ASSASSIN'S CREED: LIBERATION HD | OUT: Q2 2-14 | FORMAT: PC, PS3, XBOX 360
You can make an educated guess as to why the handheld Assassin's has went multi-format, but what's of real interest is the team's insistence that this is no mere HD paint job. The original staff are back on board, and are looking to improve and tweak Liberation's gameplay. They carried out an extensive breakdown on what didn't work in Aveline's PS Vita adventure post-launch, drawing feedback from reviews, fans and the team itself. The overhaul promises to rebuild missions that didn't work, and expand the game to make this Assassin's Creed little different from the other home console entries. However with ACIV out November, and a launch for this falling early next year, we're in a situation with franchise releases hitting every half-year: can Aveline combat franchise burn-out?
TRIALS FRONTIER | OUT: Q2 2014 | FORMAT: iOS
Important thing first: Redlynx have managed to translate the precision of the console controls to mobile. They told us during our hands-on session that they spent nearly half a year iterating to get the handling - via four button virtual pad, split evenly between left/right and brake and accelerate - spot on. Frontier's design is that of a bizarro wild west frontier town, and there's now a mission structure to its levels; topping leader boards is still in effect, but you'll have challenges built into levels as well. We're given the example of having to perform two mid-air spins during one run.
There'll be different bikes unlocked to suit different missions, rather than gradually scaling up to the top tier bike. Extreme levels are as fiendish as ever, seeing us spending several minutes trying to just get to the first checkpoint in one. While the title will be free to download, what's worrying is the in-game fuel gauge which gradually runs out as you play - requiring you to stop playing until it recharges normally (or speed things up by buying more for quicker access).
ASSASSIN'S CREED: PIRATES | OUT: Q4 2013 | FORMAT: iOS, ANDROID
Assassin's Creed: Pirates takes a leap from the familiar console third-person stealth action to the mobile screens with arcade style naval battles. You controls the pirate ship itself while navigating the stormy seas of the Caribbean. According to developers the main focus is on action as you take on both the Royal Navy and other pirates. In addition you'll have to make sure that the ship has enough crew, weapons, ammunition and other provisions so keep the boat afloat while seeking hidden treasures on the sea.
AC: Pirates is scheduled to appear on both iOS and Android platforms this fall. At Digital Days the game was only present in the form of a short trailer, which only showed a couple of seconds of actual gameplay. It was quite modest performance and really didn't make a very positive impression. It's yet too early to say, We'll just hope Pirates won't be just a quick cash-in on the franchise.
THE CREW | OUT: Q1 2014 | FORMAT: XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3, PS4, PC
Along with Watch Dogs, The Crew was one of the largest Triple-A titles at Digital Days event. It was, however, a little disappointing that it was only available in the form of a ten-minute long demo. It showed some pretty standard racing stuff like a race, a couple of speed and accuracy tests and finally a co-op mission where two players needed to stop a heavy transport vehicle in Miami Beach.
The Crew is a promising title, but unfortunately the demo didn't present it or its strengths very well. One of the coolest things in The Crew is the huge map - the whole of the USA (in miniature size), which, even with a fast car, is said to take well over an hour to drive across. In the demo we could check out some of the environments, but we couldn't get feel of the size or the freedom the developers are promising. Also from a graphical standpoint, it left somewhat lacklustre. The world felt pretty static and we kept crashing into bushes, poles and other small obstacles like we were driving into a brick wall.
However, this weak demo didn't cool expectations. We're still looking forward to seeing how the game will combine single-player and online play together. After all, it promises both four player co-op throughout the campaign and also populates the game world constantly with seven other players when playing online. It's an intriguing concept and it's interesting to see how it will work in the end.
RAYMAN FIESTA RUN | OUT: NOVEMBER 2013 | FORMAT: IOS, ANDROID, WINDOWS PHONE
With Rayman Fiesta Run we get 75 fresh levels, which are part of four entirely new worlds. Again the UbiArt Framework engine renders the game in that iconic beautiful style. But with levels like the great fruit-ice-level from Rayman Origins, the adventure's become even more colorful. In addition to that, Rayman's got new skills. He is no longer afraid of water, and is now able to swim.
The mixture of speed and reaction is still a great combo, and some of the new playable levels felt even faster than in the first game. Ubisoft have also added social features like leaderboards. The only thing that felt strange, was the implementation of optional game helpers. With the in-game currency, we can buy hearts or an easier punch, to name but two examples. There is even a possibility to buy something like a racing line to see the best way to get every Lum and find every secret.
The good thing is that's optional and even if you can invest real money, you get enough Lums to buy that stuff just by playing the game. And it's not like Ubisoft forgot the hardcore players: Rayman Fiest Run is getting the Invasion mode too. With that, the levels become even more difficult. It's a sequel that everyone should be happy with.
RABBIDS BIG BANG | OUT: OCTOBER 2013 | FORMAT: IOS, ANDROID
It's not the first time that the Rabbids have appeared on mobile, but this is their first real game. Rabbids Big Bang seems to get its inspiration from Angry Birds Space, as we need to fling the crazy rabbits through space and solve different mission puzzles.
The main pull of Rabbids Big Bang is the space gravitation. In the first few missions, it's very easy to, say, fly around the planet twice, or collect five coins in forty seconds. But for the later missions we need some skill (hit the cow in twenty seconds?). In addition to that, the later systems offer planets with different gravity. And if the game is too difficult for you, it's possible to invest real money to level up your bat and your jetpack faster.
Of course it's still funny, and if the price is right, this could offer some serious fun for your mobile.
ENDWAR ONLINE | OUT: 2013 | FORMAT: PC, MAC
The 2008 strategy game now going F2P. The story takes place ten years after the original game and is playable in your browser. The gameplay has changed from the complex realtime strategy game to a more simple approach, which could be best described as MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). We send out troops on three to five paths and, with a scissor paper rock-system ,we can win the war and destroy the enemy base.
In the old game, there where units and battalions. This time, it's more flexible by having heroes with different abillities. Every map offers around two to three minutes of play time, there is online multiplayer and there are a lot missions planned for the single player mode. And this is the part which is interesting about Endwar Online. The core concept is so simple, that it's easy to squeeze in a quick game between your normal daily schedule.
Endwar Online is in closed beta at the moment. Everyone who likes MOBA and war games will probably also like this, even if it's not like the Endwar we know from five years ago.