So on a Monday night the 27th of this month, a few of our game-loving family ventured into the Sydney CBD for a chance to play the newest and yet to be released titles from Gameloft. For those who have not heard of them before, Gameloft is an absolute powerhouse company in the IOS gaming market, developing a very wide range of games for use on Apple Macs, IPods, Iphones and Ipads as Apps. However, they have also ventured into the realm of console gaming, with releases such as ‘Asphalt 3D’ on the 3DS, and a large catalogue of downloadable games available on networks such as Steam and the PSN. MasterAbbot, Alexis and I were fortunate enough to meet some of the Australian based team members of Gameloft in person for a few drinks, some snacks and a HEAVY dosage of playing the newest release titles they have on offer.
Additionally, I also had the chance to play a few of the iPod touch based titles. Now I will admit, I’m not exactly an expert on IOS based gaming, but what I did get to play through seemed like a pretty thorough attempt to appeal to the hardcore gaming market, as opposed to the casual market often associated with IOS titles. In particular, I had the chance to play through BackStab and the new HD Avatar game.
Modern Combat: Domination
This game was displayed on both the Macbook and the Playstation 3. Available as a downloadable title, Modern Combat: Domination is essentially a multiplayer oriented FPS title. The game itself features an objective based style of gameplay, similar in calibre to that of the Counter-Strike series. I liked to think of it as a CS for the modern day. Because let’s face it, CS is sort of redundant nowadays. The game itself flowed exceptionally well on the Macbook port, but required a little control adjustment on the console port. However, the unique thing revealed about this game, is that gameplay-wise it is, in fact, multi-platformed. In other words, when playing online, a PS3 player can connect and play a multiplayer match with someone using a Macbook. This is a very cool little feature that is likely to win over many followers who own both Macs and PS3’s.
The gameplay itself is pretty stock standard for an FPS title. Similar to the Call of Duty or Medal of Honour series, the gameplay follows a simple run-aim-shoot flow. The game does also feature AI bots to make up additional players for when one can’t make up an entire party. It also allows for decently scaled single player gameplay.
Dungeon Hunter Alliance
This is the one game at the night I spent the most time on. For fans of games such as Diablo, Sacred or Gauntlet, this series will seem like familiar territory. This game is a third-person action-RPG that takes place in a pretty standard Fantasy style setting. The players will take on the role of the formerly deceased King, brought back to life by some mysterious magical force. The players soon discover that the kingdom that once belonged to the player has been usurped and chaos now reigns far and wide. It is up to the player to adventure through this torn kingdom and restore the lost order.
\From the get go, players are given a choice of 1 of 3 character archetypes to use: the warrior, the rogue and the mage. Just as with other fantasy games, the warrior is the standard weapon master, the rogue, bows and knives, and magic for the mage. Along the journey, players will meet a variety of characters to add to their party, so no character niche is left unfulfilled. However, the best defining feature of this game is undoubtedly the multiplayer aspect. The game supports multiplayer functionality so that multiple players on the same console, or on separate consoles can adventure together. This game is relatively simple in terms of art style and gameplay, but is bolstered more by the premise of multiplayer possibilities. Due to the limited skill sets of each character type, and the large variety of situations players are likely to encounter, the game very much promotes co-operative play so that other player characters may fulfil the roles that are missing from the party. It should also be noted that a player character seems to be a far more capable ally than the AI partners. If you like adventure-RPG type games, similar to Gauntlet and Diablo, then this one is worth a purchase.
Blokus was the third and last game that was displayed on the PS3. This particular title is a competitive puzzle game. The premise behind this game is to place down as many blocks as possible on the game board. The player who places the most blocks down at the end of the game wins. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. As I discovered for myself, this game is a VERY tricky one. Blocks can only be placed down if corners of the blocks are touching, which highly limits the options for areas that players can make a play. Additionally, each time you play through, you will be facing 3 computer controlled AI’s who have a rather merciless nature in terms of competition. The purpose of the game is to place down as many blocks as possible, but at the same time, use your blocks to “block off” the movement of other players. It’s a rather tricky little number that requires both puzzle solving ability and a degree of strategy. For those looking for an intellectual, try this one out.
Do you like pirates? Of course you do. Why else do you think we all sat through 4 Pirates of the Caribbean movies? But what if the pirates were also ninjas? The universe would implode, right? All kidding aside, BackStab is probably the closest I’ve ever seen to the two arch nemesis factions being mixed. The game is essentially about pirates, but features a VERY heavy emphasis on parkour-like elements. The best comparison to make would be to say: “Assassins Creed, but with Pirates.” The demo I had the chance to play through featured a pirate protagonist that was battling against what I assumed was the royal navy from the colonial era. The game featured some pretty fluid combat and environment scaling mechanics. If you’re a fan of the Assassins Creed series, this one is worth looking out for.
James Cameron’s Avatar HD
The final title that I had the chance to have a go at was James Cameron’s Avatar HD. This IOS title attempts to construct the world of Pandora in greater detail by showing off more of the environments and creatures that we may not have necessarily seen in the movies. The game does not STRICTLY follow the movie flow of events, but it does so enough to the extent that players will be already familiar with what to expect from their player character, and the world around them. The game combines 3D adventure platforming and 2D side scroller sections of gameplay. For fans of the Avatar universe, you might want to consider giving this title a close look.