. Though SuperChargers still sticks to the series' platforming/role-playing formula, throwing racing into the mix looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. Coming across like an over-the-top version of Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing, SuperChargers lets you play as a whole host of characters, with each one able to use their very own unique racing car/plane.

Guitar Hero Live

When the original Guitar Hero was released a decade ago it was a massive, massive hit. The amount of cheap plastic guitars Activision were selling alongside the game was insane, but though the series as a whole did enjoy its time in the limelight, it eventually petered out. I'm not sure why though, as it has all the hallmarks of being a recurring hit with both casual and hardcore gamers alike. Still though, we haven't seen a new Guitar Hero since 2010, so with a 5 year break between games, Activision has decided to bring it back. About time.

Guitar Hero Live looks to be a reinvention of the series. The biggest difference at first is the fact that now all the action on screen is done through live-action. Real musicians, real stages, real crowds. Filmed from a first-person perspective to put you in the shoes of the guitarist on stage, the crowd you're playing for will react positively/negatively to how good/bad you're playing. This new look of the game goes hand-in-hand with the slightly redesigned guitar controller you'll be using too. Also shown off is GH TV, which is essentially Activision's own streaming music channel. From there you'll be able to jump in and play alongside whatever track is currently playing on the channel. Exciting stuff, and I for one welcome the return of Guitar Hero. You've been gone too long, friend.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

I guess you expected this. After all, Activision couldn't even let out a fart without a new Call of Duty being released. Set in the bleak future of 2065, Black Ops 3 kind of stands apart from other Call of Duty sequels simply in the fact that it seems like developer Treyarch are actually trying something new. The future tech is all there and improved from the previous outing, and with the game looking like a mash-up of Titanfall and Advanced Warfare, Black Ops 3 may not be just another rehash after all.

Instead of simply telling the viewer what Black Ops 3 has over its predecessors and competitors, Activision literally did a multiplayer footage blowout when it came to the Global eSports streaming event. You know what eSports are right? They're fake sports for people who don't play sports. This event was a stunning showcase for gameplay through, as through watching the event you'll become accustomed to Black Ops 3's classes, weapons, new jump movements, kill-streaks and much more. I can't say I'm dying to play it myself, but it's certainly the first Call of Duty game in some time to grab my attention. From its slick looking controls, large array of weapons and genuinely lovely visuals, this just might get me back into loving the series.

Destiny: The Taken King

Peter Dinklage has been recast in Destiny: The Taken King by Nolan North. Thank god, cause he was shit! Anyway, with that out of the way, Activision also delved into Destiny's upcoming expansion at their Gamescom live stream. With Destiny itself still holding onto its pretty large and growing fanbase, another expansion has been expected since the release of House of Wolves in May of this year. However, the next upcoming expansion effectively ends “Year One” of Destiny, and it's certainly looking like it'll go out with a bang.

In The Taken King you essentially take on a god as he leads an army of new alien beings, The Taken, to get revenge for the death of his son Crota. You killed Crota before in Destiny, and lets just say that his dad, Oryx, isn't too happy about it. Featuring new locations, armour, weapons and a revamped levelling system, it looks like “Year One” of Destiny will end like how it started- beautiful, epic and awesome.

Denis Murphy

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